Weighing Happiness

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I was widowed about 11 years ago and about started a relationship with a woman about a year after losing my wife. We have had a 10 year relationship, and she has talked a lot about marrying , but we have never progressed to that. I know she would like to marry, but I have never moved forward with this. She is a good woman and we don’t really fight and most of the time things between us are good. I feel like if I cant commit to her after this time something is keeping me from it. I know that if we were to break up it would hurt her terribly, but i’m old enough to know that if I don’t feel 100 percent that I want to be married again that I shouldn’t do it. The root of the question is when it comes to happiness how much do we owe ourselves in comparison to how much we owe to others no matter how much they mean to us. How do you weigh these things. I know there are times in life where there doesn’t seem to be a good solution and this certainly seems like one of them.

A: This is a powerful question — and thank you for asking it.

The very short answer is that if you are doing something that you don’t really believe in you are shortchanging your partner. She deserves to have someone fully invested in the relationship if it is at that level of commitment – not someone who is simply capitulating and doesn’t believe in their own actions.

The relationship you have now is exactly what you have wanted and it doesn’t include marriage for you. I would remain honest and clear about your intentions and limits and needs. Navigating the relationship forward is likely to enhance your intimacy. Knowing your limits and expressing them can help with the bonds you already have.

If your girlfriend needs more and wants to be married she will at the very least know clearly where you stand and can decide from there.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Weighing Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/10/26/weighing-happiness/