I am a 23 year old female. My boyfriend is 28. Last week, we were watching TV and randomly, he told me he thinks I'm the one and asked if I would marry him. I was so shocked (because we have been having some issues) but I said yes. He didn't have a ring though but promised we'll pick it out together. I love him and I want to marry him but I find myself wondering if I'm fully ready. The thing is that I didn't even know he had been thinking marriage because for the past couple of months, he's been acting weird. I thought he was cheating because of his unusually close relationship with his female best friend. I figured we'd break up soon so I allowed my male co-worker/friend go all the way after the company Christmas party in December. We were both drunk. I never felt guilty about it until now. Now, I can't sleep. My family is excited I'm getting married (my mother especially has been calling the whole world announcing my engagement and planning my trad) but I'm not because of this burden I'm carrying around. Your thoughts?
Unsettled in Ontario
Dear Unsettled in Ontario,
Thank you for writing Dear Nwavic at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email really touches my heart because I remember myself at 23, even though not 'too' long ago time-wise, is a world away for me in wisdom.
While there very well could be details that may alter my perspective, based solely on the details you've given me, I advise that you not only have a honest conversation with your fiancee, but seek professional counseling (preferably with the church, if you are part of one, BEFORE you walk down the aisle.) Here are the red flags:
1. You were shocked he proposed because you've been having issues: First things first, you should never get married until you have resolved any and all outstanding issues you have with your significant other. Marriage is not a solution and whatever issues you have BEFORE marriage (starting from the most minor thing like the annoying way he chews to the biggest thing like how insecure he makes you feel) WILL be magnified AFTER marriage. Pay attention to issues (his 'close' relationship with his bestie, your 'insecurities", infidelity, etc.) and signs before you make that commitment because once you do, flaws become heightened and what you thought were "minor" issues will probably become "major".
2. You are wondering if you are fully ready: It's normal to have a few jitters right before tying the knot but if you are "wondering", then it's time to do some self reflection. There is no rush. You are only 23 years old. It's better to be sure, than to enter a marriage for the sake of being married, only to be divorced a few months later, possibly pregnant.
3. THE CHEATING! I'm sure you know this by now but I'll say it anyway. TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT. Even if he was cheating on you, cheating too couldn't possibly be the solution. Because you didn't say so, I assume you never even confronted him about it AND you didn't even feel guilty about doing what you "thought" he was doing. Please don't mistake my honesty for judgment. The burden on your conscience is heavy enough on you and I'd hate to add to it. However, in order to lift the burden you feel, you must face your truth.
I also understand you are probably worried about embarrassing or disappointing your family especially, since your mother is excitedly spreading the word, but you need to be a little "selfish" here, and tell her to stop. The sooner, you talk to your mother, the better you'll save yourself looming heartbreak.
A marriage built on lies will only fall apart with time. Like I said, It's better to be married at 30 and for a lifetime, than to be married at 23 years old and miserably divorced shortly after. Having said all this, my cut and dry advise is this- You should only get married only when you both feel that the other has a complete understanding of who they're marrying and what they're getting into. Because you're not there yet, if you love your fiancé, put some brakes on the wedding planning, come clean with your fiancé and seek professional counseling.
Best of Luck!
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