Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Refuse to Pay for My Daughter’s Wedding to Her Horrible Fiancé”

Wedding Bells Pictures hs

My daughter is engaged to a man who has done nothing but bad-mouth me to others and insult me directly to my face over what I can afford for their wedding. I am a widow whose retirement income is slightly smaller than my daughter’s income, but only 1/3 of his. Neither they nor his parents were interested in contributing to the wedding costs.

Once they were engaged (July 2013), I presented them with a symbolic check (made out to “T…..’s Wedding”) for $5,000, which indicated the total amount which I would be contributing. He looked at the check and laughed, “Ha, I could save that much in a year, what with my bonuses.” One year later he has not saved one penny. However, they did purchase a $42,000 car titled in both names. She put the $4,000 down, and their agreement was that they would jointly make the loan payments. Three months later he left it up to her to make all payments. If the check had not been a symbolic one, I am fairly certain those funds would have already been spent on their lavish lifestyle–eating out three times a week, professional sports games, and four flights/destination vacations in the last year–rather than resting safely in my bank account.

A few days later he called me up screaming and yelling at me, calling me, “Cheap, cheap, cheap!!!” (for only providing $5,000). My 16-year-old car (still only has 68k miles) needed some work and he further went on to tell me that I had no right to be spending money on my car when his wedding was coming up. Rather presumptuous on his part to think that I would have added those funds to “his” wedding if they weren’t needed for my car. I told my daughter of his uncontrolled rant and it was so shocking to her that she just couldn’t believe that he would say such things to me, let alone scream them. Three days later he called to apologize to me and admitted he had no right to tell me not to spend any money on my car. I accepted his apology, hoped it was just an isolated outburst and, if not, that enough time would pass before their wedding (July 2015) that my daughter would have an opportunity to see such behavior firsthand. Since then she has been present as he’s gone ballistic on both a friend as well as his dentist for making him wait too long.

Over the last year he has continuously made snide remarks about how the wedding budget won’t go very far. But last week was the last straw for me. We went to see a 16-unit cabin complex two minutes from the wedding and reception site and 45 minutes from my home, where all the out-of-town guests–which is all but 20 guests, including 17 of their local friends and my three total guests (my best friend, my son and his fiancé)–would be staying for three days. Translation: his family, their out-of-town guests and the bridal party will all stay together for three days but not me or my three guests. Imagine the mother-of-the-bride or the bride’s brother not being around except to show up at the wedding proper.

Realizing that $5,000 was not going to cover all of the wedding expenses if the guest list wasn’t cut, I asked them, on the way home, to make an A list of 75 people and a B list of the remaining 25. He started screaming that he was not going to cut his list. Period! He screamed for the next 40 minutes and spent the last five texting god knows who about god only knows what (and frankly, I don’t care). My daughter looked like she was about to burst into tears, and it was everything I could do to hold back my own.

I informed my daughter that I have decided to withdraw my offer to host and fund their wedding and her fiancé can have it any way he demands and can afford. That puts me out the $1,500 I’ve already expended, but not one penny of their money would be lost and, with the wedding a year away, invitations have not been sent out or ordered yet. I love my daughter very much and I don’t want to hurt her any more than necessary to reclaim my dignity. She would be just as happy to go to City Hall, but he is strongly opposed to the idea and she wants to please him. I have left the door open for further contributing to any specific items she would like me to gift to her, but I am done being mistreated by her fiancé and have no interest in helping make his dream wedding come to fruition. I am thinking of putting double the original amount aside for a divorce fund as I suspect, if it ends, it won’t be pretty and she will be penniless. My daughter has not reached out to me since and I know she is hurting. Any advice would be appreciated. — Fed Up With Narcissistic Groom

Your daughter’s fiancé is a first-rate asshole. He is boorish, self-centered, and cruel. Unfortunately, he is also the man your daughter is in love with and plans to marry. For whatever reason, he has a hold on your daughter, and, considering his controlling nature and what sounds like your daughter’s blind spot in regards to him, he could very well alienate you from her, which would be awful for you and even worse for her. As hard as it will be, it’s in your daughter’s best interest if you remain civil with her fiancé. You can cross your fingers and hope to God she doesn’t actually make it down the aisle with this douche-nozzle, but, in the event that she does, he’s going to be your family and you’re going to have to accept him. You also don’t want to give him any ammunition to use in turning your daughter against you. In the event that she does marry this guy and it’s the awful marriage you imagine it will be, she’s going to need you more than ever.

So what should you do? I’d start with re-offering a contribution to your daughter’s wedding, with a caveat: you would like for it to be earmarked for items that are specifically for your daughter (her wedding dress, shoes, jewelry, hair stylist and makeup artist, manicure, etc.).
Use shopping for a wedding dress as an opportunity to share in your daughter’s wedding-planning without her dictator of a fiancé breathing down your necks. Another idea is that you could earmark some (or all) of the money to host a a morning after breakfast for the out-of-town guests, which could be as simple (coffee and bagels) or extravagant as you wanted or could afford. This would be a way to take some ownership of part of the wedding festivities and be a true host and not just a contributor. It would also allow you to be more included in more of the weekend than just the “wedding proper.”

On that note, it’s not at all unusual — it’s actually the norm — for out-of-town guests to stay at the same location, so I’m confused why you took offense to the idea of your daughter’s wedding guests staying together in a cabin complex a few minutes from the wedding site. Where did you expect them to stay? Your daughter’s fiancé has given you plenty to be outraged and hurt by, but this aspect of the wedding planning hardly seems worth getting upset over, let alone considering it a “final straw.” (Am I missing something?). If it’s such a big deal to you, I would suggest reserving a room/ cabin for the night of the wedding, to feel more included, but also so you don’t have a long drive home afterward.

Finally, have a heart-to-heart with your daughter about how much you love her, how you want her to be happy and how, if this is the man who makes her happiest, you will accept him as long as he treats her well. Remind her that, if your finances were as limitless as your love for her, you would have no problem funding anything she might want for her wedding but that you hope she will take your generous offer to pay for her dress and wedding day styling as merely a symbol of your love and not the entirety of it. Once your offer is made, and hopefully accepted, the rest of the wedding-planning (and wedding-paying) is out of your hands and not your concern. As you said, your daughter’s fiancé can plan and pay for whatever he wants and can afford. Your job will simply be to show up and have your daughter’s back. I’m sure that part will be easy for you.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

107 comments… add one
  • Lyra

    Lyra August 6, 2014, 8:17 am

    This guy SUCKS. How does you daughter not see how horrible he is??
    .
    I agree that it may be worth it to pay for specific things like the dress, but at the same time if you can’t afford it or if you just want to wash your hands of it, DON’T PAY FOR IT. You’re not obligated to help them pay for this wedding. You already gave them a check and it was wasted. Honestly, I wouldn’t pay for anything else. If they ask, explain you already made your contribution of $5000. I actually think a fund for if (when) she divorces him is a great idea. This will catch up to her eventually.
    .
    I find it pretty interesting that people who earn a lot of money tend to live above their means so often. For example, no one “needs” a luxury car that is over $40,000. Don’t bail them out if they can’t afford the wedding they want…that’s on them. Being stuck and having to dig themselves out will force them to figure it out themselves.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed August 6, 2014, 8:28 am

