Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.
After the first paragraph, I was thinking DTMFA. But this is the giant red flag to end all red flags. Like if the Cold War commies wanted to upscale us decadent capitalists, they would have taken this red flag and draped it across all 11 time zones of Mother Russia.
D! T! M! F! A!!!!!!
But at least he didn't tell us that his fiancee is a masseur.
This child has a dad, so he is covered, though I'm sure he'd miss you.
Seeing you said you don't want to kick her to the curb, how about telling her the truth? That she is manipulative and seriously risking your love and commitment to her. Give her fair warning these behaviour have to stop or you are out.
Suggest she go do some real work on herself re her jealousy and " feeling" control.
If you do end up breaking with her, let the child know how much you care for him, that it just didn't work with his mother.
(I seriously couldn't scratch the surface of that particular barrel of fuck. She was always very nice and personable around me, but we lived in the same house and I guess she didn't know that we all heard her screaming through the walls. She was so jealous that she completely flipped at him once when he called her from the airport after a work trip, because she could hear a woman talking in the background on the call...it was his sister...who she KNEW was going to be picking her husband up from the airport. She then made him quit the job - at the height of the recession, with nothing else lined up - because of 'her feelings' about him travelling for work, and therefore having the purely theoretical opportunity to cheat on her. Anyone that 'jealous' has some deep-seated issues about self-worth, boundaries and control, and the more you abide by their 'feelings', the worse they will treat you.)
She knows she can emotionally manipulate you. So she does. LW, If you *really* want to stay with her, stop being manipulated. Next time one of those "social events" comes up, or you're in public, say 'If you want to leave the party, fine. I'm enjoying myself. Take the car & I'll get a cab home.' or 'If you're going to be a downer at this event, I'm leaving. I would love to have a fun time with you, but I'm not going to coddle you if you choose to be a bitch. I'm going to go to and enjoy myself there. You can stay here or come with, but I'm not interested in you coming if you're going to continue to be a bitch.'
I doubt the fiance enjoys herself when she's being petty and irrational, and I'm sure on some level she knows it's in her head, but just doesn't have the success controlling it. Or she hasn't yet had the opportunity to see how poisonous that kind of thinking (and acting on it) is. I'd encourage LW to give her fair warning. Tell her that he loves her and her son and he doesn't want to end the relationship, but that he can't continue living with her irrational outbursts and control. There needs to be a change or the relationship can't continue. And then follow through.
The things on her list will fall into one of 2 categories. Most likely, they'll be ridiculous vague things that you're unable to do, things like "don't make me jealous," or "don't talk to women ever" or "don't look at women with that expression"-- which can lead to some conversation asking her to be specific about which expression. The idea is to help her see that she's asking the impossible. You then tell her that you're unable to comply and break off the engagement.
There's also the possibility that she'll name something specific like "let me look through you phone history" or "give me the passwords to your computer" or "don't go to parties." At that point, you decide if these are things you can live with. Probably not in which case it makes your decision to break up with her easier. If by some miracle the things she lists are things you don't mind doing, something like "no shared accommodations with women at business conferences," agree to that and put off the wedding date for a while. In time, you'll keep to your side of the bargain, but she won't keep hers. She'll get jealous over something that's not on her list. THEN you break up with her, but you'll feel better about it. You'll have something specific to go by. You'll feel more like she's the one who broke it off because she broke a promise.
She might, without prompting, say "I promise to ..." And then she'll break her promise. So you point out that you're leaving because of something that she did.
See how this keeps the guilt at bay? It's recognizing irreconcilable differences before they get to that point.
Even better if you actually set your hair on fire for added dramatic effect. Bonus points.
He's not the guilty party, she is. He should not feel any guilt at all. But if he does, he can go to therapy on his own once he's broken it off. That would be constructive, instead of the waste of time and energy you suggest.
As Eud says @ 21, it's something to try only if you can't run away from this whole thing. He can, and he should.
