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Please Advise: I feel too young to marry my perfect girlfriend. Should we break up?

Hooksexup readers weigh in on one man's grass-is-always-greener troubles.

Wise readers, 

Each week, the inbox of our venerable advice columnist, Miss Information, is flooded with queries. And although she makes a valiant effort, she cannot answer them all. To deal with the surplus, we've decided to turn to you. So, don your spectacles and help this man out. You can give him advice in the comments below, or, if you'd like to share what you wrote with your friends, on our Facebook page.


Dear Hooksexup, 

I'm in a long-term relationship, and everything's going great. We've been living together, which has been surprisingly drama-free and has had a low-impact on our relationship dynamic, contrary to all the horror stories everyone tells you. We've been together for four years. Every time I mention this to someone, they start asking about whether or not we're going to get married, wondering why we haven't yet, etc. 

Here's the thing: I'm twenty four; she's twenty two; I think this is fucking ridiculous. I promised myself I wouldn't get married until I was thirty (my parents didn't get married until around that age, though it was my dad's second) because I think a lot of couples take that step too soon and end up crashing and burning because of it. 

Lately, I've been thinking that I wouldn't mind being single again, but there's literally nothing wrong with the relationship, except for my own neuroses. I guess my problem is that it's too soon to take that next step and too late to break it off for no reason — I owe her better than that. I also realize I might be making a mountain out of a molehill here — I'm sure to a lot of unhappily single people, I sound like a whiner who wants to have his cake and eat it too. 

Is "feeling too young to be so serious" a good enough reason to end an amazing relationship and break someone's heart? 

- I Need Two Cakes 

Readers! Tell him what he should do in the comments below. 

Commentarium (112 Comments)

Jun 23 11 - 10:30am

Indeed...why not stay together and still see other people (openly)...or break up and see other people or stay together and don't see other people....or see someone else behind your partners back....all have their pluses and minuses....some or all of these choices will end badly and some or all of these choices will end well....scrolling down you see that either could happen so make your choice and live it the best you can and have no regrets. Just because you 'could' have made a different choice does not mean it would have turned out any better.

Jun 23 11 - 12:12am

I'm sure to a lot of unhappily single people, I sound like a whiner who wants to have his cake and eat it too. <----- this

Jun 23 11 - 12:18am

i'm in almost the same situation... it got serious when i was 19 and haven't had another relationship, not even a casual one, since high school.
my boyfriend and i decided to "open" our relationship as i'm away from him for the summer. this way, we can both figure ourselves out as individuals and i get to know myself a little better, as an adult, without having to feel an anchor from across the country.... but it still feels weird.

i'm looking forward to others' advice, myself!

Jun 28 11 - 6:25pm

you either love each other or not...when you mean you guys decided to "open" the relationship, you other people? because if you mean that you guys were intimate already and now the relationship is open, you both are ok been intimate with other people? I dont believe in casual sex or sex outside of marriage, I am Catholic and it is an offense to God, a sin...Sex is a gift from GOD, a Sacrament, for married couples...i hope you make the right choice from now now i imagine you know that guys look at sex in a different way than women...I would not ever sleep with my supposedly boyfriend knowing he had been with someone else...Pray to God for guidance, get involved in Church...God is the answer to your sex allows you to get to know each other for real...

Jun 30 11 - 4:11am

How fantastically rude of you. That's not advice, that's just browbeating with your own personal beliefs. You're not even offering any advice, just saying "You've made a mistake - if you were open to God, you'd see the right way to live your life." Did you realize that Jackie never even mentioned having had sex? There is nothing in that statement to indicate their sexual activity. You are being incredibly presumptuous, assuming sin in this person where no sin has been mentioned or even alluded to.

If anything, you are the one who should open your eyes to God. Figure out why you are so quick to cast judgment on others. Perhaps you're projecting your own suppressed sin and shame onto strangers. Are you really listening to God when you say these rude, presumptuous, accusatory things? Or are you listening to your pride?

Jul 01 11 - 5:04am

I never take my advice from those who can't structure a sentence.
Osa, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Jun 23 11 - 12:34am

First of all, THE CAKE IS A LIE.

Second, there is no time limit for the "next step". You shouldn't be peer-pressured into a life-long commitment if you're not ready. On the other hand, it's stupid to let go of what sounds like an awesome relationship just to "feel single". Go on a frickin boys' night out to scratch that itch.

Actually, what's stupid is breaking the heart of someone you love. Do you still love this girl? If you don't, then go on, have your Great Single Adventure. Being single is fun, but if you're going to spend a huge chunk of your singlehood whining about how you let go of the most awesome girl you've ever been with, hunny, that just dumb.

Jun 23 11 - 3:55pm

I totally agree with this!!! In a way, its like the grass is always greener. And if you aren't being pressured into getting married by your girlfriend, what's the rush? A marriage is between the two of you & you both will get to define what that means to you. This includes when the right time to get married is. You can make your own rules. I'd say, if the pressure is not coming from her & it's coming from other people, forget them. Do you really care what they think anyway?

Jun 23 11 - 1:11am

INTC's letter is a little euphemistic for my tastes. I suspect his problem is really something like this: he wants to have carefree, spontaneous sex with a lot of attractive people at some point in his life, and that hasn't happened yet. He's worried he'll always resent his girlfriend/wife if they get married now, and will see her as the reason he didn't have all that fun.

Is that about right, INTC?

Many people I know feel that resentment, though they're sometimes loath to admit it. And if you've never been super-attracted to your girlfriend, but only moderately attracted -- if the physical chemistry developed only gradually -- then that compounds the issue.

(Most people ultimately realize that the right person for them doesn't have to be Mr. or Ms. Super-Smokin'-Hot, and that the stuff inside is far more important...but it's a lot easier to make that choice if you've actually gotten with Mr. or Ms. SSH, and found out firsthand that pure attraction isn't enough, that it feels terribly empty before long.)

Personally, I think monogamy is kinda bullshit, for exactly this reason. You should be able to love your girlfriend, and stay with her, and marry her if you both want to. You should also be able to take trips on your own to far-away places, and go to parties where you don't know anybody but everyone's your new best friend, and have one-night stands with people whose names you don't remember in the morning, and experience that for what it is: fun, sometimes exhilarating, but ultimately meaningless.

If you have the latter experience at least once in your life, you'll probably end up loving and appreciating your girlfriend more than you do now, but the situation has put you in an either/or position. Of course, you might also find that as soon as you strike out on your own, you can't get laid to save your life. That happens a lot; women, especially, tend to flirt more with men who they know are attached, since there's no risk...until, of course, "things just happen". Oops.

(I'm intentionally omitting stuff about STDs and pregnancy because, though those things are a big deal, they're not the core reason why people insist on monogamy.)

The irony of non-monogamy is that you often end up deciding that you'd rather just be exclusive with your main partner anyway, because other people are usually a disappointing pain in the ass. But if they're cast in the role of forbidden fruit, you'll always want them, until you get too old to believe that you can credibly pursue them anyway. (How's that for a downbeat perspective?)

So yeah, you might consider exploring an open relationship or a "don't-ask-don't-tell" situation. But probably your girlfriend will be incredibly hurt by the suggestion.

Then again, you don't really sound all that excited about her to begin with. If you were giving a speech at your wedding reception, would you say that you married her because your relationship was "drama-free" and "nothing wrong"? Are you really super-into your girlfriend, or are things just comfortable? Because comfortable isn't good enough.

Jun 23 11 - 4:08am

"The irony of non-monogamy is that you often end up deciding that you'd rather just be exclusive with your main partner anyway, because other people are usually a disappointing pain in the ass."

This is some fucking wisdom right here. The forbidden fruit part of other people when you're in a relationship is their only real draw. All of my non-relationship sex, and even just the hookups, has paled in comparison to what it was like when I was in a relationship. It's exciting while you're pursuing and while you're actually doing it, and once it's over you realize that you've sold yourself short. I wish there was a way to just TELL that to people and make them realize what they have, but it usually takes someone fucking a couple dead fish in bed for them to see it.

Jun 23 11 - 10:54am

"The irony of non-monogamy is that you often end up deciding that you'd rather just be exclusive with your main partner anyway, because other people are usually a disappointing pain in the ass."

I'm repeating this, too, because I went all hallelujah choir when I read it.

Jun 23 11 - 10:58am

...not to mention several other parts of this comment. Well said, all around.

