General Question

carol00070's avatar

Why has he changed after getting engaged?

Asked by carol00070 (37 points ) June 24th, 2011

Last December my boyfriend proposed to me. You would think this would be a happy time, but now all we do is fight. I feel like he is always picking at me, my clothes (too tight) my job (thinks guys flirt with me) my past ( 20 years ago) He knew everything about me before proposing, so why all the grief??

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31 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

He seems to be very controlling and wants to change you into the sort of woman he wants you to be. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think I am. Sorry!

tom_g's avatar

Ask him?

Seelix's avatar

He might feel (consciously or subconsciously) that now that you’ve agreed to be his wife, he has the right to control you. Let him know he’s wrong.

WasCy's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

You waved two huge red flags in front of me. Surely you know what they are, and that’s why you raised them.

“Clothes too tight” and “thinks guys flirt with you” (and worse, he wants to blame you for the things that others do?). This guy is not only controlling, but irrationally so: he wants you to be responsible for how others behave toward you.

Knowing what I know about human nature (and men like this – I’ve seen their handiwork) I would strongly advise you to break off the engagement and make tracks.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I agree with the answers above mine.
He had better check himself or it will only get worse.

Cruiser's avatar

He sounds insecure and possessive. I doubt it will get any better for you. Maybe time to take a step back and make it very clear you will not allow him to change or control you in anyway shape or form.

marinelife's avatar

Run, don’t walk, away from this engagement.

Pay attention to these red flags. It will not get better when you get married. It will get worse.

Tell him that he is not the same man that you agreed to marry and give him back the ring.

ucme's avatar

Unfortunately some tossers…guys, as soon as they are engaged or married feel like they “own” their partner. Knock the fella into shape, or knock him out the door.

meiosis's avatar

As well as all the excellent advice above, I feel he could also be looking for an exit himself – the criticisms of you are his subconscious way of expressing his unease at being engaged, and looking for the coward’s way out of forcing you to do the dumping by being so umpleasant towards you. Do what he wants, and dump him.

(I’m no psychologist, so bear in mind I could well be talking out of my arse)

Haleth's avatar

Behavior like this can be the first step toward an abusive relationship.

Sunny2's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. This must be hard for you to hear, but I fear it’s true. It would be better to leave the relationship than to see what comes next . . and next . . .and NEXT.

seekingwolf's avatar

He sounds controlling and possessive. I would get help now with him, counselling or otherwise. If you don’t, you’re looking at a possible abusive relationship. If he doesn’t change NOW, he never well and it will get worse.

Buttonstc's avatar

Haleth just said what I was thinking while reading through.

He is now showing his true colors. Evidently his view of the engagement is that you now belong to him and he has the right to control you.

An abusive relationship ALWAYS starts out verbally at first and then escalates. Thats logical since any sensible person would immediately leave if it started physically. But the verbal abuse begins to set up a habit pattern so that by the time it escalates to the physical, the habit is more difficult to break.

The time for you to leave is now. What he is doing IS verbal abuse, make no mistake abput it. Hes demeaning and accusing you, blaming you for things that are clearly not your fault. His statements clearly make no logical sense and are based in his sense of entitlement to control you.

If you think you can appease him by giving in to show him how much you truly love him, yada yada yada, and this will magically change him, you are wrong. You cant change him. He will be the one changing you and corroding your self esteem the longer you stay.

His actions now are a clear deal breaker. Get out now while you still can. Run, dont walk.

And when he tries to cajole you into coming back by swearing he will change, dont believe it until you meet with his therapist of at least a year.

I’m really not kidding about that. Until he comes to the realization of just how abusive his attitude truly is, he has no motivation to really change his ways. And change on that level takes time and insight (usually with the help of a reputable skilled professional)

WasCy's avatar

Excellent analysis of the likely progression, @Buttonstc.

I’d predict that the next thing to happen, should the OP decide to take our collective advice and announce, “This engagement is over; I’m leaving. Here is your ring back,” would be that he’ll turn on the waterworks, make all kinds of promises and commitments to “be a better man” and “change”, probably with an accompaniment of gifts (since he would have been sent back to the “wooing” stage) ... and a request that she change “just a few things” as well, for the sake of “fairness”.

I’d bet that one of the requests would be to stop going onto the Internet and talking to strangers…

Isn’t it odd that a bunch of strangers that she’s never met has more good will toward her than her own nominal fiancĂ©?

Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately this same pattern has been repeated over and over again with startling predictability.

I sincerely hope she listens to the collective wisdom here and gets out and finds someone who will love and cherish her as she deserves. But when someone is in that first stage of attraction it’s sometimes difficult to see and think objectively.

However, she always has the option of getting a second opinion from a professional. The best investment to make would be a solo visit to a therapist (without the boyfriend) to get a second opinion. I’m sure that if she accurately described his behavior as she has done here, any competent, experienced professional would be giving a similar warning.

