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My fiance does what he wants and then says it’s my problem

Hey Guys,

I really need to get advice from a guy. I’ve already talked to so many women and we see my situation the same, because I am being told by my fiance of two years that “I just don’t get it.” So I thought I’d ask for a guy’s perspective.

So when we began dating he had a friend that is a girl, that once was a “friend with benefits.”  But once he was serious with me he said they were just friends. They continued to talk (Long distance) on the phone and she would call him for anything and everything she needed. After some time of this, I put my foot down. Let me rewind a little first though. Before I did that I would listen to their conversations because they were always at any inconvenient time like during our dinner, or when, or wherever. He would always drop everything to tend to whatever she needed to talk about. So, I put my foot down and basically said her or me. He chose me and did truly cut things off with her. They haven’t talked for a year and a half. He didn’t see anything wrong with carrying on the way he did with her. AM I wrong and not wanting to have my boyfriend, now fiance, talking in a teasing playful way to another woman?

The other part to my relationship is that he is divorced, but only had been married for 5 years and has been divorced for longer than that. He got very hurt by his ex because she cheated on him. I think a lot. He has told me that NO WOMAN will ever tell him what to do. I don’t tell him what to do, but I think he wants me to see him as a guy that is going to do whatever he wants and he does do that regardless of how I feel. I think it’s his way of showing me that the world does want him, almost like he’s trying to prove something not to me, but to his ex, but it is taken out on me.

He is the most social 37 year old I know. When I go do things it’s like he doesn’t like me to go out. I see this as a double standard. I guess I just don’t feel like I’m the top of his totum pole……BUT at times when it’s gotten tough between us, he is SO scared to lose me. I don’t get it. I think he’s just trying to control me in a way he couldn’t do with his ex by telling me over and over that he’s going to do whatever the hell he wants and I need to be submissive.

I’m just hoping for a guy’s point of view because he is telling me that I am the one with the problem. NOT him.

Thank you!

Tamie

Dear Tamie,

Thanks for your question.

We’re with you on a lot of this. While we encourage people to have friendships with the opposite sex—nothing like getting a completely different perspective on the world—these friendships should not undermine, impinge, or derail a committed romantic relationship. Your fiance’s relationship with his “ex-FWB” definitely crossed the boundary of what we see as appropriate. Maybe he wasn’t cheating on you, but he certainly was having an intimate emotional relationship with her. And she in particular was leaning on him to provide the kind of support a boyfriend or husband might provide. And he happily provided it. So you were right to step in and put your foot down. What bothers us is that he didn’t see it first.

Yes, his past is certainly impacting your relationship. But we can understand how he feels. He probably catered to his ex-wife’s every whim only to find out she was cheating on him. Talk about being blindsided and hit below the belt. He probably made a pact with himself that that would never happen again. The problem is, he’s put a wall up, and that’s fine when you’re dating casually, but not when you’re involved in an intimate relationship that requires trust and open communication.

What he needs to understand from you is that you’re not his ex. And that while you may want to be at the top of the “totem pole”—and we agree you should be–you’re not asking him to give up his life for you. You’re just asking him to keep you in his mind when he navigates the world. Meaning, he should think about you when he makes decisions. Am I being true to her? How would she feel about what I’m doing? Because that’s what people do when they’re in love and committed to another person. They don’t put themselves in positions that might jeopardize their relationship and hurt the other person. What could fall into this category? Drinks with a hot co-worker instead of coming home to have dinner. Putting guys’ night out ahead of your date night. Visiting the coffee shop that’s completely out of the way just to see and talk with the cute barista. None of these things are that bad really—well, maybe they are— but they derive from a selfish place, a me-centered place. You’ve seen those bumper stickers that say, “What would (blank) d0?” Well in this case both of you should always be asking, “How would (blank) feel about this?”

We think you need to start talking about all of this with him. First he needs lots of reassurance. That you love him. That you’ll be true to him. That you want him to be happy. That you think he’s a stud. (We just threw that in for good measure. All guys like to know they’re hot too.) But then he needs to really understand how you feel about his behavior and what YOU NEED from this relationship. He isn’t getting it. And when a guys says, “It’s your problem” you’ve got yourself a problem. Successful relationships involve two people, which means, he should care very much that you’re unhappy and try everything he can to figure out a solution with you. Because we don’t think you’re being unreasonable. In fact, you sound quite level-headed to us about the whole situation.

Last thing: This needs to be resolved BEFORE you get married. Otherwise you both could be headed for a difficult road.

We hope this helps you—AND your female friends. Please keep us posted as this progresses. And leave us a follow up comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Good luck,

THE GUYS

ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!

2 Comments on My fiance does what he wants and then says it’s my problem

  1. Hi this sounds like a similar-ish situation to one that I have found myself in – that the guy I have been seeing has been carrying on an inappropriate communication with someone that he knew before me. He is going through a divorce and I think that some of the same issues that your guy has I can see in my own – his relationship with his soon-to-be ex is on the floor, he suspects that she cheated during their marriage and that she also emtionally manipulatd and bullied him. I know there are two sides to every story but he really has told me somethings about their relationship that made my hair stand on end – for example she put in an offer on a house that he hadn’t even seen and without consulting him. Call that a partnership? She also bought a car with his credit card and enrolled their youngest in a school without telling anyone. She was basically very controlling.

    I’m 33 and he’s 34 – we’ve been seeing each other for six months – there have been a few ups and downs due to the on-going divorce(he’s been separated for a year already – I first met him when the divorce was well underway). The legal process is messy due to the money and as young children are involved. He gets very stressed out and quite down about it often. I am divorced myself and have been his shoulder to cry on (literally), although the reason for my own divorce was my ex-husband’s infidelity.

