Not Engaged Yet

Stuck in the Middle

Hi Everyone! I'm Taccara (tah-car-ah) and I live in Atlanta. This post is a mixture of venting and WTH and responses/advice/virtual slaps in the face are all welcome! 

I've been dating Brian for a while and we've pretty much "known" we were gonna end up married from the start. We're both divorced and have a good foundational understanding of what we want/need in a spouse--clearly our ex's weren't IT :)

so here's the deal (short and sweet I hope)...He's VERY close with his mother who is a bit old skool and traditional(in a religious sense as well as social sense) and am..NOT. I'm fun, outgoing, non-discriminating, and I LOVE people. She's reserved, quiet, religious and a bit judgmental. We're best friends and because he works closely with his mother, she has been a "friend" to him as well as his partner in business. SO her being threatened by a relationship with a strong woman combined with him not wanting to offend her with this relationship has put me in the middle of a seemingly impossible situation. We have tentatively set a date for July of 2011, picked out rings, and he has even gone as far as to suggest we have a destination wedding in Jamaica. Great! BUT the catch is that we have to wait to announce it to the public until he formally announces it to his mother FIRST...

It has been 5 weeks since all this came about and while I understand he can't be rushed into all of this--HE BROUGHT IT UP. And with a date in July, it's not THAT far away and we'd have to give our invitees time to plan for a weekend in Jamaica....Im not freaking out...just concerned. 

SOO....A) I don't want this to be the beginning of a relationship that is governed by his mother and I've made that perfectly clear. B) I REALLY don't want to start driving myself crazy over the lack of time I will have to plan a destination wedding--regardless of how small, I have 2 children and an aging mother to take into consideration with this planning. AND C) I am secretly worried that if his mother doesn't approve, it won't happen...

Ok...have at it ladies. Cheers! 

Re: Stuck in the Middle

  • Elle1036Elle1036 member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Are you that plus sized girl who was on America's Next Top Model?

    Or was that spelled Toccara?
  • edited December 2011
    My EXACT thoughts, Elle.

    OP, you need to speak to your BF (FI?) about this. Only he knows what he is thinking when it comes to his mother. And if you foresee his mother being a problem, you best nip that in the bud now. I've seen several marriages fall apart because of interfering in-laws.
  • Elle1036Elle1036 member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_stuck-middle?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:775f9192-c55f-414b-a93f-20e959b6006ePost:c65f9e61-c143-4746-b994-193b3f47b4da">Re: Stuck in the Middle</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>My EXACT thoughts, Elle</strong>. OP, you need to speak to your BF (FI?) about this. Only he knows what he is thinking when it comes to his mother. And if you foresee his mother being a problem, you best nip that in the bud now. I've seen several marriages fall apart because of interfering in-laws.
    Posted by GreenPepperBurger[/QUOTE]

    <3
  • edited December 2011
    No It's NOT me! It's funny though because since I work with people all the time, I get them to remember my name with the following tagline: Taccara. Like the model, only cuter :) hehe...it works. they never forget me! 

    We've talked about the mother thing and he down plays it a lot. However, my final opinion is hinging on this ENTIRE scenario. From the marriage itself to how she responds to us wanting to go away to get married...UGGHHH frustrating. The only reason I am even dealing with this is because I love him...so much. We are SERIOUSLY best friends...So i am swallowing a lot here. 
  • paintgirlpaintgirl member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011

    Family issues are never easy and yours is more difficult since they are basically business partners. Frankly, it sounds like a nightmare to me. You need to set boundaries for this broad (well your BF/FI needs to set some boundaries). You and your bf need to decide together what's acceptable. Allowing her to dictate the terms of your wedding (or prevent the wedding from happening) is probably unacceptable behavior.

    And if C) happens, run like hell, consider it a "near miss", and find a man mature enough to make his own decisions. Mommy can't run his life forever. Better to know you're #2 now than to marry him and spend the rest of your life playing second fiddle to mommy.

