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No spark, now what?
June 13, 2007 4:00 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend of 6 months is starting to talk about marriage. I love her and all, but I don't have that "spark" you sometimes get in relationships. What now?

I love spending time with her, I honestly think I could be very happy with her for the rest of my life, but there is just something missing. We are super compatible and all and rarely argue. We laugh, smile, and life is great right now.

However, the thought of marriage makes me nervous. Is it wise to keep waiting for that "spark" to come? Something just seems to be missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

I shutter at the thought of hurting her, as she has had trouble with relationships in the past. She makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up, and that puts a lot of pressure on me.

I don't know what to do.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (49 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think that you're dealing with 2 seperate things:

1. 6 months and talking about marriage? Really?

2. your lack of spark -- it is tough on that one. Sometimes the people that we end up with aren't the people who we are super super sexually turned on by. Is that what you mean by spark?

Maybe ask yourself to evaluate how happy you are in the relationship and evaluate if you want to continue.
posted by k8t at 4:06 PM on June 13, 2007


For the love of god don't decide which girl to marry on the basis that nothing is wrong, something needs to be very, very right.

Maybe she's a good girl just not a fit as you wife. Besides 6 months is too fucking soon.
posted by Rubbstone at 4:07 PM on June 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


"spark" doesn't last. Compatibility does.

That having been said, six months is probably way too soon to tell.
posted by konolia at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2007


there's no good way out of this. it is the classic dilemma. One partner wants commitment, the other doesn't. And if you hem and haw when she says marriage you can bet she will want to know where you stand and that means a long discussion and maybe even the end of your relationship.

I understand the pressure thing but you have to realize that you are hurting her more if you stay when you don't want to. The longer it goes on the harder it will be when it finally does fall apart. If you have doubts about the long term, you have to bring that up. Hell yeah it will hurt her, but that's life. You break a few hearts along the way. Lots of people do. People recover in the end and they're better off.

That said, there's no telling where you'll be in a few months.
The nagging feeling is probably you telling yourself "not yet - I'm not ready for this". But one day you may just decide to let go of whatever's holdign you back.

The one thing you can say for certain is it's too soon for you to talk about marriage. You need lots more time just being in this relationship before you can talk about a long-term commitment. I think it is OK to tell her this.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:13 PM on June 13, 2007


6 months = too soon.

This may not apply to your current situation, but just to contrast what everyone else is about to say....

I don't think marriage is necessarily about that super special "spark". Even when you have that "spark" it most often dissipates over the course of years. Don't take it for granted that you have someone that you love, someone you love spending time with, and someone you could imagine growing old with.

Just think: if you did break up, would you be happy without her? How easily would you be able to find the level of comfort and enjoyment you're experiencing now?

Marriage is about real life, committing to be with someone through the up and downs.
posted by gnutron at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2007


""spark" doesn't last."

I'd just like to go on record that this statement is horsefeathers, with all due respect.

And yeah, 6 months is pretty early. Still, you owe it to her to be honest that you're not ready to think about marriage yet. Yes, she'll be disappointed and her feelings might be hurt, but that's preferable to not saying anything and then having to burst her little marriage bubble somewhere further down the line should you not ever want to marry her.
posted by hollisimo at 4:24 PM on June 13, 2007


I'd be willing to bet that the fact that you're being pressured about a long-term commitment after just six months (which everyone seems to agree is way too soon) is only helping you feel like there is a lack of spark. Being forced into a decision certainly can make it seem like a bad, bad decision, no matter what the circumstances.

It seems like you need your girlfriend to back off a bit. This doesn't necessarily mean that she's not the one, but she's clearly forcing you to try to figure this out too soon. I, as well as others, don't quite know what you mean by "spark," nor do I think that the "spark" is what makes a good marriage... But I'm sure that being pressured this soon to know that you want to spend the rest of your life with her is making it feel like there's something missing.

