Post # 1
I’m upset. It’s a simple as that. I’m 22 years old and I’m engaged an incredible man (since Wednesday 😉 We have been dating for 7 months, and we come from two very different backgrounds (I – upper middle class; him – low middle class). He isn’t formally educated (works construction) has has a "past" (but has overcome those obstacles and has turned his life around). I have a college degree and come from a well-educated, well-to-do family.
Long story short, my dad’s side of the family. the few times I have been comfortable enough to bring him around, my family ignores him and mumbles stuff under their breath. I told my dad that it upsets me and he said he’d work on it, but now my fiance doesn’t even want to go around them at all.
Tyler, my fiance, proposed on Wednesday and I am petrified of even telling my family. I know they won’t be happy for me (which I think most families ARE??) and I am graduating from college tomorrow and am still relying on my dad for finanical support until I find a job.
I am so stressed out and upset that it has gotten to the point where I’m not even excited to get married because my family isn’t sharing in the excitement. What is the best way to go about this??!
Post # 3
Hi ASmith- congrats! That’s very exciting that he proposed! Without wanting to rain on your parade, I wonder if maybe things are moving pretty fast here? Seven months isn’t a very long time, and 22 is pretty young to be getting married.
I say this only because I was in a long term relationship from 19-24 — after four years together we realized that we weren’t really as ‘perfectly matched’ as we thought we were for years, and broke it off. It was positively the best thing I ever could have done, and as much as I loved him then and thought he was absolutely perfect, I look back and shudder at the thought of still having him in my life. I think as women we do a *lot* of growing in our twenties, and there’s a good chance that two people won’t grow in the same direction. Not to say that people don’t ever meet the perfect person at that age– one of my best friends married her high school sweetheart and they’ve been happy together for ten years! But I think they might be the lucky exception to the rule.
What about slowing things down a bit? Couldn’t you give your family time to get to know him, and learn to love him like you do over a longer time period? I’m assuming there’s no urgent need to be married asap, and trust me, life is so much easier when your family loves your FI! Your twenties are the most fabulous time, and as I prepare for my wedding at 32 I’m so thankful that I took that whole decade to get my career going, to party with my girlfriends, travel with friends, and really figure out who I was, so that I can approach my pending marriage completely free from doubt and absolutely ready to be a good partner to my FI.
Best of luck to you, and let us know what happens!!!
Post # 4
My first thought was: Maybe if they had more time to get to know him?
I know that you know what you want, but your parents are probably looking at it the way the last poster stated. My parents weren’t too sure about my fiance when they first met him(he also has past), but over the past 8 years we have made it clear that we make a wonderful couple.
So either don’t let what they think bother you, or be willing to wait longer until the marriage, so your parents and your fiance could get to know each other better.
Post # 5
I’m sure that once your family has time to get to know him and see how much you two love each other, they’ll come around. That being said, I hope that you aren’t planning on getting married right away. And this has nothing to do with the "family not liking him" and everything to do with the "still dependent on your parents for money" thing. I just don’t think people should get married until they’re sure they can support themselves. And once your parents see you as an independent adult, they’ll be more likely to respect your decisions (and not worry that your husband will be a drain on their financnes).
Post # 6
I have to agree with jlsween. I know you don’t want to hear that you should wait. You’re in love and happy and ready to plan out your future. I’m about to have my first wedding at 33 and one of the smartest decisions I EVER made was to not marry the man I was engaged to at 25. Not that you can’t get married young and be happy and stay married forever…it’s just hard enough to stay married under the best of circumstances. I just think that if you’re having additional problems with your family it can make a tough situation harder. Remember that your family has known you for 22 years and you’ve only been in this relationship for 7 months. Good luck and my last piece of advice is to listen to your gut instincts!
Post # 7
We all know the feeling of being in love and the excitement of getting engaged and planning our weddings…that’s why we’re all here afterall! So I definitely do not discount the elation you’re feeling, and you should be able to revel in it and shout from the rooftops!
However, the fact that you are terrified of telling your family is a *BIG* warning sign. Yes, you’re the one who’s fallen in love with Tyler, but your family hasn’t had the chance to get to know him.
While it’s completely understandable that Tyler is now uncomfortable because they haven’t been very welcoming so far, it’s both of your responsibility to try harder for your family to get to know him and accept your relationship. If you are the woman he loves, a sign of maturity is that he’s willing to go to any length to prove that commitment.
