Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how confusing this situation must be for you. Your girlfriend has agreed to marriage and we assume that she wants to make this relationship into a real marriage. You are clearly a normal, caring, loving person. So you hear this and you understand it to mean a very specific type of commitment: marriage is a total commitment to each other. That is indeed how our society has always understood what marriage means traditionally. In my understanding, this is also true in Asian societies.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. In fact, you may decide it will be worthwhile to print it out and read it together with your fiance at a Starbucks or some other neutral site. I say this because the hurt that her behavior is causing you is a real hurt. It is not something that you are doing to yourself; her behavior is hurtful to you because you feel it to be a betrayal of your relationship together. And, as I said, this is how society for the most part views it .
This is not an issue of right or wrong. It is an issue of values. You understand the emotional commitment and exclusivity of marriage to be exactly what it says and you are concerned that she does not. Meaning, you understand that marriage means an exclusive interest in one's spouse. This excludes having an emotionally close, even if not physically close, relationship with another man.
You are treating engagement as a warm up to the marriage. If she is going to say she wants to marry you and loves you, she needs to show you that this is true and real, now, not just after the wedding ceremony. All the rules apply in your eyes. There is an exclusive level of commitment in that relationship.
She is expressing different values. It is possible that she will feel differently when you two are married, but that is not certain. It could well be that her values are different on the level of monogamy that marriage requires. She might feel that close platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex, and even with ex-lovers, are allowed and not a violation.
She may agree with you that marriage does preclude these relationships and that she shares your values. But she may believe that the period before marriage is not a period of commitment. That is also a values question: you do not see the wedding ceremony as an on/off switch. And so you are concerned that if she is going to feel it is permissible to have these relationships now, this will not suddenly change when she is wearing a wedding ring.
So, this is going to be a very pivotal discussion. I want you each to spend some time thinking about what marriage means to you and what your VALUES are. And see if they match. Because if there is a mismatch in the values between you, you need to know that now and decide if this problem is going to pop up continually and erode the closeness of your marriage. That one person sees the relationship to be one thing and require certain things and the other person sees it to be a different thing and require different things is not a good basis for a strong marriage.
BOTH of you need to understand that the central issue is that marriage is a bestowing of one's "specialness" to one human being. That includes sex, but is not just sex. It is emotional fulfillment, comfort, etc. It is the things that make a relationship "special". That means exclusivity. That means to you and to most people with traditional values that close friendships with people of the opposite sex are a violation. Now for the important point:
When one partner in a marriage feels that the other person has done something to lessen that relationship, the other person is actually being called upon to reaffirm the bond of "specialness" I refer to. I often see it in my office when husbands or wives are flirtatious at social events. Or that the spouse has a “friend” of the opposite gender that they feel is “just” a friend. The other spouse gets hurt. The real question is, even if the flirtation is innocent fun, why would the husband or fiance be more attached to that need for flirtatious fun than to their spouse’s discomfort with it? Even if the friend is just a friend, why would the husband or fiance be more attached to that need for the friend than to their spouse’s discomfort with it?
That's our question here with this one man from her past. For this period of time, your fiance is acting more attached to this relationship than to your needs. Why? Your needs are the needs of her future husband. That is supposed to be special. You see, this is why these are values issues.
Hopefully, going over my answer together in that discussion will help the two of you see what are the values that have to be weighed and what values you want to live by can be agreed to.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX