Matchmaker Rabbi: Why are women in their early 30s not ready to commit?
Dear Matchmaker Rabbi:
I’ve been on JDate a while and the question I usually ask to see if they’re serious is if they’ve been in a sustained three-year relationship at one point in their lives. I’ve found less than 10% have, and I’m wondering if JDate just draws people who like to hop to the next convenient thing when the current one isn’t doing it for them. I know of no ex-girlfriends, female friends, or guy friends who hadn’t been in this kind of relationship by the age of 25, and I’m a guy from Manhattan.
I put this on my profile in the past as a screener and it did no good. I’ve expressed interest in divorced women, but there are very few on the site in their early 30s, which is the age I’d like to meet.
Where are all the women in their late 20s and early 30s who know how to commit?
— Ready to Commit
Dear Ready to Commit:
I’m sure glad my husband didn’t have your three-year rule. We wouldn’t have had 5 happy years together (so far) and two beautiful children! Not only had I not had a three-year relationship when we met at age 35 — I hadn’t even had a one-year relationship!
Where are you getting the magic criteria of “three years” from anyway? Why not two years? Or four? It strikes me as rather arbitrary.
Having a standard like that also doesn’t leave room for one enormous factor in life: personal growth! People really do change and evolve. While a pattern of short relationships can be a signal of fear to commit, it can also signal a whole lot of other things.
I’ll offer myself as just one example. In my early 20s, I had no interest in tying myself down with a permanent relationship. I was a late bloomer emotionally, and I was just beginning to find myself and what I wanted in life. I also used to joke that I had already been in a miserable 30+ year marriage — my parents’. It took me awhile to mature and acknowledge that just because they had a terrible marriage, that didn’t mean all marriages were terrible.
By my late 20s, I fell deeply in love with someone whom I thought I was going to marry. He abruptly broke up with me, without any explanation, and I never heard from him again.
By then, I knew myself and what I was looking for pretty well. After him, none of my relationships lasted longer than 6 months. Why? Either because the guy broke up with me, or because I wasn’t going to waste my time in a relationship I knew didn’t have staying power. If you are mature, it doesn’t take three years to figure that out.
My point, amigo, is that if you want to know if a woman is interested in marriage, the best way to find out is to ask — hopefully in a calm, casual manner that doesn’t seem like you are dissecting every word she says. Something simple like: “So, where do you see your life in 5 years? Would you like to be married and maybe have children?” I can’t imagine why any woman would say “yes” to that if it weren’t true.
If the answer is “yes,” and you start dating, the focus should no longer be on whether you think she really meant it. What matters now is building a partnership of love, trust and kindness that will one day make you both feel you could never do without.
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— The Matchmaker Rabbi