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Engaged But Extremely Stressed....Please Help


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I'll try to summarize where I can but my story is a bit of a mouth full.

 

My fiancé and I have been engaged for 2 months and have been dating for about 3 years. We met in college and for the 1st year of our relationship, everything seemed perfect. She got along with my family, we rarely fought, and we felt like we couldn't get enough of each other. I grew up on a dairy farm and she grew up with both of her parents being educators. She is a cradle Catholic and I was baptized Catholic but wasn't raised in any sort of religion. I have come to appreciate the Catholic faith and now we attend mass together and our faith is the primary thing that we bond over.

 

We were brought up very differently as I play most sports, don't worry about getting dirty, and am very extroverted. She is very clean, isn't interested in very many sports, and is introverted. We have many differences but both love each other deeply.

 

My parents enjoyed my partners company for much of the first year of our relationship but my dad started to feel that he wasn't respected by her. My dad killed a group of raccoons that had been eating the grain my dad feeds to his cows. My fiancé disagreed with my dad's actions and one day, while I was outside visiting with my mom, she came out of the house crying telling me that my dad is awful for the things he said, got in her car, and left. My dad explains to me that she overreacted and blames her for the outburst while my partner explains to me over the phone that my dad had been antagonizing her because he disagreed with her beliefs.

 

My partner also explained to me that my dad is a different person when I'm not there. I listened to both sides of the story and did everything that I could to keep the peace. Everything was fine for awhile then my partner wrote a letter to my dad explaining her views towards the things he does. I read the letter before she gave it to my dad and didn't see anything wrong with it but I didn't think about it from my dad's perspective. My dad did not take it well and things were tense between them since then.

 

After these events, I spent 2 weeks in the hospital due to an accident and my dad had a lot of opportunity to talk with my partner. He told her that he didn't want me living with her for my final year of college and that I needed to come home and recover from my accident in a low stress environment. I recovered from my head injury quickly and went back to school, living with my partner. I made it threw my last year of school and proposed in September.

 

My dad was alright with the proposal at the time and things were going pretty well. Recently I tried spending time with my family and my partner and during the visit my dad started bringing up things that bothered him about my partner's mother. I was there for this conversation and thought that my dad was bringing up things that were quite unnecessary. I was shocked by the whole situation and didn't step in. My partner, who suffers from panic disorder, began to panic and left the room. I follow her out and, as she is sitting her car, my dad comes over and says "can a not share my opinions with you?". After a couple minute my dad realizes that he had gone too far and apologizes to my partner. To this day, my partner does not think the apology was sincere.

 

Once my dad left to take care of some things at the barn, my partner called her parents and told them about everything that my dad had just said about her mom. Now her parents are angry with my dad.

 

A month past and things were calming. I spoke with my dad and he reiterated his apology and said that he should have handled it better. My partner was very upset with me for not standing up for her and she doesn't believe me when I say that I won't let it happen again. My partner believes that her safety is threatened and does not want to go to my parent's house unless she, her parents, my parents, and myself sit down and talk things out. I thought this might work at the time but after speaking with my dad he thought the whole thing was childish.

 

Firstly, he thought that my partner's parents should not have even been involved and that my partner was far too quick to involve them. Secondly, he is truly sorry for the pain he has caused her and feels that if she can forgive him, things will be okay. Thirdly, he feels that it is up to my partner to rectify the situation. Lastly, he thinks that my partner overreacted and that she has no reason to be worried about her safety. I know my dad very well and I know that he would never deliberately harm anyone (especially physically). I tried to tell my partner that she doesn't need to worry about her safety but she does not trust me, especially after I didn't stand up for her.

 

Currently, I plan on spending Christmas and Thanksgiving away from my family for the first time as I spend the holidays with my partner and her family. My partner wants me to either cut ties with my family or get my dad to have a meeting with her family. My partner gets upset with me when I suggest that she simply forgive my dad or if I suggest that we let some time pass so that things calm down. My dad, on the other hand, is disappointed in me because I don't make it clear to my partner and her parents that her safety isn't something to be concerned about.

 

I currently feel that I am having to choose between the woman I love and keeping my family in my life. I have a twin brother who I used to be very close with, but we have grown apart threw all these events and my partner isn't a big fan of him either. Family is very important to me and, ideally, I hope that my family and my fiancé could get along and enjoy each other's company. At this point, I do not see that happening however. If anyone has any advice or suggestions on how to handle this situation it would be greatly appreciated. I left out details here and there so if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

 

Thank you!

