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About two years ago, my fiancee's parents began arguing over the smallest things. Now it has turned into a daily all-out screaming/shouting war between them, with my fiancee caught in the middle. Everyday when she gets home from work exhausted, her mother expects her to take her out until 10:00 almost every night because she has been there fighting all day and no longer wants to be around her husband. My fiancee takes her because she is sympathetic and afraid that her father may hit her mother. Both are in their mid-70's and neither in the greatest of health, but they are by no means helpless. My fiancee thinks that by staying there and playing referee, she is helping. However, things have only gotten more toxic in her parent's relationship, and it has made her very sad, unhappy, and borderline depressed. She has gotten drug down by all of this. It has also affected our relationship (of 7 years) greatly, as we never see each other, and all affection and intimacy is gone between us from the stress she endures worrying about her parents (which is constant). I keep trying to get her to just put up some boundaries and distance herself from all this, as it's gone on for two years on nothing she has done has improved anything. I keep trying to show her how it has so negatively impacted her, and as a result our relationship has been decimated in the crossfire. I have suggested to both of them to take up new hobbies or activities, but neither of them care to. They just want to stay home and argue/fight. It's like if one of them leaves, they are admitting defeat and the other will become "king of the castle" How can I convince her that she cannot be responsible for their happiness, and that it is wrong of her parents to expect her to be in the middle and referee their arguments/fights? What can I do to save our relationship?

I am assuming you two are mid 30s to mid 40s.? So neither of you young when you got engaged. If no one has committed yet doubt if it will happen. Seems GF can't break away. Probably been conditioned over the years. You know like someone kidnapped gets
brainwashed and can't break away from her captors. I am not saying you need to break up but I do think you need to do is live your own life. Maybe tell her that a couple of nights is not enough for any relationship. That if she wants to continue, she needs to break away from Mom and Dad or get help to learn how to. If she isn't willing to do this than you know where you stand and can make a decision from there. Until she can learn to break away and stay away from her parents, you will never had a good relationship. If you get married you will get pulled into this dysfunctional family.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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If you, like your fiancée, believe there is a threat of violence between these two and also possibly aimed at your fiancée by default, should you call APS or even the police? We lived for years as neighbors to a couple who began arguing at 8PM and were still screaming at each other at 8AM. I would call the police and it would be quiet for the night but then start up the next night. The sounds of them beating each other will stay with me for the rest of my life. To say it was unpleasant is an understatement.

You must want to stay with this woman or you wouldn’t have written us. And it must not be bothering her that much or SHE would have written us. What are you willing to do? Are you willing to marry her now to get her out? If you did, would you set ground rules for visitation? I have a friend who has called his girlfriend his “fiancée” for nearly 20 years. I believe they just moved in together this year.

Are you willing to level with her and ask why she feels the need to referee for her parents. Are you willing to encourage her to leave the toxic nest? What are you willing to do as a solution? Will she go along? Lastly,do you really WANT to be a part of this family? Can you see these two babysitting for your future children?
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Oops sorry, I was walking through the woods looking for my dog, swatting bugs, and reading your post. I obviously can't multitasker to that degree. My apologies.

Why not suggest a phsyc-evaluation. If that doesn't pan out, maybe it's time to seriously look at what more you're willing to deal with.

I'd definitely give a time limit to this relationship. Give her time to make a break or walk.

Good luck.
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Reply to Pepsee
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This is going to sound really harsh. You fiancee needs to put her big girl panties on and move out of her parent's house. I do not believe that any adult can have a stable, healthy relationship while they continue to live with their parents, something is amiss when a grown person lives with mommy and daddy.

You should take a good look at what this relationship really is at its foundation, 7 years is a long time to be boyfriend and girlfriend with no actual commitment. I am old fashion and I don't think their should be intimacy without marriage. Just my opinion.

I hope you find your way through this.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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She's afraid dad will hit her mom?

She needs to take dad in for a complete physical and get a referral for a geriatric psych evaluation.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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If you had heard someone say the following that you said above, what would you tell that person?

"It has also affected our relationship (of 7 years) greatly, as we never see each other, and all affection and intimacy is gone between us"
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Reply to cmagnum
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Hi, atmywitsend,
Do you mean her mom will literally *hit* her, and fiancee is afraid of mother?
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Reply to Pepsee
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If she has been in an adult relationship for 7 years now, your fiance is certainly not a child. She works. She is not indigent. Why is she living in her parents' house?

She needs to set some boundaries, whether she lives with them or not. That she chooses not to does not say much for the chances of your relationship being healthy.

Speaking of setting boundaries, why are you putting up with this, apparently indefinitely? Sticking by someone who is going through a crisis they are working on is admirable. But enabling her to enable her parents' behavior seems like a very unhealthy cycle to me.

How about 2 nights a week you meet her after work and she doesn't go home until after 10:00 pm? If she isn't willing, well, what does that say about the value she places on your relationship?
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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She's a peace keeper child who has been groomed for the role of keeping her parents happy or at least try to by any means. How long have you been engaged? Do you still want to marry her if she continues like she is. If so, you will never have her undivided heart.

Unless she gets therapy and thus sets boundaries, your relationship is sunk. You've been waiting for her to wake up for two years now. I'd say move on and find someone with a healthier relationship with her parents.
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Reply to cmagnum
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Sorry she’s in such a mess, but the reality of it is that’s she’s choosing to be in the middle of it. We all make our choices of what to do and your fiancee is choosing to be in her parents toxic stew. The parents certainly aren’t going to change at their ages, unless it’s the start of dementia, and then the changes will be for the worse. If she finds being a referee more important than other people or activities I don’t see how you can change that
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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