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A Critical Examination of Endless Dating

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This subject has been on my mind for quite a while. 
 
I'm making no judgments here; I'd only enjoy hearing the opinions of those on this forum.
 
Have you heard or do you know of people who have been in countless relationships? Sometimes even having had several relationships that were long-term and serious.
 
I can understand breaking off a relationship that's two or three months long. But it becomes more challenging for me to understand why people break off relationships that are six months, a year, or even longer. 
 
Wouldn't you know after such periods whether or not they are someone you want to marry?
 
Further, if you argue it can sometimes take a year or two to know whether the person you're with is worth marrying, then what happens if you got married after two years of knowing the person and then conclude that it really takes 3 years of dating before you can truly know whether to marry the person or not? Do you then file for a divorce?
 
At some point you have to accept you're going to be with just one person for the rest of your life. Could it be that this acceptance takes longer for some than others and that's why some people get married so much later? Could it be that one reason some people have such numerous relationships is because underneath it all they are still afraid of commitment?
 
To be clear, I'm not making any accusations. I'm merely trying to generate discussion here so we can all make a more informed decision on what to think.
 

I've reached the conclusion that once I have a certain measure of physical attraction and more importantly, she has the personality I desire within the range I require, I'm good to go. I think it becomes a serious problem if you're always wondering if 'something better' comes along. Are you taking a risk when you commit to one person, that something better may come along?

 

Absolutely.

 

But you're taking another risk when you keep waiting for that 'something better'. That is, you may end up single the rest of your days.

 

So my question is... why do you think some people have so many relationships before getting married? I'm not saying it's good or bad; I don't feel I'm qualified to make that assessment. I just want to get people's opinion as to why they think this is the case for some people.

 
 

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I think people have so many relationships before getting married because they're just taking longer to find "The One". Just because a relationship lasts a year or more, doesn't mean either of them would be even close to be ready for marriage. Some things you don't even find out about people after 3+ years of dating them. And sometimes unhappy relationships last a while because people are afraid to break it off, a long lasting relationship doesn't mean a happy one!

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I think one reason that somebody would have numerous long term relationships before they got married would be simply due to the fact that the person in question wasn't ready to be married, but couldn't stand to be single. For others it might reflect a fear of commitment that eventually leads to the demise of any long term relationships they might have. And like Mstr Josh said, sometimes people get perpetually trapped in bad relationships that they know are no good, but can't bring themselves to end.  I really don't think people are as complicated as we sometimes think. If you are seeing or talking to a person regularly and you have the opportunity to see them in a variety of different situations (casual public setting, formal setting, stressful situations, with friends and/or family, etc.) you could know most things about them after a year. IMO once you have been dating somebody for over a year you have a good idea of whether they are somebody you want to marry, so any delay in getting engaged or married would either be due to extenuating circumstances that don't make it feasible at that exact moment, or a lack of commitment. 

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I agree with what Josh said. Sometimes a long relationship isn't always a happy one. Also, over time things do start to come out about a person that they are trying to hide at first. I know people who were in a long term relationship with people who were really sweet at first but after about 6 months or so became more and more controlling and abusing. People also get into relationships to learn more about themselves in regards to what they like and don't like in a potential spouse. Some people who have a lot of relationships, might just be really picky or they just don't feel like their the one. 

 

