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When Settling Down is Unsettling

I remember the day my husband (then boyfriend and soon to be fiancé) asked me to move in with him. I was elated, excited and, to be totally honest, a little freaked out. I looked around my adorable place in Santa Monica, the one I had called home for so many years, and saw all the distinct touches that made the place mine: the dining room wall I had painted a beautiful ruby red, my favorite trinkets positioned ever so carefully on my shelves, and the feminine touch that had created my uniquely personal oasis.

To many it may seem counter-intuitive, but the truth is that I always enjoyed my single life. I relished the alone moments, the time spent with my girlfriends, the ability to do what I pleased when I pleased, and the opportunities to meet new and interesting people. Possibly because of the work I do, or just because of who I am, I never felt panicked about being single. Somehow, I knew it would happen when the timing was right.

And, there I was: the timing was right, the man was perfect. I was madly in love. And yet suddenly, I felt like my independent, carefree days were going to be ripped from me like a childhood kite in a hurricane, and I wasn’t ready to let go.

This kind of feeling at a moment like this is not uncommon. Katie is currently experiencing similar emotions in her own relationship.

Hi April, I am working through what feels like an odd bumpy road in my current relationship. I met the man-I-had-always-dreamed-of-meeting 6 months ago. We have many deeper things in common, and he is one of the most caring individuals I have ever met, let alone had the blessing of being with.

I am, however, a very independent woman and cannot figure out how to get over the fear of settling down and getting married, even though I know he’s the one. Prior to meeting him I’ve always been on my own (since graduating high school). I have become frustrated lately, and he has noticed, but I cannot seem to figure out why I’m struggling so much with the concept of settling down when I know I don’t want anyone else in my life.

In summary, I guess my question is: could there be a reason why one would fear or become unsettled by the idea of settling down, even if there is an equal and opposite feeling of this man being the one man I want to be with for the rest of my life? Thank you so much for any advice!

Katie, yes, there is a reason and you can rest easy. You’re going through what thousands of women feel (although few admit it) who are independent and have had even a few years of being single. Why wouldn’t you feel a little concern over letting go of the independent life you’ve built? We hear about this happening to men all the time, but for some reason, we think that as women we’re immune to the dreaded fear of settling down. Katie, I applaud your honesty and your willingness to explore this further.

Give Your Partner the Opportunity to Help

My advice is to speak up and tell him exactly what you’re feeling. Tell him you love him and want to spend the rest of your life with him, but that you have some fear around letting go of your independence. Be sure to clarify that it’s not him; it’s important he doesn’t feel you’re backing out. Right now, you’re only showing your frustration and that’s bound to be confusing and hurtful to him.

If you are to marry this man, then you must be honest. He loves you and part of why he loves you so much is because you’re strong and independent. He’ll understand if you frame the conversation with love and compassion, for yourself and for him. I think you’ll be quite surprised by what he’ll be able to offer you. Maybe a smile with a simple “don’t worry honey, we will be great; you have nothing to worry about,” or even better, “How can I help you get over your fear of settling down?”

Love, not Fear

It’s perfectly natural that you’re feeling this way. But as with anything else, never let fear be your motivator. Your heart is telling you to commit to this man. It’s your head that’s messing with you, and your head isn’t qualified to run your love life. It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship and lovely future ahead of you with this man. Don’t lose him!

As for me, this month is my 4 year anniversary with my husband Todd. I’m married, but I’m still the same woman I was when I was single. I didn’t give up anything and only gained everything.

Would love your thoughts and comments! I think this a topic many women are longing to explore. I’ll check back in to continue the conversation.

Much love,
April Beyer Signature

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