Jun 23 11 - 12:08pm

LAC: very thoughtful, concise, and en-pointe thinking. What's that book, "He's Just Not That Into You." I suspect that's the case.

Jun 23 11 - 1:38pm

LAC and Ryan, I think talking about the forbidden fruit quality, and consequent disappointment, of people outside the relationship IS helpful. I appreciate it, thanks.

Jun 23 11 - 4:46pm

Great post, LAC!

Jun 23 11 - 7:51pm

Game, set and match. Sometimes the grass just isn't greener on the other side.

Another take: "Imposter Syndrome" is the thinking that things are way too good and it's only a matter of time before it's figured out that you don't deserve what you have. Is it possible that you feel like being in a kick-ass relationship isn't deserved because you are supposed to spend your 20s and much of your 30s having meaningless sex with random people and backpacking around Europe? If you are ready for it, go for it. If not, don't worry about marriage, but just remember what side your bread is buttered on - the one with the fantastic relationship.

Jun 24 11 - 2:50pm

"The irony of non-monogamy is that you often end up deciding that you'd rather just be exclusive with your main partner anyway, because other people are usually a disappointing pain in the ass." I'll just repost this again, because it's so goddamned true. Great response, LAC.

I'll also throw in my own two cents on the "getting married" bit...INTC, while it's certainly not impossible for a couple as young as you and your girl to get married and make it work, keeping a marriage going is often damnably difficult. Think about how you are feeling right now about possibly missing out on experiences with other people, etc...if you don't think she's ever going to feel the same way, you're fooling yourself. She may well start to have those feelings years after you get married, which will make things particularly interesting and may require you to be quite open-minded if you want to keep the relationship together. Everybody's experience is different, but for many women (and men, I'm sure) the seven-year itch is quite real.

Why rush into marriage? If you're both comfortable the way things are, and if neither of you is really feeling the need to make a more serious commitment, why not just love and enjoy one another without adding in the extra complication? If you're still together in 3 or 4 years and you want to stay that way, you can always re-visit the topic then. A lot can happen in the interim, your relationship may run its course and leave you single anyway.

Jun 23 11 - 1:31am

Honestly: Why the fuck was the first idea you had to break up with her? Did you consider, you know, talking to her about the fact that you feel like you're being pressured to rush into things while you're too young? That's a really reasonable thing to think, and you might be surprised -- she might have been thinking the same thing.

You are probably right about being too young to get married, especially if you feel too young to get married. (If you're actually just hung up on the number "thirty," that would be a different story -- but it sounds like you're using that as an explanation as to why this feels so wrong to you.) But you are wrong about the false dichotomy you arranged for yourself here: Either (1), you break up with her, or (2), you sign on for a long term commitment that you aren't really prepared for, and pretend that your mixed feelings have just gone away. Let me give you some other options -- you don't have to take any of them, but just know that they're out there. You could open up the relationship, and start casually seeing other people while still being primarily committed to her. You could spend some time away from each other (the term I would use would be "take a break," but everyone seems to translate that as "stall before breaking up," which is not how it should be) -- go on separate vacations, spend more time with friends. You could have an understanding that marriage may come at a later time in your (still committed, closed) relationship, but it's not a pressure that you want in your life right now. You could move out -- the fact that you can live together well is great, but it's true, it can pressure people into commitment that they don't really want; and if you ever do get married, hey, you already know that you live together beautifully! You could put the relationship on hold for a period (a year, two years), and then see where you two are, and how your feelings have changed.

Maybe she won't be cool with any of that. Maybe she'll freak out when you talk about the fact that you're not ready for marriage. Maybe she'll be totally open to trying whatever you want. But TALK TO HER ABOUT IT.

Jun 24 11 - 6:47pm
completely, too

Yes, yes, and yes to this advice. I think the assumption is being made that this girlfriend would want to get married. I think you've pegged the woman you're with into 'girlfriend' mode, and conflate what she actually may want with how a girlfriend in a committed relationship should act. Don't do that. Please. Also, you might want to let go of your rules. You'll be surprised how the right things will seem obvious when you stop trying to force yourself into situations that you *think* you should like based on an assumption like 'my parents got married at 30.'

Jun 23 11 - 2:09am

You feel your relationship has reached a crossroads and you need to make a move one way or another? I can't relate. She's a human being not a box of brownie mix. Is she past her expiration date? If yes then do what I do, use milk instead of water... oh wait I'm still talking about brownies.

Jun 23 11 - 2:19am

I was in that position in college. We broke up. It took me 20 years of terrible relationships with other women before I finally wound up in a relationship as good as the one I had back in college. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had appreciated what I had in the first place.

Looks like you got lucky early, just like I did. Don't be stupid like I was. Count your blessings and just marry the girl, if she'll have you.

Jun 23 11 - 1:29pm

What was so good about your college relationship and your current relationship? What do these relationships have that the other ones lacked?

Jun 23 11 - 3:06pm

Good question, Sally.

I'd have to say it's a kind of tranquility. It's based on a deep, intuitive understanding of and respect for each other. A complete lack of drama. Lots of laughs. We don't always agree but we always try to be fair to each other, take turns, compromise. A very high comfort level. We've gone years at a time without making each other angry. We bring out the best in each other. We make each other feel confident, secure, at home. At peace.

Some of the terrible relationships in between were with perfectly marvelous people whom I love to this day, but in some cases we just pushed each other's buttons and brought out the worst in each other. Insecurities, temper tantrums. Strife.

Jun 23 11 - 8:08pm

I am curious about what a good relationship feels and looks like for people, and your answer really helped. Thank you.

Jun 23 11 - 8:52pm

I made the opposite choice as you and now am dealing with some pretty severe emotional scars post-divorce. You made the right choice.

Jun 23 11 - 2:41am

A few years ago, I lived through a situation very similar to the one you describe. My girlfriend and I had met in college and had been dating for about 4 years; the relationship had gotten progressively serious; we had moved in together when I was 23 (she was 25); everyone just assumed that we would get married soon enough.

But in the span of about one week, two important things happened. First, my girlfriend and I were chatting with a middle-aged couple, and I realized that I felt as if I was living the life and relationship of many (but by no means all) 45-year-olds, not a 23-year-old: monotonous, familiar, complacent, boring. Second, an acquaintance casually started flirting with me, and I caught myself wondering about what single life would be like again. I realized not only that I found this new girl attractive (harmless enough), but also that I was considering the possibilities of acting on the attraction. (I never did act on it.) I spent about a month agonizing over the kind of questions that "Two Cakes" is asking now: How could I be unhappy in my "amazing relationship"? And if my wonderful girlfriend doesn't make me happy, then will anyone else? Shouldn't I be happy in the relationship that I have? What if single life sucks and I regret breaking up? Should I be satisfied with general contentment in my relationship, even if it never entails the blissful happiness that we experienced at the beginning?

I abruptly broke up with my girlfriend shortly afterward -- one day she asked me what was wrong, and I just said that I wanted to break up -- and the subsequent fallout was one of the worst experiences of my life. I broke her heart; she hated me for it, and for a while I hated myself. How, I wondered, could I have thrown all of that away? Had I made a huge mistake? Eventually I learned that the realizations which initiated the break-up -- that I wasn't ready for serious commitment, that maybe I wanted to explore and pursue other relationships -- were intuitive reactions to complex issues in the current situation. My girlfriend and I had lost touch with each other, with our relationship, and with ourselves. Perhaps my we could have taken some time for self-reflection, articulated our problems and concerns, and worked through them together. But the fact that we were unable to do so reinforced the whole point, at least for me. I wasn't ready for the kind of commitment and effort that such a serious relationship demanded; I wasn't mature enough to endure a period of difficulty and resolve issues without knowing whether things would return to the way they once were. In short, I wasn't ready, at 23, to accept a relationship in which I felt content, but not really happy.

Self-doubt is a nasty, nagging thing, and it's important to listen to and trust your instincts. If you catch yourself daydreaming about single life or a possible romantic interest, then your relationship may not be as "amazing" as you think; problems may exist, and you may not know how to identify or articulate them. There is a fine, but recognizable line between noticing an attractive girl who walks by and considering whether you'd be happier with her than you are with your girlfriend. Ask yourself what you're doing. If you're doing the latter, then your instincts are probably directing you toward a break-up. And if you follow them, you won't be doing so for "no reason"; you just may not grasp the reasons until you've gained a better perspective on the relationship. Lacking a concrete reason for electing to end your relationship, in other words, is not a sufficient reason to continue that relationship.

