(Closed) How can I stop this wedding?

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

This sounds like a really tough situation. I think you are brave and wise to come on here for advice.  I’m not sure I have any great advice, but if I was in your shoes, I might suggest that your family (not the fiance, but you, your daughter, and your husband) go to family therapy to discuss this.  You can tell her, in a calm moment, that you aren’t 100% supportive of this marriage, and that talking through it in a neutral environment with a professional around would make YOU feel better.  Maybe if you can get her to go to the therapy sessions with you, then the therapist can help her see the aspects of the relationship that aren’t healthy. Ultimately, she needs to feel that this is her OWN decision, not something you are forcing on her, and sometimes a neutral, third party is the best way to go about it.

Like I said, not sure that’s a perfect solution, but it would be my advice.  Good good luck. 

Post # 4
773 posts
Busy bee

I don’t know your daughter or her fiance, but from what you wrote it sounds like he is very controlling and manipulative, and at least bordering on being emotionally abusive.  If he is like this before the wedding, chances are that it will escalate once they are actually married, and may turn physical.  While there’s probably nothing you can do to actually stop her from doing exactly what she wants to do, PLEASE do not cut her out of your life.  She will need you so much more if things get worse.  My mother was in an abusive marriage when we were young, and it was so hard when people abandoned her for being "foolish."  I would research a little bit about emotional abuse and warning signs about domestic violence and present them to her, but be prepared to love her no matter what decision she makes.

Post # 5
86 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

i think that you should tell her your thoughts.  be gentle with it (i can’t imagine how i’d feel if my mother wanted to stop my wedding) it IS going to hurt her.  then you have to do the hardest thing which is understand that it is her life and she is going to do what she wants, whether or not it is what you want.  after that just support her and tell her you are always there to talk if she needs someone.  i think if you go further she will end up resenting you for it.  good luck!!

Post # 6
364 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

My heart really breaks for your situation — it truly truly does.  I’m not a mother yet, so I can’t really relate, but I’ve been on the side of your daughter before and I know what’s ahead for her which is equally heartbreaking.

I was with a guy for almost 10 years.  He was hideous to me and my parents and everyone around me knew it.  He was NOT the one for me. I hung on and hung on and hung on and the finally he broke my heart into a million pieces and walked away.  My family was there to help me pick up every tiny little fragment (it took years).  Recently, as I’m planning the wedding to the man of my dreams, I asked my parents (whom I’m SUPER close with) why they never tried to stop the relationship and my mom explained that they knew I wouldn’t listen (I’m stubborn) and their efforts, even in my best interest would only make me resent them (they are right) and they did not want to loose me to him.  They knew it wouldn’t work out and they didn’t want my life to be wrecked (and it was) but there was literally NOTHING they could do.

I certainly would NEVER tell ANYONE how to parent, but I think, unfortunately, you need to just be your daughter’s mom.  You can’t stop the wedding and you can’t make her decisions for her.  You’ve already told her that you don’t agree, but what she does with the information is beyond your control. 

I really wish I had something more happy or certain to tell you.  The bees are always here to listen and they all give great advice!

All the best and let us know what happens!

Post # 7
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I am so sorry – it must be absolutely heartbreaking for you to watch your daughter live through this situation.  Abusers often try to isolate and control their victims first (and your daughter’s fiancee certainly displays many of the characteristics of an abuser).  So I am concerned that your plan to set consequences with your daughter might backfire and play into her fiancee’s plan to isolate her from her family and friends.  I think you should speak to a professional who is trained in dealing with these heartbreaking situations.  I would recommend that you try to find a local organization that helps women in this situation to ask them what steps are most effective to take in this situation.  

Post # 8
108 posts
Blushing bee

I am so sorry you are experiencing this.  I know there is nothing worse than seeing a loved one make self-destructive decisions. 

I think the most important thing when speaking with your daughter is focusing on your care and concern for her, not your disdain for him. The reason I say this is because when people feel their decisions are being criticized, the natural response would be for her to defend her relationship and her right to choose for herself.  It definitely sounds like her situation has the potential to escalate into something dangerous (if it isn’t already), so I would also suggest maintaining a presence in her life.  If he is successful in pushing her loved ones away, it makes it even harder for her to leave when she is strong enough to do so.  Above all, I second professorbee– your local domestic violence org can be a wonderful resource, so please don’t hesitate to use it.  My thoughts will be with you and your daughter. 

