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Relationship ended. Can’t move on


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So this may be long and I apologize in advance.  Recently my gf and I split up after a long relationship. We first met maybe 14 years ago.  We dated for a few years about 2 years after we met and then broke up (I ended it. I just felt she wasn’t the one at the time). I really didn’t ever think we’d end up back together but she actually reached out to me a couple of years after the breakup and we almost did date again but she was afraid to get hurt. We sort of stayed in touch after but only talked every so often. But we were so close. Good friends at that point. 

Until about 4 years ago we were both out of other relationships and decided to give it another shot.  Since then we’ve kinda been on and off I guess. For different reasons. But we are so close and were such good friends we could never completely let go.  So the past almost 2 years we’ve been on. And I planned on proposing this year. Part of the problem was me not getting off my ass soon enough with stepping to the plate with that. And she was right about that.  There were other issues too though.  

The middle of last year I just started feeling really sad in the relationship. I was even more sad that I was sad!  Because I wanted this to be it.  At one point before that I thought it was it and I was so happy. I get relationships are up and down and nothing is perfect. But there was just something else missing I felt. But I loved her so much. One of the main issues was honestly her social awkwardness.   I guess it wasn’t the worst but she was very quiet when I took her out. And I am an extremely social person. I always envisioned my partner being social too.  Not that I wanted to be with the life of the party or anything but someone I want to bring out and I’m excited to go on a double date with cause I knew it would be fun. And I didn’t exactly have that with her.  And it doesn’t make her a bad person at all. We even talked about it a bit and it helped somewhat but I realize she is who she is and i can’t change her completely. This made things tough for me in the relationship but I didn’t want to be picky or shallow so I tried to fight through it.  I loved so many other things about her. 

But we almost broke up in august of last year because of my sadness until she wrote me a beautiful email about us and our relationship.  It made me so sad and I saw the way she felt about me.  And we stayed together.  I thought to myself I’d propose next year (now this year).  I was happy.  

And then a couple months later things started getting a little dicey. Nothing too terrible I guess but the tables sort of switched and she seemed unhappy.  I was trying to make things better but I think she started to resent me for certain things (dragging my feet, for feeling unsure sometimes in the past, not being affectionate enough). And i totally understood her frustration with me sometimes.  She thought I was settling she said and she didn’t feel wanted.  But I was trying to correct that.  

We even went to couples therapy this year. And I wanted to show her I was serious.  We looked at rings together.  I started bringing up where we wanted to get married etc. I thought things were getting better. I still had my doubts. The social thing bothered me amongst some other things. But I still bought a ring despite those doubts.  I didn’t want to be that guy that can’t make a commitment. And I did truly love her!  Picturing life without her was hard. 

We had good moments these past couple of months but it was tough too. She ended up breaking up with me like 3 times. 2 times I sort of begged for her back. And the 3rd time I really thought it was done. And actually at that point even though I was very sad, I really sort of felt ok the next day. I thought to myself I could move on. I tried to make a full commitment and it just didn’t work. And some of the stress from those doubts were now gone. Maybe now I could meet someone new where there was even less doubt! I know ideally there should be NO doubt but I know people who have happy marriages even when there was some doubt going in. 

The thing is she came back AGAIN. Only this time I basically said no.  I mean it was hard. I first said let’s just try a week without talking because it seems we always do this back and forth thing. After the week I didn’t know what I thought anymore. I mean I had a ring that was almost done in the shop and purchased for. It was killing me that something in my gut told me it wasn’t right.  She was the closest person to me in my life. I’m 38. She’s 33.  We’ve invested so much time.  Why couldn’t this be it?!?  I know some of it has to do with my general anxiety which I know I have.  

