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My parents don't approve of my engagement


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I am 21 years old. I am graduating college in five days with a BS in Mathematics. I’m generally not a dummie. My fiancé is 27 years old. He is a college graduate and is now an officer in the Army. He loves what he does, and I’m very proud of him. He works hard and is financially stable.


My parents have a terrible marriage. They fight more often than not. Growing up, my dad was a highly functioning alcoholic. He makes a lot of money, but on weekends when he’d devote his day to drinking, he would without fail beat my mom. I’ve wrestled a gun out of his hand before when he said he was going to kill my mom and then himself. On one occasion, my senior year of high school, my dad got all drunk and fired up and told me he was going to slit my mom’s throat “just to hear her gurgle”. I will never forget the look in his eye when he told me that. I was scared, so I called the police. My dad was taken to detox for the night. Nothing really changed after that, but I’ve moved out and finished college in 3.5 years with a high GPA. (My parents paid for it, and I’m very grateful for that fact, but it also makes me feel indebted to them).


Well now that you have the background, I’ll get to the issue. My parents are furious that I’m engaged. My fiancé and I have been together for a year. It’s been long distance since he’s in the Army. However, I’ve seen him at the very least one weekend every month and on three occasions I spent two weeks straight with him. I know that I know him inside and out and he knows me. We’re so great for each other. We see life the same way, we have the same sense of humor, we are able to work through problems rationally, and I know he is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Unlike my relationship with my parents—it’s easy. It’s simple. We love each other and we have fun together and we rationally talk about problems. But my dad says I can’t know him because I just “talk to him on the internet” when that couldn’t be further from the truth. I spend an hour to two hours or more every night talking to him on the phone. We’ve done more talking than most couples who see each other every day because talking is all we have sometimes.


It’s tearing me up that my parents are so disapproving. I don’t know why I care so much, but like I said I feel so indebted to them and I want to make them happy and repay them for the things they’ve given me. They say I don’t know my boyfriend well enough and that I’m rushing into things. We’re not planning on getting married anytime soon. He has a deployment coming up and we won’t be getting married until after that—15 months from now. They also said he’s in debt. He’s not. I have the passwords to his bank stuff…he has $30,000 in investments and $15,000 sitting in savings. He also owns a house that he’s renting out, and the renters pay for the full mortgage payment, so that’s also an investment. He also owns two vehicles (paid in full for them). They also say he’s not right for me because he plays video games. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. He’s intelligent, funny, hardworking, and most importantly he loves me like crazy. I know he always has my back and has my best interest at heart.


I don’t know what to do to make my parents see what I see. And I don’t know how to feel better. I broke up with my fiancé this morning because I thought it would relieve me from the guilt I’m feeling over my parents, but it didn’t. It just made me hurt more. I’m in the middle of finals week for school, and I can’t seem to focus on anything. Please help me.

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I wouldnt listen to your parents here seeing as their marriage isnt the best. However, I can see why theyd think you dont know your boyfriend well enough. I dont think spending a weekend every month with someone for a year is not a very test drive for someone you may want to spend the rest of your life with, living and interacting with someone face to face for an extended period cant really be replaced with talking on the phone or online long distance. Obviously the feeling is yours and if you want to marry this man then it is noones choice other than yours, it is up to your parents to come round.

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People who have the worst parents in the world would still be feeling the way you do right now. Nothing they do changes the fact that they are your parents no matter what. With that being said, i think you need to follow your own path and not let them essentially 'destroy' what you have with your man. When people are in the business of the military, no matter if what there doing for it, it makes them see things and life differently. That goes for both people involved including the person not in the military. If you are sure this is the man you want to marry, then scrap what your parents think. Reassure them that you know what you are doing. Yea it might be tough once your married, things will no doubt be different esp if at some point you spend more time together in a few months than you have in your entire relationship. But if its worth it, youll make it work.


good luck!

