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I love my fiancee. You know how sometimes you have to tell your something repeatedly so that you really believe it? I don’t have to do that about her. I really do love her. Love is hard, though.

My engagement is the product of what I call the non-ultimatum ultimatum. Let me explain. About a year into our relationship, I told my fiancee that I didn’t think it made sense for anyone to date for three years only to find themselves unmarried. I went on to say if we were together three years and not talking about marriage, she should dump me. Naturally, being a woman who doesn’t see the need to waste time with a relationship not going anyplace, she agreed. The only thing is, I was just talking. If you know anything about men, you know that we just say stuff – it’s not to be taken seriously. She, on the other hand, stored this thought in her brain in a vault labeled “Use In Case of Emergency,” and use it she did. About six months before our third dating anniversary, she broke it to me – if we get to three more months of dating and we’re not talking about marriage, she’s splitting. Lord have mercy. I let my mouth write a check my butt wasn’t ready to cash.

Every guy has a woman in his past he wishes he had worked harder for. Maybe you went out a few times, but decided things weren’t right. Perhaps you dated for a year and you did something to ruin it. Whatever the case may be, you wish you had done just one more (or one less) thing so that you and Miss Perfect could have lived happily ever after. This woman is my Miss Perfect – fine, smart, a physician with her own money, moral, ethical and sweet as Georgia tea. When we got to our third anniversary, I had to make a decision – let Miss Perfect go or hunker down and go along. I did the latter. Letting go of Miss Perfect wasn’t a reality. The choice would have really been cool if I had been ready to get married.

I am a struggling entrepreneur. I used to have a life as a well-paid advertising executive. These days, I’m often hunting down my next payday. Over and above the struggling entrepreneur, however, is the man. I want to comfortably provide for my family. I want to protect them. I want to feel strong. I wanted to be able to do all of that when I got married. Life as a struggling entrepreneur doesn’t always allow that, for me. To me, I needed to wait to get married. Miss Perfect wasn’t having it. The buzzer was dinging and that fat lady was singing.

We planned a wedding for five months. Mind you, this is a wedding struggling-entrepreneur style. The ring and proposal have been absent until only recently. The bride has been handling the expenses (except for the ring, which I view as a dowry and insist on doing by myself). We tried to look past the things that were starting us in the face – the inequities, the resentments (see the last blog entry), the bad perceptions – but you can’t escape yourself.

Last week, Miss Perfect and I had a blowup and everything was done – no wedding, no us. I changed my Facebook status to single and felt relief. I was relieved that I didn’t have to get married when I didn’t want to. I was relieved that Miss Perfect wasn’t there to tell me about myself anymore. But, you know what I realized? I love my fianc�e. I love Miss Perfect. She really really is everything I’ve ever wanted.

After a bit of space and then some conversations with our counselor and between us, we decided to get back together. We postponed the wedding to give us some time to work on us, but right now I feel as good about us as I ever have.

Wouldn’t it have been great if there had been a Love 101 and 102 in college? Shoot, love is so complicated sometimes I think a whole major might have been needed. In lieu of that, there’s something great about having someone in your life who is committed to working with you — to love you better and to help you love them better. That’s Miss Perfect. How could I let her go?

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