That said, since we're on this subject, let me take this occasion to remind everyone that "ménage à trois" doesn't mean "threesome". It's an ironic way to describe a situation where one of the spouses has a lover. Since "ménage" refers to living arrangements, you can also use it non-ironically to talk about a triad. (Sorry for the digression, but this one really gets on my nerves.)
Just speaking as an ex-Catholic...
Just speaking as an ex-Catholic who actually managed to get rid of all the useless guilt feelings.
That said, I actually don't disagree with Eud and Ricardo. I'm not suggesting that TOM should go into counseling with his jealous girlfriend. I agree that he should break it off with her. Maybe that's abbreviated as "RUN!!!" But I'm looking at his own words: "My hunch is that you'll tell me to walk away, but I'm afraid to leave and of the drama that will unfold with her and her son with whom I've grown close, and I also do love her."
Life is full of things that we know we should do. (Exercise. Get a job. Lose weight. Stop smoking. Just say no. Break up with your crazy jealous fiancee.) The trouble is that we humans have a tough time doing the things we know we should do. It's rare when people are truly unaware of something that's obvious to everyone else. (Really? I should lose weight? Really, exercise? I had no idea /s) Sometimes someone writes to Dan or gets into therapy because they honestly don't know what to do, but I suspect that it's more likely that they write because they know but feel bad about it, or they know but something is holding them back. They're asking for some tips, some recipe, to help.
That's where my idea for asking Ms. Tom to clarify what would satisfy her jealousy comes from. It would help TOM make the break, help him realize that life with her as it stands is never going to get any better. No, he has nothing to feel guilty about, but that fact that's so obvious to us isn't trickling down to the place in his mind where he needs to hear it.
I think the LW should give her one last chance before he dumps her (and tell her it's her last chance). Probably won't work, but seems only fair.
I kinda like the Shamu strategy though.
So, he'd rather endure the next many yrs being emotionally controlled.
LW, you are just going to have to face the drama and the grief/ sadness of moving out of this woman and her child's life, and as Fan suggested do some therapy yourself before you get linked up with any new romantic interest.
Then look for a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and whose definition of love includes wanting her partner to be happy.
This probably does speak to an underlying insecurity on the fiancee's part. It's not necessarily that the LW & the crazy are an interracial couple, though. I've actually seen that dynamic most often in a couple consisting of a black man and a black woman.
That may explain part of the LW's reluctance to leave. There are circles that foster some pretty toxic attitudes: black men who date white women are race traitors, black men are all philanderers, etc. If that's what's going on here, the LW is not only being manipulated by the crazy fiancee, but there's a larger social stigma that's making it harder for him to leave.
He may feel the need to martyr himself to abuse in order to disprove those stereotypes. And she may feel that her irrational behavior is the only way to hang onto a man if she isn't confident in her own attractiveness, not realizing that it's the very thing that's going to drive him away.
The woman is using the race card to control him.
Additionally, anti-anxiety meds are almost always benzos, and (as someone who was unfortunately on them for years for a sleep disorder) not only do they make you kind of crazy while you're under their influence, they cause such a strong physical dependency that people start going into withdrawal (extreme and irrational anxiety and negative emotions being a chief sign of benzo withdrawal) in between their doses if the dose isn't regularly increased. Because the withdrawal symptoms resemble the original symptom set so much, though, they are rarely seen for what they are.
This is an abusive relationship. Same tactics abusive men use to keep women in relationships.
There are other women out there you can have good sex with.
That's very true. And then we regret having broken them. Believe me!
Thanks for writing in, TeeDR
Good luck. It sounds like you've been put through the ringer, and she'll probably keep putting you through it as long as she can. People like power, and they'll keep doing whatever seems to get them more of it.
It will hurt you and them. You can't sacrifice yourself though.
Make a time and place to talk with her, without the child present, and just tell her you are done. Be firm and clear in your language, sometimes ruthless honesty is all you got.
If she allows you too, keep seeing the child as his friend. If she doesn't allow, make sure you let the child know this, and that you have love for him.
At five, he will understand.
Tell her that her jealousy is making it impossible for you to stay in the relationship. Ask her to tell you what specifically it would take for her to dial back (massively) on her controlling behavior. Have a clear sense of what is and what isn't acceptable to you beforehand. If you can't agree, leave. If she doesn't stick to her end of the bargain, leave.
I think you have maybe a 10% chance that will work. But a) isn't love all about improbable odds? and b) in the remaining 90%, you will at least have some degree of certainty that you tried everything and should have very few lingering doubts.
She says she was dumped without a warning so she didn't have a chance to reform, but who knows if she hadn't already received a hundred warnings that she chose to ignore or failed to take seriously, like the two jealous guys I had LTRs with (who were "really surprised" and "didn't understand" when I told them it was over, in spite of all the discussions we had had on the subject).
Now she wants the LW, who's obviously already endured more than he should have, to stay with this woman who's making him miserable just because she won't admit that she herself went too far with er ex, and now she's projecting that onto his relationship. And her argument is "you're otherwise happy", as if we didn't all know that people who have an abusive partner always try to convince themselves (and Dan, when they write him) that they are otherwise happy... except, of course, when they're utterly miserable, which ends up being most of the time.
There's a reason we have shelters, instead of just telling people "Nah, I'm sure this time he means it when he says he'll stop hitting you."
The problem isn't that she's jealous, the problem is that she's figured out that having hurt feelings leads to having more control over her environment. People love having control over their environment. If you force her to get the jealousy under control, she'll just become hypersensitive about something else.
I'm three years out of a 24 year marriage to someone like this.
I kept the kids and the debt and she kept the assets all of which I generated. I kept my willingness to work and to trust, she kept her unwillingness to work and to trust. We still have eighteen months and at least fifty grand left to waste on her quest to convince a court that I am sexually inappropriate with my teenage daughters.
We went through an insidious decades long escalation from making me call off being the long planned official date for a friend at a function six weeks into our relationship, through cutting off all my female and most of my male friends, through accidental pregnancies every time I started something that was going to be hard work but great (university degree, tough jobs that were great for my career) all the way up to accusing me of having affairs with people I had never seen outside work and and accusing me of abusing my children. Eventually I cracked after realising that I was not allowed to go shopping or to the movies by myself (let alone a conference) and that I was terrified others would find out about her accusations.
A few rape and violence allegations and a relentless campaign to extract false allegations out of my children later I am coming out the other side. Now I am that guy she always knew I was: I love another woman.
Dan's right. Your fiancee is right. You need another woman. It is true that she will probably withhold the kid from you. Sorry. This is going to hurt you a real lot either way.
Even though he has been a part of the child's life for so many years.
How can anyone think this sort of behaviour can come under the label, love.
Sorry to hear of the pain and horror you have been enduring.
Though I disagree with one sentence: "You need another woman." No, he doesn't -- he just doesn't need THIS woman. Being single for a while until he can rebuild some self-respect and self-esteem is probably much better than jumping straight into the arms of someone who might turn out to be equally awful.
Seconding 52: Is there anything someone could have said to you that would've made a difference?
Organize a place where you can stay first up. Swear them to secrecy. Get your important papers out of the house ASAP. Then other stuff you really want. But by bit. Draw no suspicion on yourself, till you ready to walk out that door and man the battlefields. Cause that's what is ahead of you.
Forwarned is Forarmed.
Please let us know how you do, and yes sorry, I think the deepest cut will be between you and the boy. Make sure you find him and tell him of your love. His father will keep his eye on him?
Just tell her one night/ sat whatever, when the child just left for his dad's, and be ready to walk out the door.
She will explode and best the child protected from that. Maybe tell the father after you tell her, what has happened.
Kind and clear language, leave her no room to misunderstand your decision. Whatever that decision is.
Good luck. Take care.