Stay with my nice, fun, controlling girlfriend or call it quits?

I've been with my girlfriend for 6 years. She has many good qualities, and some semi-major bad qualities. She is pushing me VERY hard toward getting me to propose, though I only want to propose when I feel 100% confident that it's the right thing to do. Right now, the thought of being engaged and getting married in one year makes me feel uneasy.

My family recently approached me about the emotional abuse "red flags" that they see in her. I love and get along with my family very well, but they do a great job of "guilting" me into doing things their way, so I can't clearly tell if I should follow my family's advice on this or not. Before my family expressed their concerns, I was trying to ignore the red flags I saw and had just convinced myself to get a ring and propose. I already had a custom ring made, and have been stringing the jeweler on for two weeks while I figure out what to do.

We live together in an apartment, which complicates things a little. However, our apartment is in my name only, we each manage our own finances, and we have no children.

Please help me decide what to do! I like spending time with my girlfriend, and am worried that I will feel lonely/sad without her. I can't imagine my apartment empty of her stuff and organization/cleanliness. My place will quickly turn into a mess due to my organizational issues. I will miss the fun times we've had, and I don't know how easy it will be to find someone else I get along well with in the future. However, part of me would feel relieved to remove the stress of a controlling relationship from my life, and it would be nice to have free time to spend with my friends/family again rather than limiting my friend/family time to special events only.

Pro: 

Caring
Fun to spend time with
Likes traveling
I get along well with her family
Attractive
Doesn't drink/smoke/do drugs/etc.
No kids & never been married
Organized (she does a great job keeping our apartment clean)
Has plenty of money in savings and no debt of any kind
Honest - she would tell me anything and everything she thinks
Great at planning activities like birthday parties or special events

Con: 

Controlling (she limits my time spent with friends/family or on my own tasks)
She gets frustrated with me & calls me names like "dumb", "stupid", etc. (I have attention deficit and am not organized, she is VERY organized)
She just recently quit her job due to a boss that was difficult to work with
Good at pointing out negative qualities of friends/family/co-workers in my life
6 years older than me (her biological clock is ticking)
Talks a lot in group situations (she tends to take over conversations to prevent any risk of silence, which makes her feel uncomfortable)

Pro arguments

Looking at both sides

First, I suggest you WEIGHT each point. I think this *really* important as for example, honesty should weigh far more heavily than say looks (or even chemistry, which is also more important than looks for most people), and something like not allowing you time with your family/friends is a con that should carry much more weight than that she does a great job in keeping your place clean. You can hire a housekeeper to clean your place, but you can't hire a bail bondsman to get you out of a self-made prison with someone who won't allow you time with your family/friends.

Now to address your below characteristics:

Caring - this is naturally important, but honestly, aren't most people caring?

Fun to spend time with - this is important, but it's better if the gal also is fun when spending time with you in a group with friends/family and not just wanting you one-on-one, which could easily cause a lack spice in life within a few years.

Likes traveling - have you traveled together to see how that goes? I'm guessing you have, but if not, I'd suggesting doing so. I know someone who was engaged and on a trip to Europe just before the wedding, realized this was not the match for her (she called it off the day of the wedding, and it's a shame it didn't happen before that, but better than the evening after the wedding or something; she has been happily married to someone else now for about 8 years).

I get along well with her family - this is *really* good; far too many people fail to realize that you don't usually just marry a person, you marry a *family* (even if the person has never been married before and has no children yet).

Attractive - icing on the wedding cake is all this is....sweet, but not crucial (so long as the person is someone you enjoy being romantic with, that is; I remember having the hots for a guy I would consider unattractive physically, but his intellect and personality were enough for me to be attracted just the same, but other aspects of his personality had me never wanting to marry him; we are still friends decades later, though).

Doesn't drink/smoke/do drugs/etc. - this is also very important, and so it's good that she doesn't have drug addiction issues.

No kids & never been married - again, a big plus going into a marriage seems to me.

