Ask Team Practical: Back on the Shelf


by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

Ask Team Practical: Back on the Shelf | A Practical Wedding

It seems that even the “modern woman” still feels the pressures of the finding prince charming myth, if you’re intellectually committed to the concept or not. I grew up knowing the difference between wanting a wedding and wanting to get married (my very wise mother was a divorced and then widowed bridal gown designer). So I grew up, went to college to pursue my artistic goals, moved to the city, and was enjoying the adventure while occasionally being in a relationship.

Now I’ve been dating my high school crush for two years, and I just turned thirty. We’ve moved in together and have talked about getting married quite extensively. At first, there was a rush, a sense of, I’ll admit it, accomplishment, that I managed to land him after all those years of pining. However, now I’m realizing that while we’ve known each other for twenty years and we’re great friends, we don’t have common goals, we don’t communicate well, and it seems that there is little passion. While I care for him greatly, and feel that he is a good, honest, hard-working person, I don’t know if I can really commit my life to him. I feel like I would have to give up my goals, and that he doesn’t respect the ways I want to live (being green, saving our money for the big goals, creating art). Now I’m faced with a decision that I know only I can make, but I’m surprised at how much pressure I feel at the thought of “starting over.” I’m an educated, liberal individual, and I feel that I am physically attractive, but I can’t shake the idea that if we don’t get married, I’ll never be with anyone because I’m “over the hill,” or maybe too emotionally exhausted to try again. Even in this day and age. Even though my mother met the man of her dreams at thirty-seven and my sister met hers at forty and five years ago I thought that being married wasn’t a necessity in my life. Can you offer any insight on this fallacy of being on the shelf?

–Pamela

Dear Pamela,

It’s pretty clear that you know what to do here. So let’s chat about this whole “starting over” and “back on the shelf” thing and try to strengthen that resolve, girl. I realize most of this is going to be preaching to the choir, but lady, sometimes you need someone to recite the truth back to you so you can hear it and know it and solidify it in your head.

Like Meg mentioned at the start of the month, there’s a sort of rushed timeline that’s packaged for our consumption. And it doesn’t always reflect reality. It would be really, really nice if we all were paired up (assuming we wanted to be) and on solid career paths by thirty, settled into what we’re doing and where we’re going while our diplomas are still fresh and our boobs still perky. But, from my twenty-seven-year-old seat right here, that thought is straight hilarious. I can’t be the only one in my ripe old late-twenties who’s still waiting for the dust to settle. So, let’s shake that idea that thirty is “old” and that this is your last chance.

The other big thing is this false concept of “starting over.” I mean, yeah. I guess in a sense, leaving a two-year relationship means a fresh start, but that terminology doesn’t sound right, does it? You’re not really being pushed back to the beginning of some game board. You’re still moving forward in a linear (if bumpy) path. I do get it. I think a lot of us could relate to feeling like you’re “starting over.” You spend four or six (or eight) years getting a degree, and then, whoops, choose a new career path. You go back to school or leave one job for another or move across the country, and it feels like all of that time you invested in that other thing is lost. Time to crumple up all of that hard work, and start from the beginning again. Though it feels that way, you’re still actually moving forward, I swear. The question is, what’s the end goal here? Is it “settling down”? Staying at a job until you reach tenure? Is it just finding someone who’ll put a ring on it? Or, is the end goal being a content, fulfilled person? If it’s that latter one, moving away from stuff that doesn’t fit you and your life is still a step forward, toward that goal.

Same thing goes for “wasted time.” It’s not wasted if you figure something out along the way. That’s the whole flipping point of dating, right? You may have spent two years with this guy, but look at what that two years taught you about him and yourself and the fact that you didn’t click. That was valuable time, sure, but spent getting some valuable info. Now that you’ve learned what you had to learn, sticking around any longer would be a true waste of time.

Meanwhile, you know what two years is? Not a long time. You may be thirty now, but you met this guy when you were twenty-eight. If a twenty-eight-year-old can snag the hottie from back in her high school days, you know damn well a thirty-year-old can. It doesn’t feel like it, because of all that aforementioned junk that tells us people who don’t settle down by thirty end up with seventy-two cats and their own personal episode of Hoarders. Ignore it. In fact, when Maddie and I discussed this post, she yelled (or at least internet-yelled), “You don’t have a shelf date! You’re not a product!!” That’s the whole point, to me. There are a whole host of gross lies that you can buy into here—that thirty is “old” for a woman, that nobody could ever love an “older” lady, that anyone who doesn’t pair up can’t have a fulfilling life, and on and on. False. All of it.

“What if”s suck. But, “what if I never”s suck even worse. Regret comes in a whole variety of forms, and none of them are a good basis for making decisions. Even if, God forbid, you don’t find someone (and girlfriend, you’ve far from exhausted your options—bars, speed dating, websites, Craigslist personals—we haven’t yet plumbed the depths of dating possibilities), is that honestly a worse fate than being stuck with a schmuck for the rest of your life? Is staying with someone that destroys your other ambitions and negates your other interests worth the risk that there isn’t someone (or something) else out there?

I’m gonna make the call and say no. No. You are not “back on the shelf.” You’re not missing out on some rare opportunity.  And you’re most certainly not better off settling for someone just because it feels like time is running out. You don’t have an expiration date, lady.

*****

Team Practical, how do you embrace an unanticipated timeline? How do you cope with changes and “restarts” later in life? Have you ever felt like time was running out?

Photo by APW sponsor Kara Schultz.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

    I was looking down the barrel of turning thirty when I got divorced. So needless to say, the thought of starting a relationship again was daunting. What if no one ever agreed to marry me EVER AGAIN?! What if I’ve ruined my one chance at happiness because I married a total asshat? I’m going to be weird Aunt Addie who has 12 cats (although I’m allergic) and lives in her sister’s basement!

    Ahem.

    And then I remembered that I went on dates before my ex-husband and that I was still as awesome as ever, so I will probably date again. And given my life expectancy, it was statistically unrealistic to believe that I would spend the next FIFTY years alone. Cuz that’s just silly.

    P.S. In the four years since my divorce, I have been on many, many dates. And a few even wanted to marry me. I am currently catless as well. :)

    • Moe

      I totally ripped off your looking-down-the-barrel-of-a-gun metaphor down below. Thanks!

    • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

      And it also helped that I literally taped this to my mirror:

      The true secret to happiness is to live the life in front of you, not the one you think you should have.

      • meg

        Oooo.

  • http://theambershow.net Amber Marlow, theAmberShow

    Hi! I just got divorced at 30 after being together for seven years and married for five. There was definitely a moment of feeling like everything was all over forever. And then it became clear: it soooooo wasn’t. In fact, the good stuff – making art, figuring out who I am without the filter of someone else, dating – was just beginning.

    You can’t trust everything you feel; the feeling that you have of being over the hill and not finding anyone else? It isn’t real. I know it feels real – I had it, too. But it isn’t. You might just have to trust me on that one, until you know it yourself.

    Good luck!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

    Oh yeah I could relate to so much of this post. First of all I am 32 and my career, where is it? I studied hard for 2 degrees, I have worked here and there, done this and that and tried my best, at every chance and haven’t stopped applying for “ideal” jobs, I still am, and maybe, I am getting somewhere, but who knows.
    Just when I had come to terms with the idea of never marrying and still being happy, fulfilled by many other aspects in my life, I met my now husband when I was least expecting it (at an airplane none the less), and from there it all worked out seamlessly (which had never ever happened to me in a relationship with a boy before).
    Now… we are struggling with awful subfertility (I hate the term infertility and refuse to use it)… and we don’t know how all this will end. But if like Liz said the end goal is ” the end goal being a content, fulfilled person”, then we certainly are on the right path, taking small, sometimes hard steps (that require bravery) every single day.
    You can do it too.

  • Elizabeth

    I really relate to Pamela, and reading her post made me reflect on all the things that have come to pass since I faced the same question. Not too long ago, I had to choose to either settle for a lifetime with my long time steady boyfriend, or move on knowing full well that I was in my late twenties and not necessarily abiding by the “norm book.” I knew, deep inside, that although we were pretty content and knew each other well, he was not the person for me. But, my family loved him, my friends loved him, my confort zone loved him. What helped me make the decision to end the relationship and continue with my personal path, not knowing where that would lead, was the conviction that it was not fair to keep it up for either one of us. He has as much right as I do to live a happy life either alone or with someone that truly was for him. I had to go, and so did he.

    So, with the support of all my loved ones, and the judgement of others, I ended the relationship. This happend about a year and a half ago, and at the time, I was applying to graduate school in London, UK. I come from a small town in Georgia, and London seemed like a pretty far-away place to start my new life as a late 20′s graduate student. haha. Thankfully, I got accepted to the program and the whole year of preparation I focused on getting ready for grad-school and making myself happy, period. I wanted more than ever to make myself indispensable for myself. It’s funny how life works, for about 5 months before I left for London (I am here now), I met the most amazing human being and my best friend. He came into my life unexpectedly and unplanned. So, now we are in a long-distance relationship and giving it our all, not once questioning whether we should be together. And although we are pretty serious and committed to each other and the future, I’ve learned through this relationship to focus on being happy now and to live the present fully, everything else will come in due time. It always does, and you will be able to receive it with open arms if you take care of yourself first and foremost. Be there for yourself and listen to your gut, it will help prioritize everything in your life and teach you to never, ever let yourself settle for anything less than a “hell yea!”

  • Kate

    You’re right, starting over IS emotionally exhausting – on a relatively short term basis. But trying to build a life with someone who doesn’t share your goals & values would be, in all likelihood, emotionally exhausting on a long term basis, especially for someone like you who sounds smart, reflective, and creative.

    The pressure you describe to settle down “before it’s too late” is real (at least for me). If ONE more person told me, “I can’t believe you’re single!” … yikes … it’s enough to make you crazy & consider settling for someone who’s not right for you.

    I met my fiancé at 31, just got engaged at 33, and will be getting married at 34. Many of my friends have long since “settled down” and I honestly thought I’d be married with a kid by now. My life is not what I expected, but it’s so much richer than I thought it would be – and worth the wait! I love the quote from Miranda (sex & the city): “stop expecting it to look like what you thought it would” … was a little bit of a mantra for me for awhile (ok maybe still is).

    Good luck to you, STAY STRONG – surround yourself with people and experiences that light you up. You’re on the right path!

    • meg

      “But trying to build a life with someone who doesn’t share your goals & values would be, in all likelihood, emotionally exhausting on a long term basis”

      THIS.

      And then frankly, you’ll still have to deal with the thing you avoided dealing with at some point, after years of trying and trying and being emotionally exhausted.

    • Ashley

      You sound smart, too. So people saying “I can’t believe you’re single!” is probably a compliment best translated as “But you’re so awesome! What’s wrong with these guys?” (Of course, not knowing the tone these people are using, there could definitely be some people saying it in a crazy-making way too.)

    • MDBethann

      Kate, you sound just like me. I thought I’d meet my husband in college and have kids by my early 30s – that’s what my parents and a number of my friends did. But my 20s were a lot of single mixed in with some dating, but few relationships.

      Right before I turned 30, I was dating a military officer off and on; there were things about him I liked and other things that made me go “meh.” He wasn’t bad, it’s just, well, while he liked me, we didn’t want the same things in life. I realized that being with him meant I’d be settling, and I didn’t want that, though I also dreaded the thought of being alone at 30 – I was tired of just “dating.”

      As I was figuring all of this out, I met a great guy through Chemistry.com. We started hanging out as friends, but he made spending time with me a priority, which other guys didn’t always do, and he was a lot more interesting than the other guy and wanted the same things in life. It didn’t take me too long to say bon voyage for good to the military guy. Four years later, the guy I met online and I are happily married for nearly a year and he’s the best part of my life. I am grateful every day for the fact that I didn’t settle for the shiny military officer. I have the best husband and amazingly wonderful in-laws. Life is good.

      Oh, and I did end up with cats (3 of them), but they came with the husband, so crazy cat ladies aren’t always single! ;-)

  • Gillian

    “What if”s suck. But, “what if I never”s suck even worse.

    This.

    So helpful and applicable to so many of our fears.

