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To Engage or not to Engage

Last May I found out that my bf of 3 years had been seeing another woman (let's call her Claire) for 6 months. They were in love. They had a primarily emotional relationship and didn't have sex (I had him tested anyway). This was because for those six months I was very ill and it was unclear that I was ever going to get better. I was not pleasant to be with during those months and I suppose I couldn't provide for him the emotional things that go into a relationship. When I found out, he dumped Claire to stay with me even though I gave him an honest choice between the two of us.

For 8 months Claire continued to send both of us messages, trying to get back in touch with my bf. It was awful. Every time she would send a message we would send back the same reply: "You know I don't want to talk to you."

A month ago I found out that my bf had been talking to Claire again. Apparently she had texted him something extremely pathetic and he felt guilty and like he had to talk to her. He said he wanted closure. The emotional affair this time was just over skype/texting although they planned to meet but never did. The affair only lasted two months until my bf's cat died and he realized that she wasn't a very good person because she didn't care at all about the cat. I found out a month ago about the second affair and he had already ended it a month before that. He insists that his intention the second time was not to have an affair.

Throughout all this, of course I didn't know about the second affair, and we were looking for engagement rings. He asked my parents' permission to marry me and they were extremely excited. My parents know about the first affair but not the second. Since the second affair, we've worked things out and my mom gave me an heirloom diamond and had it set in a ring that my grandfather made (he was a jeweler but there are very few of his rings left). So we have a ring, but no proposal yet.

We were supposed to go and get the ring from my parents today. Last night I caught the bf talking to an ex girlfriend (not Claire). It was just small talk but because of all the Claire stuff I got extremely threatened and upset. This is especially because the ex girlfriend was bringing up past events that happened when they were dating and sort of reminiscing. My bf mentioned me several times in the conversation and behaved well throughout the entire thing. Despite this, I decided to let my parents hold onto the ring until we got ourselves into pre-martial counseling.

I'm starting to really doubt that this guy is the guy for me. He's incredibly flirtatious in public to the point that it's embarrassing to me. He's apologized a million times and bought me gifts and stuff but it's not enough.

The thing is, he's great with the little things. He's affectionate, good in bed, loving, and remembers important events and celebrates them. He's handy and sweet and I love his family. It's just the big things that suck.

Do you think I need pre-marital counseling? Do you guys think that pre-marital counseling is even worth it?

Re: To Engage or not to Engage

  • AudgiePodgeAudgiePodge member
    2500 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]Do you think I need pre-marital counseling? Do you guys think that pre-marital counseling is even worth it?
    Posted by LSChic[/QUOTE]

    Yes, you can get input from lots of people, but ultimately, these are questions that you need to answer yourself.  While counseling is always a good idea, it doesn't necessarily fix everything.  Both of you have to be willing to want to work at it.
    I'm not good at feelings.

    image
  • luvdncn90luvdncn90 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]Last May I found out that my bf of 3 years had been seeing another woman (let's call her Claire) for 6 months. They were in love. They had a primarily emotional relationship and didn't have sex (I had him tested anyway). This was because for those six months I was very ill and it was unclear that I was ever going to get better. I was not pleasant to be with during those months and I suppose I couldn't provide for him the emotional things that go into a relationship. When I found out, he dumped Claire to stay with me even though I gave him an honest choice between the two of us. For 8 months Claire continued to send both of us messages, trying to get back in touch with my bf. It was awful. Every time she would send a message we would send back the same reply: "You know I don't want to talk to you." A month ago I found out that my bf had been talking to Claire again. Apparently she had texted him something extremely pathetic and he felt guilty and like he had to talk to her. He said he wanted closure. The emotional affair this time was just over skype/texting although they planned to meet but never did. The affair only lasted two months until my bf's cat died and he realized that she wasn't a very good person because she didn't care at all about the cat. I found out a month ago about the second affair and he had already ended it a month before that. He insists that his intention the second time was not to have an affair. Throughout all this, of course I didn't know about the second affair, and we were looking for engagement rings. He asked my parents' permission to marry me and they were extremely excited. My parents know about the first affair but not the second. Since the second affair, we've worked things out and my mom gave me an heirloom diamond and had it set in a ring that my grandfather made (he was a jeweler but there are very few of his rings left). So we have a ring, but no proposal yet. We were supposed to go and get the ring from my parents today. Last night I caught the bf talking to an ex girlfriend (not Claire). It was just small talk but because of all the Claire stuff I got extremely threatened and upset. This is especially because the ex girlfriend was bringing up past events that happened when they were dating and sort of reminiscing. My bf mentioned me several times in the conversation and behaved well throughout the entire thing. Despite this, I decided to let my parents hold onto the ring until we got ourselves into pre-martial counseling. I'm starting to really doubt that this guy is the guy for me. He's incredibly flirtatious in public to the point that it's embarrassing to me. He's apologized a million times and bought me gifts and stuff but it's not enough. The thing is, he's great with the little things. He's affectionate, good in bed, loving, and remembers important events and celebrates them. He's handy and sweet and I love his family. It's just the big things that suck. Do you think I need pre-marital counseling? Do you guys think that pre-marital counseling is even worth it?
    Posted by LSChic[/QUOTE]


