Is it time to break up with a kind, sweet, financially successful man if his kisses make my skin crawl? I’m not in love with him, but I’m tempted to settle because he’s a good person and I might not find someone better than him.
— 39 and settling
Dear “39 and settling,”
I think you already know the answer to this one. But just in case you need validation, the answer is “No” — you should not stay in a relationship with someone whose “kisses make your skin crawl” just because he’s a good person. Secondly, even if you managed to convince him that you’re happy, I doubt you’d be able to fool yourself for long, leading you to an inevitable break-up.
You can save yourself (and him) from additional heartache by ending this relationship sooner rather than later. Don’t let your fear of being single and 39 lead you to become 40-something and divorced. For the record, 39 is still young. If you want to experience the full magnitude of just how young 39 is, picture this: If you stay with this man until you’re in your 80s, you still have a minimum of 41 years to go. Sound like fun? Didn’t think so. You don’t sound like you could settle for another 41 minutes with this guy, let alone 41 years. And 41-plus years with the wrong person is a high price to pay for financial security. Both you and he deserve to love and be loved whole-heartedly.
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of good people in this world, but that doesn’t mean you should date them all. A satisfying relationship requires love, chemistry and compatibility. From the sound of it, your current relationship lacks sexual chemistry, the ingredient that differentiates a friend from a lover. Why torture yourself by trying to make a platonic friendship into a romantic one when it’s clearly making you miserable? You don’t have to choose between a good person and an attractive person. You’re allowed to have both, but you must first be honest with yourself and quit settling. The right person for you may not come immediately, but he will come if you make space for him in your life. Our time on this planet is short, but it can feel a lot longer when you settle for the wrong person. All of us are getting older, so make the most of every precious day you have left. Someday soon you’ll ask yourself, “Why did I wait so long?”
I’ve fallen head over heels for my new boyfriend and I think he might be my soulmate. It’s only been a few weeks; how do I know if he’s “The One?”
— Is he The One?
Dear “Is he The One,”
Although some people may claim that they knew their mate was their soulmate from day one, this feeling (or lack thereof) is not an accurate barometer for predicting the future success of a relationship. In fact, I’ve heard the term The One thrown around more often by people who were in the infatuation stage of a fling that ended badly, than by couples who go the distance. The urban myth that a soulmate is identifiable by instantaneous, high-voltage chemistry has laid the groundwork for many dysfunctional, high-drama relationships. Instant recognition is not a prerequisite for lasting coupledom. Some fulfilling relationships begin with an instant connection, while many more thriving marriages began with neither party having the slightest clue that they were meeting their future betrothed. There is no sure-fire test or sign to verify whether someone is your soulmate or not. One person’s experience may be totally different from another’s, so stay open-minded. Only time will tell if your boyfriend is The One.
Speaking of The One, since this term can serve as an excuse for high-chemistry, low-compatibility relationships, riddled by make-ups and break-ups, let’s clarify what The One truly means. Your ideal partner should not create a climate of extreme highs and lows, but rather a consistently sunny place that permeates throughout all areas of your life. So if by The One you mean someone who you can’t live without, someone who you’d sacrifice everything for, including your work, your friends, your family, your health and maybe even your life, like a drug addiction, that’s not The One I would recommend dating. However, if by The One, you mean the person you’ll look back on at the end of your life and appreciate as your best companion and best friend, who enriched your life through all of its ups and downs, then I would say, “That’s a great One to find.”
Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit http://www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.