Relationships Don’t Work on Your Clock Alone

“No relationship will work in the long run unless you allow it to move at the pace of the person moving most slowly.” -- 40-something, Washington, DC

This was one of the first pieces of advice I received on my 40:20 journey of interviewing 40-something women around the country. It was part of what motivated me to keep going at times because it was that moment where I said, ” Wow. There are so many real women out there that have damn good insight into how life works in real time.” There’s a tendency in our youth to put things on a “track” and think life is going to move on our terms. Set goals for sure, but the minute you give yourself a strict timeline you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, especially when it comes to relationships.

There’s no right age to move in together or get married — the markers of a relationship’s progress that we fixate on in our twenties. But it’s not when your friends are doing it, it’s not an arbitrary age you have had in your head, it’s not when your parents expect and it’s not when you feel it’s time…it’s when you both are ready. And if it’s a constant push to get that other person to match you in your feelings, it might be time to move on. You aren’t going to change him or make him move faster, he can only get there himself. If he isn’t giving you back anything and you’re constantly disappointed by his actions…say he’d always rather go out with his friends or he bails on meeting your friends and family…he’s probably not going to get there any time soon. At the same time, don’t force it if it’s the only sticking point. As this women knows now, a year isn’t going to make that big of a difference.

“Now I’m wiser. It wasn’t healthy. I had decided I wanted to get married by age 25. I could have lost my soul mate. Would it have been that big of a deal I was not married right at 25? No.” – 40-something, New York, NY