Hey everyone, I'm Sara and I'm 22. I've been with Ryan for 4 years, and we love each other so much. We've been though the best and worst of times, but we've gotten through everything together. I'm thrilled to report that we've been talking a lot about marriage lately. We're getting engaged soon (he wants exactly when to be a surprise), and we're planning on getting married in either the summer or fall of 2008.
Here's the problem: Ryan's father has recently made it clear that he thinks Ryan started dating me too young and needs to "experience young adulthood" before making me anymore promises. Furthermore, he does not approve of me as a wife for his son because he doesn't believe Ryan is happy with me. He thinks that because I grew up in a wealthy family that I'm a diva-type, which is SO far from the truth. I'm more-or-less a shy, happy but sensitive, Southern girl whose parents have always been told, "Your daughter is SO polite!"
Needless to say, I'm completely hurt by what's happening, and Ryan, THANK GOD, is not taking his father's advice. The problem is, Ryan is now refusing to speak to his father until he apologizes for some unbelievably rude things he said about me, and Ryan's father is refusing to apologize. He thinks that he knows what's best for his son, although he's an on-the wagon/off-the-wagon alcoholic and has been in and out of both rehab and Ryan's life for the whole time I've known him, and is currently going into his third marriage.
I don't know what to do. Ryan's father of course thinks I'm the reason they're not speaking, when I'm actually trying to talk Ryan into calling him. I realize that I'm never going to be close to this man, but he's going to be a part of my family, and all I really want is to get engaged and plan this wedding without anyone wishing us ill... I don't know what to do. Any ideas?
Message was edited by estisl30 on Jul 31, 2006 12:35 AM
I don't know the exact details of your situation, but I think that there's a lot to be said for being the first one to extend a gesture of friendship. It may be that FFIL is just feeling protective of his son and doesn't know you well enough to understand what a great relationship you and his son have. If I were you, I might call or write to FFIL and say something like "I know we haven't had a really close relationship in the past, but I want to make it stronger for the sake of FH. I'm concerned that you and FH aren't speaking, because he really values your opinion and I know that this is upsetting him. We'd both like your blessing as we start to build our lives together." Personally, my FH and parents had a relationship that was less-than-close, until FH sat down with both and officially asked for my hand in marriage. It took major guts for him to do it, and it won him beaucoup brownie points! Although the gender roles are reversed, I bet that if you made an equivalent sort of overture, the effect might be the same. Good luck!
Why did Ryan feel it necessary to repeat what his father said? Why do you feel that you need to be the go between with father and son? I'm sure Ryan's father knows that HE is responsible for his relationship with his son, even if he does not take that responsibility. This is between them. It is sweet of you to care, but you cannot fix this for them. They must do the work themselves.
Agreed with Pamela. It is wonderful of you to want his blessing and natural to want his approval, but this is between your boyfriend and his dad. If you try to intervene it's only likely to make matters worse. You should also realize that Ryan is doing the right thing by standing up for you; would you like your FFIL to continue saying these sort of things years down the road, to your KIDS perhaps when you're not there?
Certainly you can encourage Ryan to keep a level head and say that ultimately, you just want his dad's blessing and acceptance, if not a close relationship. But leave it at that. If his dad has had alcohol problems, he is likely well versed in playing the blame game where it's everyone's fault but his. Continue being polite and yourself, but otherwise don't participate. Period.
Sara, PamelaP and Julie give EXCELLENT advice, and I do hope you take it. You have a long time before you marry, certainly time enough for Ryan and his father to work things out--or not. You can't ever convince anyone else to like you, much less love you. But you can choose to remain polite, gracious, and open to opportunities for his father to get to know you better. But, it's still between Ryan and his father as to what their relationship will be. One thing to remember is that whatever their relationship is will remain in your life for a long, long time. His father will be your children's grandfather. so, however their relationship works out, anywhere from total resolution to a total cutting of ties, I hope that it does no remain a festering sore for years and years. If Ryan continues to be enmeshed in whatever his father's game is, that will be a painful experience for years and years.