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manipulating behavior
May 3, 2001
6:26 pm
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Lydia
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My fiance and I have been living together for almost a year. We haven't set an official wedding date but he is ready to plan and recently I've become reluctant. In the beginning, he showed signs of jealousy that disturbed me. Over time, he has drastically curtailed these jealous notions but they are still underlying. I have made it very clear that I will not tolerate his antics.

Just last night, I returned from a long day at work and had a lengthy conversation (30 min) with a coworker about the events of our day, by phone. When I hung up, my fiance looked at his watch and said,"Boy, you talk to her more than you talk to me."

I was irritated by this manipulation of my freedom to talk to my friends and coworkers. I spend a great deal of time with my fiance, but it's never enough for him. He compares himself to everyone and seems to have a major self-esteem problem that he's taking out on me.

I have very strong doubts about my commitment to marry him and I'm scared.

May 3, 2001
6:53 pm
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eve
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Lydia,

I guess being scared is quite normal when you start thinking about a lifelong commitment.

What I get from your post is that both of you could benefit from more open communication of your feelings. I think it is ok that your fiancee *wants* to spend time whith you and misses you when you are away at work for a long time. But the way that he uses to tell you (or the way that you hear what he is saying): *I missed you, I like to have time together* is not very helpful. Of course, as soon as you don't feel that you are valued by him, but rather feel criticized for your behaviour - then you will get definsive - then he will insist more - you'll get even more defensive.

First of all you should find out what is giving you the willies right now. Is it really his jeallousy? Something else that changed recently? Or is it this kind of manipulative arguing. And if it is 'just' the style of arguing: do know this style from somewhere else? Any chance that you are transfering old family patterns to your relationship? If so: counseling could help.

I whish you good luck - just take some time to think about things and make a solid decision: it'll have to last for some time to come 🙂

May 3, 2001
8:54 pm
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Molly
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Call it off. Run, what you see now will only get worse, controll, manipulation, neediness, why do you spend so much time with the kids, and I bet you have allready heard this one. I read where you focus on the kids vs a man, and that is what you should do to a point, trust me find balance. My kids were my life, and then they grew up, its hard it sucks, and I am just now finding balance after acceptance. But who needs a whinner. Who needs jelously? Was the marriage proposal, perhaps the rope to bring you in ? Secure his situation, i say watch out for this one. How long did you know him before living together? I lived with my guy for 6 months, told him it wasn't working out, I should have taken a stand, but I allowed my self to be manipulated, after 1 year of fighting over trust issues, I thought maybe marriage was the answer I did it, and lived through 10 years of hell. I did leave him after the kids went off to college, butt, did come back, he resolved some issues, the ugly ones, but still wish often i had stood my ground at the 6 month mark, like where you are now. People do not change.

May 4, 2001
3:45 am
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malaikau
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Dear Lydia,

I have often thought that jealousy is in reality a manifestation of low self-esteem and problems trusting others. In thinking about a relationship, a marriage in particular, trust and respect make up the foundation that all relationships are built on. Without a strong foundation, the relationship can't stand. I disagree with the perspective that people don't change. I have changed. And I'll bet you can look back over time and see that you have changed as well. However, the key idea here is that YOU can't change him! People don't change other people. We can only change ourselves. There is no way for you to make your partner feel more secure, or feel better about himself, or trust you more. All of that has to come from him. I think you are the only one who can decide how long you want to stay in this relationship. You can run, or you can wait and see. You don't have to make a long-term commitment if you aren't comfortable doing so. It's your life, and you can do whatever you want. I hope everything works out for you and your partner just as it's meant to!

Sincerely,

Mal

May 4, 2001
8:36 am
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Alena
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I hate to bring this up, but I think maybe your age makes a difference. Are you both very young? I can almost justify his behavior if he's young and immature. He could change with some time. On the other hand, Molly is right about warning signs. The instance which you speak of in itself does not sound all that controlling, but you say this isn't the first time. So, I'll say you have to take a good look for yourself and yes, back out of it if it doesn't look good. It's a heck of a lot easier to break off an engagement than it is to get over a broken marriage.

My husband is manipulative and controling and I've lived with it for 26 years andlearned when to just tune him out and live around it. But as Molly said, there are many times when I wished I had taken the warning signs seriously and stayed out when I was out. It's a constant source of arguement and bad feelings. Manipulation and control absolutely pulverizes your spirit....and nobody can be happy with that.

Step back and take a good look, a really honest look..you'll know what to do. Even if it's difficult, it stands to get alot more difficult.

