- 4 months ago
My apologies for making my first post so full of all my troubles, I belong to another forum, but was hoping this would be more active and wedding focused.
FI and I (both in our early/mid-twenties) have been friends for about five years (we met in college), dated for 2 of them, and have been engaged for a few months now. We’ve been incredibly happy together, I love him, he’s kind, thoughtful and reflective, generous, moral, sensitive, empowering, and egalitarian. We’ve never had a single argument. He’s also incredibly logical, frugal to a fault, and a little clueless about etiquette and social norms. He’s an only child in a huge extended family, and his family is wonderful. His parents are very involved in the community, their church, and several charities; his whole extended family is.
Just a few weeks after our engagement, his parents announced that they were getting a divorce. Fiance is blaming himself for the divorce, saying that his parents only stayed together for him, and now that he’s getting married, they don’t need to stay together anymore. That just isn’t true (there are more details I could include, but their divorce has nothing to do with Fiance or myself), but it doesn’t change the way he feels. Fiance has taken a much less “permanent” view of marriage and now wants our future mortgage/house to be solely in his name (with me paying “rent”) and wants our finances to be completely separate (which is not quite what we wanted before).
I’m currently unemployed. I graduated with my bachelors degree in May and lost a temporary job in September. I worked through school and even had 80+ hour work weeks over the summer, but I’m having trouble finding a job anywhere (I’m applying everywhere, and I literally can’t get a job at a gas station or McDonald’s). I have enough money to last about four months. Best case scenario, I get a job related to my degree, which will literally never pay half of what Fiance currently makes.
Fiance and I are currently looking at houses, which has been really frustrating. We want kids in the very near future, but while I think about things like how safe the neighborhood is (we looked at one house with bullet holes from a drive-by shooting!) and how good the schools are, Fiance says he doesn’t care about those things at all. Fiance is more concerned with a huge shop and three-car garage (which I won’t be allowed to use). He’s brought friends along to look at houses because he wants to rent out extra rooms to them (for $100-$200 a month, to help them save money). After we get married, FI says he’s willing to pay “my rent” until I have a job, but then expects me to pay half the mortgage in rent. I feel like I don’t have a say in any of this because I’m unemployed, and so it would be FI’s house, with Fiance paying the mortgage and the down payment on the house.
My family is the scary type of religiously regressive misogynists. They don’t believe in college for anyone (it’s against their religion), nor dating (marriages are arranged and the groom ‘courts’ the bride), or even women driving (yes, I own a car and have a driver’s license). Subsequently, my dad and his side of the family stopped talking to me when I left for college. My siblings, mom, and her side of the family stopped talking to me when they found out I was dating. I know my family is not full of great people, but they still love me (they think shunning me is a loving thing to do, and what God wants). Thinking about my upcoming wedding and my family not being there makes me so sad; my biggest wedding planning issue is just figuring out how not to cry through the whole thing because my family is missing.
Fiance and I would be perfectly happy with a court-house wedding, but Fiance is convinced that Future Mother-In-Law will be devastated if her only child doesn’t have a proper wedding (FMIL insists she doesn’t care, but her family has told us she would). Fiance is willing to contribute $400 to a combined $800 budget, though he insists that I cover all “my” expenses (the dress, makeup, hair, nails, accessories, etc.) and all of the “frivolous expenses” (my bouquet, all decorations, linens, chairs, RSVPs, photographer, etc.) in addition to my $400 contribution. I truly don’t believe he’s being obstinate, he just doesn’t understand that things like chairs are not “frivolous.” I only have a dozen or so friends, but I’m trying to make the budget work for about a hundred people! I would feel pretty bad inviting them all just for cake (something Fiance feels is important) but Fiance just doesn’t know anything about weddings or what weddings are like, and so he feels that spending $800 would make for “an expensive, but nice wedding.”
FI has two family members in the wedding planning business, which I think is great because I’m feeling very alone in the planning process. Part of me wants to just tell FI’s family that he’s not taking his parent’s divorce well, and that I want to delay the wedding planning, but I feel like telling them would hurt FI’s feelings. These wedding planning relatives are really pressuring us to make decisions, and I feel horrible that I’m always the one to say that things are “too expensive.” They know how much money Fiance makes and keep saying things like “your Fiance is a wealthy guy, you can afford to spend a little money on [insert the cheapest version of a necesity].” They think we’re both just being frugal, but in reality, I’m broke and FI just doesn’t understand weddings at all. The wedding planners also don’t know my family situation, and so it’s been hard explaining things like my sister not being part of the bridal party, or my dad not giving me away.
I’m very optimistic about the future and we still have a great time together, but FI just can’t talk about the future without going into his ‘strictly rational’ survival mode. I know Fiance is going through a tough time, but it feels like he’s already preparing for our divorce, and it hurts. I know our engagement and wedding planning are now painful for him, but it’s also heartwrenching for me. I wish I could afford couples counseling, and maybe individual counseling, but I just can’t afford it.
Can someone offer me some clarity?