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A bit of a rant, am I right in arguing this to my fiance?

Today I got into an argument with my fiance over monetary gifts. We are having an engagement party in a week and a half and he owes his dad some money. I feel if someone gives us money for our engagement party it's meant to go towards our wedding/marriage, not his debt to his dad. His DAD even mentioned today that "after our engagement party we can talk about how much he wants to pay back." He and his father seem to be under the impression that whatever money we get from our engagement party is just money to be used on whatever. I feel like that's deceitful and hurtful to those who think they're helping us (a college student and a third-year teacher) save for our wedding. 

Re: A bit of a rant, am I right in arguing this to my fiance?

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    I think that's a pretty immature way to think about money.  Your FI is right.
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    i can see thier point, if he owes someone $$$ you should pay when you get it. you marry someone you marry their debt. Maybe he will cut off some of what he owes as a gift.

    How are you supposed to get on your feet or save for a wedding when you are already in debt?
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    They are helping you save for your wedding - by helping your FI pay off a debt.  Money owed to family comes with strings that a bank won't attach which is why these debts have to be paid off first.  Once it's paid FI and his dad can be father and son again and not creditor/debtor.
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    Unless a person tells you what their monetary gift is intended for, you're allowed to use it for whatever you like, and there's nothing deceitful about using it to pay down debt.  Engagement gifts are not generally intended to help you pay for your wedding, I have never heard of that.  They are intended, like wedding gifts, to help you start your lives together on solid footing, and paying down debt is a good way to do that.
    Married 10/2/10
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    Money is money no matter when you get it.  Personally, I would feel paying off debt of that kind is more important than getting a head start on wedding finances. 
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    I actually think you would be irresponsible to not put some (if not all) of that money towards the debt.  Is there a way that you can come up with a compromise and put 1/3 towards the debt, 1/3 towards the wedding, and 1/3 towards your general savings fund?  How much money are you anticipating receiving at your engagement party?

    PPs are correct in saying that when you marry someone you marry their debt too and it becomes partially your responsibility to pay off that debt.  Just be grateful that this doesn't (I'm assuming) affect your credit rating.
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    [QUOTE]<strong>I actually think you would be irresponsible to not put some (if not all) of that money towards the debt.  Is there a way that you can come up with a compromise and put 1/3 towards the debt, 1/3 towards the wedding, and 1/3 towards your general savings fund? </strong> How much money are you anticipating receiving at your engagement party? PPs are correct in saying that when you marry someone you marry their debt too and it becomes partially your responsibility to pay off that debt.  Just be grateful that this doesn't (I'm assuming) affect your credit rating.
    Posted by strlzfan11[/QUOTE]
    I agree. Start tackling at least some of that debt. That seems like a reasonable compromise.
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    AmoroAgainAmoroAgain member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited September 2010
    Why do you think you'll be getting money at an engagement party??

    Don't be one of those brides who gets a ring on her finger and then decides that everything in the world revolves around your wedding. It doesn't.
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    The only issue I have is that technically the engagement party is a pre-wedding party so none of the gifts you receive at it should be used until you're married.  So if someone happens to give you money, it should be deposited but not spent.

    However if you owe someone money why on earth would you think that paying back a family debt comes second to a party?
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    I agree with PP's.  Paying off debt is pretty important, the less debt he has, the easier your life together will be, 

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    Be responsible and pay off the debt first.  If I give a cash gift to someone, I really don't care how they spend it. Also you should not be depending on your guests giving you money at an engagement party to help out with your wedding. 

    If you are having arguments about money now, can't imagine what things are going to like after you are married.

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    I think it's a little presumptive to expect many gifts (let alone substantial cash gifts) at your engagement party.  You and your FI are likely arguing over nothing.  At most of the engagement parties I've attended, common gifts were bottles of wine.

    Now, if you receive a monetary gift for the engagement party, and the card reads "For you to get started with wedding planning," you probably should apply the money toward your wedding.  But if there aren't any strings attached to the money, the traditional thing to do would be to put it into savings until after the wedding, since pre-wedding gifts need to be returned if the wedding is called off.

