Matrimonial To and Fro

19 May

Dear LetterBalm: My fiancé and I have been together for three years, engaged since Christmas. A year ago, he got a good job in a distant city several hours away, so we see each other only every few weeks. We’re both in our mid-20s and have challenging jobs, and we’re looking forward to making some big career decisions, getting married and starting a family. Or, I thought so until recently. A month ago, my fiancé starting saying he’s unsure about getting married, that it’s a big commitment and he doesn’t feel ready. He said that I’m his first serious relationship, and he wants time to see other women so he’ll really know we’re right for each other. But he says he still loves me and wants to keep up with visits and daily calls and contact like always. I’m a mess. I don’t know where we stand, and I don’t know what to do.

–Fiancée or Not?

This is new. The non-engagement engagement. Ms. L.B. wants you to take a step back and consider your status. Both you and your fiancé became exclusive when you were rather young, and both of you probably don’t have a lot of dating/relationship experience. Now, he wants to taste more of life, something he should have done before he ever proposed to you. Your fiancé has, for all appearances, ended your engagement. He’s been a weasel because he’d rather keep you hanging in a dysfunctional relationship – this isn’t the responsible, mature thing to do. As painful as it is, it’s much better for you to break things off now, rather than wait around for him to come around. Oh, you could tell him you’ll date others while he’s out and about, swimming in the dating pool, but do you really want to wait for him? Face it: He’s immature and insensitive. Do you really want to make a life with him? Make your plans, seek counseling if it helps, and figure out what you’ll say. He isn’t worth a face-to-face meeting, but you can be the bigger person and do so unless you can handle only a phone call. And, decide whether you’ll keep the ring or not because you have a right to under the circumstances:

Johnny, you’ve been getting cold feet about marrying me. You’re talking about seeing others because you want to be sure about us. Well, I’m going to give you the chance. Only, I’m not waiting around, as you want me to. After a lot of soul-searching, I realize that you’re not ready to get married, so, our engagement is over for good. No further discussion, and please don’t contact me again. I wish you well. A little bit of my heart will always care for you. But I want a man who is mature enough to fully commit to me, and you’re not that man. I hope you find what you want.

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