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Tough Choice
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Tough Choice

I got engaged a few months ago. My fiance is my soul mate. We gel very well with each other and I love him more than I love myself. He's an outgoing guy, but as things have progressed, I've noticed a few things that are putting me on the fence.

I was married/divorced at 19. I'm 26 now and I only committed because I was sure this is legit. I am very invested in our relationship although we are very different. I'm conservative, he's liberal but we meet in the middle in a lot of ways--religiously and culturally.

Just plain and simple, I want to know if I am going to be making a mistake or not. My family is no longer invested in him and they don't trust him. It pains me because although he's imperfect, I'm crazy about him.

1. He makes promises and breaks them. We have been planning to have our wedding since January. He was not willing to take any real action to planning a wedding or setting a date because he was committed to funding his relative's wedding. He did that, depleted his savings and now has close to nothing for us to have a wedding and wants to do something incredibly simple at home. This is after he got my hopes up, had me look at and visit a venue that was gorgeous. The day he was supposed to put the deposit down he made up some **** and said we're not doing it. Broke my heart. I have a huge ball gown. Ugh.

2. He recently found out he has genital herpes. He has a pretty dicey past but he regrets it and I don't care to know about his youth because he is done with that part of his life and is looking to start a family. Granted, when he found out, he tried to break things off with me because he believed I deserved better. I didn't let him break up with me.

3. Since we have been together, he has been asked to resign from one job and is currently about to be fired from another for lack of performance. He doesn't work much, just enough to get by, and doesn't think that work should be a way of life but rather a way to live. I respect that and I'm not a gold digger, but I don't know that I would feel comfortable being a stay at home mom/wife as he wants me to be if he is not in the right industry that suits his skills or motivates him.

4. If I don't agree with him about something, he has to do it his way. Regardless of my feelings. For example, when I told him I feel uncomfortable with him going out with his friend and friend's wife or gf with him being the third wheel he went out with them anyway and basically completely disregarded what I had to say about it.

5. He always talks a lot about other women's boobs and *****. Mostly he is joking. When we're out, he's all over me and super attentive but especially if another woman walks by or something. Is this normal?

Sometimes I feel a little apprehensive about everything although I love him to death. I just worry if he is going to keep his promises, provide for me, take care of me, and stay faithful to me. I strongly believe divorce is not an option, especially since this is round 2 for me--and him.

Can I please have some thoughts? Thanks.
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1. Red flag #1.  If you want a big wedding, make this obvious and insist if it is a reasonable thing for you two to come up with the funds.  Perhaps paring this with number three (red flag #2) will be a reason to delay the wedding.  He needs to get his act together with work and make himself trustworthy.

2. Interesting. I have an uncle who got herpes during a past marriage when he was young and he and my aunt have managed to keep it just with him.  There are ways to avoid you getting herpes.  I'd definitely reassure him of that and research ways with him so that he both understands why you say no when you do and is on board with you.

3. Red flag #2.  That is very worrisome.  I'd sit down and explain you do not want to marry him until he has stayed stable in a job for x amount of time because if he wants you as a housewife rather than a working woman, he needs to prove he can make enough to support the two of you plus any young ones that may come along.  Most people can't make it on one income anymore.

4.  I don't see the problem with him going out with his friend and his friend's wife/gf?  Unless his friend and his friend's wife/gf are in an open relationship and you know they're considering him or something, this doesn't really seem like something to worry about.  What are your reasons?  It might seem very controlling to him.  GFs/wives of friends are usually part of the deal when hanging out with a friend after a certain period of time.

Now, if he's still that way about other things or even throws tantrums over it, I would call this a red flag.

5. Red Flag #3.  That's extremely disrespectful of him.  I wouldn't tolerate that.  I would say he needs to consider your feelings.  My boyfriend of three years never has done this to me.

All red flags I've noted point toward him not respecting you or truly caring about your feelings.  You need to have a serious talk about boundaries and respect.  What's a relationship without trust and respect?

Best of luck in your decision!
Thank you for your insight.

I have always felt this way and expressed this to him on several occasions about his behavior being disrespectful and him not caring about my feelings. He's super smart and is always able to turn it around and make me feel like a douche for being offended or upset.