      What makes you say that people who earn a lot of money tend to live above their means? I’ve only ever really encountered the opposite.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2014, 8:35 am

        Definitely NOT every couple/person who earns a lot of money lives above their means (my parents for example definitely don’t live above their means), but I’m a loyal watcher of the Suze Orman podcast where people lay all their money out on the table asking if they can afford to buy something. I’ve seen people whose household income is $10k-$20k who have a HUGE mortgage, not enough retirement savings, usually a bunch of debt, car loans, etc. etc. It happens quite often and it’s interesting to me.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 6, 2014, 8:38 am

        You’re watching something that’s bias towards that…so of course it appears like it often happens…but that’s a skewed sample. It’s not showing all the people saying hmmm I should save a little more before buying whatever item they want to buy.

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      • Portia

        Portia August 6, 2014, 9:19 am

        I also think it’s confirmation bias because I know people who make good money and squirrel all of it away like something horrible is going to happen tomorrow and they’re going to need all that money. But I think it’s more that people are going to act similarly whether they make a lot of money or very little. I’m sure those people would be doomsday preppers in another life.

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      • avatar

        MissDre August 6, 2014, 9:01 am

        Lyra, I see it all the time too, but it doesn’t mean everybody who makes a lot of money squanders it.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2014, 9:26 am

        I didn’t say that. No, not everyone squanders it. Not everyone wastes it. I think some people (generally, not everyone) tend to get raises and instead of staying where they were, they spend based on what they earn. I know I’m guilty of it.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery August 6, 2014, 1:03 pm

        No one ever calls into Suze and says “Hey I have a huge nest egg and can afford everything I ever want! What should I do??”

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 1:19 pm

        Haha good point. Think how boring her show would be.

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      • avatar

        tlee8 August 6, 2014, 11:16 am

        LadyinPurpleNotRed, I agree…i see the opposite. Everyone i know with a good cash flow are smart about their finances and have future short /long term goals, like paying off their mortgage in half the time, saving for a business or investing in stocks and bonds.

        They also take vacations, but i see nothing wrong with that. Just because some takes a lavish vacation doesn’t mean they didn’t find it cheap or that it was above their means. I take a cruise almost every year and its only about 800-900 out of my pocket.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 6, 2014, 5:55 pm

        Exactly…just because it looks lavish, doesn’t mean it is!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 6, 2014, 8:39 am

      Lyra, I think you misunderstood. The LW gave a “symbolic check” of $5000 (that confused me at first too) made out to her daughter’s wedding (meaning, it wasn’t made to a specific person and could not be cashed); it was simply meant to show how much she planned to contribute as they planned their wedding. She then rescinded her offer after she saw how awful and ungrateful the fiancé was behaving (but after she did invest $1500 toward wedding stuff).

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2014, 9:27 am

        Ahhh, that makes sense. I read it as if she gave an actual check to them.

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    • avatar

      AnotherAnon August 7, 2014, 6:23 pm

      I’m a high income earner and I can tell you it’s very easy. My currency is not USD, so take these figures in context, but:

      I make $120K and my husband makes $140K. My job requires a lot of negotiation with serious players who make more like $250K, and they make a lot of judgments about my right to even be at the negotiating table based on how I present – it determines whether I’m considered “one of them” and they will play ball with me. So yes, I do have to wear $400 suits and drive a $40K European car. As it happens, I bought it at auction for $10K and fixed it up, but it’s been a hole in my pocket and is about to be written off, and now I wish I’d bought it new.

      There are other costs. I’m about to become redundant and I am finding I actually can’t get head-hunted at my current level (recruiters are afraid I’ll find something more senior and leave before they get their trailing commission), so I needed a fast track, high cost course to bring me up to the next level. I cut a deal with my work to pay for it if I pay for the travel and other costs – bye bye $2500. Two years ago, it was a similar situation and an MBA – that was $40K.

      We compensate in other ways. I live out of town and have a $250K mortgage, while the city I work in costs about $750K. When I travel I usually travel backpacker-style. Outside work and work-related appearances, we have a very modest lifestyle. But the bottom line is that in executive jobs you are seen as a businessperson and your business is you, even if technically you’re an employee. You’re expected to carry some of the investment and some of the risks and some of the costs.

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  • avatar

    Coconot August 6, 2014, 9:15 am

    Pay only for what you want to pay and ignore the greedy fiancée’s demands! WWS though, you will have to be civil if not nice to him so as not to alienate your daughter. BTW, I’d suggest using a little of the remaining 3.5k to enroll your daughter in a personal finance class or to hire her a financial coach. Even if her fiancée is doing all the spending she will get dragged into his debt, and we don’t want her to end up like the LW (forum poster? I can’t remember…) from a few weeks ago that was so mired by her husband’s poor financial choices she felt she couldn’t leave the marriage.

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  • avatar

    jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 9:21 am

    The way I read the issue with the accommodations for out of town guests is that the fiance’s immediate family and the bridal party will be staying there, and the LW – if I interpreted correctly – feels that she should be staying there as well, as part of the bride’s immediate family. The other local guests are friends and not relatives of either her daughter or her fiance.

    I think she has a point, depending on how the situation was approached. Was it specifically laid out that the cabins would be for out of town guests only or was it more unclear and he factored in his family staying there as well, but excluded her daughter’s family. Every wedding is different, but I do think its awkward to have the bridal party and the groom’s family to be staying at the same place for several days while the bride’s family is shuttling back and forth. Its not as if the LW lives 5 minutes away. That 45 minutes easily turns into a 2 hour commute every day for 3 days.

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    • Portia

      Portia August 6, 2014, 9:25 am

      That’s kind of how I read it too. Maybe the LW should put some of these funds towards a couple of cabins for her and her side of the family.

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        jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 9:33 am

        Agreed. A family wedding I was in was in the town of the groom’s (my cousin) and the bride’s family stayed at the same hotel as the bridal party, while my aunt and uncle hosted other out of town guests at their home since it was only a few minutes from the venue.

        Another wedding I attended was about an hour from the bride and groom’s home, and the groom’s family lived in the same town but the bride’s family lived in different states. Both families stayed at the venue property (rented privately for 3 days) along with a few out of town guests, including myself.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ August 6, 2014, 9:38 am

    You know, the fiancé is most definitely a giant bag of dicks, but it’s her daughter who is marrying a man who acts like an entitled asshole and treats her mother this way. If my husband talked to my mom like this, we’d be in trouble. If he’d done it as my fiancé, we wouldn’t be married. And, as people who paid for their own wedding, the thought of demanding that your fiancé’s parents pay for it – much less shaming them because what they offered to pay won’t go as far as you want it to go – blows my mind.

