My partner and I are crazy about each other, and have known since about six weeks after becoming an item that we should be life-partners (we've been close friends for a long time, so this is less dramatically ill-judged and imprudent than it sounds). We're both in our late twenties/early thirties, with more than a decade of relationship experience — both short and long-term — behind each of us. And neither of us was ever really looking for what we have found in each other, but then… there it was, to our mutual astonishment and delight.
He's been proposing to me, almost as a game, on the semi-regular since we both realised that we were “it” for each other. I want to say yes with every fiber of my being. The problem is, I'm sick — the sort where you don't get completely better. And it's unclear when I'll be able to re-enter the workforce.
I had this whole timeline of me finding work, then us living together, and then getting engaged after a publicly “respectable” period of time has elapsed… but as time goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that there is no way to know when I will be able to work again.
He is patient, but recently he's started gently questioning where the sense of legitimacy that timeline would give me stems from. And I have to confess, it's other people's opinions.
After the loss of physical and financial independence, and subsequent self-esteem, that came with my deteriorating physical condition, some part of me now desperately wants to be legitimized as an “adequate adult,” doing things in the appropriate order. But, insofar as “the appropriate order” mandates my return to full employment before I can do anything else, it's uncertain whether it's a practical standard for me to set my plans by.
So he keeps proposing (playfully, and joyously, and without any pressure), and I desperately want to say, “Yes,” so much that it aches. I feel like my attachment to, what I am increasingly suspecting to actually be some arbitrary and impractical ideal, is the only thing standing in the way. There is no doubt in my soul that he is the person for me; if I were whole and employed, I'd already have married him months ago in some tiny courthouse ceremony — not even waiting to save up for anything bigger — with my head held high and a gigantic smile on my face.
But I worry that, as I am, my peer group would not respect me for getting engaged and starting to plan a wedding, before getting the rest of my life in order.
I have a dream partner who deeply and immediately wants to marry me, and it's very much what I want, too… How do I make it okay in my own mind to let myself move forward when my life circumstances are “wrong”? And how do I steel myself against the possible judgements of my peer group?
Anyone is the same “I'm ready, but my lifestyle isn't” boat? How are you dealing?