Moreover, you have to decide whether you owe it to yourself, not your girlfriend, to fight for the relationship. The question isn't whether you're in love; you may have fallen out of love for any number of reasons. The issue, rather, is whether you are willing to do what is necessary to affirm and strengthen your commitment to your girlfriend -- to fall back into love with her. If I could re-live my previous experience, I would probably try to communicate better before impulsively initiating the break-up. But I also realize that I needed to endure the pain of the break-up in order to learn how to communicate better, how to recognize the difference between a relationship that I want to fight for and one that I don't. You may not have good reasons for wanting to break up, but at 24 you don't necessarily need them. Indeed, breaking up may be what you need to do to understand why the break-up was necessary -- why the relationship, for some reason, wasn't quite right -- in the first place.

You will do your girlfriend a huge favor by being honest with her: whether that means explaining how you don't want to continue the relationship because something isn't right anymore or confiding that you're having doubts about your relationship and the seriousness of your commitment to each other. Too many people ignore what their instincts tell them and fail to communicate effectively with their partners. Many pursue a relationship in which they aren't entirely happy, allow it to grow progressively serious because of the pressures of conventional social narratives, and wind up causing more long-term damage (depression, mid-life crises, adultery, separation, divorce, etc.) than a break-up at 22 will cause.

Whatever you decide to do, don't cheat on your girlfriend. Pause; reflect; communicate; and above all, trust yourself. You know what to do; you just need to realize it.

Jun 23 11 - 10:12am

That was a wonderfully written, well thought out, articulate response. Thanks for sharing.

Jun 23 11 - 10:16am

Agreed - well said.

Jun 23 11 - 11:44am

Also agree. Beautifully stated.

Jun 23 11 - 1:25pm

I wish I could have read this amazing post when I was in a similar situation. So much wisdom packed into five paragraphs.

Jun 23 11 - 1:28pm

BeenThere, that was a great comment. You very clearly articulated the confusion that people experience in the lulls of a relationship.

But, I'm curious, what happened next? Did single life suck and did you regret breaking up? Have you found a relationship in which you are happy, not just content? Neither? Both?

Jun 23 11 - 3:26pm

Thank you so much for this.

I'm going through almost the exact same situation, and this really helped shed some light on what I've been feeling. You put into words just about everything that's been going on in my head. I really needed this. Thank you.

Jun 24 11 - 11:36pm

Thank you for sharing! I'm in a similar situation now, like AB, I'm wondering where you are now. Please do tell us what happened post-breakup. Did you end up finding a relationship you were happier in? What does a relationship you want to fight for feel like?

Dec 12 11 - 12:57am

As a twenty-five year old female who IS in a perfect relationship with a perfect (for me) partner and has frequently fantasized about sleeping with AND dating other men, I have to disagree with all of the praise for this comment. Sometimes the anxiety really is about living a complete life full of various experiences, and not about some underlying relationship problem. I went through a phase much like Two Cakes, and ultimately realized that what I've got is a very rare thing. Though advice to reexamine a relationship before breaking up is good common sense, Two Cakes sounds fairly confident about the state of his relationship

Jan 08 12 - 2:12am

Well, as a matter of fact, I realized the inner desires that caused me to question myself were those that I couldn't control. I was more attracted to my partner's physical attributes, and although I thoroughly enjoyed them, ultimately caused my demise.

After separation, I could hardly contain my urges any longer. I needed that body next to mine when I awoke. I needed the companionship that accompanied the relationship. I had to resort to masturbation to old photos I had lying around the computer desk. This led to further problems- The need for more and more physical sensation that arised from our continual contact. I needed to raise the level of intensity in my "self sex" sessions to the point where I would use cucumbers to stick in my anus while my hand caressed the ball sack of my genitalia. This in turn, caused me to experience sensations that would later lead me to try an "open" relationship with men.

Jan 19 12 - 2:07am

I will not ignore this post like the rest of the people here and go ahead and say WTF! This made my night I was looking for advice/stories and stumbled upon comedy

I love you Beenthere <3

Jun 23 11 - 4:13am

All of these responses were great.

My boyfriend and I have been together for six years, since we were 15. We've been mostly exclusive save for a few breakups here and there. I know that we are both very committed to each other, I have the utmost trust in him and in our ability to communicate in the relationship. And I also know that we both at times probably wonder what it would be like to be single, considering neither of us has been since our sophomore year of high school. Obviously, we are both still quite young. However we have discussed the relationship feeling stale in the past, and come to the conclusion that it's the natural course in a long-term relationship. After spending nearly every day together for most of six years straight, there's nothing really new to discover about each other. Yes, we could break up and see other people, and we have - but we both agree that even if we were to date other people, those relationships would come to the same point a few years down the road. It's better to appreciate what we have, and focus on what we love about each other, than to spend our time fantasizing/fixating on what could be.

I'm not saying that neither of us will never think about other people, or have desires or attractions for other people. I know I do, and I'm sure that he does. However we value our relationship enough to not let those things interfere, let them be and see them as what they are.

Although the fires of passion have gone down since we first met, we have a good thing. I know what he likes, what he doesn't like, I know how he thinks sometimes better than he does, and vice versa. It can be scary at times to think that we may very well spend the rest of our lives together, and think about what experiences we are missing out on. But those thoughts fade quickly, because I know we have a solid relationship with a lot of mutual support, and that's more valuable than several partners just for the experience.

Jun 23 11 - 6:50am

TOTALLY agree with this. I'm 8+ years into a relationship, married for the past 5, married very young (20) NOT for religious or moral reasons I might add, just love. It was a spur of the moment thing, 3 years into our relationship. He's a few years older and although we've never really broken up (aside from the odd day in the first year of our relationship), I've had the exact same thoughts/feelings as Betsey. I don’t believe that just because you think about what it might be like to be with other people necessarily means that you shouldn’t be in the relationship you are in now. If anything, it's healthy to recognise physical/mental/emotional attractions to other people, I mean you'd have to be bordering on the obsessed or co-dependent (or lying) if you only EVER thought about sex with your partner. I think the key to a happy, long-term relationship/marriage/whatever is how you channel those feelings i.e. back in to the relationship, to work out underlying issues, communication is key! I think a lot of people break up when the spark fizzles out... in some cases, probably for good reason, but you know what? After 4/6/10 years with someone you likely aren't going to want to tear their clothes off all hours of the day; they call it the "honeymoon phase" for a reason. It’s a phase. I really think people need to get realistic about this. Sure, not wanting to fuck each other sideways might mean that you don’t belong together, but it could just as easily mean that you are not making enough effort to flirt/spend quality time together/dress up/whatever you did in the beginning. Nowadays, I’m quite happy to have great sex once a day, once a week, once a month basically whatever suits US and feels natural. If I lived my life according to what the latest Rom-com or Cosmo magazine is telling me.... wow... I would NEVER be happy, let alone find anyone to fill that criteria. The fact is, happy healthy relationships are HARD work, much harder than being single and trying to get laid. To keep up the level of effort, attention and compromise required doesn’t suit everyone, but it suits me. I adore the sense of security I get from being with one person, and I believe he feels the same, even on the worst days or during the worst arguments. I genuinely believe that I’m with the best person I’ll ever meet. He has all the qualities I admire in other people, and I’d have to be an idiot to believe I could let that go for the sake of (probably) a few one nights stands followed by another relationship (unlikely to be as good as the one I’m in) where I wind up in the EXACT same situation a few years down the road when boredom sets in.

So, INTC, you are really the only person who knows what makes sense to you, but think long and hard before you throw that “amazing relationship” away. If you do decide to walk away, walk away knowing you’ve done as much as you can to make it work, at least communicate your feelings to your girlfriend and give her a chance to deal with those issues before you ruin her life for the next few months. If she’s given you 4 great years up to this point, she deserves to be let down gently and kindly. Don’t go f-ing the waitress, ok?

Jun 23 11 - 4:35pm

Hmmm. I dated someone for 5 years (16-21), I'm 27 now. I felt the same as you both for a while - this relationship is good, if not great, why go through the turmoil of a break up and single life just to end up in another good but not great situation?

