Post # 1
I recently broke up with my fiance, mostly due to issues he had with anxiety, depression, and overall negativity. Since then, he’s taken great strides to overcome these issues and has adopted a much more positive attitude. He’s been talking with a therapist and seems to be doing well. We’ve actually been chatting a lot lately – just about day to day things for the most part – and he seems genuinely happy. We’re planning on meeting in a couple months for coffee just to talk and exchange items we left. I know that he wants to start dating again, without the expectation that it would lead to marriage, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea or not. If he truly is capable of lasting change, then maybe – he has been my best friend for the past couple years and I still feel like there may be something really special there.
One of my main concerns is the fact that I don’t like his family. Not only do I think that his upbringing has been the source of so many of his issues (his parents are separated, his dad had drug and alcohol addictions, his siblings were abusive – overall an unstable childhood), but because of this I really don’t have very much respect for his family, especially his dad. He recognizes that his dad was not a good father, but he’s still close to them and I know that they would continue to be in our lives (unless we moved far away, which is an option, but then I wouldn’t get to see my family). His sister lives nearby too and I really don’t respect the way she is with her kids – for one, she smokes while she’s pregnant, and she also has very little patient with her children and yells at them a lot.
Another concerns is that his parents never taught him good ethical principles and moral guidelines. I grew up Christian, and even though I no longer believe in God, I do really value the good example my parents set in love, kindness, forgiveness, and patience. My ex’s dad lies and cheats to get what he wants, and even though my ex doesn’t respect this, I don’t think he’s really learned from an early age why this is wrong (e.g., in our early days of dating, he stole some plants from outside the grocery store where they’re on display – I told him I didn’t like this, and he apologized and said he’d never do it again – and he hasn’t – but it still bothers me that he would do this in the first place). I want someone who shares these values and can teach our children to be good people. My ex agrees that these values are good, but I just don’t think they are as innate as they are to me or my own father.
Post # 2
LauraLooLai: 1)You dont share the same values=do not get back togther with him.
2)Depression is often a disease that relapes. Are you willing to stick with him if he gets sick again?
3) If you have children with him and breakup/divorce or you die, would you be comfortable with him raising the children with his values and his family’s involvment?
Post # 4
LauraLooLai: You don’t sound very keen on getting back together. Of course you will still care for him and want good things for him, it’s not fair to expect yourself to just turn that off. But you sound more relieved than sad to be separated… If it was right, the decision would be easy. Or easier.
Are you leaning one way?
Post # 5
Don’t do it. There are far too many other men out there who will not cause this much concern. If you make the decision to be done with him, you’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel.
My relationship before meeting my fiance required a lot of mental gymnastics to keep me in it. I had to explain away a lot of ex-SO’s bad behavior and settle for a lot less than I had hoped for myself. Don’t sign up for a lifetime of the headaches involved in that relationship.
Post # 6
KoiKove: I couldn’t agree more.
Your ex-fiancée may appear to have gotten better, OP, but who’s to say how long that will last? The fact is that many of the problems you had with him before — family, morals, behavior, mental health — are still there. In reality, very few, if any, of the things you were worried about have changed.
You want a certain type of spouse; a spouse who shares your values. This man doesn’t share values and, therefore, isn’t that spouse. For that reason, there isn’t any sense in getting back together with him.
I recommend considering everything in KoiKove’s comment, because it hits all the major points, and really thinking about whether it’s possible to have the life you want with this man as your SO or spouse. Frankly, I don’t think it is.
Post # 7
KoiKove: Please read some of John Gottman’s books. One of the things he has learned in his research is that 75% of all couple’s fights will never be resolved. Could you deal with him if 75% of your problems never changed?
Post # 8
KoiKove has brought up a lot of really important and great pieces of advice. You seem to have a LOT of concerns about his family, values, and upbringing….which are integral parts of an individual overall. The fact that you have this many concerns is not a great thing. No relationship is easy 100% of the time.
