She Pressured Me to Marry, then Ran Off
Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Male
My ex left me nearly 4 months ago, after 3 yrs. We had a good relationship, on most levels, but I didn't give her the attention she wanted. She pressed marriage when I was under a stressful time with my job and I asked for a week or so to clear that issue up so we could talk about her request.
Once she left I fought for her, but I guess I also didn't respect her space. She ran to another man for a temporary sexual relationship. I was hurt and said some hurtful things. She told me I needed to make some changes that I agree I needed to make, and I have.
We have started talking again, had lunch, and she said she doesn't feel anything for me when she sees me. That is not totally true, as I can make her cry by saying nice things to her (why didn't you do this before, she says). I read this to mean she has built up a wall, pushed the feelings down. She acknolwedges she can see some of the changes I needed to make. She said she needs time and space now to think, though she also says my peristance is what is making her consider. She also stresses that she is interested in dating some other specific people, but not me at least yet. She said she wants to be friends for awhile then we will see what happens.
Do I write her off? Stay friends under the possibility that something will develop (this scares me in that she might find another without giving me a chance)? Obviously pressuring isn't going to work. HELP!
It does sound like she put up walls after you two broke up, and that she's sort of on the rebound. She's proven to herself with that other guy that "Hey, I'm still desireable to others!" and is interested in seeing what her other options are.
If she was so interested in marrying you before, it seems strange that just in that short period of time she's decided that those traits in you aren't exactly what she wanted. Marriage is a life-long commitment, it's something you do with someone you feel you can last through highs and lows with, grow with, change with. It's not something you can do with just anybody. And it's not something that you say after 3 years "Yes I will fit with him for my entire lifetime" and then say a week later "Oh, all my knowledge was wrong." Unless you cheated on her or something, that's a strange twist for her emotions to have taken.
Some people never meet someone that is a good fit and don't marry at all. So for her to have found that, and to after a few weeks say "Wait a minute, I think I can find someone even *better*" when you're right there is a bit strange. Marriage isn't about finding someone "better". There is *always* someone better if you're going to start grading people based on looks or money or whatever. If you've made a commitment to someone, and have a history with that person, you work to make *your* relationship the best it can be. But if you're willing to jump ship every time something "better looking" comes along, the relationship won't last.
I agree that pressuring her won't work. But maybe offer to go to therapy with her, to show you're wililng to work through any remaining issues. Point out that marriage is always about talking through issues and respecting each other, and that it easily takes years for a relationship to mature to the point that you know each other well enough to marry. You guys have already gone through all of that, the thick and thin and so on.
Any guy she dates now will seem neat, because he's in the new-love-rush stage with her. But it would then take her years to know if he REALLY would be a good match, once that rush fades. Is she really willing to spend another 3 years hoping to see if a new guy is "as good a match" as you are now - you, who she already was firmly committed to spending a life with? She's already invested 3 years in her relationship with you and has in essence gone through all the hard parts. Is she just going to give up now, after most of the work is done, because what is left involves honesty and discussion and tuning? If she can't do that with you, she will have issues with *anyone* she dates because all relationships come down to that.
If you get her thinking in that direction and talking and communicating, hopefully things will work out. But if her attitude is "If things get rough I throw in the towel" after 3 years, it's not just your relationship that she'll have problems with - it'll be all of them.
And as a postscript, while you're worrying about pressuring her, she had no problem pressuring you about marriage, which is THE most serious thing any two people can possibly do and which should NEVER involve any pressure. It needs to be a completely free choice on both sides because this lasts a LIFETIME. If either person feels pressured, it becomes a burden on the entire relationship after that, because one person, during any problem, will remember that this wasn't *really* what they wanted to do and they only gave in, those many months or years ago, because of pressure.
Marriage is about a lifetime together. There's no rush. If she couldn't wait until the time was right for BOTH of you, knowing that you'd be together for maybe 60 or more YEARS after that, maybe a therapist would help in other ways.
-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com