Dear Dr. Hedda
I’m in my early thirties and for years I have been watching my friends fall in love, marry and have families. I kept wondering when my time would come. Oh I’ve dated several men but never felt love. Maybe, I thought, I’m supposed to have a career and I would never fall in love. Then two years ago, at a fund raising garden party, I met Perry. I liked his smile immediately. After dating for a few months we both realized we were in love. Finally I thought I found my Mr. Right.
We’ve been together for over two years now. He is delightful company, a wonderful lover and we seem to share the same values and life goals. Yet I have been very hesitant to plan for our future. Something was holding me back. I didn’t know what. I kept telling myself this was the man I was waiting for and here he is. What’s going on ?
Then I started to notice little changes in me. I stopped worrying about what to wear when I saw him, I stopped baking him cookies to take to work and I stopped shaving my legs every two days. I realized at that moment that I didn’t love him anymore.
He is still making plans for our future together, little trips on weekends, dinners with friends and then one night he started talking about wanting children.
I care about him, he is very good to me and for me but I don’t love him anymore. I don’t want to marry him and have his children. The very idea upsets me.
How do you tell the man that has loved you for over two years that you don’t love him anymore but you still want him in your life. I am well aware of all of his assets. And I know I will probably not meet a man as good as him again. But I don’t want to give him the wrong impression, I can’t lie to him yet I am being deceitful.
Do I tell him the truth and lose the best relationship I ever had? Is being love so important, can’t I just like him a lot? Is that good enough ?
I’m afraid he will walk out and I’ll never see him again.
Scared of being alone.
We all share the falling in love and happily ever after fantasy. It’s a good one. But if it’s true, that we have a soul mate out there why is the divorce rate so high?
It seems you value Perry, recognize his virtues, and appreciate them.. He filled a hole you thought you had in your life. His love made you fit in with your friends and their lives. And you felt loved. All good things. Yet maybe you were trying to be your friends and not yourself. Not every man and woman who date steadily for awhile wind up marrying and having families. I don’t know the statistics but I’m sure they are high for people who have chosen to remain single. And that doesn’t mean alone. Friends, family, careers, community work also fill our lives with happiness and satisfaction.
What you need to do it take a step back and think this through. Perry may or may not be your true love.
But what matters most is how you feel and what you want. Do you really want your friends lives? Is your career satisfying you ? Where do you want to be in five years, ten years from now?
I know many people who have chosen not to marry. It’s not that they are career crazy or insecure. It’s just that they enjoy their alone time as much as their shared time with others. They date, they have relationships (long and short) but the bottom line is their commitment is to themselves not someone else.
I suggest you talk to Perry about this. Tell him how much you care and appreciate the happiness he has brought to your life but you have some reservations about what you really want. He may have some reservations too.