From the U.S: Hi. I have been in a relationship for 4.5 years now with a great guy. He is the guy I want to marry. The thing is that I am not ready for marriage yet and I find myself wanting to live the single life, to experience life before I settle down. My current bf is my first serious relationship and I have nothing to compare it to. I also feel like I am missing out on some life experience because I have spent my 20s with him (we started dating when I was 21).
Recently, a crush from a few years ago has admitted feelings for me and it made me happy. It made me wonder “what if.” I do love my boyfriend but I am also longing to try things out with my crush. I don’t think it would be a long-term relationship but it would be a great time short-term.
I wouldn’t normally come to a therapist with something like this but I have been driving myself crazy with my thoughts. If I had the chance to write my ideal story it would be to have had my fun before meeting my boyfriend and to meet him when I was closer to be ready for marriage (since he has been talking about moving in and marriage and the future).
But I can’t turn back time and change the things that have already happened. I am just afraid that these feelings of wanting to be free and to explore will keep resurfacing…. which will make me crazy. I can’t keep going in circles like this. How should I begin figuring this problem out?
I think you’ve already figured out that it’s only fair to everyone to make a choice, but you don’t like having to do it. Indecision keeps both possibilities alive for you.
One of my teachers used to say that two relationships are fewer than one. You are not committed to your boyfriend because you are allowing feelings for the other guy. You aren’t committed to the other guy because you have declared yourself to be in a long term relationship.
It would be terribly unfair to your boyfriend for you to marry him under these conditions. You are correct. Unless you settle your feelings, the “what if guy” will keep surfacing in your mind, especially when you inevitably run into the rough spots that every couple runs into over the course of a marriage. Sadly, this almost always guarantees divorce. Instead of working hard on the marriage, a person who goes into a marriage second-guessing often tells herself she made the wrong choice in the first place and leaves.
If you remain ambivalent, perhaps you should see a therapist to come to an understanding of what exactly you mean by “not being ready for marriage.” There may be more to this than you think.
I wish you well.