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    Old 04-13-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
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    Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    So I'm posting this for two different reasons; one of which is to get all of this off my chest since I don't have any close friends that I could discuss this with, and second of which is to ask for advice on what I should do next. I could easily write a book about my current feelings as well as all of the itty bitty details that make up the entire story, but for the sake of the readers I'm only going to provide the most important points/highlights of the story. With that being said, here we go and thanks in advance for caring enough to hear my story.

    My fiancé and I started dating back in 10th grade (we were both fifteen at the time). Things started off great, besides a minor mishap where she broke up with me three days after we first started dating, but we soon got back together just a couple weeks later, and have been together ever since. Anyways, we stayed together through high school, during which time I more or less gave up all of my friends and dedicated nearly all of my free time to my then girlfriend. I'm not really sure who was at fault for that, so I'll just leave it at that. When our senior year of high school rolled around, we made college decisions. I was debating between going to a local university and one that was a couple states away, but one that would have probably given me a much better education. It's not her fault, but I chose to stay local. It was my decision, but one that I currently sort of regret. We stayed together through three years of college, at which point I proposed to her and she happily accepted. We bought a house together that summer. It was a tough decision because we were both full-time college students, but the government helped fuel my decision due to the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit. I finished college a year later (just about a year ago), and my fiancé is still in college, slated to graduate this summer.

    As an aside, but still worthy of mention, we were actually scheduled to get married this summer, but my fiancé failed her program last year, which forced her to need another full year to retake the necessary class(es). This is also a long story in itself, but we ended up pushing back the wedding date until next Spring/Summer.

    Now, everything to this point sounds great, but I haven't put much detail into it other than just basic info and a timeline. So my issue is, I'm really feeling that getting married to my fiancé may be a mistake. Obviously this would lead me to the conclusion that buying a house together was a mistake as well, but obviously not a choice that I/we can take back. Now, my question that I keep asking myself is, am I just naturally nervous, do I have a serious problem with commitment, or are my feelings legitimate and maybe I've just been in denial of them for far too long. With that being said, here are my actual feelings along with issues/occurrences that make me feel this way:

    Part of me feels like I love this girl, but the other part of me feels that we've just grown together so much over the years, that no matter what she would say or do I would be convinced that it didn't matter since we are "in love". For example, there have been countless times throughout our relationship where she has made me feel awful -- as if I treat her terribly and I should be doing a much better job. Truth be told, I've been more loyal to her and treated her much better than I've ever seen any other couple treat each other. Sometimes I may be a harsh critic, but it's out of love, and also the fact that I tend to be a perfectionist, which probably plays a partial role in all of this. Anyways, she typically (not as bad in the last couple months) has pretty bad mood swings, and more often than that a downright poor attitude in general. Sometimes she's really happy and makes me feel the same, but all it takes is one minor thing to be said or occur and she practically flips out. A couple of times it has been so bad that she refused to sleep in the same bed as me until I talked to her and convinced her that I don't feel I was being out of line (for example by me not showing her enough affection sometimes, she makes me feel like I'm a criminal and gets extremely angry). Typically I end up forcing my self to apologize, even though I don't feel that I did anything wrong. As of late, I admit that I may not have been treating her as well as I used to, but when I'm having feelings like I am right now, it makes it hard for me to properly show affection.

    As an additional note on her attitude, although her parents love her dearly, they have asked me (probably jokingly because they say it in front of her, but maybe in such a way that they say it as a joke but deep down inside might actually mean it a little) why have I stayed with her so long and put up with her attitude. Obviously it's because I loved her and didn't want to lose her. After a while I started to understand why they'd say those things, it's like I was either in denial for the longest time about her attitude, or I just had an unusually high tolerance for it.