  • Kiki D

    Oh, Pamela honey. **hugs** I so, so feel you. At 36 I left a 2.5-year-long relationship (the longest I’d ever been in, by far) for reasons very similar to your own. Was it scary? Yes. Was being on my own again an adjustment? Yes. It was also very, very freeing to get back to myself and remember all the things I liked to do and be when I didn’t have someone holding me back. A year later, I decided I needed to get out more and started online dating–if you can call one person “online dating.” :-D We’re getting married in October. I’ll be 39.

    The thing is, I had to go through that failed relationship to get to where I am now. It helped make me who I am (as all our relationships do) and helped me to better define what I really wanted and needed in a partner.

    And here’s something else I only realized in hindsight: I was lonelier in that failed relationship than I was out of it. I’d rather walk my path alone than go through that ever again.

    Good luck to you!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      “And here’s something else I only realized in hindsight: I was lonelier in that failed relationship than I was out of it. I’d rather walk my path alone than go through that ever again.”

      I agree about the idea of being lonely in relationships. Or how a bad marriage is worse than no marriage. At some point in my late twenties or early thirties I got okay with the idea that I would rather not be married ever than be married to someone who wasn’t right for me. For me, that was the only kind of marriage that was worth it to me.

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    Liz (and all the other commenters) are right on. Again.

    I can speak a little to real timelines not looking like expectations. I feel like I am constantly starting over career-wise and goal-wise to find the life that allows me to be a “happy, contented person.” And despite the struggles, I know for sure that I have ZERO patience for anything in my life that doesn’t enrich me or serve my purposes. That sounds really enlightened when I say it out loud, but mostly it’s just frustrating because I’m constantly revamping and being pulled short by my budget and feeling like I’m not getting anywhere. Even so, every time I toss out whatever item, task, attitude, or activity that is holding me back, I feel like a million bucks.

    Do it, girl, you’ve got so much life ahead!

  • kcaudad

    I had this happen. I’ll share this to providing some hope to ‘Pamela’ and others… I also dated someone for 2 years. He’s was a great guy and a caring boyfriend. There were not real ‘glaring’ reasons to break-up (he wasn’t abusive, cheating, treating me badly, etc.) But, it became obvious to me that we didn’t share common goals for our future lives. We had different ideas about religion, kids, health, marriage, etc, etc. These started to become ‘red flags’ for me and I started to realize that I couldn’t continue on a life path with someone with such different goals. I struggled with this for many months. Until, I almost moved in with him. I new something wasn’t quite right and backed out. A few months later we ‘officially’ broke up. It was difficult and a few people didn’t understand. From the outside, things looked great… we looked like a good couple and didn’t appear to have major issues…. but, as it turns out, those things ARE MAJOR ISSUES for a life-long relationship.

    A few months later, I tried online dating. After a few flops, I met the man who is now my husband! We share many life goals and dreams for the future. And, those major things in my other relationship are not issue with us. We started off talking about ‘big issues’ and were open and honest with each other right away. We know that we want to make our marriage work for a life-time!

    Good luck with your decision. Do what you know is right in your heart and trust that the ‘perfect’ match is still waiting for you!

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    I know a few commenters have already said it, but I’m going to say it again: settling for a guy you know doesn’t share goals or your lifestyle choices will make you a lot more emotionally exhausted than jumping back into dating ever will.* I actually want to give you a serious high five for figuring that out and acknowledging it BEFORE you made a more serious commitment to him. Please don’t let pressure or expectations keep you from following your gut.

    *and I say this from experience

  • http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/ Alyssa

    “You don’t have a shelf date! You’re not a product!!” :D
    As a side, note, even products have “Life After Expiration.”

    http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-life-after-expiration.html

  • http://www.emilywenzel.com Emily

    “he doesn’t respect the ways I want to live (being green, saving our money for the big goals, creating art)”

    This is important. It’s better to be single and live the life that makes you happy than be part of a couple & secretly wish for more.

    • Marie

      Truth!!!!!

  • Copper

    There was a conversation in one of the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy that I remember whenever I’ve felt like this:

    Sad just-divorced character: “I just never thought I’d end up alone!”
    Wise friend: “You haven’t “ended up” anywhere.”

    I remember that when I need a reminder that I haven’t ended up anywhere, because this is not the end. It’s not the end til my life is over, and even then if I’ve “ended up” alone, it may only be because I was there for my favorite people until their ends and mine came a little later.

    • JESS

      That reminds me of a saying that I love a lot:

      Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.

  • http://www.alacartealbums.com Jane

    I met my wife when she was well over 30 and I was almost there, and was fresh from divorcing my college sweetheart. It worked out well for us (we do have three cats, admittedly, but also 2 kids and over a decade of wedded-ness to go with.)

    I suspect, actually, that the whole “on the shelf” idea is mostly a cultural fiction designed to keep us in line; for example you see it all the time in historical novels about Regency/Victorian England, when the actual *data* on marriages from the era shows that older women were in as much demand as wives as the debutantes were.

  • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

    oh, honey! I’m not sure where you live, but your geographic region might be adding lots of horrible pressure. I was in a 7 year relationship with a guy who didn’t share similar goals and we split when I was 28ish. I was solidly single for a few years after that – and organized a HUGE 30th birthday party wherein I rented the local American Legion hall and invited ALL my friends – and I didn’t meet my husband until I was just shy of 31 years old. But I didn’t feel ANY pressure because I live in the NY/NJ area, and I know lots of women who aren’t married at 30, 35, 40, and beyond. AND going through the work of figuring out why my goals didn’t match my ex’s goals was SO helpful when I was ready to start dating again seriously. I was able to recognize that my husband was not only super cute, interesting, and hilarious, but ALSO that we had similar goals. total score.

    • Kate

      whoa! I rented a legion hall & threw myself a big 30th birthday party too!! Hired a DJ, invited friends, my family took a party bus in from the burbs, etc. you CLEARLY have impeccable taste in parties :)
      It was a great time…

    • Not Sarah

      One of my guy friends threw a huge 30th birthday party this summer, renting out a bar and paying for everyone’s first drink or two. It was an awesome party! And probably quite welcome for him after being a groomsman in multiple weddings this past summer. Such an awesome idea!!

