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Thread: My parents will not stay out of my personal life (31 years old)

  1. #1
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    My parents will not stay out of my personal life (31 years old)

    Hi eNotAlone,

    This is a long post but I am really struggling. Your opinions are appreciated.

    I’m a 31-year-old man engaged to a 26-year-old woman. We’ve been together for five years, engaged for one year, and have planned a wedding for next year.

    My parents have generally been supportive of the relationship and have done a great deal for me and my fiancé. They are wonderful people and have always done the best they could for my siblings and I. However, their interference in my personal life has led to a lot of conflict.

    A month or so ago, my father and I had heard some news about a certain couple getting engaged. For his own reasons my father lied to my mother and said he hadn’t heard this news. My mother suspected otherwise and probed my fiancé (who did not know about my father’s lie), who then told her that my father had heard the news, not knowing any better. After my mother had confronted my father, my father lost his temper and called my fiancé in to his office, reprimanding her for talking about him. My fiancé is a very sensitive person and started crying. I thought this was grossly unfair and I defended my fiancé, however this occasion led to many more arguments between my fiancé and I. She has a great deal of respect for my parents and does her best to get on with my family, and she felt unfairly bullied in a situation where she did nothing wrong. I confronted my father and asked him to talk to me directly in future about any concerns he might have, rather than confronting my fiancé and creating problems in our engagement. He gave me his word that we would do so.

    My parents are now upset over what my fiancé has posted on social media. It is causing a great deal of damage to my relationship with my parents and is putting me in a very difficult position with my fiancé.

    My fiancé and I usually go out together, however from time to time we will attend parties or events on our own if the other can’t make it or if the function is work related. We are comfortable with this, provided we’ve communicated in advance where we will be and with whom. My fiancé also uses Instagram. This past Friday, my fiancé invited me to a party on Saturday. The party was at her co-worker’s boyfriend’s house, with both men and women attending. I had existing plans to see a friend of mine, couldn’t make it and was happy for her to go alone. We spoke for a while without incident when she arrived home at around 11pm, and then went to bed. She drove herself to and from the party and was sober, having told me she’d had two glasses of wine over the course of the day.

    My father, mother, fiancé, my two brothers and my brother’s girlfriend are in a WhatsApp Group together. Yesterday afternoon, my father sent the following message to all members:

    “Hi Guys, good to be part of the group. SOCIAL MEDIA in all of its forms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. etc. is the perfect platform for which a person or persons can post and as a result thereof be judged by others. As in business we say, he who signs beware. Regarding social media we say, he who posts beware. ( you have been tried and tested and you have been found wanting ) or ( you have been weighted and measured and you have been found wanting ) Have a great day further.”

    After seeing this, I called my father to see what it was about. He was angry and told me that he’d seen a video my fiancé had posted on Instagram; they thought the video was inappropriate and were concerned about what people might think. I hadn’t seen the video and hung up to watch it. The video showed my fiancé in a middle-class home (my father’s words: “seedy”, though it looked like a regular home to me) playing beer pong (a two-team game where beer cups are set up on a table and a ping-pong ball is bounced on the table into the cups) with another woman and a large group of men, with some other women sitting on the sofa. A few of the men were drinking alcohol, shouting and swearing. Later in the video, my fiancé and some of her friends sang loudly, arm-in-arm, and blew kisses into the camera, after which the video ended. After watching the video, I was genuinely satisfied that it looked like a regular house party and that nothing looked out of the ordinary. Aside from loud music and a few of the guests swearing and shouting while drinking, the video was uneventful. I didn’t see anything inappropriate and decided to confront my parents later in the day.

    My parents told me that they were disgusted and disappointed with the video and that they were very concerned about what their friends might think when watching it. They told me that if my fiancé was to become part of the family they would not tolerate her posting such things, and that they were also angry that she would dare go out to a party where men were present and alcohol was involved without me, and especially that she would post it on social media. The argument became very heated. I told them that I had watched the video and that I was comfortable that it was not inappropriate, that I had full knowledge in advance of my fiancé going out, that the boundaries of my engagement were not being respected, and that as a 31 year old man who has been with my fiancé for 5 years, I am capable of judging what is and what isn’t appropriate in the context of my relationship. I told my father that he had broken his promise to talk to me directly, and had instead sent a passive-aggressive message to a channel where my brothers and my brother’s girlfriend are present, needlessly embarrassing my fiancé and I. My parents would not budge. My mother has told me she will not attend my wedding. She has removed my fiancé off all social media channels. My father and mother have removed themselves from the family WhatsApp group.

