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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently proposed to my girlfriend after having serious conversations about marriage, after praying about it and after meeting each other's parents and getting their blessing. However, there's only one unresolved issue that has me thinking twice about whether she is ready for marriage. Her first relationship was an abusive relationship. She was very much in love and because of that she didn't end things even when she knew she should have. We have had conversations about the importance of being open and honest with each other, and I have told her everything about my past, including the things I'm not proud of and that I hadn't shared with anyone else. However, for her it has been very difficult to talk about her first relationship. It has been 3 years since it ended and she assures me that she is over him and is absolutely sure that she wants to and is ready to marry me, but there are just certain things about her first relationship that are too painful to talk about; in fact, she has not talked to anyone about those things and hasn't even been able to talk to a counselor about them. She tells me that that she wants to share those things with me but is not ready to talk about it and doesn't think I would understand; she starts crying anytime we touch that subject.

I'm trying to be patient with her and not pressure her about it. But I am just concerned about what those things may be and about whether they could somehow affect our relationship. I've told her that I would want us to put everything out on the table before we get married, but she says she doesn't think she would be ready to talk about it before we get married (we are looking to marry later this year). Should I postpone our marriage until after she talks to me? If so, how do I do that without it seeming like I'm just pressuring to tell me? She has mentioned before that anytime I ask her about it, she feels like I'm pushing her away and has even told me that if I can't be patient with her, maybe I should just end our relationship. What should I do? Do I have reason to be worried? How much of our past should we really share with each other? Would it be okay to marry eve if I don't know about this part of her past, which obviously still has a lot of power over her?

Thanks in advance for any advice you could offer!
 

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If she isn't ready to even talk to her soon to be husband about these things, then she certainly isn't ready to be married.

My former relationship that ended nearly 4 years ago haunted me for a long time and I brought that baggage into my next relationship which evolved into my current marriage. I would not have wanted to have had the shoe on the other foot and married someone who was still dealing with baggage of her former relationship but it took me a long time to get over and there wasn't even "abuse" within that former relationship but rather just being dumped by someone who I loved and not being able to get her back.

You should postpone the wedding if there is already a date until she deals with these issues and shares them with you. Otherwise, you are going into a marriage completely blind which seems dangerous and which you may quickly regret.
 

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Does she still have feelings for her ex? If so, then I would not marry her. I'm not sure what your expecting to hear? What he did when he abused her? Something like that takes time to heal and she will need your total trust.

It took me 13 years to tell my husband I was sexually abused as a child. I wasn't going to tell him. I did and he went through a few emotions. I'm already healed from the issue and it doesn't effect our marriage. It took my hubby a while to get over his emotions, life is back to normal.

My first husband was and still is very abusive. We have one daughter together and he tore her apart emotionally. He is proud of what he does, he's a very sick person. I had no feelings of love for him. I regret marrying him in the first place. He put me through hell and back the whole year we were together. He stalked me after I left. He also stole my drivers license and checkbook out of my car, got himself a credit card in my name and maxed it out. This was after he took my existing credit card and maxed that too. My current husband paid off the bill in full when we first got married.

100% transparency doesn't happen right away in a marriage for everyone, even in the best relationships. Your best off never to push any issues. You may across as bossy or controlling. That's just my opinion. Good luck.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice so far. It's just a difficult situation for me. I love her and I trust her when she tells me that she's over him. But, the fact that she cries when she thinks about her previous relationship scares me. Is it painful because there's something she misses?

I wish she could open up to me about this before we get married, but I don't know if her not being able to tell me about this would be a cause for delaying and potentially putting an end to our relationship. If I tell her I want to delay our wedding, I assume she's going to think that's the reason and she's going to feel like I'm just pressuring her to do something she's not ready to do.
 

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I dont think you should delay the wedding. Some people go through some pretty awful things in life which they never share with anyone because they dont want to be judged as most of the time they blame themselves for what they have gone through. If she is not ready or doesnt ever want to talk about her past relationship with you i think you should respect that and be grateful for the simple fact that she trusts that you will not be like her x. Most people dont marry again or get into a serious relationship after ending a horrible relationship because they have the fear that they will never trust the person or love them etc... My advice would be to tell her that the past is the past and you love her and want to marry her. Good luck
 

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I think you should wait. I will write more when I get home and have a compiter. Basically she is exhibiting the signs of a person who has had a major trauma. Her ex didn't slap her once or twice. Whatever he did was way bigger.

I think she carries significant psychological trauma. Without good therapy it will not go away. Ironically, marriage can make it worse for her.
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John,
This is a GIGANTIC red flag. It is bigger than almost anything I can think of. There is ZERO chance I would marry someone who did this.

If you truly have resolve you can completely change the dynamic of this specific conversation. The way to do that is very simple. You tell her:
"Clearly you are not really ready to fully commit to me. I accept that and can be patient. When you are ready to fully share your demons and painful past with me we can revisit the idea of a lifelong commitment. Until then I am not ready to even think about scheduling a wedding".

