Two weeks ago we announced our engagement to our parents. I wrote a letter to his side of the family, thanking them for raising him, for welcoming me, etc., while he wrote a letter to mine. As anticipated, his side of the family is super excited. Mine, on the other hand, didn’t speak to me for a week. Neither of my parents congratulated us, but they merely said they wouldn’t stop us. When I started telling my mom what we were planning in terms of the wedding, she slashed my proposed guest list in half and forbade me from sharing the news with the rest of my family, to prevent “rumors” from circulating over the next 18 months (we plan to marry in August 2015).
Honestly, I was expecting this (if not a worse reaction!). But gosh, I thought that meant it wouldn’t hurt! My fiancé and I are sticking to our guns and continuing with our plans regardless. (We’ve been saving up to pay for the whole thing ourselves anyway). The close friends I’ve told are happy and supportive, so I’m trying to count my blessings. But as we’ve been planning, I keep getting these nagging feelings that I don’t deserve the big family wedding we’ve been hoping for and should instead just quietly elope and not make a big deal of it. Like, I almost feel that I should be ashamed of myself. How do I snap out of this foolishness and let it all go? — Disappointed in Lack of Enthusiasm
I’m not sure that what you’re feeling is foolish, to be honest. You’re getting married and your parents didn’t even congratulate you?! They even went so far as to forbid you from sharing your engagement news with the rest of your extended family? It’s not foolish to be hurt by that and to even start wondering if it’s not them but it’s you. I highly doubt that’s the case though, and I suspect your family’s lack of enthusiasm may have something to do with expectations they have for your life and marriage that they feel aren’t being met. But guess what? It’s YOUR life and YOUR marriage. You’re an adult, and they don’t get to call the shots on either. And neither should they call the shots on your wedding or whom you inform about your engagement, especially considering they won’t be paying for it.
This should be a happy, exciting time for you, and you should focus on the people who are supporting you and showing enthusiasm for your big news. No, you may not get the big, family wedding of your dreams, but perhaps it’s time to adjust your fantasy. I mean, there’s a lot of middle ground between a big, family wedding and an elopement. It’s not like those are your only two options. Have a great wedding celebration. Include the people who are supportive and happy for you. Maybe your family will come around and show you enough support to be part of the big day — they still have 18 months, after all — and maybe they won’t. If they don’t, it’s their loss and there’s no reason you should let them ruin this happy occasion for you. The only people who should feel ashamed in this scenario are your parents for whatever close-mindedness is keeping them from celebrating their daughter’s happiness in finding the person she wants to spend her life with.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.