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Just Engaged and Proposals

Engagement Party FAIL

My fiance and I have been engaged since December of 2013, but have been together for 6 years and 11 months. He comes from a very damaged family. To summarize, 10 years ago, his father suffered a traumatic brain injury (which later led to seizures) but he has since recovered and lives a normal lifestyle. As a result of the injury, his father and mother had grown apart and endured a marriage filled with cheating, verbal altercations, and long term absence from the children. His younger sister was sexually abused by a female neighbor around the age of 9, and later suffered an eating disorder in the forms of anorexia and bulimia. His mother suffers from undiagnosed borderline personality disorder, alcohol addiction, and depression. Somehow, my fiance has managed to rise from all of this as an incredibly intelligent and loving man, who cares for me a great deal.

That being said, he falls short in loving me in a lot of ways. He fails to communicate effectively (discussions are often one sided and marked by his silence). He falls short in trying to make me feel special (holidays are commemmorated with measly, late gifts... or forgotten altogether). He has become antisocial (refusing to meet up with friends), and more. Whenever we discuss these issues, he promises that he loves me dearly (which I believe), but simply does not know how to express it due to his traumatic upbringing. Please understand that I sympathize with this, and have spent the last 7 years of our relationship working tirelessly to meet his needs, encourage him, make him feel wanted, needed, and loved. As far as he says, I have succeeded. However, in the end, I find that I greatly suffer.

The most recent issue is our engagement party. My parents have shelled out $5,500 to host a beautiful party at a nearby hotel, and have invited all of our close family members and friends. Please note that I asked my fiance on MULTIPLE occasions about the party (where would he like it? who did he want to invite? what did he want to eat/drink? did he want to purchase gifts for his groomsmen? Everything!). Now that the party has been booked, invitations have been ordered, gifts have been coordinated, family members and friends have been put on alert... he tells me that he wants to CANCEL because he HATES his family! My heart is broken, and I can't help but feel sad and discouraged. Why couldn't he tell me sooner? I value his opinion and worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail of the party met his wishes. I am heartbroken.

So my question is... are my feelings of sadness selfish? Should I cancel and save my parent's money? Do I proceed with the party because people are expecting it? and most importantly... Should I feel comfortable marrying someone that has the potential to ruin such a happy occasion? PLEASE HELP!

Re: Engagement Party FAIL

  • Pretend I said what CMG said.  I am not sure why you are settling for:

    He fails to communicate effectively (discussions are often one sided and marked by his silence)
    He falls short in trying to make me feel special (holidays are commemorated with measly, late gifts... or forgotten altogether)
    He has become antisocial (refusing to meet up with friends)

    You can't make a marriage work with those issues.

    Please, please, please, cancel the e-party, put the wedding on hold, and go for counseling.  This is not a life or marriage you should settle for.
  • Please do not marry this man until you both get counseling. I spent 13 years of my life with someone like this and everyday wish I hadn't. Just because someone loves you doesn't mean it is healthy.
  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I'm going to echo what has already been said.

    My previous relationship lasted for 7 years and sounds very similar to yours.  I kept thinking that I would stay in it because I was helping him out and I could endure everything he gave me to handle.  In the end I met my FI while I was dating my ex - FI was just a friend but treated me WAY better than I was being treated in my relationship.  I am much happier since I've moved forward and realize now that I should not have stayed in a toxic relationship. 

    It isn't easy to walk away from a long-time relationship.  I guess just ask yourself - is this how you want to live the rest of your life?

  • OP, I worried about you last night.  Please get counseling.  I am so sorry that you have to go through this.  I know it will be painful.  Thoughts and prayers.
  • http://forums.theknot.com/discussion/1012708/engagement-party-ruined-by-fiance-sad-disheartened-confused-help#latest

    ^She cross posted this. OP, it helps if you put something to let people know that you're cross posting on another board. I hope you go to counseling, and that everything works out for you! *hugs*
  • This doesn't sound like an engagement party fail. It sounds like a possible marriage fail.  You shoul be less concerned about your engagement party and more concerned about the impact his behavior will have on your future marriage.

  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited February 2014

    *Editited to add, because it might seem too glib
    You need counseling. Your FI needs counseling. If he refuses to go to counseling, you need to seriously get out of this relationship. Damaged people do not magically get better. Marriage will not fix any of these issues, they will only get worse. It sucks to walk away from nearly 7 years of a relationship, but it will suck so much more to divorce in another 3-10 years. You deserve someone who loves you, and ACTS like they love you. You do not deserve to be treated like this.

  • I would have to agree with everyone on the board. You need to also ask yourself if you continue down this path if you will be happy or miserable.. 
  • Totally agree with others - this has nothing to do with a party fail. This has to do with relationship issues. You need to put the wedding on hold and get some counseling for both of you.

    My FI have had the conversation that we are both "fixers" - we date broken people expecting to make them better. We love them, we do everything we can - guess what? You can't fix people. 

    Can I ask other than love - what makes you think this marriage is a good idea? 
  • Thanks for your honesty, ladies! To anyone who thinks I'm only concerned about a party, I'm wiser than that. The party is just the catalyst that made me re-think things. I've never run into a situation like this with him before.

    However, after seeing your replies, we had a meeting with my fiance's dad. We are all going to seek counseling to work on communication issues. My fiance is only a poor communicator when it comes to his family issues. He admitted that they are the cause of his troubles. They mis-handled the issues in his childhood, and he has suffered. Also, when we met with his father, my fiance expressed that his parents have never allowed him to have a voice. That is why he has trouble communicating with me -- he's getting used to having someone who values his opinions. After the meeting, he cried, and thanked me for my concern, and for "giving him a voice".

    For those who wondered why I'm in the relationship: He and I are just fine inside of our world. We compromise, don't fight, have fun, keep active, have similar values, and all that good stuff. My fiance was my best friend for a very long time, and I will always love him.

    Furthermore, we've agree to continue on with the engagement party. This is the man that I want to marry, and he, I, and his family are going to work to ensure that he becomes a healthier person before we proceed with wedding planning. You ladies helped me to realize the magnitude of this situation. I believe I knew it in my heart, but didn't believe it until I heard what I was thinking from someone else. I have also alerted my family to the issue, and they have agreed to reach out to him more, to make him fill more loved, comforted, and treasured. My fiance is a broken person, but he is not worthy of being thrown away. I will not simply "walk away" and am shocked by those who have instructed me to do so.

    Thank you all for your honesty and candidness.
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