    Marriage is not made up of the little things, it's made up of big things, life decisions, and hard times. If you're marrying him for the small things your marriage is going to be rough and probably not end well. I don't think it's even worth it.

    I hate to say it, but he sounds like a loser. He's has an affair twice behind your back. I think after the first time, I would have been gone. I'm honestly kind of shocked that you even stayed.
  • desertsundesertsun member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]Last May I found out that my bf of 3 years had been seeing another woman (let's call her Claire) for 6 months. They were in love. They had a primarily emotional relationship and didn't have sex (I had him tested anyway). This was because for those six months I was very ill and it was unclear that I was ever going to get better. I was not pleasant to be with during those months and I suppose I couldn't provide for him the emotional things that go into a relationship. When I found out, he dumped Claire to stay with me even though I gave him an honest choice between the two of us. For 8 months Claire continued to send both of us messages, trying to get back in touch with my bf. It was awful. Every time she would send a message we would send back the same reply: "You know I don't want to talk to you." A month ago I found out that my bf had been talking to Claire again. Apparently she had texted him something extremely pathetic and he felt guilty and like he had to talk to her. He said he wanted closure. The emotional affair this time was just over skype/texting although they planned to meet but never did. The affair only lasted two months until my bf's cat died and he realized that she wasn't a very good person because she didn't care at all about the cat. I found out a month ago about the second affair and he had already ended it a month before that. He insists that his intention the second time was not to have an affair. Throughout all this, of course I didn't know about the second affair, and we were looking for engagement rings. He asked my parents' permission to marry me and they were extremely excited. My parents know about the first affair but not the second. Since the second affair, we've worked things out and my mom gave me an heirloom diamond and had it set in a ring that my grandfather made (he was a jeweler but there are very few of his rings left). So we have a ring, but no proposal yet. We were supposed to go and get the ring from my parents today. Last night I caught the bf talking to an ex girlfriend (not Claire). It was just small talk but because of all the Claire stuff I got extremely threatened and upset. This is especially because the ex girlfriend was bringing up past events that happened when they were dating and sort of reminiscing. My bf mentioned me several times in the conversation and behaved well throughout the entire thing. Despite this, I decided to let my parents hold onto the ring until we got ourselves into pre-martial counseling. I'm starting to really doubt that this guy is the guy for me. He's incredibly flirtatious in public to the point that it's embarrassing to me. He's apologized a million times and bought me gifts and stuff but it's not enough. The thing is, he's great with the little things. He's affectionate, good in bed, loving, and remembers important events and celebrates them. He's handy and sweet and I love his family. It's just the big things that suck. Do you think I need pre-marital counseling? Do you guys think that pre-marital counseling is even worth it?
    Posted by LSChic[/QUOTE]
    Honey, you deserve better. You deserve to be with someone who you have absolutely no doubt WANTS to be with YOU and you alone. 
    This guy sounds like he's very good at appearances, but not very good when it comes down to being there for you and treating you the way you want to be treated.
    It's not okay for your BF, let alone your FI, to flirt with other women in public. Well, it wouldn't be okay with ME if my SO behaved that way, and from what you said, I don't think you like it either. So he shouldn't do it. Period. End of story. 
    Gifts do NOT excuse behavior that is unacceptable to you.
    It sounds like he thinks he can act how he wants and if he just apologizes in the right way, you'll forgive him.
    He's manipulating you, and it's not healthy or okay.
    Again, you deserve better.
    I personally think you should break up with him, but if you're not ready for that step, then go to counseling. NOT pre-marital counseling. Just couples counseling. Put all thoughts of marriage out of your head for a while. He needs to demonstrate through how he treats you with his BEHAVIOR and NOT his words that he loves you, and he needs to be able to do it for at least a year before you guys should think about marriage again.
    This is just my opinion, of course. It might help to go see a therapist on your own to help you, too. 
    I'm sorry about everything you've gone through. *hugs*
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker


