we just got engaged and suddenly, she’s having 2nd thoughts
A couple of months ago my fiancee told me that she is having doubts about our engagement. We got engaged about 5 months ago, even though we have been friends and/or dating for almost 9 years and we’re both about to graduate from college. We are both close to 29 years old. When I gave her the ring she said she was sure and looked forward to the rest of our lives together, but now she says she still loves me but isn’t “in love” with me. When I pressed her she said that she just doesn’t have the same feelings she had before, and some of the things I do that she used to like have started to bother her (e.g. like I texted her during the day to let her know I was thinking of her). She says she knows we are best friends, but isn’t sure it’s enough. She says she thinks we might want to break our engagement because she needs to be on her own, although I offered to delay our wedding date and just live together and see how it goes. How could she do this to me? I can’t live without her and I didn’t think I’d have to. love her very much, she’s my best friend and I want to spend my life with her, but I don’t know what to do. We made a commitment to each other after so many years, how could she be unsure now? I’m really having a hard time with all of this because – to me – the change seems very sudden.
Signed, confused Ken
Alison’s Take: I feel sad for you, Ken, it’s definitely confusing when you love someone and have a vision of a future with them, and it suddenly seems like things have changed. Nine years is a long time to be with someone, but you met your fiance when you were just kids, and the two of you are not the same people you were back then. As Tony suggested, part of the warm feelings you have for each other are familiarity, a sense of comfort and trust, shared memories and the knowledge that you have seen some of the best, and the worst, of each other. But you can love someone passionately and then realize when you look forward, that your perception of that person have changed. That doesn’t mean your feelings for that person have diminished, but your goals for the future with him or her may have.
You mention that your fiance said some of the very things that once seemed attractive and cute about you now annoy her. That is very common in long term relationships. Couples get complacent and often, intolerant of one another. They take things for granted. But I don’t think that’s the real problem. Neither of you have had the chance to develop independently of the other.As you started to get closer to making a permanent commitment, the idea of being with you forever when she hasn’t had time to explore other partners and try new things on her own is the real issue. You may not feel the need to try new things, but obviously, your fiance does. If she settles down with you right now, she will never know what else is out there, or if she is making the right or best choice (for her). In truth, you can’t know that either, since the two of you have been tied to each other for so long through the years when you should have and could have been socializing and experimenting, having new experiences and learning new things on your own.
I’m sure you have heard the expression “If you love someone you have to let them go. If they return it’s meant to be and if they don’t, it is for the best.” Since you are graduating, give yourself a time out, a break from one another. If you are truly meant to be together, you’ll re-connect stronger than before. Yes, there’s a risk she won’t return or you may find someone else, but if that happens you’ll know you made the right choice.