Is He the Right One?
Q: I have been with my boyfriend for nearly 3 years, though we went through some really tough times. He loves me more then anyone ever loved me, and he tells me every day how lucky he is to have me and that he wants to marry me. The problem is that I'm not sure if I'm in love with him. I do love him, but I'm not head over heels with him, if that makes any sense. Also I feel that I'm the reliable and stronger one in this relationship, and I'm not sure if he would be able to provide financially for a family (if it comes). I'm doing all the budgeting and planning. He does well in his job and sends all his money to my account to handle all the finances. We are also foreigners in this country, and he needs a visa to stay longer, but I'm from Europe, therefore I do not need any. It would be easier for him if we would get married, and I would, if I was sure he is the right one. So how can I be sure? I don't want to lose someone special forever, but I don't want to find myself unhappy five years down the line either. Please help!!!! -- Kara, 27
Dr. Susan: Marry him. There, I told you what to do. What kind of deep-down reaction do you have to that advice? Does it make you want to run the other way, or is it a kind of relief? After three years, hardly anyone is head over heels anymore. The early lustful stage of a relationship, which a lot of people think of as "being in love," lasts only six months to two years. You're with him three years and perhaps you're wishing it would be more exciting, like at the beginning. You'll surely pick the wrong guy if you think that way. Of course, you mentioned "tough times," and that can mean any number of things. You said he does well in his job, so I don't see the problem about him providing security for the family, if you have one. If money's tight, have only a small family, or wait a few years to begin. It's perfectly okay for a woman to be the "stronger" one. We each bring something different to a relationship. Maybe he makes you laugh. Maybe he's good at showing affection. Surely he has abilities and talents that you lack, and vice versa. It would be a shame to marry in haste just so he can stay in the country, so you're right to be thinking this through. Remember, though, when you marry, you make a commitment to work at it together, no matter what. There's no reason you should expect to be unhappy five years down the line if you love him now.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.