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Engaged but Very Unsure

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  • Engaged but Very Unsure

    Iíve been with my now fiancť for about 15 months and weíve been engaged for 3 months. She is great and we have a lot of really good things going on in our relationship. But Iím posting about a recurring conflict we have. This conflict boils down to me feeling like I am being nagged or argued with on certain days. It tends to occur when she is not feeling well due to some health problems she has, such as stomach issues. So to explain this in a real world example, last night we got into a fight because from my perspective, from the moment I got home from work she was not in a good mood. I was discussing what I was going to make for us for dinner the next night, and my suggestions were met with silence, or disagreement as to what aspects she didnít like about it. Ultimately after about 10 minutes of discussing this, and me starting to feel defeated and unappreciated, she admitted that she wasnít sure what her stomach would feel like the next day and that it was very much irritating her. I stopped pushing to plan out the next dayís dinner. The tension in the room was then super bad. She continued to cook pizza for us but we were in a quiet and unfriendly place. I asked her where we went wrong tonight. I told her that I donít think I came home in a bad mood and had no reason to want to fight tonight. I told her that at every turn that evening, she wanted to either say ďnoĒ and then disagree with even small comments related to the show we were watching, or not want to contribute. Her side of it is that she was very relaxed that night and in a good mood, but that she felt I was very stressed out and irritable. It should be noted that on the days she works (7am to 7:30pm as a nurse with an hour drive each way), sheís made it clear and Iíve been great about making sure to have dinner ready so she can get home, eat and crash. So Iím not planning the next day just because I like to plan.

    She will constantly micromanage me with even simple stuff. Like this past fall I had bought a gallon of cider and when I offered her a glass she said how I shouldnít drink it because it is all sugar. I at first thought she was joking, but she persisted and really made it into a negative thing. I explained that I donít drink cider often, and how all my medical labs are good so whatís the big deal. Iím in great shape and eat very healthy. She doesnít like cider. So this just struck me as a petty argument that she created out of thin air.
    Iíve googled that nagging is often a womanís way of expressing that sheís unsure of her manís long-term suitability. Whatís tough about reading that is that is that I donít fit that description at all. I have a well-paid, low stress and very successful career. I own my house in a great school district. I take care of my cat. I cook, I shovel snow, Iím not a messy guy, I donít treat her bad, I am almost always in a great mood, I am fit and eat healthy, etc.
    Some more background: she is way more committed and certain about our long-term future than I am. I have discussed with her that there are some issues I have with our relationship specifically that we have fights like the above one about once or twice per week. We have discussed all this stuff with a great relationship counselor. But nothing seems to change. And look, I hate that Iím painting this as being her fault, and I completely admit and take responsibility for my share in all of this. I can be very stubborn. Due to my momís micromanaging of me growing up, I am sensitive to being nagged and managed. Iíve made this all clear and I want to work on it, but I also want the respect that any successful guy with his act together should get. I should be left to drink cider without it being made to be a guilty pleasure. I shouldnít have to get worked into a bad mood trying to prepare the next nightís dinner plan. I have made it clear to her that I am a luxury and that most other guys arenít going to wan to pay for all house expenses, cook most of the meals, and do all the chores other than cleaning the house. She doesnít seem to want to acknowledge this. I can say with 100% certainty that I give her this respect in return. When she throws out dinner ideas, Iím totally game for anything. Her bad habits or areas she needs help with, for the most part I accept them and donít burden her with my unsolicited advice or suggestions the way she does to me. For an example, she asked and I helped her reduce her student loan rate by calling around and ultimately co-signed with her to greatly reduce her rate. She was very appreciative. When she was done shopping hard and trying to get the lowest possible rate, I stopped doing so and we signed with a bank she felt good about.
    Iím in a really bad place because our relationship is very far down the point of no return. Our families each love our significant others. We have made many wedding deposits we wouldnít get back. Half of me wants to spend the rest of my life with her, but the other half is unsure. I hate the idea of getting back into the dating world. Thanks in advance for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.

  • #2
    Hello LanceFire13,

    I am sorry to hear you are in this situation..... it is gut-wrenching to say the least.

    From personal experience (yes I was there), there is never a time when you are at the "point of no return." Your happiness doesn't have an expiry date on it and you need to do what's best for you.

    If you don't mind, I will tell you a little story:

    This guy (me) was dating this girl and it was "hard" almost from day one.... but we got along mostly. She had issues (abandonment issues as her father took off when she was quite young) that would rear it's ugly head from time to time. At one point she even said "every man she has ever cared about has left her." Insert self-fulfilling prophecy here...... So here I am... typical guy that says "I can help her overcome her issues.... because I can fix them." Mistake number one. Mistake number two was thinking that she will change when she sees that I have devoted myself to her and has proven to her that I won't leave..... Mistake three, being on the alter on my wedding day saying to myself "I shouldn't be here and I am lying to every person in this church." Mistake four, going through the marriage....... so do you see a happy ending?

