Cohabitation or marriage after only a few months together!

Today I want to write a post about rushing into marriage or cohabiting a little too fast; so fast that the spit from the first kiss hasn’t dried on your lips yet. A bit of an exaggeration, of course..

Yesterday, talking to a friend on the phone on the other side of the country, she was lamenting that her marriage was on its last thread. I wasn’t saying anything because we had this discussion four years ago when she was “beating” and harassing her then boyfriend to “live” together after only meeting him a handful of months.

She met him when he was in a relationship with another woman, who was living with him. He dated my friend on and off between going back and forth to his ex-girlfriend. He left the other girl and started living with my friend. They married three months later. All of this on and off drama took place within a year.

After three and half years of marriage, she’s ready to throw in the towel. At the time, when she told me she was going to marry him, she chastised me because I told her she didn’t really know him. If she counted the times they were dating “on” without the “off” times, they were dating only a few months, not enough time to truly know someone.

Last night my friend told me that her husband has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and he is very picky about everything. Since their marriage she’s been trying to please him; but everything she does, falls short. He stresses her out, she can’t relax and he picks apart everything she does. She reached a point where she is utterly exhausted, she told him she wants to leave but he accused her of giving up on them and taking the easy way out. He told her she wasn’t trying hard enough to work on their marriage.

She wants to divorce him but she is somewhat embarrassed about what her family and friends are going to say. I do understand that she is embarrassed, after all, her parents warned her not to marry him that soon and her friends did all they could but lock her in the basement so she wouldn’t do the deed. Consequently, since she wasn’t sold into marriage either, she walked in on this one with her eyes wide open. That said, I’m very big in repairing mistakes and at the end of the day, she is the one who has to live her life, not her family and friends. I believe she made a mistake and when we make a mistake, we take steps to repair it.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder doesn’t change; and thank God she didn’t make any babies with this guy.  Bringing children into this situation wouldn’t be in their best interest. They wouldn’t thrive. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, in a nutshell, is about controlling everything, controlling the environment, and nothing she will do, will make it be different. I simply told her, she either repairs it or makes herself infertile so she can’t bring children into this hopeless situation. If she is at a breaking point as a full grown adult, how would her future small children be able to cope being dependable and young?

I still stand by what I told her a few years back, that by-in-large, people in general, need at least one year and a half to truly know someone in order to determine if that person is the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. During the first few months of courtship, people are on their best behavior because they want the other person to like them, but after a while (at least one year), people relax, they feel bonded, they feel so comfortable with that other person that they relax their guard and their true selves begin to come out. That’s when you see a lot of behaviors that you may or may not like to have in your life.

Yes, we always know someone who has done the “deed” after meeting just short of a month, or six months and they’re happy together. Well, that’s nice, but people have different levels of maturity and the level of maturity will determine the outcome of their relationship.That people who rush into these relationships are happy is wonderful; but it’s also debatable because we don’t live inside their homes.

Case in point, Claudia and Casey taught me something. They were the couple we all envied way back in St. Louis, MO. They were so perfectly happy that we called them the “Hart to Hart” couple, or the Newmans (as in Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward). They had a whirlwind romance and married after knowing each other for nine months.  I had not seen them for a while. Then, one day, I saw Claudia at the store and I asked her how she and Casey were doing. She said they were happily divorced for the past three months. I couldn’t believe it! I asked “why, you guys were so perfect together” … She looked me in the eye and said “don’t always believe what your eyes see. You were not within the four walls of my home.”

Since then, I have heard both sides from people who came into my office, who had an immediate connection and made the leap to cohabiting or marry, within months of knowing each other. The successes have been far less than the failures. The reason for the successful relationships was because both people were very mature and truly committed to each other and willing to make their relationship work.

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