But, we did break up when the constant fighting felt like it wasn't worth it any more, and I feel like I made the right decision. We weren't right for each other in many ways that I tried to ignore. And I've had so many experiences now that I wouldn't have had if I'd stayed with him - I've moved half way across the world, met amazing people, had amazing sex. I've spent lots of time by myself, thinking only about myself and who I want to be - that may not sound like a good thing if you're in a relationship, but that time has made me a much better person, with a much fuller life. I have no doubt I made the best decision for me.

On the other hand, my brother and his girlfriend have been dating for 10 years (since they were 18) and are extremely happy. Everyone, and every relationship is different. I think part of what makes their relationship work though, is that neither of them feel like they're missing something. They both spends lots of time apart, with their friends, doing the same things that their single friends do (apart from the hooking up with strangers). They've traveled, alone and together. I don't think either of them have regrets about things they've missed out on.

I think before this guy makes this decision, he needs to think about what it is about being single that appeals to him. If it's hooking up with other people, that's easily fixed without ending the relationship - just open up the relationship. But being in a relationship, and certainly being married, means a lot more than just not having sex with other people. It means considering that person in every decision you make, and providing (and getting) all the emotional support necessary. It's a big commitment, and it seems reasonable that a 24 year old might not want to make that commitment yet, even if this girl is perfect for him.

You both seem happy with the decisions you have made, but for anyone still making that decision, there are good and bad to both sides. I think this guy needs to decide what it is about being single that appeals to him, and if there are ways for him to get what he feels is missing without breaking this girl's heart. And if not... maybe some time apart will lead them back together, when they're ready to make that commitment.

Jun 23 11 - 4:44am

if it was so amazing you wouldn't have doubts now..I ended my 5 year relationship (i'm 23 now) for very much the same reason and now i'm happier than ever enjoying the single life...i just couldn't imagined being all the time with only one person. take a break, you'll find someone better when you're ready

Jun 23 11 - 5:19am

I'm in a similar situation - the solution? We talked, decided neither of us was ready to be "too serious". We discuss the future and potential plans/ideas but right now it's all about having fun, travelling and experiencing life.

Jun 23 11 - 6:32am

so many people on here in their early twenties, invested in 5-6-7 year relationships, talking about marriage. to all y'all: DON'T DO IT.

i was that girl. got married at 23, thinking i knew everything about everything, thinking i had the best of all possible relationships. but thing is, unless you're going to move to a conservative, early-marrying, early-procreating society, it's just unbearable to be settled and domestic and monogamous through your twenties. you cannot imagine, if you marry that young, the desperate longing you will have for your single friends' lives a couple years down the road, when you've been banging the same person for nigh on ten years. and just try changing the terms of the relationship then, when neither of you have the life experience to imagine all the other possible permutations of relationships that exist.

the marriage was terrible, the divorce (at 26) even more so, and although it's all better now, i put myself through a ton of angst and paperwork that wouldn't have been necessary if i just had the sense to NOT MARRY THE GUY.

Jun 30 11 - 12:10pm

I completely disagree with this. YOUR certain relationship happened to not work out, and I'm sorry for you because of that (I know the trials and tribulations weighed heavily on you, as they would anyone I'm sure). But I know plenty of people (from both the past and present) who have gotten married at 19-20-21-22 years old and are all still together and still happy. YOU may have longed for the lives of your single friends, but that is NOT something that happens to everybody. This guy is really going through a tough, tough struggle with his life and relationship right now, and I think it's really rude to make him think that IF he decided to be serious with his girlfriend this early, he would ultimately 100% be completely regretting the entire thing a few years down the line. You do not know that; it is his life and his own self that will decide exactly how he would feel in that situation. This was set up to give him advice, not make him think he has been condemned.

Jun 23 11 - 6:45am

It's "eat my cake and have it too". You can have a cake and then eat it and there's nothing exceptional about that request. It's the other way around because if you eat the cake, you no longer have it, and you can't have both.

Jun 23 11 - 7:00am

"INTC's letter is a little euphemistic for my tastes. I suspect his problem is really something like this: he wants to have carefree, spontaneous sex with a lot of attractive people at some point in his life, and that hasn't happened yet. He's worried he'll always resent his girlfriend/wife if they get married now, and will see her as the reason he didn't have all that fun.
Is that about right, INTC?"

This this this this this so many of these.

Jun 23 11 - 7:35am

On your deathbed, which will you most regret? The sins of commission or the sins of omission? I suspect the latter, so don't get married. But accept that you have no "right" decision here.

Jun 23 11 - 7:37am

Stop living together and the decision will be a lot easier to make. You shouldn't be living together before marriage anyway.

Jun 23 11 - 10:17am

What decade are you living in?

Jun 23 11 - 12:50pm

haha - awesome.

Jun 23 11 - 7:49am
Robert Paulsen

Not that this is the declarative statement you're looking for, but is there any reason you feel so compelled to be married or be broken up? At your age, yes, I would have felt too young to get married, but unless she was one of the people saying "why aren't we married" it wouldn't have changed my approach to the relationship.

In contrast, if you're saying you feel constantly compelled to sleep with other women AND you've spoken to her about whether that's a sexual need that will ever be satisfied while you're with her, it's possible that you should end your relationship. If you're just not ready to be married and you've told her that (at least twice), there's nothing wrong at all with staying in a committed relationship that doesn't get you tax or health care benefits. You have no obligation to be married at 24, or 27, or 30.

Jun 23 11 - 8:09am

if your 22 year-old girlfriend isn't the one pressuring you about marriage, why are you letting the expectations and comments of strangers freak you out? doesn't she, too, know you are both too young? why are you are using the number 30 as a rubric for your life simply because your parents were married at that age?

and why are you using the non-issue of marriage (a non-issue because you haven't said anything about your girlfriend actually wanting to go there) as a smokescreen for the fact that you don't really want to be in this relationship anymore but can't think of a society-accepted reason to break up with her? just because you love someone and there is nothing technically wrong with your relationship doesn't mean it's right either.

Jun 23 11 - 9:38am

You should break it off, not because you're not ready but because you don't appreciate (or deserve) the relationship you have and that's not fair to your girlfriend.

My experience was that I met my wife in college at 19, dated her until I was 20 when we got engaged, and then we married when I was 22. Our relationship has only gotten better since then. In the very beginning *she* worried that I would regret settling down so early, but neither of us has ever doubted our own decision (not that it felt like much of a choice). In fact, since our first meeting fifteen years ago, I've never been able to imagine being separated from her without feeling physically ill. If you don't feel that - if you can still imagine yourself happy on your own - let her find somebody else.

Nov 10 11 - 5:17pm

I was waiting for someone to say this. No one has thought about the girl in this situation, and taken her side. You dont deserve her, and theres someone out there that will feel for this girl as VoR does for his wife and my husband(24 yrs old) feels for me(22 yrs old). It is not for you to decide what to do with her love. If youre too immature to appreciate it, let her go, and someone else would be HAPPY to take on your "burden"

Jun 23 11 - 10:24am

I got married when I was 23 and she was 21. Too young? I don't think so. We were together for 8 years by then (since I was 15 now I'm 32), I was already in a very good position in the company I work so money was not an issue.
It was perfect and has always been (my definition of perfect is not an argument-fight-free-relationship cause it's very rare if not utopic).
But the problem with most of the people is the fact that they are afraid of what they are missing or will miss. Many people think I'm crazy saying I wasted my youth on only one girlfriend (I had only two before her) but the truth is I don't feel like wasting anything. I had this wonderful person with me all the time so why should I be out there every night trying to have fun with people I barely know and are not so great as she was?
But back to your issue... You don't have to ger married if you don't want to. It's been four years but time shouldn't be a reason for getting married (I know sometimes it is but it's not your case).
You are in a great relationship. Are you missing anything? Are you curious about other women or want to be with them more than you want to be with your girlfriend? And more important: do you feel like wasting your time?
My advice: if you're having a great time with her, keep things the way they are cause it seems that right now you are not prepared to make any decision (to marry or not). And honestly, I can't see why you should.

Jun 23 11 - 10:42am

It has been my experience that people in their early twenties are rarely able to be/stay married. Not that it's never happened before, but the people who make it work are people who are a) extraordinarily mature for their age, and b) people who sowed their oats earlier than most (high school, early college). If you guys had some wild single times before you met, and you still love each other and are attracted to each other now, then I'd say punt off the marriage expectations and just continue to date until you both feel ready. If, however, either one of you didn't have much sexual or relationship experience before and/or you feel the spark is fading, then cut your losses and break up. Or go on a "break" and see if you desperately miss each other after about 6 months or so. Just a warning, "breaks" are usually just stops on the train to Dumpsville - but who knows? You might make it work for you guys.

