- 6 years ago
Hi! After lurking for a few weeks I joined so I could start asking some questions! :p Seriously, what a great, addictive board. Anyway, I want to keep this brief but I’ll probably fail. My question is at the end but I felt I should establish some background here.
Background: My SO and I were thrilled to find each other. Currently we’re not yet officially engaged but we’ve been essentially working backwards, having done a lot of forward planning, had all the important discussions, made up a preliminary guest list, etc. Being a working student, he can’t afford any sort of ring right now but we both like to prepare in advance! Other relevant info: he currently lives with Future Father-In-Law (school and work are in an expensive area), we’re in a long distance relationship and I’m older by 7 years. We also expect to pay for our (intimate, budget!) wedding ourselves, as three of our parents need to save for retirement and the fourth, well…
Both our sets of parents are divorced, somewhat acrimoniously. I have a very good relationship with both my own parents, and my family likes my SO a lot. My Future Mother-In-Law is an absolute dream, but so far, for many reasons, my Future Father-In-Law appears to be a cold, critical, ridiculously negative, overly controlling, passive-aggressive, emotionally sterile man. From the start, he’s had no interest in getting to know me or learning more about who’s dating his son…but has no problem making slighting comments to my SO regarding our relationship and me when they’re alone.
Usually my SO travels here since he plans to relocate here. but over the 5 or 6 times I’ve visited my SO, my Future Father-In-Law has gone from a terse greeting and rapid exit to not acknowledging me or looking at me at all (even once when he had to squeeze past me in the garage after I’d said hello to him, but he ignored me and only addressed my SO). I usually get along really well with parents, but I haven’t even been given a chance to try with this one. Future Father-In-Law is financially very successful but strikes me as deeply unhappy. As for myself, I work fulltime, have a graduate degree and my own apartment, and just published a small book, so I’m not exactly some deadbeat or gold digger dragging his son down.
My SO has a lifelong strained relationship with his father to begin with, and all this is making it worse. He says he is tired of making excuses for his dad’s behavior, and he just doesn’t even care anymore because he doesn’t think his father has any interest in seeing him be well and happy. I wish I could think of good reasons for the behavior that didn’t sound hollow and rationalizing. It’s just too nasty and edged to be rooted in concern or love. At this point we suspect he may not even attend our wedding.
Meanwhile, just yesterday, my SO’s younger brother (much preferred by FFIL) leaked to Future Father-In-Law that SO intended to move in with me in September. Apparently Future Father-In-Law flipped a gasket over this — ironically SO was waiting to complete his school transfer first before telling Future Father-In-Law so Future Father-In-Law wouldn’t flip out and accuse him of being unprepared or rash.
My question is, since it’s my turn to travel to SO this coming weekend, how should I behave toward Future Father-In-Law now?
If he doesn’t successfully avoid me, that is. I am a direct, outspoken person but I don’t feel like a confrontation is appropriate — at least not right now. However, I’d also appreciate some advice for the possibility of a future confrontation (maybe when we formally announce the engagement, for instance), as well as hearing from anyone else going through this!!