Post # 1
Let me start by saying I’m older than many people on here, which may affect my views. Two issues here: 1)I was raised by a European father and very etiquette-conscious mom. My father used to say that we probably wouldn’t ever dine with the Queen but if we did we’d know exactly how to behave. My Fiance does not have the best manners. It makes me a little crazy. I’ve been happy to help but he regards many of the rules of etiquette as stupid (that right there would be reason for me to leave him per the way I was raised). I believe manners and rules are part of being respectful to others & what makes us socialized – they matter to me. I’m afraid I’ll be embarrased at our wedding since we’ll be with others who feel & act like I do. I’ve gotten him to alter some of his behavior but he seems resistant. Even my daughter wants to correct him in a restaurant.
Issue #2) My Fiance doesn’t seem to be very protective of me. He doesn’t like to hold hands (I do) and sometimes he says things that make me feel like I’m just on my own. I like to feel protected. Is that crazy? EX: today we had a fight because he never carries his cell with him. I can never reach him except when he’s at his desk at work (rare). I rarely call him at work and perhaps email once a day if that. If I ever had car trouble or was really sick, I’d be on my own. I have no one else I can contact. His answer: I’m not a phone guy. When I tell him now he has a family (we live together & I have a teen daughter) and needs to be a phone guy, he just says he doesn’t like them. It feels like an F-you to me. Am I over-reacting? He’s so loving and thoughtful in everything else, I just don’t get this. Thoughts? He’s a lot younger than I am – is it an age difference issue?
Post # 3
Sorry to hear about the phone thing! I’m sure he cares but maybe the age difference makes him conscious of you “mommying” him. It doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re doing, but you might need to make it clear to him that you don’t want to have 3 hour-long conversations, but just be able to reach him if you need something.
About the manners thing, it’s possible that he may be rejecting your constructive criticism because he might feel controlled. If you love him and are marrying him you have to accept the good with the bad. I mean, if table manners are the only real problem you guys have then you’re not bad off!!!
Post # 4
I can totally relate to the manners problem. I was raised to have very good manners, especially at the table, and it’s something that is important to me as well. When my Fiance and I met, he had zero table manners. Zero.
At home I feel a bit more relaxed about it (except for chewing with your mouth open, talking with food in your mouth, or “sucking” teeth…ugh seriously turns my stomach), however in public I expect my Fiance to at least not hold his fork like a caveman, put his napkin on his lap, and keep his elbows off the table. (Whew, can you tell this is seriously my all time, number 1 pet peeve?!)
The only advice I can give you on that one is flat out, but kindly, telling him it bothers you. My Fiance doesn’t like it when I ask him to chew with his mouth closed, but I justify it by not really liking it when I lose my appitite from the gross noises coming from his side of the table!
Keep communicating with him, and eventually he’ll at least try to eat like a civil human being while in your presence. 😉
Post # 5
I was raised as middle-upper class, so I certainly wasn’t learning my manners from wolves or anything but my mind was a little blown when I moved to France where etiquette is very formal. I’d feel awkward and disrespectful if I didn’t try to blend in, and I’ve really come to appreciate the culture…even if I seem like a snob when I visit home, ha….Honestly though he should make an effort to blend into your culture. You should not expect him to be the next Martha Stewart, but he should not stick out when you need him to behave…it’s something he should do for you.
Post # 6
I relate to the phone thing. My Darling Husband does carry his cell with him but sometimes he doesn’t “hear” it, etc. and it gets really annoying when I need to be in touch with him – not in an emergency – but at least in something time sensitive. I did explain to him that now he’s married – has a family – and he needs to keep his phone in a place where he can hear it if G-d forbid there’s an emergency. He was receptive to me, so I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to hear the opposite. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this frustration.
Post # 7
Well, I imagine he’s had these same manners (or lack of) since you’ve known him, so I’m not sure why he has to magically be any different because you’re having a wedding. In the kindest way possible, I’d aproach a few things with him, but I wouldn’t expect that he’ll willingly comply before asking you ‘why now’? I hope you wouldn’t hurt his feelings by saying anything about being embarrassed by his table manners, let alone have your daughter correct him.
Feeling less protected because he doesn’t answer his phone or hold hands? I thnk you are WAY overreacting on that one. People survived long before cell phones, and will continue to do so. Sorry. I think it’s again not a big deal.
Post # 8
I’m not a phone person and I know several people who are not. It makes me extremely anxious to have to answer a phone whenever it rings and I really hate listening to voicemail. Would it be possible that he can cary the phone but you agree to text if you need something?
I think it’s just a matter of culture that you don’t agree on etiquette. You need to find a compromise for the wedding (just enough etiquette) so you are both happy.
For the record I understand where he is coming. I was not raised with much etiquette and most of it just seems like a bunch of arbitrary rules. But I recognize that it’s necessary in most situations.
Post # 9
@LindsayMaree: LOL! I feel your pain. My guy had the basics down so no eating with his mouth open or doing other things that would gross me out. There wouldn’t have been a second date! As it was, for the first date he wore a baseball cap during dinner (big no-no lol), elbows on the table. Fortunately his conversation was wonderful and he was so freaking cute in person! Our progress since then includes no more hats, allowing me to walk ahead to and from a table, and usually getting a napkin on the lap and elbows off the table. We’re working on not using a napkin as a tissue (ewww!). He does hold doors, but tends to walk ahead of me which is annoying. people who weren’t raised like this think it’s stupid to be critical, but it’s important to me.
Post # 10
@Au Jardin: Yes, European etiquette tends to be very precise and that’s how I was raised. Maybe it’s snobbish of me to think this, but it seems to me that one would want to know how to be best behaved in any situation. Also snobbish, but I think of it as doing him a favor to help him know these things so he can be comfortable and assimilate anywhere we may travel.
Post # 11
When my Fiance and I were first dating, he always kept his phone on silent. He found the noise of texts and calls “jarring”. When we moved across the country, he started keep his phone set so that it rings when someone calls, but the texts are still silent. That way, if I need him immediately, I know to call, and if it isn’t urget, I’ll just text and he usually gets it with in 20 minutes, unless he’s in a meeting at work! I know its not his preference, but I need to know that I can get in touch with him in an emergency. Maybe you can find a compromise for the phone too?
Post # 12
The phone thing drives me NUTS! I literally end up taking xanax if Fiance doesn’t pick up his phone or texts after a few hours. I get horrible anxiety, but nothing will change him. He says he doesn’t hear it or feel it. Still trying to come up with a solution, so I’d love to see what’s worked for others.
Post # 13
My guy never keeps his phone on him, leaves it in the car, and just a couple of days ago, he dicided to put it in his pocket, – along with some unwrapped CHOCOLATE! I have to admit it’s funny, the DAY he carries it, it’s RUINED!
So guess what, he has no phone now…. and I am stuck at home because I have had car trouble and won’t be able to call him….
Post # 14
My father was French and insanely strict – and he worked as a diplomat in many foreign postings, so it was important to him that we lived up to his standards, as it could reflect badly on him if we didn’t.
Manners are still very important to me – and I’m lucky that my Fiance finds alot of the stuff (local customs etc) I learnt as a child fascinating. I know some people don’t see the need, but I just think it shows respect and makes the world a more pleasant place to be in.
Fiance is also never without his mobile phone…in fact, I have almost the opposite problem, I can never get him off it! My ex was like your Fiance, and it drove me bloody insane. I could never get hold of him. Even after our flat was burgled and myself and the Police took 2 hours trying to get hold of him, he didn’t really improve. You can get such small phones nowadays, there really is no excuse.
Post # 15
Meh. People lived thousands of years without having a phone on them 24/7. And women who don’t have fiances or husbands find a way to get their car fixed or themselves to a doctor or whatever. I understand how you may WANT him to hold your hand, but it sounds like he’s just not a hand-holder. Some people are more comfortable with contact like that than others.
As for manners…I wasn’t raised with perfect table manners….I think as long as he chews with his mouth closed, doesn’t talk with food in his mouth, and uses silverware rather than his hands, you have nothing to be embarrassed by.
Post # 16
@missrobots: Agree 100000%%% about the cell phone!! If your Fiance doesn’t want to carry his phone, that shouldn’t affect your ability to get help if necessary. Roadside assistance and 911 will probably be more help than your Fiance in an emergency anyways.
OP, It sounds like you have a nice guy who is fairly set in his ways, and I wouldn’t try to change him only to make yourself feel better or to look better in front of your friends and family. Think of the million reasons why he’s wonderful and try to look past the little things that may annoy you, but certainly won’t kill you. The last thing a guy wants is to get engaged and then have his fiance start trying to change him.