Young and pressured

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


M: Mario, 24, has a girlfriend named Christine who is 30. They have been together for a year. They both work in a bank. They have a stable relationship. But he doesn’t see himself marrying until he is 27 or even 30 because he is supporting his sister who is on her second year of taking up nursing. Also, he still wants to enjoy being single. But Christine is not getting any younger. And he is feeling the pressure.

What’s a guy like him to do? A six-year age gap isn’t a big deal if both the guy and the girl don’t make it a deal breaker. But we have to be realistic that for a woman of 30 who still has to wait six more years before settling down because the younger boyfriend is not yet ready to get married, this might lead to a break up.

DJ: Sounds like a case of having the right love at a wrong time. Assuming that Mario truly loves Christine, it is still a question that needs an answer. He has responsibilities with his sister’s education. And if he’s been doing this for a time, it is understandable if he wants to enjoy things first before embarking on another set of bonds. But the deeper question here is really how deep and how wide their love is, and whether it is sufficient enough for them to decide to be still with each other for richer or poorer, for better or worse.

M: I think that any guy in a serious, committed relationship should expect that their girlfriend would want them to get married. If the guy has no plans or if he does but not in the next five to 10 years, he should be upfront and tell his girlfriend so there is no need to break the bad news when she has already contacted the couturier and wedding coordinator, planned the menu and finalized the guest list.

Making someone hope when there is nothing to hope for is cruel. On the other hand, there are some women who plan ahead even when they have not yet talked about the “M” word. This leads to misunderstandings. So the best thing to do is to constantly communicate and tell the truth. Even if sometimes it hurts.

DJ: Mario might also like to consider talking to someone he trusts who can give more wisdom and thoughts into his discernment. After he has the basic grip of the situation, it helps if he brings up the subject with Christine. Open and honest communication is key to every relationship. He will not fully know what she thinks about it unless he asks. Since the outcome affects her too, it is best that she’s engaged early on with the thought process.

Pushing the relationship towards any direction might still cause it to fall apart if both of them are not fully on board. Whatever their decision—continue, give it some time or walk away—at least she was part of the process and the decision is mutual.

M: I understand that a guy at 24 would want to enjoy single life to the fullest. In fact, I would encourage all singles not to hurry to get married. However, I would also understand that there are those who are in a hurry to move forward. As the saying goes time and tide wait for no man—or woman!

The key is to talk about the issues and see how it can be resolved. And if there is no resolution that is fair to both, it is just fair that they each move to the path where they are called. From there they will know what best lies ahead for them.

DJ: What Mario and Christine have is a partnership. For it to continue, they need to have common goals. I realized through time that finding and being the right person doesn’t necessarily result to living happily ever after. We know all too well that fairy tales only happen in movies. There are a lot of factors needed to keep a relationship going. These include the ability to tell each other thoughts, feelings and wants.

The willingness to work and together find the happy middle of giving and receiving is essential. It’s a tricky situation but who knows, they might find out that this potentially deep depressing valley ahead may be nothing than pot holes once they approach it together. No one is really trained on how to have a perfect relationship. A couple is bound to run into problems. I think this case is a good place to start. Whether it’s a start of a new beginning or a start of an end, at least they are both in it together.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 18, 2014.

Lifestyle

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