    So, to be extremely honest, I actually slowly started to become bothered by her attitude (and some parts of her personality) even before I proposed to her. To be honest, I thought a lot of her frustration came from her home life because she constantly complained about it. Part of me thought that giving her what she'd been wanting for several years (a ring and an engagement) would make her a happier person and her attitude and other issues would go away after I made her happy. Right after we got engaged we went full throttle and we decided to buy a house together. The process went fairly quick, during which time I noticed her attitude wasn't any better, and if anything, it was worse. I ignored it for a while, and eventually sat her down to talk about it (probably after we had been living together for less than a year). She got upset and tried to give me her ring back and in the end she had me feeling like the bad guy. Nevertheless, we pressed on. Things really didn't get any better, and just a few months ago (can't remember if it was right before or right after Christmas), I had to sit her down again for a serious talk. I told her several things that were really bothering me that NEEDED to change or I wouldn't feel comfortable marrying her. The three things were;

    1. I needed to be able to have some free time to be able to hang out with friends. It seemed like every time she wanted to go out with friends I encouraged it and told her to have fun and not to worry about me, and she did. But when it came time for me to do something with my friends, she'd get angry (even if she didn't outright say it, you could tell that she was unhappy about it) because I wasn't spending time with her.

    2. the most important thing that I told her was that her attitude was making me extremely unhappy, and that it HAD to change. This has been the biggest frustration ever for me, and of course she slightly retaliated and blamed part of it on me, which as I mentioned before, might very well be the case because I haven't been the happiest person because of the way she has acted. It was kind of a chain reaction and I don't think she understood that.

    3. The final thing I told her was that she had to try harder to get along with my family. I am aware, and fully understand, that no two families are ever going to be the best of friends, but we've had several fairly serious family feuds in the past couple years, none of which have ended pleasantly. Part of it is my family's fault, some of it is her family's fault, and some of it is just plain her fault. I'm always caught in the middle and I don't ever want to have to choose between the two, it's really just not fair for anyone I don't think.

    So in the past few months, #1 has improved just barely. I was able to get out once a week while she was at school to hang out with friends. Other times when I would hint about spending time with them on the weekend, she would tell me to go ahead, but I never really did because I could easily tell that she wouldn't have been happy about it. The only time when it seems acceptable is if she already has plans with a friend, that way I'm not "ditching" her.

    #2 has had better improvement than the other two issues, but over the last few weeks I've seen the issue resurfacing. I honestly believe that her attitude is a core part of her personality and that she'll never really be able to turn it around, but only time can tell and unfortunately that's not something I want to waste any more of.

    #3 has had no improvement. The very first time (after our last serious discussion) my fiancé and I got together with my family, I felt tension, and definitely a bad attitude from my fiancé. One of the biggest problems with this is that every holiday turns into some kind of problem, again not entirely my fiancés fault, but she doesn't do much to help the situations. We always end up participating in her family's functions first and my family's second. There are probably too many details for me to discuss here about this, but I'd be happy to answer them if requested. Let's just say this family issue is one that may never be properly solved, just due to the nature of all players involved.

    Since this has already turned into a book by accident, let me go ahead and state my last few issues, some of which I've only really been thinking about recently, but are really core.

    One core issue is that my fiancé is going to want to have kids fairly soon after marriage I believe. We've talked about it and never actually came to a solid conclusion. She wants to have kids while she's still young, but I (on the other hand) don't feel comfortable having kids anytime soon, and to be honest I'm really not a huge fan of them (yet). I say "yet" because I feel that at some point I may want to have kids, but as of now I don't feel ready for them, and I don't see me being ready for them anytime in the next 3-5 years. Probably more like 6 or 7 years (probably around age 30) but I'm really just guessing because as of right now I don't have ANY interest in kids.