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      jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 9:41 am

      I think you can learn a lot about a person who is planning a wedding. A college friend of mine got married a few years ago, sometime in February or early March, and she was pushing her wedding registry on Facebook as “ideas for Christmas presents”. It came off as so rude and demanding to me. I hadn’t been invited (which I was completely fine with, we drifted apart after graduation) but I had been thinking of sending a gift, and that status quickly made me decide not to send one.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ August 6, 2014, 9:51 am

        Ugh. What is wrong with people? Glad you didn’t send a gift. I hope people who did took them back.

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      • avatar

        jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 9:58 am

        What really sealed the deal for me was that she had been making a lot of public comments about her and her fiance’s finances and living status – at the time they were living in his parents finished basement and they still are actually – and yet most of the things on the registry were so frivolous. I would be asking for basics that last – a good set of everyday dishware, pots and pans, towels, etc. The stuff on the list, knowing her financial status, seemed insane to me.

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  • avatar

    Essie August 6, 2014, 9:41 am

    LW, I liked Wendy’s suggestions about paying for her bridal ensemble, and the out of town guests’ breakfast.
    .
    What you want to focus on now, is maintaining your relationship with your daughter. She will need you, now and down the road, and you’ll need to be a place of safety for her, given that she’s involved with an abusive lunatic. Right now, she no doubt feels trapped between you and him. She may well be having second thoughts about this marriage (I’d be surprised if she wasn’t), but pride and fear are getting in the way. Fear of looking like a fool, fear of losing someone she thought she loved. It’s HARD to call off a wedding.

    Put aside your own pride, just for a bit. Reach out to her, say you’re sorry that things got so heated, and suggest that you get together for lunch to talk about some ways that you might contribute to the wedding. When you do talk, don’t make it about you and your wounded pride, or what an idiot her fiancé is. Bringing that up is only going to make her feel more trapped and defensive.

    Keep telling yourself, “listen more than you talk”. Tell her that you love her, you’re worried about her, and you will always be there for her. And then listen. You want to be the safe place that she goes to when things are bad, and railing about her fiancé will prevent that from happening.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 9:44 am

    I liked all of Wendy’s advice and really hope you listen to it, LW. Paying for the dress, playing nice, etc. Don’t give this guy ammunition to continue trying to make you out to be the bad guy. Let her know you are there for her no matter what.
    Whoever said personal finance classes – that too.

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  • avatar

    jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 9:47 am

    Another thought for the LW from personal experience: I attended a wedding several years ago of one of my best friends from high school. I stayed with her and the bridal party the weekend of the wedding, as it was in another state, and I sensed from the moment that I got there that something wasn’t right. I chalked it up to her parents, who had recently divorced, being in the same place for such an extended amount of time, and I let it go. A few months later, she admitted to her husband that she had been having an affair for about a year, and they broke up.

    I wish I had asked her if something was wrong or even just said, half joking, “I’m your ride if you get cold feet”. Sometimes we can confide in a friend instead of a close relative, and I do feel that if I had asked her something, I may have gotten the truth out of her that weekend.

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  • avatar

    Nico August 6, 2014, 10:01 am

    This guy is a total assbag, and your daughter is also being a jerk for NOT sticking up for you. If my “fiancee” was treating my mom like that, i’d not be calling him my “fiancee” for very much longer. Offer to pay for the wedding dress, and the brunch like wendy said. Forget the rest!

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  • avatar

    peachy August 6, 2014, 10:04 am

    Dude is out of control! If it were my daughter I would probably go to war to prevent what could only be a disastrous marriage, but you seem like a more civilized person : )
    Instead of saving up money for a future divorce, maybe you can ask your daughter privately to go to counseling with you? Getting feedback on this situation from an objective observer in a safe, neutral environment could be so helpful to both of you.

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  • dizziej

    Jennifer August 6, 2014, 10:04 am

    When I got married my dad gave me a budget of $10,000. He said I was not allowed to spend the money without checking with him first. We trimmed our list (Which was small to begin with), chose a location that provided the most bang for our buck, looked for bargains on flowers, and called in favours from friends and family. We did not do a dinner. My MIL and family made munchies the night before, my Aunt by marriage did some baking and my MIL made us a beautiful 3 tiered rice krispie wedding cake. My BIL is a DJ and had a friend of his do our wedding for a magnum of Crown Royal (Which he covered). In total I think we spent about $12,000 and the costs were split between us, my parents and my in laws. When my dad reviewed the budget after the wedding, he gave us a cheque for anything remaining from the $10,000. (I think the cheque was for about $2,500).
    .
    By comparison my brother (who was married 9 months before me) spent about $40,000 on his wedding. However his wife sold a condo and because she knew she wanted a lavish wedding, she put that money aside and they paid for almost everything on their own.
    .
    This groom is a total asshat and it sounds like he does not deserve a mother in law like the LW. Hopefully her daughter sees the light before it is too late.

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    • avatar

      MissDre August 6, 2014, 10:29 am

      OMG why would somebody spend $40,000 on one day?? Yeesh. I don’t get it. If I had that kind of money I’d put it down on a house. A wedding is one day but a house is what you live in for the next 20 years.

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      • Portia

        Portia August 6, 2014, 10:49 am

        Once Bassanio told me what his parents spent on his sister’s wedding and I think my jaw dropped. It might have been more than that… In my opinion, unless you’re literally flying everyone out to a destination wedding, it really should not cost that much.

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      • avatar

        Gwen Soul August 6, 2014, 11:30 am

        It is easy to judge, but it sounds like the bride did what she wanted and could afford so it is really up to them how they spent their money. I am sure a lot of people would disagree with the money I spend on hobbies but I still take care of my family so they really don’t have the right to judge me and I try not to judge others (which is hard sometimes).

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      • avatar

        MissDre August 6, 2014, 12:20 pm

        If she can afford it, good for her. I’m not really judging (i.e. thinking omg what a horrible wasteful person) I just honestly don’t understand. Even just thinking about it makes my brain feel like it’s going to explode.

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      • avatar

        Gwen Soul August 6, 2014, 1:17 pm

        I guess I don’t see much difference between “omg what a horrible wasteful person” and what you actually wrote “OMG why would somebody spend $40,000 on one day?? Yeesh.”

