I've been dating a great young man for about 4 years (we met my freshman year of college). He is my first relationship, though I am not him. I love him, he loves me, and think that I want to (and could) marry him in the future. He's handsome, smart, Catholic, and someone I can look up to (which is pretty hard to find, I think. And I don't think that I can find anyone better.) The problem is, of course, what's happening now.
I'm not ready to get married yet, and have some of those "what-if" and grass-is-greener type doubts. I'm worried that we've been dating so long that I haven't been able to step back and assess where we are and what we want to do -- to make an informed choice about us being together. (If I choose to 'forsake all others' -- in a marriage or even in a serious, leading towards marriage-style exclusive relationship -- I sort of want to know what I'm doing and who those others are and what that means). And I know we've gotten into some bad habits in our relationship (due to some rocky times in college, before I became Catholic and when neither of us was at our best) that will be hard to reset without stepping away from it a little.
I love him. I do think I want to marry him -- but all of these are just niggling doubts in my mind, that combined together make me feel like I have to do something. I think that if we stayed together for longer, we might get married anyways. But i never want to resent him, or think "what if I did this, why didn't I date other people" if we end up together. I sort of want to go on dates, not because I'm looking for someone else, really (because I don't think I'll meet anyone better), but to just put down the feeling of uncertainty I have about committing forever to the first person I've met, and to assure myself viscerally that I'm right that I'm not missing out on anything. (as a 23 year old girl living with a bunch of other younger girls in a big city for the first time out of college, there's a lot of conflicting pressure on that front--- intellectually, I know it's silly to be swayed by what is around me, but sometimes I just can't get my feelings to match up with my mind).
This is a long-winded way of asking: has anyone ever taken a break from a relationship to discern more about it? Or broken up with someone with the intention of getting back together down the road? I sort of think I need time away from him to pray and discern alone, figure out where I am in life and whether i'm ready to commit, think about him and me realistically without the distraction of him being a call away when i'm sad or confused or want to hang out, and go on a date or two to reassure myself that I'm not kidding myself when I say I think i've found the one. I am considering asking for a six month break with no contact except for maybe a check-in at three months, and deciding yes, we stay together, or no, we part ways for good at the end of this time. I don't think it would be fair to shunt him off to the side and try to do this while also staying in a relationship. Is this a terrible idea?
I've talked to my boyfriend about this some, and to some extent he understands how I feel, though he doesn't want to break up with me. I don't want to lose him and know it would be selfish to try and "shelve" him while I sort things out and talk to other guys and expect him to be there when I get back. At the same time,I don't want to stay together and 2 weeks before our wedding (or worse, after it) think "oh my gosh, why didn't I do this and take the time to sort myself out" -- both because it would stink for me and it wouldn't be fair for him.
Any advice? Especially from those who have married, married young (ish), or have been in similar situations.
also, sorry this is so long. :blush: