- 9 months ago
I can’t believe I’m writing this but I’ve found comfort in a lot of threads over the last few days and wondered if advice from strangers about my particular situation might help me to get through a fog I find myself in.
I have been engaged for 17 months and with my partner for 10 years this March. Our wedding date is 12 weeks away. Everything is booked and I even have a dress fitting on Thursday this week. I have no idea how to handle that yet. Around the end of 2018, I noticed that my partner had started to do a lot of soul searching. He also changed jobs within a company he loves but it is a new role for him so he is learning from scratch. In the past, he has suffered from reduced light in the Winter months and has gotten a bit down. He also hates Christmas and for the first time, we spent Christmas together with my family which I know was a big deal for him.
2 weeks ago, I knew something wasn’t right and he told me that he was having major anxiety and feeling very pressured about the wedding now it was much closer. He felt like he couldn’t articulate what the problem was but assured me it was the wedding itself and not anything bigger than that. I perhaps naively thought that he had been going through quite a lot of change mentioned above and that he was struggling with that. He agreed that I focus on the details such as sending the invites out (even though all of our guests have already booked their hotels etc) and we would see how things went. It was very tough and felt like there was a big elephant in the room for both of us.
At the start of this weekend, we found out that one of his best friend’s had split up with his wife of under 4 months and I immediately broke down thinking that my partner was worrying that would happen to us if we were to go through with our wedding. One of his colleagues at work also recently split up with his wife after 6 months. Over the 2 days which followed, I, perhaps naively (but I do think he slightly misled me to believe) thought that he may be suffering from clinical anxiety (although I am not a qualified medical professional) as he had told me it was the wedding and the details leading up to it. I had wondered whether or not to Google such things and that is when I came across this site. I got great comfort from many of the posts as I realised it was more common than I first thought. I wrote him a letter expressing that I would support him and in particular if he agreed to go to a Dr. I also thought of alternatives about the wedding to help manage his anxiety.
Over the past 2 days, he felt he could attempt to write what was going on in his head and has shared it with me. He has not read my letter, which I am OK with, and it isn’t relevant any more. It turns out that he has been bottling up some of his feelings over the years and has been questioning whether he would be willing to sacrifice or compromise on some of those things (which he doesn’t know that he actually wants) going forward. He is very clear that the issue isn’t medical as he has suffered previously.
In as simple as possible terms (although I know this post is already far too long), an example he has given is that he would love a spell living abroad. If I was keen for it, I know he would quit his job and leave with me tomorrow. I on the other hand am not against a spell abroad at all, it could be a wonderful experience, however, circumstances would have to be right for me in order to do so as it stands. For example, I would not quit my job to do so, I would prefer to be granted a career break unless things at my work were going so terribly I needed out. I won’t go into the money sides of things, or any other practical considerations, but we both understand that funds would be needed to do something like that. It is true and we both know it, that I wouldn’t necessarily consider having a spell abroad if it wasn’t for him and I think what he is trying to say is that he worries that that desire is within him and probably won’t go away and he would want me to do something like that for myself. He has assured me that the contents of his letter aren’t a checklist of things he wants, he just wants to be fully open with me now, before marriage, in case I can’t accept him for what he truly is. None of the contents of the letter were a surprise to me, however, I am shocked and hurt that he has felt that he couldn’t tell me before now how serious things had gotten. He has mentioned that he has been very focussed on us for years and has shut down some of his own feelings for the better of us but now with the wedding looming, it’s not as easy as that as there is a time pressure now.
He is 31 and I am 29. We have obviously grown a lot over the last 10 years and have overcome many challenges to stay together from a young age such as a 4 year long distance relationship when we both went where we needed to go in order to get our careers started. I feel like nobody really knows how they’re going to feel in the future and you would decide as a couple at the time whether the things you choose to compromise or sacrifice is worth it for being with the other person. However, going into a marriage with such deep questions such as who we are and who we are going to be seems like it would be doomed to fail. I also can’t be sure that if we cancelled our wedding I could ever forgive him, especially since he has been involved with every decision and it has been a collaborative experience. It also seems like one of the cruxes of this situation is that he is getting clearer on who he is and I’m not sure who I am yet. Perhaps I’m still in shock so can’t process such big questions at the moment. Perhaps I’m scared to believe that we’re possibly not right for each other but I don’t think that it’s possible to find someone who 100% agrees all the time. In fact, we have both said that we wouldn’t want that.
I am very aware that I sound like I am very unhappy. Whilst that is true about this particular situation, I love my partner very much and I believe that he loves me too. I feel like ultimately, we’re going to have to decide whether we will stay together when nothing bad has happened which is making it tougher. We haven’t had a fight and we both want to stay together. I never ever thought I would be in this position (although I don’t suppose anyone does). I think if a friend was telling me all of this, I would be saying they can’t go through with the wedding at the moment.
I’m not interested in placing blame on either one of us but I’d be very grateful to know if anyone has experienced anything similar?