        When it comes down to it we all have “more worthy” things to spend our money or time on. My wedding cost $2K so when I see $10K like above do I get so say OMG what a waste? Then there is always why spend any at all, that $2k could have gone to save childrens’ lives in 3rd world countries or fed puppies for a year or a million other causes. It is all a choice we are making and as long as we are not asking anyone other than ourselves to bank roll it I don’t think we get to say what priorities should be. I just hate it because it feels like we are saying that anyone is wrong just because they are doing something we wouldn’t do. In a way with weddings in particular it is saying being girly or wanting something traditional is wrong, which is the same as saying that wanting to not be traditional is wrong as well.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 6, 2014, 12:28 pm

        I personally wouldn’t want to spend anywhere close to 40K on a wedding just on principal. I refuse to buy into the wedding industrial complex and I think people glamorize weddings to the point of forgetting about why it exists: to create a marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy weddings, and I think the celebration of two people joining lives is lovely. But the capitalization of weddings annoys me greatly.
        .
        Now that I’ve climbed down off my soapbox, in certain places, like NYC where I live, even a modest wedding can cost a shit ton of money (though I know Wendy did her Central Park wedding budget like a boss!). A lot of my friends have struggled to be frugal with NYC/NY tri-state area prices. All of my friends who had “traditional” weddings (guest list of 100+, Saturday date during wedding season, bridal party, catered venue, etc.) have spent 30K at the very least. The only friends I have whose weddings were “cheap” (read: 10K-20K) did things like: cut their guest list, chose a no frills venue (like a state park), picked an unusual time or date (I went to one wedding on a Thursday evening), didn’t serve alcohol, etc etc. But I’ve only been to a handful of these types of weddings; the majority cost an arm and a leg.

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      • avatar

        MissDre August 6, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Thumbs up to your first paragraph! (not that there’s anything wrong with your second paragraph)

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 6, 2014, 12:29 pm

        principle* whoops!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 6, 2014, 10:14 am

    Holy fucking shit. I usually agree with the “be civil for the sake of not alienating the person you care about” advice, but in this case I hope the LW tells this prick to fucking fuck off. And then not only NOT contribute anything, but also NOT attend to wedding. His behavior is just so beyond the bounds of human decency..

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    • Lyra

      Lyra August 6, 2014, 10:19 am

      I completely agree with you, Fab. I kind of hope that the LW has a serious heart-to-heart talk with her daughter about her concerns too. At least there’s another year until the wedding…hopefully the daughter will realize how big of a douchecanoe he is before she marries him.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 6, 2014, 10:20 am

        I agree there needs to be a serious heart-to-heart talk, but I would be careful about beating that horse. Alienating the daughter would be a bad idea.

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 10:29 am

        That’s the thing. This guy sounds so bad that I wonder if the daughter’s being abused in some way. The last thing she needs is her fiance telling her her mom doesn’t care about her either.
        Idk though. Sometimes I know I take ‘be civil to keep the peace’ too far.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2014, 10:37 am

        I agree the daughter is more than likely experiencing some sort of abuse. Yet, in my opinion the mother needs to reach out. Like I said, she has ONE shot. She needs to frame it in the right way so the daughter doesn’t get defensive. It sounds like she’s fairly close with the daughter and I would hope that the daughter would at the very least listen to her mom’s concerns.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 6, 2014, 11:00 am

        I agree it’s a balance, but my initial comment is my true first reaction–also, I mean, if the daughter is experiencing abuse…right, we don’t want to alienate her. BUT on the other hand, this guy’s abusive nature is not only directed at the daughter..
        .
        So at what point does “remaining civil” become “standing unnecessarily in the line of fire”? In some cases, you can remain civil without being on the receiving end of abuse yourself, but in this case…that’s not happening. I think the LW owes it to herself to sheild herself as much as she can (sorry if I’m not clear, typing fast)

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        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 11:02 am

        Very good point. Maybe mom sticking up for herself will show the daughter its possible and what is acceptable. I guess Mom can do that while still being civil generally, and only defending herself when he’s being an asshole.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra August 6, 2014, 10:33 am

        She basically has one shot at it and needs to word it carefully, framing it in the right way. It’s always a fine line telling someone about concerns about their significant other. I found out recently that my friends were planning an intervention if I had ever gotten engaged to my ex because they saw how bad things were and I was just too stupid in love to realize it.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 6, 2014, 10:36 am

        Yes…one shot and that’s it. If you bring it up too much, you cause the one you are concerned about and the one you hate to band together to form an us against them and that doesn’t help. Tell your concerns and then don’t bring it up unless they do or something specific happens.

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  • avatar

    Scooze August 6, 2014, 10:18 am

    Clearly, there is way more at stake here than just a wedding. The bride needs to (in the words of Wendy) “aim higher”. Why is she so emotionally dependent on someone who is verbally abusive? I guarantee you that he is even worse to her in private than he is to others in public. If I were the MOB, I’d tell her that I’d give her the $5k check on the condition that she seeks therapy now. In time to change her mind before the wedding. She has serious co-dependency issues, and he may be a narcissisti.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 10:27 am

    I’m torn. I see Wendy’s point (“remain civil”/”in the event that she does marry this guy and it’s the awful marriage you imagine it will be, she’s going to need you more than ever”/tell her “if this is the man who makes her happiest, you will accept him as long as he treats her well”) *and* I see Fabelle’s point (“tell this prick to fucking fuck off”) … I don’t know what the right thing to do is. There must be a way to do both. .. The LW needs to know (i) this guy she’s marrying is a total prick *and* (ii) mama will be there for her. …
    *
    This is a letter I’d definitely like an update on! An update in 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years…. ok thanks. 🙂

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 10:28 am

      Edit: the LW’s *daughter* needs to know (i) and (ii) – sorry

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    • Diablo

      Diablo August 6, 2014, 11:10 am

      I would also be aware/concerned that an offer to buy some things just for the daughter (dress, styling, etc) could cause another entitled rant and drive a permanent wedge between the LW and the SIL. Not that this would be such a bad thing. But it might not lead to an easier relationship than just refusing to pay. I guess it’s still the best advice, but basically it’s hard to see anything good coming out of having anything to do with this heinous prick.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna August 6, 2014, 10:41 am

    I wouldn’t assume that the wedding is actually going to happen. July 2015 is still far away. Just be a little strategic here. Don’t upset your daughter further – do what Wendy says (offering to pay for specific things like her wedding dress) or just state that you’re going to contribute the 5000 you originally promised. Listen to any concerns your daughter might have about her fiancé (of which, um, there should be many) and be sure to let her know that you’ll be there for her no matter what. No matter how right you are about the fiancé being a douche, it just won’t work to tell your daughter that. It will only drive her away from you and make her defend her fiancé. That’s a common pattern with abusive relationships (and the fiancé sounds emotionally abusive). You’re playing a long game here – staying in your daughter’s life and being able to help her should she get married to this guy. Don’t think of your contribution to the wedding as a contribution to a shitty marriage, see it as a price of admission you have to pay for your daughter to be comfortable to share any issues she might have & accept your help once she breaks up with douchenozzle.

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  • avatar

    snoopy128 August 6, 2014, 10:45 am

    I agree with the others, but I think taking back the money you said you would provide them for the wedding is not going to help the situation at all. You already said you would provide that money, essentially giving it as a gift, and it sounds like you gave it with no strings attached. Removing it, I think, will only inflame the fiancee and cause more issues with your daughter. I think doing things like telling them it has to go to financial counselling or saving it for their divorce only undermines your daughter.

    It sounds like you need to have a talk with her. Explain you aren’t paying for their whole wedding and that you aren’t feeling appreciated for your contribution. If it were me, I would re-gift the remaining money, but put limits on it (like things for your daughter- dress, shoes, makeup…).