Jun 23 11 - 11:06am

ok kid, this is how you're going to get your answer, your going to put it to a simple little test that never lie's. the next time you two are making love and right after the love making ends, you will have your answer because at that point your mind/feelings will tell you what you are looking fore because at that point a man's mind never lie's...

Jun 25 11 - 4:54pm

sounds ancient and totally works.

Jun 23 11 - 11:48am

I've been in my drama-free and low-impact relationship for almost 15 years (since our early 20s). Sometimes being together is pretty damn exciting, and sometimes other people look pretty damn exciting. Recognize that will *always* be true, regardless of the reasons (it is not particularly related to being young or inexperienced). Also recognize that having a romantic relationship with another person, regardless of the circumstances, will likely fundamentally and permanently change your existing relationship (almost never for the better, let's be honest). And incidentally, if the thought of commitment makes you anxious-- just don't get married! We never did, and don't plan to. It's not like marriage is a guaranteed plan to lock down someone in a lifetime commitment anymore anyway-- it's kind of just devolved into an expensive party. Being with someone voluntarily always seemed to me a better way to say you were committed to someone than a stack of paperwork, and somehow, knowing it's so easy to leave reminds you of all the reasons you don't want to...

Jun 23 11 - 12:47pm

If the two of you are enjoying each other’s company and are happy with the relationship as is, why care what anyone else thinks? You should be able to put your happiness as a couple above the potential opinions of society. If you're not happy with your situation, despite the fact that you feel you "should" be, you should probably look into why you're not happy with it regardless.

Jun 23 11 - 1:26pm

Hello self absorbed. Last time I checked, there are two people in a relationship (more if you're polyamorous). All I can see in your letter is "I,I,I, me, me, me." Have you considered asking her how she feels about where the relationship is at and where it is headed? You stated that "people" have been asking when you are going to get married, not your girlfriend. So they pressure that you feel is coming from outside sources and, perhaps, your own head. The fact that you haven't even considered how your girlfriends might feel about all this shows that, yeah, you're right. You are nowhere near ready to get married. You might not even be ready for the relationship that you are in. So ask her. (Confidential note to the girlfriend - when you find out that he has asked a bunch of anonymous strangers on the internet prior to actually communicating his concerns to you, that is totally grounds for dumping his overanalyzing yet still thoughtless ass!)

Jun 23 11 - 1:43pm

Hy, we were 23 and 21 and living together for some time, when we attended some friends wedding - they have waited like 5 or 7 years before getting married and they looked bored and faded, like an old couple just respecting a prior deal. We thought that marrying while still fresh and in love would be better, at least for the wedding photos:) A year later we got married, quite unconventional, with very little attention paid to our parents history or opinions. It is nice and hard sometimes, but so is life. And i always smile when I look at our pictures from the wedding. you should do how you both feel, regardless of the customs of society aka "get married when you have a certain amount of money in the bank". If the doubts come from conformism, deal with them and live your life. If you are harboring wishes for a different life than the one now, take a break and see if that life is just utopia or not. Don't renounce what you have for some vane principles, but don't go ahead if you haven't cleared your head, just to blame her later for your broken wishes. Just be truthful to yourself...and grow up, this is not necessarily age-related, you can act like a "dude" when older if you are afraid of growing up, or you can be a man at 20 something...

Jun 23 11 - 1:52pm

I guess this is something I don't understand about modern, American relationships. My parents are from another country, and growing up, my ideal relationship was one in which my partner was responsible, kind, good and did not cheat on me, abuse me or generally mistreat me. Things like being "not just content, but happy," (whatever the difference is) seem like asking for too much. Do these feelings even last throughout the relationship? Are they actually good indicators of how long-lasting, close and supportive the relationship will be?

I guess I didn't read the OP's letter and immediately think, "Break up! Good, happy relationships should be physically, emotionally, intellectually, exciting and fulfilling most of the time." A vague, TEMPORARY, sense of regret or curiousity about the path not taken seems normal -- human -- to me.

But maybe my expectations are too low, and I've never had a truly happy relationship. I don't know yet.

Jun 23 11 - 1:53pm

Whoops, meant to write "Good, happy relationships should be physically, emotionally, intellectually exciting and fulfilling ALL of the time."

Jun 23 11 - 2:40pm

You never need to get married, not at 30, not at 24, not ever, even if you choose to stay with this wonderful woman for the rest of your life. Marriage is not a requirement or a symbol of anything except that you allow other people (your friends, family, church, government, etc) to define your relationship. What goes on between you and your girlfriend is your business alone, if you're happy and she's happy, all that other stuff just truly does not matter.

Jun 23 11 - 5:30pm

True. Though I don't think it lets other people define your relationship so much as it lets them witness your love and desire and commitment to your significant other for the rest of your lives. It's also nice for monetary reasons if you're living together for taxes and things.

Jun 23 11 - 2:40pm

this is more or less exactly what happened with my last relationship and it ended up breaking us up. you know why? if you don't say something about your feelings, SHE WILL STILL BE ABLE TO TELL YOU'RE FEELING WEIRD.

here's the thing, though: sure, a lot of marriages fail because people get married too young, but a lot of people also break up after moving in together because it changes the dynamic. do you see what i'm getting at here?

talk to your lady friend and realize you don't actually have to get married. remember: honesty is the best policy, and it's better to have a little hurt and maybe open up the relationship to random makeouts now than to have a terrible explosive divorce in ten years because you couldn't talk to her about this. she may feel the same way!

Jun 23 11 - 4:24pm

this is such a non problem i want to kick the letter writer. just don't get married. stay in the relationship and forget about the archaic tradition until you are old enough to not make up drama.

Jun 23 11 - 11:30pm
captain oats

i second this.

Jun 23 11 - 4:38pm

I had a similar 5 year long relationship until I was 22 or so and I'm glad I took the time to explore the scene a little, although it doesn't look like I'll even have anything as loving and honest and wonderful as that relationship (the one now shows lots of promise, but we'll see). I'm not regretting ending it, I just wish I had ended it on a kinder note.

There's something that still eats at me a little though. In the 4th year we decided to open the relationship (for my benefit mostly) and it wasn't all that satisfying (casual sex is not really for me + the accompanying guilt = a little disaster). At some point, seeing my increased unhappiness, she said something of the sort "you do realize that you're falling for all this pro-promiscuity propaganda, don't you? And that great relationships are really hard to come by, but they never tell us that, it's all 'fuck like rabbits and have fun' MTV generation." She was a goddamn wise 21 year old. Good relationships are hard to come by and they take a while to build, so try hard to not burn the bridge with your current lady.

Jun 23 11 - 5:36pm

Dude, if you don't wanna get married now, you don't have to. Especially if the pressure you feel is coming from your friends and not your girlfriend. If you talk to my mom, you shouldn't get married at all, but that's another story all together. The way I see it, your plan of not getting married until you're about thirty isn't entirely terrible, but i wouldn't break it off with the girl. Four years is relatively short to get married (in my opinion). If you love her, stay with her. If you decide to get married, get at it. Do what you think is the right thing to do.

Besides, in most states, if you live together for more than like seven years, you're in a state of "common law marriage"

Jun 23 11 - 8:44pm

It's not an either-or situation. Don't take someone else's timeline, hold it up to YOUR relationship, and judge the development of your relationship based on whatever point someone else thinks you should or shouldn't be at.
There's nothing wrong with taking your time approaching marriage.

That said, if you break up with her for no other reason than your own insecurities, after FOUR years, then you're an asshole for wasting her time and she deserves better than you.

Jun 23 11 - 9:07pm

I'm one of the ones who faced this same choice and got married at 22 after being together for 5 years. I'm now 25 and divorced. He was emotionally abusive. I had control issues and had a massively overwhelming feeling of being trapped.
At some point we decided to try polyamory in our desperation to find happiness. He decided to date my best friend. It emotionally and psychologically destroyed me watching him give her the affection he'd been denying to me for years. Him screaming at me and her guilt tripping me whenever I begged them to stop killed me too. Eventually I had an affair on a business trip and when I got home he left me.
It sucked. So hard. I have legit PTSD now because I've lost all ability to trust others... the best friend + husband affair = men and women set off my alarm bells. My new boyfriend will do something totally harmless but if it reminds me in any way of my former situation I go into full blown red alert panic mode. His patience & lots of therapy is teaching me to trust.
But you know what? I'm happier now than I have been in the past 8 years. I aged 10 years in 3 months and don't take shit from anyone now. My self confidence is through the roof (what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger...) which makes me irresistibly sexy to men. I'm slowly re-learning how to trust and tons of therapy is teaching me how to make sure I never get in that situation again.