    The answer (obviously) was no.... seven years later, after two kids, counselling where she stated that she knew where her issues came from but was not willing to do the work to get better so I "have to deal with it." Well..... isn't that a ray of sunshine????? So fast forward to a couple years later after the counseling, I caught her having an affair with a co-worker (we would only have sex MAYBE two times a year; not my wish), so we divorced. $30,000 lawyer bill later, we are divorced and deep in debt (I am still paying the lawyer bill)......

    So LanceFire13, this is the time that you really need to do some soul searching and figure out what YOU want..... and do what is best for you. If you think she will get better (the micromanaging), there's a good chance she won't.... If it bugs you now, fast forward seven years and think how it is going to bother you then....

    Bottom line, don't settle. You deserve happiness and if this isn't the right one for you, there will be one down the line.

    Not sure if any of this has helped but could paint a picture of what the future could be like for you if you don't trust your gut instincts.

    b.

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    • #3
      First of all, no plans are past the point of no return. People have called off weddings with far more invested than you have, I can assure you. Your love for each other's families doesn't compensate you for the life of misery you are likely to have if you marry someone with whom you are not compatible.

      If you marry her the way things are, I can guarantee you that things will only get worse. That half of you that is unsure is cause enough to immediately postpone or cancel any plans you have of making this relationship legally binding.

      You say you went to relationship counseling but it didn't help. It may be that your relationship has simply run its course and that both of you need to re-evaluate what you want from a life partner. It doesn't seem that she's a good fit for you on several levels. Don't jump into something because you're afraid of getting back into the dating world. In fact, it might be a good idea to just be single for a while and figure out what it is you really need. Having fights over petty nonsense twice a week is really a sign that something is wrong. You shouldn't have to walk on eggshells around her. That's not a relationship; it's a prison sentence. Do yourself a favor and take a step backwards and look at the reality of your situation.

      "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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      • #4
        Aside from the counseling that you've been to, and that apparently isn't helping, have you discussed with your fiancť just how bleak and scared you are about your future with her ?
        If not, it's more than about time that you did.

        This is more than having a case of cold feet. If you're thinking of sticking it out because your families each love your significant other and you've made many wedding deposits you wouldnít get back, take just a second to appreciate how ludicrous that sounds to someone on the outside looking in.

        You'll hear this 100 times in your lifetime: you can't put a dollar value on your happiness. But in your case, it's the cost of losing the deposits you've made, in exchange for a wedding that shouldn't happen, and a marriage built on fear of disappointing everyone else, instead of doing the right thing.
        The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

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        • #5
          I interpreted her comment regarding cider and sugar content as her nurse brain communicating with you a neutral comment. She may have sounded negative to you because those were things you didn't want to hear. You did involve yourself with a health practitioner so I think you should be taking this with a pinch of salt and grow a thicker skin if you want your relationship to survive. If you like your cider that much and are confident in your own health what her nurse-mind says shouldn't be grating on your nerves so easily. That's very nice of you to make dinners but it also sounds like you're a little burnt out. It's all right, you know, if you take a breather and tell her that you're not preparing dinner every night. You might also want to suggest she let you know ahead of time if she's not feeling well before coming home. I think the both of you could do a lot just by managing your expectations.

          You're demanding respect but you're also not giving it where it's due. Try relaxing a bit, stop holding on to grudges and manage those expectations.
          Last edited by Rose Mosse; February 7th, 2018, 12:29 PM.

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          • #6
            I really appreciate the responses so far. It's tough to read that stuff, but I need to read it. I would like to add that I've been married before, and very similar issues cropped up in that relationship also. I'm 37, she's 27. So one of the big things I have to accept is that this may be an issue that I am responsible for. From my experience, past the honeymoon first few months of a relationship, all women nag. I guess I'm saying that I view my choices as 1. Stick it out and keep focusing on therapy and communication, or 2. End it and sign up for repeating the cycle and push out my desire for a family to an even later stage of my life.

            I have bluntly asked the therapist one on one whether she thinks this is worth salvaging and she whole-heartedly says yes. I pushed her and said that I value her opinion, and that she need not sugar coat anything, and even joked that I've be back with my next girlfriend if she felt this wasn't the relationship for me. But she steadfastly believes this is the one.