    That being said, the groom sounds like a horrible person and I hope you are able to keep providing support for your daughter in case she feels like backing out.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 10:51 am

      Meh, even though the LW already said she would provide the $5,000, I don’t think it’s bad to take that back in light of what a douche bag the fiance is being and, frankly, I’d be pissed at my daughter for tolerating her fiance’s douchiness to her mother. So if she (the daughter) is going to be more respectful to her mother, why should she (the mother) be obligated to fund her wedding? I see your point – it’s rescinding a promise. And maybe that’s not nice to do to a little kid or something but… But this daughter needs to grow the hell up! She’s not entitled to anything. And definitely not from her mother when she doesn’t stand up for her. … I’m starting to get really mad at the daughter, ha.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 10:52 am

        ugh, typing is so hard. I meant o say “So if she (the daughter) is NOT going to be more respectful…”

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      • avatar

        SasLinna August 6, 2014, 10:58 am

        If you interpret the situation as the daughter not being respectful, then it seems logical to push back against that. But she’s probably in an abusive relationship and currently unable to stand up for herself and her mother.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 11:15 am

        Yeah, I see it as the fiance is a douche and the daughter is being disrespectful/rude herself by not sticking up for her mother. The daughter is definitely under her fiance’s spell but I don’t think that’s a good excuse and I wouldn’t necessarily jump to assume it’s an abusive relationship, though I guess control, manipulation, etc. is a form of emotional abuse. So that could be the case.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna August 6, 2014, 11:28 am

        I’m not really trying to excuse the daughter (people who are being abused can be very annoying to deal with unfortunately), just thinking in terms of what’s most likely to work out well for LW. She probably wants to maximize the chances of her daughter getting out of the relationship. I think staying available and not causing any further conflict will be most likely to help with that. It’s infuriating for sure, but strategically smart.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 11:32 am

        agreed, agreed.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 11:34 am

        And I have to assume “un-abused” people would immediately get pissed at their fiance and stick up for their mother.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray August 6, 2014, 11:43 am

        huh?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 11:58 am

        I assume most people, especially ones who are not being emotionally abused, would get pissed at their fiance for yelling at their mother or at least stick up for their mother. If you were scared of your fiance, then I would understand why you would just keep your mouth shut.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh August 6, 2014, 11:48 am

        I don’t think this is one of things were the opposite must be true. I don’t think we can say one way or the other, as to whether she’s being abused. But, if the mother is concerned I think people are pointing out that she might not be equipped at the moment to deal with things in the best way.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 11:53 am

        Oh sure, I can’t say for certain that she is, but I’m just thinking most people would react by defending their mother, or really, defending anyone that was getting screamed at for no good reason.

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  • thatswhat-she

    Meg August 6, 2014, 10:46 am

    When I was in my early 20s, my college boyfriend proposed. He was an emotionally abusive jerk (who actually proposed in front of his entire extended family, I assume so I wouldn’t feel like I could say no), but I initially accepted and started wedding planning. The whole process was miserable since I knew I didn’t want to marry him, but we’d been living together were very financially entangled, so I felt trapped.
    .
    Luckily, I don’t think he much wanted to get married either- his family had probably pressured him into it- so he ended up cheating on me and dumping me for the new girl. About a day later I realized I had dodged a bullet, but I hope I would have drummed up the courage to eventually call off the wedding before we’d gotten too far into the process.
    .
    My point is that I really wish someone would have asked me if I really wanted to marry him. I knew my friends and family all hated him (even our mutual friends), but after years of emotional abuse I really wasn’t strong enough to do what I thought would make me seem a failure on my own. I know that everyone was trying to be supportive and trying not to push me closer to him, but a gentle nudge (or at least the assertion that it would be ok if I decided to leave on my own) would have saved me a lot of time and heartache.
    .
    LW, you may or may not be the right person to ask something like this- but I hope that someone in your daughter’s life might. If he’s acting this way to you, I pray he’s not being even worse to your daughter.

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    • avatar

      pinkaffinity August 6, 2014, 5:31 pm

      (I’m glad you dodged the bullet!!) And yes, I think if the LW is not the one to really talk to her about wanting to marry this man or not and what that all entails, maybe someone like her brother, who is also getting married (from what I understand?) would be a good candidate to discuss everything with the daughter.

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  • avatar

    Denise August 6, 2014, 10:46 am

    Hello all,
    I am the original poster. I appreciated everyone’s input very much.
    The manager at the cabin site is very accommodating. She is even willing to allow those that can not fit in the cabins to use tents. I assumed that her family ( all 3 of us) would also stay there (and pay our own way) So, it is not about space or money. But, right in front of the manager her fiancé informed me that I was not included because he is in charge of pre wedding organization. (The wedding too he seems to think 🙂 and this may very well just be his way of punishing me for my “limited” contribution. ) The manager’s jaw hit the floor. I was extremely hurt! I should note that there existed no other relationship difficulties between him and myself other than him feeling entitled to a more expensive wedding. When I asked my daughter how could she agree to exclude me/us 3 she responded that she thought I would be more comfortable in my own bed. That’s crap! I know all of her out of town guests and haven’t seen them in 4 years since we moved 2,000 miles and I was looking forward to spending time with them. I was even originally thinking that my daughter and the bridesmaids would have stayed at my house. She says it is too far for them to drive. What am I, chopped liver, that it isn’t too far for me? He is manipulating her thinking.
    The balance of the $5,000. had been set aside along with $5,000. for my son’s wedding. His fiancé has a divorced mother and a deadbeat father. Her mother could not contribute to either of her older sister’s weddings and won’t be contributing to hers. Nobody called her “Cheap” and nobody ostracized her . But, I automatically volunteered to spend the same on theirs as my daughter’s. And, my son replied, And, I’ll bring you change back! He will be able to do that because their guest list will allow it and he is the kind of guy that lives within his means. I did inform my daughter that she can now request me to gift her any specific items she needs. I just won’t be helping with the planning and interacting with him.
    I know her fiancé is an immature, self centered, egotistical idiot who functions with entitlement mentality. But, thank you to those that made some of those points.

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    • avatar

      jhoran85 August 6, 2014, 2:11 pm

      Are you able to find other accommodations nearby that won’t break your budget? I’m getting the sense that her fiance just doesn’t want you around for all of the pre-wedding stuff which isn’t cool. If it were me, I’d find a place nearby to stay and be there for as many things as possible.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      monkey's mommy August 13, 2014, 11:34 am

      Good for you, OP. I would not go back and counter offer them one cent. And I think you are right to feel hurt about the lodging. Hell, I would reserve my own room and stay anyway.

      You are doing the right thing. I get your reasons for being upset and agree that you should not pay for any more than you have, unless it’s for a specific item.