We ended up breaking up and it was so sad. And it didn’t end exactly well as she sent me a lot of nasty texts days later saying that she’ll never forgive me. I was doing ok for a bit but then it hit me a week or 2 after.  It felt like that was our last ever chance. I’ve been a wreck for awhile since. I guess it’s been a little over a month now.  I wail crying many days. I miss her like crazy. I’m second guessing if I did everything right. Whether I should have accepted her back when she came back again.  Nothing is perfect. Was I being too picky about the social aspect?  

And trust me, that wasn’t the only problem.  She could fly off the handle very easy (hence her breaking up with me 3 times like very impulsively).  But I think I would have dealt with many of the other problems or had less doubt if it wasn’t for the social aspect. I wish that didn’t bother me and I really tried to ignore it because there was a lot of good. And sometimes I was wondering if I was overthinking the social aspect cause of my general anxiety.  I mean she did do a lot of sweet things for me as well.  She could make me laugh so much and we were so comfortable with each other. 

I’m debating reaching out again as it’s been so hard and I’m wondering if I can really meet someone who loved me like she did and someone I am so comfortable around.  Maybe we can just take a leap of faith together.  Maybe I’m just anxious about getting married and that’s my doubt but once I go through it I will be happy that I did! Like my doubts will be subdued. It’s better than being alone.  I’ve been trying to date and it’s not easy.  

Any advice?  My therapist said I should give it more time and look at through another lens. Maybe she’s right but I’ve read on other threads about people saying you shouldn’t give up because of some basic relationship problems (boredom, argument, doubts). So I’m just torn.  Given my age it makes it harder. 

TL;DR: on and off gf now done after many years but having some regrets and in deep depression. Should I call her?

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You two are comfortable and familiar with each other, but you're very clearly not compatible. 

Can't shove a square peg into a round hole. It hasn't worked for a long time. Trying again will end the same way, because you are simply not right for each other. 

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Perhaps. But I’m wondering if it’s just my anxiety and indecisiveness that caused me to hold back sometimes. Maybe I’m dreaming of something else that really isn’t out there. They say sometimes people build up the “perfect girl” or guy in their head. I don’t think I’m picky and I know nothing is perfect but maybe I was being that way. I just don’t know. It’s really hard. 

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10 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

Until about 4 years ago we were both out of other relationships and decided to give it another shot.  Since then we’ve kinda been on and off I guess. For different reasons. But we are so close and were such good friends we could never completely let go.  So the past almost 2 years we’ve been on. And I planned on proposing this year. Part of the problem was me not getting off my ass soon enough with stepping to the plate with that. And she was right about that.  There were other issues too though.  

You are making a lot of excuses.. assumptions.. what if's...

But, sadly, you two are done.. sorry 😕 .. It can't be saved, for a number of reasons.

Repeated BU's.. the off & on's, just cause more damage & doubts and your relationship ends up damaged.

You two do obviously do care for each other - but not 'relationship wise'.

With numerous attempts, then the BU's.. It adds up.  When a couple breaks up then get back together - Are the issue's that caused the ending resolved? .. or is it still hanging there in the shadows?

Things should have just come to and end, then worked on accepting, healing & moving on after the second attempt. But over & over is harsh 😕 .

 

 

And why are you trying to date?  You BOTH need a lot of time to work through ALL of this.  It's been messy and you are in no way ready to get involved again!  ( Please, don't be out there using women to TRY & get over her... and no rebounds.) 

Especially if your mental health is affected as well 😕 .

It will take time to work through & accept all of this.. the after effects, etc. - did you speak with your dr about something to help you? Like try an anxiety med?  ( not sure abt depression meds- IMO, doesn't always work much.. your choice)...

But the last thing you need is another woman!

Please for a good while, just focus on YOU.  Work through your head.. work through your emotions.. and heal.

As for your age.. no rush!  People are dating again, even in their 50's.. all is okay 😉 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

You are making a lot of excuses.. assumptions.. what if's...

But, sadly, you two are done.. sorry 😕 .. It can't be saved, for a number of reasons.

Repeated BU's.. the off & on's, just cause more damage & doubts and your relationship ends up damaged.

