I’m not a novice when it comes to dating. I’m almost 27, and I’ve been dating from the first day my parents would allow it. I’ve seen and experienced many types of relationships. I’ve dated younger girls, older girls, spiritual girls, not-so-spiritual girls, shy girls, outgoing girls, athletes, bookworms, blondes, brunettes, redheads, tall girls, short girls, girls who appeared to be my female clone, and girls who were pretty much my complete opposite. But my relationship of the last four months . . . it was different.*
I decided from the get-go that I was going to do everything in my power to put 100% into the relationship. I was committed to invest as much time/effort/attention as was necessary to make sure that I was meeting the needs of my girlfriend and making her happy. I know I wasn’t perfect, but I did my very best.
I did this because I didn’t want to look back on another failed relationship wondering if it would have worked out differently had I just put forth a little more effort. In a nutshell, I didn’t want to regret a half-baked effort on my part.
I started making lists of things I knew she loved or wanted to do. I took note of her favorite movies, music, and foods. I made sure she always had a fresh bouquet of flowers. We started going to concerts and doing activities she loved. I sacrificed things I loved and put her needs before mine (and tried to communicate that I was doing so) to make her as happy as possible. I loved her very much.
Eventually, things began to deteriorate. One thing led to another, and we broke up. During the breakup, we had a very open and honest talk. I explained to her what my level of commitment had been. I told her that I was treating her like I would treat my future wife and that I didn’t feel the same level of commitment and sacrifice from her.
Some of you may think I’m crazy. Others may think it’s romantic. Regardless of what you think, I need your help.
I ask you, dear readers, was I in the wrong to hold her to such a high standard? I mean, we dated for a few months and had known each other for about a year. My intent in “committing 100%” was not to smother out lives/friends/families and passions or kill individuality. Mostly, I was just looking for a reciprocation of commitment.
At what point in a relationship does commitment cross the line to devotion? Is it at the marriage altar or the proposal that you stop treating each other like boyfriend/girlfriend and start treating each other like husband and wife, or is it sooner? Are my expectations too high? Shouldn’t I treat my girlfriend with the same love, devotion, and respect as I’d treat my wife, or is that overkill? When I commit to date a girl exclusively, what type of commitment should I expect from her in return?
*Please note, due to a variety of issues on our part, Jim’s previous post was actually written many months before it was posted on this website, which explains why it may seem strange that he could be in a four-month relationship so soon after his last post. It is also important to note that from the time he first began reviewing the dating-coach materials (in June), Jim began applying the concepts in earnest.
Alisa’s response: I have a response for you, but it is long. This is such a common problem for both men and women that I feel a detailed response would be helpful, but I have posted it at this link (“Did you dodge a bullet or fail to take this important step?”) so as to leave the rest of this page for others’ comments. I hope my comments are helpful. They are not meant to cause you doubt but to help you fully process your experience so you can avoid this dilemma in the future. You did the right thing by investing fully. It gave you the ability to love deeply, and doing so again will be necessary if you are to love another deeply as well. However, if you don’t avoid the pattern that developed in this relationship in the future you may give up on such investment on your part—and that would be tragic. The kind of women you are looking for will want and need the man you have been in this relationship.
Good luck, and let me know your thoughts,