            To answer a question asked above, I have definitely communicated to my fiance that I am very concerned about our relationship. I have communicated to her that while I don't want us walking on eggshells around each other, we have to find a way to be comforting and loving vs argumentative and nagging. I have told her how much I love the comforting, sweet and loving side of her. Her response to this, other than essentially not changing her behavior, is that she says that she wants more open emotion from me and more of those things from me also. She gets very sad when I discuss things like this with her, and my fears, and she frequently cries both at home and in therapy discussing them. It's gut-wrenching because she is obviously completely in love with me and convinced we should spend our lives together. And we do have many great days together. Like I've said, it's a rough situation!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rose Mosse View Post
              I interpreted her comment regarding cider and sugar content as her nurse brain communicating with you a neutral comment. She may have sounded negative to you because those were things you didn't want to hear. You did involve yourself with a health practitioner so I think you should be taking this with a pinch of salt and grow a thicker skin if you want your relationship to survive. If you like your cider that much and are confident in your own health what her nurse-mind says shouldn't be grating on your nerves so easily. That's very nice of you to make dinners but it also sounds like you're a little burnt out. It's all right, you know, if you take a breather and tell her that you're not preparing dinner every night. You might also want to suggest she let you know ahead of time if she's not feeling well before coming home. I think the both of you could do a lot just by managing your expectations.

              You're demanding respect but you're also not giving it where it's due. Try relaxing a bit, stop holding on to grudges and manage those expectations.
              Absolutely. What you've said is essentially the best version I've heard for the side of the argument that I need to stick this out and keep working on it. Thank you for this. And for the record, we've discussed this about how as a Nurse she just can't stop herself from being helpful, and I accept that, but I've also communicated that I want the free space to make my decisions regarding food and drink as long as it's not a disaster. Ie, gallon of cider per year ok, mixing heroin and Advil not ok.

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              • #8
                I had a small chuckle because I understand what it's like having people in the health field. I am sure though that whenever you have a question she is always there and ready to help. Try to focus on the good input and the good times when she's been there to be your sounding board for things other than health. I don't know exactly what passed between you two about the food choices but you're right, if she's coming across as disrespectful and forceful about what you should be eating/doing, creating healthy boundaries and telling her she's overstepping at times isn't a bad idea at all.

                I am also engaged and we have some of the same bickerings. This is workable. I don't often say that on the forums but keep at it. I think you show indication of a very caring and kind person and she is too - otherwise, she would not survive as a nurse or express such emotion during counseling. You both love each other deeply. Don't let go of that just yet.

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                • #9
                  My husband and I have 'code words' when it's that time of the month for me. Perhaps you and your fiancť could try the same thing when she has tummy troubles.

                  I use mine when the irrational thinking/responses begin, and he uses his when I've crossed the line.

                  It works.

                  The agreement going in, is that neither of you are allowed to get offended when either of you uses your word.

                  You both need to appreciate the fact that it's perfectly healthy and okay to express when your partner has pissed you off, disappointed you, unnerved you or WHATEVER.
                  Eggshells are completely unnecessary in a relationship with great communication.
                  The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

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                  • #10
                    All women nag? Are you serious? What an absolutely nonsense statement.

                    You co-signed her student loan and she is living in your house, carping at every dinner you propose and being generally disagreeable. I'm thinking you're paying for all of her other living expenses as well.

                    How much of her feelings towards you are genuine love as opposed to seeing you as a meal ticket? Two people who really love each other don't argue all the time about stupid crap, or if they do argue about stupid crap, they work it out without resorting to a relationship forum or couples counselor. CLEARLY your problems are large enough to make you doubt whether you want to live your life with this woman. You can create all the code words you want with each other, but if there isn't a huge amount of respect between the two of you, your relationship is doomed to failure. She isn't going to change overnight.

                    If you value her love and affection, then by all means try to work it out. But from what I'm reading, you're having serious doubts whether you should go through with your marriage plans. Unless you can work out your differences and have her understand that she owes you a level of respect, I would recommend that you postpone your marriage plans. Without respect for each other, it simply isn't going to work out.
                    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SarahLancaster View Post
                      All women nag? Are you serious? What an absolutely nonsense statement.

                      You co-signed her student loan and she is living in your house, carping at every dinner you propose and being generally disagreeable. I'm thinking you're paying for all of her other living expenses as well.

                      How much of her feelings towards you are genuine love as opposed to seeing you as a meal ticket? Two people who really love each other don't argue all the time about stupid crap, or if they do argue about stupid crap, they work it out without resorting to a relationship forum or couples counselor. CLEARLY your problems are large enough to make you doubt whether you want to live your life with this woman. You can create all the code words you want with each other, but if there isn't a huge amount of respect between the two of you, your relationship is doomed to failure. She isn't going to change overnight.

                      If you value her love and affection, then by all means try to work it out. But from what I'm reading, you're having serious doubts whether you should go through with your marriage plans. Unless you can work out your differences and have her understand that she owes you a level of respect, I would recommend that you postpone your marriage plans. Without respect for each other, it simply isn't going to work out.
                      I apologize if I offended you. And certainly perhaps it's nonsense and a bit of a joke. But I think you'll be hard-pressed to have an open discussion with real guys where this isn't the consensus. The difference here, and my role in this, is that I overreact to it where my friends simply brush it off. That's my burden, and where I need to put the work in being communicating and honest about my feelings.

