Post # 1
I’m a waiting bee (with good reason to believe that my wonderful SO and I will be engaged sometime before next April). I don’t know where my SO is in the process of being ready to propose; I kind of hoped that he would on a vacation we just took, but that didn’t happen and I think my hopes were rather premature! Anyway, I have some worries surrounding the SO-asking-parents’-permission thing that I’d love some help/insight/opinions on.
I don’t like this tradition, but I know that my dad expects it, and I shared this fact with my SO some months ago. Even though I do not like nor desire the tradition of my SO talking to my dad/both parents, I feel for various reasons that it’s going to have to happen as a mark of respect for my parents. My parents and my SO have historically not gotten along very well (because of political/cultural differences which are a big deal to my parents but a non-issue for my SO and me), although recently things have improved a lot. I am nervous about my SO talking to my dad about us getting engaged. . . I wish it would just happen already because I am pretty sure there will be some kind of family drama when it happens. 🙁 I worry that when my SO talks to my dad, it will be troublesome and I’ll have to hear unpleasant things from my parents.
For bees who have gone through the SO asking the parents thing: did you know when your SO did this? Was there any drama if the SO and parents had not gotten along in the past? How did you find out it had happened, if you did? How did your parents react?
Has anyone experienced their parents refusing to give a blessing or permission? What did you do?
Ugh, thanks for indulging my worries. I’ll feel better if I hear some other people’s experiences!
Post # 3
@Creiddylad: It went smoothly. My parents love him!
Post # 4
@Creiddylad: Lol. My mom was the one that was like, is this show getting on the road soon or what? Lol. WHen he did talk to them (out of respect, not permission) I had a gut feeling he did it when he did (he was visiting and that doesnt’ happen often) plus the next day when he was out of the house my mom spilled the beans haha
Post # 5
@Creiddylad: My FI did not end up asking for a blessing/permission, although I know he considered it. My brother-in-law did ask for my sister’s “hand,” though, although I’m not sure if my parents expected it.
My FI is not the same religion as my family, so this has caused a little bit of controversy, just as background. When we announced our engagement, the reaction was stunned silence… even though we’ve been together for over 2 years, and he has met my family on several occasions, and spent last Christmas back home with me…maybe it’s a similar sort of situation?
My recommendation is, if your parents/SO have not gotten along in the past, it might be better to phrase it as asking for a “blessing” rather than “permission,” because I have a feeling my parents would have pushed my FI to wait…(and that would have killed me). On the other hand, I do kind of wish my parents weren’t so caught off guard…it was a very awkward telephone call, with some hurtful things said.
So, that’s not really exactly what you’re looking for, but I hope it helps. It’s a sad place to be in, wanting to much to commit to someone for the rest of your lives, but knowing that the people who are supposed to want good things for you aren’t totally behind it.
Post # 6
Not all people have their SO talk to their parents alone. Would your SO be happy with you BOTH talking to your parents, explaining your intentions to marry etc and asking for their blessing together? And then perhaps you leaving your SO to officially ask for their blessing on his own? Tell them when he plans on doing it (if he wants them to know). You could do this months in advance so that it the actual proposal is still a surprise.
That might help to smooth things over a bit, your SO would have your support and your parents would have a harder time objecting given that you are there and have already told them your intentions as a couple.
I DO think that not asking could make things worse later, so think of it as another hurdle to clear on the path to a good relationship as a couple, with your parents. It’s important to value culture and traditions on both sides and this is your way of giving a nod to what they hold important, hopefully in the future they can show the same courtesy to your SO and his family.
Post # 7
Why don’t you talk to your dad now, and mention that you may be getting engaged, and that you don’t like this tradition and are not going to follow it. If he knows that you are the one who wants to skip it, he will probably be more accepting than if it seems your SO is the one to forgo it.
I don’t think you need it, but if you want to be respectful, perhaps you should talk to your dad and set the expectation that a proposal is your business, and he will not be asked. Then give him some time to come around to the idea that he is not being asked.
Post # 8
I was going to suggest what Tickles said; both of you sitting down with your parents and talking about it.
My FH wanted to ask permission from my family, but I didn’t want him to. I’ve never been big on that tradition, but I understood why he felt he should ask. I knew that it wouldn’t have gone over well if he had asked them at the time that we got engaged. My parents didn’t like him at all, and have only in the last year started warming up to him.
Post # 9
My parents love him and my dad was his football couch, talk about intimidating! I am very much in favor of the tradition ad my parents would have been very upset and disrespected if he had not asked. My dad asked that the wedding but after my college graduating which we planned on anyway so it all went smooth! I knew he was planning to ask but had no idea when he did until he proposed
Post # 10
i didn’t care if he did or didn’t. i think i asked him not to, because i’m not property to be given away. i was 26 years old, i was an adult, getting married was my decision. i’m pretty sure my dad didn’t care that my FI didn’t ask… but, my grandfather, even today, a year after i got engaged, is still angry that my FI didn’t ask my dad’s permission. i don’t think he’ll ever get over it.
