Friday wrote:My feelings for Rachel and what I want in a mate have been on my mind a lot recently (obviously) and I keep asking myself why I didn't just marry her, considering I did love her and she was a great person.
Two virtuous/reasonable people can have different, mutually exclusive virtuous/reasonable goals. It may be somewhat unclear to you how exactly your goals differed from hers, but considering the events that took place, it's pretty clear that they did differ, on a fundamental level. It's super healthy to examine them, and it's also super healthy to not want to commit and settle before examining them. As terrible as it feels right now, it would probably feel even more terrible if you figured it out while engaged in a type of relationship that is much harder to back out of.
And, well, I'm not gonna pretend I know about the people involved more than you do, but I still gotta say your ex's proposal scenario seems super manipulative to me. Maybe the actual reason you thought she wouldn't be "the one" was that on some level you had detected she might be the type of person to pull a trick like that. She may not have meant it in any sort of malicious machiavellian sense but it's still a tremendous dick move no matter which way you slice it. Besides, having accepted her proposal would have set a very unfortunate precedent, where she feels she can go against your explicit wishes if she puts you in an awkward enough position that you have little choice but to acquiesce. And that's definitely not healthy.
I mean, the perfect person for me is out there, somewhere, and there's probably even ten thousand or so that qualify as "perfect". But probability says I'm just not going to find one. So at what point do I just either bite the bullet and settle, or resign myself to getting seventeen cats?
No bullet biting is necessary. Find out what it is you want, find out what it is you're ready to trade for it, and above all, keep your eyes open. There are no guarantees either way but everything you do stacks the odds on one side or the other, ever so slightly.
I just am a selfish bitch and didn't want to.
I'm definitely getting "she's rad and I'm garbage, what's my problem" vibes from your demeanor right now; I kinda hope it goes without saying, but in case it doesn't: that's not true. You don't break off a relationship because you feel your partner isn't getting what they want, unless maybe there's some pathological emotional dependence going on. That's their job, that's their responsibility as a grown-ass adult. You clearly, honestly set your parameters, and by not breaking things off herself, she was signaling to you that she wanted to keep going anyway, and that was her decision to make. Heck, maybe she figured she could change your mind, and you went above and beyond the call of duty by giving her ample time to try.
On the other hand, if in fact she wasn't mature enough to recognize/accept that she wouldn't get what she wanted from your relationship, then she sure wasn't mature enough to marry.
Anyway. I know it's super tempting to find a bad guy to point fingers at, and since by now you're likely to be sorely missing all the good stuff about her, it's gonna be even more tempting to point fingers at yourself. But you know that doesn't help. What's done is done, if it turns out you've made any mistakes then now you know how to see the fuckers coming, and you can start turning all that sorrow into wisdom for next time. If you do find "the one" somewhere down the road, it just might have been good for you and Rachel to have met, to have spent time together, and to have changed the course of each other's lives, even with how things ended. Cripes, if nothing else, I hope she'll have learned that you don't pull the shit she pulled in real life. Jesus fuck