  • PaigeMcCPaigeMcC member
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Paint FTW.

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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_stuck-middle?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:775f9192-c55f-414b-a93f-20e959b6006ePost:e7de06b2-4663-4c5d-ab24-d9affb6191dd">Re: Stuck in the Middle</a>:
    [QUOTE]Family issues are never easy and yours is more difficult since they are basically business partners. Frankly, it sounds like a nightmare to me. <strong>You need to set boundaries for this <u>broad</u> </strong>(well your BF/FI needs to set some boundaries). You and your bf need to decide together what's acceptable. Allowing her to dictate the terms of your wedding (or prevent the wedding from happening) is probably unacceptable behavior. And if C) happens, run like hell, consider it a "near miss", and find a man mature enough to make his own decisions. Mommy can't run his life forever. Better to know you're #2 now than to marry him and spend the rest of your life playing second fiddle to mommy.
    Posted by paintgirl[/QUOTE]

    *SNORT*

    and AMEN!!
  • edited December 2011
    Amen to that! NOW how to "gently" tell him to "Man-UP!!" ...Any suggestions?
  • edited December 2011
    I think you have gotten pretty good advice so far.  Paint's advice on this was particularly good.

    I think that regardless of what happens at this point, your FI has demonstrated to you that his mother WILL be a dictating force in your relationship.  I'm sorry, but to get engaged and keep it to yourselves for FIVE WEEKS because he's afraid of what mommy will say?  Tell him to grow a pair, and fast.  If you were into sac-less numbers, you'd be a lesbian.

    Honestly, here's what I'd do.  I'd have a VERY serious, calm come-to-jesus talk with your FI.  Tell him that you love him and want to spend the rest of your life with him, but you will not settle.  Let him know that the fact that he has dragged his feet for 5 WEEKS about telling his mother makes him look like he is ashamed, guilty, or unexcited about what should be a very exciting time for him.  Let him know that unless he is willing to tell his mother within 24 hours of the conversation, the engagement is off and as hard as it will be for you, you'll see his refusal to spread the good news as his not being serious about it.  And if he will so willingly toy with your emotions, he's not the type of man you thought he was.  

    Then end the conversation. 

    At the end of the day, he can be sweet as pie and the sex can be phenomenal.  But if he cannot cut the umbilical cord DO NOT MARRY HIM.  There just isn't room for three in a marriage.
  • edited December 2011
    Ditto Shoes. 

    I say this every time someone posts about a MIL issue (even to myself when I am having problems) things will not magically change after you get married. The Nest is FULL of women on the family matters board and a few others who thought things would be different. Guess what? They aren't. 

    I would make your SO prove that he can and will put you first before you get married. Honestly, if he works with his mom he probably wont ever. Not only is she his mom she is entangled in his career. If he ruffles her feathers socially it will make work for him difficult. 

    Make sure you see his behavior change and him put you first, don't just believe that it will. 

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  • edited December 2011
    @ Shoes and SeaTea...Thank you! I have been giving myself this advice for a minute but it helps immensely to have other women who will give you that virtual push in the OBVIOUS direction. So thanks again...

    With him...timing is everything. So i have to pick the correct time to bring it up but it has to happen soon. I've offered to bow out of this relationship before--not because he was a bad guy or because i didn't love him, but because it didn't seem like he was REALLY ready for the life he's been planning with me. A few weeks later is when he came to me with the tentative date and idea of a destination wedding....And then picked me up from work a few days later to surprise me with a trip to Zales for ring shopping. So yes FIVE weeks later I'm starting to feel a little silly about the entire thing and feel like calling it off on pure frustration! Love him but have I told him that I WILL NOT put up with coming second and would absolutely NOT fight over him with his mother. 

