There are several kinds of people you should just avoid. These include anyone who doesn’t enjoy eating avocados, people who talk really loudly during movies, and of course, people who don’t want to get married but just talk to people of the opposite sex for the heck of it. (Note: by ‘talk’, I don’t mean the dude who said salaams to you out as you passed him in the hallway. He was probably just being polite.)
But should everyone just get together and throw rotten avocados at these people? Not really, although it might be a hoot. In the majority of cases, the signs were there from the beginning, if only you weren’t so silly as to fixate on signs of your own creation. People send mixed signals, sure, but that in itself is indicative that something isn’t right. If you ignore these signs, you ignore them at your own peril.
Think of making a relationship ‘official’ as similar to paying taxes. No one really likes paying taxes, but you do it because you feel that ultimately, there’s some greater good to be served. The same goes for going to meet someone’s parents, making awkward chit-chat with their relatives and forking out time and money on functions that neither you nor your spouse-to-be will actually enjoy. It’s simply the price you have to pay to get to the greater good, which in this case is getting to be with a person you think is pretty cool.
If someone wants to talk to you for extended periods of time without stating any kind of formal intention/commitment, they’re in effect dodging their taxes. They get all the fun of having someone to talk to when they’re bored or in need of emotional support, but without any of the hassle or stress of dealing with its repercussions. They get the best of both worlds: all the companionship of being in a relationship, but all the space and independence of being single. This is fine if it’s what both people want, but in many cases, the arrangement suits only one person and the other person is simply left to hope that something serious will eventuate.
But who allows this skewed state of affairs to exist? You do, of course. By talking to someone who refuses to commit, you in effect become the eternal optimist. You hope that day by day, conversation by conversation, you’re coming closer to your end goal. You labour under the illusion that you need to keep talking to the person you’re interested in and things will just magically fall into place. All you need to do is make yourself available and the rest will take care of itself.
This line of thinking can be utterly destructive, because it neglects to take into account a simple fact: you can’t drag someone to the altar. If someone just doesn’t want to/can’t get married for reasons of their own, they’re not going to be swayed by the awesome conversations you might have with them, or the fact that you both really like talking about Russia’s geopolitical influence. You can have the most amazing ‘connection’ with someone, but if they won’t do anything about it, that very connection will bring you unimaginable heartbreak and grief.
This is why the smartest, scariest way to handle these things is the upfront approach. What this means is that a person asks pretty early on into a regular, continuous stream of conversation, something along the lines of ‘what’s going on here?’ It could be that nothing is going on. It could be that the person freaks out completely and runs in the other direction, even if they had subconsciously been harbouring the same idea. But if they do freak out, think about it this way: isn’t it better to know early on that this person just isn’t interested in or ready for marriage?
Any person who’s worth their mustard will at least respect you for not wanting to keep talking indefinitely without some kind of stated purpose. Besides, if they are genuinely, seriously interested, you bringing up their intentions only speeds up the process, and if they’re not interested enough to do anything about it, you know early on and can cut your losses fairly easily. You don’t have to do it in the first conversation, but if you’ve been talking for months on end and you haven’t even discussed marriage at all, then you have to face the fact that it’s probably never going to go anywhere.
It doesn’t matter what their reasons are for not wanting to/being able to get married, because it’s just not up to you to try to talk them into it. This is yet another argument in favour of making the move early, because if you let things drag out, you’ll start getting emotionally attached, and things will get real messy, real fast. You’ll try to hold on, they’ll try to let go, or at the very most, they’ll allow you to keep talking to them when they feel like it. All that will happen if this state of affairs continues is that you’ll fall down flat on your face, and they’ll have already run so far that they won’t be anywhere in the vicinity to help pick you up.
So respect yourself. Don’t let someone in when they’re keeping you outside the gates. If you want to get married, be open and honest about your intentions and you will attract openness and honesty in return. You’ll probably scare off a few jerks, but no one wants to marry a jerk anyway.
How do you know when someone is serious about getting married? Have you ever been in one of these pseudo-relationships?