    • meg

      True THAT. In New York, someone once told me it was borderline unethical to have kids at 28 or 29, because you were WAY too young to be a parent.

      I mean.

      So yes. It’s so helpful to remember that regional culture plays a huge part of that.

  • Maddie

    I was going to text my mom to tell her to comment here, and then I realized she is on vacation in Miami raising hell with her husband and two of their friends. She got married at…40? After leaving an eight-year-long relationship with my step-father. And I’ve never seen her happier. Oh and in between there she left two long-term relationships, one of which involved an engagement. I shudder to think what would have happened if she’d settled and stayed with either of them.

    The moral? You’re only as “over the hill” as you let yourself be. And you are absolutely without a doubt worth something better. The end.

    • meg

      “You’re only as “over the hill” as you let yourself be.”

      This. Times a thousand. It totally applies to things like becoming a mother too (or a married lady) with there own cultural script. You wanna still be interesting and fun? Be interesting and fun.

  • Moe

    I married a few months ago when I was staring the barrel of 40. I grew up in a traditional conservative religious culture where if you did not marry by 25 or so the prospects for you were looking bleak and I often got those consoling comments at weddings that went something like “don’t worry, your day will come too.”

    I sympathize so very much with your struggle (because I felt that way too at 27, 29, 30, 34, 36 and 37) and yet at the very same time I want to urgently shake you to wake up. This isn’t ‘starting over’. This is learning. Starting Over is rebuilding your home and life after a hurricane has blown everything away. Starting Over is carrying on with your life after a spouse has died or you’ve divorced after building a life and family together.

    If you have come to the realization that this relationship you are in is not going to work or the long haul, this is a blessing of sorts. Of course it does not mean he is a bad person. You are not a loser. This is a chapter in both of your lives that perhaps needs to end so that you can move on to what is next. Liz said it very well “It’s not wasted (time) if you figure something out along the way.”

    I was oh-so-sure that I was ready to commit and marry at several points in my life. I AM SO VERY LUCKY that I did not marry any of the previous men who were in my life. As a result I got to live out my single adventures, finish school, travel the world, sit around do nothing when I wanted to, I did a lot of stuff!

    The pain and disappointment of marrying the wrong person for you is by far worse than the pain of a break-up now. I don’t want to diminish that. But please, please reconsider some of the assumptions you have made.

    By the way, I am far from being past my “expiration date” at 40. I look younger than some 30-somethings. :D

  • Lauren

    Since no one has yet mentioned it (unless I’ve missed it), I have to link you to Sugar on this issue. She gives better advice than anyone on the planet. Wanting to leave is enough.

    http://therumpus.net/2011/06/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-77-the-truth-that-lives-there/

    • Katherine

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning Sugar!! She always hits the truth of whatever she’s writing about, even though it might be tough to hear. Love her!

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      Love Sugar! What struck me about that was allll the letters together, and how kind of heartbreaking it was to see how common this doubt about leaving and hurting someone is (and she hit on that in her response). I also started to think when reading that that…if you want to leave you SHOULD leave, because a partner deserves someone who is SURE, who is all-in, who isn’t looking for an escape route or talking herself into staying. I’d be heartbroken if I found out that’s how my partner felt after a couple years of dating (though who knows if these letter writers’ partners would be)…but I would be completely devastated fo find that out AFTER we’d committed to spending our lives together through marriage.

      • http://theaftercath.blogspot.com Cathi

        “I’d be heartbroken if I found out that’s how my partner felt after a couple years of dating.”

        This happened to me, and it did break my heart. It broke a lot of other things in my brain, too, notably a sense of self-assurance. I felt rejected, yes. Unloved, yes. But above all, I felt foolish. I felt like an idiot. I felt duped. It was awful.

        It was a very painful, but necessary, lesson in what a partner is, and what I deserve. I (and you, and your partners) deserve someone who is all-in. Someone who wants to be with you and doesn’t doubt that. That exists, you can have that. You should wait for it.

    • Lauren

      I was just about to post this, but I thought surely someone has mentioned Sugar and found your comment!

  • Leoka

    I can totally understand the fear of giving up what you currently have for something un-known. But at the same time – imagine how bad it’ll feel if you have to do it 5 years down the road, after getting married and possibly having kids together? If you don’t have common goals, then chances are – you will end up splitting up at some point in the future. My ex and I broke up after 3 years together, and the hardest thought was that those 3 years were wasted, that I could have spent them with someone more special. But that’s exactly the reason to stop collecting those years with the wrong person, and do a leap of faith.
    I met my now husband on a dating website a week after splitting up with my ex. He has been married for almost a decade before, and he often admits that it pains him that he didn’t spend those years with me instead. But you know what, I wasn’t available back then, and we grew into being who we are partially because of our past relationships. When we met, I was 28, he was 32. We got married just over a year after meeting.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      “Stop collecting those years with the wrong person.”

      Sing it, sister

  • Lu

    I was 29, turning 30 in 3 months when my then live in boyfriend dumped me.
    I had many thoughts about how I would never get married or have kids. Or would have to settle for the first guy I dated if I wanted these things.

    None of that turned out to be true.

    I am 34, married and pregnant. And most importantly happy with myself and over the moon in love with the man I married. I would never appreciate him this much if I had not had that sort of ok relationship with no passion. So I am glad that I spent 4 years figuring out what was not right. So when right came along I was ready to jump right in with both feet.

  • Emmy

    The thing is, it never gets any easier to leave a not-great relationship. It just gets harder to stay in it. A few years ago, I was living with a really nice guy. We were great friends, but our goals didn’t match up and I slowly fell out of love with him. Still, I told myself, isn’t the most important thing to be friends with your partner? No, it’s not. I realized that even though living with him wasn’t “that bad,” it wasn’t that good either. And I knew that getting married and having kids (what we wanted) certainly wouldn’t make it any better. If leaving your apartment and your boyfriend is really hard in your late 20s, leaving your husband and sorting out custody of your kids in your 30s is way harder! But what I can tell you from the other side is that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, an I’m so, so happy I was brave enough to do it. You deserve to be happy. Not just mediocre or satisfied, but HAPPY! And FULFILLED!

