- 2 years ago
- Wedding: October 2014
Bees, with about a month to go to the wedding, I am not sure if these are red flags or if I am being paranoid.
I will try to be as brief as possible but the background is really important to where we are now.
FI and I got engaged last Halloween after dating 2+ years. I am 26, he is 28. My FI is my college roomate’s brother. I am still very good friends with her and she just got married recently.
FI manages his family’s restaurant. His family (mom and uncle; dad is not in the picture) own several restaurants in the area. Most of FI’s family (sisters, cousins, other aunts/uncles) are involved in the restaurants. FI just took over the main restaurant last November, as his mom was supposed to retire, but she really hasn’t retired (she is just telling FI what to do from the sidelines).
Ever since FI took over the restaurant, his life has been hell, and it is making me miserable. He was very excited to take over, but both his mom and uncle have been on his back about everything because it’s the main restaurant and makes the most money, it helps keeps the other ones afloat, if you know what I mean. Their accounting books are very complex and the restaurants are always “borrowing” money from each other. This past winter for example, one of the restaurants was doing terrible beacuse of the weather so the main one “loaned” it money to keep it from closing. FI’s income, his sister’s and BIL’s (who manage another restaurant) and his cousin’s (another manager) are all basically the same, even though FI does the most work because his restaurant is the busiest.
I am not involved at all in the business. FI and I were supposed to get our own restaurant (a new one) but he decided last year that he does not want me involved, as he needed to come home to someone that is not personally involved with it. He has told me several times that I am keeping him sane because he can talk to me about other things besides work and because I can provide an unbiased opinion on ideas.
But the problem is, FI takes a lot of his frustration out on me. He has never been verbally abusive, as in he has never called me names, but when he has a bad day – and lately it seems to be every day – he shuts down or just gets mad at me. When I ask if he needs anything or just wants to talk, he throws it in my face that since I am not involved in the business that I have no idea what he’s going through or that I don’t understand the problems because I don’t own my own business. I have told him time and time again that I am here to help him and if he needs to vent it’s OK, but I am not his whipping girl. He of course apologizes but I feel like I should not have to tell him a hundred times that he needs to find a more contructive way of voicing his frustration that being rude or cold to me.
The latest blow came a couple of weeks ago when his sister got married. She had the reception at the main restaurant (where we are also supposed to have ours next month) and their mom promised her daughter “anything” she wanted. She had a huge dinner, open bar, appetizers, several deserts, the whole works. FI was arguing with his mom before the wedding (I did not know about this until afterwards) on how this “free” reception is costing the restaurant a fortune but the mom didn’t care; her answer was to “borrow” from the other restaurants to cover it for the month. Since I am not privy to their books, I can only imagine what they look like.
Long story short, FI has said that we should “tone down” our own reception and just make it appetizers only or deserts only. I told him the invitations have already gone out basically stating we are having a full dinner. He said it’s up to me to “fix it”. I cannot talk to him about this. He just blows up or walks into the other room.
I said to him yesterday that his managing the restaurant is hurting our relationship. I asked if he would ever consider doing a different line of work, and he got really mad. It is clear from what he said that his family and his family’s business will always come first.
Today he was all nice like nothing happened. I said I cannot just let go of his treatment of me. I told him I don’t feel like I will be part of his “family”. He said that his mom and uncle worked their tails off for the business and that they are not very accepting of “outsiders”; in other words, I should feel “lucky” that they like me; he obviously never really answered me.
To me this is writing on the wall. He will always chose his family over me. His family = his blood relatives.
I am starting to think I may be making the biggest mistake of my life. Or, is this how family business dynamics are? Will I always be an “outsider”?
I have not discussed this with my family as they all think he is Mr. Wonderful.
Any advice is appreciated.