Dear Annie: I recently became engaged to my boyfriend of four years. Immediately after he proposed, I phoned my parents, who always gave the impression that they liked my boyfriend and enjoyed spending time with him. I thought they’d be happy for us. I was very wrong.
My mom was really angry and said that I am “way too young” to be getting married. Annie, I’m in graduate school. My dad said that my boyfriend “isn’t good enough” and that I should “seriously reconsider this guy.” (This guy! Like he doesn’t have a name.)
I am still in school, so perhaps this is their way of expressing their worry that if I get married I won’t finish my graduate program, but regardless, I’m really hurt by their reaction. I’ve tried reassuring them, but they keep brushing me aside, insisting I’m marrying too young and to the wrong man.
I cannot figure out their problem. We are in our late 20s, which doesn’t strike me as “too young.” And if they truly believe my fiance isn’t the right person, why didn’t they say so in the intervening four years? Why won’t they give me any concrete reasons for their objections? Sometimes I think what they’re really objecting to is the presence of another person in our small, close-knit family. But it seems selfish of them to place the current family dynamic over my future marriage and happiness. Kids grow up. They get married.
I never in my wildest nightmares thought my engagement would be such a source of anger. What do you think about this?
-- Sad Bride-To-Be
Dear Sad: It does seem as though your parents suddenly realized that you are leaving the nest and they are panic stricken. Since they refuse to discuss their reasons with you, please ask a trusted friend or family member to intercede on your behalf and try to ascertain whether their objections have any justification. But ultimately, the decision about marriage belongs to you. We hope your parents will welcome your groom into the family instead of pushing you both away.
Dear Annie: I am 84 and have five children, 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. I am twice widowed, and one of my boyfriends also died.
I now have a new boyfriend. He is upset with two of my daughters-in-law and a son-in-law because when they see me they say, “Hello, Mother-in-Law!” He says they are being disrespectful for not using my name. He says they should call me “Grandma” or “Mom” or my given name.
This has caused a problem between us. What do you think?
Dear J.G.: Your boyfriend has no business issuing orders about how your children or their spouses address you. If it doesn’t bother you, it shouldn’t bother him. He sounds bossy and controlling. Tell him to back off.
Dear Annie: “Phone Me,” the 28-year-old who did not find out about her high school reunion because she isn’t on social media, needs to be proactive. Don’t blame others because you didn’t seek out the information. If you know it is the 10th year of your graduation, contact the school or ex-classmates and find out whether anything is planned.
I have been on every reunion committee since I graduated in 1979. We do the best we can to contact people. However, it gets expensive sending out invitations by regular mail. Word of mouth and seeking out the information is key. So perhaps in anticipation of the next reunion, “Phone Me” could make the effort to find out instead of being “left out.”
-- Mary in Ventura, Calif.
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