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  • possumgirl

    possumgirl August 6, 2014, 10:53 am

    This man is exhibiting all of the signs of an abuser; he is already emotionally abusive and may easily descend into physical abuse (and may have already). Please follow Wendy’s advice, and moreover, make a point to be a resource for your daughter, day or night. He is using the wedding as his venue for manipulation over you and her; your loving support of her may be the only thing that gives her enough self-esteem to be able to back out.

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    • avatar

      Lucy August 6, 2014, 5:39 pm

      This. He is using the wedding as an opportunity to isolate your daughter by abusing her support system, trying to get you to pull away. Don’t fall for it. And don’t take any verbal abuse from him. Stand up to him, especially in your daughter’s presence. She’s an adult, but she still needs you to set an example for her here.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray August 6, 2014, 11:05 am

    I love Wendy’s idea of earmarking the money for your daughter. Especially because taking back the money is likely to cause more problems. The expectation that the bride’s parents pay for the wedding is incredibly sexist and something that really bothers me. There’s nothing wrong with parents helping, but it seems like the fiancé and your daughter can afford to contribute, which I think is another reason not to feel bad for not being able to pay for everything. That’s not your job. It’s their wedding. The fiancé sounds like he will be a groomzilla. I would focus on helping and supporting your daughter, which sometimes means supporting decisions of hers you don’t like. Maybe she’ll come around, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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  • avatar

    GertietheDino August 6, 2014, 11:23 am

    My partner’s sister married a man no one liked, he talked down to her, didn’t seem interested in engaging anyone, really selfish and impetuous, just an all around ass, but the parents still supported her so as not to alienate her for the inevitable fallout. Her mom kept the lines of communication open and so one day was not surprised to get the “Can I come to your house, I’m leaving “Asshat.” It all worked out, she left him, hired a lawyer and seems a lot happier.

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  • avatar

    tlee8 August 6, 2014, 11:25 am

    My husband and i paid for our own wedding But we allow our parents to put in only 2.5k each. As we wanted to cover the majority of the costs, but wanted them to feel like they were chipping in. The wedding was small and only had about 60 people, venues were cheap but beautiful. I’m a stickler for sticking to the budget. My husband and I make enough to have a big lavish wedding, but we don’t see the point in it, since we just wanted our close friends and family there. I really don’t see how people who cant afford a wedding expect to have the most lavish of weddings. I dont think the Mother should put in any money for the wedding. That guy crossed the line and if her daughter doesn’t see it, helping her pay for the wedding wont help. Sounds like he is very abusive.

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  • avatar

    HmC August 6, 2014, 11:27 am

    I get that it’s an old tradition for a bride’s family to cover ALL costs of a couple’s wedding, but from what I see of weddings now, that notion is so antiquated. Supporting your daughter does not have to mean giving a substantial amount of money to someone that is entirely ungrateful (and yes 5k is substantial to a lot of people). You know that you are not actually obligated to give any money right? How does it not occur to your daughter and her fiance to pay for some of the wedding, if 5k is not sufficient for the wedding they want? Honestly I think you should sit your daughter down and explain this plainly to her if you haven’t already- that you want her to be happy and are willing to give 5k for the wedding (if you are even willing to give that anymore) but beyond that they will have to pay themselves. I honestly am perplexed by this letter. Who expects the bride’s retired dad to pay for ALL of an extravagant wedding in this day and age, and even more than that who reacts this way when he can’t??

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    • avatar

      MissDre August 6, 2014, 12:24 pm

      I would like to give this a thumbs up but for some reason the thumbs don’t work for me.

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      • avatar

        HmC August 6, 2014, 1:21 pm

        Hi Missdre, thanks! The new thumbs only work if you sign in. It took me a while to do so today, I haven’t done it in so long and I never remember passwords, haha.

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  • avatar

    Miss Lady August 6, 2014, 11:47 am

    LW, do not go into debt for this. Do not put your retirement at risk. If you run out of money, you cannot rely on anyone else to take care of you, so put yourself first.
    .
    Ok. Now I want to address earmarking the gift. I think this is a bad idea. It may give the appearance of driving a wedge between your daughter and her fiance, which will not endear you to either one. Your daughter may not want to spend the money on herself. If she chooses not to, that’s just going to further inflame you. Gifts with strings attached is not fair, and it is also an attempt to control the recipient. If you do decide to give anymore money toward this, please just cut the check and give it freely and cheerfully. The last thing your daughter needs is to be stuck between her awful fiance and her mother who is trying to control her with finances (and even if you are not trying to control her, or don’t think you are trying to control her, will she see it that way?).
    .
    Good luck, I think the next eleven months are going to be a wild ride.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 11:51 am

      I feel like saying I’d like to buy your dress is somehow different than earmarking a gift though.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy August 6, 2014, 12:05 pm

        It is different. And if the LW wants to offer to pay for wedding day styling (hair, makeup, jewelry,etc.), there’s a benefit that those things are often among the final purchases, and with any luck, the wedding will be canceled before they get that far.

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      • avatar

        Miss Lady August 6, 2014, 12:06 pm

        I agree, but if you leave it open-ended like that, LW runs the risk of her daughter choosing a $10k dress or something.
        .
        I am probably projecting here for all of this, but I am just really, REALLY grateful that my parents offered a no-strings attached cash gift to me and my fiance when we got married. They didn’t have any expectations of how we spent the money and it made the financial part of planning the wedding smooth and helped keep all of our interactions positive.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 12:09 pm

        I would be grateful for that too, but given crazypants fiance, its probably best to limit it to paying for specific things. And even better if she doesn’t lose out on the money if its things for the end of the wedding planning, like Wendy is saying. Smart thinking!

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      • Miel

        Miel August 6, 2014, 1:18 pm

        So many times on Say Yes to the Dress, you see a bride saying “my mom is paying for the dress” and the mom saying “our budget is $2000” or something like that. It’s not because you’re paying for the dress that there’s suddenly a limitless budget. It just means the mom is swiping her card at the end of the appointment.

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 6, 2014, 12:59 pm

        Yes, I agree. I would frame it this way. Or, if you were dress shopping, just pick up the tab.

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 6, 2014, 1:02 pm

        Actually, that might be the best way to pay for some things. Don’t specify up front. When you’re out with your daughter, and let’s say she sees a veil or something, just buy it for her. Or shoes. Or jewelry. Or the wedding dress. Or get her a gift certificate to the place she likes to get her nails and hair done. There are hundreds of way to contribute without specifically earmarking it for certain things. Or having strings attached.

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  • kare

    kare August 6, 2014, 11:50 am

    I’d put the $5000 in an emergency fund and add to it occasionally as a safety net in case the daughter decides to leave this guy. I mean can you imagine this person as a father figure? Terrifying. It’s unacceptable to treat your future mother in law like that. Also, the fact he would “go ballistic” on a dentist because he had to wait to long is shocking. Poor girl is probably afraid to leave or heavily manipulated into thinking his behavior is okay.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh August 6, 2014, 12:02 pm

    It seems like maybe you’ve never liked your daughter’s fiance. Maybe he’s always been this awful towards you (not just about the wedding). But, as a side note, you know a lot about their finances! Maybe too much? Talk to your daughter and let her know you want to be happy, but you refuse to be treated like crap. And if hearing about their choices in finances, etc makes you unable to be civil with him let her know you can’t hear that. If he’s treating her well and she’s happy, and even if he wasn’t, there isn’t a whole lot you can do other than protect yourself. And then letting her know you’re always there for her.
    .
    The only people that have to pay for their wedding is them. If they don’t want to put the money in to it, then that is their problem. And honestly I wouldn’t worry about it, offer to pay for her dress or other things for her and then don’t engage with him about the wedding in the future.