    The second core issue is that I'm honestly not sure if I even want to stay living in this state. I hate the weather and the area also isn't very rich in the kind of jobs that I'll be looking for. Part of this depends on my current employer -- if the next couple years go really well, I might see myself staying here because I have a high chance of being successful in my career. If the next two years don't go well, I'd have a much better chance at career success moving to a totally different location, which I'm not totally opposed to doing. My fiancé definitely doesn't want to leave her family and friends, so I'm not sure if she'd be willing to make the move or not. I've discussed this with her in the past and she doesn't seem happy about it, but I think she just doesn't get too upset about it because she doesn't realize how seriously I'm considering it. She probably thinks it would never happen.

    There are more issues as well, but they might just be me being picky because as I've mentioned, I am more or less a perfectionist in many ways. Some of these (possibly silly) issues include; my fiancé tends to be much messier than I am as far as the house goes. When she cleans she does the bare minimum job that needs to be done more than half of the time. We've had a lot of issues with our house since we bought it, and when it comes time to address them it's almost always me that gets stuck taking the initiative. Most of the time she doesn't show proper appreciation for what she has in life (I've helped her emotionally and (especially) financially more than anyone else). Also, as I mentioned she is about to graduate from college (well, with an LPN license that is, which is something like a 1-2 year equivalent), and the only reason she's really been determined to complete college is because of me, and she's even recently acknowledged that if it weren't for me she wouldn't have been motivated enough herself to go through with it. She doesn't have anywhere near the drive for success like I do. She more or less went to college because I "pressured" her. I told her when we were in the early years of our relationship I didn't want to be with someone who couldn't provide for themselves in times of need, or who didn't have a college education.

    There are also a large amount of good things about my fiancé that I have obviously not mentioned here, some of which include; she's great with kids and I'm fairly certain she'd make a good mother. She's very caring to those in need; more often than not she is too caring. She's supportive of me most of the time.

    Unfortunately, she used to make me an extremely happy person, but I don't feel that way anymore. It seems like all of her faults have taken over and become much more apparent than anything, and it bothers me because I can't figure out whether or not I'm to blame for the way I feel. I want to come to a conclusion on whether or not to try and make this relationship work, or break off the engagement now before it's too late. She is ready to pull the trigger on a hall for the wedding reception and I don't even have the will to think about planning a wedding... and I know that obviously isn't the kind of feeling I'm supposed to be having right now. In addition, her parents are ready to put down money on the hall to reserve it, and I don't think it's fair for them to do so if this relationship isn't going to last.

    Again I'm really sorry for this book, but I felt it necessary to provide as much detail as possible. I welcome any and all comments and suggestions, thank you so much for reading this all the way through!

     
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    Old 04-13-2011, 10:22 AM   #2
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I think your issues go way deeper than just "cold feet" or prenuptial nerves. There is so much going on here and all of it is fundamental stuff that, quite honestly, will never change. If you are feeling this way now, and it seems to me that your resentment of her is outweighing your love for her, just try to imagine the rest of your life. Can you see yourself in a few years down the track feeling any better. You (and probably her as well) could do with some life experiences away from each other. The family feuds will not help either, and the possibilities for conflict will increase greatly when there are children in the mix.
    My take on your points of contention:
    1. If you really want to go out with friends etc, then negotiate (as you have done) for your weekly outing and TAKE it. Do not write scripts in your head about what she is thinking, she will tell you if she has a problem. Be assertive and realise that you can choose to do this and she can choose what she feels about it.
    2. Her "attitude". I don't really get this, you must have realised by now that she IS her attitude. This is who she is and who she will always be.
    3. The family thing. You "felt a bad attitude" from her. Did she behave badly? Was she rude? Would other family members have been uncomfortable because of her? There is no law that says that you and she have to cherish each other's families. Sometimes cool social politeness is all you can hope for. Again you can choose to be bothered by this, or let them get on with it.
    The bottom line is that you have both grown up into adults and are basically different people than you were when you met. I think getting married with all these issues affecting you would be a mistake.