May 4, 2001
10:55 pm
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Lydia
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Wow, thanks...I never imagined I'd get so much advice and individual opinions! To answer a few questions, we have known each other for 8 years as friends. We dated for one year and have lived together for one year. He's 40 and I'm 37. We have a great deal in common and truly he is a gentle, kind man for the most part.

He has been previously married for 17 years to a woman who never worked and was quite introverted. His jealousy was never tested, she had no life outside of the home!

On the other hand, I am college educated, socially active and work on a cardiac unit. People surround my life and I love to talk and learn about others.

He claims his jealousy is a result of my personality being so opposite of his ex-wife. He is not used to being with a woman who is independent and at times, I think he is attempting to stifle me. I promise, that will NEVER happen.

He has apologized profusely for his behavior and claims to recognize it's unhealthiness to our relationship. He says he is willing to work very hard at accepting my individuality.

Yet...I remain hesitant so I will not marry him until I feel certain we are compatible and he will respect my freedom.

I will not allow him to make me feel guilty for talking to my friends. I will never isolate myself so the only alternative is he gets his act together or we're history.

Just last week I took my daughter to the Doctor and when I returned he asked a battery of questions. How old was he? Was he married? Did he wear a wedding band? I was furious and he knew it.

I had really hoped he was "the one" I am disturbed by my doubts.

Thanks again.

May 5, 2001
7:47 am
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janes
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I think your doubts are very real and founded in reality. At his age HOW is he going to change? Therapy? Counseling?

Go to drirene's verbal abuse site to read about other ladies who have married Mr. Right (only a few doubts) just to have Mr hyde come home fron the wedding.

Verbal and emotional abuse can be so insidious and sly that it doesn't seem a BIG problem until it is sometimes to late.

So what if you are different than his last wife...? He's planning on marrying YOU. AND WAIT A MINUTE.....how long have you known each other? EIGHT YEARS!!!! He didn't notice your outgoing social personality in all that time?

Where was he? IN the bathroom? Under a basket? In another country.

It was okay for you to open and outgoing as long as you were friends and NOW that you might be a wife...THAT CHANGES ANYTHING?

As I reread your posts I agree more and more with Molly

Don't hang out....get out. If he hasn't already made a therapy appt. to work on HIS problem...he won't. IF HE DOESN'T DON'T MARRY HIM.

I'M AS SERIOUS AS CANCER. The signs he is exhibiting are not good ones. There may have been a reason his wife was so introverted. What happened to her anyway?

Good luck in a tough decision.

May 5, 2001
9:14 am
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Alena
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Lydia, I can't help but wonder if his wife of 17 years started out as an extroverted woman, possibly wanting to work outside the home.

I think the general concensus here is he is not going to change. There is NO justifying a 40 year old, previously married man acting like an insecure teenage boy. You will spend too much precious time arguing and defending your actions.

Hold on to your spirit, take a deep breath and trust in your instincts. Be his friend again if that is possible, but if I were you I would not live with him and for sure not marry him. He will say anything to keep you, you sound like such a smart chick, with so much to give the world, don't let him sell you short.

Get out, hurt, grieve a bit, and move on. I'm sorry for you, but happy that you are smart enough to recognize destructive behavior when you see it and ACT on it.

Sending you big hugs and good vibes,
Peace.

May 5, 2001
9:42 pm
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Lydia
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I agree with the general consensus that there is no justifying his behavior, it is simply wrong. My fiance acknowleges this as well and has agreed to counselling or "whatever it takes" to have a healthier relationship.

At this point, I will support him in his efforts to get over this jealousy issue. My heart tells me to, I truly love him. As I mentioned before, he is a very gentle, kind man. When I'm upset with him, I tend to lose sight of all of his good attributes and focus on the issue at hand. I think we all tend to do that.

What I failed to say before is that this man has captured my heart like no other person I've ever met. He is loving, charming, funny, intelligent, dependable, good-natured etc.

My ONLY hangup is his jealousy. He points out to me when we walk in the mall, the heads that turn to look at me. I would never have noticed and certainly don't control that.

I'm not going to run because I will always wonder, "What if??"

My gratitude to all for your sincere thoughts.

May 6, 2001
8:25 am
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janes
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A truly mature man will be PROUD to be with a wman so good liiking not jealous of it. He surly shouldn't have to point it out to you....as you said ..you have no control over it.

I support you in supporting him as long as you are doing it with truly open eyes and not the blinders of love.

Many gentle kind men are abusers...you know it's not THEIR fault...

Watch out that you are not making excuses for him... it is not okay for him to control your phone conv. what you wear who you are friends with and what you are in soul and spirit.

I would insist on a year of therapy.

I'll bet my first born he only goes 3-4 times, finds fault with the therapist and never goes again. I hope I'm wrong.

Please check out the website menitioned before.

good luck.

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