Not Engaged Yet

So Confused

1st: This is an AE.  I'm sorry to inflict yet another AE post on you guys -- really, I don't care if anyone here knows who I am -- but I can't risk having my mom or some other family member come across this post.

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Anyway, I had a heart-to-heart with BF tonight in which he brought up my relationship with my parents.  He's always known that I have a strained relationship with them (my mother in particular), but tonight he seemed to have forgotten that altogether.  He mentioned that he expected me to talk to her about our plans prior to getting engaged, and seemed shocked when I told him that I intend to do nothing of the sort.  He even implied that part of the reason he hasn't proposed yet is that he's been waiting for me to talk to my parents.  He's very close to his parents, and talked to them months ago about our intentions, but I didn't know he expected the same from me.

I'm leaving out a lot of things that were discussed in order to keep this short, but I'm heartbroken over it right now.  My mother has influenced literally just about every major decision that I've made in my life, and now it seems that this has carried over into my relationship with BF as well.  (To clarify: I am not 17 and still living on her support -- it's just an issue I've been struggling with for a long time).

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I'm not really sure why I'm posting this.  I guess I've just grown to like and trust you girls and feel like I need to vent a little.

I don't know how to proceed from here.  It may seem like a minor thing based on the few sentences that I've written, but my relationship with my parents is something I always thought that BF understood, and it alarms me that he's misunderstood it so drastically.

Anyway, I'm sure this isn't making any sense.  It's late and I'm physically and mentally exhausted.  I couldn't explain the issue fully without taking several pages worth of text.  If you've read this much, thank you.

Re: So Confused

  • deburnindeburnin member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Did you tell your BF this? I'm sure him not being aware of things kind of through you for a loop, but I would hope that after you explained things to him that he would be understanding. I find it rather strange that he would expect you to go to them about taking the next step in your relationship. That's something that just the two of you should decide, parents don't need to be involved in that, IMHO. If he wants to get there permission/blessing and you're okay with it, that's one thing, but expecting you to let them know your plans... That would not fly with me.

    I definitely think you need to have another conversation with your BF about things once you've had time to calm down and collect your thoughts. And perhaps a little bit more info for us on how the conversation ended. Does your BF still expect you to talk to your parents? Or are you still upset because he wanted you to in the first place?
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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011

    Did you tell him that you thought he understood and were hurt that he wasn't understanding now?  Has he always been understanding before?  And since when is it the girls job to talk to her parents about HIS proposal?  If he wants the parents to know than IMHO he should be the one talking to them about it (of course I am old fashion and I fully acknowledge that times might be different now).

    Hang in there girly. :(
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  • desertsundesertsun member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I'm sorry you're hurting!

    Do you need advice? I'm happy to oblige, but feel like I need more info to really understand why exactly the situation is so heartbreaking. Is it more about your mom or more about your BF?

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  • edited December 2011
     I'm sorry you're hurt. I feel like the BF thing is something you need to work out. If your serious about not talking to your parents about it, then I would ask him why its so important to him. surely you guys can compromise?
     On the mother situation, I have a similar one. I have a very rocky relationship with my mom, and she tends to just take off and lose contact for months to a year at a time. So last week when SO told his parents his timeline for our engagement, I let my mom know it was coming up. (as in "on the horizon")
    Whether it be now or later, you'll have to figure out how to work this relationship with your mom, if she's like mine she'll want to be involved in the wedding, even if she hasn't been involved in my life.
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  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I can understand why you are hurt. Sorry.

    My FI & I have very different family dynamics, so I completely understand. You need to sit your BF down & explain how you feel about your parents. How they make you feel. Why you are uncomfortable & hurt he doesn't remember or understand that you have a very different relationship with your family.

    Explain to him why he appears to be insensitive right now. That him even asking you to talk to your parents means he doesn't get it. That him not understanding where you are coming from is really important and signifies  that there are big issues you two need to work on.