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  • avatar

    Denise - Mother of the Bride August 6, 2014, 12:27 pm

    I think I should add that I am scared shitless for my daughter. Once I began to suspect that he was a narcissist I started researching the subject and co-dependency personality popped up in relationship to that. She is such a delightful human being, extremely popular, her smile lights up a room. But, she has always tried to please others, always trying to be the keeper of the peace and has always had difficulties making decisions . And, I can see how she would be the perfect victim of a narcissist. I realize that the pull of romantic love is exceedingly strong and that she is caught in the middle of the two of us. I am sure that she is mortified over his treatment of me. Having raised her and her brother alone since she was 4 months old we are very close and she knows that I am a very capable and strong woman. In her gut she knows that I would not take his shit laying down. I can not change the situation, I can only react to it in the best way that I can for her long term sake. This site has been very helpful in trying to figure that out. Ultimately, I want her to know that my arms are always open for her, that if she walks away from him there will be no “I told you so”s from me, only acceptance, that she should not feel embarrassed or feel like a failure. How do you let her know this without condemning him or implying that this is what is likely to happen once she finds herself?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 1:34 pm

      She’s lucky to have you as a mom. Good luck!

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    • Lianne

      Lianne August 6, 2014, 2:15 pm

      It sounds like you are a great, loving mother. With this added context, I would definitely heed Wendy’s advice. If you give him ammunition, he could potentially do some damage to your relationship with your daughter, especially given her “people-pleaser” personality.

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    • avatar

      j2 August 6, 2014, 2:40 pm

      No one who treated my mom as you described would be welcome in my life.

      I feel so sorry for you.

      This will not end well.

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    • Cassie

      Cassie August 6, 2014, 4:16 pm

      I think the best way to communicate that is to continue showing her your love and support. If she comes to you complaining, don’t bash him or say negative things about him because that may put her on the defensive or make her feel like she can’t tell you those types of things. Instead, reiterate that you love her no matter what/want her to be happy, and you can ask her questions. Things like, “How does this make you feel?” Or, “What would have to change to make you happier?” Basically, ask questions that get her to talk things out and realize that this relationship isn’t making her happy (if it isn’t). She needs to come to these realizations on her own, and it can take a while. In times of difficulty, people do gravitate to those who truly love them, so I would bet she’d come to you if/when things go south. You can’t save your daughter from making bad choices or mistakes in life. (I do like the idea that you had mentioned about putting a certain amount aside to help your daughter out if she needs assistance getting out of the relationship at some point.)

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  • avatar

    HmC August 6, 2014, 1:28 pm

    So can I just put a random thought out there? I don’t have firsthand experience with abusive/semi-abusive relationships, but it seems to be the prevailing advice on here that if your loved one is with an asshole or even abusive, you can’t say so or really involve yourself or you risk alienating your loved one. Is the advice really different if the person is an extreme jerk vs. actually abusive? It seems like there is grey area with what constitutes emotional abuse. And I dunno, even if someone is just a prick, I would feel awful if none of my friends or family said boo about it until I left him, and then suddenly everyone came out of the woodwork like, “oh yeah we always thought he was an ass, glad you finally left!” Honestly I feel like I would feel like such a blind idiot. Maybe in some cases and depending on the closeness of your relationship, it is worth alienating your friend temporarily in order to be honest?? I mean if you can’t be honest with your loved ones what is your relationship really based on? Not everyone would just cut you off for not liking their significant other? This whole issue really fascinates me. I understand holding back honesty if it’s going to do nothing but make someone feel bad, but also maybe in some cases the risk of pissing off or even losing a friend is worth not having to be around and support a total asshole…

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    • avatar

      HmC August 6, 2014, 1:34 pm

      Also as context I will add that I come from a very reserved family that cares a lot about appearances and speaking up/confronting people is not my natural instinct… which is why maybe I can appreciate it so much in others, and why I feel like even if it were painful, I would ultimately want to know how my loved ones honestly felt about my significant other, for better or worse.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 1:36 pm

      I think the rule is say something once, and then never again. That way they know you are there for them, that you don’t like that behavior but that you trust them to make their own decisions.
      When my sister finally left her shitty boyfriend, she told me she stayed longer because she felt dumb proving everyone right (everyone who wouldn’t shut up about how much he sucked) and felt like a failure because of those comments. Very sad.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 6, 2014, 1:40 pm

        When the LW describes her daughter (always tried to please others, always trying to be the keeper of the peace and has always had difficulties making decisions) it reminds me of my sister. I think its tough when you are wanting to please your family and keep the peace, while trying to do the same with your boyfriend.

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 6, 2014, 1:56 pm

        I was in a manipulative/emotionally abusive relationship once. I didn’t see it at the time. It took my therapist telling me to look up abuse to realize that he met nearly all items listed. Not physically. But emotionally. I too, am a people pleaser. I use to try to please others so much, to my own detriment. Finally, I consciously broke the cycle. But I can easily see how it’s easy to get caught up in this kind of thing.
        .
        LW, I think it will take some time for her to realize what’s happening. I don’t know the exact wording you should use to tell her the things you want to tell her. I think you’re on the right path though. Fingers crossed that she figures things out before she walks down the aisle.

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 6, 2014, 1:58 pm

        Also, we’ve started chatting again. Me and the dude. We left on good terms. Despite his behavior, he did help me through a difficult time. Although now that we’re chatting more, I see those familiar patterns resurfacing. Like, makes me feel guilty for things out of my control. So, I’ve taken a step back. Again. Ugh.

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      • Cassie

        Cassie August 6, 2014, 4:27 pm

        I agree with LBH… I think you can (and should) say something. Let it be known that there are concerns. But then it’s time to back off a bit and ask leading questions and such to get them to process and think about the relationship. Say things like, “That sounds a lot to me like signs of abuse.” (Versus, “He’s abusing you!”) Or, “What steps would you have to take to leave?” (Versus, “Just leave him!”) Sometimes directness can backfire and make people defensive, but getting them to do the talking can help them realize things aren’t fine.

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    • Lyra

      Lyra August 6, 2014, 1:38 pm

      Yeah I see your point there. I think if you have a really strong relationship with someone whether it’s a family member or a good friend, they would listen intently, especially if you had some pretty deep concerns about their significant other. I see why people say back off, but at the same time you could also potentially save them from years of misery.

