The Hated Fiancé

22 Apr

Letterbalm Parents Hate FianceDear LetterBalm: My family, which has always been generous and loving to everybody, detests my fiancé. I’m not talking about misgivings or awkwardness as everyone gets to know him, I’m talking active dislike. Last week, my easygoing father picked a huge fight with him over politics, and my mother deliberately served an avocado salad when she knew he’s violently allergic to them. (He almost ate it, but, horrified, I stopped him.) This is just the latest in an ongoing round of rudeness, snubbing and nastiness led by my parents and egged on by my siblings. My fiancé is kind, respectful and intelligent, and he can’t fail to see this. I’m ready to elope and cut them off, but this is really troubling me. My family has always been supportive of my life and work choices. I’ve tried to ask them why they hate my guy, but I can’t get a straight answer. What to do?

–Beleaguered Bride

It’s time for cooler heads to prevail and for you to fight for your beloved. But before you do, take a long, dispassionate look at him and ask a couple of trusted friends if they see any red flags. They might be more likely to tell you the truth about him because they aren’t blood. And, you might be inclined to overlook potential problems because you’re seeing things through the hazy filter of love. Have his family and friends taken to you? Have you and your fiancé discussed children and major expenditures (a house or condominium, for instance) and where you will live? There may be health or debt issues or differing attitudes towards money and religion and other matters in which you and he may not be compatible. There also may be control issues and other psychological or emotional concerns. Ms. L.B. asks you to remember two things: First, your family is concerned about your future, and, second, people are on their best behavior when they’re engaged. Only after you’re fully satisfied that all is well and a background check isn’t in order, do you schedule a private talk with your parents and siblings. (If you’re uneasy, you have some serious reflection and discussions with your fiancé ahead.) Don’t talk about the conversation with a wide circle of friends or with your fiancé. Be firm but respectful to your family:

Family, we must have a serious talk about Norman. You’ve made your feelings known quite clearly, and now I’m asking you to listen to me. Your behavior is absolutely inexcusable and unfair. It has hurt me deeply. You are behaving so far out of character, I can only think you must have good reasons I don’t know about for acting the way you’ve been. Well? Does anyone want to tell me? Now’s the time to talk – I want to know. [Listen respectfully and respond.] I know you want me to have the kind of life you think I deserve, and you’re worried Norman can’t give me that. But the important thing is that I love him, and I know he is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. He’s kind, intelligent and makes me happier than I’ve ever been. I want to make two things clear: First, I’ve found my true love and the only thing missing is your support, and, second, no amount of bad behavior is going to make me feel differently. I’ve been making my own important decisions for awhile now, and I have to continue to do that, even if you think I’m making some bad choices. That’s the only way we all grow. I hope you can come to love Norman as much as I do and stop your hurtful actions because he and I don’t deserve them.

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