How much investment in a relationship means you should stay

Melaninin asks: I have been in a relationship for a few years now, on the same campus, but when he finished last year things changed between us a lot. He barely had time for us, and all the communication was not there at all. Then there is this other guy; we’ve been friends for a long time, and he has been interested in me and maybe I like him a little. Things got all romantic between us, and recently my guy found out. We made up, but I had to end things with the friend – not because I don’t love him, but I have really given a lot to the first relationship (financially and materially). But lately I have been feeling I made a wrong decision and I don’t know what to do. Even when we talk about marriage and commitment, all he says is that he’s not ready. Neither am I, but the way he says “God knows best” makes me feel he doesn’t have plans for us.

Hi Melaninin –

         As happens so often, I don’t really know enough about your story to give you a definite answer.  But it sure sounds to my big ears like you’re way more interested in your friend, and he’s way more interested in you, than in your boyfriend. 

         It looks to me like you think you should stay in the current relationship because you’ve invested so much in it.  Well, if that’s the case, I have to ask you a weird question: How

old are you?

         You say you’ve been in this relationship for “a few years.”  Well if you’re 70 years old, and you’re saying you’ve put ten years of work into it, maybe it’s a good idea to stay with this guy; you at least know he’s committed to you, even if he’s not ready for marriage.  But if you’re 20 years old, and you’ve been with him three years, I would urge you to think about how long you’re planning on living.  If you think you might spend sixty years with one of these guys, three years really isn’t that much.  And the financial investment you’ve made won’t look like much when compared to buying a home, furniture, cars… and especially having and raising kids!

         I am a big fan of stability.  I can’t tell you how important it is to me that I have a human who feeds and shelters me, and takes me to the veterinarian and the dog park, and who always considers my welfare in any decision he makes.  (Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m also just head-over-heels in love with him!)

         But if you’re young, I would hate to see you commit to a relationship that isn’t what you want, with someone who seems to be more about following social rules than really feeling excited about you.

         Neither choice sounds terrible, but, again, it sounds  to me like you should consider giving the friend a serious chance.

         Best of Luck!


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