    You have two years until your wedding,  Surely that's time enough to save up for your wedding and pay down your FI's debt?
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    I would never give someone a cash gift as an engagement present. I almost never give cash gifts period (and that does seem to be a regional thing - even within the same state).  You might be surprised and not receive any cash gifts.
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    To be blunt.
    Stop arguing with FI... HE is RIGHT...

    I fear for your relationship if you are arguing over something so petty like this.

    No matter what you need to pay your debts off...don't keep racking up what you owe people just to pay for the wedding (that doesn't make any sense).

    Also, I hope you don't get too upset when all you receive for your engagement party are beautiful silver plated engraved frames, wine bottles, and gift certs. to Crate and Barrel and BBB, and NOT an abundance of CASH!!
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    I've read some of your previous responses to questions, and you seem to be very money focused.  Hope that works out for you.
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    I'd like to extend a thank you to the rational posters who are giving advice and input rather than the people who thrive on these boards and revel in attacking people with negativity. 

    Also, just want to clear some things up. 

    When we argued, I said to him, "Okay, I can see where you're coming from, and I know you're stressed about how hard the summer was not getting paid as a teacher. So how about if he count whatever people "give" and take half of that, and pay your dad back? We can write the number down, and make a promise to each other to put that money back in savings when we're on more solid ground. My only request is that you not tell anyone that we paid that money out of engagement party gifts." 

    My reasoning is that yes, I agree that there's no way to plan a wedding or pay for it if you're still in debt. I also agree that he'll feel much better having paid his dad back. However, I still know that my brother would be very upset if he found out that the card he sent to me that says "Here is something to congratulate you, little sis. I hope this is a good first deposit to your wedding savings account. Love you." He does NOT intend for me to use it to pay my fiance's father back for a loan he gave my fiance (that I was neither consulted about nor asked for the help myself. In fact, I have already paid back 2/3 of it from my own pocket, and doing so has resulted in me having to take a semester off from college because now I can't afford tuition from that. Also, he asked his father for the help before we got engaged, and the deal was that he would start paying it back in Sept, and finish by Nov. If he didn't think he could do that on his own salary, he should not have taken the help. In addition, the 2/3 I paid was DEMANDED of me Mid-August, and his parents did not care that my paying them in that way, before the date their terms agreed to, meant I would not be able to afford tuition. That's another argument, but just so you all know, it's not a cut and dry situation.) 

    So listen, ladies, I'm not arguing that we should stay in debt. I'm not arguing that the world revolves around the wedding. I am arguing that just like those of you who I've seen post in response to honeymoon registry ideas have said, if someone intends their gift for you for a specific purpose, it's not really fair to use it for something else. When it comes to rent, student loans, things that affect his credit rating, OF COURSE we do what we need to. But when it comes to this loan from his dad, and the attitude that I have received as a result that I am the source of all money and they can just demand it from me rather than sticking to the terms they discussed in private with him, I feel no responsibility to it. And it bothers me that his parents have recently decided that since we're engaged, they have the right to all of my money and future "possible" gifts. Not only does that not make for a good relationship between myself and them, but my parents are furious as is my brother that by paying them back a month early out of my own pocket, I was not able to afford college this semester. So now, we'll have to see how the engagement party even goes as a result. 

    I guess all I'm saying is it's not me arguing to be irresponsible and refuse to pay off debts between the two of us. It's me arguing that the mentality should not be that when we accept someone's gift and say we're going to put it into a savings account, and then turn around and cash it out to my fiance's greedy and careless father, I don't feel we've done right by those people.

    At the end of the day I really hope no one gives us any gifts. We've asked everyone not to, but not everyone will adhere to that request as you all know. I just don't like the expectation that seems to be growing in the minds of my future in-laws and fiance. 
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    Cassandra-

    It sounds like the issue is not so much about gifts from others as it is about how you and FI plan to share responsibility for your finances.

    I'd suggest you discuss this on a more general level with him.  Depending on the circumstances and your & FI's spending habits, expecting you to contribute to repaying the loan might or might not be reasonable.