You need to prepare yourself - she will likely do a massive "test" of your resolve and threaten to end it. And if you want to have ANY chance of a healthy, balanced long term relationship you need to firmly say "If my choices are to marry you KNOWING you have some major "secrets", or let you go I will sadly let you go". And then shut the heck up and do not say anything else. She will likely repeat the threat to dump you. Don't respond. You have alread told her your position. Repetition will only make you appear weak. Just be silent. And then go about your life as if nothing as happened and see what she does.

She is being incredibly emotionally manipulative.



I recently proposed to my girlfriend after having serious conversations about marriage, after praying about it and after meeting each other's parents and getting their blessing. However, there's only one unresolved issue that has me thinking twice about whether she is ready for marriage. Her first relationship was an abusive relationship. She was very much in love and because of that she didn't end things even when she knew she should have. We have had conversations about the importance of being open and honest with each other, and I have told her everything about my past, including the things I'm not proud of and that I hadn't shared with anyone else. However, for her it has been very difficult to talk about her first relationship. It has been 3 years since it ended and she assures me that she is over him and is absolutely sure that she wants to and is ready to marry me, but there are just certain things about her first relationship that are too painful to talk about; in fact, she has not talked to anyone about those things and hasn't even been able to talk to a counselor about them. She tells me that that she wants to share those things with me but is not ready to talk about it and doesn't think I would understand; she starts crying anytime we touch that subject.

I'm trying to be patient with her and not pressure her about it. But I am just concerned about what those things may be and about whether they could somehow affect our relationship. I've told her that I would want us to put everything out on the table before we get married, but she says she doesn't think she would be ready to talk about it before we get married (we are looking to marry later this year). Should I postpone our marriage until after she talks to me? If so, how do I do that without it seeming like I'm just pressuring to tell me? She has mentioned before that anytime I ask her about it, she feels like I'm pushing her away and has even told me that if I can't be patient with her, maybe I should just end our relationship. What should I do? Do I have reason to be worried? How much of our past should we really share with each other? Would it be okay to marry eve if I don't know about this part of her past, which obviously still has a lot of power over her?

Thanks in advance for any advice you could offer!
 

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I agree with most of the other replies. I would wait until she is able to discuss it with you. I still get emotional when I talk about what my stbx did to me (nothing physical...more emotional, lying, cheating, etc.) and I still find it difficult at times to talk about. I loved him a lot and he ripped me apart emotionally. I didn't even date for a year after we separated and I think that was a good move on my part.

She's got some unresolved issues that need to be taken care of BEFORE marriage. Try pre-marriage counseling and reassure her that you love her no matter what.
 

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There seems to quite a diversity of opinion here. I would say at least try to find out what kind of a thing she is hiding. Is it the abuse physical or verbal or what. Dont push her for all the gory details. I cant see why she cant even tell you that.
If yes, then I would go ahead and marry,
 

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Marriage is hard under the best of circumstances. There is no way you welcome that kind of unresolved baggage in. She either deals with it first or you don't get married. Seems too obvious to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
 

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You have an obligation to yourself to know whether she has been abused to a point that she cannot be a good, faithful, sexual, loving wife to you. I don't think you need to know the details, but you should avoid getting married until she has healed her issues in therapy.
 

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She tells me that that she wants to share those things with me but is not ready to talk about it and doesn't think I would understand; she starts crying anytime we touch that subject.
Have you asked her outright why she feels you would not understand ? Have you went above & beyond to show her with love that you would Understand ? You shared with her -your whole past, things you are not proud of- so you are not a judgemental Saint by any means. Is there anything she could say to you to have you loose respect or love for her? I am assuming not.


She fears vulnerability in this, and her crying everytime... this is terribly unresolved. If I was in your shoes, I would NOT be comfortable with it either.

You are your own individual, there are certain things we ALL want in a marraige, that is very very important to us....I would not like this "not trusting you enough" comment. Who is to say she will ever be ready to open up - if she can't do it now , there may never come a day, and if she refuses counseling, she may refuse it on other issues -after the marraige. Red flag for sure.

Some people don't need 100% Transparency in a marraige - some DO, they feel something is missing without it .... only you can determine how bothered you will be- if she never opens up to you. I feel people who have different ideas on Transparency, it can be a real issue after the marriage. (My last thread was on this very issue. )


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and has even told me that if I can't be patient with her, maybe I should just end our relationship.
And this right here ---HUGE ! She sounds too ready to throw it all away over not being willing to deal with something that is causing her great pain,tears. Her REFUSING to see a counselor even about her past , I just wouldn't be comfortable with this, if I was going into a marraige, I feel her holding back in this area, could be an indication of future issues in communication.

