When I was dating, I had commitment issues. As in, I wanted to commit way too early and way too fast. It’s not that I felt desperate, it was that I was overly eager and really wanted to get married. This meant I invested myself emotionally too quickly in my relationships, which led to a lot of heartbreak.
Committing to a relationship is a good thing, but committing too early is not always the best choice. I was always very eager to show I was serious about dating, but I often chose to commit to a woman who, upon further reflection, wasn’t the right person to commit myself to.
I dated this girl in college I thought had all the qualities I hoped for in a wife. It was my first serious relationship, and I remember telling her that I wanted to eventually marry her. As I got to know her more, I found that she was not quite the person I had built her up to be in my mind. As I’ve written previously, our relationship began to degrade, but I worked extremely hard to salvage it because I felt like I had committed to her so early on.
In the end, she broke up with me, and it left me feeling completely destroyed. I couldn’t understand how my relationship with someone I felt so strongly for could have ended so badly. I was angry and hurt that she clearly didn’t care as much for me as I did for her. What I ended up learning was that the commitment was strong on my side, but weak on her side. I had just assumed that we were on the same page all along, but I was wrong.
The truth is that it was my fault for committing myself to her too early. I didn’t give myself a chance to really think things over. Instead, I let my emotions get the better of me.
The best advice I have regarding commitment is simply this: wait. My relationship in college started to go downhill because I emotionally committed before either of us were ready. What I learned from that helped me develop the foundation for the successful relationship I have now.
When I met my wife, I worked hard on developing a friendship with her first before committing to anything serious. We did what new friends typically do when discovering things about each other: talked endlessly, joked, texted each other a lot, talked about favorite books and movies.
The difference between my dates with my future wife and my college girlfriend was that I focused on getting to know my wife before I began expressing any serious emotional attachment. I didn’t do that for my college girlfriend, and our relationship suffered for it.
Prioritizing growing a friendship before “getting serious” led to the commitment that I wanted all along. Jenn and I have been married for almost two years now. I can say with confidence that I married my best friend, because we became deep friends before we became serious.