Red flags or mixed signals?
I have been in a relationship for 4.5 years and plan on getting engaged to this man next week. Throughout the entirety of the relationship, his family has treated me less than appropriately for a long term girlfriend. On top of this, they constantly ask him if he remembers his previous girlfriends and whether or not he misses them. As if I'm not even part of his life.
Meanwhile, there was an incident where he did not cheat, but he lied to me about a girl he was texting. I suppose I should clarify that I'm unsure whether or not he had cheated. It was a year after he had moved to another state for work. We have been a long distance relationship for 2.5 years, and he's moving back next week to propose to me.
The problem I have now is that I am unsure whether or not I want to commit to a relationship where his family does not respect me, and where I am still unsure whether or not I trust him. Are my fears misplaced and misguided by my own jealousy and lack of self-esteem?
For the past 5 years, I have been in college, and I will be graduating next week. Shortly after I will be continuing my education, and the work-load will be much greater. On top of it all, we are planning to move in together two weeks from now. As the new chapter grows closer, I find myself more and more unsure. I find it hard to tell him as he's always told me I'm overreacting and behaving in way that he does not deserve.
Are these red flags, or am I just receiving mixed signals?
Trust your own instincts!
They seem right on.
(Not sure I agree with so scant information as that.)
What does your fiance say about how his parents treat you (- how do they, by the way?)? And how does he tend to respond when they ask him those sorts of inappropriate questions around you - does he leap to your defence by telling them basically to button it and have a bit of respect?
What do you mean when you say he lied about a girl he was texting? What exactly happened?
His family is very critical of my dedication to school. Upon telling them that I would be pursuing a doctorate and PhD, they said, "So a doctor is what you want to be now?" Not in a manner that was inquisitive, but in a way that ended the conversation and settled an uncomfortable silence over the dinner. Other times include slight jabs at my mother's ethnicity, suggesting it is inferior to other Oriental origins. One such instance included the mention of, "So does your mother's family back home live pretty messy like you do here?" The offenses are plenty, and, for sanity's sake, I dare not dive to deeply tonight.
As for my boyfriend's reactions, it is typically aloof. He acts as if nothing was said. If it is a direct questions (i.e. pertaining to a previous girlfriend) he says what his mother wants to hear, leaving me to wonder whether or not it was genuine. In private conversation, he apologizes profusely for not defending me. He says it is simply because his mother does not mean any harm. When confronted about the issue, his mother accused me of trying to ruin the relationship she had with her son. She has implied that I am manipulative by speaking of his previous girlfriends (like, "_______ would never enable you in that way," or "_______ never put words in your mouth").
In relation to the girl he lied about, he met her at work. I don't know all the details, but he confessed that he spoke perversely of certain body parts with coworkers. In conversation with her they would compliment each other on said features. Over texts he said that the only keeping them apart was me and he would happily date her if it weren't for me. She took this as an invitation to send me a rather rude video that included two individuals engaging in certain activities. No faces were visible, and I didn't watch long enough to find out whether they would become visible before I deleted it. In numerous conversations pleading with him to be honest with me, he has held that he knows nothing of which I speak until I revealed to him that she had emailed me the video and some snippets from their conversation. That led to the confession of their meeting.
Still, to this day, he promises that it was not him in the video. He says the texts were innocent and there was an obvious language barrier (he used a google translator as she only spoke Spanish). It has been a year and a half since it happened, but talking about it still wrenches my gut. He professes his undying love me, and has made arrangements for us to move in together and be engaged. I am afraid the unknown will surface and I will be forced to choose between my heart and studies. This is not a choice that I am yet willing to make.
So it boils down to these questions:
Should I give his family a chance to change now that we will be engaged?
Should I take a leap of faith and trust that he is who he says he is?
Or should I instead focus on school and postpone the engagement? (I will still need to move in with him as I can hardly afford to live on my own.)
Were they commenting based on a fact of your having chopped and changed, career-path-wise, more than the once during this relationship? And might these jabs at your mother's- sorry YOUR ethnicity be in response to the fact they feel intellectually intimidated by you and see it as you needing to be taken down a peg or two? (Not condoning it - obviously not - just playing Devil's Advocate to try to identify where these effwits are coming from.)