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  • PaigeMcCPaigeMcC member
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'm sorry you're hurting, darlin'.  I ditto PP's advice.  You need to sit down with BF and let him know how you feel and why.  *hugs* GL

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  • katanne9katanne9 member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    * hugs

    I'm sorry, this is a difficult situation. A pending engagement is something VERY excited (!) and something that anyone who is close to their parents would probably want to share. Since he is so close to his parents, he probably has a hard time imagining not wanting to share this with them - but it certainly doesn't mean you don't have to.

    I would sit down with him and tell him how you feel. Let him know you don't plan on telling them until you guys are engaged, and that is your decision.


  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_confused?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:a856473d-13bf-4071-9473-2fa8433c951cPost:eb853126-3405-4401-afe6-cc1b52320c40">Re: So Confused</a>:
    [QUOTE]I can understand why you are hurt. Sorry. My FI & I have very different family dynamics, so I completely understand. You need to sit your BF down & explain how you feel about your parents. How they make you feel. Why you are uncomfortable & hurt he doesn't remember or understand that you have a very different relationship with your family. Explain to him why he appears to be insensitive right now. That him even asking you to talk to your parents means he doesn't get it. That him not understanding where you are coming from is really important and signifies  that there are big issues you two need to work on.
    Posted by redheadfsu[/QUOTE]

    I really like Red's advice.

    OP, I'm probably in a similar situation. I'm estranged from both my parents, while BF is close to his grandparents and his parents (particularly his mother and grandma). He's the first to admit that he'll never understand my family dynamic, but he can respect that it's difficult for me and it isn't a simple thing to fix. I don't know how distant or close you are to your mother, or what the exact situation is, but I think it is important for you two to talk and for you to be honest with him about what that relationship is like. It may take some time, but hopefully he can understand and accept that this is your relationship with her, and it won't be the same as his relationship with his parents.

  • loopy82loopy82 member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I'm sorry to hear how your BF is acting. Even though I have a decent to good relationship with my parents had DH told me I needed to discuss marriage plans with them prior to getting engaged I would have been annoyed. It is the two of you getting married, not your parents. You are an adult and I think it should be your decision whether or not you include your parents in your marriage plans.

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  • edited December 2011
    I'm sorry, that would be really difficult to go through.

    FI and I had a similar issue with his family. They really didn't want us to get engaged, and weren't being supportive, yet my family was being completely supportive. It really put a strain on our relationship because it almost felt like I was being held back or something just because of the parents. It was especially frustrating because I didn't think engagement was the parents decision, it was mine. However, I realized  that the parents probably did have good advice, yet I chose not to listen to them, which hurt my relationship with his parents, which after 2 years of being engaged, I'm still trying to bring back.

    Anyways, as pps have said, you really need to sit down with BF and have a discussion. Bring up why you're hurt by the situation, and be very specific. It sounds like he neeeds to understand where you're coming from.
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  • marleylikeairmarleylikeair member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Amellie, I'm so sorry to hear it. I'm in a bit of a similar situation, except I'm not as close to an engagement yet. I feel for you, because while my relationship with my mother is a messy and dysfunctional one, my BF's parents are very cool, sane, and treat him like an adult. He gets along with them really well. So he has a lot of difficulty understanding where I'm coming from.

    PPs have given great advice, and I absolutely agree that you should sit down with him and talk. Maybe give it a day or two, so that this talk can stand on its own and not be a continuation of the previous one. Less tension that way. Apart from that, I'd like to add some things...

    You say your mother has influenced every major decision in your life. I know exactly what that's like. It's not necessarily good. One of the things I'm wondering is whether your BF thinks she may influence your decision to marry him as well. Is that possible? Does he maybe want you to get your parents on board before proposing so that the way is clear, he won't have to worry, and he knows you'll say yes with no reservations? If that's the case, it might help to let him know that you'll still want to marry him regardless of your parents' feelings on the engagement.

    Another thing I'm worried about for you is that if your mother has influenced so much, do you truly feel emotionally independent? Do you have, and can you hear, your own wants and needs, your inner voice? Because if not, you MUST find a way to get there, for your own sake and the sake of your relationship. You are worth it. You deserve to have the life YOU want, not the one your mom wants for you.

    Please forgive me if I'm projecting. This is something I've been struggling with as well, and your post really struck a chord with me.

