I Spent My Life Dreaming Of Marriage Until The Time Came—Then I Bolted

I grew up fantasizing about getting married, a dream that was perpetuated by my parents’ successful relationship. Shortly after I graduated college, I was sure I’d met “The One.” However, as soon as I heard from more than two reliable sources that he was getting ready to propose, I broke it off.

I just wasn’t ready. When you’re thinking about spending a lifetime with someone, you need to make sure that it’s something you’re totally prepared for. That wasn’t the case for me. I wasn’t big on the idea of compromise; I was selfish and self-absorbed. I liked having things my way and I knew I was unlikely to change that mindset in order to make a marriage work.

He wasn’t really ready either. I honestly believe he was more interested in the idea of marriage than he was marrying me in particular. He’d previously had a horrible breakup, and I always thought of myself as his rebound girl. While it was admirable that he’d even consider spending his life with me, I don’t think it was genuine.

The timing was totally wrong. Soon after we met, he moved away for a new job. I’d just been hired at my company and planned to be there for at least another two or three years. I definitely didn’t want to enter a marriage under those conditions. I needed to at least be in the same city with my husband. I know there are plenty of couples who are able to successfully handle long-distance relationships, but it wasn’t for me.

We hadn’t dated for long enough. We went from having dinner on our first date to almost engaged in such a short amount of time. We weren’t able to develop any type of long-lasting chemistry because there wasn’t enough time in between to actually learn about each other. We didn’t know each other’s quirks, dreams, or fears. Couples should have a sufficient “getting to know you period” before deciding to take that leap and we just didn’t.

We were way too young. I know age appropriateness is relative to one’s perspective, but in my opinion, we were definitely not mature enough for marriage. I was just learning how to stand on my own; independence was new to me and I had yet to figure it all out. Neither of us had lived enough. We didn’t have any real-life experiences at the time to draw from if needed.

We were never truly friends. When I get married, I don’t want it to just be with a guy I love—I want to like him as well. Friendship is the glue that keeps marriages together. I cherish my closest friends and would do anything for them. I was afraid that without that foundation, we’d be setting our marriage up for failure.

I had my whole life ahead of me. I was just getting started in a new job and I had big career goals. How would marriage fit into my professional aspirations? What if marriage got in the way of my dreams? Could I truly have both the career and family life I craved or was I asking for too much? Those doubts were enough to make me run. I know better now—women are capable of doing it all and then some—but at the time, I wasn’t so sure about myself and my ability to balance that life.

I was truly afraid of what would happen if things didn’t work out I believe marriage should last forever, but I knew it didn’t always work out that way and that terrified me. Walking away was easy because I saw how our story could end. I didn’t want to be another statistic.

If I was honest with myself, I wasn’t in love. How could I ever consider marrying someone I didn’t love? Sure, I’d say I loved him, but I now see I never really meant it. I was young. He was a great guy and treated me well. However, it wasn’t enough. There was no strong external force pulling me towards him. I believe in the power of love and I just didn’t feel that with him.

At the end of the day, he wasn’t “The One.” While I don’t believe in fairy tales, I do believe in soulmates. I know there’s someone out there that God created just for me. OK, so maybe that sounds a little fairytale-like but it’s true. Whenever I meet the man I’m destined to spend my life with, I’ll know it.

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