- 2 years ago
Hi there bees,
I have been dealing with a devastating situation for the past few weeks and I need some insight from others who have gone through anything similar.
Basically, I was with my ex for just under four years when we got engaged. We had been planning for this for the year before the proposal. We did a pre-engagement book study together, planned out our goals and the kind of life we want to have. He is a wonderful person, very kind and loving and we’ve always had a really loving relationship. We are intellectual equals, we have amazing physical chemistry, and we are head over heels in love. My friends and family would often comment on how gaga he seemed over me–I have never felt so adored in my life. In the months leading up to the proposal my inbox was filled with messages from him telling me how in love with me he was, how I was the perfect life partner for him, how I was his world, etc.
A few weeks after the engagement, I moved into his house. We were both excited for this, since living apart for so long (his family is very religious and conservative so we were waiting) and only seeing each other on weekends meant that we ended up missing each other so much all week that we’d hole up in the house together all weekend. We agreed we were excited to be able to pursue our interests and hobbies on the weekends without feeling guilty that it was taking away from our precious time together.
Anyway, he started acting distant about the week before I moved in, but he was traveling nonstop for work and had a ton of new stressful work projects on his plate. One project in particular he kind of messed up and therefore was feeling like a failure at work. In all the busy-ness and stress, I attributed his distance to that. After trying to speak to him about it several times and him denying it was us, it all finally came to a head in mid-January. I confronted him and asked him if he regretted getting engaged. After a long while he said that he had had doubts/fears randomly throughout the year leading to proposing, but he didn’t want to look at them. That he worries that we’ve gotten into this habit of just sitting on the couch together in front of the tv and that he worries we’re both too passive to ever really push each other to achieve goals or pursue hobbies/skills out in the world. He also said he is scared of being like his own parents, who don’t have a lot of common interests or hobbies that they do together, and that he sees his dad going off on his own a lot and worries that he is not fulfilled by having a partner who he does things with.
Hearing this I was devastated and we basically spent the night bawling crying together. However, I thought about it and ended up asking him to please consider working on things together. He went off on another work trip, and when he came back we had some good conversations. We spoke about our values, our beliefs and our feelings with each other. I asked him if this issue of us pushing each other to get out in the world and do more and have hobbies we do together were something we committed to and worked on, would he be happy having me be his life partner, the mother of his children, etc? He said yes. However, he said he worries that this is the rest of our lives here on the line and hes scared we will commit to making these changes for a while but will then fall into old habits. I told him I was committed to not letting that happen, but he was still scared and wanted to think. Then he had several other work trips that kept us apart in this limbo. (To clarify, we definitely have many common interests and enjoy spending time together. We have our shows we watch together that we obsess over, and we have been meaning to get into several interests of ours for years, such as beer brewing, woodworking, etc. But life has just gotten in the way and we haven’t done it as of yet. But again, a lot of that I attributed to living apart and not wanting to spend money. But I know we could find things to do together that we would both love.)
We’ve essentially been broken up during this time, and I’ve been making plans to move out and try to move on. Recently he came back from (yet another) work trip and I told him I needed clarity–how do I have all these letters and texts from him that say how in love with me he is, and yet we aren’t together? He said that he’s been doing a ton of thinking about it and he’s realized that he had these fears/doubts when we were dating, but he stuffed them down or wished them away. But that when we got engaged they bubbled up and it terrified him. He realizes now that instead of talking about them with me, he focused in on them so much that he made them fact in his mind, rather than something we could have addressed and worked through together. He says he knows he failed me and he needs to understand why he’s done this and that he wants to see a therapist and get help. That making me happy has always been the most important thing to him and that he hates himself for putting me through this.
He is back on a work trip and has a therapy appointment for next week when he gets back. When he is home is constantly trying to touch me, kiss me, spend time together, but still insists he is unsure of where his head is and really is relying on seeing this counselor to know for sure whether his feelings of doubt are legitimate reasons to end things or if he has let his fears go awry and we really should be together. For the most part I ignore his advances and try to put up boundaries, but I am still very in love with him and devastated by all this.
I am still moving forward and have plans to move out at the end of the month. However, I want more than anything for him to go to therapy and realize we are a great fit and that these fears of his are something to work through together. A big part of this is that I think he is pretty naive about the nature of love and commitment and that he believes a lot of romantic comedy BS out there. I don’t think he realizes that no partner can ever “complete” you or compliment you perfectly, that love is a choice that takes dedication. He agreed with all of this and says he’s been thinking about it a lot.
Then again, maybe you can’t lie to someone’s gut? It is so hard for me to believe that we wouldn’t be happy or that I am not the person for him, but I am trying to accept that fact. I am also definitely angry and concerned that he let something like this blow up an otherwise very happy relationship, and I definitely have my fears that he is showing me a lack of commitment and problem-solving skills here. However, my heart is still so attached and I believe we would be so happy. I am a member of his family, we have been through so much together.
**In case you’re wondering, I am 25 and he is 27.
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. Do you think this engagement is salvagable? HAve you or anyone you know gone through something similar? Or just advice about moving on and finding love again…I just feel so alone in this and I need some insight.