  • edited December 2011
    If you are having any doubts then I think you and your BF should go to couples counseling before getting engaged honestly. DH and I did premarital counseling after we got engaged and it wasn't a great experience for me but I DO think that it can be beneficial to most couples. After I informed our pastor that I was not religious he went on and on about how I need to be Christian and that our marriage would fail if I wasn't - I don't feel that our experience was a good or typical one. I've known many couples who have great experiences and found counseling to be very helpful and eye-opening to things they never thought to discuss beforehand. So, yes, I do think it is worth it and you owe it to yourself to be sure that this is the guy you want to be with for the rest of your life.

    I have to say that I'm not sure I would have been able to move on after the first emotional affair and I think it's great that you were able to work through it with your BF. Communication and trust is so important in a relationship and if I was in your situation I would feel so immensely betrayed that I'm not sure I could ever trust him again.
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  • edited December 2011
    I'm sorry you are going through this.

    I 100% agree with the advice Desert gave you.

    I was in a relationship with a guy who cheated on my emotionally with another girl. It lasted about 2 months. After that, we worked through our problems, and continued together. Skip ahead about 3 years, and I found out he was sleeping with another girl. We were engaged at that point, and I knew I deserved better. It was the hardest thing I've ever done (and will probably ever do), but it was the BEST decision I ever made.

    The best advice I got from my mom was to go with your guy instinct. And, if you are questioning the relationship, I think you know what your gut instinct is, and what you need to do.

    Good luck :(

    Edited: I called Desert, Dessert... Mmmm... I think it was because I'm sitting here eating rice krispy treats.. Sorry Desert!
    ~~December 3, 2011~~
  • sparkles88sparkles88 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    If you are having doubts, that is a big red flag. You know deep down inside that something isn't right. You could try couple counseling, as Desert suggested, but I don't think that is going to make it any better.

    I think the part that really irks me about your story is the fact that he began seeing someone else while you were sick. Marriage vows mention sticking with someone through sickness and in health. They are serious business. Unless he has matured since then (which it doesn't quite sound like) I don't think he's ready to be pledging to support and stand by another human for the rest of his life. He turned his back on you at a time when you needed him the most.
  • edited December 2011
    Listen to Desert. She is wise.

    Honestly he did this not just once, but twice. You know that saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?" That kind of applies here. In the end it's completely up to you, but my advice would be to leave him and find someone who treats you better and that you can trust.

    image
  • edited December 2011
    Why would you consider marrying someone who has already shown you that if it comes to "for better or worse", he'll have an emotional affair and lie to you about it? A good relationship is built on love, trust, and respect. You don't trust him (nor should you, frankly) and he doesn't respect you. If he respected you, he wouldn't have taken your being ill as an excuse to have an emotional affair and he CERTAINLY wouldn't have betrayed you a second time. Counseling isn't going to change the fact that he's a liar and a cheater and he doesn't respect you. It will only prolong the inevitable. DTMF and run like hell.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE] I'm starting to really doubt that this guy is the guy for me. He's incredibly flirtatious in public to the point that it's embarrassing to me. He's apologized a million times and bought me gifts and stuff but it's not enough.
    Posted by LSChic[/QUOTE]