    My fiancé and I have had a very serious argument about this. Even though I sided with her, she is very upset and feels unfairly bullied by my family. She is upset that my father sent the above message in a channel where my brothers and my brother’s girlfriend are present, and so am I. She can’t understand why they would question her character after five years, especially when she puts so much effort into getting on with my parents and siblings, and I agree with her. She genuinely makes every effort to maintain a good relationship with my mother, and feels extremely hurt. Even though I want to assure her my parents will respect our boundaries, their actions are out of my control and their inability to let us manage our own relationship dynamic is leading to recurring incidents which are seriously hurting our relationship, and building huge resentment. We are dealing with our own issues as a couple, independent of my parents, and this issue on top has left our engagement hanging by a thread. Earlier today we spoke about calling the engagement off and cancelling the wedding. I cannot find a way to make my parents understand that they are creating chaos in my personal life, and that their actions are causing permanent damage to the trust between my fiancé and I. They strongly feel that the video was inappropriate, while I don’t feel it was inappropriate. I don’t want my relationship with my parents to be strained, and I want them to be happy, but I cannot in good conscience side with them where I feel they are wrong. I feel that for them, imposing their will on my fiancé and I is more important than respecting my wishes and independence. My parents did more for me and my siblings growing up than we could have ever wished for or deserved, and they have always put their children first, but I also grew up in a family where my brothers and I have never known our cousins because my mother hates my father’s sister, and my father hates my mother’s brother. I grew up in a family where my mother hated my father’s parents, and my father hated my mother’s parents, because neither side would stop interfering in their marriage. I am afraid my parents cannot see history repeating itself and are leading me down the same path. For them, it is an argument that stops when I leave their home. For me, this creates huge damage which lasts for days, weeks and months and disrupts my happiness and my productivity. I understand that they may come from a different generation where expectations were different, but to me this issue is petty and has created massive drama needlessly. I would like my fiance to be on the best terms with my parents, but they seem to take every opportunity to police our relationship even though we are adults. Rather than focusing on the many issues we have already (and which all couples have), I find myself trying to minimise unnecessary drama and becoming tangled in conflict which upsets me and strains my relationship. My fiance's mother has never interfered in our relationship - not once, even when my fiance has visited her crying after an argument - and if she did, I know that I wouldn't take kindly to it.

    I'd love to know what you think.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    I think your parents are sticking their noses in your businesses far too much and based on what you said above, I agree with you that they are in the wrong. However you will likely never get them to see your side. It's good that your fiancee is no longer on whatsapp etc. with them, and she should keep it that way.

    Your mother is over the top in her saying she will not attend your wedding, how foolish that is. Hopefully she simmers down and comes to her senses.

    I dont see any way to win with nosey, over protective, controlling parents. If it were me, I'd remove myself from all social media connections with them.

    It's your fiancee I feel bad for, she is not going to want to be around your parents, which is understandable, but at some point she will have to be in the same room with them and she is going to be petrified at the thought. I wish her luck, she's going to need it.

  3. #3
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    Tell them she is welcome to still come to the wedding.

    And at the end of the day, you aren't marrying your mom, or building a family with her.

    And unless your Mormons or Muslim, or underage, I don't get why they are shocked you guys still party with friends where there is alcohol involved. Their reaction to the video is not normal. Don't let them bully you and your wife to be around. Just say, "I love my fiance, we are going to get married, and I support her choices and do not see anything wrong with that video, and they can judge all they want. You would love for them to be a part of the wedding. And whether they go or not, it's still happening."

    And then just let things simmer. Don't fret over it. Sure, they are your folks, but I'm sure their reaction comes from a place of fear of letting you go, or you're a Mormon or Muslim, and don't appreciate drinking.

  4. #4
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I would tell them to butt out and get a life. But you and your fiancée work for them?

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  6. #5
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    Block them from all social media. Your parents are over the top!

    Where do you live? Are you employed by your parents?

  7. #6
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I would agree remove your parents from all social media . I just thank god my parents don’t have social media !!

  8. #7
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    Originally Posted by ZAR1234
    My parents did more for me and my siblings growing up than we could have ever wished for or deserved, and they have always put their children first
    Um, duh, almost all parents give and give. Doesn't mean I get to control whom my two sons marry, nor would ever want to.


    Originally Posted by ZAR1234
    ...but I also grew up in a family where my brothers and I have never known our cousins because my mother hates my father’s sister, and my father hates my mother’s brother.
    Good grief, your parents are so immature. Let me phrase it like this. If you knew your parents had mental issues, would you take every opinion of theirs seriously? Nope, of course not. And this is the same case. Your mother and father are WAY TO VAIN to cut you out of their lives after their "friends" will be like, "why aren't you talking to so and so?" Do not ever even once accept and enable their behavior by cancelling the wedding! They are trying to manipulate you; don't fall for it.

    Don't forget to breathe! They will try to harass you to get you to bend. But things will work out for the best.

  9. #8
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    I agree with the consensus. I think your parents are WAY out of line trying to tell your fiancée what she can and cannot post to social media. WAY out of line. They are YOUR parents, not hers.

    I think it’s best if she doesn’t have any more direct contact with your parents. It’s a blessing that they removed her from social media and left the WhatsApp group. Your parents should be talking to you directly, not to her.

    Unfortunately, this will be a dynamic that will live on for years and years. Your fiancée will need to learn the art of being “friendly” but not “friends” with your parents. She can be pleasant and talk about the weather or current events, etc at family functions - but if they try to pull her into any more than that, she will need to play dumb and just say “I don’t know - you should ask ZAR1234”. It is your responsibility to deal with your parents. You will need to own that.

    It’s unfortunate, but it seems your parents are more than happy to create unnecessary drama. You won’t be able to change them, but you can try to shelter your relationship from them.

  10. #9
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    Thank you for all the responses so far, I really appreciate all of you giving of your time.

    Originally Posted by ~Seraphim ~
    I would tell them to butt out and get a life. But you and your fiancée work for them?
    My father and I work together, my fiance is fortunately not involved.

    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Block them from all social media. Your parents are over the top!

    Where do you live? Are you employed by your parents?
    If it's alright i'd rather not give our precise location, but we live in a western country. We are not Mormons or Muslims and both my parents drink.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    What's the cultural and/or religious context here? Your fathers post sounded like a man accustomed to preaching.

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