Should We Get Married or Break Up?

When you’re not quite sure where you’re heading as a couple

Many serious dating relationships face a stage that I’ll call the “doldrums.” The definition of the doldrums is, “a state or period of inactivity and stagnation." You’ve been dating for maybe a year or more. You like each other, but you’re not quite sure where you’re heading as a couple. You’re no longer in high school when it’s normal for relationships to stay stagnant. As a young adult, you feel the need to either step toward commitment or cut things off. But which should you choose? And which will he choose if you force the question?

If your mind works like mine, you probably change your mind every few days. At times you can convince yourself that this guy is “marriage potential.” But then something prompts you to reconsider. Can you really see yourself spending the rest of your life with him? What if there is someone better out there?

Many couples in this situation stay in the doldrums refusing to move forward or call it quits. You might even have decided to move in together as a quasi-commitment that seems to buy you some time. If this is the case, please check out this article, which addresses why that’s probably the wrong move.

It was a long time ago, but I can remember being in the doldrums with my husband before we got married. I liked him . . . really liked him. But he was nothing like the guy I thought I would marry. I had concerns about how different our backgrounds and personalities were, and I was terrified of making a mistake. In fact, during that season I often had nightmares that I had married the “wrong guy” and was stuck for life!

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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