Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Q: My girlfriend, “Staci,” and I have been going together for over two years and we have lived together for the last six months. Staci moved in with me because she had quit her job as a teacher’s assistant (she had her degree but not her certification) and had gone back to school to get her teaching certification. With the economy and cut backs in education, she ended up not being able to get a job – not even her old job as an assistant. As you can imagine, that was quite a blow for her.
Back to the problem: We have been living together for six months. Had things not turned badly for her in the economy, she would not have moved in six month ago. She was desperate and we were involved, so how could I not have her move in? And frankly, I thought it was a good thing. I was ready, actually. Very ready.
The last six months have been very good. We get along well. I’ve never been with someone with whom I have felt more compatible, and she has said the same about me. I know for a fact that she has also told others that we are very compatible.
On Christmas Day, we were at her folk’s house. She has three sisters and a brother and their wives or boyfriends. It was a blast being there as they are every open and accepting of our relationship. (It has always felt so good to be there because of that.) It is always like we were just another couple.
Well, one of her sisters – who recently married – was responding about how getting married changed their lives (they had been living together for 11 years). She was saying how positive the change was. Then, somehow, the conversation turned to Staci and I. They asked when we were going to have a commitment ceremony. That is when Staci said that she wouldn’t have a ceremony unless she could absolutely be sure that the relationship would last a lifetime. (She’s a child of divorce and doesn’t want a break-up to happen again – with or without kids.)
I felt crushed! I had a ring for Staci wrapped and under the tree. It was like an engagement ring. I spent a lot for it so hadn’t gotten her anything else. This happened on the day before Christmas. After Staci said that, I excused myself and went to the mall. I got her some clothes and had them wrapped there. When everyone went to bed, I took the presents out to the car and replaced them for the ring. Luckily, Staci didn’t see my present; my changing it didn’t cause any problems.
For her, that is. I, on the other hand, have felt horrible since. I don’t know what to do next. I don’t want to ask her for a commitment ceremony, given how she feels about not being able to make a life commitment. And I don’t really want to stay with a person who doesn’t want that, though I love her, and it would be painful to break-up with her.
I just don’t know what to do next. She’s made her position clear. How can anyone guarantee a lifetime commitment?
Commitment Ring in My Pocket
A: You are correct. You can’t “guarantee” a successful relationship. You can only hope and commit to working on having a good one. No relationship comes with a guarantee or warranty. As far as Staci having made “her position clear,” I think it is more like she’s made her fears clear. So address her fears, not what you think you heard her say. Have a conversation with her about relationships having no guarantees – not a conversation about a commitment ceremony.
Given that, it’s important that the two people involved in that relationship be committed to making it work, without this commitment – from both individuals – a relationship can’t grow and change and be satisfying for both people. This would also be the time to talk to her about how successful relationships are when they’re created by people who are committed to communicating well and who work on keeping the relationship honest, supportive, relevant and fresh. (And what that would look like for each of you.) This conversation – or series of conversations – will be valuable for the both of you. You’ll get more information about what’s going on with her and her needs, feelings and fears. And this will hopefully open a line of communication enabling the two of you to honestly decide if you want to pursue a more committed relationship.