From the U.S.: I am a 22 year old recent graduate and my fiance is 30 years old and a hard worker as a business analyst. We started dating when I was 18 (he was 26). We dated through my years at school, he broke up with me shortly twice in our earlier time together (my family was not very accepting of me dating and he saw that). Later when I moved to Dallas for the last two years of nursing school, we decided to move in together.
By the end of the summer, I realized I wasn’t ready to live with someone esp since school and my career as a nurse was extremely important to me. When I moved out, we broke up for a month and stared dating again. In all my four years at school I never went “out” or attended parties. I was very focused on nursing and I felt it was inappropriate to go out with friends to bars/ clubs when I was in a serious relationship.
A year ago he asked me to marry him, I was elated and said yes. We are very close/ good friends and easily made plans for the future. We are now 10 months from the wedding (I wanted to finish school and start working comfortably before marrying so we planned a 2 year engagement).
I never thought my being 22 would be a problem, I have always been kind of conservative. However lately since I have had time off before my new job I am realizing I may not be ready for marriage or as conservative as I thought. I can see a great future with him and he loves me very much, but I also have so many independent things I want to accomplish and frankly living together recently has made me want to be more independent.
Its difficult to think of hurting the man I love and call my friend. I find myself wanting to save for grad school, decorate my own place (which I don’t have), and spend more time with my friends as well as actually go out. I am very confused and have had anxiety about whether to call off the wedding. I do frequently miss dating also, since I haven’t dated someone else since I was 17. Any thoughts on if this may be something I can work on with him or am I just not ready to dedicate my life to someone else?
Sometimes when we ask a question, we already have the answer. I don’t think your ambivalence about getting married is a case of having cold feet. I think you’ve made a reasonable assessment of your own situation.
Often people who started dating when they were in high school just kind of slide into marriage. They and the people around them just seem to think it’s the next logical step in the relationship. Sometimes it works out fine. But sometimes it is at the cost of finding out who they are as individuals and discovering what (and who) they want in life. It’s not at all uncommon to find that the person they chose at 15 or 17 isn’t necessarily the kind of person they would choose as an adult. This realization is often painful for everyone concerned.
In your case, your fiance is enough older than you are that he probably did have the time to come into himself before he met you. You on the other hand, were in a different developmental stage. Having denied yourself experiences that are common during the college years, you now find yourself on the brink of making a lifelong commitment to someone else when you aren’t really sure who you are.
It’s not my place to tell you what to do. Only you can search your heart and mind and decide what is best for both of you. But I will venture that it is not fair to a future partner (or to yourself) to launch into marriage with significant doubts.
I wish you well,