Post # 9
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I would direct you to read this post from a reader whose little sister was caught up in a similar situation with a controlling boyfriend:

Devastated about my little sister…


As I said to that other reader- as a former Domestic Violence hotline counselor:

No matter how she behaves or what she does while he is manipulating her- DO NOT LET IT DRIVE YOU APART!  NEVER judge her, always reassure her that you love her and want her in your life and be supportive of her in any way you can.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to forbid him from your home.  That’s the perfect ammunition he can use to further distance her from you (‘I love you so much, why does your family hate me?  They don’t understand us- it’s just you and I against the world.  You have nobody but me’).  If he is already controlling her and not letting her see her friends, imagine what will happen when you she tries to see you after he’s barred from your home?

Some people may tell you to use tough love or something to try and get her to leave him- it won’t work.  He is trying to alienate her from her family/friends, isolate her, and leave her without a support system so she is totally dependent on him- and cannot leave. He’s already doing that by moving her away and being the sole owner of their home.  Especially if she isn’t working, she has no financial means to support herself and get away from him!

If/when she does come to her senses, you want to be sure that she can reach out to you for help to get away from him!  If you are constantly telling her she is wrong or foolish for being with him, imagine how hard it will be for her to come to you when she’s ready to leave?

Have you heard the saying, "We always want what we can’t have?"  Well in this case, forbidding your daughter from marrying him, refusing to be at the wedding, barring him from your house- all those things may be pushing her to refuse to acknowledge that’s she’s wrong and you are right.

You cannot make her see the light and appreciate her own self worth. 

I am not a parent, but if you were my friend I would advise the following (as long as she is not in PHYSICAL danger):

If you have made your feelings known, there is nothing more that you can do.  Go to the wedding (tell her than even though you think it is unwise, you love her and support her), have him in your home when necessary- all so that you can maintain a relationship with your daughter.  If you can stay close to her and she does not feel judged by you for her poor decisions, it will make it easier for her to turn to you for help.

I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts.


Post # 10
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m sorry you have so many things to be worried about.  This sounds like a terrilbe situation where no one wins.  I agree with a few others who have suggested counseling.  Are you contributing to the wedding at all?   Maybe you can make buying X service (dress, cake, whatever you’re willing to contribute) contingent on at least two sessions of family couseling–one with your daughter and her fiance (the counselor may pick up on the same warning signs you have, and may be able to point out signs of abuse), and one with your daughter and you so you have safe, neutral places to air your feelings.  

That might help soften the blow if she does go through with the wedding–you have contributed X, which might be enough to keep her from cutting you out of her life.  It sounds like she is really going to need you.

 Good luck. 

Post # 12
513 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I would never say to a family member to mind your own business. If you have a gut feeling, you need to follow your heart and be there for your family.

I agree with another poster that the man may escalate at some point with his controlling ways.

I think what you should really try to do- is reach out to support groups that can assist you and your family. 

I don’t know what state you are in, but going to a family counselor (for just you and your husband or the siblings) as well as a support group such as feminist.org which has state specific coalitions contact information. Another great resource is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence who have great tips on getting help and preparing to provide help.

  • Does your daughter live near you? (If so I strongly suggest keeping the lines of communication open.) This is by quiet determinism, verbalizing to your daughter with each call you love her. And letting your daughter know, without criticism that your home is always open for her to return to.

  • If your daughter does not live near you; begin to formulate opportunities to assit your daughter in the event she needs emergency outreach and funds. If you know where she lives- make a list of residentdential safe havens for her. Set up a 1-800 number that she can easily remember in the event her cell is cut off, and she has no way to reach you because she doesn’t have money for some reason. Learn about restraining order laws where ever your daughter may be- in order to be able to enact anything on your daughters behalf.
  • Mobilize your family, If your daughter should need anything, have you family be prepared within a moment’s notice to be able to assist her.

Be your daughters advocate. Take the steps to be a good advocate. And get yourself to a National or local support group/services center who can help you become prepared to find ways to provide an intervention if necessary.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Post # 13
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I feel for you as I can’t really imagine the emotional turmoil you’re going through.  

