Ah... so young. At 24 I was just ending a 4 year relationship with a man (I am still friends with) who I adored, but who was just not going in the same life direction as I was.
We were both devastated.
But-the truth is-we make such better friends than we did lovers!
By 25 I was marrying Maca-who I had met when I was only 13 and lost track of by the time I was 14.
I was also still in love with GG-but trying to ignore it, because frankly, he wasn't ready for a serious relationship, much less a ready made family (I already had a 9 year old daughter).
Now at 38, I am happily friends with the man who wasn't going my direction. I am still married to Maca, GG lives with us as my boyfriend and we're raising the last 2 of 5 children and enjoying our 2 grandsons.
You are young.
It seems like a catastrophic event to break up with the first love of your life. BECAUSE RIGHT NOW it is.
But-that is right now.
The truth is-regardless of Stephan-if you aren't joyously in-you OWE IT to yourself and your partner, to say so honestly.
Committing to something half-heartedly is cruel to both of you.
EVEN IF what happens is you tell him "right now, I'm not joyously in. There are things I need to figure out, I don't have all of the answers, I love you and I care for you. But I can't continue this engagement because I can't be sure I'm ready for this level of promise and commitment"
then later you both end up joyously in.
Its just not healthy to hang on to something that isn't true. I would say, especially a label. Fiance, is a label. It has nothing to do with loving someone. It has everything to do with an agreed upon level of commitment. If there is a risk you aren't going to uphold that agreement, he deserves to know it.
THAT is what makes relationships healthy. HONEST communication. Because we do change. Our circumstances change. Our lives change. Our goals, dreams, hopes, wishes, needs, they all change. We have to be able to speak up about these changes as they come.
And as I tell my sister who is 20 (and my daughter who is 22)- "Not now" isn't necessarily "not ever". But it IS critical to acknowledge honestly when something is NOT NOW. Because if you don't-you may ruin whatever is possible in the future, be that a friendship or more, if you lie (even by omission) now-you can destroy tomorrow.
"Love As Thou Wilt"