Am I happy enough in this relationship?

Dear Meredith,

I need to know if the feelings I'm having about my happy relationship are crazy or natural. We started rocky. He had some personal issues he didn't tell me about at the beginning. We broke it off for a month and he quit his old life cold turkey, so I decided to give it another shot.

Here we are seven months later – and we're engaged. Things have been good; we do have conflict but discuss things with respect for each another and never yell. He is very attentive, makes an effort to pursue me everyday, and gives the relationship his all.

I have a few issues with the relationship still, even though he's poured so much effort into making it great. I have tried giving it my all too, but I'm still unsatisfied. First, he is emotionally immature a good majority of the time. He had some trauma and was very isolated growing up, so I try to be understanding, but he just hasn't "experienced" a lot of the world on his own. I feel like he does make an effort to mature and grow, but I still feel we're not at the same level.

He also doesn't want to be involved in supporting my work or being with my family. I work with students and try to be at their events. I also have family that I don't even see that often, who invites us for holidays and occasionally dinner. Somehow, he always gets ill right before these events. He does go, but he acts sick the whole time. It makes it awkward because I'm focused on socializing for him, and he comes off unfriendly. He doesn't share the same passion for people.

And third, even though 90 percent of our relationship is great, I still have a list of things I want to do as a single person. We're on the same page about where we want to travel and new things we want to try, but ... I've always been very independent, maybe to an unhealthy point. And when I imagine doing these things, he's rarely in the picture I create in my head. We have discussed the issues and have worked on improving the relationship, but I'm still having these feelings. Am I being ungrateful and just don't know how good I have it? Is what I'm feeling natural?

– Doubts


It's way too soon for you to be making decisions about the rest of your life with this man. There are many things to like about the relationship (90 percent is a nice number), but there are also huge problems that could be deal-breakers. You have no idea whether you'll be able to work out the conflicts over time. Yet ... you're engaged. Why do you have to make that kind of promise right now?

My advice is to take marriage off the table ... or to treat this like the longest engagement ever. Go to events, spend time with your family, and think about whether you prefer to have these experiences on your own. Also, if you want to travel by yourself, do it. Sometimes the best way to make peace with the picture you've created in your head is to live it.

I will say that at seven months in, if it takes great effort to stay happy, you and this man might not be meant for forever. All relationships take work, but this one shouldn't feel like an obligation. When you say you're trying to give this relationship your all, think about what that means – and whether it's good for you.

Also, don't assume that your need for independence is unhealthy. It's who you are – and the right partner will understand.

– Meredith

Readers? Can she have some of these experiences on her own? Do you believe the 90 percent number?