Also, I think dating goes in stages. The first few months are the "honeymoon" stage. Everything about the relationship is perfect, he's great, she's great, the dates are great, etc. Then comes what I like to call the boredom stage. They're boring. You're bored with the relationship, you wish you weren't tied down, there are just so many awesome other people out there, etc. Both parties are looking for something more. Then after you get out of that it would be the "long haul". You love being in the relationship once again, but you realize it isn't perfect. He has flaws, she has flaws, you fight on occasion. You enjoy being around them and having them in your life. The "long haul" is where you really get to know someone, you can see their flaws, they can see yours. The "true" person comes out. From here one of two things happen. You either enter the "fighting/hating each other" stage or the "engagement" stage. The "fighting/hating each other" stage, the couple is constantly fighting, going home crying, they don't like each other, and it eventually enters the "break-up" stage, in which both parties begin to move on from each other and see other people. The "engagement" stage is where the man asks the woman to marry him and they begin to plan for a future together. This stage sometimes enters the "fighting/hating each other" stage and leads once again to the "break-up" stage, but for the most part it ends in the "marriage" stage, which is similar to the "long haul", only longer and permanent for the most part. In some cases the "marriage" stage takes a turn for the "fighting/hating each other" stage, and this leads to a horrible stage called "divorce". This can happen for several reasons, but usually this stems from a relationship that didn't properly enter all the stages. 

 

Sorry got carried away there, but my point is just because you think you want to marry person in the honeymoon stage(which is what you are referring to by the 2-3 months, at least in my book) doesn't mean 6 months to a year down the road that you will still feel the same way. Plus, I don't think I could see myself getting ready to settle with someone who I have only known for a couple of months. Though every relationship goes through its own course, for the most part every relationship I have had and every one I have seen with my friends has gone through at least the first few stages(only one friend has reach the elusive "engagement" stage). I don't think it's the something better may come long mentality that ends relationships, I think it is the can I don't know if I can live with this person for the rest of my life mentality. Some people just have more things that they can't live with than others. I also believe some may have commitment issues, so when it is getting close to the time to commit or move on, they move on. There's probably a lot of theories to why some people settle on the first lasting relationship and others never settle, but have many long term relationships. 

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When you ask why some people would have several long term relationships before getting married, are you just talking about waiters, or non-waiters as well?

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Well, usually, especially if you are younger, you know that you want to marry them, but it would be impractical now due to job and education issues. Some people want to earn their degree before marrying like me and some people want to establish their careers or find a better more well-paying job like my boyfriend even though we've been dating for six months. We want our marriage to actually have a fairly good start financially so we will be less stressed and have a better fighting chance of living happily ever after which does take effort in of itself. We're just taking care of the whole job and education issue now so that it won't come back to haunt us. 

 

Also, its the maturity factor, if you meet someone while you are young, its a good idea to wait a little longer since people change a lot at that age and don't exactly know who they are or really their identity yet. 

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When you ask why some people would have several long term relationships before getting married, are you just talking about waiters, or non-waiters as well?

 

Anyone and everyone. Though I'd perhaps expect waiters to be less likely to fall in the situation of dating a high number of people without committing to one of them.

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I have often wondered about this a well. There have many people have been in multiple failed relationships that ended on really bad terms, but they always giving me free “relationship advice†when I didn't want any. The people in “endless relationships†probably don’t think things through, they might have commitment or other relationship issues, or maybe they just don't want to get married. There could be a million reasons why.  

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Personally, if there were no barriers (financial or something like that) I think 2 years is a fair amount of time to be able to get to know someone well enough. I just think these things take time. There could be a variety of reasons why people wait, though. Maybe they don't want to marry. Or, maybe they're just not sure yet, for whatever reason.  Or, maybe they just don't feel ready. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all people who have dated for a long time necessarily have seen each other as much as another couple who has dated for a shorter period of time. Maybe they have dated for two years, but since they're so busy they have only seen one another maybe once a week and had only occasional phone calls.

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There's probably a lot of theories to why some people settle on the first lasting relationship and others never settle, but have many long term relationships. 

 

That's assuming they are "settling" to begin with. In fairness, some people may find what they are looking for quickly and that doesn't mean they are necessarily settling. Likewise, I could see a scenario where someone with many long-term relationships ends up with someone not as good as they hoped for. Or even someone who isn't on the same caliber as someone they were with in an earlier relationship.

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I have often wondered what is considered the average number of exclusive relationships. I think it would be kind of sad to get to the point where you can't readily remember the name of your exes because there are too many. And yeah, I think a lot of people keep making the same mistakes over and over and that is why they have so many exes :(.

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