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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  PHD LPC
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Dr. Keane, My girlfriend and I have been engaged three times

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Dr. Keane,

My girlfriend and I have been engaged three times now. Each time it has been because she gave me an ultimatum to either marry her or end the relationship. I will say yes and then call it off in a few weeks, breaking her heart. I know that this is very selfish of me and I feel like the scum of the earth for doing this to her. She loves me with all her heart and has given up almost everything for me. I am 32 and she is 23.
The reason I doubt whether to marry her is because although I feel some love for her, she is the only girl I've ever had sex with, and I am tempted to sleep with other women. Also, I have never had good skills with women and would like to develop them. If I got married before that, I would feel that I never fully developed that part of my personality and never really understood how to attract women.
But then I’ll think of how much she loves me and how she’s resisted everyone’s advice to forget me. She’s given me her virginity and four years of her life now. I feel like I owe her and I know that if we did get married I would make it work and be somewhat happy, but not fully. But if I didn’t marry her, I would be torn apart inside by the guilt and this would sabotage my future relationships, leaving me unhappy anyway. So I think that I might as well please her and be somewhat unhappy rather than hurt her yet again and end up unhappy anyway due to the guilt of knowing that I have been a selfish jerk.
She is a really great woman, very affectionate and caring of me. She puts up with all my faults and continues to love me, which gives me a pang in my heart, knowing that I don’t feel love for her as intensely. Every time she says “I love you, you’re the only one I need,” I want to break down crying because I wish I felt it as unequivocally.
This is the third time that I asked her to marry me, and I have sworn up and down to her, before God and the Bible, that I am serious this time. I know that if I break up with her, she’ll be hurt worse than ever and this will lower her self-esteem. I don’t think I’d be miserable married to her. I would just have that nagging feeling that maybe I could have fond someone that I love even more. Maybe I am being unrealistic in expecting more? Please help me to understand what the right thing to do is.

Hi and welcome, you have made two statements here which in my opinion and from my experience in working with couples are red flags. You stated that you feel some love for her and you are curious about and want to sleep with other women. With these thoughts in mind, do not get married. You aren't ready. You owe her honesty, not a marriage. You feel bad doing this now but now is the time to do it, if you wait and get married with these desires and and curiosities sometime in your married life you will give in to them and then where will you be. I would suggest you take yourself out of this relationship and grow up. Then after you have the chances you want with other wormen you are ready to marry. If she is around great, if she has moved on there will be other women to love, not love some. This has become a habit and the momentum is heading towards marriage. It's like being on a train that won't stop.would you rather take care of yourself now and do what you need to do or wait and really break her heart ? Choice is yours. But you are in no way ready to marry.

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Edited by Dr. Keane on 9/3/2010 at 4:33 AM EST
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

It troubles me that I am 32 and still have some growing up to do. How can I grow up and mature into a man who is ready to marry?

Hi, recognizing you have some growing up to do is the first step. You need experience in life. You need to get out in the world and learn from it. You are 32 and that is not old by today's standards. You'll know when you are ready to marry but right now you need to be honest with your girlfriend and yourself or you will marry because you don't want to disappoint anyone and always wonder about the world. You might even want to go to therapy and do the exploration with someone who can guide you and validate your feelings. You need to please yourself first, hard concept for a nice guy who doesn't like to disappoint anyone.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

What would be the best way to tell my fiancee? This will be the third time that I do this to her now. We are supposed to get married Sep.23 and are rushing to get rings and make arrangements, etc. I know she will be really hurt and angry with me becase I swore to God I meant it this time.


Should it be in person or on the phone? And what should I say?


Hi, As difficult as this is going to be, you need to tell her that you are not ready, simply. You can tell her that your are not 100% sure you can remain faithful since you think about being with other women and in your heart you know you are not ready. She won't be happy and it will be very upsetting for both of you but it could be much worse if you go through with this when you know you are not ready.....

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I understand. One more question. Is this something that I could do over the phone, via text message, or in person? What would be the least hurtful for her?

Hi, You need to take the high road, be brave and do it in person. Any other way is the "easy" way out. You have feelings for her you are just not "sure" you are in love with her and definitely not ready to marry. This isn't going to be easy, but it is the mature way to do it. What you are doing is a sign of maturity and the right thing.


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