    You have to realize that something is wrong when he is buying you out to stay with you.  That is no way to apologize and it is a way for him to get rid of his guilt so he can go find another girl to be emotional with.  Apologizing and buying you things is not enough, what is enough is him stopping this behavior.  He has proved twice so far that he can't.  He very well could have done it more and you never found out about it.   If he is comfortable emotionally with someone, then it would not take much for him to get physically comfortable with someone.  Breaking up with someone you are serious is really hard, but you deserve better.
    Try couples counseling if you really want to hang on to the relationship, if it doesn't work then maybe you will feel better about letting go.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm so sorry to hear your story, it sounds similar to mine.
    I waisted 6 years of my life with someone that was not worth any of my time and it took a lot of heartaches and lies for me to finally take the power away from him and take control of my own life.
    I loved his family very much and he was my bff, or at least i thought he was. I caught him flirting and talking to several girls over chat, match.com and txt while we were in a serious relationship, already living together. I don't know if he ever actually went out and met them or if he was sleeping with anyone  but he was not 100% with me and I was not going to tolerate that behavior. Over the six years we broke up a few times, he would get involved with other girls and then call me or visit me and sleep with me. I knew he was dating other girls but he said it wasn't serious or exclusive and I would end up all wrapped around his finger all over again.
    Last time we were living together and in a serious relationship, I caught him having an emotional affair with another girl. I fought as hard as I could to keep him happy and next to me. I was so stresses and worried that I ended up very sick from an ulcer. I couldn't eat and I lost a little over 10 lbs in a couple of weeks. I felt like I was dying, no joke. That's when I finally decided that he was not worth it. He put me through hell and back and at the end he even took some money from me.
    He was amazing while we were going through good times but he was also awful during the bad times. I know I stayed there because it was comfortable and familiar to be with him, I honestly thought he was the one for me when I first met him and I kept looking for that amazing man that I knew he could be but that man was long gone and did not want to come back. I had to leave him behind and take away all the power he had over me. He was like a bad addiction to me but I've been clean for 7 months now. LOL!

    I'm now happily engaged to an amazing man that shows me EVERY DAY how much he loves me and wants to make me happy. He only has eyes for me and he thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world, he says he can't imagine finding anyone that would be as perfect as I am. We all deserve to have a man like that next to us, The funny thing is that I've know this man for 5 years. He was patiently waiting for me to be ready to leave my past behind and start a brand new future with him :)

    I can't tell you if you should or shouldn't get engaged, I can only wish you the best and hope that you make the desicion that is best for you. We all know the answer deep down, i know i did for years but it is hard to accept something we don't want to hear even if the answer is nagging inside of us.
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Yes, couples counseling (not necessarily premarital counseling) is a GOOD IDEA if you are going to stay with this guy. Counseling can be great even for happy, healthy relationships... but you guys have some big issues that either need to be worked out permanently, or you need to go your seperate ways.

    I understand it can be a hit to your pride to break up after he's asked your parents for permission and they're expecting a proposal, but don't worry about any of that. Your family wants you to be happy. Forever. Not just until his next flirtatious episode.

    Either dump this guy, or go to couple's counseling. But, as Desert said- put all thoughts of marriage out of your head for now. You guys have enough to work on without that hanging over you and possibly clouding your judgment.
    Anniversary
  • hannahnolahannahnola member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    For someone to consider seeing someone when you are in bad health is horrible. That is the first red flag right there, he should have been there for you completely and when I say completely I mean emotionally attached to ONLY you. That is ABSOLUTELY NOT TOO MUCH to ask for. You can not allow this behavior, try counsceling but put SERIOUS thought into it. Yes leaving after 3 yrs will be hard but you need someone who wont treat you like this.

    I wish you the best and all the support but hope you make the right decision. Being with someone because you like their family or because they are handy is not a good reason to be with them.
  • edited December 2011
    I would def do the pre-marital counseling... with a different guy where the counseling can be of an interest of love, not healing. He sounds like he isn't committed to committing. You deserve better than someone who can't put your feelings above his while talking with women.
    www.nurseyk.weebly.com
  • calindicalindi member
    5000 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]I'm starting to really doubt that this guy is the guy for me. He's incredibly flirtatious in public to the point that it's embarrassing to me. He's apologized a million times and bought me gifts and stuff but it's not enough. The thing is, he's great with the little things. He's affectionate, good in bed, loving, and remembers important events and celebrates them. He's handy and sweet and I love his family. It's just the big things that suck. Do you think I need pre-marital counseling? Do you guys think that pre-marital counseling is even worth it?
    Posted by LSChic[/QUOTE]

    I think you're asking for permission to step back.  The only thing you give us as a reason to move forward is that he's already asked permission and you already have a ring.  But you give us so many reasons that you have a legitimate reason to be concerned about his loyalty and commitment to the relationship.

    I think you really need to step away from the marriage ledge right now.  It's not going to fix anything, and it's certainly not going to make him more committed or you less insecure with his relationships with other women.

    Get into counceling, but not as a 'pre-marital' anything.  Put the ring in storage for now and work on your relationship to figure out if it's worth saving for its own merits, not simply because you feel you guys have gone too far forward to go back.  Trust me, it would be a lot easier to break things off now if you decided he's not someone you want to build a future with than to wait until you're married (or even just engaged).  There's no rush, and plenty of reasons to stop and do a temperature check on the relationship.