    My FI was unable to work for 6 months last year because of an injury and was unable to get unemployment or disability during that time, so for a while I was the only income and he asked for a loan from his family to get us through one month that was especially tight for us.  He has paid back part of it and his family is gracious enough not to harp on it because they know we are also saving for the wedding, but he still feels bad about it and wants to make some sort of payment back to his family, so we've tried to earmark some funds to pay them back a bit at a time while still making deposits etc for wedding vendors.

    The terms of your FI's family loan may be less flexible.  Even though you weren't an official party to the loan or its terms when it was made, the fact that you and FI have shared finances means that they may be reasonable to consider that you have some involvement in the situation. 

    I think it's a good idea to talk to FI about whether he feels completely responsible for repaying the loan or whether he now considers it shared debt.  This situation is likely to come up again for you down the road, even with responsibility for credit card bills, or unexpected inheritance from a family member, etc.  It's important to have agreement about how you plan to handle money.
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    megk8ozmegk8oz member
    First Comment
    edited September 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_bit-of-rant-am-right-arguing-this-fiance?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:13b80e14-4638-4e67-a868-c4d4431c2b13Post:0d6c27dd-adf1-4db3-8de2-db3777cf41a3">Re: A bit of a rant, am I right in arguing this to my fiance?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'd like to extend a thank you to the rational posters who are giving advice and input rather than the people who thrive on these boards and revel in attacking people with negativity.  Also, just want to clear some things up.  When we argued, I said to him, "Okay, I can see where you're coming from, and I know you're stressed about how hard the summer was not getting paid as a teacher. So how about if he count whatever people "give" and take half of that, and pay your dad back? We can write the number down, and make a promise to each other to put that money back in savings when we're on more solid ground. My only request is that you not tell anyone that we paid that money out of engagement party gifts."  My reasoning is that yes, I agree that there's no way to plan a wedding or pay for it if you're still in debt. I also agree that he'll feel much better having paid his dad back. However, I still know that my brother would be very upset if he found out that the card he sent to me that says "Here is something to congratulate you, little sis. I hope this is a good first deposit to your wedding savings account. Love you." He does NOT intend for me to<strong> use it to pay my fiance's father back for a loan he gave my fiance (that I was neither consulted about nor asked for the help myself. In fact, I have already paid back 2/3 of it from my own pocket, and doing so has resulted in me having to take a semester off from college because now I can't afford tuition from that.</strong> Also, he asked his father for the help before we got engaged, and the deal was that he would start paying it back in Sept, and finish by Nov. If he didn't think he could do that on his own salary, he should not have taken the help.<strong> In addition, the 2/3 I paid was DEMANDED of me Mid-August, and his parents did not care that my paying them in that way, before the date their terms agreed to, meant I would not be able to afford tuition</strong>. That's another argument, but just so you all know, it's not a cut and dry situation.)  So listen, ladies, I'm not arguing that we should stay in debt. I'm not arguing that the world revolves around the wedding. I am arguing that just like those of you who I've seen post in response to honeymoon registry ideas have said, if someone intends their gift for you for a specific purpose, it's not really fair to use it for something else.<strong> When it comes to rent, student loans, things that affect his credit rating, OF COURSE we do what we need to. But when it comes to this loan from his dad, and the attitude that I have received as a result that I am the source of all money and they can just demand it from me rather than sticking to the terms they discussed in private with him, I feel no responsibility to it.</strong> <strong>And it bothers me that his parents have recently decided that since we're engaged, they have the right to all of my money and future "possible" gifts</strong>. Not only does that not make for a good relationship between myself and them, but my parents are furious as is my brother that by paying them back a month early out of my own pocket, I was not able to afford college this semester. So now, we'll have to see how the engagement party even goes as a result.  I guess all I'm saying is it's not me arguing to be irresponsible and refuse to pay off debts between the two of us. It's me arguing that the mentality should not be that when we accept someone's gift and say we're going to put it into a savings account, and then turn around and cash it out to my fiance's greedy and careless father, I don't feel we've done right by those people. At the end of the day I really hope no one gives us any gifts. We've asked everyone not to, but not everyone will adhere to that request as you all know. I just don't like the expectation that seems to be growing in the minds of my future in-laws and fiance. 
    Posted by cassandra13187[/QUOTE]


    If your FILs are "demanding" that <strong>you </strong>pay them back for a debt their son owes them (That you apparently "had no say" in him aquiring) then you have <strong><em><u>WAAAAAAAAAAY</u></em></strong> bigger issues than what to do with the monetary gifts you're assuming you'll be receiving at your engagement party (Which, while people sometimes give gifts at these things, usually engagement parties aren't gift receiving affairs).

