- Dr. Love in the Media
Your Fiance Has You Under House Arrest
May 1, 2001 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I've been having this problem with my fiance for a while. He seems very controlling.
It all started when I began attending classes at a nearby community college. He would make rude comments about my guy friends (calling them my other boyfriends) and asking why I'm closer to them than I am to him. We've been together for 9 months and I've been out with my friends once in this time, and that was like pulling teeth. Anyone that I talk to he seems to think that I'm closer to them than I am to him.
It's even starting with his sister now. I try to tell him that it's because I never get the chance to talk to any other females that it just gushes out when I do. And we are getting married this summer and he doesn't want any of our friends and some of our family invited to the wedding. It's not that we can't afford it, it's just that he doesn't want them there.
I plan on doing this once and I want it to be memorable. I want to share it with all the people that I feel are important in my life. How should I bring this up to him without making him upset? I don't like to argue with him because it's so one-sided that I barely get a word in and I get so flustered that I completely forget what I'm arguing about and he wins.
Please help me.
Your fiance is more than controlling. He is possessive and jealous to a pathological degree. What concerns me most is that you are allowing him to take over your life. You have conceded to his jealous fits and haven't seen your friends in nine months.
What's more, he also intends to remove your friends and family from the wedding guest list . Soon he will literally lock you up so that no one can get near you, and I am not exaggerating.
Clearly this man has suffered tremendous emotional deprivation and/or abandonment in childhood. This explains why he wants you all to himself. His unconscious mind figures that coveting you will fill the tremendous emotional void inside him. The problem for him is that no matter how much he restricts your contact with others, he is still miserable because he lives in constant fear that someone is going to take you away from him and he will be abandoned all over again. This explains why he keeps you under house arrest--he hopes to minimize the risk that someone will take you away from him.
That's his problem, and it isn't going to get better by itself. What's more, he is going to get far worse after you marry. Once he knows that he'owns' you, he is going to control you even more. You need to be concerned about what you are getting yourself into. You also need to ask yourself why you want to marry someone who is literally stealing your life and freedom from you. Just as he was damaged in childhood, so were you.
It's time to figure out how this choice of partner connects to your past. Was your mother ruled by your father (meaning that this type of relationship seems normal to you)? Were you overly controlled by your parents (meaning that you are used to being treated this way)? Were you deprived of love or attention as a child, in which case you may feel loved by having such a possessive partner. I encourage you to find out how your choice of mate relates to your history. Are you recreating patterns that you observed or experienced as a child? We humans are creatures of habit, which means that familiar pain is seen as more comfortable than the discomfort of the unknown.
In addition to recreating what is familiar, we also tend to replay our childhoods in order to heal the wounds of the past. Are you, for example, hoping to transform your controlling parent? Or are you hoping to fill a void inside yourself by choosing a partner who'loves' you to the point of devouring you? Read my Advice Archives under Unfinished Business and Repetition Compulsion in order to help yourself understand why you have chosen this man. If you get nothing at all from letter, at least get that he isn't going to change.
You need to take responsibility for your choice of mate and ask yourself the hardest question of all: If he never changes, would I still want to marry him just the way he is? If your answer is no, then you have your answer.
If you find yourself still wanting to marry him because you hope that he will change (notice that your letter to me is basically asking how we can change his behavior), again realize that you are trying to 'fix' a parent who let you down or deprived you. The fantasy is that this time around you will make the controlling parent give you some room or the depriving parent love you to the point of smothering.
Become conscious of your history, your childhood wounds, the type of healing that you crave, and then make an eyes wide open decision.
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