Engaged and Worried that we're "drifting"


#1

I don't want to ramble on for too long so I'll try to be short and sweet. My fiance' and I have been engaged for a little over a year now. We've been together for over 2 years. We met at college and one of the main things that attracted me to him was how spiritual he and his family were. It might sound weird but I knew he was the one for me. I still believe this to this day.

I know were meant to be together and we both have realized that we're going through one of many "rough patches" in our relationship. I've realized that he's changed and he doesn't seem like the guy I fell in love with. He's gotten rather "comfortable" in our relationship and doesn't feel the need to do so many things that he used to. He's also gotten dependant on me for making sure that he gets many of his priorities done on time such as school work and so on.

To put it simply, I feel like I'm raising a child rather than having my fiance'. We have an open relationship so we've talked about this issue already and we both realized that we need to do things to fix our relationship. I know it won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day. I just don't know where to start.

Another contributing issue is that I used to have a problem with bottling issues up. I've finally overcome this and so now when I have an issue that seems to be bothering me badly I talk to him about it. I encourage my fiance' to return this favor because I can take constructive criticism and I want to know when I'm doing something wrong or acting in a way that he isn't fond of. The problem is he doesn't tell me anything and acts as if I'm "perfect" although I very much know I'm not.

I just don't know exactly where to start (besides lots of praying that I'm already doing) to mending and fixing this relationship. We're both determined and we know that failure is not an option for us. Otherwise divorce might as well be once we're married and that too is not an option.

I would love ANYONE'S help and all comments, advice, and suggestions are not only appreciated but welcome. :D Sorry for rambling on although I said I wouldn't :(


#2

I think I, and all of us-might need to hear his side before we say “go for it” or “call it off” or something.

Keep in mind-when it comes to “constructive criticism” most guys cringe at it, because we think that is a “Do you think I’m fat?” kind of question. We can’t win that one! :wink:

In all seriousness, have a state of the union with him-get it all out in the open. But don’t (and I don’t think you will, judging from the tone of your original post) make any quick choices.


#3

No one can change this but your fiance. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You cannot beg, reason, or cry him into changing. This must come from within.

I would say that if this behavior doesn’t change before you are married, it is unlikely to do so afterwards.

So, you will have a decision to make regarding whether this is a dealbreaker for *you *or not.


#4

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:185417"]
No one can change this but your fiance. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You cannot beg, reason, or cry him into changing. This must come from within.

I would say that if this behavior doesn't change before you are married, it is unlikely to do so afterwards.

So, you will have a decision to make regarding whether this is a dealbreaker for *you *or not.

[/quote]

1ke is ABSOLUTELY right-Never, ever go into a relationship, especially a marriage, thinking you can change someone.

Jeez, I wish I thought of that too...


#5

I am not sure what you mean by ‘failure’. If failure means breaking up, it is an option because you still did not vow to God to spend the rest of your life with him. Think long and hard before you do take that vow because then, you will be stuck until death do you part.

As for him depending on you. As hard as it is, stop enabling him. If he does not do his school work and misses a deadling and asks you ‘Why didn’t you remind me?’ Say ‘I am not your mother and you should be responsible enough to manage your time’. Don’t fall for any guilt trip or threats he puts on you. It is for his best

Sorry if I came across as harsh but I do think this could turn into something worse

CM


#6

I completely agree and understand. Calling it off isn’t something we’ve thought about. It hasn’t gotten that bad but bad enough where we know a change needs to be made. Thanks for the advice! =)


#7

[quote="CajunsforChrist, post:6, topic:185417"]
I completely agree and understand. Calling it off isn't something we've thought about. It hasn't gotten that bad but bad enough where we know a change needs to be made. Thanks for the advice! =)

[/quote]

Your very welcome. You seem like a lovely and thoughtful young lady. I'm sure things will work out for you!

Blessings.


#8

[quote="cmscms, post:5, topic:185417"]
'Why didn't you remind me?' Say 'I am not your mother and you should be responsible enough to manage your time'.

[/quote]

No I absolutely agree. You really didn't come off harsh at all. I've actually started that with him when I opened up to him about my feelings. He's actually become less dependant on me which is a stress reliever for me. It's actually crazy how you worded that because that's exactly what I told him. I'm not your mother nor do I want to be. Luckily he's never given me any guilt trips about this, he's actually very understanding and willing to change/fix our issues. I guess I just feel like there's so much more that we should be doing but I just don't know about it if that makes sense.


#9

Well what I meant by failure is giving up or ending our relationship isn’t really an option for us. I understand what you mean by us not being married and there’s always the option that if it doesn’t work out for us now that it’s better to end it before we get married, however; I feel like this is a test from God to strengthen our relationship therefore failure isn’t an option for us. So far he’s been cooperating with with me as far as sharing and changing some of his ways. I just feel like there’s something more that we should be doing about our issues that I just can’t put my finger on. Idk if that makes sense or not. I guess I’m just one of those people who will do EVERYTHING they can in a relationship so that I know if it didn’t work out it wasn’t from a lack of trying. Thanks for the advice! =) I appreciate it.


