Dear Dr Laura: "My boyfriend of six months is moving to another city for his job. He wants me to pursue a job there too -- but live separately. Should I move?"
Answer: Color me old-fashioned and traditional, but I don't believe a woman should pursue a man. This is not just an incidental act. Men and women are very different -- one of those differences is in motivation. What men don't have to work for, they don't value. He has a decision to make: sacrifice this opportunity to court you for another year to determine whether or not to marry and spend his life with you -- or -- do whatever he pleases and have you conveniently around.
If he is not willing to sacrifice for a potential future for you, does it make sense that you should sacrifice your current life (family, friends, work, home) on his whim? Can't you see what that portends for your future? The answer is, "NO." Dear Dr Laura: How long should a 62 year old man wait to ask a 55 year old woman to marry? They are both financially secure, they have similar values and interests, and only one has a child (who is adult)?
Answer: I'm assuming that you think that your "mature" ages would relieve you from taking as much time to develop a knowledge and understanding of each other than if you were, say, 30? As the "Law & Order: CI" commercial says, "Think again!"
Infatuation and passion are the first stages of any relationship, and that is definitely not the stage you should be in when you make such a decision. That you both have had many experiences in life, and the years to build deeper maturity, does not exempt you from the temptations to bond quickly for reasons which are not the best ingredients for a healthy, happy marriage: loneliness, fear of aging and death, boredom, rebound, and so forth. Each age has its unique challenges.
I believe it takes a good two years for people to truly know enough about each other, to discern the other's character, personality, quirks, behaviors under stress, work ethic, life-style, needs and demands, dreams and goals, and values and spirituality. When either one of you expresses a desire to "jump right in" because "you just know you're in love," that's the time to slam on the breaks. That impetuousness might seem flattering, but I see it more as desperation to get to the end of the journey without experiencing the journey. That impulse is more about fulfilling one's own needs and fantasies and definitely not about truly knowing and loving the other.
Love begins to grow once the infatuation and passion stage evolves into compassion, awe, admiration, and respect; that takes time to grow. And, my friends, it is more than well worth the time it takes to get there.
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