Getting married in six months - things starting to fall apart *sigh*

Well - the title says it all, but explains next to nothing.

Lets see - I read the boards often, and post little…so many of you really don’t know me. I’m knocking on 30’s door and getting married for the 2nd time in exactly six months from today. That, in and of itself, is not the troubling part.

It seems that more and more lately things have been falling apart all around me. For instance, me and the future Mr. skittles seem to be constantly fighting. And its not even about wedding things. There are many things in our relationship and daily lives that just bug me, and he doesn’t seem to notice/get upset about the same things/ or even try to fix them. Perfect example - we live together in a house that is completely paid for. His 28 yr old sister also resides in the house and has her low life boyfriend staying with her. Now, his sister hasn’t had a job in over five years, never graduated high school or even received her GED. She pays NOTHING towards living there. Doesn’t pay towards electric, gas, water, cable - NOTHING. AND - she will CONSTANTLY use our things. Paper towels, yup - her’s for the taking. Food - if its not nailed down - watch out! I stopped putting toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom about a year ago because I was tired of never using that bathroom and just supplying her with it. Now, his mom is constantly buying her food because she makes the mother feel bad for various reasons too long to list on the board. Now - the problem with me and him…I tell him I’m very tired of having to live like this (its been 2 yrs) and that I would like something done about it. He tells me that I just have to learn that nothing is going to change and that is the way things have always been, and will continue to be, until we move into our new house next summer. Now, I can’t stand this. I don’t understand why this can be. Sure, its not my sister, but if it WERE my sister I’d be kicking her to the curb and making sure she realizes that many 28 yr olds don’t just sit around all day doing NOTHING!

So - that is one problem…there are others…

He is very close to his friends. Which is great. I like them - they are swell. Now, he is very concerned is always making sure that he has plans with them, or sees them often. Again, great qualities in a person! Friendships are extremely important. BUT - does he also try to make plans with me? Not really. He has this one friend we’ll call M - he and M go to the movies at least once a month. This is something they both look forward to and it works out great for me on many levels. He and M see movies that I have no interest in seeing - so it means Mr. skittles still gets to see the movies he wants, and I don’t have to sit through them! Everyone is happy! BUT - why doesn’t he even ever think to go to the movies with me? I can’t even think of when the last time he and I went to the movies together. Maybe last summer. And I tell him about movies that I’m interested in seeing and he says he is interested as well - but we never go.

Another problem that drives me insane…he works overnights, I work days. So we have a small window of time each day for us to spend time together. He is often sleeping when I come home from work because he does things when he gets home from work before he goes to sleep - just like I do. Today we had a HUGE fight because he says I don’t help enough with the laundry. Now, I do help with the laundry - I’ll swap the clothes, fold them, and put mine away - he can put his own away. What I don’t do is carrying the clothes down three flights to the basement - nor do I carry them back up. One of the main reason is that the basket is completely shot. I’ve told him that I can’t carry it because its broken and it cuts my hands. He ALWAYS tells me not to worry about it, he’ll carry it. Well, today - having an argument on the phone he tells me that if I don’t start helping with the laundry there are going to be changes. Um, WHAT?! HELLO!!! So I told him about the basket and that he told me not to worry about it - and has told me this on more than one occasion. He has no response to this. That alone makes me more angry.

sigh Please tell me some of this is just normal crap that every couple goes through…

skittles, hate to tell you this, but the answer to “Please tell me some of this is just normal crap that every couple goes through” is no, not really. Arguments are completely normal, for sure, especially when you are trying to plan a wedding (which brings out the worst in people). However, the fact that you keep fighting about the same things over and over and no one makes any compromises or suggestions, well that is the part that bothers me. To me, that’s a sign of how it will always be–you fight, no one does anything to change, and you fight again. That can’t be the way you want to live.

As for the laundry thing–why can’ you just run to the store and buy a new basket? I mean, I’m not sure why he has to get it for you. That way, you could, say, carry the basket down and start the loads; he can swap them into the dryer and bring them up when they’re done. You could both fold and put away your own stuff. A broken laundry basket seems like a silly thing to argue about.