Put yourself in your family’s shoes…if a good friend of yours came to you and said she met someone 7 months ago, is 22, doesn’t have a job, and is newly proposed to a guy who has a "past", what would be your initial reaction?
The only way you can show you are making the right decision is by proving it. Be happily engaged, start supporting yourself financially, create opportunities for your family to see the good things that Tyler has to offer, and take your time. Do not set a wedding date yet until you’ve had a full year together as a functioning couple that works hard together. Work towards the point where you CAN scream from the rooftops that you’re marrying this person and be proud of it.
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2007 - The Wellington House in Fayetteville, NY
I have to agree with the previous posters and say wait a few years to get married.
That is my gut reaction. Have a longer relationship/engagment? 7 months isn’t very long to know someone and 22 is pretty young, especially if you are just finishing college and you aren’t even financially independant yet.
If my 22 year old daughter/sister/loved one came to me and told me she was getting married to someone she’d been with for less than a year… I probably wouldn’t be jumping for joy.
Just out of curiosity, how old is your boyfriend/fiance?
Post # 9
I know you’re getting a lot of advice here (most of which you probably don’t want to hear), but I noticed in your other posts that you were originally planning an October 2009 wedding, but now moved it up to May 2009. I may be a little biased toward Fall, but why don’t you keep it in October, and give yourself that bit of extra time for your family to get to know your fiance. It’s hard enough planning a wedding (I would assume even harder just out of college without a job, I barely could support myself let alone try to pay for a wedding when I graduated) but when you have other obstacles to overcome such as an uphill battle with your family, I think that is reason enough to give it some time. If you are positive this is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, give your family the respect of time to learn that too. And if it’s meant to be, then they’ll see it too. Good luck!!
Post # 10
Oh my! The similarities are astonishing! (I was 22 and in college, my family didn’t approve, similar financial situations, his name was even Tyler! The only differences are that we weren’t officially engaged and he didn’t have as much of a "past".)
As you can maybe guess by the use of the past tense, things didn’t work out. While I was sure that we were going to get married and raise a family together my parents were not impressed. Sure enough, they knew me better than I knew myself. It took a couple years but we finally ended it and everyone was very happy for me.
A little while later I met someone else, and shocker of all shockers, my parents loved him! At first I thought they were just happy it was someone other than Tyler but no. My mom has even mentioned the "M-word" and shown me the family rings! (Even if she rushes to point out that there’s no pressure or need to hurry!) And oh my goodness is it ever so much easier without that stress of them not liking my SO!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though every situation is different, we have some striking similarities so maybe there’s something you can gain from my experiences. I’m always a fan from learning from other peoples mistakes anyways. I make enough on my own as is!
I changed a lot just from 22 to 24. More than I ever thought I would. Things that worked great for me then would never satisfy me now. My advice? Take your time and keep your head up and your eyes open. I hope your Tyler works out better than mine!
Post # 11
Please don’t think that because you’re 22 means that you’re "too young." Too young is very relative, and it’s insulting to have someone pass judgment on you and your maturity level because of your age. The bigger problem is that your family doesn’t like him. And based on the fact that you haven’t told them yet about your engagement, that’s not what the problem is! Your family has a problem with him, not your age.
That being said, I would have a talk with your family and listen to what they’re saying. They’re your family; they love you and they have your best interests at heart. Giving it more time would not be the worst thing in the world — not because you’ll be older, but they’ll have more time to get to know him.
Congratulations, by the way!
Post # 12
I agree with most of these posters — take your time, slow down and evaluate why you have the thoughts of being scared. I was engaged at 24. He was a great guy, and I loved him a lot. My family accepted him and liked him, but they weren’t in love with him, and I always had a nagging feeling, and I remember being apprehensive about telling my parents we were engaged. A few months later, three months before the wedding, I called it off. He was devastated, my whole life plan changed (I was going to move overseas). So here I am, getting married this summer, and it is so wonderful. I love him on a totally different level, my family adores him, and we just fit so much better. And I have never once had a nagging feeling or a second thought. Tyler may be the right guy for you, and you two obviously love each other, but take the time to get to know him, have your family, and take the time to evaluate your own feelings. Calling off the engagement was such an overwhelming experience, but in the end I can’t have imagined a better ending.
