I'm still not sure if she is the one. Is that ok?
December 18, 2016 12:59 PM   Subscribe

To elaborate a little more - I've been 2 years in a relationship. We are engaged and are looking to get married later next year but I have some hesitations. I cannot tell if these hesitations are warranted or if its steming from my fear of commitement or both.

A few years ago I fell very hard for a girl that did not work out. In hindsight she wasn't a very nice person and yet I seem to fall for women that treat me terribly. Along comes another woman in my life that I end up falling for, but not to the extent that I have felt in the past. She's positive, energetic and loves me very much. My mind is telling me that she is a good match for me and will treat me right in the future and I will thank my future self for sticking with it and not backing out. I dont want to break up a good thing especially when I see the potential of something great happening in the present and in the future. My other half though tells me that maybe she isnt the one, and that I dont have as strong feelings in the past as I do presently. I feel as though that listening to my other half I will regret leaving the relationship.

These doubts plague my mind every day and im trying to look for any advice out there that you may offer me. I want to make this relationship work! Have any of you felt uneasy going into marriage and then felt like you made the right choice afterwards? Is it normal to still think about the one that got away? Is there any meaning to "If you cant love the one you want, love the one youre with" ?
posted by red47Apple to Human Relations (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I felt exactly as you did, but I got married anyway. We're divorced now, and I REALLY wish I had listened to those doubts I had.

I seriously could have written this question eight years ago. I'm WAY happier, and in a better relationship now.

Listen to those doubts.
posted by guster4lovers at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

You described this same situation with what must have been the prior girlfriend over three AskMes in 2013.

I'm gonna speculate that the issues here are not relationship-specific. No one is "the one."
posted by spitbull at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2016 [12 favorites]

A lot of couples go through pre-marital counseling, either with their religious officiant associated with their religion of choice, or with a secular counselor. This might be a good time for you to explore that, with your fiancée, and maybe perhaps on your own.

It's normal to have cold feet, yes.

I read a quote once, where if the other person has at least 50% or more of the positive qualities that you are seeking in a mate, you probably won't find one who matches 100% of what your expectations are. That is, we are all human, and no one person can realistically live up to our fantasies.

The big key to a working marriage (and it is work, btw, there are ups and downs, as with any relationship) is communication, and not taking every little incident as a sign that it's doomed to failure. Things can be worked out, if you both love each other and are decent people.

Ultimately, though, it's your decision, and if you are in the midst of wedding planning, it would be a kindness to give your SO a head's up, so you can talk about it, and not blindside her at a later date. Best of luck to you.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I married the person who I knew, without hesitation, that I wanted to be with always. That's not to say that being partners hasn't been very challenging at times, but if I had doubts about being with them, I don't think I would have come out the other side with an intact partnership.

If I was planning to get married to someone who wrote what you wrote about your fiancé about me, I would leave. You being plagued by doubts about the relationship on a daily basis isn't fair to her. She deserves to be with someone who is enthusiastic and absolutely sure about wanting to be with her for life. Be fair and thoughtful and don't just love the one you're with while longing for a past love. It's cruel and a recipe for disaster.
posted by quince at 1:46 PM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

There is no "one", but this sounds like a recipe for a bad outcome in any case.

You need to spend some time learning how to actually interface with your feelings, for one thing. Marriage isn't really about how you feel right this second in the moment, it's not a gauge that suddenly rises to the "marriage" line and then you do it and never have to deal with your feelings again.

You don't say anything about why you're getting married, except that you've been together a socially requisite amount of time and she's not a complete monster. Are you defaulting into marriage here just because? Or are you already consciously building a life with this person? Are you eager to do another 50 years of life-building with her? Have you already discussed how you plan to handle financial crises, parenting and parenting conflicts that are sometimes completely in opposition, whose career takes precedence, what kind of lifestyle you want to live for the next 5 years and then the 5 after that? Assuming you are a man, have you grappled at all with the socialization and subliminal messaging you've received all your life that men don't do emotional labor or parenting work?

If you haven't done that stuff, you're not ready to marry anybody. You don't sound ready to marry anybody.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:46 PM on December 18, 2016 [22 favorites]

First off, there's no such thing as "the one". If you want to read something funny but also pertinent, check out this xkcd explanation of how the idea of a soulmate or the one is bullshit.

Second, long term relationships, IME, are not based on feelings. Yes, there are feelings involved, obviously, but to fully love someone is a choice you have to decide to make, and then live every day with that decision and make the relationship work (because yes, all marriages take work to maintain). Are you guys compatible? Do you share the same values and life goals? How's your communication? These are the kinds of things people should be looking at when deciding whether to tie their life to someone else with marriage. Only you can decide whether you have long-term compatibility, we can't really help you with that.
posted by FireFountain at 1:47 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

To be clear -- my first response was a bit cryptic-- it seems like you really don't want to settle down and get married. You don't really have two "halves" that are in conflict. You're one person experiencing serious emotional reservations just as you described your prior relationship in terms of unresolvable competing desires in earlier AskMes. This suggests the issue is you, idealizing "the one" as something unattainable ("the one that got away") but actually always "out there."
posted by spitbull at 1:47 PM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Cold feet is an expected thing, but with your past askmes in mind... do you think this might be another manifestation of your own insecurities? I highly doubt your brains idea of "the perfect woman" actually exists. When it comes to relationships, romantic or platonic, you have to accept them as their whole self, without judgement. This means appreciating a relationship for what it is, and not comparing it to a fictional level of perfection that likely will never happen(or idealisations of relationships you've seen second hand).