A marriage-worthy relationship can take a lot of time to form. Hopefully, your girlfriend will understand that, at this stage in your relationship, it'd be best to just try to nurture the budding connection between you two, instead of expecting that that connection is already at the marriage-stage. If she doesn't understand this, then I would worry about what she expects out of marriage and why she's motivated to move so quickly. It may not exactly be a warning sign, but it's certainly something you could gain from understanding.
posted by Ms. Saint at 4:29 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't be the guy who gets married because he's too chicken to say "You're a great girl, but I don't want to marry you".
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2007 [11 favorites]


I don't agree that 6 months is always too soon. I think older couples, who have dated a bit and have a better idea of what they're looking for, can much more easily get a sense of how things are going. So without knowing the age of the asker or their history dating, it's really hard to say that 6 months is automatically too soon to be thinking about marriage. However, it doesn't seem like the two of you are on the same page. And when you say she's talking about marriage, is it on the lines of "I'd like to get married to you" or "Someday I think we might have a future together" or "I'd like to be married to someone someday" - I don't think all of those things mean the same thing, so you need to clarify what you think she means.

You can either ignore her comments (unless she's actually proposing to you) or talk about it. I think it's perfectly okay to say something like "I really like/love you and could be happy with you for the rest of my life [as you say above] but I'm not really ready to be considering marriage. Can we slow down on this topic?"

In sum, I have no answers, apparently!

But then again, when you say the relationship is missing something, sometimes you gotta go with your gut. And if that's the case, you should be clear with her that you're not feeling it and see what your options are.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2007


Combined with "She makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up, and that puts a lot of pressure on me." ...it seems there's some communications issues at the very least.
posted by rhizome at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2007


I agree with the comments upthread about six months being too soon. Well, maybe. I was pretty sure within the first few months and I think he was too, but it was another 3+ years before we started discussing it realistically. Mostly because it made us nervous too. It's a big big thing and personally, I think it's okay to be nervous. Have you told her it makes you nervous?

Some of my friend's SO's have interpreted general wedding talk or "I see us with a future talk" to be "marriage talk". Basically the guys read way too much into it, freaked out, and broke up with them. Is that the case here?

Anyway, how old are you? If you guys are in your 30's, I don't think it's completely unrealistic for her to be considering whether or not your relationship has the potential to become a marriage, but if you're 20, it's a different story. Please don't flame me, I have noticed a significant difference in the commitment timeline of my friends once they pass their mid-to-late 20's

It's sort of unfair to play all, "I'd be devastated if we broke up, so don't do it to me!" How is she going to handle it when things don't go her way or you hurt her (purposely or not)? That sort of seems like a red flag to me. Like a very one-sided proclamation that only protects her interests. Maybe I'm overthinking it.

Anyway, to sum up all these random thoughts, if something is missing and you just aren't sure, and you're putting it out to us to help you figure it out. Well, I think that might be your answer?

(on preview, otherwordlyglow and rhizome say some of the same stuff, only better.)
posted by ml98tu at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2007


You know what this relationship sounds like? Not-drama! I'd take that over spark any day.

But seriously, I think women tend to move along emotionally faster than men. I can guarantee that she's spend a LOT more time in the last six months reflecting on the future and the state of the relationship than you have. It's just what we do. So six months may seem like a long time from her perspective.

She also may just simply be verbalizing all the happies and good vibes she's feeling into words that sound like "marriage" and "lifelong committment". Doesn't mean that it necessarily is as heavy as it sounds. If the happy feelings are mutual, let her know, but use different words to describe them.

Or she may just be getting romantically carried away with herself, and that's forgivable! Maybe reassure her how great she is (pick out a few examples/details) and tell her that you're just not ready to discuss marriage yet, but someday you hope to if all goes well! Then say something else great about her. Compliment sandwich, man!
posted by iamkimiam at 4:44 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


In a long term relationship, I think of there being at least five legs to the table:

safety: financial and physical, can you meet your needs together, are you healthy for each other?

sexual: well, you know what that is.

friendship: do you entertain and interest each other when you are not having sex?

social: do you make a unit that reinforces your standing in the context of work, family, friends?

domestic: is daily life more pleasant, do you enjoy and provide each other with food, comfortable bedding, other everyday human comforts and considerations?

With all five legs you can dance on the table like a crazy fool, and it will still stand. It will stand even with three legs, but then you will have to be more careful not to tip it over.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2007 [590 favorites]


don't decide which girl to marry on the basis that nothing is wrong, something needs to be very, very right.

That bears repeating.

The way you've presented your situation in this post, you feel pressured, nervous and as though something is missing from your relationship. You describe the two of you as compatible, and while you think you could be happy with her, you definitely aren't sure. This is not a solid foundation on which to build a marriage -- you don't need to break up, but you do need to give it more time.