    We took things very slowly at first and were just enjoying spending time together and being affectionate. Two months in it started to get physical – we held off for as long as we could! I was reluctant to put a label on what we had, I didn’t want to use the ‘boyfriend/ girlfriend’ thing due to his situation. Instead we called each other ‘DF’ (for de facto). It was going really well, we had one big row due to the stresses and strains where we both stepped back for a bit, but overall it was great.

    Yesterday he asked for some help with his phone, one of the keys was stuck, we were playing about with it and a text popped up. It opened automatically and I couldn’t help but read: ‘So when are we next going to meet for a coffee and a chat? Forget about the sex thing – I just want to be your fun distraction and you know there are other ways to make me scream! X’

    I asked him to explain what on earth that was all about and he started to cry and said he was really sorry but it was from a girl who he met before he met me and she has been sending him a lot of emails and texts recently. He said that nothing had happened whilst he had been with me although they had met up twice. She is really keen on him but he doesn’t feel the same. He had to leave at that point to go to the airport (he is away for three days) – he sent me two texts, three emails and called me three times (I didn’t answer) apologising and trying to explain the situation.

    His final email at 8:30pm got to the bottom of the truth. In a nutshell it said: “I’ve been unfair to everyone. I am really sorry. I have been an idiot. I do not expect to be forgiven. She was a girl from Craig’s list who I exchanged messages with in the far in the past, before I met you and even before I met my wife. We started exchanging emails again in January. I met her and we kissed but it wasn’t quite right. We still exchanged emails and once we had phone sex. We met again to have actual sex but it didn’t happen, we just fooled about a bit. I explained I wasn’t ready. Then I met you. I started ignoring her messages. She called me, angry I was ignoring her, she asked to meet and I agreed. We had a ‘this isn’t working’ conversation. A couple of months later when you and I had our row I had phone sex with this girl again. I justified it to myself as you and I hadn’t slept together yet. I’m so so sorry. I was angry and upset. She carried on emailing, sometimes they were suggestive, I dealt with these badly and reply with something like ‘tempting but no thanks’. My behaviour was bad I was effectively stringing her along. I guess I liked the attention. Three weeks ago we arranged to meet for a coffee, I planned to make it clear that I wasn’t interested, that I had met someone and thought that telling her in person was kinder. She was really flirty and wouldn’t listen to me, in the end I resorted to the same ‘I’m not ready’ message. I didn’t tell her about you. Her text message was relating to that conversation – I apologised for still ‘not being ready’ and she said that there were other things that we could do that, referencing the time that we went to bed but didn’t sleep together. I know I have hurt you deeply. I am an idiot. I am sorry.”

    I think he has told me the whole truth now as unpalatable as it is. What I am struggling with is where to go from here. I know that this is pressing my buttons as my husband cheated on me and I don’t want to overreact or blame him for what my ex did, although whilst this isn’t quite an affair, it is certainly a betrayal and a massive breach of trust. I also appreciate that he has been going through an awful amount of strain recently, the divorce is causing untold stress and his emotions are very raw at the moment.

    But for all that, he’s treated both me and her with complete disrespect. All of his messages are very contrite and he’s texted to ask if we can meet up one more time to say sorry in person once he is back from his trip. I don’t know if I want to do that. My head is spinning.

    I know that no one can tell me whether to stay or go, whether to accept his apology and try and understand and forgive or whether to take this as a massive red flag that he is not the person I thought he was and never will be.

    I suppose what I am asking is whether decent human beings can do dreadful things due to stress, whether it is likely that this is an aberration given how contrite he is and the fact he is now, finally, being absolutely honest with me. Or whether this leopard cannot change his spots.

    Sorry if my message is long and all over the place – it’s pretty much a reflection of what is going on in my head at the moment. For the record, I have not replied to his email.

    I know Tamie posted in April, but I hope that things have worked out well for you and that you were able to have a conversation and a commitment to get to the bottom of things once and for all. It would be really good to have an update.

    Thank you very much for listening to my own story,

    Rihanna

  2. @Rihanna…….Thanks for your very honest letter, and question. It’s important to look at patterns of behavior, rather than focus on one specific behavior. Do you see him as a decent person? Does he seem deceitful in general? How does he treat you? How does he treat other people out in the world? (Cashiers, bankers, people on the street, etc. That’s important too.) Based on how he treats you, and based on how contrite he is now, and based on the fact that he’s completely stressed out, and based on the fact that he’s had a blow to his ego from his failed marriage, we see this behavior as a reaction to all these circumstances. In essence, an aberration. He’s all over the place. He’s worried about money, what’s going to happen to his kids, what’s going to happen to his relationship with his kids, how’s he going to deal with an ex he probably loathes, and possibly still cares for at the same time? Adding to that is a relationship with you, someone he cares about. Wow! And the timing is wacky right now. Guys often just want easy, fun, relationships with women after they get divorced. Sex is a big part of that. He just so happened to meet a great woman like you right away which doesn’t happen a lot. So he’s probably uncertain about that as well. He wants to be with you, but also knows he might need to be alone as well. (Although he’s not saying that. He could be unusual in that way.) Bottom line Rihanna: He seems like a good guy who made a mistake. Give him a chance to redeem himself, but proceed slowly. That doesn’t mean withhold sex for a year, it just means keep your eyes open, and trust your gut. Hope this helps. Please let your friends know about us. And feel free to ask another question anytime. And keep us posted as this progresses. ps. Please consider a small donation to THE GUYS. (Use PayPal button on any page of our site.) No amount is too small or too big! 🙂 Take care.

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