hi! I've never met a married couple that are truly happy in their relationship & don't regret their decision. which makes me really scared of marriage and commitment, what if they changed? what if they got bored? what if I no longer feel like I'm in the right place? i love my partner and he loves me too he wants to propose but i keep asking for time. I'm just too scared that eventually we'll fall out of love and I'll feel trapped and unhappy for the rest of my life, just like every married couple i know. how do i stop overthinking and make the right decision? what should i know before i commit so my partner stays comfortable with me ?
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This is a very real and common fear to have about long-term relationships. People worry that their partners will change upon hitting relationship milestones, and that’s a valid fear to have! It often feels like people change when their relationships change, but do they really? Or are they just revealing more of their true selves? The truth is you have to trust that your partner is doing the latter and not the former; that being said, they should be establishing a healthy baseline of trust in the first place. It’s best to come clean to your partner about all of this. He can’t help you if he doesn’t know what’s got you feeling so anxious and why you're postponing the proposal. He is likely going to ask questions about why you need more time if it keeps happening, so it’s better if you initiate the conversation. This will show him that you do see a future with him, but you have some things to get off your chest first. Remember that if your partner truly cares about you, he would be more than willing to hear you out over all of this. He might actually share some of your concerns! If you are wondering how to broach it, definitely do it well before he brings up proposing again because that will prevent souring the occasion. Find a time where you two are not in any time-crunch or busy, and tell him you have been thinking about his want to propose to you, and you have some things you want to talk about before he tries it officially. Try to tell him this at a time when you two can actually talk instead of telling him right before he goes to work or school, etc. so he doesn’t risk stressing over it all day; he may have built up a worst-case scenario in his head by then, and that may make it harder for him to communicate with you properly. I do understand you have some anxiety around changes in your relationships- including reaching new stages together. This is totally valid and something that most people think about. It may help to remember that change is normal and natural and that relationships that stagnate become stale, boring, and frustrating. To get a better idea of the latter, this article talks about the signs of a dead-end relationship: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-unexpected-signs-youre-in-a-dead-end-relationship-even-if-you-love-your-partner-10170367 It’s not always easy to accept change; it’s scary sometimes! But it’s necessary for our growth as individuals and for our relationships. There are people who seem to think that certain relationship milestones mean they’ve secured commitment from their partners; the truth is, it’s up to ourselves as individuals to decide if we are going to honor our commitments to others. It might help to remember this since you seem to be worried that the commitment between the two of you may falter due to falling out of love. You can control the level of commitment you make, but you cannot control if you love someone. These articles may alleviate some of the anxiety you have because it talks about the common changes people make while in relationships and how to navigate them:
https://www.verywellmind.com/the-four-stages-of-relationships-4163472 It may also help to examine your particular feelings about marriage and commitment. Do you feel that marriage somehow changes a couple? Do those gold rings cause people to turn into their worst selves? Do you think people get lazy when they get married? Do you worry your bedroom life will grind to a halt? Do you feel pressured to get married by your partner? Or family or friends? Society? If so, that is totally worth examining by itself because that social pressure is real. If you sense you are struggling with such pressure, these articles should help with that:
https://keiseimagazine.com/overcoming-the-pressures-to-get-married-and-start-a-family/ https://globalnews.ca/news/4643136/marriage-pressure/ While you’re discussing your concerns with your partner, you may also want to discuss these difficult, but necessary, questions: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/23/fashion/weddings/marriage-questions.html Perhaps your partner’s answers will help alleviate your anxiety or validate any existing concerns you have. As a genuine question, why do you feel these married couples you have met so far seem so unhappy? Do you see red flags in their relationships that they seem to ignore? Do they seem bored or unfulfilled together? Do they make sappy posts all over social media constantly? Do they sound like they are trying just a little too hard--as if they’re trying to project the semblance of a happy relationship? Do they bicker constantly or complain about each other to others? Do you feel that some of these couples are together for the wrong reasons? Any of these are valid, but I’d avoid bringing it up to these couples unless they ask OR their relationship drama starts negatively impacting others. If you’re close friends with any of these couples, certainly keep an ear open to see if you can help, but don’t go digging up dirt for the sake of it. If they do ask for help or for your perspective, ask them about the green flags in their relationships like these: https://www.bustle.com/wellness/green-flags-relationship-experts Lastly, it’s definitely a good time to take stock of your current relationship by yourself like this article suggests: https://medium.com/publishous/12-simple-questions-to-evaluate-the-happiness-in-your-relationship-347451dc6cc9 It’s important to remember that we all change as we grow and so do our relationships. We make friends in school, and then they move or grow apart from us or grow with us. We live with our parents all our lives and we gain more of an equal footing with them as we grow up. Some people have close relationships with their parents when they’re adults, some have cordial relationships, and some have no relationships with them. In other words, it’s not the end of the world if you and your partner find out that you both have different goals in mind or you break up later on. It doesn’t mean either of you are terrible people or that you are failures; breakups and divorces happen every day--just the same as people get into new relationships and marriages. Take a deep breath and dive in. I think your partner will greatly appreciate you caring so much about your relationship that you’re willing to have these hard conversations. Good luck! Socially-distanced hugs, Angelica Barile