While some couples certainly know early on in their relationship that they're destined for one another, in general six months is too soon to expect the "so, are we going to get married or what?" conversation.

As hard as it may be, you need to decide this for yourself. Marriage is one of those things whose long-term viability depends on the happiness of both parties; and while she may be hurt if you break up, a divorce or a decades-long loveless marriage will be much harder on the both of you.
posted by AV at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2007


6 months = crazy talk

seriously, she needs to chill the eff out. if she has had problems from past relationships and will feel "devastated" if you break up with her, might i suggest that you suggest she maybe talk to someone professional about how to be so codependent and needy that she feels that it is acceptable to put that much pressure on you and the relationship so early into it. because i guarantee two things: a) that if you break up with her, she's just gonna do the same thing to the next guy who will also break up with her and so on until it spirals her down into a cespool of self-worthlessness; and b) if you do end up staying with her, that isn't gonna be the end of that sort of problem and emotional manipulation.

regarding the spark. i am a big believer in "spark," "it," "chemistry," whatever you want to call the completely unquantifiable thing that makes one person shinier and brighter than the rest. it may wax and wane as a relationship progresses but i don't think it ever fades. for the most part, i think that is either there or it's not (tho i am by no means saying that it can't ever develop later on).

that said, is this something you have experienced with others in the past and that is why you think it is missing from this relationship? also, is having that spark something very important to you in terms of the relationship? if you answered yes to both of those questions than i think you really need to think about why you are staying in this relationship. i think a lot of ppl stay in relationships because they are afraid to be alone, and as a result they end up settling. or they are just comfortable and everything is perfectly "fine" and they are too lazy to break it off. which is perfectly fine if both ppl involved no what's what in terms of how the other ppl view the relationship, but not so much if expectations don't jibe.

at six freaking months, i think you are allowed to sit on this and see how things go. except that your girl is throwing down all sorts of forever vibes that is making it difficult for you to get the lay of the land. if you want to stay with her and see if you can light the spark, then you need to tell her what you have posted here: that you would like the opportunity to enjoy what's developing without the pressure of getting hitched already and you don't want that kind of pressure to influence how you might otherwise feel.

if you are still not feelin' it, then you need to be fair to her and break up so she can have the opportunity to find someone who thinks she is the shiniest and brightest. and so that you can find someone with whom you don't have to question whether you should be. but again, girlfriend needs some therapy.
posted by violetk at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


you don't want to get married but you don't want to hurt her.

guess what? if you marry her, in two years you may be so unhappy that you'll leave her anyway, and she'll be even more hurt.

six months is too soon. my flash judgment is that she's feeling insecure and wants to nail down the relationship so she can relax. no amount of commitment can make people like that happy--they are in love with stability, not necessarily the people they're with. (she's probably pretty into you, too, so don't discount her feelings for you--but it sounds like her insecurity is affecting her judgment.)

if you really dig her, tell her you love her and that you want to revisit this conversation in eighteen months. if she won't hear it, then you know she's more interested in a stable relationship than she is in you. and tell her that. she deserves to hear it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:57 PM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


""spark" doesn't last."

I'd just like to go on record that this statement is horsefeathers, with all due respect.


Amen. The initial thrill of the very first romantic stage of falling in love may not last -- i.e., your stomach may not do flips every time the phone rings, you may not both hop into bed like sexy sexy bunnies every single day, etc. -- but a more general spark of chemistry, affection, and attraction most certainly can last and be at the heart of a long-term, commited, loving relationship. My parents have been together about 45 years (including some rough, rough patches), and while they may no longer be infatuated 19-year-olds, they most certainly have a clear and definite spark between them.

posted by scody at 4:59 PM on June 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


Six months! Six months! That is waaaay short. How old are you guys? If you're in your twenties and she's talking about marriage after only six months, that may point to where the trouble in her past relationships came from. Dang.

Alternatively, she may be so commitment-hungry because of that past relationship trouble. This is the best thing she's ever been in, and she's desperately afraid it is going to end so wants to keep it in the box.

I have no idea how you get through this situation gracefully. You may want to say something along the lines of "I love you and don't want to leave you, but I can't imagine making that kind of commitment to someone after only six months."
posted by schroedinger at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2007


Don't be the guy who gets married because he's too chicken to say "You're a great girl, but I don't want to marry you".

