How Long is Too Long to be Just Dating?

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Relationships

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Many women have asked me how long is too long to be dating or when they should expect to see their relationship take a step to the next level.  Decisions like this have to be a topic of conversation in the relationship.  As a man, if I’m OK with where we stand, or I don’t anticipate getting engaged, we need to have that discussion.  I can’t tell you exactly how long is too long, but I can give some guidance on how to work toward finding your individual answer.

Dating is Not Forever

There are a small percentage of people who have no interest in marriage and will date infinitely.  That’s fair, and the right thing for those people to do is to let you know up front that this is only dating and it’s not going any farther than this.  Pertaining to the rest of us, dating has an expiration date.  Dating is an opportunity for me to learn as much as possible about my woman.  It’s not meant to be a permanent place of residence in case “something better” comes along.  As a man, I have a responsibility to let my woman know and let her family know what my intentions are (if we are serious).

Dating has an expiration date.  Dating is an opportunity for me to learn as much as possible about my woman.  It’s not meant to be a permanent place of residence in case “something better” comes along. Read more: http://bmwk.me/1mc7zP3

It’s reasonable to expect that serious relationships have a timetable to become fruitful marriages.  The timetable is different for each relationship.  What we have to consider is if a woman makes it clear she wants to be married and our relationship has grown to that level, she deserves a man who values her enough to marry her, or appreciates her enough to let her go find someone that will.  If we are truly selfless, we will think of her needs and desires above ours and either give her what she expects and deserves or allow her to be free to get those needs met elsewhere.  Dating is a means to an end, not a synonym for an indentured servant or concubine.  If she wants to get married, make it happen or keep it moving.

What is Your Timetable?

I know a couple who dated for 10 years, had children and never got married.  I also know a couple, who dated 14 years, has 2 children and did not marry. The woman in each relationship wanted to be married.  The man in each relationship might have gotten married—but they didn’t have anything to show them they needed to be married.  They lived as though they were married, so there was nothing to make either man interested in changing his circumstances.  They looked at marriage as a detriment to their lives, not an asset.

Our time is finite, so we need to respect our own time and desires as such.  If you set a parameter to see progress in the relationship, stick to it.

It’s imperative, whether man or woman, to have parameters around what you are willing to give as far as time to a relationship with no direction.  Once you have made a decision on what you want and you have a conversation around where the relationship is headed, you have to be willing to move forward in or out of that relationship.  Our time is finite, so we need to respect our own time and desires as such.  If you set a parameter to see progress in the relationship, stick to it.  For example, if a woman were to say, “I expect to move forward in this relationship within the next six months” and the couple has been dating for five years, that’s a reasonable expectation.  The parameter is fair and you are giving your mate time to make a decision.  The reality is, if they don’t meet that expectation and they haven’t met it for the past five years- six months, what would make you think they will meet it in six more months?!  It’s your precious time you can’t get back.  Spend it wisely.

Is five years too long?  Ten years?  Is nine months too long?  Some people would say you can figure out if a relationship is going to work in six months.  There’s no perfect timetable for everyone.  We have to communicate where we stand in the relationship and where we want to see it go. Watch to see if it’s moving in the direction you have planned.  If things are going as planned, you will find your timetable is perfect for you.

BMWK – How long is too long to date someone (when you want to get married?)

About the author

Jay Hurt wrote 66 articles on this blog.

Jay Hurt is a Relationship Coach, columnist and author of the book, The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship (http://9tenetsonline.com/about-the-book ). Jay’s focus is working with people who want to design better relationships and get more out of life!

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Do You Play the Giving Game with Your Spouse?

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Marriage

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This idea was recently shared in a comment on an article I had written. The article focused on actions needed to maintain a healthy relationship. This reader stated that she and her husband frequently play the giving game; where their individual goal is to out give their partner. No, not in expensive gifts, but in the areas that matter the most. I love this concept and I truly believe it has the power to transform marriages everywhere.

At the top of every list on building a healthy marriage, you will find making your spouse a priority. If you’re wondering what that means, here’s what putting your spouse first, and playing the giving game actually looks like:

Giving

People don’t normally think of ways to out give someone. We are usually focused on our own interests. Finding ways to have our needs met are normally our priority. This thinking easily allows for us to neglect our partner’s needs. We’ve all heard the popular saying, “it is better to give than to receive”. Not only is it true, but there are so many benefits that come along with being a giver. The feeling that comes with making someone else feel good is priceless. Our spouse should always be that someone else. Giving our love, time, energy, and support, without expecting anything in return, is giving at its best.

Sacrificing

Another amazing way to transform a marriage is by sacrificing. This means sometimes we have to do without so that our partner can feel loved, desired, safe, etc. It isn’t always easy, but can be quite rewarding for the marriage as a whole. Love is all about sacrifice. In many ways this one is a confirmation of love. When our spouse shares one of their needs, even when sometimes it makes no sense to us, true sacrifice is about meeting that need. Especially if it, in some way, positively benefits the relationship.

Minimizing

Certain things just don’t matter in a relationship. Focusing on the negatives and the drama result in damaged relationships. That which isn’t a big deal, let’s not make it a big deal.

Minimizing the drama, maximizes the time we could be spending on loving and being loved.

The giving game won’t always be as easy as it sounds. There will be days we want to quit playing the game because we feel our spouse isn’t worth it, or they aren’t playing it as well as we are. In those moments we should push even harder. One of the biggest rules in the giving game is that we shouldn’t be tied to the results. The true intent is to give because we truly want to give, not because we expect our partner to do the same. With every game we play we do want to come out as the winner. When our spouse is happy and satisfied, we will be also.

BMWK, do you play the giving game with your spouse?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 530 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict. She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and on the Michael Baisden Show. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. For more of Tiya's fearless life and love wisdom, visit her blog at www.theboldersister.com

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