    Use the money to get some pre-marital counseling. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm dead serious. You should not even <strong>think</strong> about getting married to this guy if this is how things really are.

    If you fire a WP member, you're against America.
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    I also would like to add that I don't think you should be involving your parents or your brother in your finances.

    If you're mature enough to make the decision to get married, you're mature enough to deal with the responsibilities that come along with marriage which does include your debts (both individual and combined).

    I normally don't condone going into more debt, but taking out student loans to pay for your education is a reality that many people have to deal with, including myself.  My parents didn't contribute a dime to my college education other than the numbers that went on my FAFSA each year.  Check with the financial aid office at your school to see what your options are.

    Paying for the wedding shouldn't be your first priority here.  If paying off the debt now means you need to wait 6 months to get married then so be it.  You'll be better off for it in the long run.
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    If people give you a monetary gift, why do you need to tell them specifically what you're doing with it? I don't think that should be a stress point for you. You say thank you, we appreciate your generous gift to us - that's all.

    Being debt free is a truly wonderful feeling! I agree with slubkin - talk it out! Chances are this wont be the first financial discussion you'll have and it's one of the hardest every couple has.
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    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: A bit of a rant, am I right in arguing this to my fiance? : If your FILs are "demanding" that you pay them back for a debt their son owes them (That you apparently "had no say" in him aquiring) then have WAAAAAAAAAAY  bigger issues than what to do with the monetary gifts you're assuming you'll be receiving at your engagement party (Which, while people sometimes give gifts at these things, usually engagement parties aren't gift receiving affairs). Use the money to get some pre-marital counseling. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm dead serious. You should not even think about getting married to this guy if this is how things really are.
    Posted by megk8oz[/QUOTE]

    After reading the rest of your story, I have to say I agree with this, down to and especially the last sentence.
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    slubkin, Thanks so much! That was seriously really really helpful to hear. At the end of the day we rarely argue, and I definitely got very defensive last night about it all. I don't want to do anything out of stubbornness but I don't want to be walked all over either. I'm thinking it's time to maybe just sit down with his parents and talk one-on-one with them. 

    megk8oz, I agree this is definitely a huge issue. Ultimately, I've never had a fight like this with him up until now, and we've lived together and shared finances for three years. I'm not sure so much about counseling between us, because I think his intentions were originally in the vein of "I don't want to drag her into this" and now unfortunately he has to. But I DO think that maybe all of this is stemming from a bigger issue like you said, and I think that issue is between his parents and me perhaps. I'm always one for wanting to respect his parents and when they do things that seriously bother or upset me I don't speak up. Maybe THAT is what has lead here. I know it wasn't your original goal with your post, but thanks for helping me realize it's time to speak up for myself so that these arguments aren't between my fiance and me, but rather better communication is taking place all around. 

    strlzfan11, I agree totally there! I didn't go running to my family to tell them everything, but they wanted an honest answer for why last second I could not afford to go to school, and I answered them. The subject dropped there because I said simply that we make our decisions together and right now it is a better idea for us together if I save some money up before going back to school. I don't get financial aid because although I am emancipated (messy divorce stuff), I'm not 25, so I can't file as an independent and my Dad makes too much money. Suuuucks haha but I'm getting there on my own slowly. I also can't get a student loan because both he and my mother have awful credit and I have little or none, and my fiance has too much student loan debt already (which is another reason I'd rather wait a semester and pay when I have it than go into more debt). 

    sreitme, I actually told him that if he really feels it would be a better thing for us to use some of that money to pay his father back, then we can, but I don't want him to tell ANYONE. Emotionally, it bothers me, but when it comes down to it I'll okay it as long as none of those loved ones find that out. So no, we aren't exactly planning to tell anyone what we do with it. It was more a mentality issue. 

    kathryn, to you and meg, I'll stress again this is the first time we've ever had an issue like this, and I think it's much more a problem between his parents and I that he is now in the middle of. Please do not pass a judgement on our whole relationship and whether you two approve of our engagement based on one argument. But, on the other side of that, thank you for caring enough to read and give your thoughts, appreciate it!


