Wow Nicole ~ I'm sorry to hear this!
I'll tell you what I think, based on the experiences of people I know ~ though I may be wrong.
You are both 23, and have been together since you were 18. Your daughter is three, so you were expecting her at about 19.
The thing is, 18 is very young to commit to a life-long relationship, and extremely young to be contemplating parenthood.
Most young mothers find that, though they might miss their 'freedom', their maternal instinct takes over. I think that young fathers find it more difficult.
As I said on another thread: 'my husband and I met when I was 18 & he was 17. That was back in 1974 and we are still happily together ~ so it can work. However, it doesn't work for everyone. Teenagers usually haven't finished maturing. Their brains aren't fully matured or even fully wired! This means that the person who once seemed very right for you, may suddenly turns out not to be so right, after all. It depends on the people and the situation.'http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=278783#Post278783
I feel that this young man has suddenly, when faced with a five-year anniversary, realised the enormity of the commitment he made, at an age when, realistically, he was a bit too too young to make it.
I really do understand your feelings ~ 'he has been my best friend for 5 years. I can't imagine not being able to talk to him like I used too or to feel his warm hugs.' However, I know others who have been in his situation and were so overwhelmed after a few years that they simply couldn't cope.
Is giving him space to date others the answer?
I wouldn't say so.
Apart from wrecking your relationship, this might give him the idea that you don't care if he is unfaithful.
Giving him space to gather his thoughts, though ~ now that's a different matter, and may be something he needs.
It may even be that you are upset that he forgot your anniversary, and he is upset that you wouldn't care if he were unfaithful!
Men don't like to be emotionally pressured, but they do need to know where they stand. Tell him exactly how you feel ~ in a letter if necessary ~ and maybe get relationship counselling. After all, there is a child involved, as well as both of your feelings.
Whatever happens, make sure that the little girl stays on good terms with both of you. Don't let her suffer arguments or silences. If a break-up does happen ~ even if only temporarily ~ ensure that she feels secure, and loved by both parents.
Good luck & take care!!!