Not Quite Ready to Nest
Question: I have been with my partner for two years and we have been engaged for the last six months, but over the last two months I have felt myself more and more unsatisfied with my life. We don’t want the same things. He wants security, stability and family, yet I want uncertainty, freedom and to enjoy my 20s before having the white picket fence and 2.4 children. I know what I have to do, but I am not sure I have the strength to do it. I can't destroy the one person who loves me no matter what. How do I tell him that the life he wants to give me is not the life I want?
Answer: I know only know a handful of people who were ready to get married before turning 30. I also know how difficult it is to find someone you could imaging building a life with.
Aging is funny. The apprehension you feel in your early 20s about tying the knot is eventually replaced by the terrorizing realization that you’re fast approaching 30, freedom isn't that great and you have no game plan. This mindset is the best for setting down because, by this point, you’re in it to win it and want anything but freedom. This is part jest, part truth.
Without downplaying the seriousness of your feelings, I will say that the idea of being young and free is often more exciting than the reality. Before you upheave the life you have with your fiance, establish where this need to break free is coming from. Is it because you aren’t actually in love with him or is it because you’re discontent with where you’re at with your life? A true partnership leaves space for things that you still want to accomplish on your own.
If you’re simply not in love with your fiance enough to commit to a future, then you do need to end it now. Letting it drag on will only result in you pulling away or straying, which will end badly. Tell him you don’t want what he wants and that you worry about your happiness if you have to make a forever commitment at this point in your life. Tell him it’s over and be firm about it—no “let’s take a break” or “maybe one day." False promises will only give him false hope.
If you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough, but really are in love with him, then you may want to change your line of thought. This is especially advisable if you might want that white picket fence and those 2.4 kids some day. You don’t have to achieve everything in life before “settling down” with someone. You will still be your own person, and there is such a thing as conquering the world together.
Besides, who says that staying together means playing house and popping out kids? Even if your fiance is dying to start a family, it sounds like he’d rather wait for you to be ready than lose you all together. No sense in throwing those unborn babies out with the bath water, right?