Organized (she does a great job keeping our apartment clean) - this is nice, so long as you don't mind someone cleaning up the place as it seems you don't (I take it you can still find your things and don't find her cleaning to be obsessive compulsive but just healthy cleaning), but again, you could hire a housekeeper to keep your place clean, so doesn't seem like *that* big a factor in picking a mate.

Has plenty of money in savings and no debt of any kind - this is again a big plus; have you actually seen her credit rating?

Honest - she would tell me anything and everything she thinks - this is HUGE; anyone who lies should immediately be booted off the "possible mate" list if you ask me, no matter how many pro side characteristics there are.

Great at planning activities like birthday parties or special events - this is something people have been saying about me pretty much my entire life (I've had people ask me to plan their weddings, birthday parties for parents and children, etc. and even to start a business planning parties for others, but really don't like that responsibility and only agree to help with a few things rather than become a party planner for others); it's again a nice perk (so long as she doesn't spend too much money on parties, which I just might, though my husband loves our parties and seems very happy to be married to me, so it's not like what I spend on them has been a source of trouble for us), but you could hire a party planner or probably just plan your own parties and still have a good time (my husband had parties before we ever met and I am sure they were fine and enjoyable for him and others, perhaps just not as interesting or quite as fun for the guests).

Seek Counseling

I think she has a lot of great qualities, but you should not just put up with a controlling person and do nothing. You need to sit down with her and tell her that you have some major hang-ups about getting married. Show her this list! Tell her, "i cannot marry you until we work these issues out. I don't like being told what to do. I don't want to be scared to make my own choices, for fear of making you mad and being called names. Until that changes, we need to seperate" I really think counseling would improve so many of her issues. She is probably covering some kind of insecurity, and being controlling is making her feel more secure and in control of her life. This can be worked out thru therapy. You don't have to break up for good, just work on the important things. Tell her you want to have an equal relationship, and you want to connect on a deeper level, you want to know her heart and soul before you marry her.
Trust me, I wish i had done this before i got married. I didn't and now i'm divorced and alone. Wasted 7 years of my life....

Con arguments

Stay with my nice, fun, controlling girlfriend or call it quits?

Dave: SA here. I cut and pasted your pros and cons here for comment. I can't change the font or bold so look at my comments in [BRACKETS]. Sorry for the CAPS - only way I can make it easy to read.

Pro:
Caring [IN WHAT WAY?]
Fun to spend time with [ASK YOURSELF: WHAT PERCENTAGE IS SHE FUN/WHAT PERCENTAGE IS SHE ABUSIVE]
Likes traveling
I get along well with her family
Attractive
Doesn't drink/smoke/do drugs/etc. [GOOD]
No kids & never been married
Organized (she does a great job keeping our apartment clean)
Has plenty of money in savings and no debt of any kind [GOOD]
Honest - she would tell me anything and everything she thinks [GOOD TO A POINT]
Great at planning activities like birthday parties or special events

Con:
Controlling (she limits my time spent with friends/family or on my own tasks) [IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?]
She gets frustrated with me & calls me names like "dumb", "stupid", etc. (I have attention deficit and am not organized, she is VERY organized) [THIS IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND NO ONE DESERVES TO BE CALLED NAMES]
She just recently quit her job due to a boss that was difficult to work with
Good at pointing out negative qualities of friends/family/co-workers in my life [THIS IS A METHOD OF ISOLATING YOU. IS SHE WORTH KEEPING IF YOUR FAMILY/FRIENDS/COWORKERS ALIENATE YOU BECAUSE OF HER BEHAVIOR]
6 years older than me (her biological clock is ticking)
Talks a lot in group situations (she tends to take over conversations to prevent any risk of silence, which makes her feel uncomfortable)

If you look at your pros and cons what do you see? The pros are pretty "surface" qualities whereas the cons are derived from a deeper level. Those are harder to change and she has to WANT to change them. For your own health and sanity, I think you have 2 options:
1. End it for good and move on (there really are other wonderful women out there!)
2. Separate (she needs to move out) and say you will reconsider in x amount of months if she does the following and list what it is she needs to change. If she doesn't change - you're done. If she "changes" then takes on the same behavior again, you're done.