You two do obviously do care for each other - but not 'relationship wise'.

With numerous attempts, then the BU's.. It adds up.  When a couple breaks up then get back together - Are the issue's that caused the ending resolved? .. or is it still hanging there in the shadows?

Things should have just come to and end, then worked on accepting, healing & moving on after the second attempt. But over & over is harsh 😕 .

 

 

And why are you trying to date?  You BOTH need a lot of time to work through ALL of this.  It's been messy and you are in no way ready to get involved again!  ( Please, don't be out there using women to TRY & get over her... and no rebounds.) 

Especially if your mental health is affected as well 😕 .

It will take time to work through & accept all of this.. the after effects, etc. - did you speak with your dr about something to help you? Like try an anxiety med?  ( not sure abt depression meds- IMO, doesn't always work much.. your choice)...

But the last thing you need is another woman!

Please for a good while, just focus on YOU.  Work through your head.. work through your emotions.. and heal.

As for your age.. no rush!  People are dating again, even in their 50's.. all is okay 😉 

 

 

 

 

Thank you.  That all makes sense. I guess I’m just blaming myself though for holding back and not showing her enough affection and love.  She told me that everything felt calculated with me which in some ways it was. So now I regret it. Maybe I’m just being too picky looking for the “perfect girl”.   I’ve always had trouble letting her go and maybe it’s because she is the one?  I don’t know. 

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I think your relationship is a good example of settling.

It doesn't work for you guys.  You break up a lot.  But you do have genuine affection for one another.  As you can see with time, this becomes a real problem.

Back when you originally broke up, you should have never tried again.  Because while things are somewhat good, you know in the back of your mind, you have GENUINE concerns that she is not the one.  

So you keep going round and round, which is fine.  Until you bump into the one.  Stop dancing with this woman.  Be strong enough to be on your own.  Don't get into relationships with "good enoughs"

You have seen through the test of time-- this is not the relationship you want.  Stop being scared to be alone.  Is that what it is?  It's better to be with "ok" because you might not find "good"?  

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3 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

. I guess I’m just blaming myself though for holding back and not showing her enough affection and love.  She told me that everything felt calculated with me which in some ways it was. So now I regret it. Maybe I’m just being too picky looking for the “perfect girl”.   I’ve always had trouble letting her go and maybe it’s because she is the one?

IF she was 'the one', she'd be there now... right?

You two tried.. and tried again.  it was not working.

But, look how it's gone over time.. She said this.. she felt this.. you thought this or did that.

Fact:  What's done is done now.... the repeated attempts did not work out in your favour.

Just takes time to accept & move on.  

PS, there is no 'perfect girl'... and there's rarely ' the one'.  Couple's get involved and couple's break up, all of the time.

People try, and things fail between them.. it's fact, it's life.

And yes, it's sad when it fails, I know 😞 .

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Just now, SooSad33 said:

IF she was 'the one', she'd be there now... right?

You two tried.. and tried again.  it was not working.

But, look how it's gone over time.. She said this.. she felt this.. you thought this or did that.

Fact:  What's done is done now.... the repeated attempts did not work out in your favour.

Just takes time to accept & move on.  

PS, there is no 'perfect girl'... and there's rarely ' the one'.  Couple's get involved and couple's break up, all of the time.

People try, and things fail between them.. it's fact, it's life.

And yes, it's sad when it fails, I know 😞 .

Yes. Exactly what I mean by there is no “perfect girl”.   And I agree there’s rarely “the one”. So maybe this was good a thing  and my anxiety just prevented me from really realizing it.  Of course as humans we sometimes think about “what if” but we can’t live our lives like that forever and should accept what we have. I guess it’s also making it hard because she broke up with me but then threw the ball back in my court and I said no.  That decision could change the course of my life forever. And it’s sad thinking about that and makes me wonder.  

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12 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I think your relationship is a good example of settling.

