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I’m 47 with two children and I’m dating a man who is 45 (no children). We are both divorced and both of us have been out of those prior relationships for over 3 years. We started dating about 4 months ago and we see each other about 4 to 5 times per week. Things have moved very quickly, so much so that he asked me this past weekend to marry him. I said “yes.”
We love each other, we have similar visions for our lives and each of us has completed relationship classes with two different RCI coaches. We seem compatible in all aspects. We feel we’re being conscious singles because we’ve done the work.
Are we moving too fast? Do you think we may be missing something? We’re not inexperienced in relationships, but at the same time we want to make sure we’re seeing things clearly. Do you have any advice for us?
Together in Toronto
Frankie responds …
It sounds like you've been very conscious about screening and testing each other to make certain you are compatible. Kudos to you both! Conscious Dating really works and it's always good to see it in action.
Rather than give advice, I'd like you to ask yourselves, "What's the rush to get married?" In my opinion and experience, four months is not enough time to get to know someone and test for all your requirements.
Because of your experience with the Conscious Dating principles, you have an advantage over most couples. You understand that you are still in the first flush of “falling in love” AND you know how to navigate the traps. Use your knowledge wisely and make this the best relationship choice you have ever made. You have the makings of an amazing relationship. If that requires waiting a few months, isn't it worth the wait?
This is the perfect opportunity to work with an RCI coach who can help you dig a little deeper, get further clarity about your relationship and decide how to best move forward. I wish you much happiness and love!
LeAnn responds …
What an exciting time for you and your new love. It seems as though you have done the preparation work to provide a solid foundation to build a life together. It is not clear how the children are progressing in their acceptance of this new relationship. Depending upon their ages, they may also be living with your partner when you marry and their transition into this relationship is of great consideration here. Your partner's integration into the family can go more smoothly with time and intention.
Also, what about the infatuation stage of a relationship? How does that show up to enhance your feelings for each other? It is wonderful, isn't it? In 4 months, so much is learned about one another and there are so many more aspects of a character that come forward over time. In the beginning of any relationship, the wonderful emotions of love can cause us to look past any red flags. What is the hurry to get married? Is there any reason time would be a problem? It sounds like a beautiful relationship blooming into a life together. How exciting. I wish you both and your children a joyful union.
O'Neal, MA, MFT
Cherice responds …
Congratulations on your
engagement! Relationships are so beautiful because each one
has its own recipe which has the potential to bake into the most
delicious cake ever – “Finding the Love of Your
Life.” Thankfully, each recipe is different;
however, this hinders one from saying, “You need to date
exactly x number of months prior to entering into a committed
Cher responds …
What's the rush? Last I checked the average lifespan today is 83! There’s plenty of time for marital bliss. That's what you want, right? Not a big T-N-T explosion/divorce 5 to 10 years down the road (which occurs in 39% of remarriages).
Go back to your RCI training. Refresh your memory about the Pre-commitment Stage, the arena into which you have only just entered. Yes, you have decided that real potential exists for a compatible marriage. But, slow down and take the time to really dig deeply into each other's long-standing core values and non-negotiable requirements.
Get clarity on each other’s individual vision, purpose, and goals for confirmation. His asking and you accepting his marriage proposal demonstrates that you’ve consciously entered into this exciting, extremely private realm of mutual discovery. Don't short-change yourselves.
I always promote the "Fast Track to Happiness," however with only four months together there is still much unknown to determine if he’s "The One." Take the time NOW to discover each others nuances -- to be confident that there will not be future "unsolvable" conflicts that may ultimately destroy your love. Consider engaging in “Partners in Life” coaching, together as a Pre-committed/Pre-marital couple, which should optimize a flourishing marriage in the future.
Tanner | Fast Track Happiness Coaching
Nan responds …
Four months is not a long time to know one another before deciding to marry. Since both of you have completed relationship classes and you have been dating consciously and frequently, you might very well be ready to take the relationship to another level.
What have you done to prepare your children for the fact that you are in a serious relationship and have become engaged? What is your fiancé’s relationship with your children, and vice versa? You mentioned you have similar visions for your lives – his hasn’t included children (and potential grandchildren) until 4 months ago.
Perhaps, a longer engagement period will help the four of you to communicate your individual and collective requirements, needs and wants to the other 3 partners in the new relationship. Even if your children no longer live at home, their access and relationship to you will change once you are married. Asking “what if” questions and planning contingencies for various future scenarios (good and bad) will help each of you to handle events as they occur in your new family.
