I was already preparing my last article when I received this question from Jenny. She broke up an engagement because of an inexplicable feeling that something wasn’t right.
I was engaged to a man a few months back and broke it off shortly before the wedding. It was a decision which I finally came to after about a period of 4-6 weeks of increasing intensity of doubts.
The confusion was further compounded by a large number of those around me who gave me advice trying to encourage and convince me to go ahead. However, no matter what people told me, whether that I was crazy or dominated by fear, I would still wake up every day with the same feelings and doubts that plagued me.
The process would go as follows: I would feel doubtful, discuss the problem with someone whom I trusted and valued their opinion. Then, they, together with me would intellectually convince me to go ahead and of the absurdity of pulling out. I would then feel ok for a day or two or an evening and the same feelings would return, only this time stronger and more intense.
The last two weeks I actually had physical symptoms, such as tension in the gut, inability to sleep, concentrate, pray, relax, carry out normal tasks, etc…Then at my lowest point, when I felt I could go on no more, I sat down with my parents and decided that a decision had to be made. It had to end.
My doubts were a feeling of incompatibility on the intellectual/spiritual/reflective/thinking/depth plane. A subtlety that could not be understood by those who did not possess it. I can illustrate the point as follows – its as if I felt that I was the only person bringing up spiritual, deeper issues in the conversation. I was always the initiator. If I did bring up something, he would listen to it, but his eyes would not light up like mine and he would often get distracted, almost as if he felt it was his duty to listen, like a kid in a classroom. I felt that he was agreeing with me because he liked everything else about me and was simply “going along” with what I had to offer.
But a person like me craves for intellectual and spiritual depth in a soul mate. I felt I couldn’t settle, knowing that this aspect of the relationship would be absent. Its also, tell me if you agree, something that cannot be developed. It is something that is intrinsic to a personality type. Do they read, introspect, think, get moved and motivated by spiritual ideals and lead their lives according to those ideals? Or is it simply done by rote, because there is an intellectual appreciation of what should be done and said and thought?
If it was an ‘objective’ doubt such as a physical or mental illness that I had discovered in the other person, this would be much easier to have walked away from. Precisely, because it was so subtle, and objectively non-discernable, I almost felt silly expressing it to others and justifying my decision to end it. A combination of very different upbringing and approaches to spirituality meant I felt a fundamental incompatibility existed. I tried to push away this seemingly subtle feeling but it kept coming back, and as mentioned before, stronger and stronger.
After breaking it off, I felt relief for a short while and then regret, as the stimulus for the feelings had disappeared and the emotional weight of the memories weighed heavily down on me. I made an attempt to go back, which was rejected by the other side. However, just before I received my answer, again those same feelings returned – I actually prayed inwardly that they would say no during the waiting period for the decision!
Over the last few months, the challenge has been to try and maintain the sense of mental clarity about the situation.
Some of the questions that I have been grappling with are: Was it fear or intuition? Do I have a commitment phobia? (I come from a very stable home, with parents who have a true soul mate relationship. I am a very commited, reliable, high-achieving person in nearly all areas of my life and have many successful friendships)
Is it reasonable to look at the situation as “just an intuition” and you have to go along with it, or that the intuition revealed the true reasons which have only been properly understood after the event? In other words, if one were to say the reasons were unreasonable to break off an engagement, then is Intuition alone enough of a reason to call it off?
It would be helpful if you could enlighten me on the above for my own understanding, and also to help me make better decisions about who I get engaged to in the future.
I would also like to mention that my first impression of the man was almost exactly the same as the conclusion that led me to end it. Its almost as if I was trying to cover up and justify him as my soul mate for the several month period that we were together.
Jenny, if you read my last article, I think it addresses many points that were discussed in your story. It’s a strong real-life example of how intuition manifests itself. And yes, I think you were acting according to your intuition here — the scores and all the little things you mention all add up.
First of all, I’d like to affirm you for making this courageous decision to end this relationship. It must have been very difficult to do this, particularly when you didn’t have support or agreements from people you know and trust.
I’ll let the previous article explain why I think you were acting according to your intuition, but let me respond to the specific questions at the end. No, it really doesn’t sound like you have a commitment phobia — you may have, but what you told me so far doesn’t give me any indication so far. (see if you have other histories of breaking up committed relationships) Even if you have a phobia, it’s not right for you to commit to a relationship without overcoming it first. But really, in this case, I think the easier and less scary decision was to go with the marriage. Phobia is a fear of something — and I don’t sense that you acted because you were afraid of the relationship more so than the consequence of breaking up. The fact that you had some second thoughts after breaking up indicates that indeed this was a very scary thing to do.
I think this is a case where your intuition knew all along that this was not the right relationship for you. The fact that you had that sense immediately is a clear sign of that. All the reasons why you rationalized — the one about compatibility — is an attempt to put reason behind your intuition, to explain and justify it. It makes sense, but I would caution you against putting too much weight on it. It’s possible that the next person you meet still doesn’t possess the depth you’re seeking, but somehow everything else all adds up (perhaps he’ll look at you more in a “righter” way 😉 ) to make you feel “right” about your relationship! It’s unlikely, though possible enough for you to be open to. I do think that the chances are, you are right that your intuition led you down the path of deeper reflection and examination that revealed what you truly were looking for in a soulmate. In the other words, pursuing this relationship served an important function in your life, even though it would have been easier if you had confirmed your conclusion and ended it before it got to the point that it did. Armed with this knowledge, now you are more equipped than ever to find/be able to identify the right person.
Just as it told you when it wasn’t right, intuition will also tell you when it is right. It may be immediate or it may not be, but something will spark in your mind, and then turns into a persistent whisper you just can’t ignore. Sometimes you find it right where you’re looking, other times it occurs in a most unexpected way that you end up resisting it for a while. Intuition is a difficult thing to accept and go along with in the present, logic-based climate. But that resistance can also act as a flag, one that’ll reveal your intuition to you when it happens.
I noticed my wife when I first saw her, though it took a while before I became aware that I was attracted to her. She, on the other hand, wasn’t attracted to me in the least initially — it was our late-night deep conversations that lit the spark in her head. Another good friend of mine, happily married, also knew each other while before the light went off. Sometimes the light goes off to prompt you to explore that direction, only to have you discover another thing about what you’re not looking for. Remember that intuition is not necessarily a prediction of outcome — but you should always pursue it, until it tells you not to do so. And one of these days, you’ll end up going all the way. 😉
Jenny, I think you are a thoughtful, conscientious and mature person. As long as you keep building your confidence and maintain your intention to find a soulmate, I’m certain that you’ll find one.
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