Relationship Accidentally hurt my fiancée. What to do?


New Here
Good morning all,

I was reading this post which I found via web search and it led me to the thought of reaching out for advice here, instead of someplace sometimes less constructive like reddit. I'm an airline pilot and yesterday my fiancée and I had a full day planned which was, in hindsight, too much. We went on a long hike with the dogs in the morning. Came back home so I could pack for work the next day, went to have dinner with friends, and then picked my mom up from the airport who was returning from vacation. I needed to wake up at 3am the next day to get to work on-time. I had envisioned going home from dinner with our friends relatively early and attempting to sleep around 7pm or so. Meanwhile my fiancée would pickup my mom from the airport and bring her back to my house (my mom spent the night so she could drive home the next day). We both talked about this plan, but it didn't pan out.

Dinner went long and I decided to just help my fiancée pickup my mom since there wasn't enough time to take me home and then go pick her up without making my mom wait for a long time. I was growing restless as more and more time passed by, knowing I had to be up at 3am to get to work. We finally got home by 9 and my mom said she was hungry. I ended up cooking her a quick dinner. I don't think I was really able to get in bed until 10. At this point I was pretty irritated and worried about actually being able to safely fly an airplane full of people in the morning. I managed to fall asleep and at some point my fiancée's dog came barging into the room wanting to play and woke me up. I don't know when exactly that happened. I told her (the dog) to get out and I remember my fiancée rushing to the door to gather her up so I could sleep. I was thankful for that, but also upset at the situation. I fell asleep again.

Later my fiancée came to bed and I remember her laying down next to me, hugging me and whispering that she loved me and goodnight. I was not awake, but in some level of consciousness where I understood this was happening. I was fine with this. But then I felt her reach for my crotch and I immediately got upset. I'm not sure if I even opened my eyes, but I grabbed her wrist (her hand that was touching my crotch) and with my other arm I pushed her away from me. I said something to the effect of "You must respect my work!" She was upset. I was upset. I can't remember if I fell asleep again or if I got up immediately. If I didn't get up immediately, I got up shortly thereafter. I looked at the time and decided there was no way I could fly a plane this morning. Not safely. So I called in sick. We both spent the rest of the night in silence, upset at each other.

In the morning I tried to talk to her. I felt bad about what had happened. I've never grabbed her like that. I've never raised a hand against her or any woman. We both slap each other on the butt playfully sometimes, but that's something else entirely. When she was finally awake, she was very upset with me. I told her my perceived series of events. She told me that I grabbed her wrist and grabbed her throat and said she never touched my crotch. I was shocked. She said she was shocked as well. Of course I immediately apologized and told her it was an accident, that I thought she was trying to get frisky with me and I pushed her away in whatever level of unconsciousness I was in.

Her ex hit her with a car after she discovered he had been cheating on her. I don't know the whole series of events, but suffice to say she spent a couple months in the hospital and has scars around her knees from surgery and stitches. She is fully recovered now and completely ambulatory, but has back pain from the event (occasionally it can be debilitating if she over-exerts herself). She has been seeing a psychologist on and off for several years. I'm sure she has PTSD from this. To what extent, I don't pretend to know. It doesn't come up on a regular basis, but I just try to be a loving and supportive partner.

Anyways, she immediately connected the dots from last night to her abusive ex. I was horrified. I feel sick. Nauseous. She didn't want to hear any more apologies and didn't want to talk about it anymore. She said she couldn't sleep last night. She took a shower, packed her things, and basically said she needed sleep and needed to go to work and didn't want to talk about it. And that she cannot accept abuse in her life. She took a couple of things from my house which she normally leaves there (running shoes and a bottle of makeup), but left a second set of shoes. We have not moved in with each other yet, though we have been dating for 3-4 years. We are already starting to plan a wedding next fall and have been talking about baby names, all that. Since we don't live together, it's normal for each of us to pack a bag when we stay at each other's houses. We have been slowly leaving some of our things at each other's places. I say this simply to illustrate the situation for you and why I would be concerned about her taking some items which she previously asked to leave at my place. However, she left that pair of shoes, so I am not sure what any of this signifies.

In any case, I don't know what to do. I told my mom what happened. She knows I'm not a violent person. I don't like to yell or fight. I hate it. I know arguments happen, but I grew up with a lot of yelling between my parents and I don't want to be like that. I have been trying to follow Buddhism for the past 4 or 5 years -- I'm no expert in it and I'm not necessarily a great Buddhist per se, but I am not a violent person. My mom told me that my fiancée stayed up with her last night (before the incident) and was essentially telling my mom what a great person I am and how in love she is with me. My mom thinks the ball is in my court to contact her and suggested couples counseling, if she's open to it. But she also said she doesn't think I should worry that she's done with me because of their conversation last night.

I am terribly upset by this. I would never do this intentionally. I know I grabbed her wrist from my crotch, but she says she never touched me there. I thought I was pushing her shoulder or her body away with my other hand, but now, 12 hours later, I am doubting my own recollection of events given the state I was in. Thinking about it over and over seems to make it even less clear to me.

What can I do? How much space do I give her? When do I reach out? Do I reach out? I'm just shocked that this happened. I'm terribly disappointed in myself. I love her so much.

Thank you in advance for your advice.


@throwaway107 Hi and welcome to the forum. You can reach out and ask her what she needs from you. Communication is key to solving any issue in a relationship. How do the two of you normally communicate when one or both people are upset?