Post # 1
I’m engaged to be married, but I’m not sure that I want to be. I met a man last year; we got along pretty well and have lots in common. Although I am an advanced age (in my late 30s) this is my first real relationship. I’m a late bloomer and I also wanted to spend time getting emotionally healthy before I embarked on a relationship.
Well, my first relationship “out of the gate” led to something serious. About 10 months after we started dating, he proposed in a very public and imaginative way, and I said yes. He is a very nice man with a sunny disposition. But there are things that give me pause. First, his financial life is not in order. He has significant debt and credit issues. When I first met him, he was working part-time only. He started talking about marriage about 2 months in. I told him no. After we were engaged, at 10 months in, I mentioned that finances were an issue. He ended up getting a full-time job and now is in a job/career field that suits him quite well although it doesn’t pay much. But, I feel like the finances might straighten out in time.
There are other things that I’m noticing now that we’ve been going out for about a year and a half. He tends to put himself first almost all of the time. For example, I can count on one hand the amount of times he’s offered money for gas (I drive him around sometimes since he doesn’t have a car; sometimes he takes the bus); when I was sick his friends had to basically shame him into visiting me. There are other things also; he isn’t very affectionate, I feel he takes me for granted a lot. In general he doesn’t really do a lot for me and doesn’t seem to be actively looking for a way to make my life better. I’m not looking for someone to do a bunch of stuff for me, but I think that gives me an idea of what marriage to him would be like. I’m not perfect, but I think about him and try to help. For example, I knew that he had to work 12 hour days one week, so I prepared a dinners for him so he wouldn’t have to cook, and I also picked him up so he wouldn’t be out too late, waiting on the bus. I helped publish his book (I have a publishing company), I helped him get this job, and so forth. I’ve done other things – and am not trying to trumpet them because love gives – but just am trying to give an example of the types of things that I’ll do for him.
On the other hand, he does take the time to listen to me, has introduced me to all of his family and friends, and we have a lot in common. If we were friends, this could work pretty well, I think. But this relationship seems so one sided. Is this what relationships are like? If so, then I can’t see myself being married to him, or frankly, anyone.
Post # 3
@reluctantbride9999: I don’t think that relationships should be like that. If you feel you are not getting anything in return, you should have a serious discussion about it with him. Don’t let yourself be forced into something you don’t want to be. If he only recently got a full time job, do you pay for a lot of things for him?
Post # 4
“He is a very nice man with a sunny disposition”
This alone is a major red flag. If this is how you describe your fiance, then I don’t think he’s the one for you. This is the kind of description you would give to the clerk at the grocery store, or the cheery postman who waves when he drops off your mail each morning. NOT the man you are going to devote the rest of your life to.
In my opinion, if at this early stage you are not sure, you need to take a big step back. Both for your sake and his. You deserve to fall truly and deeply in love with someone, and to experience what that feels like and the joy that brings. He deserves a wife who will want to be his everything.
Also, a lot of the examples you listed serve as a warning. If you can’t expect your fiance to put you as a number one priority, then who else can you depend on?
I hope you come to some clarity, and make the right decision for yourself x
Post # 5
@reluctantbride9999: as hard as marriage can be, I don’t think anyone would want to do it if relationships were like that. One sided is no sided. a relationship that is right will be full of love and support that you don’t have to shame someone into. No, of course, it won’t be perfect. But it should feel like more than friendship.
Post # 6
@reluctantbride9999: I’m so sorry but what you’ve described sounds like a long distant friend and not a fiance. A healthy relationship is equally loving, generous, supportive and simply wonderful. What is your gut telling you? Always trust your gut.
Like you; I was a late bloomer and I found myself meeting men that reflected how I felt about myself. If I felt horrible about who I was then I met horrible men. So the better I felt about me the better the man I’d date. When I loved myself I met the man of my dreams who loves me as much or more than I love myself. I was lucky that it didn’t take too many more tries before I met the man of my dreams. Blessings
Post # 7
@reluctantbride9999: Are you sure you’re not glorifying issues because you’re afraid of getting married?
Post # 8
relationships should not be one sided. they should be 50% where each partner is working hard. you should never have to question his love for you.
a proposal after 10 months isn’t unreasonable but proposal after 2 months it.
if you are feeling red flags now, don’t marry this guy. it will only get worse.
if you think you are both in it for the long haul, have an honest talk with him about the future. if you think you need more, see a marriage counselor.
Post # 9
My exDH put himself first and thinks of himself first, all the time. (still does) See, he is my exDH….and that is one of the reasons why I couldn’t stay married to him.
My Fiance puts me first and thinks of me first, all the time. See, he’s my Fiance….and that is why I’m marrying him.
You need someone to think of you, to cherish you, to put you first, to think of you...it IS the small things that matter the most. If you don’t feel it, I wouldn’t marry him. Or at least, put off the engagement and see if this is something you really want. Give yourself some time to think. If you aren’t feeling it now, you won’t be feeling it later.