                      I've certainly considered the meal ticket concern. I don't believe it applies at all here. She is very independent. I haven't paid for any of these things such as student loans, we are splitting wedding expenses, and she just started working after graduating as a nurse about 2 months ago and she has started to pay her share.

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                      • #12
                        Well, maybe you DO need to brush it off and not let it get to you.

                        Her: "Why are you drinking cider? It's full of sugar!!!!!!"
                        You: (smile) "Because I like it once in a while."
                        Her: "But it's full of SUGAR and it's not healthy....nag nag nag nag nag"
                        You: "How about we watch a movie tonight?"

                        I'm nothing if not passive aggressive.
                        "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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                        • #13
                          You seem to like your counselor but things aren't getting better.

                          Does your fiance acknowledge that she is "nagging"?

                          Would you describe her as "controlling"?

                          And has she ever been diagnosed with anxiety?

                          What are her "stomach issues"?

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                          • #14
                            What did the counselor say? If it were me and if I were a guy, I'd back out now. So what if there are no return wedding deposits? It's worse should you marry and continue on this same track. What is your loss then? Your fiance is controlling. You call it managing or micromanaging. It is controlling and she wants to run the show. I think it's ok up to a point where it's kind and suggestions for example or "to put the bug in your ear" type of advice but not more than that. I constantly advise my husband but I'm not a 24/7 nag. I give him advice all the time and he listens to my hints and tips which have helped him immensely btw. (It's not home related either.) There is a difference. You need to ask yourself if YOU wish to live with your fiance day in and day out as you've been. If you're disgruntled with your current life with her, then now is the time to make your exit before it's too late. Your wedding day should be filled with utmost joy as you anticipate a lifetime of bliss with her yet you're ambivalent. Always listen to your instinct. It is there for a reason.
                            "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pollon View Post
                              You seem to like your counselor but things aren't getting better.

                              Does your fiance acknowledge that she is "nagging"?

                              Would you describe her as "controlling"?

                              And has she ever been diagnosed with anxiety?

                              What are her "stomach issues"?
                              She acknowledges that she makes a lot of suggestions and that they aren't necessarily ones that I need or want. I would not describe her as controlling and my hope is that she's learning there's a line between a good healthy suggestion based on her nursing knowledge versus a nagging related to some trivial thing. This weekend we got into it because I loaded the dishwasher, and as she was rearranging it to her efficient standards I guess, she told me it might be easier if I didn't load it. So I kinda let her have it that it's so insulting and petty that she can't accept the help. I've kinda loaded dishwashers for many years with no problems. I feel like the argument was very productive and she realized and has agreed that from now on if I load the dishwasher, there's no need to move whatever I've placed in there for any reason.

                              Her stomach issues are some sensitivities to various vegetables and spicy stuff. It often leads to her getting some nausea, but it's very much under control and her diet has improved immensely since we met and I feel like we both agree I've been a good influence there.

                              The counselor has some some good emotional based therapy and we've gotten to some of the causes of my sensitivity towards nagging. It has definitely helped a bit, but it has not provided any of the blueprints on what I am supposed to do or say when something is bothering me. So I think the most recent argument where I stood my ground, made it clear that nagging me about how I load the dishwasher is unacceptable and won't be tolerated, was a good blueprint. I'm optimistic that some well placed assertiveness will go a long way here.

                              My instinct... I've been following it. My instinct has obviously been to stick it out because I think the good well outweighs the bad. I've been married once before, and I went in with utmost joy expecting a lifetime of bliss, but didn't fully think through her ambivalence towards having kids and in general towards life, and how that would quickly become a dealbreaker. Towards my argument that all women nag, my ex wife famously nagged me in the middle of the night while I was spraying Resolve on the carpet to clean up her cat's barf that I had stepped in on the way to the bathroom. "Don't spray so much" she said. "I mean the first instruction is to soak the carpet. Go back to bed."

                              After that divorce, which was very amicable and mutual and no contest I might add, I spent about as much effort and had about as much success dating both online and just bars/friends etc as any man should be lucky enough to have. My consensus is that it's pretty wrenched out there and if you find someone you love, who loves you as much, who you have great chemistry with, who wants the same things in life, shares your love of travel, and who gets along great with your family, you should definitely stick it out and work through something like excessive-controlling behavior. I guess what I'm saying is that if I thought there were hundreds of gorgeous, smart, sexy, friendly, comforting women out there who weren't controlling in any way, this would be a wholly different discussion.

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