DO NOT EVER STAY WITH SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU CAN'T DO BETTER!!! Do not EVER delude yourself into thinking that no other person would ever love you because of all your quirks. You WILL find love again. You are worth loving and do not EVER forget it. If some asshole forgets that then DTMFA because fuck them for not realizing how awesome you are.

Polyamory may work for some. I was coerced into it so it was some completely bastardized version. I still

Jun 23 11 - 11:31pm

You don't have to do anything. Keep her and have it be an open relationship for now. To paraphrase Dan Savage, relationships never work in the conventional sense (last forever), unless someone dies early. So enjoy her love and loving her while you do. When you want kids you might want to get married.

Jun 24 11 - 2:18pm

Agree 100% with Murmur. You don't even mention if your girlfriend wants to get married. Getting ahead of yourself just a little bit.

Jun 24 11 - 2:22pm

Sorry didn't mean to post twice!

Jun 24 11 - 3:09pm

"They start asking about whether or not we're going to get married ... "

"They" often ask such questions just to make conversation. Does it really make sense to make life-altering decisions based on small-talk with "They"? Five minutes after you get married, "They" will start asking you when you're going to have kids, not because it's the right thing to do, but because "they" can't think of more intelligent conversation.

What you haven't mentioned is your girlfriend's feelings. Don't be a dipshit. If you're both happy, and she's not putting massive amounts of pressure on you to make a decision you're not ready to make, then just be happy and leave things alone.

Not that you should do anything based on the experience of an anonymous troll like me, but I started dating my wife casually when we were 19, seriously at 21, and didn't get married until 27. We've been married for 15 years, and I've never been more certain about her.

Get married because you're with the right person and it feels like the time to get married, not because of anything "They" say, and above all, don't be a dipshit.

Jun 24 11 - 5:03pm

fuck sake. if you don't want to get married don't get married. if you don't want to split up with her, don't split up with her. i'm sure you wouldn't mind being single, if you want to be single then go be fucking single for fuck sake. then we can answer your whinging next month about how hard it is being fucking single and tossing off into a fucking sock every night

fuck sake

grow up

Jun 24 11 - 8:03pm

As far as statistics go, young marriages don't hold up as long as people who get married when they're old enough to think rationally, but who knows? Maybe you're one of those golden couples that just proves everyone wrong. But judging by your doubt, I'm guessing that's not the case. You don't want to get married lamenting the fact that you never "played the field". Marriage is a big commitment and takes away the freedoms of being single. Being single can be lonely, but takes away the pressures of living up to another's expectations. Think about it in terms of economics and opportunity cost. Which one is more valuable for you to lose or gain?

Jun 24 11 - 8:30pm

It sounds like you want the thrill of falling in love and exciting newness. Finding someone new who is a wonderful fit is a pain in the ass (understatement). Don't take it for granted.

To get that thrill try some combination of the following: move out, surprise each other with mini-adventures, go to a bar and pretend to meet for the first time, write love notes, tell her the story/revisit how you met, get separate hobbies with different crowds - which gives you something new and different to talk about, learn salsa dancing (socially acceptable sexy dancing with other people), do things in general that make those happy new-love chemicals: serotonin, adrenaline, oxytocin like getting a kitten, running, holding hands, and dropping ecstacy. Actually, taking ecstacy is a terrible idea. But you get the picture.

Or, if you're a catch (attractive, have a decent job, and a solid network of friends), wouldn't mind being single a while, and are going to live with nagging doubt if you stay together, just man up, dump her, and take your chances.

Don't hurt her by not putting your all into it for the next 4 years and then dumping her, that's lame. And if you're not such a catch, again, don't take what you've got for granted.

Jun 25 11 - 2:24am

I say - don't sweat it. You're right to not want to get married til your late 2os/30s. The 20s are time for trying new things, seeing what lasts and what doesnt, what fails and what works. If you've got this girl that you love and can see as wife potential, but aren't too sure about taking the big leap because you're still young, thats fine. In might be a little biased because I'm in the same situation, but I say, I've got a good thing, lets see if we still connect with each other once we have our careers and long term goals set. Its only logical to me

Jun 25 11 - 12:38pm

I'm wondering what your girlfriend thinks about all this. Is she pushing for marriage? Because if she's just as satisfied with your current relationship status as you are, then I wouldn't be worried about breaking up. But I think your right to hesitate on the marriage. My ex and I had lived together for four years before we got hitched. Three years, a child and four affairs later I'm 25 and getting divorced. Marriage is a serious commitment, and shouldn't be taken lightly. There's no shame in waiting; with the legal and social benefits afforded common-law couples, and any children they happen to have within that union, marriage is not absolutely necessary and very much a voluntary option.

I would advise you to talk with your girlfriend, she where she stands on the issue. He answers may surprise you.

Jun 25 11 - 2:59pm

Talk to your girl about your feelings, and definitely hold off on making any long-term commitments if you feel you're not ready yet.

It's not a reflection on your girlfriend - she sounds awesome, and there doesn't have to be anything "wrong" with her or your relationship for you to be having these thoughts.

But you need to talk to her about how you're feeling, and why you think you're feeling that way, before your brain (as it often does) starts fabricating problems in her, or in the relationship, in order to justify your urge to look around a bit.

The other thing is that marriage, or a long-term commitment, implies that you're going to have to do a whackload of compromising in order to grow together as the years pass. Have you guys even discussed what your long-term plans for life are? Do you have any yet?

Jun 25 11 - 9:45pm

Mate, you either love her or not. I have been with my girlfriend for 8 years. We are not planning to get married, because neither of us want to. We don't want to be with other people. Sex still great so is the everyday cohabitation. If you are doubting maybe you don't love her as much as you say you do. If you did, this wouldn't be an issue. That's all I've got for you. But as someone else above said, the grass is not always greener somewhere else. She might move on and you'll be stuck with fuck all.

Jun 26 11 - 12:34am
G Unit

INTC - You're a pussy. Do her a favor and let real man marry your "perfect girl" while you spend 6 more years banging whatever else you can find.

Jun 26 11 - 1:49pm

duuuude! :D

Jun 26 11 - 3:46am
Been there...maybe

My husband and I first got together when we were both 19, did the long distance thing for a while and moved in at 21. We loved each other, no big problems living together, great relationship. At the time I did not think he was the person I would marry. Although I loved him I did not see myself with him in a forever type scenario for reasons I was not completely sure of and that made me feel extremely guilty. I think that at 21 it was hard to imagine being with only one other person for the rest of my life. So we lived together, moved to several different states, both went to grad school but did not get married until nine years later when I finally asked him. I do not know what if anything changed really. But I am glad we did not get married until we (I) really wanted to --I will say that what finally spurred the idea for marriage was how I saw the relationship fitting within our community and that we already had a strong commitment to each other, if that makes any sense --

Why do you need to get married now? Why not experience you relationship as it is? If you end up staying together, wonderful! If not it will be much better to break up a long-term relationship than a marriage.

Jun 27 11 - 4:44pm

Here it is short and sweet, because everyone else is loving this too much and also writing too much.
Yes, you are too young to think marriage. Only trust your 24 yr old self to choose a decent meal now and then, on everything else, hold off, take your time, and keep thinking!!
PS, You don't owe anyone anything other than to do the above. Be smart.

Jun 28 11 - 3:49pm

I always wonder how life would have been different if I didn't rush in...

Jun 28 11 - 6:17pm

you are who you are today due to your would not be who you are today if you wouldn't had made this are special...things happen for a reason and everything that happens to us has a purpose to form happy!!!

Jun 28 11 - 6:15pm

First, if you are religious and believe in God, you both are living in sin...second, if you google about how relationships that are founded on living together dont is true...or at lease a good number of relationships that live together first, and then marry, end up in divorce...commitment is get used to be "free" basically, because you are living together and have the cake and eating too...and you can leave ANY TIME...that when you get married you dont last...I will pray for you two...
When we live our life without God nothings comes out right...GOD first, then all falls in place...hope you make the right choice ...

