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    Early 20s in a 7 year relationship... needs help
    Anon_230680 posted:
    I am a female in my early 20s. I have been with my fiance for a little less than a decade now. We recently got engaged but something doesn't feel right. We just had an open conversation and discovered a mutual fear that we have--- we have never dated or been with anyone else and we have both had thoughts about whether that fact has hindered our development into adults and/or an adult-like relationship. Is this just cold feet? We love each other very much and have a very supportive and loving relationship but things just haven't been synced up since the engagement. Do you think it is healthy to spend time apart? I am afraid of the possibility of not getting back together- we are BEST friends and it makes me sick to think of the emotional rollercoaster this situation could potentially turn into. BUT- spending time apart may lead to tons of growth and readiness for marriage for our relationship. I am so confused and would really appreciate some feedback from people with more relationship experience or people in a similar relationship.
    BalconyBelle responded:
    There's a very good chance that this is just cold feet...however since BOTH of you are experiencing it, some time apart may actually strengthen your relationship.

    I've never been with anyone but my fiance, and for several years he was terrifed that someday I'd change my mind--that I'd want to pursue the grass is greener on the other side approach. It hasn't happened and never will...but it didn't change the way he felt. He'd had other partners and relationships before me...but since I haven't, he was afraid that I was just deeply infatuated, not in love, and not able to tell the difference...and someday, it would wear off (That's exactly what happened in a previous relationship HE had). It took a while, but he finally gets that I'm in for the long haul. I found the one for me, and I have no intention of looking elsewhere.

    In your case, it sounds as though both you and your fiance are afraid you've been a little too lucky. Very few people can find their soulmate right off the bat, so you're not entirely sure that you have.

    Take a break to get to know yourselves as individuals, not just as a couple. If both of you think it's a good idea, agree to see other people (not neccessarily sleep with other peple) on the off chance you'll find 'true' love with someone else. My guess is you already have, but there's no point in getting married if you're not sure of it yourselves. Seeing other people can be a slippery slope...but if you do it might make you appeciate what you have even more--because then you'll be able to see how right for each other you truly are.

    You'll need to set the rules for the separation & duration together, then abide by them...and if at the end of it you decide you want to be together, you'll be confident in your choice. You won't have to wonder if you're with the right person, you'll know. If you decide you're better off least you'll have figured it out before going through the pain of divorce. I wish you both the best of luck.
    Yellowbelly40 replied to BalconyBelle's response:
    I think balconybelle's advice is spot on. I'm very much in the same situation. I've never been with anyone else, and he worries that down the line I'll realize that what I feel isn't love, or I'll get bored (this is a relatively new relationship - 1 year) Honestly, I have the same worries. But it doesn't keep me up at night. It's just that - how can I be so lucky to find someone I love so much. Why do other people spend years trying to find that one, and many never do. If we get to the point of settling down together, I will for sure be in the same situation you're in now.

    You seem to be able to predict both sides of the coin. So you know the risks as well as the benefits. I think it's time to weigh them out. As balconybelle proposes, setting up rules for some sort of seperation will control any potential emotional rollercoasters.

    You guys are getting married - and it would be better to figure these things out before the marriage. You'll have a stronger relationship because of it.
    Anonymous777 replied to Yellowbelly40's response:
    Thank you both for your replies. This is a very tough and trying thing to think about. I think a lot of it has to do with low self-esteem on my end. I am almost convinced that if we separate, he will not miss me and that he will realize his life is better without me. I would be devastated. That is why I am so unsure of having time apart. :/ How long of a duration do you think would be appropriate to separate for?
    3point14 replied to Anonymous777's response:
    I think any kind of seperation with reconcilliation as the end goal should be extremely well-thought out. You need to speak openly with your SO about what you consider acceptable behavior (sleeping with other people? dating? having an outside relationship?) and you both need a deadline you're comfortable with. Too much time and you could grow apart, but too little and you really wouldn't be taking a break at all.

    In my opinion, taking time off to check out other options is pretty risky. I hate to say it, but either one of you could decide that you don't want to be together, or that you simply prefer being alone. I think this would be a risk in ANY relationship, though, where you were taking supposedly no-strings time off from each other during which the purpose was to date and get more "experience".
    dfgbull; responded:
    I agree with 3point1. A separation is very risky. Some advise from an experienced (read that as older) person. My wife and I were also the first bf/gf for each of us - We have been married for 34 years and are very happy. It sounds like cold feet to me. Maybe a visit to a counselor would put to rest any questions you have. The relationship you describe is exactly what it takes to make a marriage work. You both sound like you are right for each other. Good luck.

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