Exactly. This isn't about the six months (though that is awfully soon); you just don't sound like you want to marry this gal. I had a number of long-term relationships where there was deep mutual affection, "spark" even, lots of togetherness and understanding... but marriage wouldn't have worked out. (A couple of times we talked about marriage, and once I was engaged with a ring and everything, and when our letters breaking it off crossed in the mail I was deeply relieved, and I presume she was too.)

You don't say how old you are. I'm presuming you're twentysomething, in which case I can confidently say "you'll know when the real thing comes along."

As for this:

she has had trouble with relationships in the past. She makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up, and that puts a lot of pressure on me.

Yeah, no wonder she's had trouble with relationships in the past. That's not a good thing to say to one's partner; it's basically blackmail. You should put that in the negative column when you're adding up the pluses and minuses and deciding what to do.
posted by languagehat at 5:07 PM on June 13, 2007


She's crazy. If you've never dated a crazy person before, stay with her, as everyone should do that at least once.

If you have dated crazy before, then run. Why? 'cause she'll make you crazy.

However, if you really do want to stay, then be honest and upfront:

"No, I don't want to married."

"Look, I realize that you were in a bad relationship before, but your insecurities are putting a lot of mental and emotional pressure on me and our relationship, which could, in time damage it. So could we figure out a way to make us both more comfortable in this relationship?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


My wife and I decided we'd get married after less time than that, although we were engaged for a year. My parents, too -- and they're still together.

Having said that, "too soon" is probably best defined here as "before you are *both* ready", and it sounds like you're not.

If you want to keep the relationship going, I wouldn't mention the spark thing. Instead, I'd simply sit her down, explain that you're not ready to take that step yet, but if things keep going the way they are you eventually will be ready.

If you really have your heart set on a "spark", you might as well cut your losses now. If the thought of cutting your losses now makes you nervous or upset over what a good thing you'll lose...well, maybe you have more of a spark than you realize.

Either way, don't make a decision without thinking about it first, and if you choose to tell her that you're not ready yet, pay close attention to her response. A loving, caring person who wants what's best for both of you (aka "marriage material") will be understanding and won't pressure you, or will be up-front and honest about her needs being in conflict with yours*. Someone who puts their needs ahead of yours -- instead of on equal footing -- will give you a hard time, and/or pressure you to change your mind. If the latter is closer to her response...well, you wouldn't want to marry that kind of person anyway, would you?

Funny story: I was dating a girl** who was very, very nice for the first several months, and I really thought she was going to be the one for a bit. Then one cold day, as we walked past the front door leading up two flights to my apartment, I said that I wanted to grab my jacket and she tried to convince me not to, as she didn't want to wait. When I insisted, because I was cold, she got huffy. It was very, very strange behavior as far as I was concerned, and it threw a red flag.

Over the next few months, I kept an eye out, and her personality as I knew it came apart; more and more often, she behaved selfishly and with her best interests at heart instead of both of ours. In some cases it didn't even have anything to do with me; it was just the gradual revealing of behaviors and expectations that she'd kept from me for the first several months, like her rabid inability to play board games without getting really upset (win or lose.)

The lesson to take from this is: if you really believe that you're ready to marry this girl, great; but if you're not, don't pull the trigger because you're "supposed to" or because you're being pressured. It's an important decision, not to be taken lightly, and if it can't wait a few more months or a year, then it isn't meant to be. Waiting a little longer might reveal the things that you didn't quite see before that make marriage a bad idea, or might reveal wonderful things you never knew before that make marriage a much more desireable prospect. At the end of the day, you *both* have to want it, and you're allowed to take as much time as you need (and she's allowed to cut her losses, of course.)

*it's just as legitimate for her to say "I want to get married now, and that's in opposition to your desire to not get married yet, so we might be incompatible" as it is for you to say the reverse, and that's fine; what isn't okay is "I want to get married now, and I don't care that you don't want to get married."

**if she's reading this, and recognizes herself, hello, and no hard feelings.
posted by davejay at 5:18 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


1) If you have to ask this question to anonymous strangers on the internet, you're nowhere near ready for marriage. I cannot stress this enough.

