Post # 1
There’s really no delicate way to put this. My SO’s dad is not a nice guy. He’s condescending, pushy, rude, and treats everyone like they’re an idiot. I shudder at the way he treats his wife, and I am absolutely terrified my SO is going to turn into him once he takes on the role of husband and father. My SO has a few of his tendencies, like getting easily frustrated with things aren’t perfect (or should I say HIS idea of perfect), but I’m afraid it will get worse when we start living together in a couple weeks.
I know I should talk to him about it, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to say “I don’t like the way your father treats your mother, and I don’t want you treating me like that”, without it sounding like I’m attacking his family.
Post # 3
Maybe you can ease into it by asking him what he thinks about his parents’ marriage?
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
When you talk to him about it (and I say when, not if, because you NEED to talk to him about it) make sure you have specific examples– show him exactly what you don’t like. But also remember that he’s his own person, just because there’s some personality traits that he has, you are not his mother, and he is not his father.
The biggest thing is to be honest and open about your feelings, when he flips out about something tell him you’re not ok with it. Tell him how you feel and he’ll be able to see it in himself and act accordingly.
Post # 5
Sadly, children learn what they live.
My best advice would be to not hurry in an engagement/marriage, time always tells someones true colors. I would wait at least 2 years.
Post # 6
My Darling Husband and I have talked a lot about this. My mom treats me and my family horribly sometimes while his dad treats him and his family horribly. While we both have some traits of our parents in us, we are determined not to turn out like either of them. And we love each other enough to warn each other when we see something like that coming out without abusing it if you know what I mean. I’ll call him out if he’s being overly stubborn like his dad, and he’ll call me out if I’m being irrational like my mom. We’re both really sensitive with it, so we won’t say it unless it’s truly happening, but it helps to curb those bad habits.
Post # 7
If it makes you feel any better, my dad is an awful man who has emotionally and verbally abused his wife and children for our entire lives…and my brother is nothing like him. My brother is a kind and gentle husband to his wife, and an amazing, hands-on dad to their 7-month-old son.
As for your fiance getting easily frustrated and such, that could be a red flag that he’ll be an abuser, or it could just be a remnant of the trauma caused by his father. I freak out easily if things don’t go according to plan (mostly me just crying and becoming upset, though on rare occasions I’ll freak out so badly that I become angry at others), but that’s because when I was growing up, a change in plans often led to my father exploding. I start to freak out and become panicky because my mind is convinced that something bad is about to happen, so I need to be on guard and defensive. While the occasions on which this has happened have been unpleasant for my fiance, I never intended to act out and I always apologized afterward (something my father has never done). These incidents have become rarer over the years, and I expect they’ll disappear once I get away from my father and my brain is given the opportunity to “re-wire” itself in safety.
If he is aware of where his reactions come from, he’s remorseful, and he doesn’t want/intend to react the way he does, there may be hope for him. If he doesn’t recognize these things, then you’ve got a major problem on your hands.
Post # 8
We do tend to model what we know and see. That doesn’t mean that we cannot rise above it and make better choices. However, it does mean that you are wise to be asking these questions.
I also do not in any way intend to offend you, because you absolutely have the right to make your own choices. However, as someone who is probably old enough to be your mom, I just want to take a moment to ask you if you have carefully thought through your plans to live with your S.O. Although I personally oppose this type of intimate relationship outside of marriage because of my faith, I also do not think it is a wise choice for many non-faith-based, much more practical reasons.
Although many people sincerely look at living together as the best manner in which to determine if you eventually wish to be married, living with your S.O. also presents some risks. It’s much more difficult to decide to extract yourself from a relationship when you have given up your own living space, entered into a lease or mortgage with someone else, combined households and possessions, and sometimes even begun to share finances and bank accounts. Also, as so many of the waiting bees can attest, when you agree to live together, sometimes this allows one person in the relationship to delay making a decision to commit to marriage while the other is anxiously awaiting marriage, simply because, by living together, a couple has the opportunity to share a large portion of the benefits of being married without actually being married. Again, I do not wish to offend you at all by my comments. I am only hoping to raise some issues that you may wish to consider if you have not already done so.
I do think it’s very wise of you to ask yourself the kids of questions you have already been asking yourself about this situation. Many people tend to avoid examining these issues and often end up regretting not having done so.
Post # 9
That was one question that our pastor asked us before we got married. “How would you feel if MrJ was the kind of husband that his dad is to his mom?” And he asked him “How would you feel if MrsJ was the kind of wife that her mom is to her dad?”
It was something we had talked about before, and you should too. You can start the conversation by asking how he’d feel if you turned into your mother. It’s funny, but not really. I learned how to be a wife and mother from my mom. There are things she did that I wouldn’t do – and I’ve told my husband that. His parents are also a good relationship role model, but they parent differently than I would, and their relationship is different than the one I grew up in. When we see things that upset one of us or tendencies that lean one way or another we talk about it… It doesn’t have to be a super serious talk every time, either.
You’re right to be a *little* concerned, but let him talk about it. Maybe he gets frustrated when he sees himself acting like his dad. Recognizing bad behavior is the first step to not repeating it.
Post # 10
@OneOfTheseDaysAlice: I think it’s very important that you find a way to have this conversation. Believe me, I know it’s awkward. I had a similar worry — my boyfriend’s mother (his primary parent growing up) has a lot of tendencies, especially in her relationships, that are not behaviors I wanted to see repeated. I agonized over it for years, to the point where our relationship was a mess because I was scared and kept looking for evidence that he is going to turn out like her. I know, it sounds crazy, but when you’ve got that anxiety bothering you, you start seeing things from a whole new light.
When we finally were able to lay this out on the table, it helped our relationship immensely. It’s a valid fear to worry about this, but I think the way you go about it is really important.
#1 I would frame the discussion as a talk about families. One way that my SO and I talked about it was that I asked him to list some things he thinks his parents did well and he wants to emulate and some things that they didn’t. I also gave answers. I then asked his opinion on my parent’s marriage — what he sees a weaknesses and strengths. Then I was able to tell him what I was feeling. I was careful to point out a lot of good things about his mother prior to bringing up my concerns.
#2 You have to be aware that he might bring up things about your family that you didn’t know he thought. But so long as he remains respectful, try not to get defensive.
Post # 11
My Fiance dad is a work-a-holic (works probably 18 hours a day) is rude, bitter about everything, hates anything fun, doesn’t understand the wedding because it offers no personal gain for him, and has in the past verbally abused his wife. He still does but not in the angry way I guess he use to (I never witnessed that thank God, but Fiance did and he decided instead of being that to go the other way).
Fiance and I had to talk about this in premartial counseling. Luckily my Fiance realises what his dad is like and has made every effort to stay involved in hobbies and have good communication with me.
So Fi knows he doesn’t want to turn out that way, so he told me to call him out on it. Luckily he doesn’t do it often, but when he does I always say something like, “Ok. Allan Jr.” He HATES that. Then he apologizes and we move on. My Fiance has a lot more interests than his dad, and luckily his mom was very family oreinted. She told me if I see my Fiance turning into his dad I’m suppose to tell her and FI’s sister so we can all slap him 🙂