Patricia Redlich

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Want To Marry My Lover

January 24th, 2010


I am having some recurring problems with my fiancée. She is 28 and I am two years older. We've been together on and off for six years and have a child together, who is the love of our life.

For the first few years I was a horrible person, cheating, over-controlling, dismissive. I just didn't take the relationship seriously. After our child was born, the tables turned. I became the soft, loving, affectionate and compassionate one. My fiancée then moved out and cheated repeatedly on me. We have reconciled, but live apart, which has been hard since we both have trust issues, as you can imagine.

I've been working really hard on the relationship. I even went to a marriage counsellor, alone! My fiancée, however, has always run away from problems. When we plan to do something together, and it no longer suits her, she just lies. She doesn't stick to any agreement we make either. We organised a financial arrangement, which I deliver on. But we also agreed on a schedule of time together as a couple, which she regularly backs out of. I don't know if we're both wrong, and if so, how to fix it. I try to be patient, but end up getting angry.

In her defence, I am a recovering sex addict. I had problems showing affection, or feeling emotionally secure, without sex. And I know I'm anxious and pushy about making it work. What can I do?

Face the truth. The child you have together is the love of your life - of both your lives. You've told me so yourself. That being the case, your relationship is not about sexual faithfulness, or spending time together as a twosome. What you need to work on is how to be good parents together.

In your head, having a child and being a couple are intertwined. You had a baby, and discovered a desire to be a faithful, committed partner to your girlfriend. Put bluntly, your girlfriend - or fiancée as you call her - clearly doesn't want that. I'd say she was leaving you anyway. The fact that she got pregnant didn't halt her on her journey out. She's not mixing up the roles of parent and partner. From all you've said, it seems clear she doesn't want you as a husband. She does, however, want you involved.

I don't like being tough, but you do need to wake up. Look at the issue of money. You made a financial commitment. In your eyes, however, it was a commitment to a partner. The deal, in your eyes, was that you'd spend time together, on a regular basis. That shows you don't really get it. A financial commitment is essential, since this is your child. It's child support, not a quid pro quo for romantic togetherness.

You are quite right. Your girlfriend is running away from the problem. She's certainly not coming clean. She wants you as an involved father - financially certainly, and probably as a social support too. She sees you're singing from a different hymn sheet, thinking of partnership rather than parenthood. She doesn't know how to set you straight. Perhaps she's afraid you'll bale out. Perhaps she just hasn't got the skills to break through your denial.

Look, the bottom line is that you're still being a bully. You are relentlessly pursuing your own agenda, and not taking on board anything your girlfriend actually does, as opposed to says. Step back and list her actions. She's moved out. She breaks dates. She leaves you alone with the marriage counsellor. She reneges on agreements about togetherness. Do I need to spell it out? You and your girlfriend haven't reconciled. She is not your fiancée. She is the mother of your child, whom you both love. Full stop.

I see you want to be a decent human being. Then be one. Face down your denial of reality, that enemy of every addict. Make it clear to your girlfriend that you're a committed father. Tell her that you're going to do the right thing by your child, financially, emotionally, practically. Make it clear that you're going to be generous with your time, faithfully coming up trumps as a father, for as long as you're needed, on every front. And then butt out of her life. Stop making demands for intimacy. Show her you can separate fatherhood and romantic togetherness. Just do the right thing, and see how it everything else pans out.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design