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Dating Advice #23 - Permanent Attachment

May 8, 2009 | by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc.

Commitment is one thing. But does marriage mean being together 24/7?

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I have been dating a wonderful, respectful, attentive man for the past two months. My only "problem" is that I want to see him every day. I was married before, for 12 years. My husband and I spent every day, all day together. My parents, who have been married for 40 years, did the same.

At times, I find it difficult to adjust to his not making "enough" time for me. However, he is a wonderful, trustworthy and stable man. I want to continue this, but I also want to feel like I am not betraying myself because I am not "getting what I want." Perhaps I am a bit spoiled. I welcome your comments.


Dear Nancy,

You need to resist the voice that says you've got to get everything you want. Even the best marriages require compromise.

As it is, the two of you have maxed out on seeing each other. Each of you needs time to separately carry on the every day activities of your lives and give your emotions enough time to adjust to what you are experiencing. The vast majority of engaged and married couples need time apart. It is generally unrealistic to expect two people to share identical interests and personal needs, and it is unfair to expect to be accompanied by a fiance or spouse (who would rather be doing something else at the moment) just for the sake of togetherness. Each of you needs time for same-gender friends, hobbies, and interests you don't share with your spouse. In this regard, your parents may have been a rare exception.

It is also healthy to occasionally miss each other a little. People who are "forced" into too much togetherness can feel "smothered."

You might want to look back at your first marriage and see if possibly problems arose because you and your husband didn't make space in your lives to pursue your own interests separately.

Try to understand why you "need" to see the man you are dating every day. Is it because you think your parents' example is ideal? What worked for your parents does not work for the majority of couples. Do you fear that if you and your guy are not together constantly, you may cease to be the center of his world? Do you want to be with him so much because you are afraid to do things on your own? These reasons are based on feelings of insecurity. Do you rationalize, "I adore him so much I want to be with him every minute"? That sounds like infatuation!

If you can't come to terms with spending time apart, you may be setting yourself up for a big disappointment. This man has invested many years in building a lifestyle and routine that gives him a sense of comfort and security. Even though he may hope to marry and share his life with someone, he also realizes that marriage means disrupting this comfort zone and making major lifestyle changes. Those who are able to make the leap to marriage expect to retain some amount of individuality and independence. If part of the bargain included permanent jointure with their spouse, spending "every day, all day together", we suspect that most of them would leap... in the other direction.

Rosie & Sherry

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