Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 5:03 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (4)
  • Print

No two ways about it if your family treats fiancé as outcast

If the grounds for disapproval is not based on the fiancé’s character, it will be hard for you not to take sides.

Syndicated columnist

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
My points don't hinge on the certainty of the writer being female, but fwiw: ... MORE
Fiance, Schmiance!! The parents didn't like him before, as boyfriend, but daughter... MORE
M5po...you are assuming that this is a daughter. There was no mention of gender in the... MORE

advertising

Dear Carolyn

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I have been engaged for a few months, and my parents disapprove of my fiancé.

An extended-family member is very sick and will probably not live much longer. When I was talking to my parents, my mother explicitly told me that my fiancé was not welcome at the funeral, stating it should be “family only.” It is worth noting that the visitation and funeral will be published in the local paper and open to anybody.

My fiancé is incredibly hurt by this, but he respects my mother’s wishes. I will be attending the funeral, but I am unsure how to deal with tensions between my parents and my fiancé given this incredibly stressful and emotional event.

Of course I am deeply upset about this death in the first place, and I feel really overwhelmed with the vehemence of my parents’ dislike for my fiancé. I am not sure how to navigate this difficult situation.

— Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: What do your parents see as the grounds for their dislike? This is so important.

If it’s something that calls your fiancé’s character into question, then that’s something you need to face, without allowing yourself to be distracted by the details of his inclusion.

If it’s not a character issue, then it will be hard for you to avoid taking sides. You can’t outsource the decision to your fiancé, either. His choice not to go to the funeral is the right one if that’s what you asked him to do; if you decide you want his support, then he goes.

You are responsible not just for that decision, but also for standing up for your fiancé — and yourself by association — by saying to your mom: “We’re all grieving, and I want to do what I can to help the family, but Fiancé is my family now. Shutting him out means shutting me out, too.” Optional: “In this case it’s also ridiculous, because the funeral is open to the public with details published in the paper.”

Unless your parents have legitimate doubts about your fiancé based on his behavior, I don’t respect your mom’s wishes, and I don’t think you should, either.

If you’re going to make the decision to follow through with a marriage to someone your family treats as an outcast, then you have to insist on inclusion or, if they refuse, cast yourself out with him. There’s no playing this both ways.

DEAR CAROLYN: How do you judge when differences between two people make them incompatible, or are merely ones that any normal couple has to work out?

It is perhaps inevitable that the same differences that attract us to the other person are the same ones that cause friction. I understand that some work to accommodate and adjust to each other’s differences is necessary to sustain a relationship, but how do you know when it has become TOO much work?

— Work?

DEAR WORK?: When the person drains you, versus restores. It’s usually pretty clear when you start thinking about it like that.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax. Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com/living

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Seattle Sketcher Book

Seattle Sketcher Book

Take home the Seattle Sketcher's latest book! Available now.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►