As for the sister, I think it depends. Is this your house or the mom’s? If it is the mom’s then there may not be much your finace can do about it and he is just biding his time until you move out. If it is your house, that you own, then he should kick her out and the fact that he doesn’t is worrisome. (He should not put her before you.)

I really think that you two have too many issues to get married right now without some pre-marital couseling, at the least. These issues won’t go away by themselves and it seems like you both need to decide some important ground rules for the marriage.

All kidding a side, it’ll get worse as time goes on. If you stick with it long enough, know each others’ roles, back off on the power struggles, and learn to laugh, it will get better and you will be alright. :wink:

It doesn’t sound normal to me. In fact, it sounds as if you’re taking second or third of fourth place to other things in your SO’s life. I’m not any kind of authority, but I’m seeing a bunch of red flags. Advice columnists over they years have said that marriage will not change such things - I’m inclined to agree.

I wish you well, but I do think you need help if this is going to work. Good luck to you.

jeevwoman as for your first comment - I think one of the reasons we have the same fights and nothing gets solves is because that is how he lives his life. For instance, not 10 minutes after I posted this thread he called and said “Hey Sweetie - we have that graduation party for AJ this weekend and I was thinking we could buy him a few video games - what do you think?” Just sweet as pie, like nothing happened. That is how he will never die of high blood pressure! He can have a fight with someone, and as long as its with someone he cares for - in ten minutes be completely normal again. Now, I on the other hand do not work this way at all. So I’m sure I don’t help those situations at all!

As for the laundry thing–I’ve told him I will get a new basket next time I’m at the store and he tells me not to - that he’ll either get one or that he doesn’t mind carrying the laundry.

As for the sister and the house…we live there, and his sister lives there. Technically it is his mother’s house (because his father passed away 7 yrs ago) - but she does not live there, nor has she lived there for about ten years or so. She gave Mr. skittles the responsibility of the house, and it is documented somewhere. And he is responsible for making sure the utilities and the taxes and such are paid. So its like we have the house with no benefit of having the house, or control over who lives there.

My two cents, in the short version:

  1. Deal with the sister until she’s gone. If there is an end to your living with her, which it appears there is, then just grit your teeth until then. Nobody wins in a fight involving family. Voice of experience speaking here, and I’m sure many people will back me up on this. You might be his fiancee, but she’s his sister, and there’s no way you can enter an argument like that one with any hope of a positive resolution. Even if you win, you’re stillt he witch that made him dump on his sister. Bear it (you don’t even have to grin, but it helps) until it’s done.

  2. Let him have that one day a month. And don’t use it as a bludgeon, either. Everyone needs a release valve, and that day with M is his. Saying, “You do all this stuff with M and nothing with me,” makes it look like a bludgeon, especially when he only sees it as one day a month, a small amount of time compared to all the time he spends living with you (which, right or wrong, is partly how he perceives it).

  3. Buy a new basket. This is, oddly enough, the most disturbing of your issues. Simply because something so minor prompts an only tangentially-related argument that includes the “promise of changes?” Now, I’ve been threatened before, and it’s sounded a lot like that on more than a few occasions.

I’m going to be a little bit harsh here, but not entirely with you, because what I see as your overreacting prompts a little judgment of him as well.

I honestly think that you are seeing these things only thorugh your lens and how it affects you. What do you care if the mother buys her food? Not your problem, unless you have the ol’ “She doesn’t deserve handouts as much as I do- where are my handouts?” in the back of your head. Why are you complaining about M?, especially when you endorse it on one hand and complain about it on the other? “He goes to the movies with M and M is not his fiancee and deserving like I am- where’s my movie?” And the basket: “I don’t wanna carry the broken, injury-causing basket- why can’t he carry the broken, injury-causing basket?”

Is that the way it sounds to me, sure it is. If I were closer to you, I’d tell you to chill out just a bit.


He knows these things bother you, and his responses are, “This is how it is and you are going to have to deal. Changes? Who needs changes?” That’s not exactly sensitive in my book. There is a compromise to every issue in a relationship, and I don’t see where he’s making an effort toward that. Of course, all I’ve got is your side of the story, so I’m not going to condemn him, but my final suggestion is that the two of you talk rationally about compromises.

