When you are falling in love or realize you might be in love, many of us may wonder (or even our closest confidants who we may tell about our feelings may wonder and ask) if it truly is love or just an infatuation. We have similar questions when we are well into a relationship for some time and things may not go as planned or seem stagnant. Although in most cases you cannot be sure with clinical precision, there are a few signs that could tell you if it is time to part ways with the other person.
There are two things that I strongly believe should happen before marriage—sex and living with the person that you want to spend your life with before the vows have been exchanged. It is so important for two people who are going to be together to live together before marriage. The reason I say that is because I strongly feel that one really, truly has to know who he or she is going to be with day in and day out for the rest of their lives if the person plans to spend their life with that person until death do them part. Committing to live with another person for life is no small decision. Everyone is not compatible to live with. It’s best not to be surprised if you can avoid it. By living together before, you can gauge what you are willing and not willing to put up with and compromise on and learn a rhythm of living together so that there is harmony and no huge learning curve right after the high of the honeymoon.
Every relationship is different and has its own sets of needs so there is no one size fits all answer here. I cannot tell you what is best for your relationship. It really comes down to the two of you sitting down to figure out the wisest path for your future. There are many factors to consider; finances, work, children, family, rented and/or owned property, healthcare, and so on. One great way to begin to figure out what’s best for you is couple’s therapy. If you’re able to afford therapy, consider talking through all of your decisions in therapy which will help you see what you are emotionally ready for as well. Because it’s not just a physical, tangible decision. This decision will affect you mentally and emotionally as well.
It’s so important to understand the differences between a compromise, a sacrifice, and completely losing yourself in someone else or making it easier to not have to do any of these things. Because making it easier to not have to put in the work is a factor in becoming the side chick. Relationships take work, whether monogamous or polyamorous. You are hurting yourself, the person who has accepted you as their side chick, the person that they are cheating on, and anyone else who is touched by the main relationship when you decide to stunt your growth and theirs. By refusing to do the work by yourself, you are cutting off the opportunity to grow with someone else.
Miscommunication is a big factor in infidelity. Being absentminded and/or physically absent for periods of time can also be a major factor. There are many factors. It all comes down to not being appreciated and loved in a way that we should be. It comes down to not respecting the space between the people in the relationship and all that encompasses that space. When that space is threatened, even by you yourself, it’s still yours. It’s still a comfort so it may not be something that you’re willing to leave.