     
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    Old 04-13-2011, 10:56 AM   #3
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I'm sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation. These matters can be very trying and emotionally painful. I would ask you the following question: If you were to get married and this would be the same situation you find yourself in over and over, how would you feel? It seems as though you are often very afraid of what she will do or say and have to tiptoe around her. I do not know you or the situation but she almost seems to be manipulating you? Making you feel guilty for doing things with friends, yet she is allowed to...not spending time with your family as often, because her's comes first...it just seems unbalanced. You mentioned a huge part of the problem is her attitude, and mentioned it several times. You also mention a lot of contasting values. Every relationship is unique and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but is there any part of your message that you were trying to get someone to disagree with what your conscience might be telling you? Be honest when answering that question. Did you want someone to tell you it is cold feet so you feel okay going ahead with the marriage? It just seems like there are way too many questions about the relationship and marriage in general.

     
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    Old 04-13-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I think you two should put the wedding on hold. All that money wasted on a wedding that your not even feeling 100% about. There is nothing wrong with putting in on hold till you can figure out where you two go from here. I think you need a big time serious 'make or break' talk with her and explain feelings, ask about hers, compromises, future, changes etc....

    Do you still love her?

     
    Old 04-13-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    Am I right to presume that she has been your only girlfriend, and you have been her only boyfriend? Okay, I think you both need a few more experiences before settling down...

    I get the impression that if you were already married to her, you would be at this point considering a divorce...

    It is difficult to say that even if you were patient with her (because love implies patience, right?) and overlooked all her "flaws", you would nevertheless make this relationship work. Apparently, she is not doing her part.

    It feels like you are on different stages of maturity and have different goals in life. This is very serious. That is why I agree with Crying: please put this wedding on hold.

     
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    Old 04-13-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I feel that before you make any brash decisions that you need to sit down and talk to her about going your seperate ways. Talk to friends that know the two of you (ones you can trust that won't go behind your back and run to her) Ask these friends what they think of you two as a couple, if they feel that you really are a happy couple. You just may be putting too much thought into this, but your gut is obviously telling you something. I'll tell you the single life can be rough and lonely and even if you dont want to be with her, you are going to miss her like you wouldn't believe. You really need to think about things, and think hard because once you turn around and shut that door you need to shut it hard and lock it.

    Last edited by robj118; 04-13-2011 at 01:36 PM.

     
    Old 04-13-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I'd have to say that you are not ready for marriage with this woman. I also agree with the poster about experiencing more relationships before you settle down. I've said this before in a another thread I have several friends who married their high school love, and now find themselves separating and divorcing (me and my friends are all 27-29). Why? Because they a. never had the experience of dating someone else and b. they grew into different people as they got out of high school and realized as they got older they no longer loved each other, and perhaps don't even know what love really is because they have never been with anyone else and have no other dating/relationship experience to compare it to. I'd have to say you are definitely experiencing reason b right now. You dated this girl at 15, where it's not too hard to have things in common at that age. But now, you've grown, and so has she, but you appear to have grown in different directions and perhaps want different things out of life. Luckily, you seem to be alluding to the fact that you already realize this before you seal the deal with marriage. I think the wedding definitely needs to be put on hold or called off. The two of you need to sit down and have a serious discussion, perhaps even attend counseling where a 3rd party can hear everything and be neutral while the two of you come to conclusions. You (and her) are young and there is no reason why you need to go through with a wedding if it's perhaps going to end with one or both of you unhappy and perhaps divorce.

     
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    Old 04-14-2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    Part of your problem may be that, because you got together so young, you both missed out on an important time of self discovery. I met my wife one year after graduating from college, but throughout high school and college, I dated, had a lot of friends, played a lot of sports, traveled (did a term abroad), lived on both sides of the country....

    You may not even be realizing right now that, you're not missing a perfect relationship (no relationship is perfect--heck, I've slept on the couch a time or two), but you're missing the opportunity to live your own life for you. To call the shots. To pick up and move. To hang out with friends. To do whatever. You've saddled yourself with a lot of responsibility at a young age. For me, by the time I proposed and got married, I was done with that stuff, and fully looking forward to buying a house, starting my career, having kids...