Now, I’m more than a little inclined to do what Happy Scrappy Hero GF asks of me (insert obligatory whipping sound here), but here is how I would react if these situations were mine.

  1. Sister- again- you don’t win this one, and you lose by fighting on it. Especially if it’s not your house. If I’m your man, I say, “I know it’s a tough situation, but we’ve only got a few more months of it. I’ll do what I can to keep tensions down, and I’ll make sure her pilfering stays at a minimum, and you just please gut it out until we can have a little separation, which I’m sure will improve things. OK?” Then, every time sis did something to cheese you off, I’d distract you with dinner or something similarly thoughtful. Same results as Mr. Skittles’s approach, but a little more politcally expedient.

  2. I keep M. M is my friend and always will be. If you and he are going out more than twice a month, you’ve got no leg to stand on with M. Perhaps he, like you, doesn’t want to sit through a movie in which he is not interested. Get a friend to accompany you to those, and cherish the time you do get with Mr. Skittles, rather than bitching about the stuf you don’t.

  3. Get a new damn basket. Buy it yourself. Don’t give me any lip about money being tight- money is not that tight. You’ll have enough to fight about, and if, for the price of a new laundry basket, I could eliminate a major source of contention with Happy Scrappy Hero GF, I’d buy five of the damn things. Maybe more.

  4. And maybe you want to talk about getting on similar schedules. A slight reduction in wages might even be worth eliminating the psychic gunk that goes along with opposite schedules and disrupted circadian rhythms. Again, don’t think of it as wage loss, think of it as spending the money to eliminate a major bone of contention. And be prepared for the fact that it might not be him who has to change hours/jobs, it might be you.

In short: Mr. Skittles should start taking the feelings of the new, trying-really-hard-to-be-less-self-centered skittles into consideration a bit more.

Having only been married for 2 years, I’m no expert, but what you describe is hardly “normal crap” we go through at all. In fact, if we had that kind of relationship before we got married, I can guarantee you that the marriage would never have happened at all. It sounds like there’s not a lot of kindness, consideration and respect in your relationship. I would think twice about making a lifetime commitment under such circumstances, or you’ll likely be posting in a couple of years about going through your 2nd divorce.

I think one of the primary reasons the divorce rate is so high in this country is because people don’t pay attention to the warning signs that come up long before the ceremony takes place, thinking that piece of paper or that gold ring will somehow change the person they’re marrying. It won’t. This IS exactly how your whole life’s going to be. If you don’t like it now, what makes you think you’ll like it any better in 6 months?

Good luck – I hope you can work things out one way or another!

My 2 cents here:

Please do not take offense to any of this, it is only my opinion. I think you are overreacting to some of the things in your relationship.

My take on the whole house situation? You don’t own the house. You don’t pay a mortgage. You are moving out next summer. Not an issue. If you don’t pay a mortgage and all you do pay are utilities - then why get upset over toilet paper? You have to be much better off financially then you would be if you had a $1500 mortgage every month. Sure, it sucks that you are supplying his sister with toilet paper, but I just don’t think it’s worth having a fight over. And you say their mother supplies sis with her food? Then where’s the problem? Especially if you are moving out soon - you could potentially ruin your relationship over something that will no longer be an issue by next summer.

Get a new laundry basket. Don’t wait for him to get one. Men always say “sure, I’ll pick that up”. And unless you remind them a few times, they don’t always remember. So get it yourself. Again, not an issue.

You said yourself that you like the fact that your fiancee goes out with M to the movies so that you don’t have to see the ones you don’t want to see. Maybe your fiancee doesn’t want to see the movies you want to see? Or be proactive here - tell your fiancee you have a date planned for the two of you on Saturday night. It’s a surprise and you aren’t going to tell him any details. Then, take him out to dinner and a movie.

And when it comes to fighting and then ten minutes later being fine…my hubby is that way too. Drove me crazy for the first 3 years we were together. We’ve pretty much learned to compromise on that one. He knows that I am still going to be annoyed or pissed off in 10 minutes, so he leaves me alone for awhile. It’s really not a relationship breaker, we just had to learn each others quirks.