    • Anon

      As the child of a woman who 25+ years ago married someone she was uncertain about, cheated on him a few years in, then stayed with him and had me and my brother, and has pretty much always vacillated about whether or not she wanted to stay with him but has constantly come up with excuses for delaying a choice — she has been off and on talking to me about all of these things (except the cheating, my aunt told me that) since I was 16, until I told her about a year ago to find someone else to talk to about it — I just want to reemphasize Emmy’s point that it’s only going to get harder to leave the longer you stay, even as it gets harder to stay too. If you’re having serious doubts like this now, I think you should go too.

      There is the regret aspect of waiting to leave, as some people have mentioned, but the other thing I would point out is that the longer you stay with someone the more your life and habits get settled with them, even if it wasn’t what you wanted. There definitely are people who can make a clean break and readapt themselves after a decade or more, but I can just say in my mom’s case, with all the quirks and particularities she has developed over the years, I am not sure she could find someone willing to adapt to her the way my dad has over all this time, or that she would be willing to readapt either.

  • Rosie

    There’s so much great advice here, and I just want to add an observation: as someone in a very different situation to Pamela, hearing her story just emphasizes to me that hardly ever, if at all, are we ‘doing it right’ according to prevailing expectations. Get married at 21, like I did? You’re too young! You don’t know what you’re doing! Not married by 30? You’re too old! Your chance has gone! Hearing more people’s experiences is great as it shows up the great lie that everyone else has got it sorted, and you’re the only one not doing it right.

    • Copper

      Didn’t you know that you are required to get married at precisely 27 years of age, after dating for no less than 18 months but no more than 30 months?

      /sarcasm
      Because, I think we all see how absolutely effing ridiculous that sounds. But that’s the box that our ideas about society’s expectations have us painted into. And it’ s just not a big enough box for most of us.

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    GREAT advice today! I think the “starting over” fallacy is very normal but, as discussed above, not helpful. (I also love that Grey’s Anatomy quote Copper mentioned!) Here’s one thing I think about to prove that language false:

    If my husband died tomorrow, I wouldn’t be expired. I wouldn’t have “ended up alone” and I wouldn’t be starting over. I would, however, move on. If I wholeheartedly believe I could find happiness and another partner after something as tragic as that (and I do), I could certainly find that life after breaking up with a boyfriend that wouldn’t have made a good partner. It would be moving forward, like Liz said, not starting over. That marriage or relationship I had isn’t suddenly null and void, I wouldn’t forget that it happened or pretend like it didn’t, it would just be a closed chapter.

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate {Koru Wedding}

    Life is beautiful & fleeting & there is just no time to spend with someone that isn’t right for you. This 2-year relationship is by no means a waste, it was a lesson. You know more about what you want & need & you will find the perfect person for you. Pamela, I can’t wait to read a happy follow-up post from you sometime in the future! Good luck & best wishes~

  • http://www.jandrfoods.com Rachel

    Pamela, I want to give a huge hug!

    Starting over is a crock of sh*t, just like having the perfect barn wedding for no money is a mean joke. You are not starting over. You are taking what you have learned from this relationship and using it for the rest of your life and to help you find someone that is right for you.

    I know this because I went through this too. You are just smarter than me because it took me 8 years to figure out what you already know “that this isn’t the right fit”. At 25 I was terrified to be on my own, I had always been with him and once I cut the cord (and had a good cry) I realized I was so much better off and free to be me. I grew more while being single than I did during those eight years. I took everything I learned from that relationship (the good and the bad) and have used it in my life every day since.

    The feeling of regret and “time wasted” is inevitable and that goes for lots of things in life. I currently feel like I have wasted 6 years of my life in a job I hate but I am stuck and I felt like that with my ex for a long time “like I wasted 8 years when I could have been doing so much more and maybe would have been in my dream job now instead of sticking it out with him”. Getting over that just takes time and lots of making art.

    I sincerely wish you nothing but the best and you are not expired. Goodness gracious no.

  • Beth C

    In a way, I would say you are not “missing out on some rare opportunity” you are about to reach out towards the rare opportunity! The rare, amazing opportunity is the one just ahead of you, where you are so excited you can’t contain yourself.

  • http://www.amandasummerlin.com Amanda

    Wow Pamela, I can totally sympathize with what you’re feeling right now… except I stayed. In my early 20s, right out of college, I was dating someone and two years into the relationship, I knew it wasn’t really working. Our goals and ethics and everything important were completely misaligned. But I felt like I’d made a promise, so I stayed. And stayed. For eight years. By the end of eight years, it was no longer a case of not being in love anymore, it had become a soul crushing, mind-numbing existence. And I would have stayed even longer, except for an odd set of circumstances that forced me to admit that I needed to be out of the relationship, at the ripe old age of 29. It was ugly and messy and scary, but it was time to stop ‘wasting’ my life. The silver lining was that I moved on, matured, got my act together, and met the love of my life. My partner and I have been together for the last 12 years and everything I did wrong in my previous relationship simply serves me now to make sure that I do more right in this relationship. Without that crummy miserable ‘wasted’ 8 years, I would never have managed to make this relationship so successful and be so happy. And of course, without the stability of my current relationship, starting my career over at the age of 39 might have been a helluva lot scarier. The thing is, you’ll probably start big parts of your life over a few times in life. Maybe you’ll move to a new city, switch careers, move in and out of relationships… or all of those things. Thinking of them as endings only is an easy mistake to make. Try to remember that every ending is also a beginning, and a new chance to do things better and smarter and to create happiness and fulfillment. Humans don’t have expiration dates, because we’re the vine, not the fruit.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      “Humans don’t have expiration dates, because we’re the vine, not the fruit.”

      Damn! So much wisdom up in here.

  • rys

    Marriage is meaningful when it’s a choice, not a consolation prize. So to echo others, don’t settle. If you know it’s wrong, it’s time to move forward. It’s a new beginning, but it’s not starting at zero; it’s a new moment from where you are right now.

    All that said, you’re also right: it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be emotionally exhausting, annoying frustrating, and there are going to be shit-tastic days that end with desperately wanting a hug you can’t have because there’s no one at home to offer it. I say this not to dissuade you from making a choice that feels right yet hard, but simply to acknowledge that it’s a rocky road (and maybe some ice cream will help, heh). You might find a new guy next week or not, maybe next year or not, and maybe not for a really really long and painful time. You might go on thousands of mediocre dates and, at times, long for just having settled. But in the end, even after dating disasters, dating demoralization, and dating dry spells, settling sucks. Hold on to that, reach out to your friends and family, do what’s right by you and for your future.

