I’m unsure if my girlfriend’s the ‘one’

You can become an expert on yourself, and anchor your decisions in that.

  • Monday, May 20, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My girlfriend of three years, “Debbie,” wants us to get married and I asked for some time to decide. That time is running out. She’s 34 and I can understand why she wants to start a family.

The thing is, I’m not positive she’s the one. I always figured when the right woman came along, I would just know it. I love Debbie, she’s beautiful, kind and generous, but there’s still some nagging doubts — like that her sister and mom are both stay-at-home moms and even though Debbie says that’s not for her, will she expect that when she gets pregnant? I have no desire to be the sole wage-earner.

My dad told me years ago I would know when the right girl came along, and that I shouldn’t settle, but now he’s urging me not to let this wonderful woman get away.

Could it be that I’m never going to be absolutely sure, or should I keep holding out for that magic moment where all doubts disappear? — The One?

1. “[S]he’s beautiful, kind and generous”: Holy generic. Do you even know this person?

2. “[E]ven though Debbie says that’s not for her, will she expect that when she gets pregnant?”

Wha? My chat producer Teddy translated this so well I’m going to quote him: “She said no but I am going to speak for her and guess that means yes.” Yeah. That.

3. If you’ve read any of my work, then you know what I think of “magic moment.”

I don’t mean to pile on; your letter just has no signs of intimacy between you and Debbie. Do you talk? Really talk — about feelings, fears, hopes, old aches, new epiphanies? Do you listen? Do you trust?

Can you list three things that make being with Debbie different from being with anyone else?

Can you recall how you feel between relationships? Have you felt happy alone? Can you summon the way you’ve felt in other relationships? Is there any difference among these various emotional states? Is the way you feel with Debbie the one you want to keep?

If you were Debbie, would you pick you as a good match?

There is no “absolutely sure” when it comes to other people, not even close. But you can become an expert on yourself, and anchor your decisions in that. Please try. There’s no “one,” there’s just someone life would feel dreary without.

To Debbie’s Boyfriend: So, you don’t want your future wife to stay at home. Great. But are you willing to put in the effort so she can work without going bonkers from stress?

I’ve met my fair share of men who “can’t imagine having a wife who didn’t have her own career,” and then they hang back and expect to be waited on … and are baffled when their wives ramp down their aspirations. This is absolutely a conversation you should be having with Debbie. — Met My Share

Plus, he could wake up wanting to be a stay-at-home dad. Why not.

Re: Debbie: Remember that no plan survives first contact with reality. All you can do is figure out whether you want Debbie to be the one who stands with you to catch everything life throws at you. — Anonymous

—Washington Post Writers Group

Talk to us

More in Life

Silver, Blue and Gold, a Bad Company tribute band, will perform May 14 at Historic Everett Theatre. Pictured (from left) are Jeff Mills, Dean Babbitt, Bob Kelly, Steve Kelly, Dan Canyon and Dan Ellsworth. (Tribute Kings)
Rock show Friday in Everett pays tribute to Bad Company

Silver, Blue and Gold, named for the 1970s British supergroup’s power ballad, headlines a show in Everett.

See "Rusty Red Axe" by Scott Filipiak in the "Northwest Enterprise" exhibition in Lynnwood.
Exhibits focus on Northwest’s natural and built environments

“Northwest Enterprise: Working in the Northwest” and “Northwest Eden: Trees, Plants and Gardens of the Northwest” can be seen through June in Lynnwood.

Alaina Livingston, a teacher at Silver Firs Elementary School, receives her Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on March 6 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: Understandable and irrational

Surveys show swaths of Americans are reluctant or flat out refuse to get one of the three authorized vaccines.

salmonberries. Getty Images
What to look for when picking wild berries native to our area

You can find nutritious huckleberries, salmonberries, salal, dewberries, thimble berries and more.

Owners Newton and Naomi Kellogg opened the Ulysses Coffee cafe on April 24. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)
South Whidbey’s abuzz over couple’s new coffee shop

The owners of Ulysses Coffee Co. drive-thru in Bayview have opened a sit-down cafe in Langley.

A primer on the health advantages of eating whole grains

Brown rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, popcorn and whole wheat bread offer whole-grain goodness.

Lo mein noodles tossed in a spicy peanut sauce get an extra boost from tender chunks of chicken. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette/TNS)
Eat This: Chicken lo mein with spicy peanut sauce

This Thai-inspired noodle dish is a winner because it comes together in a flash — and is so full of flavor.

Josh Otusanya, 27, former Lake Stevens high soccer star turned comedian, has 4.6 million followers on TikTok for his inspirational videos from his family's home. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A funny local TikToker with 5M followers offers life hacks

Josh Otusanya, a Lake Stevens soccer star turned New York comedian, reinvented himself in his family’s basement.

George Vasil, author of “The Lance,” in his home office in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Arlington author explores an era of forgiveness and redemption

The plots of George Vasil’s novels unfold amid Byzantine Empire power struggles.

Most Read