It doesn't work for you guys.  You break up a lot.  But you do have genuine affection for one another.  As you can see with time, this becomes a real problem.

Back when you originally broke up, you should have never tried again.  Because while things are somewhat good, you know in the back of your mind, you have GENUINE concerns that she is not the one.  

So you keep going round and round, which is fine.  Until you bump into the one.  Stop dancing with this woman.  Be strong enough to be on your own.  Don't get into relationships with "good enoughs"

You have seen through the test of time-- this is not the relationship you want.  Stop being scared to be alone.  Is that what it is?  It's better to be with "ok" because you might not find "good"?  

I mean I don’t know. I genuinely love her.  I don’t know why I felt sad in the relationship last year. Am I addicted to that beginning feeling of a relationship?  Which we all know fades away but then you get to something deeper and more meaningful.  I’m definitely scared to be alone.  And that’s probably part of it.  Being older makes it tough. Most friends are married and have kids. So I’m by myself a lot. It’s tough. 

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7 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

Of course as humans we sometimes think about “what if” but we can’t live our lives like that forever and should accept what we have. I guess it’s also making it hard because she broke up with me but then threw the ball back in my court and I said no.  That decision could change the course of my life forever. And it’s sad thinking about that and makes me wonder.  

Yes, we do & is common with the what if's.. but has been proven now, right?  You two are not working out.

Maybe, in time.. IF you both can accept it all.. Friendship can arise again?  hard to say right now.. since, at this time, you need NOT be communicating in order to work through all that's happened.

You're just 'stuck' right now.  Think about the rollercoaster you've been on.  Nothing was truly 'stable', was it?  it's been a lot.

Has been enough time for you two to see it's just not working out.

I suggest you Journal.  It can help you 'work through it'.. All you want to say, write it out.  Just for you though.. Is a good form of release.

But you need to get your life back... to enjoy it.. get out there & do stuff. 🙂 

Takes time.. but you need to start somewhere.. Self care is necessary.

 

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13 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

I mean I don’t know. I genuinely love her.  I don’t know why I felt sad in the relationship last year. Am I addicted to that beginning feeling of a relationship?  Which we all know fades away but then you get to something deeper and more meaningful.  I’m definitely scared to be alone.  And that’s probably part of it.  Being older makes it tough. Most friends are married and have kids. So I’m by myself a lot. It’s tough. 

Doesn't it make sense that you would know?  If you don't.  Who does???

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8 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Yes, we do & is common with the what if's.. but has been proven now, right?  You two are not working out.

Maybe, in time.. IF you both can accept it all.. Friendship can arise again?  hard to say right now.. since, at this time, you need NOT be communicating in order to work through all that's happened.

You're just 'stuck' right now.  Think about the rollercoaster you've been on.  Nothing was truly 'stable', was it?  it's been a lot.

Has been enough time for you two to see it's just not working out.

I suggest you Journal.  It can help you 'work through it'.. All you want to say, write it out.  Just for you though.. Is a good form of release.

But you need to get your life back... to enjoy it.. get out there & do stuff. 🙂 

Takes time.. but you need to start somewhere.. Self care is necessary.

 

That make sense. And good advice. Thank you.  I guess since I’m so indecisive it makes it pretty hard.  And I compare it to other  relationships which and other peoples decisions.  I probably shouldn’t do that as much. 

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3 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

That make sense. And good advice. Thank you.  I guess since I’m so indecisive it makes it pretty hard.  And I compare it to other  relationships which and other peoples decisions.  I probably shouldn’t do that as much. 

Are you an indecisive person by nature?  

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Well, you've been through a lot - mentally & emotionally.

You've repeatedly taken her back..same results.

What's that saying...Repeating same mistake, expecting different result.

You will work through this.. we often do.

But like I said, don't go running out to date other women, while you are still reeling over this.

You've got nothing to give at this time, correct? 😕 

Then work on yourself.   ( what would happen, if some gal began getting feelings?  You'd push her away.. not good).

