Postponed Wedding

Postponed Wedding

QUESTION:

your avatar   Tired of hurting, 34-year-old woman

We have been together 4 years and 4 months. We are both Christians and have not had sexual relations for the entire relationship. I love him with everything in me. We were supposed to get married on October 6, 2007 but postponed the wedding because of his actions and words. His actions/words were always contradicting - one minute he is saying "Run from me I will ruin your lifeĚ," "I am lusting after other women"Ě - then another day he is saying that he loves me and cannot imagine being with any another woman. He says he loves me and wants to marry me, but he just has issues - when he works out his issues then we can get married.

As you can see, I am still suffering. The weird thing is that my ex fiance wants to continue to have a relationship and just pick up like we were before; wear the expensive diamond ring ($12,000), do holidays and everything else together, etc. Keep in mind we postponed the wedding because my ex would say things to me like, "I better run"Ě or that "no one knows him". He called my pastor and was talking about some girl that he still thinks of and I guess wanted to be with three weeks before the wedding. My ex fiance says he is just dealing with a lot of lust for other women, and despite all his issues, he will and would have married me. He will bypass what he thinks and feels and marry me because he loves me.

Right now, he is acting just great - he's proclaiming he loves me, that he can't get enough of me - but keep in mind that we have been going through this horrible cycle for over 4 years. The ring I now have is the second one he brought me. He couldn't get the proposal out of his mouth on the first one and took it back (about 2 years ago).

Help me! Why is he doing this to me? Does he really love me as he says he does? Does he just have issues that he wants to work out, or is this guy using the crap out of me? Some things to know: 1) We have not had sexual intercourse at all the whole 4 years of our relationship because I am saving myself for marriage 2) he gives me money, gifts - anything I could possibly want and more 3) we did over a year of marital counseling 4) he says he is trying to work through his issues and then we will get married.

I feel so hurt. I called off a wedding that I always dreamed of but at the same time, this guy wants to act like it is OK - we should just keep going and eventually we will get married. Is this at all possible? It is so hard to see reality (and even harder to get out) when you are caught up in craziness. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Should I even consider continuing to be engaged until he gets his issues resolved? I often feel like he gets what he wants by not having to commit to marriage - he gets to spend time with me and be with me as he wants to. How do I let go and go on with my life and not have the hopes that what he says is true? I am 34 years old and I feel like I may never get married if I don't wait for him, or that I will never love someone as I love him.

ANSWER:

    Rivkah Horowitz, RSW (Registered Social Worker)

Hello,

It sounds like you have been through a lot of pain without reaching any resolve. It is important not to let fear take over your life and govern your decision. You wrote that you had tried martial counseling for two years. Did you gain any insight or advice during the counseling that you can use now? You seemed to have tried very hard and have been quite patient. Counseling though cannot tell you what to do but can ask the right questions, which may help you to reach the answer, to know your own mind, to overcome your fears.

You wrote that your boyfriend has issues and is working on them? Everyone has issues of some sort, they shouldn't be used as an excuse. By understanding the issues, you can be empathetic but it is important not to use them to hide behind. Do you understand what his issues are? How long has he had them? How deep rooted are they? What about his other relationships - did he follow a similar pattern? And how is he working on his issues? Is he in counseling? Are you working on them together? What does he mean when he says that he would ruin your life? It is important to know exactly what he means and take his words seriously.

Relationships are not always easy and it is important that both partners are willing to compromise and work together on the relationship. Trust and respect need to be strong in order for a couple to face difficulties such as broken engagements. Expensive gifts, vacations together, and an expensive engagement ring are nice extras but are not emotions and cannot replace basic trust and respect for each other - they are essential for a relationship to work out. Gifts at times can replace emotions - mask insecurities. Many people fear commitment, of being hurt, of making a mistake and try to avoid getting too close using material objects as replacements.

You need to talk openly to him and tell him what your needs are and how long you are willing to wait for him. Remember you cannot change him; his basic personality, even when his issues are resolved, will not change. He may remain indecisive.

Perhaps while he works on his fears, you can look into your self-esteem, which must have suffered over the years with these broken engagements. Your own fears of not being loved or being unable to find someone to love at 34 years old may end up making you feel trapped in a relationship where you are not happy. You cannot act as though everything is OK when you do not feel it, when you have been hurt and when you are angry. Pretending everything is OK is not the same as being OK. Be careful that you are not enabling him to continue in his indecision by being too accommodating. Is this relationship making you feel good about yourself? Do you need gifts to prove that he cares about you? How else does he show that he cares? How do you show you care about him? Do you have friends or family members that can help you gain some perspective? A lot of questions but hopefully, in answering them you will gain some insight and perspective. Writing in a journal sometimes helps to gain detachment and see things more clearly. Or using your imagination, pretend that this situation is happening to one of your friends, and it was up to you to give her advice. What would you write to her? What would be your advice?

This question was answered by Rivkah Horowitz M.S.W. She is a Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in Ottawa, Canada. She uses a combination of Cognitive-behavioral Therapy and relaxation techniques in her therapeutic approach. Issues that are dealt with vary from emotional problems stemming from childhood traumas to crises stemming from recent events (e.g. divorce). Telephone and face-to-face counseling are provided.For more information visit: http://www.caringtelecounseling.com/

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