Doubting engagement

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been with my fiancé for 6 years; we’ve been engaged for 6 months. We met when I was 17, he was 16. We broke up twice during the first 3 years. After we got back together the second time we purchased a house. We’ve been living together for 3 years now. We had very tough times at the beginning, a lot of fighting. We went through a stage where we hardly did anything together. He would do things with his friends and I’d do things with mine…
The proposal took me by surprise but I’ve always seen a future with him so I was happy. Two months into our engagement I found out that over a year ago he cheated on me, multiple times with the same girl. I was devastated. I had always told myself that cheating was one thing I would not look past, but I couldn’t get myself to break it off with him knowing that about 7 months ago I had done the same thing. So I came clear with him. He still wanted to be with me so we went to couple’s therapy, tried to work through it and moved on.
We continued planning the wedding and we were happy again until about a month ago. We went to a friend’s wedding and after the wedding met some friends at a bar. I feel like when he drinks he acts like a child, I was very annoyed by him, so the next day we talked about that, he was very offended so we ended up getting into a fight. Ever since then I’ve been having doubts. I think about what my life would be like without him and it doesn’t sound all that bad, but the thought of him with someone else devastates me, I’m afraid to miss him or to find out later on that he was the one … I am so confused!
I have also been very annoyed by his mother lately. She’s one of those women that just doesn’t seem to have boundaries, she wants to know absolutely everything all the time and she always wants to input her opinion even if we don’t ask for it. I have always had a very good relationship with her and she never bothered me this much until now, I tried to talk to him about this but that just caused another fight. He is very close to his mom and his sister, his family always comes first. We argue every holiday because he wants to be with his family, I want to be with mine, but we also want to be together so we always end up running around town to be at both places, it’s exhausting!
He also has issues with my sisters, when I found out about him cheating I went to my sisters for advice, which later I realized was a mistake because now they see him differently and hold a grudge against him. They hardly speak to each other anymore and that really bothers me. He also doesn’t like me hanging out with them because they are all single and obviously he no longer trusts me as much. This has also caused fights.
I want to get married and have a family. I know my fiancé is a good person with a good heart, he’s smart and has a good career, we want the same things but I’m just afraid were not meant to be, I’m afraid were together because we know nothing better. We’ve talked about splitting up but neither one of us has the guts to call it off. He says he knows he wants to marry me and grow old together but I’m afraid he feels the same way.
Please help.

A: I can certainly understand the confusion and the struggle. It sounds like it has been quite the roller coaster.

But to be blunt there are too many weaknesses in the relationship to warrant moving toward marriage. This relationship has:
1. Two big breakups
2. Infidelity on his part
3. Infidelity on your part
4. Boredom inside the relationship
5. Unresolved extended family issues
6. Issues concerning alcohol

The purpose of an engagement is to see if a life together has promise. What I am reading from you is that there have been more problems than solutions being uncovered.

I would take all of these issues and get in front of a good couples counselor as soon as possible. Getting married does not address nor solve these concerns. Couples therapy does. By sorting this out in front of a therapist you have a better chance of answering the question about your future together.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Doubting engagement. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/07/doubting-engagement/