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Unfortunate not all families and future in-laws will see eye-to-eye. However your father and fiance need to realize that they can "agree to disagree" rather then get in opinionated rows or write letters etc. You also need to step up without taking sides and keep the peace.

 

Before you get married in a Catholic church premarital counseling is mandatory and in this case sorely needed. It will cover things such as families and in-laws and boundaries.

my partner wrote a letter to my dad explaining her views towards the things he does. My dad did not take it well and things were tense between them since then. my dad started bringing up things that bothered him about my partner's mother. I plan on spending Christmas and Thanksgiving away from my family for the first time as I spend the holidays with my partner and her family.
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We are attending premarital counseling with a sponsor couple currently but have not gotten to any of the tense topics thus far. We only have 4 counseling sessions total so I hope that is enough.

 

I've been working on being able to step up without taking sides. I do feel that my fiancé lacks respect for my dad and my dad thinks that my partner is controlling me and putting me in an unfair position. At this point, I don't know what steps to take to keep the peace.

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Obviously not enough if you avoid "tense topics" which is the purpose of it. You must address this, and stop tiptoeing around it

We are attending premarital counseling with a sponsor couple currently but have not gotten to any of the tense topics thus far. We only have 4 counseling sessions total so I hope that is enough.
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Your fiancée should have never written the letter. She does not need to explain her views and beliefs to your parents based on THEIR actions. This looks like she is telling your father how to behave IN HIS OWN HOUSE. I'm sorry, but who the hell does she think she is? I would be rightfully pissed off by the letter if I were your dad.

 

I find it interesting that you are both cohabitation. Catholics are strongly against this before marriage. Doesn't sound like she's a true Catholic here.

 

As an engaged man you are going to have to step it up in enforcing boundaries with your parents. This is the time you really have to stand up to them when they are disrespectful toward your wife. You and her need to set the tone of this soon marriage to your parents and inlaws or they are going to push you guys around because you've let them. Anytime he is disrespectful, you call him out for it. If he continues, you let him know that yo and your fiancée will be leaving. He will get the message quick that you are not playing around and he can't push you or her around.

 

Marriage is about standing as a united force. There will be people out there besides parents/inlaws who will test your marriage boundaries- and you and her have to handle them. Just because you got a wedding band around your finger doesn't make you untouchable.

 

my partner called her parents and told them about everything that my dad had just said about her mom. Now her parents are angry with my dad.

Oh how grown up of her to run her mouth.

 

Your fiancée needed to keep her mouth shut and quit causing drama. Now she will be creating a division where by the time you guys get married, you can't have jointly events together. Holiday planning is going to be a b** when you got two families fighting over you guys. Just wait til the wedding on top of it.

 

You both are responsible of keeping the peace with your families.

 

My partner believes that her safety is threatened and does not want to go to my parent's house unless she, her parents, my parents, and myself sit down and talk things out. I thought this might work at the time but after speaking with my dad he thought the whole thing was childish.

 

Firstly, he thought that my partner's parents should not have even been involved and that my partner was far too quick to involve them. Secondly, he is truly sorry for the pain he has caused her and feels that if she can forgive him, things will be okay. Thirdly, he feels that it is up to my partner to rectify the situation. Lastly, he thinks that my partner overreacted and that she has no reason to be worried about her safety.

I agree with him 100%. In fact I would think twice about marrying a person like this. She's just causing drama and looking for a fight at this point.

 

My partner wants me to either cut ties with my family or get my dad to have a meeting with her family.

The moment my partner tells me to cut ties would be the moment I end the relationship. Unless my parents physically violated my partner, I would NEVER disown my family for a partner. Your family is a part of you whether she likes it or not. If she can't respect that, be gone!

 

I'm sorry, this is a major dealbreaker. I don't think counseling can fix this drama.

 

OP, my suggestion is to grow a backbone of you feel two people are pushing you around. You need to look down and follow what is right. Personally I would be pissed off at your fiancée for her overreaction. I sure as hell wouldn't want a partner TELLING ME to disown my family. That's controlling on a massive level. B**h would be gone.

 

 

 

For the record OP, fiancé is what you call an engaged man. An engaged woman has an extra "e."

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Snny, thank you very much for the reply, and i appreciate the correction on fiancee vs fiancé. You have given me many things to consider and think about. I have a lot of self reflection to do as to whether or not this is truly what I want in my life. I really do want the best for her but, with everything going on, I struggle to see how I am the best for her. She truly is a kind and caring woman and my dad is a kind and caring man. I just get the feeling that neither wants to get along with each other and that they want to take me away from one another.

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You can't make both happy. But it's important that they RESPECT each other and act civilly.