AND, doing this will NOT help you get over her.  Doesn't work.

 

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6 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Well, you've been through a lot - mentally & emotionally.

You've repeatedly taken her back..same results.

What's that saying...Repeating same mistake, expecting different result.

You will work through this.. we often do.

But like I said, don't go running out to date other women, while you are still reeling over this.

You've got nothing to give at this time, correct? 😕 

Then work on yourself.   ( what would happen, if some gal began getting feelings?  You'd push her away.. not good).

AND, doing this will NOT help you get over her.  Doesn't work.

 

Right. I just feel so unfulfilled. And I’m not getting any younger. I thought I’d be married with kids by now. I feel inadequate and the weird single guy who can’t make a commitment when im with friends and family.  Im jealous of some friends who have that great life with wife and kids but can also grab a beer with his buddies once in awhile. Im just grabbing beers with buddies. And obviously not often since most friends are settled down. 

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17 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Well, you've been through a lot - mentally & emotionally.

You've repeatedly taken her back..same results.

What's that saying...Repeating same mistake, expecting different result.

You will work through this.. we often do.

But like I said, don't go running out to date other women, while you are still reeling over this.

You've got nothing to give at this time, correct? 😕 

Then work on yourself.   ( what would happen, if some gal began getting feelings?  You'd push her away.. not good).

AND, doing this will NOT help you get over her.  Doesn't work.

 

There’s also the guilt factor.  I put her through the ringer as well. I feel like she’s suffering right now. Picturing her suffering makes it really hard as well. It’s just a lot to go through. 

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5 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

I just feel so unfulfilled. And I’m not getting any younger. I thought I’d be married with kids by now. I feel inadequate and the weird single guy who can’t make a commitment when im with friends and family.  Im jealous of some friends who have that great life with wife and kids but can also grab a beer with his buddies once in awhile. Im just grabbing beers with buddies. And obviously not often since most friends are settled down. 

Okay.. BUT this is not the answer...

No, we are not getting any younger- but try to stop looking at it all this way.

All you thought and reality now.  ( You need acceptance) and be okay with this.

If you get involved for the wrong reasons, again guarantee a fail.

Never compare yourself to anyone else! Sooo wrong 😕 .

We all go down our own paths.  What this person's doing re: work.. or that person's married.. - so what!

This is you.  You focus on your own life. ( You are aware of millions out there, whos relationships/marriages fell apart).. That's reality.

 

Is good, to go hang with some buddies.  Get out there, see friends/family... work through all of this & carry on.

Get out for some air.. be active.. have a hobby? 

Give yourself time!  Get yourself back.. to good.

Don't force things.. In time, things can/will happen for you.

 

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3 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

There’s also the guilt factor.  I put her through the ringer as well. I feel like she’s suffering right now. Picturing her suffering makes it really hard as well. It’s just a lot to go through. 

Yeah, it is... I've had guys use me.  I've been in long-term, only to learn they were trying to pull away. (and w/ someone else) 😕 .. It hurt.

I've been dumped and I have dumped.

you are BOTH now having to deal with the consequences.

As I recall, you said she had her own.. issue's in this.. "She could fly off the handle very easy (hence her breaking up with me 3 times like very impulsively)."

It's all just an experience you went through... it was rough.

And will take time to work through all of this.

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Ok

40 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

Okay.. BUT this is not the answer...

No, we are not getting any younger- but try to stop looking at it all this way.

All you thought and reality now.  ( You need acceptance) and be okay with this.

If you get involved for the wrong reasons, again guarantee a fail.

Never compare yourself to anyone else! Sooo wrong 😕 .

We all go down our own paths.  What this person's doing re: work.. or that person's married.. - so what!

This is you.  You focus on your own life. ( You are aware of millions out there, whos relationships/marriages fell apart).. That's reality.

 

Is good, to go hang with some buddies.  Get out there, see friends/family... work through all of this & carry on.

