Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend of three years proposed to me 10 months ago. I wasn't ready; he's been patient. He's now eager to know one way or the other and neither of us wants to waste more time (early 30s), but I am completely torn.
I feel like he is my soul mate and we connect on an otherworldly level. In a vacuum, this would be bliss.
But I hesitate to commit fully because I am religious and he does not want to participate, even for my sake. I am also very spiritual and have a hard time saying yes to a life where I know I will not grow and connect spiritually/religiously with my spouse.
I've tried therapy, we've tried giving each other space, and we've tried living our lives together until I arrive at an eventual conclusion, none of which has worked. This is tearing us apart, as individuals and as a couple. What now?
TO COMMIT, OR NOT TO COMMIT?
Since you've tried everything else, the only remaining choice is to leave for good - not "give each other space," but exit decisively enough for you both to start healing and building new lives without each other.
For the sake of argument, though: You say, "we connect on an otherworldly level" - and then, "I know I will not grow and connect spiritually/religiously with my spouse." Which is it?
"On an otherworldly level" and "spiritually" sound like the same connection to me. That would mean your sole disconnection is organized religion - and while that's clearly no small thing to you, it's also not fair to assume spiritual growth with him is a nonstarter.
On the connection issue: Every marriage leaves some hunger unsatisfied - religious, intellectual, physical, or just a compatible definition of fun. It's not realistic to expect everything from one person; we can only hold out for our priorities and do without the things we won't miss too badly.
Ultimately, though, it's about being true to yourself and fair to him; it's a tough decision, it's yours to make, and your grace period is up.
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