A reader wonders if her fiancé's behavior is a red flag or a major stop sign. Read Dr. Sherry's advice!
You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
My best friend of seven years is the man of my dreams. He is super sexy, 50 year's old with a hot body and a killer dimpled smile. We pray together, cook together and we are each other's calmness through the storms. Both of our prior marriages were nightmares and we agreed neither of us would do that again until we were more than sure we were ready. We both have teenage sons from our previous marriages and they get along great. He recently asked me to marry him with a 2-carat diamond ring that is every girl's dream. Shortly after that, his son started getting into trouble and hanging in the streets, plus back-to-back phone calls from his school and the police. Any time I gently comment or question any situation, he tells me, "Maybe you’re not meant to be my wife after all." We've helped each other with other situations with our kids. Why the sudden change? Why am I suddenly wrong to speak up? I'm confused. Is he trying to get out of getting married? Should we put it off until our kids are all grown up? Or, consider us better friends than life partners?
Ms. Mixed Signals
It is obvious that the man of your dreams may have some nightmares of his own. He has some issues going on that he is unwilling to talk with you about. It is interesting that he is willing to sacrifice, if not jeopardize, your engagement and the possibility of marriage over them. When he says "maybe you’re not meant to be my wife after all," that is an exit statement. This may be his way of saying he does not want to get married and blaming it on you. At best, it may be his way of attempting to control you and/or your input.
It is also interesting that problems with his son and issues communicating with you did not emerge until after the two of you became engaged. Teenagers acting out and getting into trouble after one parent decides to remarry is not unusual. This is often their way of trying to get attention and control their parent. If his son's mother is around, his behaviors may be his way of trying to get his parents back together. While these behaviors can be expected from teens, your fiancé's responses to your concerns are not expected or acceptable. It is likely that your fiancé is holding on to some guilt regarding his son and possibly some unresolved issues with his son's mother. He is shutting you out rather than being up front with you and dealing with issues. How he is choosing to deal with this issue is a clear example of how he will deal with issues later. You must ask yourself if you are willing to accept this. If you are not careful and you don’t really work these things out, you may find yourself with a divided household consisting of you and your son versus your fiancé and his son.
This can easily become a battle that will make it so that you will never unite as a real family. Again, you must ask yourself if that is what you want in a relationship or a marriage. I would suggest that you and your fiancé seek couples therapy. This would give you a chance to deal with what is really going on with him. If he refuses to go, you must make some tough decisions for you and your son's future. Your fiancé has already indicated that "maybe" he does not want a wife. The question for you is, do you want a husband given this current situation. Do not be held hostage by an engagement ring. Remember, the ring does not mean a thing without the basics that make a strong marriage! -- Dr. Sherry
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