Jun 29 11 - 1:31am

Pilar, I hate Christians like you. I've read two comments too many of yours and I think you suck. This is my judgment to you.

Jun 29 11 - 10:01pm

Every person is different, so there is no golden rule on what to do and what not.

The human psyche forms somewhat of a catch 22 when it comes to love and relationships. Deep down we're all polygamous beings who desire multiple partners over the course of our lives, luckily not necessarily at the same time. Emotionally however we bond in unique ways, creating strong, intimate relations which could easily last a lifetime. The result is the-grass-is-usually-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome: Those who've been single for long periods of time are envious of those that have a special someone whom they can share their days with. While those who really have that someone, will likely at some point grow an itch for wanting to meet new people. I blame natural instincts which haven't quite caught up with social structures and our ways of living.

So in my honest opinion. Wondering how something with someone else would be, is not necessarily an unhealthy sign. But you should keep previous said in mind when contemplating a break up. Are you breaking up because you are not happy with the relationship? Or are you breaking up because you're starting to feel uneasy about being exclusive to one person? The first one, is a no-brain break up (or at least a call for working on your communication). The second one is tough. You wouldn't be the first one who'd break up with the love of their live and end up regretting it in retrospect. Just as you wouldn't be the first one who after 20 years of marriage regretted not having tried on more people for size while he/she was still younger. Either way, if you really love that person, he or she deserves you thinking things over thoroughly before you go breaking his/her heart, and you deserve it as well.

I'll end with saying that "personally" I believe the key in making relationships last, is giving each other enough space. For me an ideal relationship is having enough common grounds, but enough separate as well. To each their own friends to hang out with, their own nights out, their own hobbies, their own things. Don't be afraid to go on a separate holiday or something like that once in a while. But have plenty of common things and people as well, so you can build around those as a couple. It's something that requires a lot of trust, but it will pay off. Being apart raises a need to be together, while being together raises a need for being apart. Balancing it, is what keeps the spark going, because I'll repeat: for our biologically predefined brains, the grass is always greener on the other side :)

Jun 30 11 - 12:25pm

Forget all these am I ready to marry her? Is this too serious for me? Should I break up with her? questions. Predicting the future is impossible; you don't know what the next years of your life will hold, and what happens in them can completely change your outlook on where you want your life to go. Instead, think about this in a bit more tangible way: you're having feelings, and whenever someone in a relationship is having intense feelings about something, the only way to react is to talk about them. If she really cares about you, she will absolutely be willing to help you through this time in your life. The question to think about is are you willing to allow her to help you. If the idea of fixing these problems with her is something you really think you can do, then move forward with her. If the idea of allowing her to help you - to rid these feelings and doubts and still having her around isn't something you really think you want to do, then maybe it's time to move on.

Jun 30 11 - 9:19pm
30's regret

In my mid twenties, I broke up with my live-in boyfriend who I loved very much, who loved me, and who was my best friend. I freaked out because we were starting to talk about marriage, and I thought I was too young to make that kind of commitment. Now I'm in my early thirties and have had some fun flings and a few other nice boyfriends, but no one I had as much in common with or loved as much as this ex (who has been in a happy relationship with someone else for years now). I threw away the perfect guy because I bought into the idea that mid-twenties is too young to get married, or just to stay in a committed non-married relationship. If you aren't in love anymore, it's time to move on, but breaking up with someone you love because of outside ideas about age-appropriateness is a recipe for regret.

Aug 02 11 - 2:59am
Love her and enjoy.


Aug 01 11 - 12:33am

I am in the same situation. My boyfriend, of 5.5 years, broke up with me three weeks ago because he wanted some time and space to figure things out on his own. We had a great relationship but just too young to think about being together forever. He said that he loves me and doesn't want to break up but stressed out everytime he thought about how long we had been together for. He said he wants to grow up and maybe if we have some time apart it would hit him with some realities. He said he couldn't work out if i was "the one" etc and how was he meant to know if i am "the one". I am upset but understand how he feels. I guess if we are meant to be together- we will get back together. Quote: If you love someone set them free, if they don't come back it wasn't meant to be.

Aug 02 11 - 2:57am
Love her and enjoy.

Just stay together. If it's fine, change nothing.

If you have someone who loves you deeply, and who you can grow together with, this is worth more than money, and is definitely worth more than the chance to chase after mostly-bad recreational sex with people who you don't even want to be close with.

Dating is a terrible chore. It should be called rummaging, not dating. It's not glamorous. It means dealing with dozens of insecure, needy, mostly unattractive women. Dealing with liars and narcissists. It is beyond time-consuming. Seriously, it is not something you want. If you can avoid it, then avoid it.

Get married and have threesomes. Simple.

Nov 23 11 - 5:17am
A Canadian Boy

You couldn't have put more better words to this.

The word "rummaging" describes dating quite accurately.

Aug 02 11 - 3:01am
Love her and enjoy.

This actually sounds like a run-of-the-mill fear of intimacy and commitment.

Being closer than you've ever been to someone is good for you. Keep doing it.

Aug 02 11 - 3:12am

I'm in a similar boat, if not the passenger next to you. I'm starting to learn the hard fact that there's no right time to take the next step, let alone end a relationship. Both will be approached with a great deal of hesitation and uncertainty. In my opinion, the whole catch is figuring out whether or not the change you're contemplating will be more uncomfortable than the position you're in mentally. If equally as uncomfortable, weigh which you feel will be more beneficial to you.
Change is going to happen, whether it's forced subconsciously because you're feeling pressured and unsure, or because you make a decision.

In reality it sounds like you have a perfect situation, however you're inflicting these deadlines upon yourself. It's a societal thing that we all subconsciously toy with at one point or another. Whether it's looking around and realizing people are settling down who have been in relationships less stable and shorter than yours, or hearing about a single friends escapades we all get curious as well as uneasy and borderline insecure with whatever scenario we are in (Especially in the summer). I would hate to say it's only natural, but unfortunately it is.

Curiosity tends to happen when you're comfortable, perhaps a little too comfortable and that may be the issue. Even though things are going well, you start craving that new feeling. That uncertainty. The single life. Because nothing is wrong though, I say rather than trying to rush into a decision, you should try new things again. After 4years I'm sure you've done an innumerable amount of things together, but I'm also certain that there are things you've both been wanting to do and haven't or have done, enjoyed doing and haven't done in a while. Try things out.

No rush to figure things out, if things continue to go well, let them. Don't talk yourself out of a good thing. Also be sure to be honest with your girlfriend about how you're feeling. Don't beat around the bush either, if you have as strong of a relationship as it seems she will be open to hearing what you have to say and may even feel the same way. That in and of itself can change everything.
I found that when I mentioned my uncertainty to my boyfriend, we were both on the same page and a long honest talk ensued that cleared up some things.

best of luck.

Aug 16 11 - 8:13pm

I completely understand where you're coming from. My boyfriend and I have also been together for four years and I too have felt somewhat scared and confused at times. But,if you're seriously considering seeing others then I suggest breaking up with her. She doesn't deserve to be led on while you're still trying to figure things out. Personally though,there is no ultimatum here. No one says that after four years you need to commit forever or end it. People stay happily commited for many many years until they both feel ready for marriage. If you love her and things are going great,why not just continue down that path? Don't give in to pressure when there really is none.

Sep 04 11 - 4:24am

Don't listen to any of the losers discounting your difficult position because of there own. The only thing harder than being alone is being with someone you care about, why not have an open talk about it with your girl? Tell her what's up(mostly) and see how you guys wanna work it out. I'm not a fan of the whole "open" relationship arrangement but if you guys decide its for you, why not? But what you do owe her is inclusion in the decision. The bonus to being "too young" is that even if you completely blow it, you have time ahead of you.

Oct 29 11 - 9:17am

Honestly, I think you should just propose to your girlfriend. If she is living with you, then she is probably expecting the next step to be marriage.
But first I would talk to her, bring up the whole thing. I would tell her how you feel, how you don't want to be married until you are thirty, and see how she reacts. If she is okay with it, I would propose to her (and just stay engaged for a few years) and if she isn't okay with it, then dump her, that gives you reason to.
Think about it. You are 24, it takes a while to find a good person. If you dump her, you might not find a great girl for you.
If you need to confirm yourself by sticking your dick in a lot of pussies, I hope you realize that all pussies are essentially the same, you aren't missing much except maybe an STD.

