PSYCHOLOGICAL-CASE-STUDIES: CAN THIS MARRIAGE OR RELATIONSHIP BE SAVED?
Psychological-Case-Studies is a regular feature. Please give your opinion of this case.
Tristen and David
David and Tristen have been engaged for eight years. They have lived together for 4 years. Tristen is 31 and David is 29. They met in a bar while out with friends and it
was love at first sight. David was dating somebody pretty seriously when they met, but broke off the relationship in order to start dating Tristen.
Tristen has wanted to get married from the first year they were together. They struggled
a bit at first because David continued to have contact with his previous girlfriend (not
sexually, but socially). At one point, Tristen found out that David had been talking to
his ex-girlfriend often on his cell phone and had met with her a couple of times for
lunch. This was a serious threat to their relationship, but David agreed not to see his
ex, and he stopped doing so.
On and off throughout the relationship, David and Tristen have had some pretty painful
discussions about marriage. Tristen expresses her desire to get married and David agrees,
but says he is not ready. Four years into their relationship, David lost his job. He couldn’t find work right away, so Tristen suggested he move in with her to help with
his expenses. He moved in and later found a new job. They both work in middle
management positions and earn about the same salary. David pays “rent” that is
equal to half the mortgage, and he also pays the utilities. Other than that, the couple
keeps their finances separate.
Recently Tristen gave David an ultimatum. Either they set a date and start planning
a wedding, or she will have to break off the relationship. David is stunned and hurt.
He loves Tristen very much and would like to continue with the relationship the way
it is. He says he is committed and doesn’t see why a piece of paper is so important.
He thinks he might want to have children some day, but until he is ready for that, he
doesn’t really see the benefit of marriage. He wants to wait until they are ready to
start a family, but feels that is a long way off. Tristen feels that David couldn’t really
love her if he won’t agree to marriage which she wants so much. She feels rejected
and powerless. Every day she gets more and more angry and resentful toward David
for not giving her what she wants. Her anger is creating a wedge in the relationship
and both David and Tristen feel they are growing apart.
Can This Relationship Be Saved?