#10

May I suggest prayer together daily get Jesus involved in your relationship he is amazing.
You might also seek some Catholic counceling this could open you up to new depths in your relationship you don't even know about.
And lastly take your time this is a life long commitment not only to yourself but each other and most importantly God you are going to form a Covenant with God and your family this is worth the time to work out the bumps.
My prayers are with you both I feel you will do fine your on the right path being open with each other.

Hail Mary full of Grace :)


#11

That’s probably one of the biggest things I’m afraid of. I know he can be better and it’s somewhere inside of him. The good thing is he says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to resolve our issues and so far he’s been putting forth the effort. I just feel like there’s something I should be doing as well. I feel like I haven’t been putting any effort into the mending process and that’s where I’m not sure where to start. Especially since he has a hard time with telling me when there’s something I need to work on.


#12

Could that perhaps be this is still new to you so you don’t know what to expect? Perhaps it is a test in patience, or give and take or forgiveness? Or perhaps to learn to live with the fact he will never be perfect?

CM


#13

I completely agree! We used to say prayers together everynight. Whether we were together or not we would say our prayers together. I’m not sure why/how but we’ve sort of drifted from that for some reason and I’m not happy about it. We say our prayers individually but I want to go back to letting God back into our lives as we once had. I’m convinced this would greatly help our relationship and unfortunately it wasn’t until I started using this website (aka today) that I realized one of the main pieces of the puzzle that was missing from our relationship. I know that in the long run we’re going to be okay, I guess it’s just hard when we struggle in the present. Thanks for the advice and the prayers! :thumbsup:


#14

Engagement does not mean, “We’re going to get married, come hell or high water.”

It means, “If all goes well, we will marry.”

On the basis of what you’re saying, things are NOT going well.


#15

[quote="cmscms, post:12, topic:185417"]
Could that perhaps be this is still new to you so you don't know what to expect? Perhaps it is a test in patience, or give and take or forgiveness? Or perhaps to learn to live with the fact he will never be perfect?

CM

[/quote]

I very much believe this is a test for me. I guess I'm not sure of what kind but patience, give & take, and forgiveness all seem plausible to me. I guess I'm struggling with the fact that he has changed and for some reason I can't help but want the "old" guy back. I can accept that he has changed as a person since we first started dating I just don't want his changes to be for the worse such as the laziness, non-goal oriented, unable to manage his time & priorities, etc....


#16

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:14, topic:185417"]
Engagement does not mean, "We're going to get married, come hell or high water."

It means, "If all goes well, we will marry."

On the basis of what you're saying, things are NOT going well.

[/quote]

I understand that Engagement is a commitment but not a set in stone one such as marriage. Although things are not going well for us, I see this is a bump in the road. All relationships have issues, but are we all supposed to throw in the towel without doing what we can to fix our issues. If our relationship ended soon, granted I would be hurt and deeply saddened, however; I would know that I didn't put forth all of the effort into resolving our issues.


#17

I know this sounds crazy…and like it should’ve been extremely obvious, but I realized after posting this thread what it was that I was missing. I stated before in a few responses that we were working to fix our issues but I just felt like there was something more that we could be doing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Well, I’ve figured out what it was and I feel stupid for not realizing it in the first place (smack should’ve had a V8! :o)

My fiance’ and I were both strong and devout Catholics at the beginning of our relationship and somewhere in our 2 years of being together we drifted from that between school and crazy work schedules. We quit going to church, we quit praying together as we would daily, and even quit praying individually. Don’t get me wrong, we still believed in God but I think that’s as far as our efforts went. We were not making any efforts or even sacrifices to put God back into our lives.

I now believe that I stumbled upon this website for a reason and after posting my thread and reading everyone’s amazing advice that they’ve given me, I’ve realized what it was that I was searching for to better improve our relationship…and it was God. (again smack) I guess sometimes things are right there in front of us and we don’t even realize it until it smacks us in the face. In this case I’m glad that it smacked me in the face.

I’ve discussed this with my fiance’ and he completely agreed with me that this was a big key and foundation missing from our relationship. We’ve both decided that we’re going to start attending Mass every week again and praying together daily, and also striving to become better Catholics. Thanks to all who submitted advice! God Bless you all! :thumbsup:


#18

Cajuns, I hear a lot about constructive criticism, time management, constant improvement, the need always to be improving something and, finally, being goal-oriented. Some of these things are indeed moral obligations (strive for holiness, don't waste your time, do something constructive, serve others, carry your weight...), but some feel a bit like we're talking about corporate management.

Not everyone is a go-getter, and among go-getters there might be those who don't live from project to project either. Also, some degree of dependence on others is normal and healthy. Corporations want us to be goal-oriented, self-motivated and available... because that's good for them. However, we can't always live our lives like that. I agree that goals should be important and they should be there and people shouldn't tag along "goal-less". However, I always cringe at "goal-oriented" because it reminds me of the corporate thing.

