Q. Dr. Joyce: I have been dating a man I really enjoy, but I know that I would never marry him. My sister says I am stringing him along and that I should break up with him, but I think we are two adults having a good time. Besides, marriage has never even come up. What, if anything, should I do?
A. You stated that you are dating this man. Dating doesn’t necessarily mean marriage. Tell your sister to butt out of your business. As long as you are not giving him the wrong message and you have clarified with him that you are not looking for a husband, how you all see the relationship is between the two of you and no one else.
You don’t have to break up with this man if you are being open and honest about your feelings, your anticipated direction with the relationship, and your overall intentions, both current and future. Nothing is wrong with having a good time, as long as both parties understand that the relationship is just that, a good time.
Even if marriage has not come up, it might be a good idea for you to bring it up and let him know your feelings and thoughts regarding marriage and the relationship. Ensuring that both of you are on the same page is important; or at least the two of you should be in the same chapter, with an understanding of the direction both of you expect the relationship to go, if anywhere at all.
Your sister needs to deal with her own issues about dating, commitment, and marriage. As long as you and any man you are dating are both consenting adults, you don’t need anyone’s permission to date or anyone else to define your relationship, especially your sister. In a nice way, tell her you appreciate her concern, but you are in control of your life.
Two consenting adults don’t have to marry if they don’t want to. So, tell your sister to butt out!
This is an actual case regarding a relationship from the files of Dr. Joyce Morley, MarryBlack.com’s Chief Relationship Officer. Names and other identifying information may be changed for privacy. Actual quotes from clients are used.