It may sound like you are not being loving, but again, this is your life, your future too, and if you are not comfortable going forth until this is resolved, on the table , that is your right. Nothing wrong with postponing. I wouldn't be comfortable with a future spouse feeling I wouldn't understand or not willing to see a counselor if I meant the death of our relationship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thank you all for your input. What I ultimately want to do is stand by her and make sure that our relationship can be as happy and succesful as possible. I'm just concerned about the impact these unresolved issues could have on the life-long relationship we would like to work towards.

What I'm leaning towards is telling her that she doesn't have to tell me anything if she's not ready, but that I feel she has certain unresolved issues that need to be addressed before we get married. I would then encourage her to talk to a counselor or a psychologist about these issues until she feels they've been resolved and then we could continue our conversations about marriage.

Would this be an adequate way to handle this situation, or is this inconsiderate in any way? Again, I don't want to force her to do anything, but I feel like even if she doesn't tell me, she should at least seek help elsewhere.
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Thank you all for your input. What I ultimately want to do is stand by her and make sure that our relationship can be as happy and succesful as possible. I'm just concerned about the impact these unresolved issues could have on the life-long relationship we would like to work towards.

What I'm leaning towards is telling her that she doesn't have to tell me anything if she's not ready, but that I feel she has certain unresolved issues that need to be addressed before we get married. I would then encourage her to talk to a counselor or a psychologist about these issues until she feels they've been resolved and then we could continue our conversations about marriage.

Would this be an adequate way to handle this situation, or is this inconsiderate in any way? Again, I don't want to force her to do anything, but I feel like even if she doesn't tell me, she should at least seek help elsewhere.
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John that sounds pretty good to me.

I've been married 29 yrs to a sex abuse victim, only finding out about it 6 months ago. She still hasn't told me really anything specific other than her approximate age and that it was a neighbor.

Don't expect her to ever tell you anything about it. That by itself is ok. You stand ready to be there to support her, and let her know that if she ever wants to talk to you about it you will be there.

Abuse is an area which is touchy to discuss on a public forum. I want to be fully respectful of all survivors of abuse/assault. So I will gently say that abuse/assault survivors live in a very different reality than the rest of us. What you think of as logical or reasonable may not be in the universe of possibility for your fiance.

It is a positive sign that she has told that the abuse happened. It is a negative sign that she is so affected by it. Meaning, the abuse seems to have been something significant. Which means the emotional scars will be significant. The fact that she cannot even speak to a therapist about it means that she has major emotional trauma.

The trust issue is huge. She is displaying that she does not trust you. Repeat: She is displaying that she does not trust you. She has told you that directly, plus you know it from her actions of withholding important information. The other thing you are seeing is that she finds it acceptable to keep important information from you. The third thing you are seeing is that she is hiding her innermost self from you (out of fear).

She fears you will find her disgusting or shameful if she tells you what really happened. She fears you will leave her as a result. So she doesn't trust you with the information she considers private. This demonstrates that she in some measure puts you in the same category as her abuser - UnTrustworthy.

So how do you think that might affect how she relates to you emotionally or sexually in a marriage?

As a point of information, many abuse survivors are able to be sexual before marriage. But once married they find it extraordinarily difficult to be sexual with the spouse because it is a close relationship. They may also find it impossible to have a true intimate emotional relationship.

I would advise any of my children not to marry anybody unless everything about the relationship was amazing. Your fiance can overcome her abuse with good therapy, and you two can have a fairly normal marriage. But I would not advise my kids to marry an abuse survivor until they have been through extensive therapy and there is real recovery.
 

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Sometimes, girls choose to marry to forget the pain she got from someone she was in love with before and get over him, to move on with life. You haven't mentioned how you two started off or how she feels about you or anything about your relationship.
But, if I must add, mostly women fall in love with their spouses and stick to them when they are supportive enough. You seem to be a brave man. You must support her.
Also, she might be scared to reveal things thinking you might leave her. Like you said, her first relationship was very abusive, it might haunt her still and she might be scared, plus the trauma she must have undergone. She will tell you about it herself once she is sure that you will stick around with her.
 

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Like you said, her first relationship was very abusive, it might haunt her still and she might be scared, plus the trauma she must have undergone. She will tell you about it herself once she is sure that you will stick around with her.
I wouldn't get married on the assumption that she will tell later.

Revealing details isn't really important. In fact, the important disclosure has already been made to him that she did experience an abusive relationship. It shows that she is not completely burying it.

To me the big issue is that she get good therapy so that she can recover to as normal a life as possible. Once she has made significant real recovery, I would be comfortable with going ahead with the marriage.
 

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Brother, you have a right to the information she withholding, considering you intend to marriage her. You mention you were open and honest about your past but she hiding something and you don't feel she being completely honest with you. What concerned me is her statement "If you can't be patient with her, you should move on. I honestly believe your soon to be wife not ready for marriage. I also believe if you marry her she will hurt you. You seem like an intelligent person, that have a lot to offer someone. I wish you the best! God bless
 
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