Get out for some air.. be active.. have a hobby? 

Give yourself time!  Get yourself back.. to good.

Don't force things.. In time, things can/will happen for you.

 

You’re right. I’m also very bad with “grass is greener on the other side”.  When I’m out of the relationship I want it back. And visa versa when I’m in it.  I’m a very nostalgic, sentimental person. So obviously now I’m just thinking about all our good moments. When we were together I thought about by single moments in college. It’s a cycle.  I gotta try to enjoy the present more and enjoy what I have.  

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25 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

Right. I just feel so unfulfilled. And I’m not getting any younger. I thought I’d be married with kids by now. I feel inadequate and the weird single guy who can’t make a commitment when im with friends and family.  Im jealous of some friends who have that great life with wife and kids but can also grab a beer with his buddies once in awhile. Im just grabbing beers with buddies. And obviously not often since most friends are settled down. 

You are not alone in these feelings.  Marrying the wrong person will stave off these feelings for a while.  Sure.  You'll be able to "fit in" but, keep in mind, some of the loneliest people are in fact married.  

 

1 hour ago, Giants2021 said:

Yes.  I didn’t used to be as bad as I am now. But I am. 

This may be the real issue.  Being indecisive can lead to unhappiness in a lot of areas.  Practice making more decisions.  It will help you trust yourself more. 

 

43 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

There’s also the guilt factor.  I put her through the ringer as well. I feel like she’s suffering right now. Picturing her suffering makes it really hard as well. It’s just a lot to go through. 

It is a lot to go through.  I am not discounting that.  But as far as guilt goes-- both people in a relationship are responsible for how it was.  She has her part, too.  

In some ways, finally walking away for good is being cruel to be kind.  

Imagine you get back with her and then meet the woman you really want to be with.  It's not kind to be with someone out of pity or obligation.  It rather shows a lot of disrespect for the person and selfishness.  Like she can't do better than a guy that is lukewarm to the relationship?  Doesn't she deserve excitement and passion from the man in her life?  

Are you using her because being single makes you feel like you lack?  That's another area that maybe you need to focus on.  Your not a leper.  You have friends, can attract women... I am sure if you chose to focus on enjoying what you have instead of being miserable with what you don't, things would feel better. 

as @SooSad33 advised, get out there and enjoy your life.  Whatever it is.... Nothing ever gets better by dwelling on it.  You've made the decision.  Now live with it.  See how it goes if you get busy focusing on more pleasant experiences.  

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13 minutes ago, Giants2021 said:

You’re right. I’m also very bad with “grass is greener on the other side”.  When I’m out of the relationship I want it back. And visa versa when I’m in it.  I’m a very nostalgic, sentimental person. So obviously now I’m just thinking about all our good moments. When we were together I thought about by single moments in college. It’s a cycle.  I gotta try to enjoy the present more and enjoy what I have.  

yeah, and so i guess you know this isn't good on you?

Did you say you're in therapy?  It can help, I was there, ongoing for abt 4 yrs.. I was mentally & emotionally exhausted. 😕 .

You're 'wanting' is not good for you.

I am single & have been for over 2 yrs now.. and am in no hurry to go there again!

Might be good to aim at remaining single until you can get yourself back - to better standards.

Im sure you kick yourself when you want this.. then want that.  That's very unstable.

Is fine that you're remembering the good times.. that's normal.  But, it's everything in between & reason's things didn't work out.

Like I said, grief takes hold & you will go through emotions ( like waves).. you know the stages?  Expect it.

But, please don't rush anything.  Take your down time.. focus on you, only!

Rest, get out there... as you work through it all and 'feel okay' again.  you will, after this is long distant.

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It may seem like you procrastinated with commitment but your instinct was telling you there's something wrong with on/off.

If you were legally married it would have led to a very expensive divorce since on/off  has a poor prognosis for relationships.

Count your blessings, you dodged a bullet. 

