Dear Dating Coach,
My two older sisters dated their now-husbands for a very short time before getting engaged. I have now gone out with someone four times and they have not stopped bothering me: “How do you feel?” “Is this it? Is he The One?” I don’t know the answer and the pressure is overwhelming. I like him, but I am not ready to marry him! Should I be feeling more at this point and have more direction? Help!
Dazed and Confused
True Story. I once flew to Israel with this guy I heard was great, and then a few days later I flew back to the States with him. Then we got engaged and got married. Named our first baby El Al. Nope. That did not happen. This story is totally NOT true. But I got you there for a minute. I could feel your raised eyebrows and see your mouth falling open in shock. “Who could be that hasty, that rash?” you wondered aloud, shaking your head in disbelief. But if we break it down to the hours, you have your four dates in those two roughly eleven-hour flights. Perspective, perhaps?
So Said the Rhyme…
I am happy to hear that you are dating and that it is going well! You have two lucky sisters who felt confident enough to get engaged after dating their spouses for only a short while. You, however, are not sure about your feelings after going out four times and feel anxious and stressed about your lack of certainty. Especially when compounded by your sisters’ “This was enough time for us,” refrain. You wonder if you should be feeling “more,” and where you have gone wrong.
Of Course, it Is Fine…
To quote that mildly famous song, “All you need is time, time, time…” (Love. Whatever. It’s semantics.) Sure, there are some who are comfortable making a lifetime decision in a shorter amount of time. Either with a strong belief in research prior to dating, or even perhaps with a true connection, they feel ready to commit after a consolidated dating period. Yet, for the most part, many daters need a longer stretch of time to form an emotional bond and a true connection. This is ok, and certainly allowed.
To Give Yourself Time.
While we don’t want to date indefinitely, as long as you date with clear direction and a goal, there is no exacting timeline that must be followed. Arguably, getting engaged before feeling ready is a far greater risk then taking the time you need to see if you feel an emotional attachment, a spiritual connection, and chemistry. Use your dates going forward to foster that connection by looking for good middos, positive traits, shared beliefs, and ways that you honestly connect. This will help you to build and nurture that feeling you hope to have before getting engaged. Certainly a peaceful, sure heart is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with.