Singlestalk: Freedom for a year

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Michelle: I was surprised to see a column about relationships in an interior design magazine. What was even more surprising was that the guy who professed his love for the woman and told her that he wanted to marry her and have kids with her was asking her for one year of freedom before they get married, and during that time both of them can go out with whoever they wanted.

It will not surprise me if they will not end up together. I mean, what kind of guy says he wants to marry you but asks for time off?

It sounds to me that the guy thinks he is in prison and wants to be released from serving time in captivity!


DJ: I was partly expecting for her boyfriend to say, “Joke!” after asking her that. Going on a break can save the relationship from destroying completely. Taking a time off from a relationship is not uncommon at this time and age. Having a space for three or four days to better figure things sounds reasonable. But one year?! That’s too much. It’s already like asking for a breaking up.

M: The woman wrote that she was absolutely against his idea and the guy said OK but added that the only reason she was agreeing to his request was because he asked her to. All her friends say her boyfriend is a jerk and she should break up with him, but she loves him so much that she is considering giving him his “one year of freedom.”

She doesn’t want to break up with him and asks if that makes her stupid. Maybe. Being in love sometimes does not let us see reason. Or in other words makes us stupid. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better if the guy asks for time off now rather than asking for freedom when they’re already married? Either way, this does not bode well. They both have freedom to do what they want and ideally they are supposed to use their freedom to be with each other and not away from each other.

DJ: Couples in healthy relationships work through issues together. Communication is often the key. What’s unclear to me though is the motivation for a time-off. Are they bored? Are they running out of topics to connect? Or is it the other way around—she’s not giving him enough space or is freaking out too soon?

Taking a break allows couples to sort out issues specific to the relationship, how they fit in each other’s expectations and life goals. And if her boyfriend is taking the time to find himself, she might as well use that time to do the same for herself. They should be able to arrive at a reasonable conclusion in less than a year.

Three months, in fact, is already long because recognizing these things is only half the battle. They still have to act on them. And extending this deal to 12 months sounds more like a big joke!

M: The woman says that her friends say he doesn’t love her enough and that if he is hurting her now, he is bound to hurt her more when they’re already married. Actually, the woman doesn’t need her friends to tell her or reinforce what she already knows.

There is something that is not right in their relationship for the guy to want a year of being uncommitted with each other. If he doesn’t see much future in the relationship, he doesn’t have to delay the process and ask for “one year of freedom.”

Make a clean break and don’t let it fester like an infected wound. And if he really wants time to do what he wants without her, he should also be ready to face the possibility of losing her.

I don’t think it’s fair that he gets his time off for a year and expects her to wait for him. What if he finds someone else or worse, what if he already has one waiting in the wings to replace her? And what if she meets someone else?

Freedom to do what we want does not mean a license to be unfair or hurtful to others. A quote I saw says, “If you love somebody, set them free. If they come back, set them on fire!” Just kidding!

DJ: Definitely, both of them can make the most of the time to ask some hard questions. And if the relationship is not getting anywhere, make an exit plan. Breaking up can be painful. But sometimes, it’s the right thing to do.

Every relationship needs some amount of compromise from both sides to make it work. But one should never forget his or her own worth. It’s important that they go through it whole or nothing.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2014.


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