 

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No. You're too raw right now and it's natural to feel anxious. Second guessing is not unusual after a break up but you've got to give yourself time and space for the dust to settle and stop any knee jerk reactions. Give yourself more time after the break up.

There's also nothing more unattractive and disingenuous than a person who goes back and forth or is indecisive. She's not the right person for you and has too many traits you don't like or don't respect. Put this behind you and move on. 

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3 hours ago, Giants2021 said:

The middle of last year I just started feeling really sad in the relationship. I was even more sad that I was sad!  Because I wanted this to be it.  At one point before that I thought it was it and I was so happy. I get relationships are up and down and nothing is perfect. But there was just something else missing I felt. But I loved her so much. One of the main issues was honestly her social awkwardness.   I guess it wasn’t the worst but she was very quiet when I took her out. And I am an extremely social person. I always envisioned my partner being social too.  Not that I wanted to be with the life of the party or anything but someone I want to bring out and I’m excited to go on a double date with cause I knew it would be fun. And I didn’t exactly have that with her.  And it doesn’t make her a bad person at all. We even talked about it a bit and it helped somewhat but I realize she is who she is and i can’t change her completely. This made things tough for me in the relationship but I didn’t want to be picky or shallow so I tried to fight through it.  I loved so many other things about her. 

Two separate issues.  Judging someone and being mean to someone because she lacks social skills.  And deciding not to be in a serious romantic relationship with someone who has social issues.  The first sentence is not ok. The second sentence is called.... dating.  It's not judgey at all to decline to date someone because you don't find her body attractive or because you find her socially awkward and it grates on you.  

I went through what you're going through several times -core-shaking doubts about someone who was wonderful on paper.  Who I loved. Who "seemed" so right.  As in You've Got Mail - I often just had the "dream of someone else" - it wasn't about crushing on someone else and I did not cheat. 

Indeed, I married him.  But not until almost 8 years after we ended our engagement.  Not until we'd both grown and changed and been in other relationships (not marriage though) - not until I could say that if I had any doubts they were the normal, resolvable doubts all couples have about each other at times(and. after all I was the former Runaway Bride) , not until I could say - you could tell me I hadn't dated all the men on the planet (true, only half by then), you could tell me -how can you know there isn't someone even more perfect for you out there- maybe better looking plus imagine you'd be even more in love than you are now, etc -  you could say that to me and I'd smile and say (hypothetically) -

You are right -technically I didn't date everyone so there could be someone "even  better" but it's irrelevant to me- it means nothing to me.  I've found my person, and I know he's my person and I am reasonably sure and excited to spend my life with him.  See - I said reasonably sure and excited - you need both - but no you don't have to be 100% sure or 100% excited at all times.  Cause we're human. 

Yes I married the person I was panicked about -we broke our engagement right before the wedding and got married 11 years and one month later.  Never in a million years thought we'd ever get back together.  But after those years apart we both changed and changed in ways that complemented each other.  It was obvious and obvious that it wouldn't have worked out the first time around.

But that's different from core-shaking doubts where you question -am I with the right person? Might there be someone better out there for me? Am I settling? Maybe if I list the pros and cons I can "convince" myself that this is right."  We owe it to ourselves and our partner to have that strong foundation and core -it's made up of love, passion, admiration, respect loyalty, and in a lot of cases also respect for the institution of marriage or for long term commitment. 

It means even if you're not feeling that strong spark at that moment -you know you can remind yourself of it at will.  Because you had it, and still have it even if it's buried under frustration, or mountains of clutter, or his or her tuneless whistling when you finally have some peace and quiet.  Don't tell yourself "Oh this is because I'm expecting perfection, neverending bliss, etc" - Yes, do an honest evaluation over whether you have unrealistic expectations.  I bet you don't.  I bet you know you don't.  Oh and "I'll never find anyone better" is never the reason to stay with someone, ever.  That's a core-shaking situation.  

Good luck and I truly am sorry you're struggling.  

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