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Parallax - Advice

April 30, 2001

Autocratic fiancé?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!Recently, my fiancé has been making major decisions without consulting me first. He's made major purchases and changed jobs without asking my opinion. His new job is based on commission only, and I am concerned that he might not do as well as he thinks he will. Although we talked about the possibility of having him move and take this job, he accepted the position despite my concerns and without making sure I could handle moving that far away from our families. (I think we should be safe rather than sorry when it comes to jobs.) I understand that he needs to make his own decisions, but I am tired of being left out of the decision-making process. I'm not completely opposed to the job, but I thought he should have at least waited a few days before accepting the position. He's a wonderful man, but he's too impulsive. Should I stand by him, even though I do not agree with his job decision? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Standing,

Well you are engaged, so it might be a little bit late to be asking such questions. Of course, you aren't married, and there's no time like the present to back out if need be.

It sounds as though you'd like a little more 'decision by committee' which I'm sure would be fine with him if you explain it clearly. If it isn't fine and he says, 'Too bad - you're not involved in such decisions,' then now is the perfect time to run for the hills.

Another strategy is for you to go ahead and make your own independent decisions. Put a down payment on a house and see how he takes to that! At the very least, if you are not to be consulted on important decisions then you should have your own life. This, however, does not bode well for a happy marriage, so I'd try to work it out.

Get him to realize how upsetting this is and tell him it's not too late to call things off if he doesn't want a partner in life.

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His view:

Dear Standing,

Perhaps your man is impulsive. Perhaps he is self-centered. The end result is the same. He does what he wants and you live with the consequences. Does he know that he is your fiancé? Does he know what this means? Have you read him his rights and obligations?

Having said that, you shouldn't expect him to make every decision democratic unless it directly implicates you. For example, I imagine he wants to choose the kind of job he takes. I think you're in a weak position to tell him what job to accept, unless you've stopped working to take care of the kids. On the other hand, if the decision involves a move away from home, he should make the decision alone only at his own risk - the risk being, of course, that you will decide not to go with him.

I'd give him some incentive to reconsider…perhaps tell him you'll stay put for now. Make him suffer a little. He might rescind his decision and then you can talk it over together. Who knows? You may even agree to his new job and new location. But the point is to make the point.

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