Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I started seeing my girlfriend when COVID happened about a year ago and things off the bat were pretty great, so when we all went into lockdown and remote work, I asked her to move in, and she said yes. It was kind of spur of the moment but I lived alone and she had roommates and it seemed stupid to have to be apart.
As time went on, we got to know each other better, and here’s the thing: She is a great woman and we do have a good time, but I also know that she isn’t the one. For example, my faith is important to me, and she isn’t religious. And I found out she has a ton of debt, and I’ve always been really careful with finances.
I made the mistake of confiding in some of my close friends that this was the case, and since then, they won’t let it go. They keep asking when I’m going to break up with her. Honestly, I don’t feel the need to do so. She’s kind and fun and we have a good time. Plus her moving out would be a huge hassle. But they won’t stop reminding me that I’m “wasting my time” and now it’s like they won’t even give her a chance.
What should I do?
I have so many questions. First, can we deduce that when you say she isn’t “the one,” you’re referring to a lifelong partner? And can we assume that because you are determining that she is indeed not “the one,” you’re in fact interested in finding that partner at some point? And what about her? Is she looking for a proposal, a lifelong commitment — kids, the picket fence, the whole deal? Or is she content with an amicable and pleasing cohabitation that helps to warm the cold winter nights of a seemingly unending pandemic?
Not every person swimming laps in the dating pool is looking for a permanent monogamous life raft. There are plenty of people who have no intention to marry, or have children, but are happy with the comfort and support of a long-term relationship. And as you recognized, a lot of factors are in play. Don’t stay together just because moving is a pain. But don’t break up just because one or both of you don’t see each other fitting into the nuclear family mold.
Instead, have an honest conversation with her about your intentions for the long haul. What are her hopes for the future? How does she feel about your mutual connection? You may find you have more similarities than you realize. But the most important thing here is that this is a mature and respectful conversation between the two of you that shouldn’t be driven by society’s expectations or, even worse, your friends’ meddling.
That’s right, Wanda! You know who’s really wasting their time? His friends! Hunker-down homies with too much time on their hands. All up in his business …
Speaking of hunkering down Mr. Email Writer, you and your pandemic partner have a nice little situation going on, don’t you? And good for you both: pretty awesome having support, human contact, and someone to play games with, drink with, and play drinking games with during this really lonely, terrible year.
But as hunkering down continues transitioning to opening up, you’ll both be outside the home more often, you know, doing things couples do. Like dinners and drinks, maybe vacations, definitely gym time, possibly even some movies or sporting events — fingers crossed! At some point, likely midway through a date night dinner with those great friends of yours, one or both of you will realize that you’ve been living in a state of COVoidance — avoiding difficult conversations, difficult decisions, and difficult self-reflection regarding this relationship while avoiding COVID. And suddenly you can’t COVoid the questions anymore: What am I doing? What are we doing? How long are we going to continue doing it?
Don’t have to answer them now. Don’t have to next month, either. Enjoy the magic while you have it. But sometime soon, especially if you’re absolutely convinced this isn’t going to work out long-term, you need to keep it real with her and yourself. It’s what’s best for everyone.