I am 23 years old and have been dating my boyfriend for five years. In the beginning of our relationship, he and I discussed marriage and where we saw our futures going individually and together. At our parents' encouragement and of our own desires, we decided to pursue our college educations before getting married. He and I agreed that at the earliest, we would get engaged around the five-year mark. I made hints that I thought it would be romantic if it was sometime around our anniversary, May 23.
Since then, we've had our fair share of problems, which have caused him to want to hold off on marriage. I completely understand his worries; however, I can't help but feel let down knowing that something I had expected to happen isn't going to come to fruition. We usually discuss our feelings openly, but I don't think something like this should be shared because I don't want him to feel like I'm forcing him to do anything he's not ready for. My feeling of disappointment over this approaching date is overwhelming me. Should I try to talk to him about it? What should I do?
— Disappointed Darcy
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Dear Disappointed Darcy,
If you've imagined your life to be a certain way and things happen differently, it's perfectly normal to feel disappointed. However, I think you should try to avoid feeling like you're in the wrong place in your life or not exactly where you're supposed to be. You can't plan out your life ahead of time; it'll only leave you feeling disappointed in yourself and the world. Things come up, and they always will, so while feeling disappointed is normal, dwelling on that disappointment isn't a good idea.
Your boyfriend has made the right decision by not rushing into something that he's not ready for. And frankly, it sounds like you guys have some work to do on your relationship before you can begin to move forward. Instead of talking to your boyfriend about your disappointment, try discussing some of the issues that have led to the postponement. It's more important to figure out whether or not you can fix these problems than just to assume things will be different once you're married. Try not to think of this coming year as a loss, but rather an opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple. It's not likely you'll ever wish you had been married sooner, but it's quite possible that you would wish you had waited.