- 4 years ago
- Wedding: January 2014
this is my first post on this forum, and I decided to seek advice from the Internet community out of frustration & desperation.
I’m a 25 year old Korean American, and my FH is a 31 year old Korean American. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 11, FH and his family immigrated when FH was 9.
My parents are very non-traditional & liberal Korean parents; they never once told me to study (contrary to the stereotypical Asian parents), always respected me as an individual, and they general have the mindset of “we are here to support you morally and emotionally when in need – but it is your life, therefore you need to make your own decisions and take responsibility for them.”
My FH and I started dating almost 2 years ago now, and in the beginning of our relationship, I thought his parents were similar to my parents, because my FH have been living by himself, in his own house, even when he is third-generation-only-son (meaning, FH’s grandfather was an only son, his father an only son, and now FH is an only son – though he has an older sister, he is the only male “heir”. In Korea, traditionally, being the only son is a huge deal…because of carrying out the bloodline, the family name etc and tend to be overprotective of their only son.)
However, as time passed by and the more and more I learned about his family, I soon realized that my FH (BF at the time)’s parents are extremely traditional – and the reason why my BF (at the time) was living by himself was because he wanted to separate himself from his own family (parents and an older sister).
Many things happened while we were dating, but to briefly summarize, my FILs told my FH that they do not “approve” of me because:
1. I’m too short (I’m 4’11” and FH is 6′)
2. I did not graduate from an IVY league college (FH graduated from Cornell)
3. I don’t earn enough
4. I’m just not good enough for their son
5. I’m “manipulating” their son
#1~3 upset me quite a bit, and #5 was just ridiculous to me because my FH rarely visited his own parents or called them because he was so tired of them – he actually started to call them and visit them more often because I encouraged him to (back when I thought his parents were like mine and I assumed the FH was being a bit ignorant of his own family). If anything, I was “manipulating” him for their benefits – and they still saw it as a negative and decided not to like me.
However, after hearing #4, I decided to give the benefits of a doubt and assume that they were having a hard time letting go of their son.
I suggested that we meet for a meal once a month and try to get to know each other. We tried to attend family events that my FH’s older sister invited us to (his parents never ever invited me to anything till today). FILs made excuses each time to not see us together; sometimes they would even change our prescheduled lunch meeting to 3pm at the last minute because they didn’t feel like eating at noon. After few months of trying, I reached my last bit of patience and told my FH that I am done trying to get to know them. How could I, when they even refuse to meet with me and sit down for a meal for an hour?
There was also financial problem with the FILs. They currently own a 4000sqft condo, in one of the most wealthiest neighborhood in NJ. They also own two other properties, that they are renting. Mortgages on all three, and both parents are pretty much retired, no income – older sister has no income either. FH told me that he has given his parents nearly $100k since he first started working 6 years ago. They constantly want more money, and a large sum. Last November, when FH told FFIL that he has no more money to give, FFIL complained and asked why FH can’t break his 401K and give that money to him.
I have been working for 3 years, at half the salary FH is earning, and have more in my savings than FH because of this. I told FH that money can be saved in the future – I don’t care about th e$100K or 1M that he has given away to his parents – he used it for his family, and that’s far better than say, gambling it away. But that he has to stop just giving away everything (FILs apparent refused to tell FH where his money was going either). I told him that I don’t understand why they need to live in a 4000 sqft house in the most expensive neighborhood when it’s just three people with no kids (I assume they initially lived there for good education when FH and his sister were younger). They need to downsize, move to a cheaper neighborhood, ride cheaper cars (not BMWs and Mercedes), do SOMETHING – to change and manage their finances.
FH agreed and told his parents that he cannot give them large sum of money anymore but is still willing to help out – that he will give them $500 per month until they are able to sell their properties and settle down.
FFIL told FH that that won’t do – $500 is too small. He needs $20,000. FH said he can’t help him then.
In all honesty, FH tried his best to convince his parents to not “judge a book by it’s cover”. He listened to all their complaints and accusations and eventually practically begged them to see beyond their narrow beliefs. All his attempts failed, and the situation worsened to the point where the FILs were constantly calling him to yell at him, to curse at him, to call him “the worst son in the world” for choosing me, to threaten him to disown him.