I think you and your fiancee need to sit down and seriously talk about your relationship. What is it that you do that bothers him and what does he do that bothers you. This worked for hubby and myself also. I told him the quirks he has that annoy me and vice versa. It worked out well - now we know what we shouldn’t do if we don’t want to piss each other off.

You have to talk about compromise. There are things in a relationship that aren’t worth fighting over. You have to calmly sit down and talk about what would make you and him BOTH happy. Then work on it from there.

Good luck!!

I’d like to thank everyone for their responses.

As for why get upset over the house/toilet paper/food situation. I know that we have a great deal since we don’t have a mortgage. What gets me mad is that does not mean we are required to supply his sister with anything she needs. She takes all of our things, including food, even though she has these things supplied to her through the mom.

Unfortunately when I try to talk to him about things that are upsetting to me - and I do stay calm while doing this - he takes it as an attack and just shuts down and doesn’t listen. So that approach doesn’t work. And when he does listen and I tell him what bothers me he’ll say ‘well that doesn’t bother me, so I don’t see why its an issue - just drop it.’ and I don’t know how to express to him that just because something bothers me and not him doesn’t mean it is worth dropping - just as when something bothers me and I see it as nothing doesn’t mean its not bothersome and real to him.

It sounds like you need to work on your problem solving skills a bit, and from what’s been posted in this thread this are your problems, not his.

If he doesn’t mind using a crap basket and you do, buy a new basket. Bingo - problem solved.

If he doesn’t mind his sister using your stuff and you do, lock up or move your stuff. Bingo - problem solved.

If he says he wants to go to a movie with you but does nothing about it, buy the tickets at a time when you know he’s available and say “Hey - I got these tickets - we’re going to a movie.” Bingo - problem solved.

Really - it seems like you want him to anticipate your needs without actually telling him what they are. Secondly, it seems like you want him to solve your problems. Even if you’re getting married, you still have to solve your own problems - that’s just the way it works. There are no superheros. There are no whiteknights.

Well, it’s normal in the sense that all couples fight, and sometimes those fights are about stupid, trivial stuff, and in the sense that trivial stuff tends to seem like a big deal during the stress of wedding planning. Other than that, it doesn’t really seem normal or healthy at all.

The fact that he’s telling you, in essence, to suck it up and shut up about his sister using your stuff and eating your food is disturbing. If something’s an issue for you, it ought to be an issue for him, even if it’s just something he thinks is relatively silly or unimportant but does to make you happy. Case in point: Dr.J doesn’t want the furniture smelling like dog. He really, really doesn’t like it. I don’t so much care. I mean, I smell like dog on a regular basis, so I don’t see what the big deal is. But it does bother him, so I go out of my way to try to keep the dogs off the furniture and Febreeze the cushions on a semi-regular basis. Everybody’s happy. (Well, except maybe the dogs. They very much disapprove of the whole “stay off the furniture” plan.)

Since it’s technically not his house (I have to wonder why on Earth he was willing to take financial responsibility for a house over which he has no control and to which he has no legal right ), there may not be much he can do short of moving out. I don’t know if you can afford to move out before schedule or not, but I think I’d be taking a long, hard look at the budget and finding a way to afford it. If he’s not willing to consider such a plan, I think I’d move out on my own before the situation drove me completely batshit. Of course, that situation would have driven me batshit in a matter of weeks, and I know that, so I would never have moved in to start with.

The thing with him making time for his friends but not for you…well, it’s possible he doesn’t realize he’s making you feel like a low priority. At the same time, I have to think that if going somewhere with you were any sort of priority, he’d get off his ass and make a little effort. I mean, if he’s got enough gumption to arrange outings with other people, he could certainly spare enough to arrange the occasional outing with you. That disturbs me, and it disturbs me even more that you appear not to have brought this up with him. He can’t fix problems he doesn’t know are problems. If you’re not willing or able to talk about stuff like this, it bodes very badly indeed for your future together. If you have already discussed this issue and nothing has changed, that bodes even worse.

