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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Anxiety Makes Her Hesitant For Engagement

DEAR ABBY: I feel fortunate to find myself with the love of my life at 24. "Josh" is charming, intelligent, a hard worker and a wonderful partner. I know we can achieve all the things we hope for. We have discussed where we stand on issues such as children, family, finances, living arrangements, etc. We are mostly compatible, and where there is tension, we work it through and compromise.

We are clearly headed toward engagement. He has picked out a ring and I want it badly, but I am hesitant. I am afraid I won't give him what he deserves.

I dated a man in college for three years. We talked about our future, made plans, and then I changed my mind. The pain I caused was terrible. I still regret hurting him, although I don't regret leaving. I'm afraid I will do it again. I'm so anxious I sometimes think I should bail now and cut his losses just in case. I don't think I will, but who can see the future?

My mother says I have always been obsessed with making the right choice. Am I being foolish and letting my anxieties run away with me? -- SUSAN IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR SUSAN: There are better ways to cope with your anxiety than "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." You are not the same person you were in college. You have grown and are obviously more aware of the consequences of your actions.

Because you are anxious about making a commitment to "the love or your life" -- someone with whom you have many things in common -- it's time to schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor to discuss it. It will be time and money well spent.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Marriage & Divorce | Miscellaneous | Mental Health