All FH could do is repetitively tell his parents that nothing will change no matter whta they say – and that they should just accept our relationship. FILs constantly invited (more like commanded) FH over for holidays or events, and specifically singled him out – and never invited me. FH ended up not attending any events, telling them that he will not go alone without me.
All I could do is try not to have the negativity affect me or my family, or our relationship.
In March 2013, FH proposed. I happily accepted and my parents congratulated us (at this point, I tried the best I could to hide the FIL situation from my parents because I did not want the parents to start a war against themselves – I really wanted FH and I to solve and settle the situation without involving my parents. However, my parents had a hunch about the negativity – but kept the same “we trust our daughter to make the right decision” attitude and supported our relationship emotionally.)
After being engaged, my parents suggested that we pay a visit to the FILs to show some respect, and to properly announce to them that we are engaged.
Both FH and I were very reluctant (knowing what kind of reaction to expect), but agreed to give it a shot. Who knows, maybe they will finally come around, now that we are engaged!
We were wrong.
We went over to the FIL’s house around 7PM – and ended up leaving after midnight – only because my FH kept looking at his watch and his parents got annoyed and kicked us out for it.
For 5+ hours, the FILs were yelling at their own son, at me, and at each other. They did not recognize our engagement, and told us that their son has been disowned. FMIL even yelled at me and asked if I’m pregnant, and that’s why we wanted our wedding to be in autumn (engaged March, wanted a wedding in November because we didn’t want to be engaged for too long, and we wanted a small, intimate fall wedding…I would be giving birth at my own wedding if I were pregnant!) FH’s older sister didn’t help us out at all either – rather she cursed her own younger brother out and told him that “karma will get you” (she once sent a nasty email to my FH, when we hinted that we want to get married in autumn, saying that karama will get us both in a nasty way, for example, my parents dying randomly.)
I suggested multiple times to the FILs, saying that perhaps parents should meet and discuss since there may be things we are not understanding because we are so young and we are not parents – but FILs basically dissed my parents, saying that since they support our relationship and approve of our engagement, there’s no point meeting them (traditionally, parents meet to decide the wedding date in Korea.)
(FMIL also threw in a couple of Kdrama lines, such as “was that how you were raised?” Whatever you saw on Kdramas and thought were ridiculous, I heard them from the FILs…)
I was absolutely shocked.
Shocked at the way the FILs treated their own son/brother, shocked at the way they talked to each other, and shocked ta the way they talked to us and treated us, even when we were engaged.
I was devastated. The only reason why I decided not to break off the engagement is because my FH has been very clear on his words and his actions – that his parents will not take control of his life or ours.
After a month or two of constant phone calls and yelling, FH finally announced to his parents that he is done arguing – and that he does not want to talk to them until everyone has calmed down.
FH shut off his communication with his family since May now.
We have been planning and budgeting for our wedding solely by ourselves. My parents have been wonderfully supportive, but only emotionally – FH and I decided that we won’t take any financial support from my parents, because we don’t want any from his parents.
However, FH did express that he would like his parents to come to the wedding at least, because otherwise it would make him quite upset.
I understood and respected his thoughts, so when we were sending out our wedding invitations, he included a small handwritten card saying that he would still like them to come to the wedding, and to email him addresses of any relatives in the U.S. so we can send them an invitation as well.
A week ago, FMIL sent FH an email saying that she would like to meet and talk to him and him only. Again. FH is very disappointed and upset again.
We decided that we would meet her together, although we can surely anticipate her yelling at us, asking why we came together when she told only FH to come.
At this point, I have completely given up on being accepted by the FILs, given up on liking them myself, etc.
I’ve been so heartbroken over the two years, that today, I don’t even feel angry or sad – but rather just frustrated that the FILs make such joyous event so difficult.
I am more “traditional” than FH in a sense that I always dreamed of enjoying Korean holidays with the in-laws and my family alike – I am more aware of Korean traditions and holidays and etc than my FH. I always tell my FH that if his parents were nicer to me, it would’ve helped them to see their son more often on holidays and have us be part of those “traditions” they are so fond of, because I am more willing to participate in them than their own son.
But as of now, I have no intention or willingness to interact with them…even after marriage.