    Last edited by caberg; 04-14-2011 at 08:52 AM.

     
    Old 04-14-2011, 09:46 AM   #9
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I'll reply to other questions/comments later when I have a chance, but really quick just wanted to comment on caberg's post.

    In the back of my mind, I think this is what I fear the most. Just recenetly I have felt like I took high school and college (and even life in general) way too seriously, because that's the kind of person I am for the most part. But I'm starting to feel like I SHOULD have tried to have fun in college and maybe I SHOULD have moved out of state to a better college. Maybe my mind is just using this as an excuse for how I'm feeling though? Maybe it's looking for reasons to break off this engagement. If what you are saying is right, then I think me breaking off the engagement would be a bad idea because I'd be wasting seven years of relationship building, just to find out in the future that I might end up in the same scenario with another girl. I mean, if that's the case shouldn't I just stay with her and try to get over the fact that I'm not very happy right now? I just don't want to regret my decision later in life, but I know that it's something that only time can tell.

    Thanks for everyone's posts and for caring! I'll try to respond to the others later.

     
    Old 04-14-2011, 12:38 PM   #10
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I think if you go forward now and get married, you might always wonder "what if I did this" or "what if I tried that" and you will have regrets. Which is no way to have a happy marriage.

    I also don't think you should just break it off. Really, the "stuff" you're complaining about is not big stuff. Every relationship involves two different people, who are sharing their lives in just about every way, and tensions arise. It's not always smooth sailing. You'll be irritated with her at some point, she'll be irritated with you at another, in-laws will have spats.

    But, I think the real problem is your unhappiness, which seems to be coming from you resenting the fact that you've been "tied down" with this relationship your entire adult life.

    So, perhaps you can think of a way to "take a break" for a period of time, without "breaking up." Maybe you can go study in another state (a graduate course?), travel, go work a seasonal job someplace, go live with a friend for awhile.... Or something else you've "always wanted to do but haven't been able to because of [insert name here]"

    I don't know how long it would take, but I'm guessing that in time you will either realize that you have a good thing going with your fiance, or you will learn that it is something you do not want to return to.

    Just as another personal insight, other than dating a girl for maybe a year in high school, I never had a long-term girlfriend until I met my wife at 23, and I was so, so ready to have that. Living with roommates, always just chillin with the guys, trying to pick up girls at bars... It got old, and it's no replacement for having a loving, best friend at your side every step of the way. But you may have to learn that on your own.

     
    Old 04-14-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    Thing is you are thinking well maybe i have rushed a serious relationship kind of thing but then if you get married its like your rushing again. Whats the biggy about marriage? Why do you feel the need to do it? Why not put it on hold. All that money wasted on a day that you might regret and that your not 100% sure you feel ready for. Marriage is a nice thing but it has to be special. Your wedding doesn't sound like it would be because your hearts not sure enough about it. Its upto you but i just think you may regret it. You just don't sound happy very much.

     
    Old 04-14-2011, 04:15 PM   #12
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    Seraph: Pertaining to your questions about our last experience with my family; my mom basically suggested that we go on a weekend getaway to celebrate my 23rd birthday. My fiance got upset because she wasn't asked first. She claims she's a family-oriented person, yet she used to hate her own family and now she kind of disrespects mine. I've never done anything to disrespect her family, so I don't see why she has to be that way with mine. She let's basically everything my mom might say upset her, even if it was quite obvious my mom didn't mean for what she said to be interpretted that way. At any rate the list goes on as far as the family stuff goes.

    seekcalmness: In response to your question about what kind of responses I was "hoping" I'd get; part of me wanted lots of hard answers in either one direction or the other. I know it's a hard decision either way, but I didn't want to make myself even more confused.