 

Your fiancée needs to learn her place and should never confront your father. She will never get along with her future inlaws with this tact. Your parents will never like her and will continue to see her being crazy and controlling if she is always confrontational in THEIR HOUSE. Anytime she comes over to your parents, she is a guest and should behave as one. The only thing she is entitled to is to be treated as a guest, bit is not her job or place to correct the host's behavior.

 

You are responsible handling your own parents as she is with hers. She needs to step out and let you handle your parents, not take matters into her own hands. How you handle your inlaws is all about picking your battles carefully.

 

If anything, she should be the one apologizing. Your father apologized to her directly (instead of hiding behind a letter and telling HER how to behave) and she is continuing to carry on- by choice. And she should NEVER tell you to cut ties with anybody- that decision is not up to her or to even say.

 

I'm not understanding how her "safety" is being threatened here. Did he threaten to shoot her or something? I doubt any sane parent would say that to a child's partner.

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She thinks that her mental and, possibly, physical safety is being threatened. She went through some things growing up that were quite traumatizing and my dad accused her mother of causing those things. She started to defend her mother but the anxiety and panic was too much. She thought it was best to simply walk away.

 

Looking back on it I really should have stepped in but I was in shock by the accusations that my dad was making and just stood there. When my dad apologized in that moment, partially out of frustration. I could see how she didn't think it was sincere but, since then, he has apologized. She hasn't forgiven him however.

 

In the conversation about the raccoons, prior to the letter, my dad and my partner got on the topic of abortion. My partner is strongly pro life and my dad went as far as to say that since she wasn't part of the solution that she was part of the problem. This also hurt her deeply but I wasn't there to do anything about it.

 

What it boils down to is that she had two altercations with my dad that hurt her emotionally in a major way and I wasn't there to back her up on either of them. Also, she thinks that my dad manipulates me because whenever I talk to him I end up coming back to her saying something like "can't you just forgive him?' or "you don't need to worry about your safety around him" or "I don't think it was necessary for you to involve you parents". When I say these things she takes it as if I am on my dad's side and not hers.

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Explain to me why she thinks her physical safety is at risk around your parents.

 

Like the previous poster said, does she think he'll shoot her or something? If so, where did she get that idea? Is she just assuming your father will hurt her physically?

 

She sounds like she acts like a fragile little flower and everyone has to tiptoe around her so she doesn't "panic". The world doesn't operate that way. Does she work? What will she do if a coworker says something mean about her, or if her boss has to speak to her about a mistake she made? Will she insist you go to her work to defend her?

 

Do you feel like your role is as her "protector"? Does she feel that should be your role?

 

Side note, I went to the Catholic "premarital counseling" years and years ago. It consisted of repeatedly telling us not to use birth control because it was forbidden, and handing out pamphlets about the rhythm method. And it was conducted by a priest, who obviously had never been married. Waste of time. Hopefully the counseling has improved.

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She is assuming that my father may physically hurt her based off of the antagonizing that my dad has already done. She said to me that she doesn't know what he is capable of but she has reason to worry. I try to reassure her that he wouldn't harm her but she has trouble believing that.

 

She has had multiple events growing up that have left her in a fragile state so I do worry about her in certain situations. She does work when she is on breaks from school and it goes quite well from what she tells me. She gets along with her managers well and does'nt seem to have conflict with coworkers.

 

She does feel like I should be her protector. Growing up, her dad was very protective and would stand up for her in any situation. She expects that same protective characteristic from me, which is a struggle at times because I am not a very confrontational person and strive to get along with everyone I encounter.

 

As for the Catholic counseling, I think it has come a long ways since then because we were actually assigned a counseling couple based on a questionnaire we filled out. We have our second meeting coming up so that should give me a great opportunity to go over some of these things!

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Do you agree that your dad will physically hurt her? Or do you think she is exaggerating? Because it seems to be a huge leap from disagreeing and expressing opinions strongly and hitting or shooting someone!

 

She does understand that a dad and a husband are different roles and relationships, I hope.

 

I presume she is an adult, which means she doesn't need someone "protecting" her. Unless, of course, you agree with her that she is fragile and needs protecting.

 

Do you somehow enjoy thinking she is so fragile and that she is looking to you to be the big strong protector man?

 

Anyway, it seems like either you have to do everything her way and lose your family, or you'll lose her. For me, the choice would be plain.

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My dad wouldn't lay a finger on her.

 

Her dad is also very protective and defends her mother in a similar way and she does hope to see that from myself.