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I was going to ask "Why do you care about what they think?" but I know this question isn't exactly fair, as most of us on some level want to please our parents. While this desire does fade with time, that feeling is still quite intense even in our early 20s as most people still have not quite developed an adult-to-adult relationship with their parents.


Having said that, I would keep reminding yourself that you are an adult who can make adult decisions. Ultimately, I suspect most of your parents' concern stems from the fact that your relationship is largely long-distance/online. Many older people still aren't "with the times" in regards to online dating, networking, relationship-forming in the cyber age, etc, and still imagine those outrageous Jerry Springer episodes from the 90s of "I met my husband online--and found out he's really a woman!" You know, that perception that all online relationships are fake and less legitimate than those which are more classically formed in person.


I would think of it this way. You've spent 21 years being the child of your parents. With this issue, the roles are reversed. Your parents are the ones acting like children, and they're stamping their feet and trying to get their way due to their own biases. I would stay calm, rationally explain to them that you're happy and doing well, and be polite but firm if they try to press the matter more than that. In all likelihood they will eventually come around. If they don't, that is their loss.


One question--the next time your boyfriend is in town, would it be possible to arrange a meeting with your parents? Perhaps a dinner outing or something like that? Perhaps if they see this guy in person and see the way you interact, etc, and how he treats you, their fears will dissipate.


Good luck.

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I don’t know what to do to make my parents see what I see..

They probably feel so against it all because they have never had the opportunity to meet the guy (which is understandable, imo). Make a date for you all to get together one day so that they can meet him. At least that will give them a chance to see what you see in him.

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From what I'm understanding... you met this guy on the Internet for a YEAR and only got to spend 2 weeks in person? I can see your parents' concern there. You don't fully know a person from a year of dating. On a brighter note, he has also given you his account information to check his finances... that's a lot of trust he is placing on you. A man would not do that unless he is absolutely serious on the intention of marrying you.


Going back to you... you are about to graduate from college in a high paying field, but are planning to get married in 15 months. Do you have a career lined up? If not, what are your backup plans if you cannot find a job before your wedding date? Is he willing to support you while you find a job?


IMO, I don't think you should break up the engagement, but you may want to postpone it until you have a stable career. It's so easy to just get up and go through it without your parents' agreement. However, you have a lot to consider since you're going to be a military wife. That means you will have to be ultra flexible in case he gets re-stationed somewhere in the US and you have to move with him... which isn't easy. I recently took a military wife's job who had to leave with her husband to live on base in Germany... and someone in my department who is in contact with her told me she can't find work on base and is very depressed. There is a lot of stress and usually loneliness behind a marriage when your spouse is in the military; espesically when he gets deployed. I highly recommend doing a lot to research to see if you are willing to handle this before blindly accepting a marriage because his occupation will be apart of your lifestyle.


In the meantime while dealing with your folks... take their arguments as a grain of salt. Some of the things they say hold truth and they may want you to not end up in the same path the went together.

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The thing is you do not have to live for your parents. You have to live for you. Maybe they are worried about the military life style. I am a military wife and I have been living it for 23 years. It is not the easiest thing in the universe. It is very lonely.Most military marriages end in divorce, about 75%. Maybe that is what they are worried about. However I would probably be tempted not to take the advice of people in such a dysfunctional nightmare of a marriage. I would take their advice with a grain of salt and set off on your own. Where ever you end up it is probably better than where they are at in their marriage.

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I think the best thing for you was to have moved.. But give it some time - be on your own for a longer while without a safety net. While you sound like an intelligent woman, there is a tendency sometimes to want to get married to escape, even if you don't realize it. If you follow those steps and get on your own two feet first, marriage won't seem like such an emergency and when it happens, it will be even better than it would be now. Trust me as someone who was a 22 year old young lady eager to run away with a guy. You can take just a little more time to spend time together. And learn more about eachother. Getting along is great, but wait until your relationship gets deeper - it becomes more than surface deep. I also recommend joining AL-Anon if you have not already also.


