- 3 years ago
- Wedding: December 1969
Hi Bees. I’ve lurked here for a while, and I’ve seen how much great advice the Bees here give. Sometimes blunt and harsh, but you guys are special because you’ll say things that the OP of a thread probably doesn’t want to hear, but that seems to really help them. You are warm and welcoming, always comforting, cyber-hugging the posters and wishing them the best after telling them the “inconvenient truth”. I’ll feel safe here, I can tell.
I need to get things off my chest. I’m sorry about the length of this post. The thing I need advice for is at the end of the post, so skip the novel if you want to.
First things first, I consider myself really emotionally immature. It might have to do with the fact that I’ve been fighting borderline personality disorder, PTSD and alcoholism since I was a teenager. Now I’m 25, and my emotions are my primary drive. It’s so annoying to actually have a voice of reason and logic in my head, I know it’s there, but I still keep making choices based on my feelings. I’m in constant need of validation and gratification, totally impulsive, terrified of being alone. I’ve been in therapy for over a decade, and it helps a bit. But I feel like I froze at 15-16 mentally because of all the psychiatric problems and all the drinking. My body is 25 but my emotional state is that of a teenager. I hate it. Somehow I managed to graduate high scool late, gone to college and gotten my Bachelor’s. I’m very “book smart” and learn easily, THANK GOD because obviously I’ve been too mentally ill to really focus on school. My grades were surprisingly high for all my abscences and sometimes even being drunk at school without any teachers noticing. I’m sober now and try my best to stay away from alcohol.
The emotional immaturity… oh well. When I was 21, I met this great guy, he was 4 years older. We fell for each other fast. We lived 40 miles from each other and only saw each other on weekends. The relationship turned quite serious, and at the 6 month mark, I started feeling that he was The One. Now afterwards, I realize that we were still in the “honeymoon phase”, but at the time I KNEW that friggin’ honeymoon phases exist, and STILL thought that I had passed it and now it was serious.
I couldn’t imaging spending my life without him… so I proposed to him. After 6 months. (Where I live, it’s not that uncommon that women propose, unlike the Anglo-Saxon culture where it’s the man who’s “supposed” to do it.) Long story short, he broke up with me. We hadn’t discussed marriage at all (which I now realize you HAVE to do, of COURSE you can’t ask someone to marry you out of the blue, but I thought for some stupid reason that me proposing would start the marriage discussions), and he said that he feared that we weren’t on the same page about what we wanted out of life (I go to college and live in student housing, he was working and shared an apartment with a friend) and we weren’t of the “same wave length”. He said he was flattered by the proposal, but he couldn’t marry me. And he walked out the door. (At least we were at my place, so I wasn’t the one who had to walk out the door.) I was, of course, totally devastated. I was an emotional wreck for months. Forced myself to go to classes.
Another part of the story is that I didn’t tell anyone except for my closest friend (who said “Oh, that’s wonderful! Go for it!”) about my plans to propose. The reason? I KNEW people would say that it was too early! Hold on, it gets worse… The reason I told my friend is because he has Aspergers syndrome and can’t exactly judge timelines in a relationship => I wanted validation and encourage. See what I mean with the voice of reason VS. emotional impulsiveness? That’s how I work. (Even my friend said “actually, personally I think it’s a little too early, but if it feels right, do it!” I should have listened to him, but I hade made up my mind.)
I really thought that I would never find a new partner. Fast forward two years (I was now 23), and I met my now Fiance at college. He’s the same age as me. We have so much in common (now we’re both in grad school, heading for our Master’s) and we both live in student housing really close to each other. We met in class and fell for each other fast, too. I was his first girlfriend, but you could hardly tell, he knew how to balance each other out, giving and taking and so forth.
Too Much Information ALERT! However, I was also his first sex partner. When we started being intimate, we had a few problems (or he has… let’s just say that he has a varix at a very inconvenient place), we couldn’t have intercourse. It bothered me and still bothers me. His problem is fixable, but he has severe “doctor phobia” and has a hard time going to a hospital or seek help. I try to encourage him, but he feels that I’m nagging him and gets mad, so I try to not bring it up, but I really miss having intercourse. All of this lead to him having a breakdown, crying, saying that he didn’t feel sufficient and was scared of me leaving him because we didn’t have the sex life I wanted. I reassured him that I wanted to stay with him, and that I started to feel like I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He cried happy tears and was like “do you really mean that? I love you and am afraid of losing you”. (I love that about him. I really appreciate a man who isn’t afraid or ashamed to cry.)
I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake that I did with my ex. But I couldn’t help myself. After about 8 months, we discussed marriage. He said that he saw us together in the future, wanted to live with me and spend his life with me. I compared this relationship to my previous one and felt like our love wasn’t overly passionate anymore. We had almost started a day-to-day routine despite the fact that we lived separately. We were taking turns sleeping at each other’s places (mostly at his), went grocery shopping, cooked meals together, studied together. Sometimes he needs space and asks me to stay at my place. At the beginning I was sad about this because I’m afraid of being abandoned, but it feels better now. I felt stable and secure, we had this daily life and it really felt stable. This time around, he’s not just “the one” – I saw him as my future husband (unlike my ex, that was just some quasi-immature “the one”, now that I think of it, I really don’t thought of him as a husband). And he was (is?) positive to marriage. Which led me to… you guessed it.