    As someone who has an uncanny knack for never following timelines (it’s unintentional, I swear) or adhering to what’s supposed to happen (that fellowship I was told I was a shoo-in for…not so much), I can say with certainty there are no guarantees. You might be single for way longer than you want to be. BUT there are opportunities, and taking advantage of them and seeing where you can go as a result is pretty awesome.

  • Staria

    I thought I was going to die when my boyfriend dumped me when I was 27. Like, I was actually surprised that my body would keep living, simply because I could keep breathing, when my poor heart and mind were so tortured. All my friends were getting engaged and married and buying houses and having babies. ALL OF THEM. I was doing the same old thing again… that I had been doing for years with different short relationships. Except this had lasted longer and the guy was my best friend and I loved him and I thought we were going to get married. And I was watching everyone else around me have what I wanted.

    I thought, if I had to be on my own, I would be on my own the best way I could be. I read heaps of self-help and relationship books. I did exactly what I wanted as much as possible that didn’t hurt me or other people, and tried to make that include lots of activities that were good for me or cheered me up. Want an expensive phone? Yep! Want a new car? Sure I can save for that! Cry your heart out when alone? Go for it! Eat your favourite foods to cheer up? Every day, my friend!

    I did online dating and quit (age 28) and then had a short relationship that I thought was it and was going to move interstate for that guy… then he dumped me too… then I thought fuck it I want to leave this town anyway and I’m going where I get the first job I apply for successfully.

    I ended up – as fate would have it – in that town anyway – endured another year of online dating (age 29) – gave up and decided to enjoy my summer (age 30) – and then I met the most wonderful man I have ever met. (From my online dating profile, which I had left up in case anyone felt like contacting me.) And I never could have planned or imagined any of this or how to get here.

    So please take one brave step for yourself towards your goals that are important to you. I didn’t realise that first guy I talked about wasn’t really my best friend, in terms of having my best interests at heart, and I didn’t realise we didn’t have common goals, not really. I only know now I have met the best person for me. It’s hard to imagine the most awesome life possible for yourself but you owe it to yourself to give life the chance to be that way, darling!

  • http://fatcarriesflavor.wordpress.com MadGastronomer

    I am 35. Things I have done since I turned 30 include:
    Bought a house
    Got a degree
    Started a new career
    Started a business
    Met the woman I love
    Got married
    Went to San Francisco for the first time
    Became an aunt
    Officiated at my brother’s wedding
    Generally been awesome

  • Leah

    Yes, all of these comments are right on. For me, I thought that I had the world at 30. Just finished my PhD, good (non-academic) job, bought a condo, and a long-distance relationship of 7 years. We were talking about getting married to make the trailing spouse thing easier (he was more ambitious than I). Just when I thought that I had everything, my boyfriend said he was no longer in love. I was devastated, and it caused a period of self-doubt, much like you have expressed. A friend and I talked about going for IVF at the same time, and setting up a single mom’s support club if we got to a certain age and were still relationship deprived. I did try online dating (and stopped, and started, etc), and that made me even more certain that I’d be single forever. Then I met my fiance online, and it put everything into perspective. Whereas my old relationship always felt like work (different priorities, difficulty communicating, little passion), my relationship with my fiance is easy. We just click. Now when I have doubts (and they rarely occur), it’s because I wonder if there is such thing as too easy. My friends are disappointed because I never have relationship complaints, and that’s boring. That’s not to say that everything is always perfect (my potential single mom club friend is still looking), but there is hope, and there is no such thing as on the shelf.

  • Jessica

    I’m a longtime APW reader- started in 2009 when I was planning my wedding. Kept reading through my first, rocky, year of marriage. Kept on reading through my 2nd, rockier and sadder, year of marriage. Kept reading through the first half of my third, and final and finally less rocky because it was so terribly terribly numb, year of marriage. Took a bit of a APW hiatus during the sad, sick, sucky, soul-crushing first 6 months of my separation and recently came back to the wisdom of the amazing APW ladies.

    Here’s what I can offer from where I sit: the women of APW are authentic. They speak strong truth. I read their words and felt, through all of my rocky times, that what I was missing, what I longed for most was authenticity. My soon-to-be-ex-husband is a good man. A loving man. A man with whom I had a great-on-paper relationship. But there was a missing piece, for both of us. And if you recognize that missing piece now, and can identify your need to live a life that is authentically you, then I say BRAVO! You aren’t going back on the shelf; you’re going boldly and bravely out into the world.

    Personally, I’ve christened this year, my first back out in the world – “alone” – as the Year of Awesome. So far…I bought a condo, started my own business, and snagged a rockin’ summer fellowship at a national foundation. Oh…and I’m 35. :)

  • Thinking

    I find this post, and these responses, to be really inspiring and 100% relatable. But how do you approach the (completely understandable) fear that you’re “of a certain age” and therefore looking at a very smallish window of conceiving children naturally, if that’s what your intention is? What’s your “expiration date” then? After a failed engagement when I was 28, I’m now 34, engaged, and would have been reading all these very thoughtfully written responses at 25-30 with a totally different perspective than I am right now. Wanting to have kids, and feeling like that gap is closing, creates a completely different outlook on “you should pick someone who makes your life complete”. We should all be so lucky. But speaking from experience, your perspective gets skewed as certain priorities come to the forefront. And so, is he a good man? Does he love you? Does he protect you? Does he respect you? Does he make you laugh? Sorry, but if the answer to all of those questions is “most of the time”, and you’re closing in on the end of your child-bearing years (if that’s your intention), doesn’t that give that “perfect man” at 34 way more leeway, definition-wise, than he would have with you at 28?

    I agree that there is no expiration date when it comes to what will make your life happy. But that’s always evolving. And maybe there’s an argument for a bigger picture that allows you make sacrifices for what you prioritize at the present time, and then working with the person you’ve committed to doing that with.

