We’re supposed to get married next year, but I have major doubts

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I am 28 years old and have been with my fiancé for 5 years, engaged for just over a year. We're scheduled to be married in a year, but my gut keeps nagging at me that something's not right. I really want to make us work, but some days feel like I'm grasping at straws. Lately I've been focusing on the negative things instead of enjoying our time together. I'm worried that if we get married we'll end up divorced or unhappy. On the flip side, I'm worried that if I do end things I'll regret the decision and won't find someone else that makes me happier.

When he proposed we had been together for almost four years, and had just committed to high-responsibility jobs in the same city. Though we had casually talked about where we would want to live, how many kids we’d want, etc., we had not talked about marriage in detail. The weekend he proposed was one of our first weekends back in the same city after eight months of long-distance because of school. I was surprised when he proposed and felt more terrified than excited. While we were apart, I never missed him like I imagined you should miss someone you love. In the moment he asked, I went on autopilot and said yes, although every bone in my body screamed no.

We've talked about that moment a few times since, and he's said he wished he had waited longer to ask, realizing after the fact that I didn't feel ready. He is a wonderful and kind person and would do just about anything for me. Today, we both have well-paying jobs in the same field. We understand each other's work life, and from a financial perspective would be very comfortable together. I make it a priority to remind him not to talk about work after hours as much as possible, because talking about his day often feels like an extension of my work day. Lately, our sex life has been just OK, and I find myself so stressed about deciding if this engagement is right for me that the thought of even kissing makes me irk.

I've been told by family members that they've noticed that while I am a "yes" person, he is a "no" person. He thinks through every decision before he makes it, and sometime takes a frustrating amount of convincing to get to "yes." I'm the opposite, often committing to things without thinking them through, and then sorting out details out after the fact. In a way, he balances out my over-committing self. On the flip side, sometimes I feel he slows me down or holds me back. I feel like he is content with the status quo, when I am always looking for the next adventure. I am a very independent and social person. We were recently apart for a month working, and I kept myself busy to the point that I really didn't miss him. I enjoyed my time alone, which made the feeling that something wasn't right between us all the more painful.

I could go on, but I'll end things there. Again, I hope this can work, but I don't want to draw things out any longer for him if they aren't going to work. Really hoping for some unbiased feedback. Thank you for reading!

– Engaged


"I'm the opposite, often committing to things without thinking them through, and then sorting out details out after the fact."

Well, that's some self-awareness. You said a big yes to marriage before you were ready, and marriage is a very big deal!

For the record, I understand how that happened. Surprise proposals are dramatic and difficult to respond to (take note, everyone). But ... your gut was telling you "no," or, at the very least, "not yet." Now you know your gut knows all. You can still listen to it and call off the marriage part of this. Then make decisions about the entire relationship.

If you're worried about appearances, remember that this is a great time to put the brakes on. Weddings have been cancelled and rescheduled. Some people made decisions during 2020 that no longer seem right in 2021. Really, who cares what anyone thinks, but if you do, please remember that a lot of people are rethinking plans at the moment. Also, it sounds like your family would understand your decision.

The answer to your larger question might be revealed by your greatest fear. You're not scared about missing the man you've been with for five years (if you are, you didn't care enough to dwell on it). Your worst fear, right now, is that you won't find someone better. That has nothing to do with him; you've already started to make this about who else is out there.

It sounds like this relationship is on a path to ending, but for now, focus on the first step, which is calling off the engagement. Once that pressure is off, think about how the relationship actually works and how much you want it.

If you don't want it at all, yes, end it with him soon.

– Meredith

Readers? Anyone on the "stay together" side? Anyone at all? Should the LW end the engagement first or the whole thing?