Post # 1
My Future Father-In-Law is not the cuddly type – grizzled retired cop who yells about everything. However, I feel we are very close- we talk once or twice a day and I visit him all the time. He is not one to tell you how he feels about you, which is hard for me to deal with since I seem to need for people to tell me how they feel about me on a semi-regular basis. For instance, if I don’t hear any praise or love in people’s words for long stretches of time I start to worry that I’ve done something wrong.
Anyhow, when we got engaged, he had no happy tone in his voice and said no happy words. He listed a long stream of worries that he had – how would we manage? how would we do this and that? How could we get married if we were still in school?
It was incredibly hard to deal with, because it just felt like he didn’t approve and we thought he would be most excited for us (he’s the parent most involved in our lives.)
Well, we had long talks and he explained bluntly (with no apology) that this is the way he operates – as a parent he worries and he feels he should express his worry so that we know what the problems might be. At different times since we’ve gotten engaged it has come up again and I just cannot seem to process his point of view. He keeps having to repeat to me that it’s not that he doesn’t approve of me or our marriage – it’s just that he worries.
My parents haven’t said a single thing – I don’t relate to this kind of parenting. Do you understand? Can anyone explain what’s going on? I can’t help being hurt by the lack of confetti being thrown… but he INSISTS that he means me no harm. I struggle to understand so much…
Lately, I’ve been more emotional. Circumstances are such that there is NO guarantee that my fiance and I will be able to relocate to the same town and get married – if he doesn’t pass his classes this December, nothing can happen for us. I had a sweatshirt made with my married name on it, as a cute joke, and my FFIl accidentally tore a big hole in it- it’s so silly and if I knew how to sew I could fix it, but it bothered me so much. Was it a sign? Who knows.
Post # 3
HUGS! It totally sucks, but that’s just the way he is, and he’s not gonna be. Just learn from it and know that that’s not how you want to raise your kids. Trust that he means no harm, and it’s just hard-wired in him. Sorry for you, though 🙁 HUGS
Post # 4
Coconutmellie, he wasn’t trying to hurt you at all. He wants you both to consider these things! Do you yet have a budget and plan for after marriage? If so, show them to him. My Future In-Laws were the same way until we reassured them that we had a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup backup plan. For example, we wrote down what we believed all of our expenses would be, all the deposits we’d need upfront, etc. We found the amount we’d need for bare expenses, and then the amount we’d need to live comfortably–we are aiming for the “comfortable” amount of salary, but we can scrape by for a year or so if we need to.
I highly suggest you both read personal finance books or blogs if you haven’t yet figured this out.
Post # 5
From the way you described him, that sounds more like regular him than a bizzare reaction. And it’s a good point… if you’re still in school, how will you support yourselves? Marriage really isn’t just puppies and rainbows… it can be very hard work, and if you’re not ready for it, it can destroy your relationship. Sometimes being realistic is the most loving reaction you can have.
Post # 6
I think is sounds like he is just one of those “glass half empty” people. He has some valid points in worrying and it seems like he expresses his thoughts rather than keeping you in the dark which I think you will appreciate over time. Not everyone is going to have the reaction you want so just focus on those who do (like the bees!). Try and turn it around if it makes it easier by being glad that he cares enough about you both to want to help you be happy in the end. And congrats on the engagement!
Post # 7
It sounds like this is just the way he is, just as he is constantly reassuring you he is. I mean, I love my new Father-In-Law but I DON’T talk to him once or twice a day. I’d say that’s a pretty good sign that he loves you and approves of you in whatever way he knows how. He just doesn’t express it the way you are used to. Although I do wonder why you have to have reassurance from the people in your life that they love and care about you or you think you’ve done something wrong. Some people just aren’t the touchy-feely type. It doesn’t mean they care about you any less. It just means they just don’t express it the same way.
Post # 8
Miss Apricot – I think it’s just a product of the friends that I have chosen to keep over the years, because my own parents aren’t that touchy-feely. But then again, since they’re my parents, it’s very obvious when they’re being affectionate in their own way. My friends, on the other hand, are the very expressive type.
This has been one of the hardest parts is getting used to my fiance’s family – they are, compared to my family, extremely “cold” but I’m told that they do show affection in their own way. But I honestly have a hard time seeing it and my fiance has to reassure me that its there. However, I’m a “see it with my own eyes” kinda person, so I’m still constantly trying to get the hang of it, trying to understand that when someone is yelling in my direction “teasing” me for something I did that’s “love.”
Post # 9
Well, it sounds to me that your future Father-In-Law is a nice guy, but as many before me have said, he’s just not the touchy-feely type. I’m sure he has yours and his son’s best interests at heart. He probably wants whats best for his own child first.. finishing school, finding a great job (if he doesn’t already have one) being capable of supporting himself and then supporting you both. It could also be that he’s from the ‘old school’ of doing things.. yaknow, things “should” happen in a certain order. IE: boy meets girl, boy and girl date for like, 5-6yrs while boy and girl get good education, boy and girl go on to get great successful jobs and pay off school loans, boy proposes to girl, boy and girl have long engagement while saving for a “nice” or “traditional” wedding and/or a house, boy and girl get married, buy a house, get pregnant and live happily ever after. I mean… isnt that what every parent wants? for their children to do things the “right way”?? i know a lot of folks who think things just can’t work out for the better if there is no money involved.. i (can) be one of those people.. but i feel like you have to do whats best for you two.. your not marrying your Father-In-Law.. right? it’ll all work out..take it one day at a time.
Post # 10
Thank you everyone.
My Father-In-Law is a nice guy. He is the most amazing guy, despite the gruffest exterior. It is his biggest and best kept secret that he is the most caring affectionate and patient man and I watch as he helps people left and right and cuts them plenty of slack. I guess I have my own issues to work out if I somehow feel that he can’t or won’t do the same for me, which is how it feels.
Post # 11
I think it sounds like it is just the way he is. Despite his gruff exterior, he seems to really care. He is probably worrying becuase he loves you and Fiance so much. He just wantes to make sure you guys will be okay. I can relate, as my dad has never been one to show emotion or say I love you. Even when my I told my dad we were engaged, he was not really excited over the phone. But my mom did tell me he smiled a lot that day 🙂
Post # 12
Some people have a hard time showing they care – I think his worrying about the two of you is his way of showing that he does care for you.
Post # 13
He’s expressing his care through his worries!! He cares about you and your Fiance and wants desperately to know that you’re going to have the best possible life you can have; thus he worries and expresses his worries, in hopes that expressing them will alleviate some of the possibility of those things going wrong.
It does NOT mean he doesn’t approve, just that he wants to make sure you do things well.
Post # 14
Valhalla – your story helps me a lot, because the biggest thing that I struggle with is trying to read these gruff men. His son his similar, but not as pronounced and he’s NO help with his father, because asking him to interpret his dad’s true intentions/feelings is the same as asking him to spill his own – too much emotion/drama for him!
Post # 15
It sounds like he’s expressing how much he cares by trying to solve problems with you. He’s anticipating the rough patches ahead so you and your Fiance won’t be blindsided.
Post # 16
Wow, I understand how you’re feeling. No one in my family (except my Maid/Matron of Honor sister) is really all that jazzed about my getting engaged, and it’s really bumming me out. My mom was like, “Oh, congratulations,” and then, “I’m not paying for it,” and dad was like “Make sure that the way your lives are now are lives you’re willing to lead indefinitely, because they might not change.”
But it sounds like people are just looking out for you, so that’s good, at least. 🙂 I still understand, though. . .