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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_bit-of-rant-am-right-arguing-this-fiance?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:34Discussion:13b80e14-4638-4e67-a868-c4d4431c2b13Post:8cdff0b5-ea8f-44ca-896e-8dc41b71a356">Re: A bit of a rant, am I right in arguing this to my fiance?</a>:
    [QUOTE]megk8oz, I agree this is definitely a huge issue. Ultimately, I've never had a fight like this with him up until now, and we've lived together and shared finances for three years. I'm not sure so much about counseling between us, because I think his intentions were originally in the vein of "I don't want to drag her into this" and now unfortunately he has to. But I DO think that maybe all of this is stemming from a bigger issue like you said, and I think that issue is between his parents and me perhaps. I'm always one for wanting to respect his parents and when they do things that seriously bother or upset me I don't speak up. Maybe THAT is what has lead here. I know it wasn't your original goal with your post, but thanks for helping me realize it's time to speak up for myself so that these arguments aren't between my fiance and me, but rather better communication is taking place all around. 

    kathryn, to you and meg, I'll stress again this is the first time we've ever had an issue like this, and I think it's much more a problem between his parents and I that he is now in the middle of. Please do not pass a judgement on our whole relationship and whether you two approve of our engagement based on one argument. But, on the other side of that, thank you for caring enough to read and give your thoughts, appreciate it!
    Posted by cassandra13187[/QUOTE]

    I'm not trying to "judge" in a "Wow, you guys have a lousy relationship" kind of way. I understand that pretty much every couple has to hammer out some major issue or other before they're ready to get married (Trust me, I had some biggies, too). I'm also not saying you guys shouldn't get married ever (Although, from your other posts, you never really indicated that this is the "only" time you've fought over money, so I can really only give advice based on what I see, ya know?) ... I'm just saying that some major communicating needs to be done before you guys take such a huge step. Money and miscommunication are the 2 biggest causes of divorce, so it's really not a good idea to start off married life having miscommunications about money.

    There's nothing wrong with going to pre-marital counseling, in fact, it's usually very beneficial to both people involved because it gives you a neutral third party to bounce these issues off of and forces you to discuss things such as finances and family issues.

    You do need to handle debt as a couple if you're going to be married ... but if he got himself into debt with his parents after you two were in an serious relationship and really didn't consult you first, that's a big problem by itself. But the fact that his parents are "demanding" that <strong>you</strong> give them money to pay off this debt regardless of the original terms of their agreement with him, just does not sit right with me.  This is an issue that you really do need to address with him, and he needs to address with them. There is nothing wrong with "respecting" his parents, in fact, that's a very good thing to do. However, if they are being rude to you, it <strong>is</strong> your FI's job to step up and say "Hey, Mom and Dad, not cool" and work it out.

    If something bothers you a little bit now, and it doesn't get fixed before you get married, it's only going to get worse after the wedding. So these communication issues are best to be nipped in the bud ASAP. 

    I'm really not one to just say "ZOMG, GET COUNSELING!!!!" or "Dump the loser" to every bride that comes along saying they had a silly fight or something. I really do genuinely like the thought of people finding that special somebody and getting to be happy with them . But if I see an issue based on what was posted, an issue that could lead to much bigger problems (And much less "happy" in the future), I always feel the need to at least put it out there that there are things that could possibly stand a little maintenance before making such a huge decision.

    My apologies for being long-winded this time, but I really do wish you the best of luck and hope that everything does get sorted out here. I just really wanted you to see that there is a potentially huge (And potentially "marriage-wrecking") problem here and that it needs to be fixed in order for you to have a successful marriage. I honestly mean it when I say: best wishes.

