Dear Harlan: I recently accepted my boyfriend’s proposal. He asked me to marry him last winter, but I said I needed more time. Three weeks ago, he took me on a romantic trip and proposed to me. I got caught up in the moment and said yes. I’m now having second thoughts. We haven’t planned the wedding, but every time he introduces me as his fiancee it feels wrong. I can’t put it into words. I know I should be excited, but I’m still feeling the same way I felt several months ago. I know I love him and want to be with him. This makes it even more confusing. How can I break off this engagement and still stay in the relationship? I don’t want to be his fiancee. How can I do this without hurting his feelings or having him break up with me?
Dear Overcommitted: You’re going to hurt his feelings. You need to know how to minimize how much you hurt him. You’ll need to tell him, but you need be ready to answer the question “What is going to change in the future?” That’s what he will want to know. He might want to invest his time and energy in someone else. Instead of backing out of the engagement and leaving him hanging, work on finding this answer. Find a therapist or a couples counselor who can help you. If you love him and want to be with him, you owe it to yourself to understand why this doesn’t feel right. Find the words and communicate them to him. All you can be is honest. It’s the kindest, most loving thing to be. Figure out why you’re having these commitment issues and see if, when and how you can commit.