Advice: Is he getting cold feet?

Last updated 05:00 06/12/2012

They've been together for three years, but lately he's been freaking out whenever they discuss the wedding. Is he getting cold feet?

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My fiance and I have been together almost three years. For the past month he has been showing very little interest in me (including in the bedroom) and when he does pay attention to me it's usually only to snap at me for something I've said or done that he considers stupid. For example if I ask what he wants on his sandwich, he snaps at me saying I'm making it so I decide, if he has to decide then he may as well make it. This isn't said in a calm manner though, he raises his voice and shakes his head as if he can't believe my stupidity in asking such a question.

Recently he has been complaining about the cost of our wedding, which is two years away. I wanted a small wedding from the start but he has a big family and wants to invite everyone so it's going to be much larger and therefore will cost more. I am ok with a big wedding and I'm making savings where I can, but he keeps complaining about the ridiculous cost for "just one day". He's also been complaining about the cost of the engagement ring, which is still on layby.

I'm currently planning a trip up north over Christmas and last night I said my family wants to go to Rainbow's End so we should go too. Then he lost it and said "stop acting like we're married already!" He got quite heated about it.

I tried to ask him to be more specific as I don't know what I'm doing that makes him feel like we're married, we both work fulltime, have separate bank accounts, have separate cars, don't really have the same friends, go halves in the bills, we even do our washing separately. I take care of the bills, just tell him how much we need to pay and by when. All I did was suggest that it might be cool to go with my family to Rainbow's End and that means I'm acting like we're married already?

I tried to talk to him about it this morning, he said he doesn't want us to break up and doesn't want to take the ring off layby, still wants to get married etc but I just need to listen to what he said and stop doing what I'm doing.

I don't know what to do because I feel like we're living completely separate lives but he feels that I'm trying to control his life.

Frustrated

This is a significant issue for your relationship and you are right to seek help. The way he is dealing with whatever it is that is going on for him is not ok and it is important some change happens for both of you.

It sounds like you are struggling to figure out what to do or say that will keep him happy and somehow the wedding has become the symptom for whatever else isn't working for you both. It may be worth you both stopping and rethinking why you want to get married, what you are both wanting from marriage and what would be different in your relationship and day to day life than it is now.

I wonder if something happened a month ago, or if this behaviour something that has been creeping into your relationship for some time? If you think about the pattern in your relationship, can you identify if you make decisions together and do you think you both feel like you have an equal say? If you both agree on something and it doesn't work out, is it only you who gets blamed or do you share that responsibility? Do you feel like you are beginning to walk on eggshells around him and are worried about how he will react if you start a conversation? 

You need to set some firm boundaries now and say that although you are willing to discuss what he is wanting to be different in the relationship, and you are interested in why his behaviour towards you has changed, you are not prepared to be treated in this way. You may both need to learn some new ways to talk together so you connect and in these circumstances a skilled couple counsellor can often provide the kind of environment where you get things sorted. You may also need to get support and prepare yourself for this relationship being at a crossroads that may not lead to marriage.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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