2) It depends what you mean by 'spark'. With time, the giddy rush of being in a new relationship fades. It gets replaced with feelings of loyalty, commitment, and love. Other sparks never fade - the 'spark' of your sex life should still be there, for example.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:21 PM on June 13, 2007


I've found that, as time goes by, marriage makes a lot of aspects of your relationship stronger and more intense. Spark, in my experience, is not one of those things. If it isn't strong when you're only six months into the relationship, I think it may be doubtful that it will get better. I believe your spouse should also be your best friend, but not just your best friend. There needs to be more.

If you want to stay with her and see where the relationship goes, you need to be kind to her and accepting of her hang-ups about your level of commitment to her. Part of loving someone is dealing with their issues. However, I don't think you need to tolerate a bunch of pressure and manipulation. I think you should tell her you love her (if you truly believe you do) and that your relationship with her is important to you. Let her know how much the commitment of marriage means to you as well, and that when the time comes, you want it to last. At least if she sees that you place value on marriage, then you aren't a total commitment-phobe.

Finally, I've found that, oftentimes, people who are trying to move the relationship along too quickly are really just looking for some reassurance that they matter to you and that they can feel secure with you. Especially if she's had commitment-related relationship problems in the past, she's probably concerned about being vulnerable.
posted by justonegirl at 5:22 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


A marriage-worthy relationship can take a lot of time to form.

I agree with this.

The lack of intense spark at this stage does not rule this relationship from being marriage-worthy. The qualities you seek in a marriage partner may be quite different from the qualities you seek in a hot sexual relationship of shorter duration.
posted by jayder at 5:46 PM on June 13, 2007


I'm amused that people think you couldn't tell after six months whether you should marry somebody. People have married happily after knowing each other for two weeks. Hanging around for years to figure out whether somebody is suitable is just stupid.

But you both have to want to marry. If you do not want to marry this woman, and she is interested in marriage generally, break up with her so she can find a suitable mate. Sometimes people just reach a point where they are going to marry, and they only need to meet someone roughly suitable who's at the same stage.
posted by zadcat at 6:03 PM on June 13, 2007


Let me say what I think a lot of us (or at least me) mean by saying that six months is too soon: six months is too soon to think you really ought to be sure about whether you want to marry your partner. Six months isn't the "marry or move on" point in a relationship.

Although, I think otherworldlyglow and a few others have a good point: it does depend a bit on the poster's age. I made the hasty assumption that the poster was, at most, in his mid-twenties. Oops.
posted by Ms. Saint at 6:34 PM on June 13, 2007


I have a differing personal perspective to many posters here.

In my current relationship, 6 months was not too early. However, since due to external circumstances we were about to be separated for 3 months with no possibility of regular contact, it wasn't seriously floated as an idea until that separation was over. And then it was a suprise when he got down on one knee and proposed, at the grand old age of 18.

We're married, happily so, and have been for 5.5years. We were 18 and 19 when we got engaged; 19 and 20 when we married 6 months later. I fully expect to have a huge party for my 50th wedding anniversary.

But! We are not normal. I had many friends and family say when we announced our engagement 'If it was any other couple ... I'd say you were too young, and it's too soon, and you're crazy - but it's you, and I can't believe it's taken so long.' We were utterly and profoundly right for one another in a way obvious to even the casual observer.

This does not sound to be the case for you. In the vast majority of cases, 6 months is too soon to be thinking about marriage. Maybe living together, but not committing for life.

I would suggest saying to your girlfriend something along the lines of 'I love you. I want to be with you. But I don't deal well with the emotional pressure I'm feeling from your expectations. Please, can we take this one day at a time? I can't tell if this is a lifetime thing, and I don't want either of us to get hurt if I make the wrong decision hastily.'
posted by ysabet at 6:38 PM on June 13, 2007


I'm concerned that she thinks that 6 months = when people should think about getting married. She seems to have a timetable. This may be why her relationships didn't work.

I met the man I married when we were both 15. He says he knew the day he met me--and he is on record as joking to his friend about me being the girl he would marry someday.

We dated through high school, through college, and then got married. That's seven years of dating. It was seven years we needed to get on our feet and in a place where we were ready to get hitched. We've been married 18 years now.

My parents, conversely, married at 19 after only a short time dating. They've been married coming on 50 years.