Hopefully it doesn’t take numerous years of misery for her to ditch this guy and find her self esteem.

Hopefully. I’m sort of an optimist by nature :)

SpatzieLover's avatar

Everyone’s advice above is spot on.

This is your time to really examine him and his family dynamics. How do his parents get along? The rest of his family? Does your fiance have friends? How does he treat them?

If this were happening to me, I’d get out of dodge now while I still could do so easily.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why do you tolerate it?

carol00070's avatar

Its over, thanks for all of the advice… i just wish i didnt feel so sad, i feel like its my fault for not being more understanding, he said i was defensive, wouldnt anyone be defensive being judged for their past?? such along ago past at that (20 years ago, i was a dancer) wouldnt anyone be defensive about their job (i’ve had the same job for the last 7 yrs, card dealer for in a casino) ... i feel horrible about myself, i was going to marry this man, we were going to buy a house and live happily ever after… what did i do that was so wrong??? I dont go out to bars, i dont go out, i gamble maybe twice a year…what did i do that was so unforgivable?? to be called a whore?? slut?? please be honest here, i know my past could be hard for someone to accept, but to have it brought up constantly, why would something i did 20 years ago affect him so deeply?? He knew about my past from the get go, i never lied.

SpatzieLover's avatar

You did nothing wrong. Take time for yourself now. Build your self-esteem back up. After a month or so without him, I’ll bet you’ll see this picture clearer.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@carol00070 -For him to call you names like that is more of a reflection on him than you.You are well rid of a “man” that treats you that way.<<HUGS>>

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure if I can give you insight into the mind of a jealous person, because it is so visceral and it doesn’t really make sense.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by dancer, but I think you are referring to dancing in a strip club. Correct me if I am wrong. If that is the case, then you are surrounded by the aura of wanton sexuality in his mind, probably no matter what you do. He could be imagining all kinds of things—but the worst might be sex with a lot of men and sex for money.

Being told this is one thing. It makes you exciting at first. It creates the image of someone who loves sex and who will get all wild with you. But later on, it creates doubts. If you were so wanton back then, have you really changed? What if you don’t find him to be good in bed after a while, will you go looking for other men? Can you be trusted?

This stems from insecurity on his own part. He doesn’t feel like he can match the standards you are used to, and so he has to control your every movement to make sure you don’t get access to other men, as others have described above.

He needs therapy to help him work through his insecurities. He probably would never admit to having insecurities.

There’s also another shameful thing. I don’t know this for sure, but it could be going on. There is this sense of ownership that I believe is built into men. The woman’s vagina belongs to them and the thought of anyone else being in there makes it dirty and contaminated. It’s a visceral image, imagining some other man where you belong, and it can drive you round the bend.

Getting past that can be difficult. I think it’s a competitive thing, too. Not just possessiveness.

It’s getting messy now, and I don’t know if I can shed any more light on it. It’s largely psychological and self esteem and competition and possessiveness all get tied together and they may not matter at first, but little is at stake at first. Now you’re getting married and he’s thinking you were that other woman, but are you really now wife material? Are you staid and sober and moral enough? And he fears not, and reacts badly.

WasCy's avatar

Grief will make you feel bad about everything, @carol00070. “I could have been a better [fill in the blank]. I could have done a better job of [fill in a list of blanks].”

You have to accept the grief, work your way through it, and then try to put it behind you. You feel awful now – and you will feel bad for a while longer, but that time will end – and then you won’t have to feel bad about being with someone like that for the rest of your life.

carol00070's avatar

He does admit his insecuries, we have talked about them and everything you have said is what has been told to me… he says he doesnt want to feel this way, but cant stop himself its always at the back of his mind (he text me awhile ago and said he called a relationship therapist) i urged him to go before with me or without, jealousy is not healthy…hopefully he is serious about it.. I hate this because i am so in love with him and this tears me apart inside, how can i stay with someone who treats me this way?? can he change?? get over it?? realize that i am not the same girl 20 years ago?? or will this always be an issue?? am i damaged goods??

SpatzieLover's avatar

Can he change? Highly unlikely without professional help.

WasCy's avatar

We’re all damaged goods, @carol00070, in one way or another. But some of us are also carriers, and that sounds like one of his problems.

Seelix's avatar

You deserve better. Distance yourself from him and don’t blame yourself. Give yourself a little time and things will look brighter.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Reads like he may have thought becoming engaged to him would change you in ways he’s wanted but maybe not shared with you before and now it’s just complaints? Why is he insecure that you are being flirted with? Does he think you’re provoking the flirtations or is he so controlling he wants to eliminate flirtations? Why does he think there’s a chance you’d like to return to being the girl you were 20 years ago? Does he think you miss whatever behaviors he associates with those times? Does he think you don’t like your life as it is better now?

