Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GW/BW — I just happily gave my fiance this ridiculous ring (way more than 2 month salary rule!). Now she’s telling me she’s going home for 10 days to see her folks and, “by the way, sweetie my ex- will be there for 3 days. But don’t worry! It’s over and we’re just friends.” She’s never lied to me (that I know of) and I almost feel guilty feeling so distrusting and jealous! Should I tell her how I feel or will I just look like a jerk who doesn’t trust his fiance? The guy’s name is James. — Uptight B/F
Dear Uptight B/F,
“James”?! That’s a cheater’s name if I ever heard one. It’s kind of cute with your “…that you know of…” conditional statement. But Ring Man, I think the investment you should be more worried about than that two-month’s salary-purchase, is your trust and belief(s) in how relationships work. Your unchecked attitude, my friend, is forever. I’m not saying your suspicions are necessarily wrong here (although who knows, they could be misdirected), just that it is possible to understand and change how we think (and therefore, what we attract to us) about things. The Pursuit of Truth is often different from the Pursuit of Happiness. Get straight on what drives you in your relationships, and you’ll be happier either way.
Now back to the future and how you unconsciously view trust in relationships. Were you ever cheated on in the past, did one or both of your parents cheat on the other? These types of past experiences could play havoc on your subconscious view(s) of what you expect from relationships today. Our Changing Your Perspectives chapter in Less Stress, More Life is all about recognizing unconscious expectations and updating those. You don’t have to keep partying like it’s 1999.
Otherwise, if you feel unencumbered by your past, just ask her straight up now! Today, you are still on track to spend the rest of your life with this woman, and it would be handy to find out now what she means when she says “just friends,” and why she’s seemingly suddenly (as reported by you, my brothah – or did she already tell you but now suddenly you’re hearing everything she’s saying?) going home for two weeks. Ask now or forever…you’ll hear her different spin on “it’s over.” I’m just sayin’.
Her side of it is just more info,
Dear Uptight B/F,
Your question brings up so many more questions for me. First, have you heard of this ex- before now? If you already knew they had a friendly relationship before this then I wonder that you are so worried now. Or have you known about this guy and felt uncomfortable with their relationship before this?
The real question is do you trust your fiancée? Whether or not some guy makes a play for her, you need to know without a doubt the person you are marrying is committed to the relationship with you. If you know on a gut level something is wrong, tell her straight out that the relationship feels too close to the cheating line for your comfort. But first, take some deep breaths, spend some time alone and write out your list of why the relationship works for you and what doesn’t. Be sure that you are seeing the whole situation with some balance. The conversation is not going to be easy.
Since, honestly, there is little you can do to control another person, let’s look at you. Why, I wonder, did you begin this question by telling us about the ring? It seems as though you are stressed and displaying an Automatic Stress Reaction (ASR) of Manipulate in this situation.
Manipulates want desperately to be loved. They give in a co-dependent sort of way that expects some form of “give-back” — not in some base tit-for-tat way, but rather as proof that they are loved. The question is: are you letting your stress get the better of your better judgment? Are you wanting your fiancée to give up her trip home so you can feel comfortable about the relationship? That would be deadly to the relationship, as well as controlling and co-dependent.
If you really believe that your fiancée would have an affair on you, I have to wonder that you proposed. Were you using the ring to seal the deal by placing a down payment on the relationship? Again, controlling, short sighted and poisonous to the relationship.
If, you are having a Manipulate stress brought on by taking the big step, coupled with sticker shock over the ring, BREATHE. Check out Less Stress, More Life, an ASR-specific stress management program. Do the Good List/Bad List exercise I suggested earlier to get some perspective on your relationship. If you truly do not feel confident in the relationship, I suggest checking out some books on intimacy (which has nothing to do with sex). I suggest The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved.
Bottom line, if it’s you: fix yourself and fix the relationship. If she’s really flirting with the cheating line, re-evaluate the relationship before walking down the aisle. Either way, you’ve got some real work to do before you say “I do.” We want you to have a happily ever after, not Deeply Hurt.
Truly, good luck,
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