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hello, I'm searching for advice on what to do about the communication issues my fiancée has. We have been together for about 5 years and he has always been unable to communicate to me in a healthy way about things I might do or not do that irritate or upset him. I just kind of let it be up until now but I can't let it go anymore. Since he doesn't tell me in the moment what he's mad about or whatever, he will just hold it in until I say something about him. Basically anytime I try to communicate with him he turns it into an argument about me and unloads 5 years worth of grievances. He says he never says anything about anything because he doesn't want to fight but him not talking to me doesn't work because it just ends with him tearing me down any time I try to say anything to him. I'm just about over it at this point. All I want is peace and he doesn't get that what he's doing is creating the exact opposite. How can I make him understand?

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Well, a good example is, he told me tonight how he thought I should have been doing more around the house 3 years ago when I was working part time(working full-time now as well as college) and he was working fulltime mainly because I still wanted him helping out if he was the one making messes. I just don't feel someone should be holding on to things from years ago and then bringing it up and turning it into a huge blowout when I ask him to simply shake out a rug.

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Sometimes people who pick fights over issues from the past are doing so because they don't actually want to be together anymore and are subconsciously looking for a way out.

 

There is more than meets the eye to these arguments.

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Consider signing up for "premarital couples counseling", with a focus on learning conflict management skills, or "fighting fair". One of the rules for fighting fair is you only focus on present issues- you are not allowed to bring things up from the past. Having a skilled counselor guide the two of you through learning healthy skills is a gift to your relationship, and to each of you as well. Because often those skills are helpful in work conflicts, and later helpful if you have children.

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Here is a link to the Gottman Institute, a very well respected relationship counseling center. John Gottman 's books are pretty solid.

 

https://www.gottman.com/blog/5-steps-to-fight-better-if-your-relationship-is-worth-fighting-for/

 

Here is another link to the fighting fair rules:

https://www.nathancobb.com/fair-fighting-rules.html

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I strongly advise you both go to couples counselling to sort out these issues before getting married. The worst thing you can do right now is go ahead with wedding/marriage plans. It WILL end in disaster (divorce). That said, I have a feeling he won't change his ways, even if he does attend couple's counselling. It may be a temporary fix, but this is who he is - it's part of his make-up (imo).

Cancel all wedding plans for now. If he refuses to attend couples counselling, you have your answer.

 

You are right to be worried and concerned. If you feel "over it" at this point, I say trust your gut feeling. The red warning flags are there for a reason. Take heed.

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Sorry to hear this. You've been living together for 3 years? It the wedding already planned? Have you already attended premarital counseling? Unfortunately he doesn't want peace or he would try to resolve things rather than perpetuate the cycle of arguing. As you know this isn't about rugs or housework. It's about resentment.

him tearing me down any time I try to say anything to him.
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I wholeheartedly echo the suggestions about premarital counseling and I've had friends that endorse the Gottman publications as well.

 

OP: Unfortunately from what you describe, I think I know this guy pretty well. He sounds just like my father. As soon as an argument starts or something sets him off, its probably the equivalent of opening a flood gate of unresolved conflict from the past. In my dad's case, he's a highly-educated, extremely intelligent lawyer who reads everything except information on how to cultivate, maintain and nurture relationships.

 

I'm willing to bet this guy may also have some control issues that drive him to always "put people in their place" so that he has more power in the relationship. More than likely, there's other factors in his life that he feels either helpless (and wants control over them) or he assigns more value to /derives more happiness from another facet of his life (work, sports) due to his success/sense of positive control over it and can only approach other areas/relationships that aren't as satisfying through what works for him elsewhere. If this isn't working, then the control-based anxiety manifests itself during moments of conflict through the communication and behaviors we see.

 

In my father's case, when my mother would suggest counseling he would scoff, pick apart how psychologists approach the situation you're in and why people react the way that they do. Once, they actually did go to counseling, he turned the session around on the counselor through his formidable skills of cross-examination and (according to my mother) almost made the counselor break down and cry. So that was the first and last time they tried that approach....

 

Something that took a long time for me to learn, is that the conflict that existed between my parents, as well as between my father and I, were not my fault. There are some people that many conflict resolution tactics don't work on because they can recognize what you're trying to do and realize that if they lose an argument (ie. lawyers), then they lose power in the relationship, respect among their peers, or whatever. This why they pull out all the "dirty laundry" or keep a list of all the things that someone has done to them or feel the need to tear them down by pointing out past negative situations where that person did something to anger them/cause problems/impact the relationship.

 

I sincerely hope that my assumptions about your fiancee are incorrect and I hope that the suggestions and warnings here lead to better things in your relationship and future.

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"There are some people that many conflict resolution tactics don't work on because they can recognize what you're trying to do and realize that if they lose an argument (ie. lawyers), then they lose power in the relationship, respect among their peers, or whatever. This why they pull out all the "dirty laundry" or keep a list of all the things that someone has done to them or feel the need to tear them down by pointing out past negative situations where that person did something to anger them/cause problems/impact the relationship."

 

Wow.. This is very accurate, my husband avoids conflicts with jokes/pulling out old bad things/or make me feel guilty abt the whole thing, anyway, sometimes it's so hard to actually be able to communicate and solve the issue (it's exhausting) and sometimes it's just impossible...

 

Many times I end up apologizing for bringing up the subject at the first place and I try to avoid future conflicts in order to avoid being hurt by his behavior...

 

OP, don't do what I've been doing because it's not working good for me ^^' at some point you'll feel overwhelmed and frustrated... I'm trying to find some way to finally be able to communicate better with my husband, I've been told to make a huge deal out of it so that he realizes how important it is, but I don't like that solution neither... I'm looking for a kind/calm way of solving it... I'm thinking about writing to him.. But not sure it will work.

 

Anyway, good luck and don't give up :)

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