    cryingforever: Parts of me love her but other parts of me really don't. Obviously it's hard for me to explain, but when I think really hard about it, I obviously don't feel that I love her as much as I used to. I'm just having a hard time figuring out how much of my feelings are temporary and which are permanent. Maybe I'm just one of those people that are seriously afraid of commitment? I'm leaning towards no though. I think that maybe I've being growing apart from her for a longer time than I had realized and that maybe I should have done things and had talks several years ago instead of delaying for so long. Also, on your second post about "what's the big deal about marriage?". It's something I've always taken seriously and most girls dream of their wedding day, hence the reason pushing the wedding out further or not having one is NOT an option for my fiance. I can agree with her though; if true love is present and will remain present for the foreseeable future (in my honest opinion, forever) then the two should get married. Plus there are obviously other reasons to get married as well; insurance, etc.

    caberg: I definitely understand where you are coming from, but I have a feeling I need to make a decision one way or another. Mentioning any of the options that you talked about (i.e. studying abroad, taking a job outside the state, etc.) are not realistic because if I wanted to do something like that she'd break it off anyway. I think she's already upset that it's taken this long for us to get married, and she's be heartbroken if I pushed it back any more than it already has been. I think (unfortuneatly) I need to make a decision one way or the other, in this case I don't think the "in-between" option will work.

     
    Old 04-14-2011, 05:19 PM   #13
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    You say you take marriage seriously but marriage is about being with someone you can see yourself with forever and you don't sound like your feeling it about her. It is okay to take some time out to think about what you truly deeply want. I think you should tell her that and if she is not willing to understand then shes not worth marrying anyway as she clearly doesn't consider your feelings and respect that you need time therefore she is not mature enough for marriage. Also a relationship / a marriage is about listening to eachothers thoughts , feelings and consider what that person wants and needs (like time out to think about your future), compromises, agreements that suit both, and so on....

    ''I can agree with her though; if true love is present and will remain present for the foreseeable future (in my honest opinion, forever) then the two should get married''.

    You put this but you say you don't feel truly in love with her , therefore maybe you shouldn't get married. Its entiely your decision i just think you need to do alot of thinking and talking before you do. If you was truly happy and in love with her you would'nt be questioning yourself and your feelings you would be excited. You don't sound it at all.

    Also , it sounds like your fiance is quite controlling. You said she would break it off with you if you followed your dreams. If she loved you she would not hold you back, she would either go with you or let you go study/work elsewhere. I see you also said she is upset that it has taken so long for the wedding , from what i can see , its ALL about her.

    Last edited by cryingforever; 04-14-2011 at 05:24 PM.

     
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    pendulum (04-15-2011)
    Old 04-15-2011, 02:03 AM   #14
    Ely4
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    It appears deep down you kind of resent her for holding you back. You don't like her mood swings, her attitude, parts of her personality and she disrespects your family. She's also controlling, either not letting you see friends or making you feel bad for wanting to that you don't go.

    These are all valid reasons for questioning the relationship, you've talked to her about this and she hasn't changed. Understand that this is how she is, she is unlikely to change, and this is how your life with her will always be.

    The fact that you are having so many doubts, and not just getting cold feet over having "missed out on your youth" is a huge indication that you should not go through with the wedding. This marriage is about you just as much as her, you mustn't get married just because it's her dream. At the very least you should put the wedding on hold until you are certain you want to spend the rest of your life with her.

     
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    Old 04-15-2011, 11:06 AM   #15
    seekcalmness
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    Re: Should I break off our engagement, or continue with our relationship?

    I understand. Just know I am not trying to be hard on you, I just know sometimes (with my own experience) when I have been scared I have wanted favorable responses from others..almost to make the decision for me. I don't know..I just think it's really hard to be honest with ourselves sometimes. That's why I said this because the best decision will involve the one with the most honest feelings and a "gut" reaction I think. Then when you choose, you will know you did the right thing. I am definitely with you at this hard time and understand this must be very difficult for you. Hang in there. You deserve to be happy! :-)

     
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