Also, the way you write about women hits me with a very weird feeling, as you refer to grown women as "girls" and you don't seem to be aware that she in fact deserves a partner who doesn't let petty judgement or their own insecurity rule her life. Do her feelings hang in your mind at all? Or just yours?

If you haven't moved past the version of yourself that wrote This, I suggest you leave women alone for a while. Your ideals and expectations of your partners are not healthy nor realistic.
posted by InkDrinker at 1:54 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

I dont want to break up a good thing especially when I see the potential of something great happening in the present and in the future.

Things start to go squicky when you focus on "potential." It's good to consider the future: do you guys have similar goals, financial plans, desires, etc. But if your focus is on the future and making decisions based on a predetermined roadmap, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
posted by ghost phoneme at 3:33 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Having just been through one, I can tell you that divorce really, really sucks. If you're not sure about the marriage, don't do it. I wish I had listened to my more reasoned half back when doing so would have saved me a lot of grief.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:19 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think emotions are a useful guide when it comes to complex decisions like finding a life partner. They tell us a lot about what we subconsciously really care about, so it would be foolish to ignore a loud, nagging doubt.

Having said that, you also say that you fear leaving, you fear the possibility of regret, and you foresee that it could work out in the future... Maybe it's time to talk at length with someone who can untangle your emotions with you, e.g. a counsellor or a friend with good listening skills? Hopefully then you will be able to make a committed decision, knowing that you have thought and felt things all the way through.

I also think that you should gently communicate with your partner - if you are having doubts, chances are that she is having doubts too? It would be quite awkward and unfair to mislead her.
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 7:29 PM on December 18, 2016

Don't settle - wait for someone you can't live without.
posted by summerstorm at 9:47 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think you should stop wasting this woman's time and invest in growing up. This and your previous questions display a high level of immaturity and self-centredness.

It's generally OK to have reservations about marriage, but in your case, you are not ready to be married, not while you still have this romanticised view of a woman who is perfect for you, and will bear your perfect children all the while embracing your religion and (self described) conservative culture.

It takes two to make relationships work and you don't seem ready to commit to your end of the bargain. Not while you still have this adolescent view of the 'perfect girl' who looks good on your arm.
posted by Kwadeng at 1:29 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Interestingly, you never say you are in love with this woman. In fact you imply in your closing that you're still in love with the last woman you couldn't make up your mind about. This pattern will continue until you introspect critically about your view of women and relationships. Therapy can be very helpful for this. AskMe can be a tough crowd. But listen, you are trapped in a pattern that extends back years and several relationships. That means you are the issue, not your partners.
posted by spitbull at 5:29 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

hing especially when I see the potential of something great happening in the present and in the future.

If you are engaged. The future is now. You should be at PEAK good, not forecasting good.

Basically if you are hoping marriage will improve a situation you should never get married to that person.
posted by French Fry at 7:18 AM on December 19, 2016 [8 favorites]

My mind is telling me that she is a good match for me and will treat me right in the future

Um hmm.... but you shouldn't get married because you think your current girlfriend will treat you right in the future. What about HER future and her needs? You should be thinking about how you can be the best husband for her too, but your question revolves around how you're feeling good about the match because SHE won't treat you badly in years to come... this makes me feel sad and icky in so many ways. I'm not saying you don't deserve happiness, but you shouldn't marry someone for the reasons you appear to be implying in your question.

The fact that you also bring up a girl in your question that you fell really hard for YEARS ago, indicates that perhaps you're not over that situation entirely... and again, I wouldn't recommend marriage without working through these issues first.

I'm speaking only as someone who is recently married, and serious to God if I had been having thoughts similar to yours, or if I found out my husband had been thinking those kinds of thoughts, I wouldn't have gone through with it.... this is real life for goodness sake! Life is LONG. It is so long.
posted by JenThePro at 9:20 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

hey, do you happen to be the child of one or more alcoholic parents? I was, and it took me forEVer to stop seeking negative excitement. I only went to one meeting of Adult Children of Alcoholics but that takeaway was so helpful. See if any of this rings a bell, specifically "we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships."

If it does, take a look at some of their literature and maybe consider raising the issue in therapy.

By the way, workable relationships really are better than negative excitement. Take it from me.
posted by janey47 at 12:38 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dont marry her. Not for your sake but for hers. She deserves someone who doesn't have doubts about her.
posted by metajim at 9:56 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am a therapist, but of course IANYT. From what you post, my working hypothesis is missing information or awareness in either what you know/believe about yourself and your needs, or what you know/believe about relationships.

A good relationship counselor can help you sort that out. And an objective consultation might bring you a greater sense of confidence than trying to sort things out around your "blind spots" alone. Doing Prepare/Enrich (or something similar) with your partner would also be an appropriate and probably at least somewhat helpful endeavor.

Kudos to you for being willing to explore rather than smother that inner voice saying something difficult.
posted by dancing leaves at 6:35 AM on December 22, 2016

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