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My boyfriend was not ready for commitment and left me. Two months later, he showed up at my door with an engagement ring.
By Anastasia Chernikova,
My boyfriend and I dated for two years before I pressured him with marriage and kids.
He said he was not ready and left for Europe after we broke.
Two months later, he showed up at my apartment in NYC with an engagement ring.
On a hot July day, I was making my way to a friend's party when my phone beeped with an invitation to join a lunch at a restaurant near the "Friends" building in New York City. Thinking I had some time to spare before the party, I decided to drop by.
Upon arrival, I found two unfamiliar guys. One of them had driven from Philadelphia for the weekend. He had rented a car for a month and wanted to travel around. I didn't have a driver's license and was melting from the heat. We hit it off, and within 10 minutes, decided to take a trip outside the city together.
We set off for Montauk , on Long Island, two weeks later and spent the day together before heading to separate sleeping spots. He drove me back, and I showed him my favorite neighborhood, Brooklyn's Williamsburg , before he took off for Philly at 2 a.m.
Another two weeks passed, and he expressed an interest in moving to New York to learn more about the city. The best places seemed to be in Williamsburg, he said, and so he rented an apartment in my neighborhood.
He told me he wasn't ready for anything serious
Though we felt romantic, I sensed he was holding back on any relationship progression, often claiming he was too busy with work or tired to stay over. Two months later, he told me he wasn't ready for a relationship, which I interpreted as a cue to end. In my head, something either moves forward or backward, so I pulled out.
We didn't text each other for a week. I was coping by meeting with my girlfriends and drinking cocktails. Then one afternoon, he texted me and asked to give it another try.
He explained that he was hesitant to commit because he was recently coming out a marriage and wanted to focus on his career. I didn't mind, I said, but we would either be in a relationship, or I'd rather not spend more time on casual dating. So we started to date again.
Despite my gut feeling of him being, as my friend put it, "good marriage material," he was often talking about something that he had missed and things he had to try before committing to something serious. A yearlong relationship was already serious, I thought. I was confused, but I loved him, so we kept going.
I wanted to know if we were headed toward having a family together
When we hit a year and a half, I wanted to know whether we were headed toward having a family or not.
I needed to set a deadline for when he would commit to marriage and having a kid together. I chose August 2022, which would mark two years of our relationship.
I was also afraid of losing my guy, so I began pushing him harder to commit to marriage. I became fixated on that idea, and every time we were watching a show where people would get married or have kids, I would burst into tears.
As my behavior became more erratic, my boyfriend started pulling away. At this point, I gave him an ultimatum: Either we get married, or we break up. Although I don't like playing ultimatum games, I didn't know what else to do.
He wasn't ready.
After a week of depression, he packed up his belongings and left for Europe. We didn't speak for two months, during which time I decided to download dating apps.
I made it a rule to go on at least one date a week to move on from my ex and find someone who shared my family plans and values. My therapist had helped me outline the qualities and values I was looking for, and I could weed out all the guys that didn't fit.
He proposed at my front door
The dates were great, but I did not feel any chemistry. So when my ex showed up out of the blue two months later, my goosebumps and warm feelings for him immediately returned. He was standing at my door — in a gray sweater that I bought for him, with a huge bouquet of red roses, apparently confident that there was no chance I could have moved on and there was someone else in my room.
He got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. I said yes.
He told me he had to leave to figure out what he wanted, without my pressure. At first, he tried to imagine his life without me and went on a couple of dates in Europe. But he missed me and always thought about me, he said. Once he had the space to think about it, he was ready for commitment.
My now husband has never been so stable in his work and our relationship. He talks about getting a house together, kids, and building our future more than I do. Last week, he came home from a tough negotiation meeting. He said when he looked at the ring on his finger, he felt strength and support. "This marriage has been my best decision," he said. And kissed me on the lips.
Anastasia Chernikova is the founder of Vivid Minds , a newsletter-based media company dedicated to stories about how leaders overcome challenges and move forward. Follow her on Linkedin .
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