The point here is--you aren't ready until you're ready. And if you aren't absolutely sure, you're not ready.
posted by misha at 6:40 PM on June 13, 2007


i don't think the issue here is whether or not the OP is ready to get married—it's beyond obvious that he is not. he's asking advice for how he should handle the fact that he's not currently in the same place as his lady.
posted by violetk at 6:44 PM on June 13, 2007


The desire to get married quickly and the vocalized "You'll devastate me if you leave me" sentiment rings bells, and they're not wedding bell. She is incredibly insecure and trying to lock you in.

Forget about the "spark". It's a nice thing to have but it doesn't really factor into successful relationships (IMHO).

For the rest, there are two ways to look at it:

1) If you're happy enough in the relationship now, stay in it until you're not. Don't bail now because it might seem doomed. Enjoy having this person in your life.

or

2) Leave now. By staying in this relationship you are giving her a false sense of security and will only hurt her more when you eventually do leave her.

What I think you should do is: Force it.
Set down with her and tell her firmly that you do care about her, but at the moment you don't have any intention of marrying her or anyone. Now the ball is in her court. She can either accept it (ala #1 above) or she can go crazy and make the relationship much less fun by trying to drag you kicking and screaming into the marriage, driving you away.
posted by Ookseer at 7:03 PM on June 13, 2007


It depends on what you want. Some people are completely happy with being compatible, so they're telling you to screw the spark.

I personally want the spark. If I don't have the spark then I'm always going to wonder if that person over there could have been the one. For me, life's too short not to at least shoot for the spark. I like the spark. I love the spark. It makes me feel alive. For me 'compatible' is setting the bar way too low. I'm compatible with my dog, and we rarely argue, but I think marriage might be a step too far.

And as to the comment that the spark goes away, bullshit. It can, it might, but I've known several couples married over 25 years that still have it. It's hard not to miss.

And come on, talking about marrying her because she would be hurt if you broke up with her is a recipe for disaster, but you already know that.
posted by justgary at 8:30 PM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Anyway, how old are you? If you guys are in your 30's, I don't think it's completely unrealistic for her to be considering whether or not your relationship has the potential to become a marriage, but if you're 20, it's a different story. Please don't flame me, I have noticed a significant difference in the commitment timeline of my friends once they pass their mid-to-late 20's

Not flaming, agreeing. I think age is a very relevant point. People in their 20s can be perfectly happy spinning out a good-but-not-marriageable relationship for years. Guys above this age might continue with this approach for longer.

Women, on the other hand, have (real or perceived) body clock issues, and - like it or not - ageing does tend to hit womens' socially-perceived attractiveness more than mens', causing suitable partnering to become just that bit tougher*, so I think that approaching 30 & beyond, many women start asking themselves very early on whether this relationship is destined for marriage & children or not, because they've simply not got the time to waste on a dead-ender, no matter how nice & fun it is.

So, if your girlfriend is late 20s or older, I think it's totally understandable for her to be raising these questions after six months. Any younger, and I'd probably be putting her in the "insecure" bucket. That's not really the issue here, though.

What is probably more important is that if she is approaching the age at which her body clock becomes an issue for her, then I think you have a responsibility to be honest, because otherwise you could simply be wasting her time when she should be out looking elsewhere.

* attracts flame-fire away from ml98tu

posted by UbuRoivas at 8:58 PM on June 13, 2007


Keep chilling with her for 6 months and see what happens. If it doesn't work for you after that, break up.

A bunch of people might think this is leading her on, but I guarantee you that if she had the choice of breaking up now or seeing where you guys are in six months, she will choose the latter. Sounds like she deserves a chance to try out for the majors with you.

I've found these relationships are the best, long-term.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 PM on June 13, 2007


We are super compatible and all and rarely argue. We laugh, smile, and life is great right now.
Sounds awesome! That's a great feeling and you should savour it. :)

Then.

Wait until you've had a couple fights, broken a few promises, spent a long stretch of time in an enclosed space, had the 'Were you flirting with her/him?' awkwardness, met the family, cohabitated for a good longish while, worked through the politics, found out whether e.g. she'd rather fuck a broken bottle than do that one thing you've always been curious about, etc., etc., etc.

If that stuff goes well, go for it! But basically nothing that happens in the initial rush of love has anything to do with whether a relationship is sustainable.

Don't throw the thing away, why bother? But by all means tell her you're not ready to talk marraige yet - though also tell her what you told us. People like to hear that. Hell, I liked hearing it and I HATE LOVE.
posted by waxbanks at 9:16 PM on June 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Tell her you aren't ready.