The whole laundry issue bothers me most of all. Not that you’re fighting about housework–it’s one of the top five points of contention for modern couples, right behind money, sex and kids. Tons of people fight over the division of housework. No, what bothers me is that you’ve proposed a perfectly reasonable solution to his issue and he has rejected it out of hand. Meanwhile, he continues to bitch about the issue not being resolved. You offered to fix the problem for him, and he refused, so he has nobody but himself to blame that the problem isn’t fixed. Yet, somehow, he manages to blame you. He won’t buy a new basket himself, he won’t let you buy a basket for him, and he has volunteered to do all the carrying, but it’s somehow YOUR fault that he’s the one who does all the carrying.

That. is. seriously. fucked. up.

This is the part that would really concern me. Based on what you say here, he doesn’t care about your feelings on an issue whatsoever. If it doesn’t bother him, he doesn’t care what you think. Not what I’d call the most positive situation for you to be in, IMHO.

Oh sweet Jesus. Honey, this is not a red flag. It’s a giant flashing neon sign reading “DO NOT MARRY THIS MAN!” in foot-high letters. I repeat, do not marry this man, at least not right now. He is not willing to treat your concerns as real and important. All that matters are his concerns. If you marry this man as he is now, you are going to be miserable. Scotch the wedding plans, go to counseling, and see if he can change. (Although I fear he won’t be willing to go to counseling, since he doesn’t see this as a problem.) Then, in a year or two, if things are better and healthier between the two of you, maybe then you can start talking marriage again.

Thanks again all. I’ve read what each of you is saying - and have taken it all to heart. Even those opinions I don’t necessarily agree with. :slight_smile:

I’m getting ready to leave work for the day now. I’m not too sure if I’ll be online this weekend, so I may not come back with an update until Monday.

Feel free to continue to give good suggestions.

I’m hoping to have a long talk with him this evening to try to at least start to touch on many of these issues. He and I have discussed some of them in the past, but I don’t think either of us had the full idea of how serious it was.

Wish me luck!

So how’d the discussion go, Skittles?

I see there’s a lot of different answers in here. I’m going to throw out a couple of things I’m seeing.

  1. Style issues. Things don’t bother him that bother you. He can argue and it blows over, you stew. He puts things off, you expect him to do things immediately (or maybe you put things off and it bothers him). Every person has a different way of dealing with the world, and you can’t change the basics - you can’t make a laid back person into a go-getter, or vice versa. What you can do is figure out what he does better and what you do better, what he needs vs. what you need, etc to utilize your different styles. Style may be coming into play especially when you expect him to take care of you in certain ways, and this isn’t part of his style (or again vice versa).

  2. Communication. Like most couples, it sounds like you both are spending so much time trying to get your point across that you don’t understand the other person’s point. Before you try to get your point across, see if you can really understand where he is coming from - what is he expecting of you, how does he really feel about his sister’s situation, etc. Most people find it much easier to listen when they feel like they have been heard. Once you understand his position, then try to communicate what your concerns and issues are.
    You might want to try some active listening.

  3. Territory issues. It really sounds like you don’t feel like this is your home, and your fiance may (or may not) be responsible for this. This is a major issue. The laundry basket issue is a good example of this. Why haven’t you just gone out and bought a new basket? Why did he tell you not to buy a basket, that he’d get it? Maybe it’s just because I’ve been in this situation and I knew what the person was doing, but it sounds like you don’t feel like you have the right (or perhaps the responsibility) to change the house.

  4. It sounds like you (and maybe him as well) are doing a little passive-aggressive behavior. You are willing to let him carry your laundry down the stairs, but not help him put his laundry up? Is it because he hasn’t taken care of the basket like he said he would? Or because you don’t feel like you are really sharing his space? Think about it - are you possibly punishing him in some way by not helping him with his laundry when he has helped you with yours? You may choose to be offended by this, but you are only hurting yourself - passive-aggressive behavior is a piss-poor way of handling problems, and if you are doing it, it doesn’t matter who you are with; it will screw up your relationships.
    I can think of a few more things, but this is enough to overwhelm you, and if you can figure out how to deal effectively with smaller problems, larger ones will become easier.