My family went through a similar situation with my sister and her ex-boyfriend. He was also borderling emotionally abusive and we kept telling her to leave, but she stayed for the same reasons (what if no one else will love me? At least I have him, etc.). Unfortunately, you can’t force her to see where she really is. I would suggest supporting her to your best ability and letting her know that she is loved. Does she have any friends that could call her up and do things with her every week? Even if you can’t force her to do anything, try to build up her support network as much as possible to let her know that she is loved and not alone!

If you are a spiritual/religious person, I would also suggest praying. It definitely helps!

My heart goes out to you. Good luck!

Post # 14
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018 - Millenium Biltmore Hotel

I agree completely with rosychicklet. I think the closer you keep your daughter to you, the better. I also think that keeping an eye on her fiance is a good idea. If you alienate him, you can’t watch over and protect your daughter.

They are both very young and impetuous. However, youth does not excuse his overly controlling and manipulative behavior. I fear for what will happen when your daughter finally breaks up with or leaves this person. He sounds like he has the capacity to be violent or let his temper get out of control. I’m not saying this to scare you, but I had a friend who was in a manipulative and abusive relationship. You have to be very careful with people like your daughter’s fiance. I agree with Sparkles. Seek outside help and figure out how to be the best advocate to your daughter.

I wish you the best! Please let us know how you are coping.

Post # 15
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Great and caring advice, rosychicklet.  I absolutely agree.

I also agree that counseling of some sort seems like a great idea, if you can get your daughter to participate.  It is heart breaking that she can’t see that she deserves better than this kind of treatment, but she is going to have to realize that herself.  There is a lot of complex psychology surrounding this kind of thing, and there are no simple answers.  I don’t think that you should mind your own business – your daughter’s welfare is your business – but I do think that there is probably nothing you can really do to stop her from marrying him.  The best thing is for you to express your concern for her in a manner that doesn’t end up damaging your relationship or interfering with your ability to be a support system for her when she needs you.

To that end, I also don’t think that you can bar your Future Sister-In-Law from your house.  If you do, I think it just decreases the amount of time you can actually spend with your daughter.  You absolutely don’t have to put up with him treating her badly in your presence – and if he does, I think you absolutely should step up and let him know, nicely, you don’t believe his behavior is called for.  And you can try hard to build up her self-esteem, and reinforce in her mind that she deserves to be treated well. 

Unfortunately, kids will do what they are going to do.  You can guide them, and advise them, and help to some degree, but you can’t make them do what you think is right.  You spend a lot of time holding your breath and hoping that things don’t turn out badly.  And sometimes you have to resign yourself to the idea that they will only be convinced after some hard times.  My stepkids are 18 and 21, and believe me, I know.  It sounds like your daughter is in a pretty bad situation, but she obviously doesn’t see it that way.  As much as you would like to rearrange things so that everything turns out fine, things may have to get worse for her before she realizes that she has made a bad decision.  The best thing you can do is to be there to help her when she does decide that she needs to make a change.

Post # 16
813 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

When i read the title of your post, my first thought is that no one can stop someone else’s wedding.

In this case, I see why you want to, but it sounds like you truly understand that you can’t, and that all you can do is love your daughter.

You have already received a lot of great advice, and great resources to find professional help. I would just like to second the fact that the more supportive you are, the more willing your daughter will be to turn to you. If you shut her out, she won’t have anyone to turn to when she finally decides she wants out of the relationship. I think that you should encourage her to bring him around. Because if he says rude and mean things to her in front of you, and you have already voiced your opinion to your daughter, she will just make excuses for him. But if you avoid talking badly about him and showing your dissatisfaction to your daughter, she will stop making excuses and will probably be embarrassed and might realize what an jerk he is being.

I also think that professional counseling as a whole would be good. Don’t make your daughter feel like the point of the counseling is to make her break up with her soon-to-be husband. Instead, make the counseling about YOU. Tell her you want to figure out how YOU can learn to accept him. How YOU can make this work for your entire family. The issue of how controlling he is and how horrible he is will all come out in the counseling sessions. 

I sincerely wish you all the best! 

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