Cold feet and denial

A really good friend of mine has been engaged to a guy for about three years and has been in a relationship with him for a total of six or seven years now. They’ve been together since early&#8211middle of college. Actually, I should say she was engaged to him for about three years because they aren’t anymore. They haven’t broken up that I know of, because they still share a bedroom and she referred to him as her fianc&#233 just tonight, but I heard that when he said he wanted to postpone the wedding for the second time because he wasn’t sure about them and his life and their life and what he wanted out of it, she said that she didn’t consider herself engaged to him anymore.

I began to notice she no longer wore her engagement ring about a month ago. I just heard tonight that the wedding was canceled (not postponed), so I can only assume the cancelation and cessation of ring-wearing happened at about the same time, and I just didn’t hear any gossip about an official decision until tonight.

It’s also kind of weird that she would keep so many of her semi-close friends in the dark about the cancelation of her long-awaited wedding by continuing to live with him, doing everything with him, putting on all appearances of getting along with him just fine, and referring to him as her fianc&#233 despite obviously stopping wearing her ring. Maybe she would tell me it’s none of my damn business or anyone else’s, but I’m not talking about her lack of desire to spill her heart to every one of us; what concerns me is their extensive denial&#8212both of them&#8212and their going about their lives as if their relationship is the same as any, with the occasional rough patch but everything being peachy otherwise. They’re not just keeping their private life to themselves and trying to avoid some public embarrassment about postponing/canceling their wedding for the second time; they are going about as if they can continue lying to the other or to themselves that things will all work out and nothing necessarily needs to change. She is devoted to him, to a fault, but he doesn’t want to get married yet and he pushed the wedding back (indefinitely) because he can and because he isn’t sure (or doesn’t care) what else to do about their relationship.

This is one of those moments in life where he needs to shit or get off the pot. They have two options, as I see it: get married this summer or break up forever. It reminds me of the 7th-season episode of Scrubs when Kim, J.D.’s baby mama, goes into labor and starts pondering/panicking about their relationship. She had crushed J.D. by moving away and telling him she miscarried, but after he finds out she is going to give birth to his son, they start having something of a relationship again, just to raise the child together. This seems to be okay for the both of them because they don’t really talk about it very much, but when she goes into labor, she gets down to brass tacks and asks him point-blank: “If we weren’t having this baby together, would you still be wih me?” J.D. responds soberly, “I don’t know how to answer that.” And so Kim says, “I think you just did.”

My friend’s fianc&#233 has already answered the implied (or, maybe explicitly stated) question, “Do you still want to marry me?” If, after six or seven years he still isn’t sure whether he wants to marry her, then the answer is no. There are no cold feet at this point. There is only exploitation of a girl in denial about herself, her boyfriend, and their love, and denial on his part that he should be with a girl for any length of time who is overly devoted to him when he isn’t very devoted to her. Obviously they both think their current situation is good for both of them in some way, if only in the short run. It isn’t. What they both need is to break up and go their separate ways, forever. Her life is going to be so much worse if she doesn’t do it or let it happen sooner rather than later. It will be for her own good. I don’t think anybody is going to tell her that because it would cost them her friendship. I wouldn’t be the person to do it because I am not that close to her, but I hope it turns out that no one needs to tell her what to do.

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