    So we shall see. I will update you once it all goes down. MIL's SUCK! 
  • paintgirlpaintgirl member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Maybe this is dead now but I'm confused by your last post. Has he actually asked you to marry him? My bf and I have talked about dates, have thrown around venues or destinations, and have been ring shopping. We are NOT engaged. Are you engaged, or has he just started talking about it?

    In any case, if he proposed within a few weeks of you basically threatening to leave (not quite what you did but he could see it that way), I'd be worried about the sincerity of the proposal. Did he do it to keep you, or because he wants to spend the rest of his life with you?

    shoes is right on - you need to have a talk with him. Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_stuck-middle?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:775f9192-c55f-414b-a93f-20e959b6006ePost:675d803e-034e-40a8-bee4-688e09ffc23b">Re: Stuck in the Middle</a>:
    [QUOTE]Maybe this is dead now but I'm confused by your last post. Has he actually asked you to marry him? My bf and I have talked about dates, have thrown around venues or destinations, and have been ring shopping. We are NOT engaged. Are you engaged, or has he just started talking about it? In any case, if he proposed within a few weeks of you basically threatening to leave (not quite what you did but he could see it that way), I'd be worried about the sincerity of the proposal. Did he do it to keep you, or because he wants to spend the rest of his life with you? shoes is right on - you need to have a talk with him. Good luck!
    Posted by paintgirl[/QUOTE]

    <div>Everything paint just said.  Did he actually propose?  Are you actually engaged?  Wedding talk and a trip to Zales do not an engagement make.  If he just started talking dates and such to shut you up, this is a serious problem.</div><div>
    </div><div>Methinks that come-to-jesus talk should happen sooner rather than later.</div>
  • edited December 2011
    no proposal. no ring. NOT engaged. It is the reason i came to this board rather than Destination Weddings board. I'm not confused about the engagement piece. It's clear that no question has been asked that even resembles a proposal. And he has told me that he wants to have SOME element of surprise with regards to the "romantic" proposal and all so that's one thing. 

    My dilemma lies within the fact that after almost a year of "talking" about getting married and now throwing out a date but not letting me share it because he wants to formally speak to his mother about it FIRST--Its beyond irritating. And in all honesty...I am starting to wonder if it was all to shut me up for a bit...which, if he knows me at all...It's only gonna make we worse because I AM a planner and like to iron out details EARLY. I mean we're looking at schools for the kids, improvements on the house to accommodate my mother and everything but there is a "stall" that I am sensing and am sure it's because of the mom...

    I know him-WELL so I don't think his intent is to mislead me. I do, however, feel like he's trying to figure out how to deal with the mother thing should things go not so pretty. So i think THE TALK should be centered around the fact that I need him to be the MAN in ALL areas of his life and make a decision to either marry or NOT marry me on OUR terms or I'm gone. Even if we didn't break up and just pushed "pause" on marriage, I'd still have reservations of my place with him without some strong signs. For me, it ALL hinges on how he handles her in all of this. And by it I mean my willingness to stay..

    Ok ladies...tearing up. going to take a nap and hopefully awaken with some clarity...feel free to keep slapping me straight!  
  • edited December 2011
    Yeah, if you aren't engaged, then definitely have the talk before your impending engagement. If you think that's the way you're headed, then it's best to get that out before he puts a ring on it. So then you are both on the same wave lengths and you won't be waiting over a month to tell his dear sweet Mommy.
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  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    You two both sound like you're all caught up in your future, instead of focusing where you are. If you aren't engaged, then why on earth are you planning a wedding? Don't put the cart before the horse.

    You especially shouldn't be planning a wedding when you have this giant issue staring you in the face that you're acknowledging. His relationship with his mother is something that does need to be talked about and compromised on.

