Are my fears about marriage coming from anxiety or intuition?

by Poppy
(Nashville, TN)

I (31F) have been with my boyfriend (29M) for almost 3 years. Over the past year and a half or so of our relationship, I've been confronting some of my long-standing issues with alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety - which he's been incredibly supportive and understanding about. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm so grateful to have found someone who sees past the rougher unfinished parts of me and accepts me for who I am.

Day-to-day we have a great relationship. It's easy, we laugh a lot, it's comfortable. But my anxiety about the relationship and whether or not he is "the one" has been almost unbearable. I am 31 years old, and am often consumed by the intense pressure of having to either decide that I will marry him or start all over again when I know that I should probably start having children soon. It's paralyzed me from making a decision one way or another, and then another 6 months goes by and I wonder why I don't know the answer yet.

We're at a fork in the road where we will likely either be engaged or broken up by the end of this year. Both options terrify me. It's not that I don't want to marry him necessarily - honestly it makes the most sense and I feel somewhat relieved at the thought of not having to toil over the decision anymore - but sometimes I look at him and I just wonder if he's the right person. He's not really who I envisioned myself with, and I know the grass is always greener - but sometimes I find myself wondering what else is out there.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out if my concerns about not feeling excited and giddy about the prospect of marrying him are a product of my real intuition telling me to listen to my gut, or if my anxiety is clouding my judgment and trying to sabotage a good thing.

I know the general consensus is "If it's not a yes, it's a no." But truth be told, I've never been sure about any choice I've ever made, and this is the first big decision I've made that will seriously determine the rest of my life. I'm not sure I'm a "when you know you know" person.

Given all my issues with drinking and anxiety, I'm just trying not to sabotage my chance to finally move forward with my life after years of struggling with relationships.

Would love any advice. Do I stop sabotaging and accept what's in front of me? Or do I need to listen to my "gut" and move on, as scary as that seems?

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Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist

418 Stump Rd., Montgomeryville, PA 18936


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