Q&A Tuesday

Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.
Musical stars Madge Elliott and Cyril Ritchard...
Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

How soon is too soon to tell someone you love them?

Interesting question.  I’m sure you already get the fact that you should say it if you mean it, and it’s all about you blah blah blah.  I’m going to spare you the sappy stuff you already know and just flat-out give you my opinion.

If you should only say “I love you” after you really know someone well, then I think anything earlier than a month is absolutely freakish and would cause me to run in the other direction.  I would question myself if I wanted to say it between month one and two.  Actually, I would venture to say I might start feeling it in this period but would resist saying it before month two of dating.  I don’t mean hanging out, I mean legitimate dating that involves courtship.  I think 8 weeks is probably not long enough to really “know” someone, but it’s probably enough to know that you’re having romantic feelings about someone as opposed to having that familiar “oh man I love hanging out with you” feelings. So, to summarize, before one month is inappropriate.  Between month one and two is acceptable, after month two is probably safest.

If I wanted you to run away to marry me, what would I need to do?

Uh, this one stumped me actually.  And I was really looking forward to answering it when I got it in my inbox, but once I sat down, I realized I sort of…have no idea.

All of the answers are boring.  Being nice, being well-mannered, funny, charming, caring, considerate.  It all seems so basic. I mean, if someone is nice, available, and well-mannered, am I just going to run out the door with them?  Clearly not, since I’m not already married.  There has to be something that held me back; equally, there has to be something that would push me forward.

What held me back? Well, I guess I felt like it wasn’t ‘time’ to be married yet; I always felt like someone, my parents, family, whoever, would be disapproving at my age and choice of marriage.  I felt like their approval and permission was necessary since I was younger and, well, I hadn’t done anything for myself..ever.  I hadn’t paid bills, made a big purchase, or generally lived alone and took charge of everything for myself.  So it makes sense that I felt the need to get permission.  I know now that they expected me to marry, permission would’ve been there.  But I was still too nervous to venture there.  Maybe I was holding myself back, knowing that I don’t want to be married needing that approval and permission.

Now I’ve lived the life of responsibility, good and bad.  True, I haven’t been doing it long, but I have been doing it.  Bills, payments, decisions on living arrangements.  Major purchases.  Financing.  Vacations.  I’m doing it all.  Sometimes I’m struggling, angry that I have to do this all myself.  And sometimes I value my independence a little too much and begrudge any situation that in any way threatens my new-found self-awareness and responsibility. I can’t go back now; I need the freedom.  I think that’s why my last first date freaked me out so much.  Texting me on my way home? Hi, GIVE ME SPACE.

I think I’ve had it both ways.  I’ve had no responsibility but no controls.  I’ve got the weight of everything on my shoulders now; the decision is mine alone–doesn’t matter the subject.  I have control now. I’m looking for someone who can put me in that happy medium.  I don’t even know what a happy medium is like with a man, but I think that’s what is going to make me willing to join someone in marriage.  I need someone who wants to help me make choices that benefit us both.  I want someone who cares about my safety and well-being and wants to ‘take care of me’.  But I want to take care of them, too.  I want freedom and responsibility.  I know it’s out there.  It’s the basis of any “real” marriage.  So, in short, that is what’s going to get me to the altar.


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