    I also want to offer another perspective, for you to take into consideration. No one wants to marry the mama's boy who puts his mother first in everything. But your posts also give me the sense that you've completely written her off- you say she's "religious" and "traditional" and that she isn't used to her son having a "strong woman" like you in his life. Those characteristics are not mutually exclusive, and to be blunt you just don't sound very respectful of her and your differences. Yes, his relationship with his mother does need to be worked out and it sounds like he does need to assert more independence. But if you marry him, she becomes your MIL. This is a big adjustment for her too, and if he isn't willing to break off those ties with her yet it isn't all her fault.

    Sit down and talk to him about this first and find a compromise. Wait a bit and see how it goes. Then talk engagement and wedding and other future plans.

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_stuck-middle?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:775f9192-c55f-414b-a93f-20e959b6006ePost:414a3fac-2bc5-4c56-8e49-8f1461301c23">Re: Stuck in the Middle</a>:
    [QUOTE]no proposal. no ring. NOT engaged. It is the reason i came to this board rather than Destination Weddings board. I'm not confused about the engagement piece. It's clear that no question has been asked that even resembles a proposal. And he has told me that he wants to have SOME element of surprise with regards to the "romantic" proposal and all so that's one thing. 

    My dilemma lies within the fact that after almost a year of "talking" about getting married and now throwing out a date but not letting me share it because he wants to formally speak to his mother about it FIRST--Its beyond irritating. And in all honesty...I am starting to wonder if it was all to shut me up for a bit...which, if he knows me at all...It's only gonna make we worse because I AM a planner and like to iron out details EARLY. I mean we're looking at schools for the kids, improvements on the house to accommodate my mother and everything but there is a "stall" that I am sensing and am sure it's because of the mom...

    I know him-WELL so I don't think his intent is to mislead me. I do, however, feel like he's trying to figure out how to deal with the mother thing should things go not so pretty. So i think THE TALK should be centered around the fact that I need him to be the MAN in ALL areas of his life and make a decision to either marry or NOT marry me on OUR terms <strong>or I'm gone.</strong> Even if we didn't break up and just pushed "pause" on marriage, I'd still have reservations of my place with him without some strong signs. For me, it ALL hinges on how he handles her in all of this. And by it I mean my willingness to stay..

    Ok ladies...tearing up. going to take a nap and hopefully awaken with some clarity...feel free to keep slapping me straight!  
    Posted by TaccaraLanay218[/QUOTE]

    First and foremost, I would NOT make it an ultimatum.  Nothing good comes out of ultimatums.  Ever.

    You have a boyfriend problem, not a mom problem.  If you cannot communicate with him about all of this, then you also have a relationship problem. (Then again, it seems like you already know that.)

    Normally I would say that you need to just focus on the now and enjoy your relationship.  However, you have kids to consider.  If your bf is not serious about getting married, then you shouldn't be wasting your family's time.  You need to be able to be upfront and honest about all of your feelings and concerns.  You need to sit down and talk to him about your future. 

    It sounds like you have talked a lot about the logistics (school, house, etc.) but have you talked a lot about what you want your marriage to look/feel like.  What do you want out of marriage?  What does he want?  What do each of you need?  Where/how do your kids factor in? 

    If he really wanted to get married THIS June, I feel like he would have proposed already.  It does seem like he is leading you on by talking dates but then stalling on telling his mom. 

    Personally, I would not be able to have a relationship with a guy who still needed his mother's approval.  No way.  No how.  
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  • edited December 2011
    No ultimatums are necessary. I am woman enough to make a declaration of what I need and opt to leave or stay if I am not getting it here. Our communication is fine but I have chosen to give it a bit more time because we do have a great relationship and I don't mind "growing pains" if it means spending the rest of my life with my best friend. However, needing approval from his mother is too much for me and the more i read the responses of you ladies, the harder this all becomes. Bottom line is I have to be comfortable with every aspect of the relationship and i have to make a judgement call that is best for me and my girls. I won't force him into anything but I wont sit back and be made a fool of either. 

    Thanks for the pep talks ladies...
  • paintgirlpaintgirl member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    You sound like you're on the right track. Good luck with the talk! Let us know how it goes.
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