Man-to-Man: Having doubts about marriage
April 5, 2009
I am 24-years-old and I think I have a problem. I have been living with my girlfriend for about a year and were about to move into a new place with a lease. She totally wants to get married and start a family. She takes great care of me and we have fun together. But I am beginning to have doubts. She is not the spontaneous girl I really want to be with. I want to go on adventures maybe live abroad for a while and she has been very clear about not wanting to do anything like that. It feels horrible to say, but I just do not see her as part of my future. My biggest fear is about hurting her, plus my family thinks she is great. This is really hard. I am not sure what do.Young and Stuck
Youre young, but youre far from stuck although Im sure it feels that way.I can imagine 40- to 50-year-old men reading this and shouting, Dude, go travel, go on your adventures and see the world. Theres no need for you to settle down at age 24. And I would have to agree with these wise men.She does sound like a terrific young lady, and its certainly a good sign when your family thinks highly of your choice in women. But for you, at this point, none of that is relevant.Its not horrible for you to be honest. Its admirable. There are too many men and women who did not have the courage to be honest when they were in your position. Now they have children, regret, resentment, and, quite often, the pain that comes with divorce.Your heart is aching for adventure and you deserve to seek it out. Assuming that you have worked out your finances, I would suggest that once you get perfectly clear about this choice, you let her know what youve decided. Yes, itll hurt. But Im sure youll be as compassionate as possible when you tell her. Thats all you can do.This discussion with her is not about asking for her permission or trying to get her to change her mind about going with you. It appears that you know very well shes not the one. Although shell be disappointed and hurtas are youyou owe it to yourself and to her to be the man you want to be. Judging by your letter, that man is probably honest, loving, and true to himself and his dreams.Youre in an enviable position. Youre young and you have the time, means and passion to go out and find what the world has to offer. Go do it. Youve got plenty of time to find the right woman and to have kids. And when you do find her, shell be someone who is attracted to a man who knows what he wants and has the insight and courage to go get it. Bon voyage.Wayne M. Levine, M.A., mentors men to be better men, husbands and fathers. Email your questions to MantoMan@BetterMen.org. See how you can become a better man at http://www.BetterMen.org.