I know it’s important to me to know where a person stands about what they’ve changed. Did they do it out of peer pressure but not really self improvement? That kind of thing. A therapist might be good for both of you to talk deeply in front of each other topics neither of you is comfortable bringing up directly when alone just you two. You’ve got to be honest though so if a break seems the best idea there will be less panic, hurt, shame or bitterness.

Buttonstc's avatar

You need to get it straight in your head that dancing was something you did (PAST TENSE) for a period of time 20 years ago to make a living.

It is not who you are or you’d still be doing it. You did what very few others have managed to do without going back again and again. 20 years ago is clearly in the past.

It might be helpful for you to spend a little time with a therapist. If you’ve truly forgiven yourself for whatever is in your past, it will no longer make you insecure and questioning yourself every time some controlling nitwit wants to throw it up in your face.

Abusive and controlling men ALWAYS put the blame on the other person.

“well if you hadn’t done this then I wouldn’t have (you fill in the blank)”

If he had truly found your past from 20 years ago to be that disturbing, he should never have stayed with you long enough to propose marriage.

Abusers need to find someone to control and it makes controlling someone easier if they have a past that can be looked down upon.

If you have truly forgiven yourself you wouldn’t still be vulnerable when someone tries to shame you with the irrelevancy of a long ago past and you wouldn’t be giving off a vibe of dependency.

It took inner strength for you to leave that behind. You need to get more in touch with your inner strength. Predatory people feed on weakness.

Yes, it will be painful for awhile getting used to being without him. But you don’t need to be with someone who would stoop to calling you a whore and constantly putting you down (for whatever IMAGINED justification he thinks is his right). The past is the past and 20 years is a long time.

You need to focus on building a future with or without another guy. But there are plenty of decent men out there realistic enough to realize how long ago that was and treat you respectfully for who you are (not for what you used to do in the distant past)

You are not a dancer now. But you do need to break the habits of that subservient people-pleasing mentality. 20 years ago it was necessary to get men’s approval and bigger tips or whatever.

Now it’s no longer necessary and is dragging you down.

If you can learn how to (metaphorically) hold your head up high and be proud of the person you are and the changes you’ve made from 20 years ago, I guarantee that you’ll start attracting a better category of men.

Those who would seek to control you by trying to shame you with your past will no longer be attracted to you like a magnet.

There is an interesting quote from Eleanor Roosevelt which you might find thought provoking and see the truth in:

“No one can insult you without your permission.”

If a guy senses that you haven’t forgiven yourself your past, then subconsciously he figures he can throw it up in your face to gain an advantage.

A gentleman wouldn’t stoop to that. A controlling abuser wouldn’t hesitate since it gives him the perfect excuse to avoid responsibility for his own outrageous behavior.

Everybody has a past. And I’ve often heard a very smart woman (Maya Angelou) say: “when you know better, you do better.”

20 years ago you were still a kid and had very little sense of yourself. You chose to make really good money cuz it was convenient and easy but not necessarily the wisest choice. And at some point, you matured a bit and made a more sensible choice. When you knew better, you did better.

I would strongly urge you to invest in yourself and spend time with a therapist so you can be proud of yourself for the positive changes you’ve made in your life instead of being ashamed for the folly of your youth.

You can’t time travel back to the past and undo it. All you can do is leave the past in the past, be proud of yourself and live in integrity and reach out for the happiness you deserve.

If he wants to go to therapy for himself that’s a totally separate issue and I personally would regard it as just empty words until he had at least a year’s worth of commitment to a therapist behind him.

Guys like him don’t normally change. It’s much easier for them to place the blame elsewhere.

Get in touch with your own self esteem for a decent length of time before ever contemplating even speaking to him again.

You just don’t need that kind of toxicity in your life. There are plenty of men who can treasure you for who you are rather than what you used to do.

But you have to believe it yourself first. You need to realize that you are indeed worthy of trust and are entitled to be treated with respect rather than being called a whore.

Go find a therapist who knows how to put you in touch with that. Learn from this unfortunate experience and move on. Find the type of guy you truly deserve.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

He’s abusive; leave now, forever.

Kardamom's avatar

@Buttonstc said it all and said it with compassion and eloquence. Please, Please, PLEASE re-read those posts.

Everytime you start to feel like crap (because he’s making you feel like crap) re-read those posts again.

Dump this controlling, mysogynistic loser now and get yourself some good, practical compassionate (and temporary) help from a good therapist. That way, the next time some slick douche-bag comes swooping into your life, you can just laugh and say, “Really? Now shoo!”

And like @WasCy said, we’re all damaged goods (according to someone’s ideals). I say damaged shmamaged! as long as you can put all (or most) of the pieces back together, and you’re not out to damage anyone else, then you’re good to go. Good luck to you, dear.

chyna's avatar

You can tell him “accept me as I am and shut up about it or walk. I don’t need someone trying to make me feel bad about my life choices.”

If you marry him, it will only get worse. He will think he has won.

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