    • anon

      I must start by saying that I don’t want children myself, so I am maybe not best equipped to respond to this – but a friend of mine who was desperate to get married and start a family married the wrong guy in her mid-thirties for that very reason. It didn’t work out and now she is separated and still childless but bearing the scars of the experience. I think it’s pretty dangerous to marry someone you know isn’t right in order to have a baby…

    • Newtie

      Thinking, I think this is a really good point, and I hope more people comment today on this because I’m curious to see what people have to say about it. After all, if you KNOW you want biological children, there IS a timeline of sorts that kind of does have to be followed.

      I had this conversation with my mom when I was a newly-single twenty-something (in fact, come to think of it, I believe I was only 24, which seems silly now in hindsight, but what can I say I’m a big worrywort) – about my fears not so much about finding someone – I felt more confident that I could find the right person SOMEDAY – but that I wouldn’t find that person in the right timeframe to be able to fall in love, get married, and have children, all before my fertility window closed.

      My mother, wisely, reminded me that the two really do not have to be connected. Sure, most people would prefer to fall in love first, get married, and have biological children with their life-long partner – this is what the culture tells us – but just like “true love” doesn’t have to come at 25, children don’t have to come with true love. Children and marriage are both wonderful and isn’t it great when they do line up with one another, but they really aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s only our culture and society that tells us they are.

      Thinking this way freed me up to feel like if I knew I really wanted to be a parent and I just wasn’t finding the right partner I would find a way to start the parenting gig without the partner lined up. There are so many ways to be a mom. I can only imagine how hard that decision would be to make – to give up the timeline of love-marriage-babies and go straight to the babies – but just like the OP here is learning, sometimes the timeline just doesn’t fit, and you have to go for what you want anyway.

      And the bottom line is, feeling even more pressure to marry by a certain point because you want kids doesn’t change the fact that marrying the wrong person is ultimately going to be exhausting and not life-fulfilling. Getting something you really want, whether it’s the wedding and the house or the commitment and the kids, in exchange for something you DON’T want, like a partner you don’t truly love with all your soul, doesn’t balance itself out.

      [just to specify, the "you" here is related to generalized musings, not "Thinking" - Thinking, I realize you weren't advocating settling in marriage in order to have kids. I'm just adding my own thoughts to yours.]

      • no name today

        So this is a hot-button topic. It’s true that fertility has an expiration date even if you don’t. Part of the pressure is cultural, but part of it is biological. If you want to have kids biologically, you have a time limit, though it can be extended. If you want to have kids without a partner or husband, you can certainly do that, but many people don’t want to do it that way. It’s OK not to want to be a single parent.

        What really interests me about Thinking’s post is priorities. It’s not necessarily selling out or giving up on your dreams to have changing priorities. Maybe at 20 you want to travel the world and at 30 you want to buy a house. Maybe at 20 you want a partner who will fulfill you and excite you and let you be yourself. Maybe at 30 you want a partner who will cherish you and support you and raise children with you. I think these changing priorities should be accepted as part of life. It’s not a bad thing to “judge” someone differently when your own priorities are changing. Of course it’s true that someone could make a sad mistake and marry an unsuitable person due to the desire to have children. However, someone could make any number of sad mistakes in relationships at any time for all kinds of reasons.

        • Newtie

          very well said, no name.

    • MDBethann

      The ticking biological clock was definitely on my mind when I turned 30 and was transitioning from dating a nice guy (N) who didn’t share my priorities to developing a friendship with a nice guy (A) who did. I knew I deserved better than N, and I jumped and didn’t settle. Glad I didn’t, because I’m now nearly 34 and married to A, whose friendship turned into love and much happiness for us both.

      Being really close to the bogeyman biological line of 35 is hard – we’ve been trying to conceive for 9 months with no luck yet. As someone who has kept all options on the table for a long time, are other ways to have a family without having to settle for a marriage to someone who doesn’t treat you well or doesn’t want the same things in life you do. I fully understand the strong pull for a biological child – it’s something I deal with every day, and I dealt with it before I met my DH because the majority of my friends were getting married and having children during that time. But I always kept adoption on the table for myself, whether I was married or single. And if you really want a biological child later in life, there are things you can do to freeze eggs, etc. and have a surrogate later on if you feel really strongly about it. They aren’t inexpensive options and they have their own pros and cons, but marrying the wrong person can be not only financially costly, but emotionally costly too.

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  • Blimunda

    I have a friend who went through something similar last year. We’ve seen her struggling for a long time in a less than ideal relationship. Her objections to leaving him went from “we still manage to be happy sometimes” (eeek) to “but we’ve been together for 8 years, I can’t throw all away” (ouch).
    At the same time, another friend broke up with her lovely boyfriend of five years because they were not made for each other, while another friend was planning her wedding (the first in our little group of high school friends, and we’re 32 this year).
    I think she wished both of these things for herself. She made the decision to leave, and has been visibly growing since. She developed new abilities. She is more powerful and beautiful.
    Really, don’t think the world will end with yor twenties. I was ready myself to give up at about 26 beacuse everybody else was in a relationship and knew What To Do with their life. Life is a bitch, though. I met a new group of friends (who later introduced me to my man), most of them are older than me, and seeing how their life is full of surprises and not at all finished really gave me new perspective.

    • http://twitter.com/cupcake_orgasm Red

      Sh*t this: “we still manage to be happy sometimes” (eeek) to “but we’ve been together for 8 years, I can’t throw all away” (ouch).

      Just change the 8 years to 3.5 and this was what *I* kept saying to everyone who was telling me how unhappy I was, how badly I was being treated, and how much I needed to GET THE F*CK OUT. But these exact sentences (well and I threw in a “but I LOVE him!”) were my only responses. Took me well over a year of absolute hell but I did finally see what they were saying and I’ve been on my own for 6 months now.

      • Blimunda

        You go girl!! :)

  • KW

    I didn’t start dating my husband until I was nearly 37, and he was my first truly serious relationship, so you are definitely not past any expiration date or on any shelf you decide not to stay upon.

    I see this decision you are facing as not “starting over” but changing course. I was on my 2nd career (higher ed- academic advising) by age 30, and still had significant student loan debt from the master’s degree that set me up for my 1st career (social work). 10 years later, however, I still use what I learned in that 1st career all the time with my students and I also know I never want to go back to that 1st career, so it wasn’t time or money wasted.