Post # 11
@burgers: I do think that the “blessing” or just letting them know it is going to happen is definitely more along the lines of what will happen than an asking of permission, since the permission is mine to give (and I think everyone knows that). What you said does help– really, that is what I am expecting to happen in my situation, unfortunately. I guess the thing would be for him, or us, to phrase it in such a way that no one can respond in a way that is a refusal.
@Everdeen: I don’t know what my SO would think of us both talking to my parents– from how reserved he’s been on the whole subject, other than a number of inquiries about my preferences when it comes to gemstones, I think he is likely to be kind of traditional about it. I guess that would be something for us to discuss and decide whenever the subject next comes up. Certainly both of us explaining what we’re going to do and why would be less pressure on my SO, but I think it would be a very, very weird situation for everyone. I don’t know if my SO would be willing to give away when he plans on saying things to me, either– but still, you have a good point, this is something he and I should talk about.
@kerensa: I’ve thought of that. . . I think when the subject initially came up, I sort of intimated that this is how I feel, but it was clear that my dad feels quite strongly about being spoken to, and in light of how my parents have viewed and experienced my being with my SO, I think that this concession to what they want would be a nice, and necessary, gesture of respect. But you know, I should probably make it known to my parents that even if they don’t give whatever when my SO speaks to them, we will still get married if we want to. That’s another thing I guess I should talk to my SO about– what to do if the reaction from my parents is not very positive. Aagh!
Next time the marriage subject comes up seriously (I do try to keep this to a minimum so it doesn’t seem like it’s all I talk about!!) I guess I might bring these issues up and see what my SO thinks and says. Who knows, maybe he’s already gotten it over with and my parents are sworn to secrecy! Not likely, but my SO has certainly had plenty of time without me lately– I am away during the week a lot due to grad school.
Thanks for your input, everyone!
Post # 12
@colorofmyheart: Your grandpa’s reaction sounds like what my father would do if my SO failed to speak to him before proposing to me. Ugh. My father is pretty traditional in some ways and he is a prize grudge-holder, so I think I would rather compromise my beliefs and worry about the stress on my SO of doing things the traditional way, than deal with a lifetime of my father being irked at not being asked! Blech. I’m sorry your grandfather is so grumpy about it. 🙁
Post # 13
I told my husband before we got engaged that I thought the tradition was sexist, my dad wouldn’t care, and to skip it because I didn’t like the idea. He did it anyway because he didn’t want to risk pissing my dad off, which I understand except for the bit about how really my dad doesn’t care (at that time, my husband didn’t know my dad well enough to know that, though).
Anyway I thought he wasn’t going to do it. The night before we went on our first vacation together though when we were over at my parents’ house, he and my dad went in the other room and when my mom and I came in several minutes later there was really super awkward silence. I just figured it’s because my dad was glued to his ipad. Turns out, that was when my husband had asked for my hand or whatever. He won’t share what my dad said – apparently it is “secret man stuff.” My dad had been convinced I was totally in love with my husband since our second date, and had been advocating for marriage since our third (and around that time started frequently saying that if I wouldn’t marry him, my dad would), so I’m sure my dad enthusiastically threw me at him. (And it’s not like it was unexpected since my parents had known for over a month that we’d bought an engagement ring together.)
Post # 14
I knew it was going to happen because we were at my parents one day and I was just entering a room when I heard my dad and (then) boyfriend talking about meeting up!
i found out afterwards that he had done it because he told me!
Post # 15
I knew it was going to happen because we had to travel to do it – and on that same trip we were booking the venue and dress shopping. Ha. (We don’t have a ring yet, we’re waiting till after I meet his out of country parents and he has the talk with THEM this fall)
Basically they played a round of golf and just discussed his intentions. They both came back in a good mood so I knew it went well. Meanwhile I was buying my wedding dress. Ooops. My parents already knew, we’d told them on the phone but he still wanted to have the man to man talk thing.
He didn’t ask permission, he just discussed marriage with my dad and he said my dad gave him tons of great advice. He told me how it went afterwards, and then my mom told me how it went from my dads perspective. It was fun and exciting. I don’t think they would have told me if there was a complete surprise proposal thing going on, but there isn’t.
The day after, we put money down on the venue. It was an all business trip!
Post # 16
@Creiddylad: I think the asking for the father’s permission/blessing is fine for people who want to do it but I do feel its rather silly and just a bit late when a couple has already been living together, but, whatever.
Nevertheless, the situation you describe rubs me the wrong way since you indicate your father may very well make this a confrontation or a problem or conditional?
In that case, then frankly, I think you and yourr SO should blow him off and NOT talk to him first. Why put yourselves through that?
The fact is, you and your SO are adults. If the two of you have decided to marry, what he thinks is irrelevant. If your father wants your SO to ask as a sign of respect, then he needs to be respectful as well – of your SO, of the both of you as adults and of you as a grown, independent woman.