Ask Andrew – Why has my fiance changed his mind?
My fiance and I got engaged in January this year (Jan 2011) and have been together for 9.5 years. We got together at university when I was just 19 and he was 20. Two months ago, after recently up rooting our lives and moving out of London because my fiance had got a fantastic new job, my fiance told me that his feelings had changed and that he had changed. Prior to this time we had been living apart for a couple of weeks as he settled into his new job and I sorted out our flat in London. We then spent a couple of weekends apart as he was on his best friends stag due and then getting measured for his suit for the wedding.
Our first weekend together after we’d moved out of London he told me after drinking quite heavily one evening that his feelings had changed but didn’t know why! The next day he agreed to work at it and spend time together. I tried helplessly to make so much effort, arranging a date night etc so that we could spend time together. He said it was really working and we were still sleeping together and having good sex. Then after only two weeks of trying he ended everything one Friday evening and said maybe he loved me but wasn’t in love with me any more. When I asked WHY? He just said he didn’t know! He thought he would never feel like this but he does and it all sounded so final. To save my pride I simply walked away and 8 weeks later am still left wondering what on earth happened when he only proposed in Jan this year. I bought and read your book ILBINILWY and found it really useful. A couple of weeks after we split I left it with him to read.
Prior to this all happening I noticed he had been on his phone more and more and saw that he has been tweeting a girl from work. I don’t think he would cheat but wonder if his head has been turned at a time when we essentially were planning our lives to settle down and things were really stressful and we weren’t having much fun any more. He’d just got this fantastic new job, we moved out of London – isolating ourselves from all our friends, I’d been really busy at work and were organizing a wedding on top of it all. We’ve always had a close relationship, rarely argued and so it all came so out of the blue. I’m devastated.
What’s so confusing is that he said his feelings had changed but he was happy in his new job and was liking where we had moved too. Although a couple of weeks later he’d left his fantastic new job for a company where only 10 people work and has moved back to London, and took a flat over a chinese takeaway in the same area where consequently I am now back living. It really doesn’t make any sense.
What’s more he’s about to turn 30 – could this be affecting him as he keeps tweeting about his forthcoming birthday which is so strange as he always said he wasn’t worried about turning 30. He has a close group of friends but hasn’t spoke to any of them or his mum about why this has happened.
If you can advise/help in anyway I’d be so grateful. I’d love to come to speak to someone like you but when I approached him at the beginning he out rightly said no.
I’ve had a long think about this letter and about three attempts at answering it, but I keep coming back to this same thought: He feels like a little boy who is frightened of crossing the threshold into adulthood. Traditionally, it was supposed to happen at twenty-one but when I reached that age I was still at university and worried about getting a job – and a long way from being financially independent (and until a man feels that, he does not feel ready for a family). I used to think twenty-five was the threshold but it feels more like thirty today. (Research says it takes six years from leaving full-time education for a man to be ready to marry – because deep down, however modern, we expect to be providers.) Perhaps it’s even later because people are doing a second degree as a basic – before starting in job training – and very few people at 30 have a mortgage (and future thirty-somethings will have student loans too).
So what’s happened to your fiancé? He had a great opportunity and he’s thrown in everything, love, job, town and he’s back home living above a Chinese Take-away? My guess is it is something to do with his own father. Did he run away – ie: get divorced from his mother and slowly become less available? Was he about to become more successful than his father (something that feels unconsciously close to destroying him). Is he involved in a power struggle with his Dad and this is an act of rebellion after being a good boy for so long?
All of this is very interesting but where does it leave you? And this is why this letter is so hard to write. However much we love someone, we can’t sort out their stuff for them. The best we can be is supportive and not throw extra baggage onto their burdened shoulders. However, you need to get on with your life because it sounds like you’ve crossed over the threshold and have accepted the joys, responsibilities and privileges of being an adult (and I guess are getting close to being ready to starting a family of your own.)
You have to make a decision: How long are you prepared to give him to get his head sorted (and be aware some men choose to throw themselves into displacement activities – like fast women, cars and booze – and never grow up)? You could offer friendship and support – but that comes at a cost as it makes it harder to move on. You could read ‘Heal and Move On: Seven steps to recovering from a break-up’ and start the journey to a putting him behind you. If you’re strong enough, and not likely to beg him to come back and push all the problems under the carpet, I would suggest meeting up for coffee and just listening to what’s been going on. No tears. No offers of help. Just asking questions, getting clarifications and doing some more listening. (Think dignified.) This should give you more insight into his state of mind and allow you to make a more thoughtful and well informed decision. Whatever happens, the road ahead is going to be tough but best to do it with your eyes opened. Good luck.