Four Years Not a Waste of Time...Yet
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Dear Christine,

Four years! Weíve been dating for four years. What do I have to do to get my man to commit? Iíve been patient, but this is getting ridiculous. Am I wasting my time? -- IMPATIENT Ė LUDUC, ALBERTA

Dear Impatient,

Spending four years with the same person is a commitment in itself, but if you need more, youíre going to have to start asking some questions.

What are you looking for? Marriage? A common-law arrangement? Monogamy? What exactly constitutes a commitment in your mind and in his?

What is preventing him from moving to the next level? Does he have financial or employment concerns? Does he want to be free to date other people? Is something lacking in your relationship?

You need to make sure he hasnít been staying with you just out of convenience or habit. Discuss your hopes, goals, and desired timelines.

I personally donít think itís ever a ďwaste of timeĒ being with a person you care about. But, in your case, after four years, if the two of you arenít on the same page or at least in the same chapter, perhaps itís time to make a break for it.

Dear Christine,

When my girlfriend and I first started dating, we were inseparable. I think many couples go through the stage where they want to spend every minute together. However, itís been a year and a half, and I canít seem to cut loose.

She used to like how attentive I was, but now she feels overwhelmed by my constant presence. Sheíd like some time after work and on the weekends to spend by herself and with friends. Iím trying to find ways to break the routine and give her the space she needs.

Weíre in the same business, and her employers are hiring. Iím thinking about applying there. I figure if we spend our work days together, Iíll find it easier to back off and give her space.

Do you have any other ideas on how I can pull back without losing the closeness we have? I know I should get out there and do things with my friends, but Iíd rather hang out with my girlfriend. -- HEAD OVER HEELS Ė GUELPH, ONTARIO

Dear Head Over Heels,

Ah, the canít-stand-to-be-apart phase. Weíve all been there.

But as you said, thereís a time when we all need space.

Thereís no bigger turn-off than a clingy, needy partner. Itís smothering.

Itís good that youíre aware of your negative pattern. Now you need to stop dwelling on your own needs and think about how others are affected by your self-involved neediness. Given your co-dependent frame of mind, substituting your friends is probably not the best thing for you. You need to spend time with you. Get a hobby, join a gym, find the independent man inside the lonely little boy youíve become.

Do notóI repeat,
do notómake any attempts to get a job at her place of employment. Sheís made it clear she needs a freer schedule to be her own person. She doesnít need your selfish twist on a new smothering agenda.

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