- Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise
professorbride : A lot of other Bees have expressed most of my thoughts, but I did want to underscore something in particular.
As you describe your relationship – and its impact on your mental health – I can’t help but think you are holding on to this partner because you don’t believe you can ask for/deserve more. There is a frank negativity about the way you describe yourself that gives me the impression that even though this man falls far short of the kind of partner you would ideally like to have, you cling to him due to the belief you are too “difficult” or “challenging” to expect better for yourself.
I also pick up on an external pressure. Whether this is from family, your friend group, or cultural, I get the sense you feel like you ought to be ready for marriage. You ought to be preparing for a wedding. You ought to be looking toward a future with children. It may well be that you want all of those things, but that you feel an added pressure to get to them sooner than later, and since this is the guy you’ve been with for a while, it seems sensible to get there with him.
My sense is that you have become SO CAUGHT UP in wondering why he doesn’t want to marry you, you have stopped asking yourself why YOU want to marry HIM. Apart from the resentment and hurt generated by his manifest reluctance to either marry you or set you free, the two of you seem to lack a fundamental compatibility; you’re a go-getter, he’s much more laid back. You’re a planner, he’s a “I’ll figure it out”-er. To be happy you need to have a particular degree of certainty that doesn’t seem important to him.
All of these things are going to be a constant source of conflict. You said it yourself; the prospect of planning and prodding for every major decision in your lives together sounds exhausting. Do you REALLY want to sign up for a lifetime of that? Because I’ve done it, and I can tell you – it is soul-sucking and killed my first marriage.
Even if he were to propose today, in some elaborate thoughtful romantic way, would it really be enough to overcome a year of feeling like you had to drag him every step of the way? Does the way you have felt trying to pin him down for a straight answer feel good? Is that the way you want to feel for the rest of your life? Cause, that’s what you’re signing up for. You are ready to move forward. Which is natural and appropriate. He really isn’t and has said so several times. That mismatch in pace is almost certainly an endemic problem in the relationship.
Take a moment to ask yourself – without judgement – do you want to marry HIM or do you just want to marry SOMEONE.
Because, if it’s the latter, I can tell you with complete certainty; there is someone else out there who wants what you do. Who will be motivated, and driven, and a planner who can clearly communicate about their intentions and plans without being hounded. Who will be eager to get a ring “the right way*” and won’t leave you to fret and wonder about the future. He will openly discuss it with you, and won’t make you wait to do so.
You clearly have some issues around anxiety which create an intense need to feel a sense of control. That doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad partner. It means you need someone who can understand your preference for transparency, and a willingness to make explicit plans and carry them out. That person exists, and you will be much happier with him than you are with your current boyfriend.
Finally, I agree with the PPs who have encouraged you to seek additional treatment. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO MEAN THERAPY though, for a lot of people it should. There are advances in ketamine therapy, as well as emerging research in using psychadelics to combat anxiety. I do understand how frustrating it can to be try and feel like nothing is helping, but that doesn’t mean nothing ever will. It can take a long time to find a treatment that is effective that really helps address your specific concerns. Including why you are so hard on yourself, when your coping strategies are all very typical for someone with anxiety.
I think you have tolerated things from this boyfriend (the lying about the ex) that you KNOW aren’t acceptable because you don’t think you can do better, given the baggage you see yourself being burdened with.
We all have issues. We all have baggage. That doesn’t make us less worthy of a happy, mutually satisfying relationship with a person who shares our values and goals. Don’t compromise that possibility because you think you don’t deserve better.
*Gotta admit I have no idea what this means