    Good luck!

    image

    Anniversary

  • Blue & WhiteBlue & White member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    It sounds to me like the boyfriend isn't necessarily going to stop cheating (even if it's "just" emotional) even if you were married.  When you were down and out for the count, he wasn't there telling you it would be okay and doing whatever it takes to make sure the doctors fix you.  He was messing around with another girl.  Whether physical relationship or not, that's not a good sign for the status of your relationship.

    And since he cheated the 2nd time WHILE asking your parents for your hand in marriage, it doesn't seem lik marriage is going to stop him.

    He seems like he thinks he's living in The Hangover.  And that's not real life.

    I'd kick him to the curb.  I'm not sure counseling would change him.  And depending on how good an actor he is, it may just force you into a marriage that he's clearly not ready for.

    Marriage is a BIG deal.  I don't think he realizes that DATING is a big deal too. 

    Good luck - we will be around if you need us, cause I have a feeling this one is going to be tough...
    I guess, to tell you the truth, I've never had much of a desire to grow facial hair. I think I've managed to play quarterback just fine without a mustache. - Peyton
  • edited December 2011
    Calindi - I like your analogy of a temperature check! 
    www.nurseyk.weebly.com
  • edited December 2011
    It's great that your bf is good at all the little things, but remember that as a couple, you'll encounter lots of difficult and trying situations in your marriage. Your bf has already demonstrated that he has problems dealing with issues as they arise in your relationship. Counseling may help, but only if he is TRULY committed to learning why he acted the way he did and really wants to and works hard to change his behaviors and learn how to deal with relationship issues in a healthy and mature way. And to be honest, do you really want to stay with someone who was basically willing to desert you for another woman when you were ill, and didn't even learn his lesson after the first experience? A marriage is a committment to stick with someone through thick and thin, and so far this man has not shown the ability to do that.
  • SKP82SKP82 member
    2500 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]In Response to To Engage or not to Engage : I think you're asking for permission to step back.  The only thing you give us as a reason to move forward is that he's already asked permission and you already have a ring.  But you give us so many reasons that you have a legitimate reason to be concerned about his loyalty and commitment to the relationship. I think you really need to step away from the marriage ledge right now.  It's not going to fix anything, and it's certainly not going to make him more committed or you less insecure with his relationships with other women. Get into counceling, but not as a 'pre-marital' anything.  Put the ring in storage for now and work on your relationship to figure out if it's worth saving for its own merits, not simply because you feel you guys have gone too far forward to go back.  Trust me, it would be a lot easier to break things off now if you decided he's not someone you want to build a future with than to wait until you're married (or even just engaged).  There's no rush, and plenty of reasons to stop and do a temperature check on the relationship. Good luck!
    Posted by calindi[/QUOTE]

    This plus what Desert said. 

    I know it's hard to end things with someone you've been with for a long time, but you will be so much happier once you do.  Ditch him and get into counseling for YOU.

    Also, if your best friend told you this story was happening to her, what would you tell her?  Think about that and take your own advice.

    We'll be around here if you need us.  These ladies are great and give amazing advice.
    IMG_6364
    "Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make life so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop a jar of applesauce." - Natalie Goldberg
  • alanna91alanna91 member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Yikes. I feel like if he was truly sorry for what he did there wouldn't be little instances like that where you catch him talking to other girls or flirting in public. IMO, he should've made a 360 after what he did if he truly felt sorry for it.
    White Knot
  • edited December 2011
    I find this extremely unacceptable! For pre-marital counseling, or for making the relationship work in general, you BOTH have to work at it. He can't buy you off with gifts or rings, that's not what matters. I don't think he's worth going to counseling, because it doesn't seem he really wants to work at it... you deserve better.Undecided
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: To Engage or not to Engage:
    [QUOTE]Yikes. I feel like if he was truly sorry for what he did there wouldn't be little instances like that where you catch him talking to other girls or flirting in public. IMO, he should've made a 360 after what he did if he truly felt sorry for it.
    Posted by alanna91[/QUOTE]

    I hate that this may come off rude, but if he did a 360 he'd be back where he started... to be opposite wouldn't it be 180? :)
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • edited December 2011
    He is not worth a bag of poop.
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