Nov 06 11 - 10:21am
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Nov 23 11 - 5:13am
A Canadian Boy

Good grief. If you have a good relationship, then keep it. Nurture it.

Just to make one thing clear: I thought dating would be really great. Women like me, and I enjoy getting to know people.

However, I've discovered that dating is:
1) Tedious,
2) Dominated by boring people, who I don't want a second date with,
3) Riddled with rejection (mostly me rejecting women, but not exclusively),
4) Remarkably time-consuming,
5) Offers little to nothing that a potentially life-long love partnership does.

I miss having someone in my life who I would do everything for, whose family I love dearly, and be connected to without holding back anything.

Also, the second women I slept with after ending my relationship gave me a STD, without revealing her status to me. Just so you know, people lie about their STD status at very significant rates. This was traumatizing and awful.

Dating is NOT preferable to having a loving relationship with long-term potential.

My recommendation: Keep the relationship.

Dec 11 11 - 8:27pm

As many stories as you've heard so far, you probably don't need another. And yet I want to give you one piece of testimony I don't see above, based on my own experience. I am 44 and happily married to a person I met at 18, and we have an 8 year old daughter. When we hit the same place you are in during our 20s (and nearly everyone does), we did open the relationship up. It was the right thing to do because we would have had secret flings otherwise. (In fact she had already had one by this time.) We had a rocky time of it for a while. We survived it. Officially the relationship is still an open one, although neither of us has acted on this for a good dozen years (at least to my knowledge :)). If either of us did have a fling at this point, it would likely have no consequences whatsoever, because that has nothing to do with the glue of our bond. The conclusion I would want you to reach is simply this: you probably will be unhappy if you never test the waters outside the relationship. You may also be unhappy if you do. But if the relationship is the right one, this is not going to cause a permanent breach.

Mar 01 12 - 9:59am

Just wanted to jump in and say that I was in love with my high school sweetheart. He wanted to get married, I thought I was too young, so I broke up with him.... I ended up marrying someone else :( and spent 18 years married to the wrong guy. Two children, and a divorce later... guess who I met up with at a hardware store? My highschool sweetheart! We have now been married for 6 years and let me tell you-- breaking up with someone you love because you aren't ready for the next step is the WRONG thing to do. Sharing this with you because I spend too much time sishing somehow I could get all of those wasted years back.....

Feb 09 12 - 3:52am

Whats with all this 'open relationship' jazz. i know it's everyone's preference and all, and im probably just some hopeless romantic with unrealistic expectations...but i just dont understand, and every time i read about it it makes my heart sink a this really the way the world works? why is it so rare to cherish something that really is the most pure, simple, and wonderful, beautiful thing.

Please stay with your girlfriend OP, if you truly love her in your heart, have a serious discussion with her where you can both safely express how you feel and not attack one another, compromise on being able to say whatever it is, unbiased, and to not really take anything to heart; its pretty therapeutic. go to couples counseling or something similar if you can, if it really comes down to that.

If you have found this amazing beautiful wonderful love that you have, that you have described in your post, and its yours and no one elses, and a love that you truly might only find one time on this earth and you really know it deep down, dont let it go. you'll alter the life of someone who cares about you so much and you might even live a lifetime of regret, alone. sex with a random woman isnt worth it, or betraying your loyalty to your girlfriend by seeking out someone else for 'fun' or whatever. it's like a test almost, of whether you would rather have true love, or this 'freedom'. Whatever it is that you seek, you can get right there with her im sure. she would probably give you whatever you asked. with compromise. even a little time a part does wonders, while remaining faithful to one another- go on a guys night out and get in touch with yr masculinity, call your dad if hes alive and spend time with him and bond with him , try a different position in the sack with your girlfriend, do something spontaneous together. youre probably in a routine rut or something. little tiny things that make a difference in the end.

just keep it simple, stay together, take it real slow at your own pace, and before you know it youre together for more and more years and then youll be '30'! stay loyal, make your relationship now whatever you would initially be trying to seek outside of her..a true love will compromise. im sure if you wanted anything she would give it, so just ask! take it at your OWN pace, and who cares who is asking you why youre not yet married its none of their business. you can just tell them you dont want to spoil the surprise or something silly like that. as long as you and your girlfriend know you love each other, and plan for it someday, thats real keen and swell and will definitely strengthen your bond.

.. i think that the bodies we're given here on earth, are meant to either experience one good thing, or many pleasures, depending on the person and their beliefs...i think deep down most people are in the end searching for love, as the root emotion that motivates most people to date, etc.. and if thats what you eventually want in the end, and you already have it dont let it go !

Communication skills and laughing and having good times are the most important things, and as you get older, the world will around you too, ..people you thought were so young and good looking age, peoples teeth fall out, they get receding hairlines, they have flaws too, just like you, just like the girl who's heart you will probably break if you left her for someone else, or just in general i think.

The body is just superficial. when you connect with someone truly, in their mind, body, heart, soul, thats something so special to be cherished for real, clearly only if its something you want, and your emotional and personal preference. because its not that way with casual sex, it will leave you feeling like shit if both people arent on the same page about it, and sometimes no one is really ever on the same page and someone is left feeling like garbage, used, empty, alone, confused?. Honesty, Loyalty, Monogamy, etc.. seem like the last of a dying breed today with people and how times change, its something i'll never be able to adapt to myself, but i really hope that my words can change something, and make it better in your life.

i think that 'seeing other people' and all that is kind of super played out- if you have what you want in the end, just forego all of the nonsense thats in between and be patient and grateful. none of this 'instant gratification i have endless options' nonsense. especially with technology and the internet. because for all you know, she could literally be your only best choice in your entire life, and you'd pass her up for meaningless nonsense and end up alone.

and if all of these people giving you generations worth of advice doesnt help you, and you still dont know what to do, then just take some time alone. not really to consult with anyone else, but just you this time, inside yourself. go to your favorite place, a quiet spot, relax yourself, and think, kind of meditate in a way, envision your life, and how it would be in a few years, can you see yourself dying next to her? growing old and growing through things with her, together and not apart? i hope so, i hope you dont cop out, i hope you stay and i hope you create a real love story, the kind that old people get to tell when they are old to inspire younger generations to have their own love story one day, and to help show them that things work out even when times are hard when its real true love. and since the stupid internet apparently lives forever, maybe one day when youre 80 you can show her this post and all the stuff people wrote back to you

i hope it works out for the best for both of you sincerely in my heart, because it breaks my heart to hear about breakups, and people going through such heartache.

p.s.) please forgive the intense grammatical mistakes, ie: blatant lack of punctuation, capitalization, as i am almost half asleep and just needed to type this to you

<3 peace and love to you and your girlfriend always

Feb 09 12 - 4:09am

dude and you even said you didnt want your relationship to 'crash and burn' by jumping in too fast, so clearly you dont want it to end. just take it at yr own pace for real. everything unfolds beautifully. there are lots of divorces because people stay for the wrong reasons and whatever. just go slow and be on the same page. stay comfortable. people are always like 'true love exists somewhere out there but its rare' and all that, and dude you have it. you dont have to look. be grateful. its like a guy with robotic legs telling someone who's paralyzed that it sucks to put his pants on or something.
stay gold, its what youve got

Feb 28 12 - 7:06pm

my testimony all thank to ayelala shrine i was in love with a girl name paulina i was deeply in love with her i have tried my best to get her,all my effort was nothing until i meant this man name Dr moon,i explain everything to him and he told me that my problem is solve but i ask him how is that possible he told me that i should not worry again and my problem is over that he is going to cast a spell on her to love me my greatest surprise within 3 days she came to me and tell me that she love me,i am very happy she is back to me thank you email to contact him EMAIL:[email protected]

Mar 20 12 - 10:11pm

How interesting. You describe this as a 'perfectly good' relationship. I assume you've had plenty of experience and can accurately judge what a 'perfectly good' relationship is.... It is time to break up and move on, you silly child! If you have to settle for a 'perfectly good' relationship, don't do it until you're old enough that the chances of getting anything better are very slim indeed. You don't owe it to someone to stay with them just because you feel guilty about breaking up! Just be kind and decent and move on. Deal with the tears and heartache like an adult; it's a lot better than a divorce down the road......

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