- 5 years ago
- Wedding: February 2014
I’ve been lurking on WeddingBee for a few weeks and reading your posts and decided it’s time for my first post. The “waiting” phase most accurately describes my current state. Things in my life today are pretty darn great but there’s a small part of me that is still holding on to old wounds from my last relationship. And what I want to know is: does it make sense to be apprehensive given my past or do I need to let it all go and not look behind? I’d love your input and advice on this, but first, I need to offer some background. My story is a long one but I think it makes sense to take you back a few years to explain how I got to where I am today.
Eight years ago, I started dating a guy (my ex) who I was in grad school with. We were both in our mid-twenties and looking for a serious relationship. My ex was constantly dragging his feet. I felt like I was constantly carrying the weight of the relationship on my shoulders. He only wanted to do fun things if I planned them. Romance? All up to me. So on and so forth. About two years into our relationship, he asked me to move across the country with him for a new job. I agreed, consciously realizing that I was doing so without the promise of a future. I figured now that school was over, he would start focusing more on our relationship. Guess what? That didn’t happen (shocker!). I talked to him a lot about marriage around the two year mark, especially since I figured we were in this new phase in our relationship. He talked about marriage but consistently gave the same message “we’re headed there but I’m just not ready yet.” Sound familiar, ladies? :-/ He asked me to move in with him a short while later, and I took that as a sign that we were taking the next big relationship step and things were moving forward. This tale is a cautionary one so let me fast forward to the end. We’re two weeks out from our SIX YEAR anniversary, and we go to his friends’ wedding out of state. While at the wedding, some of his friends say “Why aren’t you guys married?” to which I say “I’m not sure, you should ask [ex].” He must not have liked that or maybe it got him thinking, but the next day when we got back home, he sat me down, out of the blue, and said “I don’t want to marry you and I’m never going to want to marry you. Given that I know that you want to ultimately marry and have a family of your own, I figured I should tell you.” Just like that, my reality and future shattered. Thankfully, I’m a strong woman, and I was able to pick up the pieces and make a great, new life for myself. My friends stood by my side, my family had my back, and I just kept on moving forward.
About a year after this all happened, I met my current boyfriend who is better for me by leaps and bounds! I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone and our love grew quickly. He’s open, communicative, and pretty early into the relationship, he told me he was interested in settling down and having a family of his own. A few months in, we had a conversation about our future and admitted that we were ecstatic to have met someone whose goals and values were so aligned with our own. I am a few years older than him, and so when we talked about having a family, he said he realizes that biology dictates a lot for women especially when it comes to having biological children. I’m now in my mid-30s, you see. I have given him the Cliff Notes of what happened with my ex, and he says he can’t fathom why anyone would string me along for six long years. He realizes it’s baggage that I still carry with me, which is why when he suggested we move in together after three months of dating, I winced. The idea couldn’t please me more but in the back of my mind, I think, I just proved with my ex that men don’t buy the cow when the milk is free. Logically, I know that’s not true, but my heart and my mind aren’t always in sync. So I told him I loved the idea but asked him to give me time to get there emotionally. And a few months later, I was ready. We moved in together two weeks ago, and things are going really well. He talks about marriage a lot and what he’d like us to have at our wedding. He says he wants the proposal to be a surprise and he told me that it wouldn’t happen before May because he wants me to meet his family first. I really wasn’t expecting one before May or anything, but I feel like my heart is constantly trying to stifle the anxiety I feel inside. My boyfriend is a TOTALLY different person than my ex and yet, when I look back at that time in my life, all I can say is “what was I thinking staying with that douche nozzle?!” and that in turn makes me question my judgment. And then my logical brain says “well, if you had poor judgment now, who’s to say you have great judgment now?!”.
And that’s where you guys come in. I love my boyfriend more than I ever thought I could love anyone. He is by far the best man I’ve known and I love how much he respects, values, and cherishes me. Instead of me being the one to drag him along to various relationship milestones, he’s the one who is always bringing up our future. Last week, we were planning our summer vacation and he teared up thinking about all the amazing vacations we would take together for the next fifty years.
My boyfriend says it’s normal and understandable that I would hold on to it given that we all base our future actions on our past experiences. One of my friends thinks the problem is that I haven’t forgiven MYSELF for my past relationship. So new friends, is it time for me to let go of the past?