Is it automatically wrong to stay with someone if you have doubts regarding the ultimate strength of your compatibility and ability to stay together for the long-haul? For once I want to try to relax and see where things go, but I don't want to be hurtful to this wonderful woman. It is a bit complicated, since we broke off our engagement 2 months ago, we are both women in our early-to-mid 30s who each want a child at some point, and I have serious anxiety problems which paralyze my thinking, and which make me feel extra immature when faced with overwhelming questions like this.
posted by wombat stork to Human Relations (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My girlfriend and I got engaged last year, her family was super-supportive and excited, and it seemed like an exciting idea. But it instantly created so much stress for me (and therefore us) that we decided to call it off, but remain in a relationship and continue living together. This actually really helped bring enjoyment back into the relationship. But I still fear how much time I spend worrying if I am making a bad decision staying with her, despite how well we get along and how kind/funny/generous she is, and how big our plans are for the future.
I don't want to waste her time, but I also don't want to destroy something good unnecessarily. One aspect is also that we are both in our 30s and each of us have some interest in having a child at some point (my fears of biological timing for both of us strengthen my usual stress, but I don't want to fall into the trap of letting this issue guide these big decisions. But I don't want to waste her potential baby-making time while I figure this out.) I do have anxiety problems and strong guilt issues and obsess over variations of these kinds of things in every single relationship I've ever had. I am rarely a calm, relaxedly-committed partner because I am always fearful that I cannot promise "forever" and it eats away at everything.
The thing is, after breaking off the engagement, I began to think that maybe I don't need to be 100% sure, and maybe I don't have to have an immediate answer. That maybe for once I can just try to relax and see where this relationship heads (while keeping the baby-making in mind to some degree). I do have an escape fantasy that involves an ancient ex-girlfriend (who remains a good friend--really, my only true friend--and who I have a unique bond with), which makes me feel even more guilty about any "stringing along" aspects, even though I objectively see that that would end badly and I try to keep those thoughts out of the mix as much as possible. I mention this just to be honest about the things going through my head doubt-wise. My girlfriend knows that I am a stress-machine, and that I obsess about things to an unhealthy degree, but I try to keep the most obsessive aspects of it to myself. I try to be as honest as possible in my life, but in this case, I feel like extreme honesty is crossing the line into cruelty and destruction for all involved, especially if all I need is a bit of time to relax and reassess.
My anxiety and perpetual guilt about destroying everyone's lives (thanks, abusive mom and dad) make it difficult for me to make fraught decisions in a mature way. So my question is: does it sound like I am right about considering being a little gentle with myself for once and giving myself some breathing room to see how things go now that the wedding-pressure is off, or am I deluding myself and really I need to make an immediate choice in order to be a good person in this situation?
(A few more elements which may be relevant: 1) We are planning to move to a slightly smaller, artsier city in the next year, and I still think that would be fun to try. Would it be wrong to do that if I am not 100% sure what is going to happen, or is it okay to go with the flow? 2) Our sex-life has taken a nose-dive, and we have not had sex for months, due only to my issues. I can't tell if it is because of the stress or if that waning of attraction -for whatever mysterious reason- is closely related to all these doubts. We're working on that, but I'd feel terrible about ruining a good relationship over the vagaries of sex and its often-changing attractions. 3) She is an incredibly strong person, and is willing to face the fact that this might not work, despite being deeply in love with me. She would be crushed, but would work to be okay, and would wish me well if I felt I had to leave. I just wish I could find a way to be more passionately fulfilled by this wonderful, smart, strong woman. Can I give this some time or is that obviously wrong?)
I am looking into therapists and finally want to wrestle with some of my problems head-on, but I am fearful of getting just one perspective from a future therapist, and would really appreciate some different views and ideas and experiences regarding these overwhelming things. It would really be appreciated.