Dear Barb—Setting the Date

Dear Barb:

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  Mine was wonderful at the time, but now I am having some second thoughts.  My boyfriend of four years proposed on Christmas Eve with all my family around.  It was such a magical experience that I felt I had to accept.  John presented me with a beautiful diamond and immediately wanted to set a date for the wedding.  I managed to delay setting a date until the holidays were over, but in reality, I wasn’t ready to set a date or even become engaged.  Now I am filled with doubts and second thoughts about going through with the wedding.  John is a wonderful guy and we get along great but I am not 100% sure he is the one I want to marry, or maybe it is just not the right time for us to marry. 

I don’t know how to tell him how I feel.  I am fearful he will want to break up with me and I want to continue our relationship.  Should I be honest with him, or just keep trying to put off setting a date until I am sure of what I want to do?

Help, Gillian!

Hi Gillian:

I want to say congratulations, but I’m not sure that is the correct sentiment.  Becoming engaged can be a magical time and if we add Christmas Eve to the day, it can be even more captivating.  You are not the first person to have second thoughts and you will not be the last.  It is important that you address this issue, rather than ignoring it.  You cannot keep putting your boyfriend off.  You need to be honest and tell him how you feel and that you are not ready to set the date.

You need to give him the chance to understand what is happening as well.  He may be okay with agreeing that you two can remain engaged but can wait to set the date until you feel the time is right.  However, there is a possibility that your finance will end the relationship; that is a chance you have to take.  If he truly cares about your happiness, he will give you the time you need until you are sure about the marriage.  It may be a few years, or you may decide he is not the one for you.  You must make your happiness a priority, as if you’re not happy in the marriage, it is unlikely to be a happy marriage for him either.  A broken engagement is much less complicated than a broken marriage and divorce.

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