Dear Alison & Tony: Here’s the situation: Sarah and I got engaged but now things are uncertain. My fiance and I met in college. After we graduated, which was about 4 years ago, we bought some property and set up a home together. About 6 months ago I decided it was time to make this a “forever” commitment and I proposed to “Sarah” when we visited my family in my home country. Like plenty of other couples, we’ve had ups and downs, but suddenly she tells me that she still loves me but she’s no longer in love with me. She says she wishes I hated her so it would be easier to leave me. I don’t want to lose her, but I’m not sure what do to. She said I wasn’t supportive enough, but I really tried to make her happy. She said I changed and I know I have, but I thought it was for the better. I’m more mature, I have a serious job, I work hard to balance my career and home life. We are both in anguish about our engagement. Signed, Roberto
This situation is the reverse of what we normally see in letters to Leather and Lace Advice.dNormally it is the woman who matures earlier and cannot stand the immaturity of the male. In this case, because of cultural considerations, the male has matured earlier and it is the woman who finds the resulting relationship not satisfying anymore.
Normally it is the woman who has matured, and is having issues with her more immature male partner.
As I See It:
In this case, perhaps due to cultural considerations, Roberto has matured earlier. It’s Sarah who finds the resulting relationship not satisfying anymore.
The biggest issue here is that most people, as they mature, take on the aspects of their parent’s personalities which we believe make us “adults.”
In this case, I think it’s the difference in cultures and how people relate in those cultures that might be causing the main issues. This is especially true for people who are getting married,
It’s especially true for a man from a different culture providing for his spouse, which may be very different than what Roberto’s fiance Sarah has grown up to expect in a mature relationship.
I would guess that this scares and confuses her as well as alienates her because she doesn’t understand it.
My advice to Roberto is that if he’s really interested in recapturing his relationship he must look to role models within his current culture to emulate.
One big feature he will find is that a woman’s opinion is very important to any such mature male.
If he wants to continue to be engaged he must learn to include his fiance and consider her opinions in decisions, even if in his own country they would be his decisions alone to make.
Roberto must also court her in a mature manner, to demonstrate that even though he has matured, he still cares in a romantic and fun way.
Men and women think differently about relationships, It’s one of the reasons Tony and I work well together on leatherandlaceadvice.com
But I think there is more than just cultural differences sabotaging the relationship between Sarah and Roberto.
As I See it:
After four years in a relationship and living together, Roberto’s fiance was already aware of any cultural divide before they got engaged.
What I really think is this: when a woman says she loves a man but says she isn’t in love with him, it is often because she isn’t physically attracted.
But in this case, the issue is probably something more than a lack of physical attraction.
Perhaps, visiting Roberto’s home country with his family, she was swept away so she agreed to marry Roberto when she hadn’t through it through.
Obviously, she wasn’t isn’t ready for this kind of commitment and now she is having second thoughts about the engagement.
When a young woman is already committed early in adulthood (with joint property, no less) and now she’s facing a lifetime without any other experiences or partners. she may think:
“Did I make the right decision and is this man all there is for me?”
Roberto, when a woman says she wishes you hated her so she could leave what she really means is that she doesn’t want to hurt you but that she doesn’t want to be engaged to you anymore . In Sarah’s case, I really believe it’s because she is panicking. She needs time and experience to “find herself.”
Tony suggests that the relationship might be saved. I have my doubts.
If Sarah needs to sow some wild oats before settling down, guilting her into a marriage she’s not ready for will make you the sorriest man on the planet.
Since you have rushed into a commitment already, by purchasing a home together, I’m not sure how you are going to separate completely. What I do suggest is that you offer to put the engagenebt “on hold” and take the pressure off the relationship. ,
Let Sarah take the time she needs and do whatever she feels she must do, to grow and mature. When she’s ready to make a “forever” commitment she’ll make it….even if it’s not to you.
Rate Our Advice!
Who gave the best advice in your opinion, Alison or Tony? Whose advice do you agree with the most? What advice would you give Roberto that we didn’t?