Similarly, constructive criticism does not carry the same value for everyone. For starters, why does it have to be criticism instead of, say, merely discussing things? I believe people need to discuss problems in relationships and it's probably good to explore and exploit opportunities for improvement, but I don't believe we should go as far as managing our relationships, doing assessments (obviously, in our minds, not formally and on paper, but still) etc. because a relationship is not a career. It's not about being an efficient employee that doesn't have flaws.

As for your fiance, he may be depressed if he's unable to manage his time, meet his obligations, perform things that are up to him and would make a mother of you if you were to do them for him... But it's not like I'm an expert, I'm guessing on the basis of life experience with people. On the other hand, he may be one of the laid back types.

It's hard to say anything concrete with this little information. For example, if you need to remind him of deadlines for his academic work, that's bad. But on the other hand, if, say, you needed to remind him of things that you wanted him to do but he didn't really want to do them (e.g. cleaning his room, drawing a budget, seeing a doctor, conferring with a consultant/counsellor), then matters might be different.

As for getting comfortable, I think I understand what you mean. My father basically believes a man needs to keep winning the wife's heart the same as if it were still a girl he were making moves on. Some people need the certainty and routine (to some extent I suppose everyone does), but when a relationship is turning into a dry, genderless institution, then that's not good. I don't know how to convey it to a man that he should try harder without offending him, causing a rift etc., but there's plenty of long-time married people here and someone should probably have an idea. I'm not a psychologist, I don't have any experience in this particular regard (other than that gentle reminders made in a gentle way, while making sure the message is conveyed that the man is still loved and not in danger of being left, tend to work... but I don't mean walking on eggshells or being apologetic), and I don't want to improvise. If I really had to, I would probably go with, "Darling, some time ago, you would ...]*. I'm missing that."

  • Phone me every day / Bring me flowers / Tell me this or that etc. (female version)

#19

I suggest a long engagement. Anyone can make short term improvement. Longevity is the test.

If the pattern becomes you get upset and beg, nag, get mad and then he promises to do better and does for a month or two only to resume bad behavior again and then rinse, repeat– let me tell you that if you get married this will be the way it is for the next 50 years of your life.

The only way to change it is if **he **actually changes (odds are not good, really how many of us truly change the core of who we are?) or if **you **totally and completely overhaul your own expectations and adjust your attitude. It’s the only way you will find peace if you move forward in a relationship with something like this.

The truth is that he behaves the way he does because he wants to-- because whatever it is that is important to you is not important to him. This is a common impasse for many man/woman relationships-- the “acting as mommy” and being the social/bill paying secretary for the household, it often also materializes with respect to household chores. You just don’t see eye to eye on the importance of these things and if you want things done a certain way you are going to have to do them yourself and not b*tch about it to him. Your eyes are wide open going in. Honestly, there’s always something like this in every relationship, it’s just a matter of degree and ability to tolerate/adjust.

Well, you can adjust your expectations and attitude. That would be another way to solve the problem.

Also, perhaps there aren’t any of your behaviors he considers significant areas of friction. So, truly there isn’t anything you “need” to work on. Perhaps you are placing a much greater significance on the “need” to “work on” the relationship than he will.

Caution: This can drive a man crazy!


#20

[quote="1ke, post:19, topic:185417"]
I suggest a long engagement. Anyone can make short term improvement. Longevity is the test.

[/quote]

It's funny that you say that...We actually got engaged a little over a year ago, Christmas of 2008 to be exact. Our wedding date isn't set until November 2011 which is giving us near a 3 year engagement. The main reason we decided to wait this long is because we're both in college and it was something that our parents wanted us to do. They were all up for us getting married, very excited, but they were extremely scared that we'd get married in college, struggle, and drop out. Honestly, when we first got engaged and I realized that I would have to wait this long to get married it was VERY hard. But the time has flown by some, and I'm realizing that it's not such a bad thing. I've been trying to do things a little different lately such as telling him positive things more. For Example "You look really nice today." etc. I think this has helped. Also we both realized that we drifted away from each other a little bit, but we drastically drifted away from God. We quit going to church, saying daily prayers together, and even just praying to ourselves. When we discussed this and realized that our relationship cannot be successful with God, we both decided to start attending mass weekly again, saying prayers at night together (over the phone because we don't live together :D), and we've even signed up for a couples retreat in February. Things are starting to look up a pretty good bit. I found the solution that I was searching for. Originally, I was searching for something that I could do myself to help our relationship such as the compliments but I realized it was something so much deeper than that. God was yearning to get back into our lives and we both let him in and we both agreed that it feels so great! It was like a burden had just lifted. :) I appreciate all of your advice, and I will definitely be doing some of the things you and others have suggested. (Sorry this was so long)


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