(Closed) I don’t approve, and I don’t want to be involved…

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 15
777 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m sorry, this must be so hard for everyone involved. But thank goodness there’s a lot of time before this wedding takes place.

I know it’s awkward and unpleasant for you, but please don’t withdraw too much. She might need someone to turn to at some point, and especially if she’s pulled away from a lot of her friends it’s possible she could really need you one day. But there’s no way she’ll turn to you with problems if you’ve already distanced yourself.

My advice would be for you and you husband and any other siblings you can get on board to share responsibility for calling this guy out on the hateful racist/sexist/homophobic language he’s spewing. Try to avoid starting a fight/making him out to be worse than he is. But do point it out every time (e.g. “Wow. One of my best friends in highschool was gay and had to hear things like that every day. He still has nightmares about it. I can’t believe you’d seriously say that. You realize that hundreds of people take their own lives every year precisely because of people who say these kinds of things, right?”). Don’t be hostile otherwise–you don’t want to make her take sides or make him feel unwelcome when he’s not being a gigantic bigot–but your goal should be to try to get him, and more importantly her, to actually think about what he’s saying and what sorts of people say those things. Hopefully he will at least tone it down around you; possibly he will even realize that it’s not okay or it will start to dawn on her that he’s a dickwad.

Don’t confront her or start bashing him or anything, but do try to be a sounding board for her and maybe gently ask if they’ve talked about x or y (what she thinks he’d do if they had a child who was gay; whether it bothers her that he talks about his mom that way, etc). Perhaps you could tell her that you’re just not that into weddings since you’ve been married for a while, and that you’re saving all your enthusiasm for the year before the wedding, but you’d love to do other girl things sometimes (pedicures/coffee/lunch occasionally)?

Post # 16
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

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@greenmint:  I get it.  But, honestly is a choke hold just “playing around”?  Do they have a safe word?  I totally understand what you mean and have been stunned silent by a couple of things that have been said/done to the person in my life whose situation is similar, but even if it’s playing around, it can get out of hand quickly…and, if EVERYONE is uncomfortable watching, it’s not good, IMO.

There are a lot of things you’re saying that raise some serious red flags that are oh-so-familiar to me (hating his mom, but raising his Fiance on a pedestal).  It can get really bad when the Fiance falls off the pedestal and starts “acting like his mom”….know what I mean?

You shouldn’t have to compromise your feelings…but…GAH! this is what we do for family.  🙂  I would just try to be there for her…ignoring him.  It’s also possible for your FI’s family to be a positive influence on him, but that kind of requires standing up for things that they believe in…tricky, at best…and not necessarily something you, yourself, should do.  I think that the best course is just trying to be supportive.

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@eliwhit:  Sounds like we’ve both been in similiar situations.  :/  Mine has gotten a lot better- I hope your situation gets better too.

Post # 17
2441 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

If I were you I’d tell her how the guy makes you uncomfortable and it worries you that she is going to marry him.  Give great detail about why.  Preface it with the fact that you are not necessarily trying to change her mind, but you just have to say what is heavy on your mind.  Tell her you could not and will not in good conscience participate in and celebrate her engagement/wedding to this guy without speaking your peace.  End it with “I love you and I will support you no matter what you do, because you are family.”

Post # 18
802 posts
Busy bee

You’re in a very difficult situation, because how do you tell someone all of these things when they don’t realize how they’re being affected by the situation or whether or not they’re unhappy? 

The best thing to do, is not to withdraw from her because you don’t approve. You want her to be able to turn to you when things get worse (of course you hope they don’t). People have said some really great things, but I’m surprise no one addressed the military issue. This isn’t a normal situation where this guy is just a douchebag. This man is in the military, and that may be a contributing factor to why he is the way he is. He may be angry, or depressed, and taking it out on your SIL. From what you’ve said, the abuse has already started in the relationship. He may not be verbally or physically abusing her yet, but her behavior falls in line with someone who has been emotionally abused > http://helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

She’s isolated herself, and only spends time with him. So don’t abandon her now, or when she really needs your help, you might not know it, and it could be too late. 

You can’t really approach these issues head on, because most of the time you’ll be met with denial. The way to start is by dropping little hints here and there. When he plays rough with her, don’t have her brothers step in and threaten him because that will only make it worse on his part. He’ll feel like his control has been threatened which will only make him take it on on your SIL. You, or her parents can step in and ask if she’s okay, or say “Hey! Take it easy! She’s not as physically strong as you are. You can’t play that rough with a woman.” If what he says is true, and she is his princess, then you want to remind him that she’s someone he is supposed to protect and not treat roughly. 

You want her to come to you and confide in their relationship problems. If she’s able to admit things are not going so well, or that she’s not that happy, that’s your way in to talking about more serious problems. Otherwise, start slow, when she looks unhappy, take her to the side and ask if everything is okay, if they’ve had a fight? Or how things are going with planning the wedding, things must be really stressful. If he asks what you guys are talking about in secret, just say “feminine troubles”. If she feels supported, she’s more likely to listen to you when you broach the unhappy subject than if you jump into it head first. Also, if she confides in you, and you decide to tell the rest of the family members, they should never say or act like they know any of it. Otherwise she will feel betrayed, like she can’t trust any of you, and like you all ganged up on her. 

Since she is getting married in 2014 and not right away, there’s still time for her to see what’s going on in their relationship, and how he affects her. 

Post # 19
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Her brother’s are particularly concerned about this physical stuff, but no one wants to be negative, and it’s hard to know what to say.

Know what to say?? How about ‘Get the f**k off my sister you creep??’

Um, sorry but that’s a major red flag. Homophobix, racist, sexist language plus physical acts like that?? He’s not mentally right. She is going to get hurt.

I would not want a relative or friend to be in a situation like that. If this is what he’s like when people are around, what’s he like when they’re alone? And he’s angry?

The topic ‘I don’t approve, and I don’t want to be involved…’ is closed to new replies.

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