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mX Column: Starting Over at 28

My friend, Y, has a problem. She has just broken up with her boyfriend of six years.

It’s a massive change, but she has coped remarkably well with the separation, and has re-established herself as an independent woman – new house, new job, new outlook on life.

Now, after months of painful healing, her ex is having regrets about the breakup.

And her doubts are creeping back too.

“I always thought I’d be married and have kids by the time I reached 30” says Y “But now, at 28, I have to start all over again.”

So, does she take the chance and get back together with a person she’s devoted six years of her time to, or does she start looking elsewhere?

If you are a numbers kind of person, doing the maths can be daunting.

How many dates do you have to go on before you find someone you like enough to be serious with? Give it, say, at least six months to a year?

Then one to two years of co-habitation before an engagement (assuming all goes swimmingly), perhaps another year to plan a wedding and then the obligatory honeymoon period before settling down to have some babies?

You can understand why she’s considering going back to an ex that she’s already been through all the preliminaries with. But is it the smartest idea?

If you look at it clincally, it’s a bit like the stock market. When your relationship stocks are down at this age, do you pull all your money out, cut your losses and move on, or hold tight to the familiar relationship and hope no one declares bankruptcy and bails out altogether in the meantime?

The problem is, love is never clinical (or normal) and few pre-planned life-timelines run to schedule.

While some people love a good five-year plan, others shudder at the thought. As John Lennon sang, life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

Why? People change, we change, things happen.

Y is not alone in her dilemma.

Many young women can tell the same tale – just as she expects him to step up the commitment level, he withdraws altogether.

Dr. Karen Weiss of East Melbourne Psychology thinks that it’s a blessing these women find out before the nuptials.

“Women tend to stay in a relationship longer than they can really afford to, time-wise, hoping that the man will one day commit,” says Weiss “Often, the late-20s break up can be a turning point for these women.”

Weiss recommends that women in their late twenties should be looking for men in their early thirties, with a little more maturity, who are ripe for commitment.

As for Y and the move-forward-or-go-back question, my advice is: Cash in your stocks and invest in a new market. The dividends will be worth it.

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Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


One comment for “mX Column: Starting Over at 28”

  1. Posted by Year on the Grill | April 12, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Not enough info to give advice to Y…

    But I have been happily married, and unhappily married (different women). I highly recommend being happily married.

    To get back with an ex because it fits your 5 year plan is crazy. To get back because you think it is the right thing to do for your life is the best thing in the world.

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