I agree with the parents as far as only having spent two weeks with him. Spend more time with him if you can. I would wait until he comes back, let him get reacclimated and then spend more time together before you get married. That way you don't experience having life feel like a vacation together and then the vacation is over. Maybe at that time, have him move close to you or you find a job and relocate to be with him, and only after some time start the wedding plans. But thats just me.


I will say that i am so excited to marry my boyfriend someday, but I am glad that we have not yet, as some very important things happened in our life and we were able to see how the other reacts to pain, loss, etc. I will say that with my ex, who I met when I was your age, I was all ready to be with him after being LDR, but when I was nearby, my eyes were opened to all the drama he had going on and all of his "stuff" that i didn't fully know about because we barely saw eachother or he talked to me when he put his best foot forward.

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Snny - I don't think thats particularly uncommon. OG and I, despite being married, have only spent somewhere inn the region of 2 months with each other in since January 09. These things do happen.


I see where you're coming from, but there are two important facts that contribute to a high divorce rate: The OP's age and she jumping into a military marriage. It is VERY rare these days that young couple stay committed together, much less handle being a military spouse. I was once engaged to someone in the Marines... it was VERY rough (especially when it was post 9/11 and Bush wanted to deploy Reserves overseas). That's why I advise the OP make sure she has a job lined up in case she does marry him and the relationship does not work out. Sometimes it's better to think logically before jumping into a marriage unprepared.

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Just because the OPs parents didn't have a great marriage doesn't mean that any advice they offer to the their child can't hold water. Personally I agree. I think you stepped into this engagement too fast. You've been together a year, at the most have only spent two weeks together in person and talk primarily through the internet and telephone. I would side with you if for example you two had been together longer and spent much more time together but perhaps things such as work have held you both distant from one another. In my opinion, it just doesn't seem like you two know each other as well as you may think and if that's the case why did you recently end your engagement?


A 15-month deployment is a long year and half. It's really a short while, but it's a long short while when you don't get to talk to your spouse or the person that you love as often as you would like. When your phonecalls are spare and few and you're looking outside your window at night wondering if he's looking up at the same star as you are. Have you thought about this? Are you really willing to wait on him and are you really willing to take this leap into the next phase, are you ready? Are you sure? Marriage doesn't better a relationship, you know.


I think you should listen to the advice of your parents. And remember just because their marriage hasn't been as smooth doesn't mean that you can't learn from a life lesson as such. Perhaps they've only rushed into their marriage and don't want you to make the same mistake. And since they've been there and done that, they can see the same mistake that perhaps you are about to make. I don't think there's any bone about you dating the man, but getting married right now or "after his deployment" seems very rushed. Take your time.

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A 15-month deployment is a long year and half. It's really a short while, but it's a long short while when you don't get to talk to your spouse or the person that you love as often as you would like. When your phonecalls are spare and few and you're looking outside your window at night wondering if he's looking up at the same star as you are. Have you thought about this? Are you really willing to wait on him and are you really willing to take this leap into the next phase, are you ready? Are you sure?

^^^^ This. I lived through it. I was lucky to get maybe a couple of phone calls A YEAR that lasted no longer than five minute. There was no stable Internet in Iraq... we had to write letters and I sent photos/drawings/poems which takes awhile to receive. It is incredibly lonely that it made me decide that I couldn't go through it. Also, he came back more controlling and violent which was the final straw for me. I'm not saying this happens to every servicemen, but it does when some come home from deployment... unfortunately it happened to me.


Are you prepared to deal with this kind of stress? Think things long and hard before climbing into a military marriage.

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I feel what you feel with pressure like that from family. When my family says something hurtful to me I take it much more personally for some reason. Blood is thicker than water, BUT it's your life and even though they are your parents you don't have to live to please them. Don't let people tell you how to live your life or else you'll just be miserable. Do what you feel is right, and if the marriage works out or doesn't then that's life and you move on. Good luck to you.

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