It sounds like you need to be a bit more assertive. I’m in a similar situation right now in regards to living in a house that was originally my fiance’s. We’ve had a few doozies about cleaning/repairs/who-is-who’s responsibility. And, while compromise is usually a good thing, sometimes you need to just put your foot down. If there’s something that is going to bother me forever, and it’s not something I know I’m being silly about, I say so, and I don’t give ground.

To be honest, I think that’s what you need to do. Those of you who’ve said that the sister issue can wait? It’s going to be a year until that’s resolved. It isn’t fair to force anyone to live with someone against their will for that long, especially when the person is mooching. Also, who knows if this is going to be an issue later on. After all, sis can move, too.

Also, do as alice said; buy the basket yourself. If he objects, then just use it for your laundry. He can use the broken basket if he wants to; no skin off your hand.

Good luck.

Dittos as to the sage advice of Happy Scrappy Hero Pup and alice_in_wonderland [sub](Hmm… what an odd sentence)[/sub]

With all due respect neither one of you sounds particularly mature, and certainly not mature enough to have a successful marriage. Insisting that he kick his chronically unemployed sister to the curb is insane. His mother is allowing him to occupy and live rent free in a fully paid for house, as long he maintains it and pays the utiltiites. I am certain that allowing his sister to exist there is part of the implict bargain he has with his mother. You completely skip over this issue, and act like she is some mooching squatter. Unemployed or not she’s his sister and the house is his mothers, not his. Chill on the sister issue.

All the other stuff is just petty, immature nonsense that either one of you could fix by getting a clue (and a laundry basket). I mean really, read your OP back to yourself. You sound like an insecure teenage girlfriend, not an “in charge” mature woman. The bottom line for both of you is making sure that you are capable of working these things out. Based on your OP it sounds like you have a ways to in terms of the mechanics of your relationship before marriage (or kids) is even a remotely good idea.

Three words:
Pre Marital Councelling.

You need to learn productive ways to bring up and deal with your problems. If you do not take steps to learn how to do this, you are going to spend the rest of your relationship going around in circles over things and never solving anything.

The sister sounds like a situation that he is unable to change. I wonder if he is unwilling to provoke a confrontation because he would upset both his sister and his mother if he does so? I would try to talk to the sister and make some deals. I don’t know what you’re after with the food problem - do you want her to stop taking certain foods without asking because it makes meal planning difficult? Do you want her to stop eating your food at all, ever, end of story? If it’s the latter, I have no advice. If it’s the former, I’d suggest that you try to introduce a system where things on certain shelves are welcome to be shared, but the things you want to keep for your own use are on different shelves. There’s no need to be nasty about it, just a quiet chat about how disorganised things have been with everyone off doing their own thing, and how a lack of communication has made meal planning difficult, so how about we try this new system to see if it makes everyone’s life easier. If she can see that it’s hard to plan meals because you don’t know if all the ingredients will still be there, she might be more understanding.

You have my sympathy. When I lived with my mother in law, she was really unreasonable about food. She shopped for herself, her daughters and her partner but not for us, which isn’t the problem. When we shopped for ourselves, she considered herself entitled to take our food as it was in her house. Because of that, we couldn’t keep anything in the kitchen (so we couldn’t have anything that needed refrigeration), and then she would blast us for storing food in our room. The situation was only resolved when we moved out of her house and into our own house. Some people don’t negotiate, and then your choices are limited to staying or going.

Heya Skittles,

My advice is this. Sit down, and visualize the next twenty years if things continue without change.

Take your time. Think through scenarios. Be honest with yourself.

Now, if that is not something that you are willing to live through, determine what you need to change.

Decide whether or not you want to go ahead into your new life without these changes. If not, you need to cement in your mind that if things don’t change, your outta there. This is not or threat, just a fact.

Do your best to talk these things over with your SO without accusations. If you come across as hostile, you will get nowhere. Remember, this is about the future, not the past.

and good luck. Be strong. You’re the only one fighting for what you need, if you lose sight of that, then you future will not be all that you deserve.