Post # 10
@reluctantbride9999: Are you in love with him? Do you think he does the best he can for you? Maybe you should try reading the 5 Love Languages…it sounds like you both have different ways of showing your affection for one another.
Post # 11
Thanks for your replies! To answer your questions:
1. No I don’t pay for a lot of things for him. We don’t live together, he pays his own bills, etc. I’ve given him some things, but I make a lot more than him. He sometimes gives me things also. There is an imbalance here though. I do hold back some on giving since I do feel the imbalance on this and other areas.
2. Am I glorifying issues because I am afraid of getting married? Maybe. I’ve never been married and all of this is new. But, I’m looking at character more than anything else. I trust him, I care about him, I love him, I think that he is amazing in many ways. But, this part really gives me pause because it affects everything. I think this is a valid concern.
3. Do I love him? Yes. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be with him. I don’t know if he is doing the best he can for me though. I can say, that when I say that I express concern about something or I tell him that I don’t like something, he is very responsive and often does change. I don’t criticize him a lot or anything, and I take time to really think about things before I share a criticism.
Post # 12
@reluctantbride9999: You didn’t say if he’s been married, engaged, or serious relationship before? How old is he?
I think if he hasn’t been in any serious relationships and he’s late 30s/early 40s, he might be “selfish” b/c he’s been on his own for so long.
The finances thing has me worried though….if he’s older, he should have a plan for erasing debt. My exH was a big spender….not on big things but little things all the time. We had no savings and he had lots of debt.
He promised to change when we separated…actually created a budget and was sticking to it until he figured I might not go back to him. He went crazy….bought a new Iphone, a new TRUCK, and showered his family with extravagant gifts. Then had the balls to ask ME for money! I knew he couldn’t keep up the change and I’m thankful I left when I did….he got himself in more money problems…and for stupid things like having 2 cell phone contracts!
Post # 13
I’m thankful for your replies. Reading them validated my concerns. As I said in my previous post, if I say something, he tends to be responsive. I did say something about this a few months ago and he did change a little. But this is a huge shift – a deep part of character. I’ll say something again. I also realized that I tend to be very self-sufficient and to not express needs because I’ve always been alone. So, I think that I’m going to talk to him and also to start expressing needs – and then see what happens from there. Frankly, I feel like he should just know this – it should flow naturally from him if he really loves me, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, he doesn’t have a lot of experience with relationships either (also a late bloomer) so it is possible that he might not know what to do. He didn’t have a dad, nor do I think he ever had these thing modeled for him, so he might not really know what a husband should do. If there is no change, then I’ll end it because I think this is a big thing.
I really want to thank you guys for writing. I do think it is a love languages difference. I also want counseling should we decide to move forward.
smileyme – thanks – I thought I was the only late bloomer out there. I do agree that self-image is an issue, but I’m working to change that. My gut is telling me two different things. In the beginning, my gut said that he was trying to find a way out of his situation. Now that he is finding his own way out of the situation, I feel that I should simply wait.
Post # 14
I do think that in a loving couple, each person should feel and act like they want to put the other first.
However, I also think that men in general tend to be a little more selfish and not as thoughtful as they could be, and so the balance is normally tipped a little bit toward the woman being more of the giver and the man being more of the taker. It can help if women are up front about their expectations and not just wait for the man to realize things (because men are not the best that) – like “hey, I could really use some money for gas” or “you know, I’m working late on Friday, it would be great if you could make some dinner and vacuum the living room so that it looks nice for our visitors on Saturday.” My Fiance doesn’t always think to help me out with stuff, but if I ask him, usually he’s great about it. If I don’t ask him, sometimes he’s like, “why didn’t you ask me for help?” and it seems like he would have wanted to help but didn’t notice that I would need or want help. Men are just not as observant I think!
I wouldn’t be too alarmed if there’s a bit of unequal treatment going on, just given the typical nature of men versus women. That said, if the tip is too much, then yes, I think it can signify a problem in the relationship. Therapy can maybe help with that.
Post # 15
@rickhurst35: I agree.
OP I was in a relationship for 4 years which sounded a lot like the one you’re in. The last year of that partnership things turned very nasty which ended with my ex jilting me on our wedding day because everything was wrong.
Maybe this is the man for you, but perhaps you should take a step back and ask yourself, if your best friend was in your shoes, what would you tell her to do? That’s usually the answer.
Post # 16
You need to talk to him and tell him how you’re feeling, & open his eyes to how things are one-sided. In relationships yes there will be times when things feel one sided, especially during job losses, illness, family deaths, etc. there will always be times when one person does more “taking care of”. BUT things should not always be one sided, and the other person should support you when you need support (like during your illness).
If you’re both inexperienced with long term relationships then it may be that he’s not used to putting your needs before his own, which NEEDS to change before you get married. Marriage is hard, if both players aren’t on the team then it’s not going to work out. I’d delay your engagement until this issues are sorted out. Also – keep everything financial separate.