Also, when they came out with that show-stopping clanger and your boyfriend sat there saying nothing (what-ah?!), did you not think to say, 'Excuse-me, but why on earth would you be asking me such an offensive question as that? Have I done something to upset you that I don't know about?'?
"As for my boyfriend's reactions, it is typically aloof. He acts as if nothing was said. If it is a direct questions (i.e. pertaining to a previous girlfriend) he says what his mother wants to hear, leaving me to wonder whether or not it was genuine. In private conversation, he apologizes profusely for not defending me. He says it is simply because his mother does not mean any harm. When confronted about the issue, his mother accused me of trying to ruin the relationship she had with her son. She has implied that I am manipulative by speaking of his previous girlfriends (like, "_______ would never enable you in that way," or "_______ never put words in your mouth")."
He tells his mother whatever she wants to hear?...thereby making it a DOUBLE offence? But then behind closed doors disagrees with them to you? What kind of wimp IS he?! And what do you mean, he apologises in private? What - off his own bat or because you raise the issue with him and demand one?
Mother doesn't mean any harm? Oh, really? Well, I'd hate to see what she'd do if she did! Lean over the table and stab you with the fish-knife, probably!
"his mother accused me of trying to ruin the relationship she had with her son. "
Leaving aside the fact of gross hypocrisy - THERE IT IS! Smother syndrome! Bet you any money you like, on of the reasons these exes are exes is because she did the exact same thing to them!
Nah. You can't marry this wimp. For starters, he's already married. To his mum! For 'seconders' - that was cheating. It may have been only at the thin end of that whole wedge but - those sorts of conversations should be yours EXCLUSIVELY. And the fact he said this, "the only keeping them apart was me and he would happily date her if it weren't for me", thereby allowing her to think she could permanently 'see you off' by offending you, MAKES HIM A MINI-BULLY (COVERT) AS FELL OFF THE BIG, OVERT BULLY TREE! I can only assume that you remind him a bit too much of his mother! And who CARES whether it was him or not. What happened BEFORE that was a giant deal-breaker, if you ask me!
Shite, you two aren't even MARRIED yet so imagine what life with him would be like once you were ball-and-chained!
NO WAY are you marrying this idiot and his maxi-idiots. Nor even willingly incarcerating yourself in a shared flat/house so that he can take off the mask the rest of the way! Not if you've got any sense. He does NOT 'profess his undying love for you' because that professing in ACTUAL fact belongs to his FEET. So what THEY'VE been saying whilst he's been flapping his lips around, is, I'm a very angry man who needs a cat to kick, I don't respect you, I don't like you, I certainly can't feel any love and sympathy enough to want to protect you, but as a cat you'll do very nicely thank-you!
So in answer to your specific questions:
1. "Should I give his family a chance to change now that we will be engaged?"
No. If they can't be nice even during what is the long, drawn-out SALES PITCH then when COULD they?!
2. "Should I take a leap of faith and trust that he is who he says he is?"
Nope. As I've pointed out, who he says he is is evident in his enormous actions and lack of actions both!
3. "Or should I instead focus on school and postpone the engagement?"
Absolutely. Make that postponement PERMANENT.
4. "(I will still need to move in with him as I can hardly afford to live on my own.)"
That is no reason to willingly enter a dungeon stroke emotional and psychological torture-chamber. Never mind 'afford' to live. By the time he and his mother have finished with you, you won't care about making ends meet because you won't even have the WILL to live!
Find someone else to flat-share with. Or take on a job that doesn't clash too much with your studies so that you can afford a bedsit (how's about babysitting or small-office manning and phone-answering - so that you can be studying once the kids are in bed asleep / in between calls?). Whatever. Just don't keep proceeding through that cage door or you *will* regret it.
This man's family is outright abusive (bear in mind, this is them *tempering* it because you're not their official prisoner yet! Ye gods!). And he - the great cowed - thinks he's clever just because his emulation/replication of their whole attitudes and behaviour is more subtle or under-the-table (pff - not). Let some other poor woman play recipient to that rotten, putrid pass-the-toxic-family-parcel. You've got a life of joy and happiness to be pursuing, not a hair-shirt on-legs.
Does that answer your questions?
'Over-reacting'. Pff. Not reacting ENOUGH.
Dump the dud (and his dud so-called family).