With apologies to any men who read this and are not commitment-phobes...
There must be something in the water. As I was lamenting the demise of my five-year relationship, I quickly became aware of something...it's not just me. I am not the only one who spent five years dreaming of a future with the man I thought I was building a life with. I am not the only one who patiently waited while he worked on his "issues" so that he could take the big step and propose. And I am not the only one who felt a little bit crushed when things didn't work out and she realized that if she didn't end things now, she would end up feeling like a total moron in a few years when things STILL weren't going the way she thought they would.
So what's the deal? What is it that makes a seemingly-normal, happy-to-be-with-you, moving-toward-marriage, 30-something man spend five (or three...or four...or six...or seven) years building a relationship with an amazing woman just to then let her know that he is having a mid-life crisis or he isn't looking to get married or he is scared to take that walk down the aisle. And then why does that woman then think, "Oh, poor baby. He is so scared. I will wait for him. He will be ready soon...I will help him!" That, my friends, leads to all sort of heartache.
The man I thought I would spend my life with is an amazing person. He is a great father, and a great friend. He is open and affectionate and giving. He is loyal and caring and generous. And for the last three years, he has been very ambivalent about marriage. And even more so about having kids. He was scared that a marriage could end someday. He already had kids and didn't know if he wanted to start back at square one. This didn't make him a bad person, however, and this is where the trouble began.
I assumed, when I was a little girl, that I would grow up and meet a man, and we would fall in love and be very happy together. And this happened. We fell in love, and we were very happy. However, I also assumed that we would get married and have children and grow old together. And this is where the problem comes in. Although we had a lot of love in our relationship, this wasn't enough to make him overcome his "issues" or his "fears" and take a chance on me.
I know that there is a man out there with whom I will build a life. Someday, there will be little kids running around carrying half of my chromosomes. And as my twenties get away from me, I am a little sad that it hasn't happened already. However, it will happen...I have faith. And if it isn't with the man I thought it would be with, that's okay. Because the man I spend my life with will be the one who can give me the fairy tale...and I will give it right back to him.
I just wish he would hurry up and get here already.