- 3 years ago
I would totally stay out of it. It doesn’t concern you. MYOB.
I would totally stay out of it. It doesn’t concern you. MYOB.
As someone who’s been on the receiving end of religion-related drama from my parents when I was planning my wedding… maybe this part isn’t as it seems to you. It’s possible that your SIL’s Fiance feels very strongly that religious counseling is not right for him, and your SIL doesn’t have a strong opinion on this so she’s going along with him. They’re the ones who would be in counseling, not her parents, so while maybe the parents should insist on counseling, the couple should choose where.
For what it’s worth, in our case Darling Husband was very strongly against a religious ceremony because he’s deeply spiritual. It might sound like a paradox, but he said that we are not following many religious ceremonies in our daily life, so it doesn’t feel right to him to adopt the trappings on our wedding day, and he would not want to project a more religious image until he feels that he walks the walk every day, not just talks the talk. I wanted to do the traditional thing, but was impressed by his argument and we together told my parents that sorry, no slight intended, but we would have a secular ceremony.
Now if he’s showing a volatile temper, that’s a different story… that’s a red flag all right and something you or your husband should bring up with your SIL. Hopefully in a way that doesn’t make her defensive, but I imagine that’s not easy! And that comes back to counseling being a very good idea.
I would possibly say something about the temper, but not the church wedding side of things. That doesn’t say red-flag to me at all. Many people stay connected to the church out of duty, tradition, and community without really connecting with the faith. The counselling on the other hand forces him to really participate in his spirituality. If he doesn’t actually see himself as a spritual person, then it’s forcing a faith on him that isn’t his. It doesn’t surprise me that he might agree to a church wedding, but refuse spritual counselling if he doesn’t see himself as spritual.
Would they consider secular counselling? My parents suggested it for my Fi and I and he balked in much the same way – seeing counselling as being lectured and told you’re flawed, rather than as something that can help you grow and be really clear about your goals as a couple. My Fiance came around once I explained that was more the case, it’s about talking through things yourself and being focused, not being told what to do and how to do it. In fact counsellors can’t actually tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
The temper red flags on the other hand are a bit different – but I know you have already decided not to bring that up. Chalking a bad temper up to immaturity is never very wise.. not if they’re unwilling to work on themselves as it seems he is. Having a bad temper doesn’t always lead to abuse, but even on its own it can be difficult to deal with. Watch for the warning signs, stay close to your SIL and show her that you will always be there for her.
However, from my experience, I KNEW inside that it was bad, had bad feelings, but due to codepency I overlooked things and rationalized them and ignored… It’s hard to try and get someone in that position to see the truth. People tried to tell me, and while I didn’t get mad at them or anything, but I couldn’t hear it. It’s possible she’s being mentally or emotionally abused (maybe not, but I was) and it might be that she has to see it for herself.
Depending on your relationship with her, you could go out to coffee and mention things… in a way of asking if she’s happy, if she loves him… that was a kicker for me. I could pretend but the worst is when someone asked why I loved him… because I had no reasons. I “loved” him because he “loved” me so much. Ugh. I hope she gets out of that situation and realizes she deserves more! If you talk with her do it nicely and kindly, while accepting her no matter what she does, that’s incredibly important.
I gave the situation a LOT more thought since writing my (long-winded) original post a few weeks ago. I still felt like I couldn’t quite put my finger on what Darling Husband and I don’t like about this guy. Then, I had a huge revelation: he lacks humility. His pride is his dominant characteristic. That’s why he shuts off even in the presence of constructive criticism. He doesn’t think he needs anyone’s help, or that he could learn anything from anyone with wisdom. It makes his lack of intellectual curiosity even more of a problem, because he is completely closed off to the idea of self-reflection and improvement.
The thing is, I now know from experience that humility is an absolutely essential ingredient in a marriage. Whether two people participate in a religious marriage or not, joining two lives together requires an ability to compromise, listen, be patient, and cope with feeling weak at times when you can’t fix everything that’s wrong. This is the problem with this guy, and while my in-laws swear that it’s a maturity thing, it’s only gotten worse and more apparent in all the years that my SIL has been with him.
The current plan is for Darling Husband to speak to her, most likely by sending her a letter or an email in which he expresses what he’s worried about. He’ll encourage her to think, remind her that he’s doing it because he cares about her, and leave the door open for her to reach out. That way, if she does decide to marry him (which we’re hoping she doesn’t), Darling Husband can attend the wedding knowing that he spoke up in a tactful way, which is all that’s in his power.
The thing is, we are hoping we don’t need to resort to that plan at all. My prayer is that, if Darling Husband and I are right about this guy, that he’ll incriminate himself somehow, and his true colors will be visible to everyone who can’t seem to see the things we see. Their unofficial wedding date is still many months away – a lot can happen in that time, and as the date looms closer, I have a feeling more of his negative qualities will surface.
Thanks so much for your input 🙂
What drew me to this asshole in the first place was, ironically, the very qualities that made him such a horrible boyfriend. He was extremely charismatic, the life of the party, and it was just exciting to be with him. He seemed so confident…he could walk into a room and just set the mood instantly, depending on his own personal mood at that moment. I am not a very controlling person and I liked being with someone who was so dominant and seemed to just know what to do at all times. I also liked that other people seemed impressed by him and craved his company…it’s pathetic, but my vanity was flattered that this charismatic life of the party guy had picked me as his partner.
Once the initial honeymoon wore off though, it was 2.5 yrs of increasing agony being with him. He wasn’t there for me at all. He let me down so many times, in small ways and big ones. He had no respect for my family. He always put himself first every single time. And he had no capacity for self reflection. Any time I even tried to tell him why x behavior of his was hurtful, he would immediately twist it around and make himself the victim. “You’re always mad at me, I guess you think I’m a bad boyfriend,” etc. And then before I knew it, I’d be the one apologizing to HIM! It was masterful.
Anyway …if any of this is ringing true, I def think you should proceed with your plan to have your brother talk to her. it needs to be done very carefully and gently. I wish more people had told me what they really thought of my ex…but they didn’t want to offend me, and I also didn’t tell anyone most of the horrors that happened between closed doors, so people just didn’t know. My parents never liked him, but they never liked any of my boyfriends lol so that wasn’t an immediate red flag. But I think if someone I trusted as a nonbiased party had spoken to me honestly about their concerns, it would have had an effect. Maybe it would have made me break up with him earlier, idk. So yeah, I hope you’re able to get through to her. But if you’re not…that’s ok too. She has to make her own choices, which might mean learning this lesson the hard way.
This is what I’ve learned from adulting, don’t offer advice that isn’t requested.
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