The side that seems more heavily weighted to me

You have a good start at your list, but if you want a bigger picture, I'll direct you to:

http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=243765;article=2;title=I...

Controlling (she limits my time spent with friends/family or on my own tasks) - this is HUGE as it's important for human health and longevity to spend time with friends and family; according to what I've read, spending time with people in your community (friends/family/neighbors/etc.) is a larger factor in lifespan than how you sleep, eat, exercise, or work. :O This alone would cross any potential partner off my list.

She gets frustrated with me & calls me names like "dumb", "stupid", etc. (I have attention deficit and am not organized, she is VERY organized) - another one that is HUGE as this is abuse and nobody should have to take abuse and if she is already calling you names when trying to get a ring out of you, what the heck is going to happen once she has not just the ring, but you wrapped around her finger in marriage?! Again, studies show that the number one factor in whether a marriage will last is how they treat one another...if there name calling during fights, that is a huge red flag that the couple won't last.

See http://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/11/science/to-predict-divorce-ask-125-que...

The title of the article was a mistake...it's actually *11* questions and not 125. Yeah, that simple.

http://www.isoulseek.com/sitebranches/relationskills/articles/6signs.pdf

"A harsh startup can lead the couple's discussion down a path of negative
interaction. This type of negativity can wreak havoc on a marriage. Indeed,
there are four types of negative interactions that are so lethal to a marriage
that Gottman has labeled them the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.
"Usually these four horsemen clip-clop into the heart of a marriage in the
following order: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling"
(Gottman et al 27). The first of the lethal horsemen is criticism. Gottman distinguishes between
criticism and complaints, because one partner will always have certain
complaints about his or her spouse. Complaining about one's spouse is
normal, however, the way one goes about expressing these complaints is
most important. The problem arises when complaints turn into
criticisms. A complaint focuses on a specific behavior, while a criticism
attacks the character of the person."

"The second horseman, contempt, often follows criticism. Criticism can lead
to contemptuous comments directed at one's partner. Some examples of
contempt are when a person uses "sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eyerolling,
sneering, mockery, and hostile humor" (Gottman et al 29).
Contempt is the worst of the four horsemen because it communicates
disgust to the person it is directed toward. As a result, the conflict escalates.
It becomes impossible to solve a problem when the message being sent is
that one partner is disgusted with the other."

You might want to check out some of Gottman's books. I've had a very happy marriage (been with my husband for a little over 25 years now, nearly 24 in marriage) so haven't read his books, but might buy one for my son who has a history of getting involved with gals who don't support his spending time with friends and family (even with her there, like not wanting to go to parties or such) and have had other "red flags" flying.

She just recently quit her job due to a boss that was difficult to work with - do you know the boss and was he a jerk or does she have trouble getting along with numerous people? Or is this on the con side because she is currently unemployed and might have trouble finding another job? You said she has money saved and isn't in debt, so I am guessing she isn't someone who is often out of a job, right?

Good at pointing out negative qualities of friends/family/co-workers in my life - does she also point out the positive ones and thus is just trying to give you a bigger picture so you don't get stabbed in the back at work or something along those lines?

6 years older than me (her biological clock is ticking) - so is she wanting to have children before you are wanting to have children? As it is, it seems she is pressuring you to marry before you are really wanting to marry, so going from the marriage pressure to baby making pressure isn't good.

Talks a lot in group situations (she tends to take over conversations to prevent any risk of silence, which makes her feel uncomfortable) - females tend to talk a lot period, so if she is doing this in group situations and not just one-on-one, this might actually be a pro rather than a con! ;)

Don't Do It

Darn: I can't see the lists from the "Submit Argument" Page. There are a couple of things that jumped out at me.
"Doesn't drink / smoke / no kids." I learned a LONG time ago to AVOID being impressed with someone for what they DON'T do. (i.e. "At least he / she doesn't hit me.")