 

She is an adult. She can be somewhat fragile and, sometimes, I do feel like I need to protect her. I struggle living up to her expectations most of the time because she sees how much her dad has protected both her and her mother and expects the same from me.

 

I do not enjoy this but I embrace it because I love her and I want the best for her.

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"My partner wants me to either cut ties with my family or get my dad to have a meeting with her family. My partner gets upset with me when I suggest that she simply forgive my dad or if I suggest that we let some time pass so that things calm down. My dad, on the other hand, is disappointed in me because I don't make it clear to my partner and her parents that her safety isn't something to be concerned about. "

 

So you're hoping she eventually "changes" her mind?

 

Seems like she wants the "family meeting" so that her dad can be there to "protect" her. Because, apparently, YOU aren't doing the job she thinks you should be doing, so Dad needs to step in to take your place.

 

Anyway, I don't see any solution other than 1)you give in to her and stop seeing your family or 2)you don't give in and have to deal with her thinking you aren't being the "protector" she thinks you should be.

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Seems like she wants the "family meeting" so that her dad can be there to "protect" her. Because, apparently, YOU aren't doing the job she thinks you should be doing, so Dad needs to step in to take your place.

 

Anyway, I don't see any solution other than 1)you give in to her and stop seeing your family or 2)you don't give in and have to deal with her thinking you aren't being the "protector" she thinks you should be.

 

This is spot on.

 

OP really ask yourself if you want to be put in this "protector" role that you don't want to take and be someone you're not for the rest of your life.

 

Marriage is a partnership, and you're not her dad.

 

Sorry I don't think you'll ever be able to meet her expectations.

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Regarding the arguments, I'm sure your dad had expressed strong opinions and maybe used strong language, a mature woman in this situation would learn from the first time that her father-in-law-to-be has very different views than her, and avoid having discussions with him in future on contentious issues, keep conversations light and keep peace, afterall it's her husband's family and she wants everyone to get along.

 

In reality, she not only reacted badly to the situation, took it personally, she even blabbered to her parents about what your dad said about her mom, that's just drama creating.

 

To me, she's a little girl that's not grown up yet, needs to be handled with care, can't deal with harsh words, and run to her parents for protection whenever she's upset and can't deal with the situation.

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She is assuming that my father may physically hurt her based off of the antagonizing that my dad has already done. She said to me that she doesn't know what he is capable of but she has reason to worry. I try to reassure her that he wouldn't harm her but she has trouble believing that.

She's being a special snowflake here.

 

I'm Catholic and am very pro-life. But I don't rub my beliefs onto people out of RESPECT. That is exactly what she is doing... forcing her beliefs onto people.

 

This woman is definitely not mature enough for marriage if she can't take people's criticism without getting upset.

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Side note, I went to the Catholic "premarital counseling" years and years ago. It consisted of repeatedly telling us not to use birth control because it was forbidden, and handing out pamphlets about the rhythm method. And it was conducted by a priest, who obviously had never been married. Waste of time. Hopefully the counseling has improved.

I got married nearly two years ago and had a much different experience when Pope Francis changed the rules of pre-Cana. But the survey we did at the beginning of class... our priest sat us down and helped us open up to some issues that we marked differently in the book.

 

However based on the information... personally OP I would not give this girl a shot based on her rotten attitude toward your family.

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I plan on bringing these concerns up in my next marriage counseling session and see where that goes. I'll give you guys an update afterwards. Hopefully I can get somewhere by the end of the session.

 

Do it with a priest.. I wouldn't bring it up with the sponsor couple. Because if they side with you or vice versa, someone is going to feel ganged up and may not be receptive to anything they say. With an officiate, it will be on different grounds (he can choose not to wed you both if she doesn't cooperate).

 

If things don't go your way, go to a secular, professional counselor. I can't imagine a religious official telling her NOT to press her beliefs onto someone who views abortion differently... honestly, I just can't with the Catholic church fighting for anti-abortion laws forever.

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From what I've heard regarding the abortion talk, my partner was not looking to push her beliefs on him. She was just trying to explain where she was coming from and my dad wanted nothing to do with it.

 

Regardless, we plan on talking with a priest more about the situation and I plan to talk to a priest in private about my feelings toward all of this as well. I pray every night for my fiancee and my family to get along, I just hope that one day it becomes a reality.

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Just as a side note, do they still ask you if you're co-habitating? They asked me and my fiance that, and we could honestly answer "no". They praised us for that lol.

 

Anyway, I believe the priest will tell you both that your family is important and it's best for everyone to reconcile. And I don't mean having her dad there to play referee or "protector".

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