Sometimes people try to convince us that changing who they are/what they do/how they act is hard, but it's not. There are some things you can't help--like your sex drive or your past of abuse. These are reactions that happen deep inside us and if you want to change those, you've got to go trough some heavy therapy. You should want to overcome these triggers, but the time and effort (and money) it takes, is so very much more drastic than it is for him to take notice when he's becoming angry, and making a choice about how he's going to express it. I grew up with a father who had a clear anger management problem but I remember, somehow, it changed from him slamming doors and pushing chairs, to walking away and calming down. He never hit us and never threw stuff at us, but even if you don't get abused, you imagine yourself as being the chair. And he knew it, so he did something. We can always do something when we know our actions are scaring our children or our significant others, because we should care enough about how we make them feel instead of satisfying short term anger expression by breaking things or being loud. This is how children deal with frustration, not an adult. And if he cant see it for himself, and you have to tell him very plainly how it makes you feel, and he still does not value your feelings enough to make a change, I think it's very clear what your answer is. You're right: this will be a problem down the road and is it worth it, to stick it out? When you know there are people out there who would listen to you when you share your concerns and drop behaviors that hurt you?
The paradox about it all is that you know that love and attraction is not tangible. We can build many strong relationships, friendship or otherwise, with so many people. And yet you're in the same boat as so many people who are willing to enter a marriage when it's clear it may not go well, because they feel a sense of obligation to endure . There should be no enduring in a loving relationship; you should never feel like you have to ignore or suffer through actions that hurt you, for the sake of marriage. You don't need marriage to be happy, don't you know it already? And that should be on both sides. As much as he does things that hurt you, don't you think your actions with the other man are hurting him as well? Is your fiancÚ polyamorous? Does he at least share your sensibilities? I could not imagine expecting a person who is very monogamous to be ok with their partner being with someone else... that's just mean.
Such an excellent, thoughtful post, @pennywise
As to your question at the end, here was a PS from the OP from a few pages in:
This guy is being made out to be some sort of abuser. And If I missed something in the original post, correct me. But I didn't see where he had a side piece. Or that the OP met him in some sort of open relationship setting.
This is my bad for leaving out an important detail. When we got together, we agreed to be polyamorous. We agreed monogamy wasn't for us. He has had a few side ladies over the years that didn't stick around for various reasons.
i.e. not monogamous either, not just in word, but in deed. I don't know if the OP has had previous sides as well while in this relationship, but if not, I would find it very interesting
if her partner now wasn't OK with her doing the same, when it came to the crunch. This is consensual, informed polyamory from the go-get, and those are the ground rules mutually agreed to. (This is what the OP said, and that's what I'm going on.)
PS - I speak from personal experience. Learning to stand still and refuse to cower from angry people is empowering...
. I'm so glad you found a way to do that, and I recommend that to anyone who's been in those sorts of situations. Funny that this is the one thing I learnt to do early, it just seemed to be in my DNA or soul or wherever from the beginning. As a very young child, obviously, I cowered and cried and hid myself from people, but from the time I was a teenager and reading about social justice, and actually reading the gospels, I stopped cowering because I knew then that bullying someone didn't make the bully right, and that bullying and intimidating people and treating them with disrespect was morally wrong - plus, I wasn't quite so afraid of death anymore (which is partly what terrorises the young child - but mostly, the young child is terrorised by the behaviour of the people they want to love). What Martin Luther King wrote in Strength to Love
applied to more than the macrocosm of society as a whole, it also applied to individual, personal situations. I read it in one sitting at age 14 and was never the same. As a lot of people said about this book, Jesus gave us an ethic in the Sermon on the Mount, MLK and Gandhi show us how to live that.
So yeah, it's very empowering not to cringe in the face of aggression, and to be completely unimpressed by it. It can be really helpful when dealing with people who don't yet have the maturity to deal with their own negative emotions constructively. And actual bullies just hate it when they can't scare you, or when you don't lose your own dignity or authenticity because of their destructive tactics.
I also second what @AnitaAnne
says about the value of living on your own, and not in relationships - and not even with room mates, if you can at all swing it (granny flats are great!). In unhealthy families, kids don't come out at age 18 self-assured and authentic and standing squarely on their own two feet mentally, emotionally, spiritually, practically, financially. And much as community is about interdependence, you have to be truly independent before you can be usefully interdependent with others. People coming from dysfunctional families more often than not start out codependent, because that's what family life was like. This also happened to me. Looking back, it was getting out of my first serious (and dysfunctional) relationship at age 24 and living completely
on my own for seven years straight after that, and therefore having the space to get some perspective and learn the things I ideally ought to have learnt in a healthy childhood, that was one of the biggest factors in my having a stable, productive adult life, and an eventual healthy, lasting relationship.
It's an investment really worth making. So many people from dysfunctional backgrounds end up going from disastrous relationship to disastrous relationship, and that ends of being their life. Much better to take time out when you're young and still at the start of your adulthood, be a bit ascetic, have your own space and thoughts so you can develop authentically, if you weren't nurtured, or loved for your authentic self as a child. And talk to a few people who have wisdom in these areas, and can help you find your feet!
, and everyone else who's been through serious childhood and other adversity.
And a PS: I'm saddened that there is still this gut reaction idea, in 2019, that the person staying at home is necessarily sponging off the income earner, and that this is necessarily their prime motivation for being in that relationship. This might be the case for a minority of people, but just to assume
that automatically is actually really disrespectful, and generally factually incorrect. Usually, in single-income households, the other person is working as many, if not more, hours than the income earner, for their mutual good - they just don't get paid for it (I can pull up the Australian statistics on this if anyone wants them). And, if the income earner were to have to formally employ someone to do all the housekeeping, shopping, gardening, cooking and organising that the at-home person does, they usually couldn't afford that level of service.