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana August 6, 2014, 1:50 pm

      My best friend dated an emotionally abusive, controlling asshole for 2+ years. We told her at first nicely, some of the warning signs and red flags we noticed, and then sort of ceased to invite him places which is fine because he totally alienating her from us anyways. When they finally got around to breaking up, she apologized to us all for not paying more attention to what we had been saying all along. At that point her relationship with him had basically destroyed her relationship with the majority of us–we are back to being best friends now and that guy remains the biggest mistake of her life-but it can be a fine line. When someone is really in love they tend to not believe the things you can see so clearly as an outsider looking in. I do think though, if we hadn’t all voiced our reservations and continued to say it and not just accepted him lying down-she may not have ever come to the realization of how abusive and terrible he actually was, and she may not have had the strength to leave him, which she has said to us multiple times. So IDK fine line to walk for sure-I think it is important for the person in the relationship to know your feelings, but also that even if they don’t leave the person right then you will still be there when they do wake up and realize the extent to which the person they are with is terrible.

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    Eve August 6, 2014, 4:24 pm

    I feel weird being the only person mentioning this but… why don’t you speak to your daughter about this ?! You aren’t mentioning the fiance being abusive towards your daughter (only towards you) but in the future he definitely will be. I am not saying to tell her: “You aren’t getting married, I am your mother and I know what’s best” because this is ridiculous, but why don’t you invite her for lunch and just tell her that she can tell you anything she wants, that you love her and you want her to be happy, and you genuinely are worried about the person she is getting married to and how well he’ll treat her. Tell her that you only want the best for her and that she deserves somebody who will love her and respect her and want the best for her and give her the freedom to be her own person as well, but you honestly don’t see this in this guy. Be a friend, not just a mum. I would guess that cancelling a wedding is difficult (I am too young to be married lol) but surely getting a messy expensive divorce isn’t much better? By the time the divorce comes she will have invested even more in the relationship, both emotionally and financially. If she doesn’t (want to) get what an abusive ass-hole her fiance is now, what makes you think she will get it when they have tied the knot ? Coming from a family of severe emotional and verbal abuse, believe me, it doesn’t get any easier to realise the abuse, normally you become numb to it and it can wreck you on the inside, and outside. My father is a lot of what the fiance is described to be, he was treating my grandmother very badly too, and after 22 years I can tell you…. once they got married my mum said it became more and more difficult to see things, because there were more things tying them together, then there was me (biggest mistake ever), mutual houses and cars etc. I think once they get married it will be even more difficult to let go…..
    Although I am not a mother, I would guess that if I was in the LW’s daughter’s situation, I would actually like to have someone to talk to me openly about this, but not in a bossy “I know it all” way, but in a friendly and supporting way, wanting to hear how I truly feel, because it seems like no one is really asking the bride how she is feeling in all of this?
    That’s just my (very different) advice, I hope you consider it at least! If you aren’t that close to your daughter then, can’t you think of a best friend/sister/relative she really trusts and opens up to?

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      eve August 6, 2014, 4:31 pm

      Just saw other people have given similar advice and I’ve missed it, sorry!

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        Denise August 6, 2014, 5:48 pm

        EVE,
        You did not mess up. I think some 40 people have all put their heads together to help me. You can’t be expected to remember what was said in all 90 some replies. But, for someone who admits to being too young to get married, you are wise beyond your years. 🙂
        I did talk to my daughter about how he was treating me. He was simultaneously texting her every 2 seconds during that conversation and probably yelled at her later for ignoring him. I told her I was hurt. I mentioned that my late husband would never in a million have spoken to my parents like he did. And if he had, they certainly wouldn’t have turned the other cheek. I also mentioned that he may turn his rage on her one day. But, no one wants to believe they have made a bad life partner choice or that the person they love could be a bad person. I can tell you that 10 years ago I was seriously involved with a charming, very handsome, generous , powerful, wealthy, narcissistic man. Once while waiting at the bar for our table to be ready, I man across the bar kept looking at me. He claimed that I must have been doing something to attract his attention and punished me by not taking me out to diner for a month and he said he would instead pick up takeout on Sat. nights until I learned my lesson. Image a 64 year old man being that insecure and juvenile. It was all about control with him. I broke up with him over an accumulation of his fits and control episodes and he couldn’t accept that I walked away from him. He kept calling me until I demanded that he stop. Interestingly, he did call me recently and we had a nice conversation and I mentioned that I should have stood up to him more and he replied, believe me, you stood up to me plenty. My daughter was too young to understand why I left him. All she could see was the pretty jewelry he had bought me and wondered why any woman would walk away from a man who gave her all those expensive gifts. I guess it took a woman like me who valued herself more than what his money could buy.

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  • SavannahAnna

    SavannahAnna August 6, 2014, 7:21 pm

    Denise, you’re an amazing woman, and I hope that your lovely but people-pleasing daughter will come to her senses before too long. You seem to have an excellent handle on what is “off” about this monstrous man. Best to you and your daughter!

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    Jannera April 28, 2017, 6:05 pm

    My daughter, who is in middle age, and is otherwise sound as a rock, has decided to marry a sociopath as well. Mothers, more than fathers, and friends, are, unfortunately, more responsible for their wellness. Reading what you wrote gives me a clue. You had a “nice conversation.” He gave jewelry and expensive gifts, you say. That’s it. That’s why my daughter is marrying this nothing of a man. She saw me, not accept expensive gifts, or many gifts at all, but, (I did not live with him, saw how I managed things), although I solely supported both her and myself. He was the “dinner out.” But she isn’t in that position. Still.. I have to look to myself for this horrible decision. Why “marriage” at all, with no children involved. I can’t fix this now, although we have talked about things, but I can’t stand there and witness this union either. Frankly, I’m not sure it wouldn’t kill me, and I’m not saying this for effect. Here’s what grabbed me that you wrote: “Interestingly, he did call me recently and we had a nice conversation and I mentioned that I should have stood up to him more and he replied, believe me, you stood up to me plenty. My daughter was too young to understand why I left him. All she could see was the pretty jewelry he had bought me and wondered why any woman would walk away from a man who gave her all those expensive gifts. I guess it took a woman like me who valued herself more than what his money could buy.”

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      anonymousse April 29, 2017, 2:57 pm

      This letter is three years old.
      Not everything your daughter does has anything to do with you.

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    Denise September 22, 2017, 7:07 pm

    ORIGINAL POSTER UPDATE
    I’d like to thank everyone who responded. Some really great advise!
    The wedding ended up being postponed as they moved 2,000 miles away for his new job opportunity.
    2 years ago I got a crying phone call from her asking me to fly out and drive back across the Country with her. I ran over to my next door neighbor’s house and we did a little jig and then she drove me to the airport. My daughter was an emotional basket case and lost 20 lbs the first 2 weeks she was back home. She refused look at another man for an entire year! But, here is the good news ladies – she met a wonderful guy while hiking with friends from work and they have been happily together ever since.
    So, I write this to thank those of you whose advise was helpful to me and to give hope to other mothers and to young girls who think they may never love again.

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