As far as the big wedding, initially our budget was 6 grand and I planned a beautiful event. Then he told me it won't be possible and he could only afford 3 grand. I re-planned and kept it in that budget. Finally, he insisted that with him losing his job that he can't really spend anything on it.

By words, he is amazing. By action, he is not entirely as thoughtful or cogniscent of taking care to protect my feelings.

I, too, am seeing these things as red flags. When I bring them up he can explain anything away and make me feel bad for feeling that way.

Another thing is that when I insisted we stay together and that we can still be alright with him having herpes, he was awe struck at my loyalty. I asked him if he would do the same for me if the tables were turned and he said "I don't know. I'd have to think about it." Also, he once told me he doesn't see me fitting into his lifestyle because I am more family oriented and not so much into the night life. I insisted we could make it work though and here we are.

I have regretted falling so hard and being so into this and him because, although I see the red flags and my family is warning me about how hard life will be with him and how he does not realize my value, I still want to be with him. And I always seem to fall for his guilt trips and sweet talk. When I'm writing this, I suddenly feel like such a chump.
"He's super smart and is always able to turn it around and make me feel like a douche for being offended or upset."

Another red flag.  Perhaps I recognize it because I grew up with it, but this is one of the ways an emotionally abusive person will use to keep you under thumb.  Make you feel dumb, doubt yourself.  You're entitled to your feelings; he's not entitled to make you feel less of yourself for having them.

"By words, he is amazing. By action, he is not entirely as thoughtful or cogniscent of taking care to protect my feelings."

Seems this is a completely emotionally based relationship.  You are in love with the idea of him, seeing him through rose-colored glasses, rather than in love with who he IS.  Because he IS this thoughtless person who doesn't care about your feelings if that is how he acts.  Actions are truly louder than words and speak more volume of the person's character or lack thereof than their words.  You can say anything and make it sound good, but if you can't back it with your actions, you're not being truthful.

"I, too, am seeing these things as red flags. When I bring them up he can explain anything away and make me feel bad for feeling that way."

I'm glad you are recognizing the red flags.  That's a starting point.  Now that you have noticed them, however, you have to decide what to do.  And a lot of this is going to be based on your view of marriage in general as well as given you already have been through a divorce and know how that feels.  If another divorce is a possibility and you're perfectly fine with the idea of it and view this as just a fun continuation of the relationship to see how long it can go, then by all means, have your fun.

But if you would rather see your second marriage last for life, you've got to ask yourself some tough questions.  The main one?  Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: "Can I see myself growing old with this man who has no respect for my feelings and takes no fault of his own in anything?  A man who can try to turn everything around on ME and makes me feel lesser than him, not as smart as him?"  I think you deserve better than this guy has the ability to give you.  Right now, he is not at the same place emotionally as you are and, depending how long you've been together, he may NEVER be there.  Can you live being emotionally involved in a relationship that doesn't seem to really exist?

I know these are tough questions and it's hard to face them, but you've got to look out for your best interests, for your happiness.  Unless you love yourself, you can't love someone else.  And he will take away that self-love by destroying your self esteem.  You won't be giving your all anymore.  Can you live with the self-esteem destruction that moment will bring?  Even the anger?  The hurt?  The turmoil?  The arguing?

By words, he's asked you to marry him.  By actions, he's saying he doesn't want you to.  Heck, even by words.  "I don't know [if I could stay with you if you had herpes instead of me].  I'd have to think about it."  "I don't see you fitting into my lifestyle because you're more family oriented than I am."  He's into the night life, having fun--not ready to hold down a job, not ready to settle down and start a family.

"When I'm writing this, I suddenly feel like such a chump."

Hon, don't feel bad.  That's how HE wants you to feel.  You have done the right thing bringing this up and discussing it, putting it into words.  Sometimes that is SO much more powerful than just hearing someone say that who's a family member.

If you feel like a chump for being with him and falling for his guilt trips and sweet talk (another sign of emotional abuse), how are you going to feel in a year?  Five?  Ten?

As extremely difficult as it will be since you do love him and care about him, I really think it might be time to chalk this up as experience.  You deserve someone who WILL care for you and your feelings and well being (physical and emotional), someone who CAN be as loyal to you as you are to him, someone who WANTS to care for you just as much as you do him.
I am sorry, but this man isn't planning on marrying you anytime soon or perhaps never.  