    Similarly you will still have everything you learned out of this relationship, both the good and not-so-good. Assuming you do leave and change the course of your life, you will use this knowledge in future relationships and it will help you gauge where things are going and if the new person is going to be that better fit.

    Does the fact that he was your HS crush play into this? I crushed *hard* on a lot of guys and that emotion tended to obscure the ways in which we weren’t a good fit. It wasn’t until the crush went away that I could see it, and a lot of times it took a long time for that crush to finally disappear. It can be hard to let go of the idea that someone is right for you, especially if those feelings were very intense over a long period of time. If he had been someone you met for the 1st time two years ago, would you still feel the same reluctance to move on?

  • Newtie

    So many wonderful, inspiring comments!!!

    I just wanted to add that in addition to not being able to control the timeline life gives you, you also can’t know what that timeline IS. You could meet the love of your life this afternoon and be married by next Christmas for all you know. And if you’re wasting time with the wrong person, you’re not going to be able to meet the love of your life this afternoon (or, well, I guess you could, but that would make things more complicated).

    When I broke up with my boyfriend of four-plus years, I remember I had this thought of, “well, there’s no way I’ll be able to meet someone new, fall in love, get married, and start a family all before I’m thirty NOW.” (this was the timeline I thought I wanted at the time). And it’s true, I didn’t meet someone new, fall in love, and start a family by the time I was thirty. But I did do those things by the time I was 32. If someone could have told my recently-broken-up self that my “timeline” wasn’t going to be so drastically different anyway, it would have been a lot easier to let go of the “omg now I have to start all over” line of thinking. But there’s no way to know – you just have to trust life to unfold as it should.

    [and obvs, if one's "timeline" does end up being drastically different than what one planned when younger, that's still awesome - I'm just pointing out that sometimes things don't even end up as different as we fear they will.]

  • http://twitter.com/cupcake_orgasm Red

    Staring down the barrel of 32, I ended a 3 and 1/2 year relationship and walked away from what I thought was going to be my life for good.

    I was terrified of cutting those ties (even though they very much needed to be severed for good thanks to my partner’s choice to not fight their addictions – and should have been MONTHS before I actually did it), I was terrified of having that label of being 32 and *gasp* SINGLE.

    And it blows and it’s lonely, and dating in your 30′s is a whole different beast from dating in your 20′s and it’s frustrating and confusing and, and, and. But like Liz says (and thank you Liz for writing this, I needed to be reminded of it myself), the train you are on is still moving forward, you just are at a cross-road and are switching tracks to a better destination that is more fitting for you. And that is far better than staying on your current path just to avoid the unknown and settling for something rather than holding out for what you truly deserve out of life.

    You’re not alone out there being newly single and in your 30′s and unless you want to be one, you don’t have to accept the crazy cat lady spinster hat.

  • Holly

    The month before my 30th birthday I broke up with my boyfriend of almost 4 years – whom I dated before (for 8 months) and pined after for 7 years (after we broke up). A month later I put a bid on an awesome house of my own. 2 months later I signed the paperwork and became a homeowner. 2 months after that I went on eharmony. Oh, I have a kid (he was 8 then), I am divorced, and live over 500 miles away from my family. At the time I was going to school and working full time, too.

    Looking back, this man I adored wasn’t anything special and I’m not sure why I was so “into” him. He didn’t have goals. He was seriously unmotivated (and obviously I don’t share that problem). He wasn’t nice to me, or my kid. We’d been talking about marriage, but the closer I got to it the more I realized that I didn’t want to spend money on another divorce. I knew that’s what was going to happen if we got married and I figured I’d just skip to the ending.

    I was the happiest and felt the most loved when I purchased my house. Family and friends came out of the woodwork to congratulate me and help out (offering to give me furniture or help in some way). I was absolutely not alone – even though I didn’t have a partner to share these things with.

    I was/am very proud of myself and my accomplishments. I shared a lot of the same worries (but with a bit more baggage – kid/divorce/etc.) about “starting over.” I was scared to buy a house. I was afraid I wouldn’t find love. All of it and more. Looking at that start – It was a huge bang and a pretty fantastic start to a new chapter in life. Not only did I stick up for myself and do what made me happy – I taught my kid to do the same. Not bad. (Yes, I’m patting myself on my back now.)

    I went on a lot of dates. I was honest with myself and the people I went out with. I had fun. A lot of fun. And – I am now engaged to a really awesome man who shares my ideals, my zest for life, and loves my kid as much as I do. We’re living at his house – and have turned my house into rental property. Starting over looks pretty darn good. You should try it.

  • Been there

    A lot of the fibers of my being wanted me to stay with him. But not the deep ones. The deep ones knew.

    I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and anger about many things we did and didnt do and felt and didnt feel over those 3.5 years, but also tremendous amounts of love and forgiveness. I know now, at least, that when you ignore your deepest fibers, they’ll pound on your door until you open it up and pay attention. So now I pay attention from the start.

  • Shell

    My ex and I were together and living together for 2 years, and talking extensively about marriage. And then basically all of the issues listed here just dawned on me all at once. I took a month or so to just think. So sort everything out (this was the same month my grandmother was in hospice and then died – I had a lot of time in a nursing home to just think about life and family and the past and the future). I realized he was a great guy but he just didn’t fit into my life the way I wanted (or needed) him to. So we talked about it and he argued and argued but we broke up and it was fairly peaceful. It did feel like starting over. I thought I was going to marry him. I had this plan lined up in my head (I’m a serious planner. I like plans) and I had to accept that it wasn’t going to happen that way. That was the hardest part about it. Leaving the plan, not the person.

    So we finally broke up and less than a month later, after finally accepting I’d be single for some time and I needed to let go of the plans and the structure, I met my fiance.

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  • Marjan Viki

    I am her to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 6 years with 3 good lovely kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had a fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me cause i loved him with all my heart and didn’t want to loose him but everything just didn’t work out… he moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell casterdr.trust who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and cast a love spell on him. Within 7 days he called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our fourth child… I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there needs it… You can email him at: Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or you can call him +2348156885231.,