However, lets go back to the mental health portion….depression is oftentimes a chronic, debilitating (to the person and those around them) disease. You need to be ready to take on those issues for a very long time whether he is seeking treatment or not. <br /><br />Someone once told me : Think of your worst day you ever had with your fiance, the worst fight….if that fight happened every few days for the rest of your life, would you be able to handle it? I think that goes along with KoiKove’s 75% scenario. <br /><br />Think long and hard. As an outsider, I don’t see anything in your post that makes it seem as if you can’t live without him.
Post # 9
Thank you all for your very sound advice – these are some really good points. This confirms a lot of the doubts that I’ve already been having, and I think that I will ultimately feel better if I move on and find someone who shares my values and doesn’t cause as much concern.
Post # 10
Listen to KoiKove. There’s nothing more I would add and I agree with her 100%.
Post # 11
LauraLooLai: I think you have made a good decision.
I have a friend who hated her (at the time) Father-In-Law and they didnt like her AND they had different values. But since they didnt live very close and now Darling Husband was “so different” from them, she didnt think it was such a big deal. Yeah, fast forward 1 child and almost a decade, she is in a horrible marriage with someone who’s values are so different AND having to deal with visits from the in-laws several times a year. Once having a child, she is really seeing how her Darling Husband is much more like his parents than she thought.
Post # 12
I have to say that if everone felt this way then no one would marry a person with bad parents or poor upbringing. The person would be punished for the sins of their parents and would not only suffer a cruel childhood but have to suffer a lonely adulthood too. Thank goodness that sometimes something wonderful happens and someone loves the person for themselves. (This is the bit of Christianity that is left when you take all the good principles and good behaviour away.) Also people are not their parents even though they are influenced by them during their formative years. There is the possibility of new things and change.
LauraLooLai: I think that if you were in love with this chap now you wouldn’t feel such doubt. Nor would you feel such relief at the advice that other people are giving you. You would long for his company rather than just worrying about his morals. However you do feel that there might be something special there but you don’t say whether it is a tiny flicker or an all-encompassing feeling.
So all you have to do is to decide whether you wish to meet him to find out whether there is something special or not. You don’t want to give him false hope nor do you want to agree to go out with him because you are sorry for him or feel grateful for him being a good friend or because you were once close. You have to have good reasons for being anything more than a friend.
Post # 13
The main reason my marriage to dh works so well & our no drama relationship has held up for 10 yrs is because of our shared values. At the core. It’s in our DNA.
I grew up in a crazy abusive family, am being treated for severe major clinical depression, severe anxiety disorder, panic disorder & PTSD. I’d no more steal than I would shoot myself in the foot.
It’s great that he’s in therapy & he can make great progress, if he so chooses. He can’t, however, change the core of who he is.
I think you can do much better for yourself than this badly damaged young man & his family.
Post # 14
Supersleuth: I totally agree.
LauraLooLai: It’s unfortunate that mental health problems and his family are driving you away, but the fact that you aren’t willing to stick with it and find a way to make this work shows that this isn’t the guy for you. Maybe there’s someone out there who will support him through his mental illness and won’t hold his upbringing against him. I’d say it’s a good idea to break and allow both of you to find the right fit.
Post # 15
Supersleuth: I agree. How many people came from a perfect family? In my circle of friends I don’t know a single one. If everyone was judged on their parents none would be married.
LauraLooLai: Depression is a heavy burden. He may get better, then he might swing and get worse. Or maybe he just needs to talk about his feelings and take some pills. Who really knows. But you have to be ready for that ride. However, it doesnt sound like you want the ride.<br /><br />
To me it sounds as if you want someone who is more like you. There is nothing wrong with that. However, realize that people come with baggage. No one is perfect and no one walks on water. What if you think you find the one who has great morals that you share but one of their parents are a recovering alcholic or gambles or they are divorced etc. etc?