Fiance Sets Too Many Boundaries

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My fiance and I are in a long distance relationship. We were dating and engaged for 4 years before I broke up with him and relocated across county. We have now been back together a year but the demons from the past are cropping up again.
We do fight, sometimes vehemently when it comes to how I choose to spend my free time. It was like this in the past.
I’ve been a bit of a hermit the past year and, at his urging, he tells me to find friends and find things to do.
I mention to him, a female co-worker and I were chatting about our love of cooking. She mentioned she throws a dinner party once in awhile and I said I’d love to go.

She also mentioned her friend was having an art exhibit opening and that was music to my ears. I appreciate art.
When I tell my fiance this he immediately says “sounds like the nightlife and acting single, have at it”.
There was communication melt down after this. He is concerned that there could be another single man there so it would not be appropriate to put myself in that situation. I feel that is a good compromise since it is not a nightlife or club atmosphere.
I was very angry and called him controlling and insecure. He said I was being too dominate and strong and if it made him uncomfortable I shouldn’t go. He now wants to take a break from the relationship and think things over.

I feel I have a very short list of things I can do that he would approve of since it was a problem in the past for me to have dinner with friends. He thought that would lead to drinks and then more drinks and clubs and I would come home too late at night. Or I may get buzzed and do something that can damage the relationship. I’ve never violated his trust or damaged the relationship so I feel he makes up scenarios to justify the way he feels.

Is there a way that I can communicate to him that me going to a dinner party, or anything of that matter is not disrespectful to him. He’s the one I love, I tell him all the time. In return I get texts or he asks why I wan’t to be with him.
Please help.

A: You are 35 years old, yet your fiance is treating you like a teenager who has no judgment. You’re correct. He is setting too many boundaries. It seems like all you have to do is even think about attending an art exhibit or dinner party and his mind creates a story about you getting swept up in inappropriate things. He says you are too dominant yet he thinks you are so weak you can’t make good decisions.

I don’t see anything good coming out of this. You’ve never violated his trust but he acts as if you can’t be trusted at all. This isn’t a problem of communication. He is so insecure that the only way he feels comfortable in the relationship is by isolating you. Nothing you can say or do is going to change this. He needs serious therapy. I suggest you take a break from this relationship until he does some serious personal work and proves to you that he doesn’t have to limit you to feel okay.

I wish you well.
|Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 May 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Fiance Sets Too Many Boundaries. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/18/fiance-sets-too-many-boundaries/