"My family is no longer invested in him and they don't trust him.".......WISE familly.

Totally "spinning your wheels" and wasting time on this nonsense.  
What you just described in the last..those were exactly my feelings. My boyfriend made promises and then also expected me to accept the legitimacy of the fact that he is human and he can forget things when he is in tension. Even my boyfriend didnt have stable job yet i told him that i will be with him no matter what inspite of my insecurities and anger. My boyfriend was irritable when we tried to do things my way and he soon forgot them.  our breakup happened recently. He said his feelings were dead for me.These are some similarities but every come from different contexts.Anyways You need to talk to him over these issues and know what he realy wants. I know how it feels when you have to ask difficult questions from your loved ones because there is threat of loosing evrything. But its better to live in reality rather then living in self denial because of an ideal image of our boyfriend in our mind or emotions would make us believe he is the perfect guy and I cant let him go away. I hope I make sense :)
I am really sorry, nothing in your story sounds positive, I hear it in your voice, I think you have been through enough heart ache. I would wait a while, if it is meant to happen it will happen in time. He has caught STD is that before you of during, if it is during, please run, run really fast. You deserve a man who misses you when you gone, kisses you softly when you are there, can't breathe without you in his life and most important loves everything about you  every second of the day. When I met my husband 30 years ago that was him and every woman deserves that, why should we settle for less....good luck....Note: we were married for 30 wonderful years and then he cheated and now we are divorcing, but I will wait until the next man shows me these qualities. Some will say but he hurt you, yes him did, but he treasured me for 29 of those years and I hope do that again in a heart beat. If the right man comes along. Elvy
You call Him Your "soul mate" and say You "love Him more than You love YourSelf.
You continue after that to list 5 negatives (Red Flags, each and every one!!)

It takes courage to read the signals...but, by Your own admission here, You have done that.... so take notice of what You see.

My feeling:

Being "Soul mates" is actually a RARE form of Intimacy.  A "Soul Mate" is SomeOne who We feel PROFOUNDLY Connected.  It's as though the Communicating and Communing that take place between the Two of Us happens without INTENTIONAL effort.  "Soul mate" is not a "thing", it has to do with Depth, Value, Relatedness, Heart, Personal Substance,etc.  Being "Soul Mates" is not a simple thing, it doesn't just appear - it Grows!! and it Builds!! and it Takes Time!!  "Soul Mates" are 2 People, Both with baggage (as We all have), Who, if They are lucky and work very hard at it can sometimes heal Each Other - and THEN We Become Soul Mates.

This I know is true.
I Thank you all for your insight. I really appreciate it. A lot has happened. I actually decided to go through with marrying him. Planned the wedding. Everything was set and ready to roll against my better judgement because I love him so much. Well, it was called off the day before.

Because there's a dowry involved and he could not afford to pay it we decided to fake it and let him bring a personal check that I would tear up after the wedding. My father somehow was privy to what was going on and asked how he plans on bringing it. Long story short, I spilled the secret. My dad called it off. My fiancé was at first fighting to make it right. Then angry. Then insisting we make it happen.

Needless to say I am utterly broken and humiliated. Not only did our wedding get called off by my family but we are no longer engaged. My dad made me send my ring back. We have been emailing but we're not allowed to talk. One day he wants me and the next he's going off about how we're so wrong for each other. It's been a roller coaster.

I'm depressed or something. I'm down to like 93 pounds of nothing. I can't eat I can't sleep. I'm suffering in the most horrible way. I know he may be sad too, but he has so much more experience with relationships and love-- I've never been in love before. I never had something that meant so much taken away in the blink of an eye. I know our life was going to be tumultuous and challenging but it was going to be ours. I hate that I'm still in my parents house and I hate that they took away my fiancé and I hate that I'm partly relieved and partly almost dying to be with him.

I'm struggling. I've tried to end it and it didn't work and I don't know how to just snap out of it and feel better. Even when I got divorced I wasn't this hurt or broken or distraught. This man means so much to me, with all his flaws. My dad insisted I send the ring back to him. And I asked him if I can keep it and he said no. He's a prick by all means and I hate myself for getting so messed up about losing him and our dreams and our plans.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to feel better.
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