Post # 13
I would hold off on the engagement (I know that’s hard) until you can stand on your own two feet financially.Â Use the time to integrate your fiance into your family.Â Then when you do announce your engagement, at least maybe everyone can be more comfortable with it.
It sounds like your parents might have valid concerns, since he has a past.Â Honestly, in seven months you can’t really know if he is really done with his past.Â I speak from experience.Â My late husband was an alcoholic (he died from it, ultimately)- there was NO sign of it until 5 years into our relationship, which was one year into our marriage.Â Apparently, he’d had a past, too.
I’m just saying that because that is probably your parents’ fear.Â And to me, that means they love you very much.Â Even though you might think they are being huge jerks.
The only way to get your family to accept him is over time.Â To show them that he is responsible and that you can take care of each other.
Post # 14
I agree with Rebecca. Unless you’re like 14, young is a relative term. While it’s true that our lives change from 20-30, we don’t know your maturity level. Some people get married young and it works out just fine, and there are plenty of people who get married in their 30’s and can’t make it work, so that’s not necessarily the biggest problem. Being engaged and not being able to share it is not good. When I got engaged, I didn’t tell my parents because I knew they wouldn’t be happy for me. My husband and I had a really rocky relationship 10 years ago. When I told my mom, she said "okay" and hung up the phone, but she called me back 5 minutes later, and said "I apologize for my reaction. My daughter just told me she was getting married – that’s huge." Our engagement, was basically a period of them getting to know him – at least for the person he is now. And it has made all of the difference in the world. If anything, give yourself an ample enough engagement period. You’re just graduating from college (congratulations, that’s no small accomplishment), and you have to plan a wedding while allowing your family time to get to know your FI.
Are you guys prepared to pay for everything yourself if your family decides not to help? Just give yourself time….time for you to plan for a wedding, and life afterwards, time for your family to know the man you love. They love you and need to know that he has good intentions for you and will treat you with love and respect, and provide for you. Hopefully, they will see what you see. You don’t have to postpone your wedding, just give it a little more time.
Post # 15
It’s really too bad that your family doesn’t like your FI. Maybe more time would help. Speaking as a soon-to-be stepmother of a 20 year old girl, I know that her father (my FI) and I hope for her that she actually doesn’t get serious with any of the guys she dates for quite a while. Because although they are perfectly nice, and we like them fine, we hope a lot of things for her as far as having the experience of being an independent woman, having her own life and her own adventures – and we see getting serious with one guy too soon as possibly limiting her choices in life.
I also have a couple of friends who married their high school sweethearts – so I’m not saying that just because you meet someone while you’re fairly young that they aren’t the right person. But your parents might be much happier if you wait a few years – as other people have said, until you are established in a job, have some money saved, and have had some time to be single and independent. The thing is, as long as you’re expecting your folks to pay your way, you do have to respect their opinions. It sounds like you recognize that, and that’s part of why you don’t want to tell them. It’s really not right to do something you know they will seriously disapprove of while still expecting their financial support, and it’s also not right to continue to take their financial support while being dishonest with them and hiding your engagement.
I think you really only have option: to tell your FI that you would love to marry him someday, but that you need to wait to be officially engaged until you can be independent of your parents (at which time their opinion will still matter, but will affect you less). It’s really not as tragic as it might seem – if your FI really loves you, he won’t want to cause a major problem between you and your family, and he will still love you at the end of the summer, when you have a job and an apartment and are a little more independent.
Post # 16
In my 20s, I was in a long-term relationship that I was sure would blossom into marriage. Not so. He wasn’t a bad guy – we’re still friends – but we weren’t right for each other. It took us a few years to sort it out and I’m so glad we didn’t rush. As others have mentioned, there are tons of changes that happen when you move through your 20s. That said, don’t necessarily let age hold you back – everyone is different and there are examples on both sides that are good and bad.
That said, if you’re reticent to tell your parents, that is a HUGE red flag. Your family not really liking him is another. So, talk to your FI and see if he’d be ok with waiting. Get a place of your own and find a job – get settled and see how you feel. If your FI isn’t wiling to wait for you, that’s your third red flag that maybe your family is on to something.
My brother got married young (21) after a short courtship (< 6 months). They are still together, but have had a very difficult marriage while they both grew into the people they are now. It may end up working for them, but no sense in rushing into marriage – give yourself some time. That’s probably not what you want to hear, but it really is the best thing.
However it goes, best of luck!