The Fiancee After The Long-Term Girlfriend

I know of a few of these cases, but I will use one in particular to point out my own theory.  A friend of mine broke up with his long-term girlfriend of 5 years.  Many of us thought the only reason they weren’t engaged or married was because they were still young (for NYC standards) or because they wanted to establish themselves with their career and finances first (very reasonable, right?).  We were shocked to discover that they broke up – mainly because we all expected otherwise.  His reason?  Because he just didn’t feel the spark anymore.  He was bored and not ready to take the relationship to the next step while she was ready years ago.  He thinks that you simply cannot start a marriage being unhappy.  Fast forward 2 years later, he is engaged to a girl he had been dating for one year.

Here’s my theory on how he went from being not ready to engaged.  He’s been in a long-term relationship for way too long.  He went through too many loads of laundry and other mundane chores to recall what being in love, and feeling passionate for his partner was like.  He was so focused on his own misery that I think he may have forgotten he was ever in love with her to begin with.  Yet, he somehow settled into the comfort of always having a companion to do things with when his other friends were busy and a plus one to attend parties with.  He was unhappy but too lazy to do anything about it until she decided to put pressure on him to get married.  He found himself in a fight or flight situation – fight off marriage discussions or flee the relationship altogether.  He also felt like he missed out on his golden dating years so the decision was obvious: he chose flight.

Life as a single man was refreshing, albeit frustrating at times.  He called up all his friends whom he abandoned on many Saturday nights for a “quiet night with the girlfriend at home”.  He enveloped himself in the dating scene and realized it’s really not as fun and definitely not as easy as he had imagined.  The dating scene is actually very cruel but he just forgot the pain and frustrations of dating a new person every couple of weeks because he hasn’t been in the scene for such a long time.  He sees his friends share their entrees at dinner with their girlfriends, attend parties with plus one and misses that settled lifestyle he detested not too long ago.  By the time he realizes this, it’s too late to beg for forgiveness (unless you’re a really smart man and come to your senses quickly).  The next girl he dates for a semi-long period of time, he feels the sparks (because time hasn’t kicked in yet) and he is comfortable (aka: ready to give up the single life because being single isn’t fun and he was just reminded of that) spending “forever” with one girl.  It’s like his love life is on drugs.

Hence two years from the time he broke up with his ex long-term girlfriend, one year after dating his current girlfriend, he gets hitched.  Although I hope for the best for him, it is my personal opinion that these are the type of marriages that will likely end in divorce because the guy will always go through periods of doubt or feeling like something is missing.  They are not capable of pulling themselves out until they learn by doing and regretting.

I love this quote by an unknown author that goes something like this: “Marriage is what keeps us together for when we fall out of love with someone until we fall back in love with them again”.  There will be moments when you feel like things are not working out, but if you really did marry the person for the right reasons in the first place, chances are, you will fall in love again.


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