Spinoff from this thread about marriage:
Originally Posted by sunacres
*The curious thing about marriage is that it is a contract, the most profoundly serious contract you can enter into. Yet, we very meticulously avoid educating people (particularly youths) about the specific legal realities of this contract. Why? I think the answer is that if we did, few people would marry. And for some reason we want people to marry, and apparently as naively as possible.
As a society, I think we’re being unethical. Don’t get me wrong, if you are smart, lucky, warmly open-hearted and generous, marriage can be a fabulous, wonderful way to spend your life. But why do we lure the unqualified?*
Well, then, why not start on the SDMB? There are a bunch of young unmarrieds here (myself included) who could probably benefit from some education on the topic. What do we poor innocent youths need to know before we’re led blindly to an altar?
The beginnings of a relationship are fun, heady, exciting, and it’s easy to imagine spending your life with THAT person. You don’t need to see your partner at his/her best…you need to see the person at his/her WORST.
E.g. there was a woman I dated. We talked about living together and we talked about marriage.
The initial glow of a relationship lasts 3-4 months, with feel good hormones coursing through your body. There’s lots of infatuation and hope. You don’t want to rock the boat because “this could be the one.” You bring your A game.
Unfortunately you often find it’s a mirage.
Some people act nice just to get what they want and drop the act once they get it. The woman in my example had been alone for awhile and frankly, wanted to get laid.
Some people have history/baggage that they haven’t overcome. They can sweep it under the carpet for awhile but eventually, as you get close to them, they feel threatened because they fear getting hurt again. The woman in my example had been nearly bankrupted by her ex’s frivolous investment. I was struggling financially and she wanted more security than I could give her.
People start getting real. Fairy tales and fantasies are all nice, but when you get serious about taking that big step, everything gets the microscope and x-ray treatment. Stuff that was no big deal, not a deal-breaker, gets revisited and examined closely.
Moral to the story: you need to date someone at least two years before living together or marriage so that you can get past the initial 3-4 months of infatuation and see if there’s something solid to base a relationship on.
Which sadder-but-wiser doper would like to contribute next?