At around 9 months, on his 24th birthday, I bought him a birthday card… and att the bottom I wrote “will you marry me?”. I was SO nervous. I gave him the card, heart pounding and hands shaking. He looked at me, smiled, almost cried. “Do you really mean that?” Suddenly I “chickened out”. We had certainly discussed marriage, but was I really sure he saw me as his future wife? The conversation went something like this:
Me: I don’t really mean it literally, like, as in right now. I just wanted you to know that I’m in it for the long haul. I want to be with you forever.
Him: Yeah, you’re right. I can’t really think of you as my wife just yet. But I promise you, I PROMISE, that if I ever get married, I’ll get married to you.
See? Not exactly a yes. But I was so happy that he sorta said yes. After a few days, he said “so, I guess we’re engaged?” I was over the moon! We went to look at rings! We bought a ring for me! Called my relatives, told my friends, changed my Facebook status, daydreamed about a wedding maybe after we were done with grad school, got jobs, moved in together and were financially stable…
He’s been – no, he IS – hesitant to tell his parents. He’s on good terms with them, but doesn’t speak to them very often. They live over 600 miles away and I’ve never even met them, although we’ve been together for 2,5 years. This summer, we went to Paris, and I took the courage to say “can’t you tell your parents that we got engaged in Paris?” and he said “I’m not going to lie to them, but I will tell him that we’ve done it. Eventually.”
A few weeks later, he was going to travel to see his parents (I couldn’t go because of work), and we were sitting on the sofa and cuddling, and I said “are you going to tell your parents?”. He got grouchy! He was like “did you have to ruin the mood?”. I was devastated and was like “okay, fine”. Then he says: “I don’t think I see it the same as you do.” I regretted that I ever brought it up. I should have left it at that in Paris, when he said that he would tell them. Here’s my emotional immaturity again.
What? He doesn’t see or engagement the same as I do? And I can’t get that line out of my head. “If I ever get married, I’ll get married to you”. Now I’m starting to doubt that he seriously wants to marry me. He occasionally mentions marriage, but it’s more like “why get married in a church?” if someone we know gets married in a church (we both want to get married at JOP and not in a church, we discussed that pre-proposal and are on the same page, which is a good sign) or “getting married is first and foremost important if you’re having kids (we’re also on the same page that we DON’T want kids).
It feels good that we’re on the same page about fundamental things in a relationship (religion, children, we also share political views), we also have common interests. BUT we’re a bit different when it comes to spare time. He goes to conferences and socializes with academics, whereas I go out with friends, which are mostly close high school and college friends with different backgrounds and different occupations today. In his spare time, he likes to read articles and Wikipedia pages. I read forums, watch reality shows (the Teen Mom franchise is my guilty pleasure) and look up movies (I’m a huge movie fan). He keeps commenting what I do on the computer and who my friends are. He’s almost berating me for the kinds of pages I visit. I’m a procrastinator, and he’s always pushing me to study, which is good, but I don’t like the fact that he sort of wishes I would read the same stuff on the computer as he does, and he thinks that the shows I watch are “distasteful” (his words!). And I’m a bit financially irresponsible, I buy things impulsively and don’t really think about how much I spend, which (rightfully) annoys him. I have to borrow money from my dad to pay rent sometimes, that’s how bad it is. Not exactly someone you’d want to marry.
THIS IS WHAT I NEED ADVICE FOR for those of you who (rightfully so) thought TL;DR.
Recently, I’ve started worrying that in those academic circles, he will meet a woman who is beautiful as he thinks I am (he actually says to me often that I’m beautiful, sweet, cute, which I love) who shares his interests, reads the same things as he does in his spare time, is financially responsible, and doesn’t have the same emotional wounds and baggage, the same immaturity as me. I constantly worry that because he doesn’t see our engagement the same way I do, he’ll leave me if he meets the right smart, mature, academic woman. It’s gotten to the point when I get jealous if he mentions any (and I mean ANY, each and everyone of them!) female college friend. I’m starting to realize that the reason I proposed was to reassure him that I wouldn’t leave HIM (given our intimacy problems and his fears) and I’m insecure in our relationship because I was the one who proposed and he was vague with the ‘yes’, I still haven’t gotten a sign from him that he’s committed to me for life.
Now I regret proposing to him after only 9 months. I’m pissed at myself. I hate myself. What was I thinking? How could I be so stupid? Did I really think we truly knew each other by then? Had I waited until later when his “controlling” behavior and my procrastinating behaviour surfaced, when we REALLY got to know each other, I’m not sure I would have done it. Hell, I’m not sure I would have done it now after 2,5 years.
Is it time to walk, heal from this, be single for a while and find a man who doesn’t try to change my interests? I’m only 25, and after everything I’ve read on the Bee, even if you feel like you won’t ever find a partner again, you’ll find new love. And I did it before, after my ex. But now, it REALLY feels like I won’t find love again. But I don’t want to do that. This relationship feels so great when my insecurities don’t set in. Do I stay, try to learn how to be financially responsible (I’ve said it so many times, he’s started to not believe me when I say it) and put my foot down for real about letting me read and watch whatever I damn well please in my spare time, with the risk of HIM leaving? (Would he leave me over stupid things like interests? I don’t know, because I don’t trust my own judgement.)
What on Earth should I do? We’re talking about moving in together after college. That’s 2 years from now and we’ll be 27. What do I do with these 2 years? Share your thoughts, even if I probably don’t want to hear them. And give me hugs, I need it. (Wait, that’s my BPD talking…)