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Ask the Counsellors: How Long Should I Wait?

Q: I have been in a relationship for two and a half years with my partner. He is currently having career challenges transitioning from his recent completion of graduate University studies. I am excelling right now and growing in all areas of my life however my relationship has hit a crossroads and is stagnant. Since he is not ready to commit due to his circumstances, I want to purchase real estate and move ahead on my own. What is a reasonable amount of time to wait for someone? I also feel like he is resenting all of my progress and it makes me feel guilty. Am I outgrowing this relationship or how should I proceed?
– Julie

A: Hi Julie. You ask some really important questions. Your first question regarding how long to wait for your partner to be ready to commit and move forward in the relationship is a common one. There are a few things to think about in this regard: have you and your partner had a discussion about your future? Are you both on the same page regarding relationship time lines (Eg. Have you talked about moving in together/purchasing real estate/marriage/children, etc?). Are both of you willing to compromise and negotiate to get on the same page? If the time lines and goals for your future are vastly different and you are unable to negotiate a solution, it looks like you both are in a position to make some decisions about staying in the relationship. There is no right or wrong amount of time to wait…you get to decide. If moving forward and purchasing real estate is a priority for you right now, then I suggest you proceed with what feels right for you. Communication between you and your partner at this point is extremely important, and it will set the stage for other important relationship decisions you will inevitably face together in the future. It sounds like your partner is struggling with the unknowns regarding his career as well as having a successful and accomplished partner. You have no reason to feel guilty for your achievements and success, in fact this is something to celebrate! Have an honest discussion with your partner about how you’re feeling, and what you need from him to support you in your career success. There could be reasons he is unsupportive of your current achievements. He could feel threatened by your level of success and he is likely feeling anxious about his own future; this is a process that he needs to go through, it may pass or it may continue long term. You get to decide if this is okay or not for you. You get to decide if you’re outgrowing this relationship. Take some time to have open discussions with your partner and you will get a better sense of where you both stand. You will then have more information on which to base your decisions moving forward. Meeting together with a counsellor can assist in this process, if that is an option for you.  I hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact us with any further questions.

Elizabeth Smith, BA, BSW, RSW
Director of Clinical Services