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering what it would have been like to marry someone else? Or maybe go through a bitter divorce a few years down the line, because you've woken up to the fact that marrying her because you were too scared to say no was a bad idea?

Don't waste those years. And don't let her waste them either.
posted by Solomon at 2:37 AM on June 14, 2007


Tell her that there is no chance at all that you will ask her to marry you before you are two years (or whatever) into the relationship, and that if that is too long for her she should look for someone else. Don't bring up the spark thing, that'll just hurt her.

As a bit of unsolicited general advice, sometimes you have to break up with someone because it is inevitable, and it is better to do it early than late. When you do break up, don't look back, you did it for good reasons.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:43 AM on June 14, 2007


She makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up, and that puts a lot of pressure on me.

Trust me, she'll be more devastated if you marry her for the wrong reasons. (Of which, "she would be devastated," is one).

You should feel comfortable. Totally, utterly comfortable with the idea of getting married to someone before you marry them. Not that you won't be nervous about things being different, or big changes, or whatever - but when you think about being with the *person*, you should feel peaceful.

Luck.
posted by eleyna at 5:41 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The spark doesn't have to last; its the smoldering fire underneath that's important.
posted by matty at 6:12 AM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


6 months? I'd run screaming into the night.

Get out now.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:59 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


She makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up

RED FLAG!

We started throwing around the idea of someday-marriage at six months into the relationship, but this chick sounds needy and desperate. Not to mention emotionally manipulative. Like someone upthread said, don't be that guy. No one will respect you, least of all you.
posted by desjardins at 7:16 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you can't talk to her, you shouldn't marry her. Talk or get out.
posted by ewkpates at 7:56 AM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Spark is kind of an interesting thing. Some relationship researchers see spark as a result of seeing certain qualities in your partner. The problem is that often those aren't the great qualities. They actually tend to be bad qualities that you saw in your parents growing up. This isn't a problem if your parents aren't crazy, but if they were, well then you actualy don't want spark.
posted by magikker at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


Fuck the people who are all "Spark isn't important". Seriously, that's like saying "Freaky sex isn't important" or "Being best friends isn't important" or "Being completely open isn't important": it's true for some people, but not for others. I could deal with someone not being completely open with me, other people could not. I could deal with not being someone's best friend, others could not. If having the spark is important to you (and it sounds like it is) don't listen to people on the internet who overgeneralize their own feelings about relationship requirements to the rest of the world.

Having said that, I think that what's more troubling than that is the "I would be devastated if you ever left me line". I don't know if you can talk to her about this, but have you considered that she may say this line alot? I've found that people who think/talk like this tend to feel this way over and over, and yet somehow they get over the devestation by the time the next person rolls around. Don't let her emotionally control you.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I was in a similar relationship, although without the same degree of pressure. I could have said these very words:

I love her and all, but I don't have that "spark" you sometimes get in relationships... I love spending time with her, I honestly think I could be very happy with her for the rest of my life, but there is just something missing. We are super compatible and all and rarely argue. We laugh, smile, and life is great right now.

I waited 3 years for that spark and it never came. Now I'm in a different relationship, with a spark, and wow, when you have the spark you realize what a huge thing it is when you were missing it.
posted by callmejay at 10:29 AM on June 14, 2007


6 months = crazy talk
...regarding the spark. i am a big believer in "spark," "it," "chemistry," whatever you want to call the completely unquantifiable thing that makes one person shinier and brighter than the rest.


if that chemistry is there from the start, and you get along really well after 6 months, why is that too early to start thinking about long term plans? Like people above have said, after a certain age it is silly to waste time just "chilling out". If she is feeling a spark, and they both agree that the compatibility is great, then the sad fact is, what does he do about the missing component on his end? There are a number of different aspects to consider: how often has he felt a spark before? How lukewarm does he feel about this girl? How well do other aspects of the relationship work? How old are the involved parties and what sort of future is being looked at? I addressed other aspects of spark-talk in one of the many previous threads on chemistry.

If you're young and just having a fling, and she really is a little nuts and outwardly/directly pressuring you about not leaving, then you should break it off. If it's a solid relationship and you're at an age where you're looking to settle down, and you just meant that it's clear this is perfect in her eyes and she'll be devastated because she doesn't see any down side, while you're troubled because for you there is the down side that you're not as into her as she is into you, you have a harder choice to make. You can take the risk of letting go of a good thing in hopes of finding a perfect thing, but there are no guarantees.

