Once they were engaged a year ago, 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. 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 (next summer) 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. Realizing that $5,000 was not going to cover all of the wedding expenses if the guest list wasn’t cut, I asked them 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 while 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. 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.”
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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