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Thread: Engaged, but feel like we aren't working on "sharing" a life ...

  1. #1
    Engagedalone

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    Engaged, but feel like we aren't working on "sharing" a life ...

    My partner and I have been going out for a year and recently decided on a (long) engagement. The increase in commitment, for me, means I want to begin to work on sharing a life together, rather than just being part of each others lives, but separate. But, the more I ask questions to figure out where they are, the more it seems we're not on the same page at all about the sharing part.

    I'm not allowed to meet their friends
    I have met family, but I'm not welcome at family gatherings or holidays
    They don't share much about their life, friends, job, daily happenings

    They have met my friends
    They have met some of my family, they have an open invitation to meet the others and they are welcome to any family event they wish to attend
    I share info and stories about my life with them

    The disconnect is concerning. I feel like I'm this separate little island for them, rather than being part of their life, I am just the escape from their life. And it feels like that isn't likely to change. And it sucks. I've always met people close to my partners and their friends/family. I've always joined them in holiday gatherings. That's just what I've come to expect from long-term relationships.

    We get along really well and I care about them a lot, but I don't know if I want to live my life separated from my spouse's life if this is just how they are and will always want to compartmentalize me away from the rest of their life.

    And I don't really know what to do about this.

  2. #2
    reinventmyself
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    Not only would I decline a marriage proposal, but at one year and having very limited access to other areas in his life would be enough for me to end the relationship.
    Things need to be equitable and this one is clearly lopsided.

    At the very least you should address these issues before continuing the relationship.
    Have you discussed this and does he have reasons for keeping you pretty much a secret?
    Does his family and friends know the two of you are engaged?

    Take the marriage equation off the table until you know otherwise.

  3. #3
    j.man
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    What's his reasoning for keeping you separate?

    I'm a bit perplexed as well as to why you'd consider getting engaged to him, much less remain in a relationship at all. I also don't know why he'd propose to someone he's unwilling to associate with his family and friends. Are you loaded or something?

  4. #4
    Engagedalone

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    His family knows we were discussing getting engaged and expects it, but he wanted to wait for ring shopping (which is supposed to be soon) to have something to show off.

    His friends, I have no idea what they know. I know their names and tiny tidbits of info about them, but even that much takes a lot of probing. Apparently, he's decided we wouldn't get along so shouldn't meet. I asked if that meant I'll never meet anyone he considers a friend, since he thinks I don't get along with people of the personality type he likes to hang out with and he brushed it off with a joke.

    I don't want to push, but, at the same time I felt like we were getting closer and now I just have no idea what to think. I would hate to give up on how well we get along, but, I also kind of don't want to advance anything when it feels like I can't actually be part of his life. If I'm just the girl he's seeing, fine, whatever, I don't need to be part of anything. But, eventually I should move past that, shouldn't I? ... with past relationships I was never excluded (sure, they go out with friends alone, but I had met those friends before and we could do things with them sometimes) so this is new and I really don't understand it.

  5. #5
    abitbroken
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engagedalone [Register to see the link]
    My partner and I have been going out for a year and recently decided on a (long) engagement. The increase in commitment, for me, means I want to begin to work on sharing a life together, rather than just being part of each others lives, but separate. But, the more I ask questions to figure out where they are, the more it seems we're not on the same page at all about the sharing part.

    I'm not allowed to meet their friends
    I have met family, but I'm not welcome at family gatherings or holidays
    They don't share much about their life, friends, job, daily happenings

    They have met my friends
    They have met some of my family, they have an open invitation to meet the others and they are welcome to any family event they wish to attend
    I share info and stories about my life with them

    The disconnect is concerning. I feel like I'm this separate little island for them, rather than being part of their life, I am just the escape from their life. And it feels like that isn't likely to change. And it sucks. I've always met people close to my partners and their friends/family. I've always joined them in holiday gatherings. That's just what I've come to expect from long-term relationships.

    We get along really well and I care about them a lot, but I don't know if I want to live my life separated from my spouse's life if this is just how they are and will always want to compartmentalize me away from the rest of their life.

    And I don't really know what to do about this.
    Because you say "partner" and "they" instead of he/she, I am guessing this is a same sex relationship and maybe they don't integrate you into more of their life because they are not "out" to everyone. By the way, we don't know either of you, so picking a pronoun just makes things easier to understand because your "partner", the group of friends, family are all "they". It just makes thngs easier to follow.