Sandy responds …
Generally speaking, 4 months is a bit quick. You have not yet seen each other through a year, which is best. There’s a strong chance that some surprises could develop that would give you pause, and the fact of your engagement could keep you from paying attention to those surprises.
On the other hand, you enumerate some good reasons in favor of your quick movement, not the least of which is that neither of you is a love-struck teen (although love at any age feels just the same as when we were 16). Add to that your relationship classes and your determination to be conscious, and I am somewhat less concerned.
My advice for you is to continue to be conscious; pay attention to any red flags that arise—and keep your determination strong to deal with them. Also, you should actively work on your communication skills, ideally with the help of your relationship coach. Time spent now, planning and preparing for your marriage (as opposed to just preparing for your wedding), will pay off in the long run. Get a copy of Intellectual Foreplay: Questions for Lovers and Lovers-to-Be, an excellent book by Hogan and Hogan. This book lists literally thousands of questions for couples to discuss, questions that will illuminate issues that may arise in the marriage.
Michelle responds …
You ask if you are moving too fast and if you might be missing something. Have you seen each other mad? ...with your extended families? …with your friends? … in normal as well as possibly stressful situations outside of dating? What feedback have you received from friends and family members? What do each of you feel in your “innermost being” when you are away from each other and quiet with yourself (and your God)?
Have you asked all the questions and received all the answers from the book by Eve Hogan entitled Intellectual Foreplay? It includes questions that each of you can explore and answer for yourselves and each other. If after doing all of this, you feel you are ready and you believe you know “the good, the bad, and the ugly” about each other and still feel ready to marry, I would encourage you to move ahead. However, still be cautious and aware of any possible hesitations that arise along the way. God bless you.
By RCI Coaches
Staying in a relationship you know is wrong keeps your energy and
intention focused on something that is not in integrity with who you
are. When you apply the "Law of Attraction" to this scenario, you
quickly conclude you will attract more of "what you don't
want." When you’re in a relationship you KNOW you
don't want, you take "action" in a different direction than you would
if you were in a relationship you did want.
O'Neal, MA, MFT
Mistake #2: You become exclusive too soon …
#1 It takes a long time to really get to know someone
#2 Human nature is such that once a person agrees to be exclusive, he or she begins to feel trapped. This instinctive and irrational fear magnifies otherwise small problems.
#3 Once you
agree to exclusivity, you restrict your ability to meet other
people, and when the exclusive relationship falters, you find yourself
with no backup.
Mistake #3: You ignore relationship red
Mistake: “Red flags" are things you notice about the relationship or behaviors of the person with whom you are in relationship that aren’t aligned with you and the way you live your life. For example, let’s say you don't smoke and you don't want to be around smoke, but you’re in a relationship with someone who does smoke.
This may not seem like a
"red flag" because this person "fits" with your requirements for the
relationship in all other ways. Ignoring this will put off
the thoughts and feelings you relate to "smoking" for a later time;
however, those thoughts and feelings will surface at some point in the
future when you have much more time and energy invested into the
relationship. The more you invest over time, the more difficult it will
be to break it off.
O'Neal, MA, MFT
Mistake #4: You set up unrealistic expectations of yourself or the relationship …
Randy comments …
Unmet expectations are one of the biggest sources of
disappointment and conflict. Our expectations in relationships
are deeply programmed into us by parents, peers, and the
media. "If we love each other we can solve any problem," "love
should lead to exclusivity and marriage," and "happily ever
after," are just a few of the many and varied expectations we may have.
If you can
learn the skills to accept differences and imperfections
(particularly the ones that hurt you most), and at the same time
develop new and better behaviors, then the relationship has a chance to
succeed. It helps to view relationships as a continuum
of unexpected stages, possibly leading towards a
desirable goal, while at the same time avoiding stereotypical
relationship expectations such as
LeAnn comments …
Mistake: Talk about a perfect opportunity for sabotaging yourself! Why set yourself up for failure? The point of a relationship is to enhance life and to enjoy it. Setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself or the relationship creates a catalyst effect.
First, you set up the relationship to move forward with a "desperate" type feeling inside you, or in both you and your relating partner. This "desperation" has a snowball effect, gaining momentum and becoming bigger and bigger over time. There will be a "crash" at the bottom of the hill. Someone is going to feel pain when the "crash" occurs.
There are many issues
that come up with this type of relationship "set up" -- unmet
expectations, disappointments, anxiety to perform, feelings of not
being "good enough," fear of failure, and list goes on. Why
sabotage your relationship by setting it up with unrealistic
O'Neal, MA, MFT
©2007 Relationship Coaching Institute