    I could be way off with some of this, but in any case, I would recommend some counseling for you. Not because I think there's anything wrong with you, but because mother-daughter relationships are HARD sometimes, and it might help to have someone listen, be there just for you, and help you figure out how to deal with your parents. If money is an issue, do some research and try to find a place near you that offers low-cost options, like sessions on a sliding scale based on income. (I got a referral for a place like that from Planned Parenthood.)

    Good luck, my dear. I know you can do this!
  • Amelie282Amelie282 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    You girls are wonderful.  I teared up a little reading your posts.  Thanks so much everone.

    To answer those of you who had questions about why this is such a big deal to me (I know I did a poor job explaining in my OP.  It was late and I was upset):

    It's not that BF and I experienced a communication gap (those aren't uncommon in our relationship).  He's already apologized for misunderstanding and seems to really mean it.  I'm upset because I don't understand how he could have misinterpreted my relationship with my mom so drastically.  We've been together for years, he's seen my mom and me interact, and he's heard me talk - a LOT - about the issues I have with her.  I've never tried to hide them or anything.

    And I always thought he got it and he understood, but last night really made me rethink that.  And if I was wrong about that, who knows what else I'm wrong about?

    I hope that clarifies some.  Thanks again everyone.

  • leia1979leia1979 member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Sometimes when we think we understand something, there's still a disconnect. He may still be fully aware of the situation but thought for some reason that this one topic was the exception. And sometimes when one person's relationship with family is one way it is so hard to understand that another person's relationship is different. You may logically understand but emotionally not, if that makes sense.

    Talk to him and explain why his misunderstanding the situation hurt you. It may be he made one connection but not the other.
  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I wouldn't worry too much over what else he might have misunderstood. I don't think two people can always understand each other perfectly in every area, and this could be an area that's harder for him to grasp if he has such a good relationship with his mother.

    I tell my BFF everything. She's known me for 20 years now and we talk about everything under the sun. She's seen my relationship with my mom change over the years, and even then she sometimes misunderstands how I feel about it. It doesn't mean she doesn't understand me, just that I think it's very difficult for people outside of any one relationship to understand your relationship with someone else because it's so personal.

  • edited December 2011
    I'm sorry you're hurting!  Family dynamics are really tough for others to understand sometimes, especially if their own family dynamic is drastically different than your own.  FI's family and mine are very, very different.  FI's family is extremely mellow, non-pretentious, non-judgemental, kind, and lets people make their own mistakes.  My family, conversely is very high-strung, judgmental, snobby, rude, and is sure to rub anything that's not up to their "perfect standards" in your face.  (Kind of explains a lot about me, huh?)

    To boot, my parents had a horrific divorce and can't be around each other.  FI's parents were very happily married when his father passed away.  He can't really understand my family dynamic, but he respects it.  In the end, I think that's all you can ask for.
  • nannewmurnannewmur member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I am so sorry you are hurting over this.  I understand what you are saying and it is hard for some people who have a more "normal" family dynamics to understand this.  My bio mother and father divorced when I was 5 and I lived with my dad and his mother watched  me and my sister (who is 5 yrs older) until she died two years later.  My dad met a nice lady who he married who I always considered my "Mom."  My bio mother never attempted to visit and when I became an adult would try to contact me through letters to guilt trip me that I need to take care of her and send her money.  I would send these letter back marked "refused."

    As an adult, my mom has hurt me many times by treating my step sister, who is three years older, differenlty.  She chooe to get married right out of high school and had two kids before her fifth wedding anniversary.  I got married at age 22, and didn't have a baby until 27.  Sandy has always borrowed and been given money.  My husband lost his job last year  and was unemployed for five months and took over a 20G drop in income.  Yet, my parents gave Sandy over $50G because her husband embezzeled a ton of money and was caught.  It is like no matter what I do, it is never as good and I just choose to distance myself rather than be hurt constantly.  My husband used to have a very hard time understanding this but in recent years he can see more clearly the problems I have noticed for years.

    Please sit down and have a heart to heart with your BF.  I think people who are in family situation like your BF have a harder time understanding so it just takes a lot of communication.  Good luck!

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