My fiance and I live together and the other day I thought it would be a nice surprise for me to clean out his junk drawer and organize his clothes in the dresser. I was not trying to snoop or invade his privacy. As I was cleaning the drawer, I came across numerous unopened mail envelopes that looked like bills. I figured I’d open them so I could shred them as our paper shredder only lets you feed individual pieces of paper and I do not throw away mail with personal information on it. I found tons of collection letters from unpaid bills and an arrest warrant from the county we live in for multiple driving violations. I cried all day from the shock and hurt of my fiance never telling me this information.
I confronted him that evening and he said that he didn’t intentionally lie to me but kept it from me because he thought that I would get mad. I asked him to now be honest and upfront with me and tell me if there is any other information about his finances, his past, etc. that I should know…basically, anything that will effect “our” future together. He promised there was nothing. The next day, my gut kept telling me that there was more so I pulled his credit bureau report. There was more…he filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Then he had said the arrest warrant was null and void because the officer wrote his name wrong on the ticket. I called the county court house and they said that does not matter because they have his license number and he can be arrested at any time.
On top of these financial lies, I’ve always been suspicious of his college degree because of different incidents. He finally came clean and told me the truth that he did not ever graduate and lied to me because he knows I think it’s important to have a degree.
In the 2 1/2 years we’ve been together it bothers me that he never did tell me these important things about himself. I’m now wondering if I’ll ever have the lifestyle and future that I want. I feel like the most important things in a relationship are trust, honesty, and communication and now ALL of these things are gone! Also, it’s really important to me to be financially responsible and have a good education. The worst part is that he had so many chances to come clean on all of these things and it would have been easier to hear the truth from him directly versus finding it through my detective work. I wonder now how many more lies there are that he is hiding from me. He thinks that our love should be enough to get through this but I feel like these are too many problems to have when going into a marriage. We are just setting ourselves up for failure.
On top of this, he is a war veteran who is a recovering alcoholic and suffers from PTSD so this relationship has been extremely difficult. I love him and because of that have stuck around through a lot of tough times but wonder if this love is enough now. Through all the rough times together, the one thing that helped me was knowing that I was with someone who I could trust and that is hard to find in a man these days. I wonder if there has been too much damage to our relationship foundation that I won’t ever be able to build a healthy relationship on it. I’m just so confused and need some outside guidance, advice, help, anything. What should I do…stay in this relationship hoping this is all he lied about OR call off our wedding?
A: There are times when the fact that someone is asking a question means they already have an answer. They just don’t like it. I think you already know you should probably call off the wedding. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should end the relationship. But you shouldn’t take the next step until you and your finance have had a chance to work through the very serious issues that you presented in your letter.
Your fiance is a wounded warrior who is fighting many internal battles. He may not be ready to be a full partner to anyone, even to someone he loves as much as he loves you. I hope he is in treatment for both the PTSD and his recovery from alcoholism. I hope you have been invited to be a participant in his therapy either through some couples work or through occasional participation in his sessions. He has work to do to learn to trust himself and trust another. He is probably working on gaining confidence that he can manage his inner pain with his own strengths instead of with alcohol. As for you: Many women in your position need to learn some ways to help the partner cope and to keep themselves from being pulled into his issues.
My guess is that he wasn’t trying to deceive you. He was presenting the person he wishes he was instead of the wounded person he is. Now that everything is out in the open, he needs to show you that he is wlling to do the hard work to turn his hopes into reality. This is going to take time. Only you can decide whether you see so much potential in the relationship that you are willing to be patient with the process.
I’m truly sorry that you have been so terribly disappointed. But I do think it’s better for you to figure these things out before you get married.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jun 2010
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Fiance lied about his finances and education level. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 8, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/30/fiance-lied-about-his-finances-and-education-level/