Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
FAMILY: Mother and Sister Don't Approve of My Fiance
I am engaged to my fiance of 3 years and my family does not approve. He has a situation with his mother having been financially dependent on him that has caused stress in our relationship, but we have been and continue to work on this. He has done everything he should be in terms of setting boundaries with her and he even goes to counseling for help. I, too, am in counseling, and we both have started seeing a counselor together to receive some help to make sure we are doing the right thing.
The biggest issue for me right now is my family. My mother and sister do not approve of my fiance because our relationship has been complicated and they don't like his personality. They even went so far as to tell me I should postpone or break up with him. Now I am a grown woman and know very well that I have a right to my own decisions and to marry who I want. Despite this, I am having an incredibly difficult time separating my happiness from also getting their approval. I am terrified of defending myself to them and saying that I am making this decision despite what they say or think. I expect them to be angry with me and for this to affect our relationship. I feel like I am doing something wrong and feel guilty for wanting to marry him. I really need help in figuring out how to handle my mother and sister because I feel like I am in the wrong with this situation.
Nicole, I am happy to answer your letter. I feel badly for you. You really are "caught between a rock and a hard place."
One method I have found effective in making tough decisions is to make a list of pros and cons. What are the pros of marrying him and possibly alienating your family and what are the cons? If you feel good about the pros and can overlook the cons then you might consider sitting down and talking with your mother and sister. Explain to them that you care about them but you also care about him. You want their approval, but you want to marry the man that you love. They may not accept your decision, but as you said, you are a grown woman and you have a right to your own decisions and to marry who you want.
Remember that there are times when we don't get the approval we are seeking but it doesn't mean that what we are doing is wrong. If in your heart of hearts you feel this is the man that you want to marry, I think you should do it. If you don't get family approval, put that behind you and tell yourself you are doing what's right for you. That is what is most important. If this remains an issue for you, you can always seek the services of a therapist to help you work through your feelings of not getting family approval. Your primary care doctor should be able to recommend someone to you. But I have a feeling you can do this on your own. You just need to look out for yourself.
Lastly, if the cons of marrying him are too overpowering, I would remember there will always be someone else to come along in the future. I know at the time it could feel devastating, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope that this has been helpful to you, Nicole, and I wish you a great deal of luck as you move forward. I truly believe you will find the right answer. Think positive. I am a great believer in that.
I would love to hear how things work out.
Feel free to contact Elder Wisdom Circle in the future. If this was helpful, we hope you will recommend us to others.