(Closed) The sad truth of having a previously engaged (but not married) SO

posted 10 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
1241 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My SO was also previously engaged, and, yeah, she cheated on him. However, they had been engaged for over a year and hadn’t even set a wedding date yet, so not quite as serious as what your poor SO went through.

I’m not sure what to say, except that he just needs to realize that you are not his ex and you’re not going to pull that crap on him like she did. As far as ruining a good thing, maybe you should tell him that putting it off is going to ruin it more than getting married will ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 4
3189 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’d be angry, to be honest. My DH had a similar background with his previous engagement and breakup, and it did not affect how he felt about marrying me one bit – in fact, we got engaged faster than him and his ex! Took them 4 years and he proposed to me after only 2. I would definitely want him to go to pre-marital counseling with me, or whatever you call it when you’re not engaged yet, if he was letting something his ex did stop our relationship from moving forward. It’s time for him to stop forcing you to pay for her mistakes.

Post # 6
2396 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

His ex’s mistakes and decisions = not your problem.

He should trust that you are different. I understand that he was burned before, but I feel as though I know a lot of guys out there that were previously engaged and it fell apart..only for them to find someone better for them and try the whole wedding thing again.

Instead of pre-maritial counseling, could you do couples? Sounds like he has been holding a lot of fears inside for a long time.

Post # 7
254 posts
Helper bee

How long have you 2 been together? I think that would influence how patient I could be with his being scared. If it’s been a few years or more, I’d be starting to lose patience. If under 2 years, I could wait. Of course there’s no hard and fast rules about this stuff and it varies by situation (age, life situation of the couple, etc)

But at some point it does become unfair to you that he’s punishing you for what his ex did to him, and he needs to get his head of his ass and realize that he’s got a good thing!

Post # 8
776 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Yeah, you shouldn’t be held hostage by the crimes of a previous partner of his, that’s not fair.

My boyfriend was engaged previously too… but only for about a month before they broke up (she didn’t want to marry him and was really ‘anti-marriage’, I think ‘reluctantly’ said yes when he proposed to her after 7 years of dating, so he broke up with her and she was devastated. Tough!). Though it’s not the same dynamic as you have going on, I don’t think it has made him antsy about getting engaged again, at least not in the sense that he is afraid of it or anything. But it may have made him a bit anxious about announcing it, just worrying that people will think ‘oh engaged again eh? will it stick this time?’.

I think that the others’ ideas of suggesting that you need to go to couples counselling together are good. Even if just to hit it home for him that this is a serious issue and something needs to be done to address it. Although it does sound like he might have some emotional / psychological troubles of his own that need to be addressed.

Looking at it from both sides at once, I think that he probably is pretty scared – maybe scared of announcing to the world that you are engaged and having people wonder ‘hmm I wonder if it will really happen this time…’, or even just him thinking that people will wonder that. So (giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is not just using this as an excuse, which for the most part I’m sure he isn’t), you need to be sensitive to the possibility that he is dealing with a lot of anxiety and that the thought of getting married to you, as happy as that may be, is probably dredging up a lot of old hurt for him. That said, he can’t let fear rule his life forever and he is going to have to realize that he needs to get over this pretty fast in order to keep you around. It’s not fair to you for him to go back on a previously agreed upon timeline. Whatever you do, just be compassionate and understanding and give him the opportunity to voice his fears and be heard. But don’t be constantly naggy or whiny. It’s a big deal, give it the airtime of a ‘serious discussion’. And bring up the possibility of counselling.

Hope that novel helped! Feel free to message me about it.

Post # 9
2721 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I think your SO needs some professional help.  I think it’s normal to be a little gun shy after being dumped like that.  But it’s not normal to have a phobia of marriage.

My DH had been divorced for a little over a year (she cheated on him) when he and I were considering becoming a couple.  Marriage was important to me, so I asked him if he would ever get married again.  He said he absolutely would if he met the right girl.  It took us 6 1/2 years to get married, but any obstacles were between the two of us and had nothing to do with his ex.  I will not pay for her mistakes.

Post # 10
272 posts
Helper bee

I don’t have any great advice, I too am the victim of ‘previous gf baggage’, and I don’t see any way past it. He proposed to another girl that he dated for a few years, she said ‘no’ and not only that, she told him he wasn’t worth marrying because he had ‘no ambition’ and didn’t have a good enough job. So he was crushed, and then she dumped him. He had to return the ring that he had saved up for a bought, and then he found out later that she had been cheating on him

Because of his previous girlfriend’s comments he decided to go back to school (school that I supported us through half of because he got laid off his job). 

I feel certain that this a big part of why I’m still waiting. He knows from our conversations that I will say ‘yes’ if he asks me to marry him, but I know he has some level of lingering doubt. He’s constantly asking if I love him, and when I tell him he says “good”, as if he’s constantly asking to reassure himself. Also, SO is always talking about how much he wants to have a better job and be a good provider for us, which is super sweet. But even though he hasn’t directly said so, I have a feeling he is waiting until he has that “better job” to propose. He’s said several times that he plans on keeping his current job for a few more years, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue to wait for a very long time.



Post # 11
15 posts

It sounds odd that he would agree to a wedding in Summer 2012, then start to back out and say he’s afraid as it grows closer to wedding time. When you discussed your timeline and wedding month/year, was he confident then? Did he express any hesitation or trepidation then? If not, I would ask him when did these feelings start to surface. A man that is afraid of proposing is generally apprehensive about any marriage talk.

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