    If you fire a WP member, you're against America.
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    [QUOTE]kathryn, to you and meg, I'll stress again this is the first time we've ever had an issue like this, and I think it's much more a problem between his parents and I that he is now in the middle of. Please do not pass a judgement on our whole relationship and whether you two approve of our engagement based on one argument. But, on the other side of that, thank you for caring enough to read and give your thoughts, appreciate it!
    Posted by cassandra13187[/QUOTE]
    I'm not sure where you stressed it to begin with, let alone again. And who ever said anything about approving or disapproving of your relationship? I simply gave the advice that I would give anyone whos FILs were demanding that their FDIL pay their son's debt: you might want to rethink this or slow down or something, because things it what you said look like they could be red flags. I'd say it to both my best friend and my worst enemy. You were right on that last point; even though we've never met and likely never will, I actually do care about your well-being.
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    I see where both of you are coming from.  Typically, I would say paying off debts is a top priority; however, I believe if someone gives you money for a specific purpose, you should use it for that purpose.  For instance, my grandma sent me money to buy a toaster.  I bought a toaster with the money.  I had a little left over so I bought lunch out.  In my thank you note, I was able to tell her I got a toaster and even treated myself. 

    I think a gift toward your wedding fund is different though.  I don't know how you budget, but if you say you'll put $200 into it each month, that $50 from whomever can go there.  Then you only need to put $150 of your paycheck into it.  That way it's made more money available to pay back the loan.

    I think you mentioned putting 1/3 toward each thing.  Maybe he'd like to put 40% toward the loan.  Work on a compromise.  Good luck with your future ILs.
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    Cassandra, keep your chin up.  You were hit pretty hard on this board.  it's easy to criticize people when they're just letters on a screen.  Don't pay attention to the snark, shrug off the sarcasm, talk about this more with your man, and work out a solution.

    No one on this board is perfect, nor has the all the answers. 

    Good luck!!

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    I've read only a few of the previous responses, but my opinion is to use money you receive to pay off your FI's debt- if you receive any money because no one is obligated to give cash at an engagement party. It's not worth fighting with family over money and debt should be paid off before the planning of a wedding.

    Your FI should have spoke with you first but, at the same time, you should be a bit more understanding. You are marrying this man and there are just some expenses that take priority over paying for the wedding. I hope you figure everything out. Good Luck.
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    The way you use the money is up to you and your FI.

    His parents have no right to demand a cut of the money you get as wedding or engagement gifts. However, they do have a right to be paid back by your FI for a loan they made to him. Sounds like you need to set some boundries with them right away, or things may just get worse.

    I also don't know why you would expect monetary gifts at an engagment party, I would think people might bring something small like a bottle of wine, if anything.
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    I'm just going to say that until you guys sign the license and the county you live in lists you two as "husband and wife" you two are NOT required to pay each other's debts or deal with them in anyway whatsoever.

    Say you contribute some money from your own job to their son's date. Things go terribly, terribly wrong and you guys split up. Now your money is with the parents of a man you're not even going to marry.

    Set the boundaries with the parents now. Until your finances are one and you share the same last name, his debts with his parents are his issue. When you are married, you need to be prepared to deal with those debts together, but not before.
     
    If you guys get any cash gifts at the engagement party understand they are gifts to both of you. As you are both yet separate entities, if he wants to give the money to his parents, I think that he gets half of it MAX to pay them with. You are entitled to half the money because, I will say it again, you are NOT married yet.
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    Let me just say I only think this because the things you say sound like what I might say in your shoes. If I'm projecting, my apologies, just forget it...But if I'm not....

    It just sounds like you resent the sacrificies you have made for your FI (things like "never consulted" and "DEMANDED"). Take it from a girl who all the time lets things build up WAY too long and gets resentful and then just explodes. I've also had to see the pain and general unhappiness of both my parents because my mom resents the sacrifices she has made for my dad.

    I'm not saying your relationship is an unhappy or broken one. But do you have any idea what I would give if I could go back and tell my parents to get some pre-marital counselling? Pre-marital counselling is no big deal (not in any way embarrassing), so many officiants and churches require it now, it's just an obvious aknowledgement that every marriage is going to have problems and the sooner you try to ID the potential points of conflict and work towards possible resolutions, the better.
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