Wedding Woes

Part of adulting is owning your decisions.

Dear Prudence,
My boyfriend of four years and I are planning to move across the country later this year, he to start graduate school and I to start a new job. We’ve never lived together, and to save money we’ve been living with our respective families. We’ve been planning this move for a long time, we’re committed to each other, and frankly we’re just ready to live together. The problem is my very conservative parents, whom I love. They don’t approve of couples living together before they are married, and have gone so far as to say that their children would never do such a thing. My boyfriend and I certainly plan on getting married eventually, but we’re going to live together first. What sort of explanation do I owe my parents here? I’ll be a financially independent adult, and I know I’m free to make my own decisions, but I don’t want to create unnecessary conflict with my family or burn any bridges. I tend to retreat from conflict entirely with my family because it’s always been easier, and part of me wishes I could just not tell them anything at all, but I know I can’t avoid this forever. How can I ease my family into this?

—Conservative Family

Re: Part of adulting is owning your decisions.

  • H was nervous to tell his Conservative-Catholic grandmother about him and I getting an apartment together, but after speaking with her she was understanding that not everyone believes same thing. Also that she trusted he was making a good decision in the long run.

    Does LW's family know the bf, or is this a person they aren't familiar with? Might make a difference.
    Another idea is if family makes a kerfuffle, LW and bf can sit them down and show the numbers they're able to do it and that they've made the adult decision as well.
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    It's probably because my parents are basically just biological and did very little "rearing" so to speak, so I don't have the heavy investment in that relationship like other people do, but these things make no sense to me.

    LW is doing this whether or not her parents agree or approve.  Clearly, she doesn't actually care about their opinion and just wants approval.  Which is totally fine, but don't mix up the two.
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  • I'd say, somewhere early on in the conversation, that "I know this goes against your beliefs and you will be disappointed but (reasons it makes sense, your beliefs are different, etc.)"

    That is general good advice for any disagreement.  Acknowledge the other person's objection before they say it.  It takes away some of the "power" of that objection. 

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  • "I'm moving out into an apartment/house and I'll have a roommate - who you know"...  Adulting is so hard..  Really, the only thing she needs to think about is two bedrooms and they'll overlook A LOT!  
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  • *Barbie* said:
    MesmrEwe said:
    "I'm moving out into an apartment/house and I'll have a roommate - who you know"...  Adulting is so hard..  Really, the only thing she needs to think about is two bedrooms and they'll overlook A LOT!  
    So you're suggesting that they lie by omission and misrepresent the situation? Yeah, that sounds like a respectable, trustworthy, adult choice that will never have any negative repercussions when the family realizes what's going on/that they've been lied to. 

    I would hope that when my daughter is an adult, that she is able to be honest with me about her choices, even when she knows that it's not the choice that I would make for myself. (I'm also not suggesting that she feel the need to justify her choices to me - just that she takes ownership of the choices she makes.)
    Nope LW just said they were wanting to move in together, didn't mean they were moving into the same bedroom.  One would presume things would lead there, but isn't the case in ALL relationships.  Depends on where the couple is on the spectrum.   Instead of tiptoeing around the issue, they simply need to get that elephant in the room addressed.
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