Womentervention: The Quarter Life Crisis

DISCLAIMER:  This post is not meant to imply that every woman is chomping at the bit to get married, or that it’s all we think about.  Let me assure you, it isn’t.  But serious times call for serious measures, especially when you’re in a serious relationship.

There’s a theme I’ve noticed the past two years. I’ll be discussing life, love and the tribulations of dating with a girlfriend when she’ll mention a most-recent breakup she’s heard of or gone through.

Now, every situation is unique, but the common theme of these breakups?

The male’s quarter life crisis.

It goes something like this: Said male, approximately in his mid-twenties, and assumedly in the “almost ready to graduate” mode of his life, has a royal freak out. He pushes any and everything away from him in order to “be selfish” (I quote this because this has been a prominment one in many stories I’ve heard) and figure out his life.

I shouldn’t relegate this crisis to just those graduating at the tender age of 22 or 23. The most confusing and upsetting part of the quarter life crisis is I’m not sure when this period actually ends. I wish I could give you a definitive age range, but right now it spawns from 22-27 and the end is still TBD.  But this age makes sense because most of them are still in ‘frat boy- me me me- love the one you find at the bar tonight’ mode.

This freak out is inevitable. IT WILL HAPPEN. Trust me. But depending on the man, it will end up in one of two ways, based on the scenario. Let’s play a game.

Dating two years (approximately):

Dating map

Just started dating:

As you can see, the main factor in the “impending doom” result in all of this is if the man knows what he wants. If he knows what he’s doing with his life, and more importantly, knows who he is as a person, the relationship can survive (this is why you see most {not all} men who are ready to settle down have an established career and are financially independent — and they’ve been through a relationship or two).

Another important factor is if he wants to marry you: if you’ve been dating two years and the “m” word hasn’t been discussed; if you have no idea if you’re the woman he wants to get down on bended knee for in the future, it’s not looking good for you.  Sorry to start a riot, but it’s true. Because let’s be honest here: two years is a long ass time to not know those things. It should be enough time to figure out if you’re a person he can’t live with or can’t live without. So I’d just be prepared if you haven’t dicussed this yet. You don’t want to turn into that girl who dates someone for eight years and the guy ends up finding someone else who is “the one,” or the girl he’s dating for that long and figures it was the next step, although he isn’t too jazzed about the idea.

Don’t believe me? Why would you date someone more than two years if you haven’t discussed the prospect of getting married? Are you dating them for shits and giggles? Seriously, in all due respect, if you’re dating someone that long and commitment hasn’t been brought up, I’d venture to say that the guy doesn’t want to get married, but he enjoys the comfort of having a girlfriend for the intimacy and companionship.  Because no matter what any guy says, he’ll marry the person if she’s the right one (and he’ll at least make that clear if he doesn’t have the means to propose anytime soon). {NOTE: Kate Middleton knew Prince William for nine years and dated seriously for FIVE.  They took a hiatus in 2007 and are now married!  But I’d venture to say their hiatus was a real break-up and they did it right, none of this ‘break’ crapola, which made a reconciliation much easier.   Point being these blogs are not meant to be taken as scripture… don’t get your panties in a wad!}

Basically, you need one of those two: he needs to have career stability or he needs to passionate about being with you.  If he has career stability, there’s nothing holding him back from commitment, unless he has those dreaded ‘commitment issues’ or he’s just not that into you.  So beware of that.  But the one you should really beware of is if he doesn’t want to marry you.  If you don’t want to get married, perfect, but if you are dating a guy who has made it clear he doesn’t want to get married… it might really be that he doesn’t want to marry you.  I hate using this as an example, but remember Big?  Spent years with Carrie, left her for his ‘job’ — which we all know was an excuse to get out of the relationship — then married Natasha.  Screw the fact Carrie and Big end up married in the movie… I am convinced the third installment has them in a nasty divorce.  He left her at the altar!  And she’s always griping at him about watching TV in bed.  I’ll say it: Carrie settled.  She settled for a dude who she made out to be some mythical hero (and villain) in her books, and married him because she vastly approaching 50 in the city.  I digress, as per usual…

So what is this quarter life crisis all about?

I didn’t understand this because I thought it was completely selfish and terrible.  However, while it might be both, I get where guys get the anxiety.  Men are the born providers.  Most of them grow up with the mentality that they will marry and provide, shelter and protect their families.  When they have to stop hitting the beer bong and start acquiring a paycheck, things get scary.  They want to be able to be montetarily independent while doing something they love, yet most of them have no idea what they’re doing after college.  They just fall into a job that they can get and see where it takes them.  So when they meet a girl that they really start to fall for, it causes anxieties like, “if I want to marry her, where will I get the money to buy a ring?  What am I going to do to keep my job stability (but exercise my creativity)?  I want to feel important in my job.”  Blah blah blah.

This is a hard thing for women to digest because throughout any trial, tribulation, whatever, if they truly want to be with a guy, it’s not going to matter what they’re going through.  They want the companionship and love and support from that person.  But for whatever reason, some guys work the opposite way.

I say ‘some guys’ because there are guys that ask these questions, but at the same time maintain their relationship.  The difference is that those guys know that the girl they’re with is “the one.”  They’d rather drop dead than give her up.  I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, because it’s a tough pill to swallow.  But any guy who’s sold on the relationship doesn’t need to break up to figure that out.  Or maybe they do.  But most cases (i.e. the stories I’ve been told straight from the man’s mouth) are that if a guy needs space, all his eggs are not in your basket.  Doesn’t mean they can’t be at one point, but just know he’s not sold yet.

Silver lining:  I’m not saying that people can’t come back around.  But this whole ‘break’ business is so ridiculous.  Like, what is a break?  Are you monogamous but not talking?  Are you allowed to makeout with people but nothing more?  Because I know that if and when I find the one, he’d throw a few punches if he ever saw me locking lips with a dude that wasn’t him.

I’ve heard fabulous stories about couples breaking up and getting back together and being each other’s soul mates.  And I want that for everyone.  If the timing isn’t right then, I hope at one point the time will be right.  But don’t be stupid about it.  Don’t let someone walk all over you if they have made it clear you’re not their leading lady.  You’re worth more than that, girlfriend.

While I always say that these instances are the exceptions, not the rules, I have to state that I do believe if you’ve hit the two year mark and the prospect of marriage is dismal, you’re probably not meant to be with him.  But what you really should be doing is not taking my advice and living your life according to your own gut and best instincts, because your intuition is going to take you on the right path.  A womentervention will only be an easy way to pass time at the office.

So, guys, what do you have to say?  What do you disagree or agree  with?  Ladies, do you believe this to be true?

One thought on “Womentervention: The Quarter Life Crisis”

  1. thank you thank you THANK you for this! i’m currently being fed grade A bullshit to what I presumed was the most wonderful man in the world, who in the last week has treated me like nothing but doormat shit. talk about a whirl of emotions, yikes. this made it a bit easier to take in stride. xo

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