Dear Miss Emily:

I need some insight on my situation. My fiancé ended our engagement about 3 weeks ago, stating that maybe if we just go back to dating each other that we won't argue. We don't argue very often, but the way it's handled when it happens is not productive. He tends to use the silent treatment, or write angry emails to me to vent. He tends to use what I call verbal daggers to hurt rather than deal with the topic at hand.  He'll scream and swear, then criticize me if I raise my voice. He admitted he doesn't like it when I speak my mind or voice my displeasure when I feel he has done something that bothers me. But I can't just not say anything. Obviously there are things that need to be worked on, which I was happy to do – go to a counselor together. However, he decided that he'll do that but only as "boyfriend/girlfriend." To me, reversing a relationship back to dating doesn't work, and ending an engagement but wanting to just date one another seems so non-committal to me. We had no date set, and we were not going to legally marry but have a commitment ceremony for tax reasons. Then legally marry later on. Now, since he just wants to stay as dating, I have lost all confidence in our relationship. I feel like if things get difficult he wants to run, or hide under a rock. That we have no future together. I feel like he wants the perks of a relationship but not the commitment to working as partners in marriage. Life includes disagreements, in all aspects. And if we can't work them through as a future married couple then what point is there in continuing at all? I don't want him around my kids now, and I don't want to play house either. There is either 100% commitment or not. I am leaning towards ending the relationship altogether. I feel like I was more committed to our future than he was and I'm feeling disillusioned. I don't feel I can depend on him to work on things moving forward in any way. What will he say the next time we have a disagreement?  He'll just want to be friends with benefits?? I need someone mature enough to deal with both the good AND the bad come what may. Not run for the hills. That's what partnership is all about. What are your thoughts?
Frustrated

-------------------------Ask Miss Emily------------------

Dear Frustrated:

I agree with you almost 100%.  But here is where I have my doubts.  You are angry that he was able to make this decision and expects you to go along with it.  This seems to be his nature.  I am somewhat surprised that he would agree to counseling, but that tells me one of two things:  He thinks you’ll see the error of your ways, or he is open to working things out, although I believe his "my way or the highway" attitude is a red flag concerning success. I wonder why you would get to fiancee status with this man if he seems so disagreeable and well, passive-aggressive.  I think counseling would do you both some good.  And even if you don’t resolve things with him, you might gain some insight into how you can handle future relationships.  You should be able to decide within a few sessions whether your relationship is worth saving.  If he goes back on his word and refuses counseling, after all, you dodged a bullet and should consider yourself lucky to get rid of this relationship.  Think about it. Your children would have been subjected to viewing a marriage going south from day one.  You should be a role model, not a model of pity.