The other is Honest - you said she says everything she is thinking (and, according to the "con" list, that includes calling you ABUSIVE names, and putting your family and friends down)...seems to me you are euphemizing her lack of a filter (i.e. What is appropriate to say in certain situations v. what is not). There is a difference between being honest and having 100% disclosure (i.e. diarrhea of the mouth). They are not the same thing.

You're a self-purported 'nice guy' who has never made the choice to end a relationship - why not? Explore that. Did you believe (as did I once), that you were so value-less that you HAD to accept anyone who wanted to be in your life, just because they did, then be happy that anyone was interested in you at all?

Secondly, there is a difference between being a nice guy and a doormat. Doormats invite abuse into their lives. Nice guys are respectful and kind, but know their own boundaries and will staunchly defend them. Do you know your boundaries?

Here's something I consider when faced with a tough decision: What would I regret most? Picture your life married to her: what does it look like? Picture your life having broken up with her and moved on: what does that look like? What's the difference in those two pictures?

Good Luck and God Bless,
Kari

Controlling women shorten your life.

I went through this very same dilemma. My ex gf tried hard to play the role of a caring, loving, mature person but she was really a controlling, self centered, selfish, narcissistic, high conflict, blaming, superficial, manipulative.... did I mention controlling?... women. On top of this was her obsession with marriage and starting a family (she was 44), yesterday if possible. When the focus was on her, she was a blissful Chatty Cathy doll x 10. If not, she was off in her own world trying to figure out how to be the center of attention again. She was a know-it-all type. She became depressed and belligerent when she didn't get her own way or people didn't act or speak the way she wanted. She was never wrong and always the victim. She could not stand any criticism or advice no matter how constructive or nicely put. She was always in conflict with people... family, boss, neighbors. If you crossed her, look out! She saw people in black and white; all good or all bad. I could definitely understand why my ex gf's past relationships always ended with the guys running from her. Of course, she made them all out to be crazy jerks. After much angst, worry and feelings of guilt... caused by her, I ended the relationship. Now I am one of those "crazy jerks" in her past. She just doesn't get what being in a relationship means. It means self sacrifice, facing problems together and being able to think "we" and "us" and not always "I" and "me". I know that my ex was this way because of an abusive, alcoholic father and a controlling mother who forced her kids to compete for attention and acceptance. But I was not going to martyr myself just to be with someone.

To conclude, I would think very hard about committing to married/family life with an emotionally shallow, immature, controlling woman. The abuse will only get worse. It will also be transferred onto your children. I would offer couples counseling and if she will not do it, it may be time to show her the door.

Response to your pros list

I can't find the date of your post. I can only assume you are still in need of help. Don't ignore the red flags. Make a list of all the times she was childish, selfish, blew up at you or gave you the silent treatment because you said something "wrong", called you names, pouted and acted depressed when she didn't get her way, made you feel guilty for having your own feelings and desires etc... Print it out and put it to memory. This should dominate your mind when you think of her... not the times she "graced you" with her good treatment and tolerance.

Caring...
She's not too caring if she calls you names and alienates you from your friends and family. Controlling women often play the role of a doting partner by cooking, cleaning, giving gifts, performing in the bedroom, idealizing you etc... This is an act. This is not love. This is manipulation. They reveal their true self by their abusive behavior when demands are placed on them. To them, someone's demands, needs, desires, feelings etc... are things they cannot control. They will fight tooth and nail to avoid and deflect these things that threaten their defenses against this irrational fear.

Fun to spend time with...
But she is also often - not fun- to spend time with... correct?

No kids & never been married...
There is often a reason behind this. And making marriage demands shows she only cares about her agenda and not your needs and feelings.

Organized (she does a great job keeping our apartment clean)....
controlling women usually are but at great cost to you
.
Honest - she would tell me anything and everything she thinks....
But is she emotionally mature, honest? Will she talk about these difficult issues you have about her and the relationship? Or does she berate and dismiss you?

Great at planning activities like birthday parties or special events....
Controlling women usually are but at great cost to you

The other things you mentioned are traits of a million other available women who are emotionally mature. I wish you luck and hope everything has turned out positively for you.

welll

I read the whole thing and not once did you mention that you loved her. There's your answer.

-krissa

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