At the end of the day you have to weigh your options and make a choice, as unromantic as that sounds. Not everyone is lucky enough to meet a perfect match, so you work out what's important in your life, and what you want in a mate, and decide if this is good enough to stick with, or if you'll hold out for something that may or may not come at all. It depends how you feel about possibly being single for a while. it depends how you feel about the importance of a partner to start with. It depends on a lot of things... Life's all about the choices, and it's your life.
posted by mdn at 8:26 AM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


to be clear, 6 months to start thinking about != 6 months to start planning a wedding. People over thirty will often start throwing out the idea of whether they're thinking about marriage / kids / traditional weddings / religious ceremonies / etc around 6 months (or even earlier) just to check if they're on the same page. That doesn't mean they'll actually start taking action on it, but at least they'll have a sense of what the future might hold.
posted by mdn at 9:28 AM on June 15, 2007


mdn, this is obviously not exclusively about the six months and other couples being able to know and marry in less time than that (a close couple friend of mine married after three months of dating and they are still going good seven years later) but considering all of the OP's hesitation as well as what appears to be neediness and desperation on the girlfriend's part, i still contend that in this case, 6 months=crazy talk. if someone who has had a history of bad relationships started talking marriage at six months and then told me they would be "devastated" if i broke up with them, then some red flags are definitely gonna get thrown down. whether she is really cracked or just melodramatic in how she expresses herself, considering the circumstances, it's emotionally manipulative—and would i want to marry someone like that? nope.
posted by violetk at 5:42 PM on June 15, 2007


but considering all of the OP's hesitation as well as what appears to be neediness and desperation on the girlfriend's part, i still contend that in this case, 6 months=crazy talk. if someone who has had a history of bad relationships started talking marriage at six months and then told me they would be "devastated" if i broke up with them, then some red flags are definitely gonna get thrown down.

I think people are making assumptions that aren't necessarily in the original post. The poster says...
"... I love spending time with her, I honestly think I could be very happy with her for the rest of my life... We are super compatible and all and rarely argue. We laugh, smile, and life is great right now..." which to me doesn't sound like she's a high maintenance /crazy talk kinda lady. If they really get along and understand each other in a day to day way well, I don't get the impression that she's emotionally manipulative and melodramatic. The problem he's asking for help with isn't that he's being thrown this way and that, but just that though he really enjoys spending time with her & everything works very well, there isn't really the overwhelming romantic connection. The only thing he says about hesitation is "the thought of marriage makes me nervous. Is it wise to keep waiting for that "spark" to come? Something just seems to be missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it." That just sounds like for him, there isn't really the kind of chemistry we hope for, ideally.

As for her, he notes "...she makes it known that she would be devastated if we ever broke up, and that puts a lot of pressure on me." I don't think that has to mean that she tells him in some kind of Fatal Attraction way that he mustn't ever break up with him. I think that could just be the kind of thing that someone who is really happy says without even realizing that it puts pressure on someone who is not as into the relationship - "I don't know what I'd do without you" or "I'm so happy now that I've found you" or whatever... People don't have to be crazy to put pressure on people they're in love with. Just expressing love can be a kind of pressure, if the recipient of that love isn't ready to respond in kind.

Of course I don't know, but I'm just saying the original post could be read other ways, I think.
posted by mdn at 5:29 PM on June 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I had a girlfriend who tried to pressure me into marriage once. We'd been dating for just shy of six months. I was 22, she was 21. WAY too early. Not to mention the prospect of marriage scared me; she was my second girlfriend and first sex partner.

I stayed with her for about two years, but I always insisted I wasn't ready for marriage, and I wasn't ready to move in with her, nor was I ready for any of the things she tried to pressure me into.

What ended our relationship was when I discovered she was sleeping around, and she had the nerve to accuse me of doing the same.

Between then and now, I bounced around from unsatisfying relationship to unsatisfying relationship. I'm now 28.

I currently have a girlfriend, and yes I love her, but I find that my past hurts have prevented me from getting too close.

I am never getting married. That's okay, because I really don't think I WANT to.
posted by tckma at 7:37 PM on June 18, 2007


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