[Originally published for LatinTRENDS magazine December 2011 Issue #84]
I’m a 31 year old woman living in her own house. I have an advanced degree, a good job, lots of friends, and an overall great life. Last March, I met a man named Emmanuel. We got to know each other, began dating that June, and things have been going wonderfully ever since. Currently, we are exclusive with one another, but we aren’t engaged or living together. If things are still this wonderful after our 1-year anniversary, we want to take our relationship to engagement and, eventually marriage.
So, what’s the problem? In a word: my mother. Though she hasn’t met him (she lives in another state,) she feels as though he isn’t progressing fast enough, and that if he were really “in love with me” and not looking at me as just a “good time girl,” he would have moved in with me and gotten engaged to me already. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t want to rush things – and neither did he – but she says that my “advanced age” means that I should be hurrying up and getting married.
I love my mother dearly, but I just feel like she is being irrational with this rushing of this relationship, and this will eventually cause tension between everyone where there needn’t be. I love Emmanuel very much, and don’t want to risk losing him or our relationship by rushing into things. So what do you think?
Considering the fact that you are well-educated, something tells me you already instinctively know what to do. But as your friend who cares for your happiness and well-being, here is my advice.
I’ve said this more than once here, but I’ll say it again: my mom always told me that it takes a year and a half to really truly know someone. Therefore, your decision to take things slowly is the absolute right thing to do. Why rush? Tell your mom that you know she loves you, and you’re proud that she raised you to be an intelligent and articulate woman, capable of making wise decisions. Le her know that her advice is duly noted, and you consider yourself fully warned.
Too many people today get married too quickly – sometimes as soon as 6 months after they meet – only to discover a year after marriage they got married for the wrong reasons. Almost 50% of marriages end in divorce, so to save yourself heartache AND money, take your time. You, me dear, have chosen right. If your boyfriend has the best intentions, he will wait for you.
Your mom thinks you should at least live together? Why play house without the commitment? In a year, you have a chance to develop the relationship and lay the proper foundation for marriage. You’ll have time to get to know one another intimately, you’ll have enough arguments, and you’ll learn how compatible you really are. It’s better to learn now than learn a hard and heartbreaking lesson later.
Now, the bottom line is that at the adult age of 31, you must now live your own life, make your own decisions and yes, even have the chance to make your own mistakes. You have reached a moment in your life we all dread: the day you have to disagree with Mom. Talk to her gently – and lovingly – and let her know that while you appreciate and love her, you have to follow your gut, and your gut is telling you to wait. For the record, 31 IS YOUNG to be married nowadays: tell Mom that I am single, unmarried, with no boyfriend and I’m 41…and I’m single because I want to marry Mr. Right, not Mr. Almost-Right!
Don’t settle and be sure. Be sure he is who you want, and love will be there no matter how long! Good luck and I hope to be a guest at your wedding in about 2 years!