Post # 1
Hello! I’m really just yelling into the internet void because I don’t have anyone else to talk to. My almost-fiancé (we bought a ring and have made a wedding guest list, etc. Just waiting for the ring to ship) got a phone call from his mom last night, and she told him she finally kicked his dad out of the house.
This has been years in the making–his dad has planned to move out several times in the last few years, but has always decided not to go through with it. My Future Mother-In-Law has spoken to my boyfriend about it, but never to his older brother who lives far away or his teenage sister. My boyfriend is the closest and most stable sibling, so I guess that’s why she always confides in him. This time was different, I guess, because she revealed to my boyfriend that there had been other women in the past and that apparently there is a new one he “just can’t get over.” She told my Future Father-In-Law not to come home and as of this morning has spoken to my boyfriend’s siblings too (that’s how I know it’s permanent).
My boyfriend has always been very close with his mother and had a distant relationship with his dad, and is definitely very angry with his father. He hasn’t known that cheating was a part of the equation until last night, and is clearly disgusted. He’s expressed fear and anger that he’s related to his father at all, and is worried about how to react when his dad eventually reaches out to him. My boyfriend is gentle and emotional, but he is also very loyal and stubborn and can hold an iron grudge. I know he’s trying to figure out what his stance on his relationship with his father will be, and I know he’ll stick to it once he decides.
My question is… is there anything to make this easier on him? We’re in such a strange place; we were planning to annnounce our engagement next month but I don’t know how to reconcile such a happy thing with such a hard, sad thing. Any advice about how to move forward? How to talk to my inlaws? How to support my boyfriend? How to plan for all the changes in holidays, etc.?
Thank you in advance, sorry for such a long, word-vomit post!
Post # 2
I don’t really have advice other than to support him in whatever way he asks, but just wanted to send hugs, bee.
Post # 3
I’m sorry, it’s just bad timing. All you can do is support him and remind him that it’s our actions that define us, not our familial relations. Just live your lives and get engaged!
Post # 4
Aw man, I am so sorry this is happening especially at this time! Unfortunately, there is not much for you to do on this one besides to be there and listen to him when he needs it. You can be his sounding board, but he really needs to decide what his future relationship will look like with his father.
Whenever my SO is going through a tough time with his family, I also make sure to help out around the house a lot more, do laundry, get up early to take out the dog so he can sleep in, take care of meals and grocery, target, etc. shopping for a few weeks. Since he already has a lot on his mind, taking care of some of the day to day stuff so he doesn’t have to worry about it really helps.
I really hope it all works out! Good luck to you both!
Post # 5
This situation is so tough, and at what should be such a happy time in your life. I’m sorry!
I’m sure being there for your FH will come naturally. Encourage him to be honest with you and not to bottle up his feelings – if there’s anyone he can talk to openly and freely about what he’s going through, it’s you! Sometimes SO’s love us so much that they worry they’re stressing us out or upsetting us by talking about these things, so they bear it all themselves. Make sure he knows you’re there for him. Having a partner to go through these things with makes it infinitely less hard.
Take his mind off his problems by doing sweet things to make his days a little brighter. Stock the fridge with his favorite snack/drink, pick up the slack for the chores he normally does, write him a note about how much you love him or how proud you are of how he’s handling everything, etc.
It sounds like he has a very close relationship with his mom and that she will likely lean on him during this time. He will want to be there for her (which he should, since it’s his mom and she’s likely been there for him countless times during his life!). Just beware that parents going through crises can tend to lean on their adult children heavily. And because we love them and want to help them, we have a hard time setting boundaries or taking a step back when it’s too much. Encourage your FH to be there for his mom and support him in that. If you feel comfortable enough with her, go to coffee or have dinner with her yourself and give him a break from being the one that she leans on. But if it ever starts having a negative impact on your own relationship, be 100% honest with FH about it. Do not feel selfish in bringing it up. Do not make it like he has to choose between the two of you. Just let him know how you’re feeling and discuss as a couple how you’re going to course correct so that you feel like your relationship is getting the attention that it needs and he also feels like he’s supporting his mom. Do this sooner rather than later – I’ve seen these situations snowball where all of a sudden great couples are struggling because of the parents’ issues.
As for his relationship with his dad, it sounds very complicated. I would suggest therapy if your FH is open to it. I know it to be very beneficial for people who are dealing with stressed relationships with their parents, whether it helps them figure out the future of the relationship or just deal with the day-to-day stress and emotions of it.
And lastly, do not postpone your engagement or feel any guilt about being happy over it! Ultimately there’s never a perfect time to get engaged. We postponed our engagement after my dad passed unexpectedly. It didn’t feel right celebrating anything happy for a while. When we finally did get engaged, my husband’s dad ended up in the hospital shortly after with severe mental/health problems. There’s no way to predict when things will be good or bad and it’s okay to feel happiness while you’re also sad and angry.
Post # 6
Ask him. Just ask him straight out if there is anything in particular you can do for him.
Some people need space when they’re going through a difficult time. Others need someone to lean on. His choice.
Some people want to talk about it, others don’t.
The most important thing is to let your fiancé do what he needs to do, not what we think he should be doing.
Post # 7
I was in your boyfriend’s position…less than a week after I got married.
While I was on honeymoon, my father left my mother for the woman he’d been having an affair with for the previous 9 months. Like your boyfriend, my relationship with my father had always been distant – mainly because he had worked abroad since I was 9.
I think the best way to help your boyfriend now is to not overwhelm him with your opinion of the whole situation…even if this has been years in the brewing, the reality of it happening is still going to be a shock. Let him have time to process how he really feels and how he wants to deal with his father moving forward. I had a lot of people telling me what I should feel/do, and sadly my mother used a lot of emotional blackmail to get me on her ‘side’ and cut off contact with my father…which she had no right to do. Even though I was closer to her and was disgusted by what my father had done, I shouldn’t have been dragged into their marriage problems, it was unfair to expect me to give up one parent just to please the other. My right to have both parents in my life should been more important than being used as a pawn in their divorce…