    (EDIT: i see you are saying "he" now. Thank you. it makes it easier to follow)

    When you say "long engagement" has their been a proposal?

    If you are the opposite sex (man and woman), are they from a culture that doesn't integrate the other person into the family until the marriage?

    I think a year is not long enough for an engagement and you need to ask why you can't meet anyone.

  6. #6
    Engagedalone

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    I'm part of a LGBT community, so it's just a habit to not use pronouns, honestly. So used to applying neutral, because that's considered the least offensive (unless asked to otherwise use specific ones).

    And yes, there has been a proposal. But, we decided it should be at least another year (or more) before any marriage plans are made. But, we both wanted to affirm we're in this for the long-term serious bit. But, then, *sigh*

    He's told me stuff about himself. He's shared with me secrets he won't tell other people. We get along great together. On most issues, we talk and resolve them in about an hour or so. We agree on all the really big stuff. It's mostly a solid relationship. It's just this ... one... thing... which sadly is a rather big thing.

    He's a very closed off person in general. Opening up about secrets is a huge thing for him. So, I wasn't expecting things to go "normal pace". And if he had said he didn't want me to meet them yet I honestly would just say OK. I'm willing to give him time to be comfortable with it, if he isn't. But, I'm not honestly willing to never meet them. I don't want to be involved every time they hang out or anything. I just want to say hello, shake hands, maybe play a video game with them once (we're all into gaming).

    What would be the best way to approach the topic without seeming pushy/needy? I really don't want to pressure. But, I really don't feel comfortable being excluded completely from his social life for life.

  7. #7
    abitbroken
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    Its one thing to be closed off as far as not open up about deep secrets to "just anyone" but to hide you from friends is not the same thing. He is not in for the long haul if you cannot meet his friends. He should be proud to be with you. If he is not very close to his family/they are in another state - you should have at least met his closest family and if there are family events in town, you should be invited. I think you shouldn't put up with a "slower pace" because you are NOt going at a slow pace if you already are talking engagement after one year. Maybe he said you would be engaged just to keep you interested.

    So used to applying neutral, because that's considered the least offensive (unless asked to otherwise use specific ones).

    Its hard for the reader to follow since "they" is also a plural pronoun in English thanks for choosing a pronoun.

  8. #8
    Engagedalone

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    I have met family (immediate anyway) cause I stayed a weekend at their place. But, no friends (and the idea was soundly refused). And he says it's his family that doesn't allow me to family events, but ... now I'm not entirely sure he'd want me there, either.

  9. #9
    abitbroken
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engagedalone [Register to see the link]
    I have met family (immediate anyway) cause I stayed a weekend at their place. But, no friends (and the idea was soundly refused). And he says it's his family that doesn't allow me to family events, but ... now I'm not entirely sure he'd want me there, either.
    And why does the family not allow you? Ask point blank. If you have to go stay the weekend if you go there because its far - i can see not wanting to explain to minor children why you share a room (and that would be if you were a straight or gay relationship). Would you be able to go if you just both stayed for the day and didn't have the parents have to host you? And are you sure that's what the family has said or is that what he said just because he doesn't want you there?

    There are times when my parents have an important decision and want to meet just with me and my siblings and not our spouses, etc, but definitely would not exclude at a family party or a get together. There are times i can see where he would make a quick trip home by himself to help a parent out with something but being totally excluded is wrong.

    I would be HIGHLY suspicious if you didn't meet friends and i think he is hiding something

  10. #10
    Engagedalone

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    Quote Originally Posted by abitbroken [Register to see the link]
    And why does the family not allow you? Ask point blank. If you have to go stay the weekend if you go there because its far - i can see not wanting to explain to minor children why you share a room (and that would be if you were a straight or gay relationship). Would you be able to go if you just both stayed for the day and didn't have the parents have to host you? And are you sure that's what the family has said or is that what he said just because he doesn't want you there?

    There are times when my parents have an important decision and want to meet just with me and my siblings and not our spouses, etc, but definitely would not exclude at a family party or a get together. There are times i can see where he would make a quick trip home by himself to help a parent out with something but being totally excluded is wrong.

    I would be HIGHLY suspicious if you didn't meet friends and i think he is hiding something
    I was told family events were "family only" and I don't count as family.

    When I stayed the weekend it was a non-event time and we stayed there after staying with a friend of mine for a few days while traveling. I'm only allowed to spend time with his family during non-holidays and "normal" days. Which, the majority of my time off work is during holidays, so I don't really get to go near his family much.

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