“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu
It was so exciting today talking with you about rings, potentially getting engaged. I love you so much and am excited for our future together.
In the spirit of radical transparency, later this evening I have felt anxiety and apprehension about the thought of ACTUALLY being engaged. This reaction confuses me, but to deny it to myself or you would be irresponsible. So, here is me exploring these feelings and being open with you. I hope my attempt to communicate these difficult thoughts is successful in a way that is understandable and not threatening to you or our relationship.
I have treated dating seriously in the past and have identified across multiple relationships - some short, some long, some serious, some casual. These experiences have helped me identify what is important to me in a partner and what sort of relationship I would like in the future. I am familiar with the feelings of knowing when someone is not a great fit, not willing to commit, knowing I don't want to commit, someone has values too dissimilar to my own to create a successful partnership, knowing when I do not feel a *spark* with someone despite them being 'perfect on paper,' and everything in between. Long story short, when it comes to relationships, dating variety, and knowing what I want, I'm pretty much a PhD.
I know you too have had multiple serious and casual relationships to also recognize clearly what you want.
I know that from day 1 I felt something special with you. The ease, the magic, the love, the trust, the support...it is all real. We seem like perfect fits for one another and you are everything I have ever dreamed of in a partner and then some. Having a romantic partnership with an incredible man like you, getting engaged, getting married, having children and starting a family is something I have dreamed about since I was young(er).
So what gives - why do I feel uneasy about my dreams coming true?
A few thoughts come to mind:
-It's a few days until my period, it's not uncommon for me to feel off about many things during this period (pun intended).*
-The last relationship of mine that was straightforward and quickly went from connection to commitment to enmeshing each other's lives turned out to be the most miserable relationship I have ever experienced with who turned out to be one of the worst people I've known. I did not question committing, loving, combining our lives, moving, etc for this relationship - it all felt right and real. Does the familiarity of ease in commitment, ease in taking next steps in a relationship trigger a fear of what happened in my relationship with ATW could happen again?
-Relationships have many milestones - first date, feeling a spark, first kiss, first time being intimate, first time saying 'I love you', meeting friends, meeting family, living together, getting engaged, getting married, having babies, naming children, etc. Of what I have just mentioned, we have done 8/12 in barely 2 months. Are we speeding through each exciting phase organically? Is there any loss in slowing things down?
-I recognize a pattern in myself that I feel overwhelmed and frustrated when lots of energy is spent on things we are not able to do, even when those things are good. This happened when I felt agitation looking and talking about properties and houses to buy on Zillow. I am in no financial position to purchase a property and you have no plans to live in the US until after December 2022 - and then plan to go to a yet to be determined business school. This sort of activity is time consuming, emotionally heavy and premature by 4+ years. This sort of activity is unproductive and takes time from the dreams, goals and living in front of us now (even in COVID times). While there is a healthy amount of daydreaming to do, I feel it can be a dangerous hole to fall into and the realities, demands and priorities of the present both as a couple and individuals suffer. We've both agreed there are still things we need to learn about one another, about ourselves and about us as a couple. Until we have had more time to explore these things, I think we should step away from long talks of engagement, wedding, and babies (sadly, this includes baby names).
-Right now the world is a mess. The extreme divides in population and politics combined with a global pandemic creates so much uncertain energy. With everything that is going on in the world, we would not be able to have the wedding with the friends and family we would want be present. There is a backlog of weddings and social occasions quickly accruing. Since we would not be able to move forward with a wedding anytime soon, why get engaged?
-You and I as individuals are in flux. I have just rerooted myself for the nth time in how many years, liquidated my savings to pay debt, lost my job, flip-flopped on whether I wanted a romantic relationship and kids, and closed the door on a confusing relationship with someone incredibly significant to me. You have recently left a career defining post, ended a serious relationship you considered could be headed toward married and are navigating how you can accommodate that person as a friend now, started a new school, had that school put on pause due to COVID-19, are in the midst of a CFA, planning to go to business school and will be repatriating back to the US which, from personal experience, is likely to catalyze many emotions, changes and challenges as you establish yourself in a career, culture and social group different from what you have known for the last 7+ (?) years. I think we both need to settle our current lives until taking on more big changes.
I still believe our love is very real and that we will have our dream future together. But for now, I think we have a lot on our plates - good and bad - and we should focus on the now. Real love, real commitment and real partnership exists without a ring, wedding, title, certificate, etc. And given we are committed as can be, I do not see harm in waiting. In the meantime, I do not want to harm what we have, as sole humans and as a couple, by neglecting the things we should attend to now, by jumping to the next exciting milestone.
I love you so much.
*I am the only one who is ever allowed to say that, btw - completely off limits to anyone else.