My fiance and I have been together three years, the entire time long distance. A few years ago he was diagnosed with PTSD, and only recently has he started to come out of his depression. Before the end of last year, he cheated on me with a bride-to-be. I found out after going through his messages after my suspicion had reached breaking point after months. He’s been cheated on before and promised me he could never do that to me. I was pushing him away for a couple of months because of my own issues, that I thought he wouldn’t help me with because it always seemed to be about him and he got upset with me every time I was upset. I later learned this was definitely emotional abuse.
After the shit hit the fan, I laid down the law. I told him that if he wanted to continue to be in this relationship that I wasn’t going to take any of his shit anymore. He told me the cheating was a mistake (he only kissed her, but then was texting her as if they were in a psuedo relationship, when I was sitting right beside him). Since then, he’s been wonderful. And I have been stronger in our relationship, letting him know that certain things are not on, and while he’s being kept on a short leash, he’s accepted that what he did was wrong, and he got help and has moved past his past trauma. We’ve become a stronger couple for it, and in January he asked me to marry him.
The thing is, sometimes I feel foolish, and I think the point of me writing to you was perhaps maybe getting some wisdom in that was I right to continue the relationship and will it be okay? Is it possible for us to be happy and loyal to each other after that? I feel like it is, I guess because no one but us knows about it I just think I need some guidance or reassurance. I feel like he’s become a new man and I just wonder if it’s possible that it will keep getting better. Sorry for the essay. Thanks RC. Jess
Not all relationships start out as a bed of roses, so of course there’s every chance you can be happy and loyal to one another going forward. Two things that do concern me though: firstly, the emotional abuse you mention and the fact that you didn’t feel you could burden him with your issues (because he had so much of his own shit going on). Has that changed? You want the guy you settle down with to be as supportive of you – in bad times and good – as you are of him. Have you talked about how you’ll deal with problems in the future? Since the engagement, have you dealt with any major issues? Have they been handled differently and to your satisfaction? We think love will fix all, but it can’t and it doesn’t and sweeping a messed up relationship dynamic under the rug is no way to start a marriage.
The other red flag is that he cheated end of last year, but you got engaged in January. That’s very… soon. Maybe too soon. I’m just wondering if you could’ve done with more time for the relationship to recover and to really see how serious he was about making it up to you and to work on making sure you had a super solid foundation before putting a ring on it. Call me cynical but I just worry that the romance of an engagement might have been a bit of a bandaid solution for you to forget or brush aside what he did – whether intentionally or sub-consciously on one or both of your parts. Something to think about anyhow, Jess. Maybe over a really long engagement?
Love, reality chick