When and How to Terminate a Relationship - Part 3
- 2003 30 Jan
For many people the worst part of dating is having to decide whether the potential exists for a brilliant relationship. A person who is dating and looking for a partner to share the rest of their life is caught between the rock (not wanting to continue a relationship that has no chance for success) and the hard place (not wanting to miss a great partner because of a rocky start in their relationship).
In this five part series we're examining:
When is long enough long enough?
How do you know when you've given your relationship all the chances it deserves?
In the first two installments we looked at how six months is generally a good exploration period, and when the six month rule does not apply.
Idea Number Three
How about if the chemistry between you and the other person doesn't appear in the first six months? Should you then say that that chemistry is probably not going to appear?
I believe that chemistry between two people is absolutely essential to the success of their eventual marriage. You must not get married to someone with whom you don't have that strong desire to touch them, to hold their hand, to have your arm around them, to kiss them, to whatever with them. You need to have that passion and that chemistry.
People say sometimes, "This is the perfect person, but we just don't have that much chemistry in relation to each other. What should we do?" Well you can do one of two things. You can wait longer and see if it develops or you can call it quits now. They always say, "How long should we wait?" My suggestion to them is you can wait as long as you have time to wait, but there's always a risk in the longer you wait.
Let me tell you a story. A woman I know has been going with a man for about a year and she has a lot of chemistry in relation to him but he has no chemistry in relation to her. He's told her that quite forthrightly along the way. The question is, should they continue going together? What's the risk of that? There is a possibility that in time he will develop chemistry for her. But during that time, if he doesn't develop chemistry toward her, her heart is becoming more involved in that relationship every day. If they do finally terminate that relationship on the basis of him having no chemistry in relation to her, she is going to be one broken person.
You want to try to make this determination as early in the relationship as you can, but you want to give the chemistry a chance to develop if it will.
Let me give you these ideas. Most of the time, when two people have not had chemistry in relation to each other for the first six months of their relationship, they will never develop chemistry for each other. You're playing with low odds if you wait longer than six months. If you do wait longer than six months, there is some chance the chemistry will develop but there is also a big price to pay if it doesn't.
A friend of mine, one of my closest friends, is a man who's been married to a woman for a lot of years. He told me that he went with her for over a year before either one of them had chemistry for each other, but when it came, it didn't come at any huge level. It was adequate and they've had a wonderful marital relationship. Other people have gone with each other for a long enough period that they feel almost embarrassed by the idea of breaking up the relationship. I actually know some couples who have married without chemistry, one person for the other person or both persons for each other sometimes. Those marriages have a tough time making it over the years, so don't get married without chemistry.
Try to make this decision about leaving a relationship as early in the relationship as you can while at the same time giving the chemistry as much of a chance to develop as possible. Six months is a pretty adequate stage, I think, for saying, "That's long enough for us to have assessed our relationship because the risk of further involvement without chemistry coming is just too great."
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