hi, so i'm not quite sure where to start, as the person i have a problem with, is probably the most complicated individual i have ever met and/or heard about in life or in media. but the core of the problem is such: my boyfriend and i are planning to get married. my dad is aware that we have been together for a while now, and that it's a serious relationship, but he completely totally and utterly refuses to acknowledge it's existence other than to occasionally comment on how i should be more open to "meeting other people".
i don't want to completely ruin my relationship with my dad, but i do have to find some reasonable way to tell him i wish to get married without it leading to several hours worth of screaming and various implications of my fiance being a Casanova or being part of some mafia or both and worse.
Well, obviously your dad doesn't like him.
The question is, why not? Because he's looking out for his own interests - because you're 'his little girl (and no-one else's)'? Or because he's looking out for yours - ie. isn't blinded by rose-tinteds and can see incompatibilities between you and this fiance?
What are you calling a while now?
Has your dad EVER acknowledged the relationship?
And who said he was a Casanova or mafia or both/worse? And who screamed? Or are you anticipating screaming? WHY?
Also, type out for me some of your dad's passive-aggressive statements as contained these implications (as fully as you can, please) and I'll be able to tell where he's coming from. If you've got any email from him, that would be even better.
i'll go in the order of your questions.
1. they have met all of one time. afterwards, my dad criticized my fiance for being too relaxed (which he really wasn't) so therefore he doesn't care about the impression he makes, and for not talking about "how he is always ready to help me and support me" instead. he himself did not ask my fiance a single question during the two hours. and he doesn't like his face, as it seems too jewish for him, and therefore my fiance is an evil manipulator, because that's my father's experience.
2. a while means we've been together for two and a half, and my dad has been aware of it for about a year.
3. only to criticize it. he never asks me anything even remotely connected to my fiance. we spent the new year together elsewhere, and he didn't even ask if i had a nice evening. nothing.
4. my dad said those things. he screamed. i am anticipating screaming, because that's how he communicates when talking about topics that are emotional and we disagree on. if the topic is not emotional, ad we disagree on it it is only quiet accusations with a glare that would make flowers wilt.
5. some of his statements:
- the most recent event, (and i believe the fist time he actually ever said my fiance's name) is when we all seemed to have misplaced an external cd drive, and my dad remembers me saying that my fiance had it sometime last winter. and since he didn't find it, and i didn't, then my fiance must have it. his exact words were something along these lines: i don't know how it is now, but when i borrowed something from someone, then i used it as quickly as i could, and then ran over to the owner to return it safe and sound... there was more, and he somehow made it all sound like my fiance stole the damned thing, when i told him this, he said, that he said no such thing, and meant that he is irresponsible.
- he's also said that he plans to use me. will have me work, take my money and then leave me when i'm all used up, with evil jewish kids to care for, and when he's thirty go marry a jewish girl, because that's what jews do.
- he's encouraged me multiple times to "look around", be friendlier to other guys, try to meet new guys when i go out or to a ball, maybe make an acquaintance when i'm simply on my way somewhere, and hence bugs me about how i should dress to be more approachable and more looking like the educated beautiful girl i am so the right kind of guys will pay attention to me.
- every time when i go to my fiance's family's place for a few nights there is some sort of screamery involved some times random topics, other times he explains how weird it is for a boy to bring a random girl home. the sort of relationship we have and the sort where the partner is brought home to the parents are in his mind completely different ones.
- last winter i had told him when we went to buy an engagement ring, i wear it now. he has yet to say anything about this fact. i even showed him a picture of it. he looked at it for a few seconds and walked out of my room.
so these are the main ones, i think, well, the ones that i remember best at least. i can think of more if there is need.
1. "and this/that/this.............oh, and he's Jewish".
Righto. So we seemingly can know what his ACTUAL problem with your fiance is, then, don't we. (Well disguised, dad. *Not*)
So your dad has reactive issues with Jewish people.
2. Yep, 2.5 years is a long and comprehensive enough test-drive. I imagine you've seen how fiance handles under pretty much all weathers and road conditions by now, yes? Certainly in micro form as would allow you to extrapolate to the full-blown, actual future situations.
Wait up. Why am I even continuing with this when we've just established what your dad's actual problem is? Duh. LOL
Listen, unless you picked a Jewish man out of some delayed need to rebel against your dad (and I can appreciate why you might), this - where you're at - is precisely where your parents parented you to, including you having an independent mind capable of making its own choices/decisions or later mistakes.
But it's little wonder you went from male with tendency to become screaming banshee to Mr Laid Back, isn't it.
What I WOULD say as word of warning, however, is make sure you're not swinging from one extreme to the other, opposite extreme because... picture the circular continuum as if a world atlas: North : Laid Back. East : Capable of pushiness but mainly laid-back. South : Gung-ho pushy sometimes, laid-back sometimes (i.e. balanced individual). West : Pushy. Back to North: Control Freak. Here is where the circle is snipped then opens out to lay flat as a STICK as features 'ends' that we call 'extreme opposites'. Not opposite at all, are they. NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOURS.
Is fiance genuinely laid back or is he apt to be passive-aggressive using laid-back-ness as a cover where your dad tends mainly to get *overtly*, i.e. honestly, aggressive (particularly as a defense method)?
Has your test drive included humdinger type arguments yet? What was fiance like? Was he [a] cooperative or did he [b] 'go limp' whereby you couldn't get any real sense out of him nor certainly DEAL with the issues at hand? Or in fact, [c] did Mr Laid Back become just like dad ("rah-rah-rah!!!!")?
Because it may NOT be that your fiance being Jewish is the egg and his 'irresponsibile' ways the chicken. It may be that your dad is right on this score and merely trying for mental efficiency + lack of male articulation's sake to sum up as well as justify it using the fact that fiance's Jewish. After all, I can't argue with this statement of dad's:
"i don't know how it is now, but when i borrowed something from someone, then i used it as quickly as i could, and then ran over to the owner to return it safe and sound".
That fiance didn't return it (when logically, he was the last person to have it), does speak volumes about his deeper character in terms of core moral settings. HOWEVER, it could equally speak POSITIVE volumes, as in, here is a young man who can rebel against pressure, including against your dad (read on). However, it IS passive-aggressive to whoops- lose or forget to return something of your dad's.
Whereas this one's a grey one:
"and when he's thirty go marry a jewish girl, because that's what jews do."
That IS what they're pressured to do, it's true. But then so are WE societally and parentally pressured in whatever ways. Pressure isn't the point, is it. It's a person's strength of character and convictions as dictates whether they'll toe everyone else's line just to keep everyone else happy first, themselves second, OR s*d the emotional-blackmailing lure of so-called Popularity, they would rather take pride in their confidence to go their own way. So - question: Have you sampled or seen proof of fiance's independent-mindedness, faith in his convictions and ability to go OVERTLY AND TRANSPARENTLY I.E. HONESTLY against the herd rather than in sneaky whoops-a-daisy ways?
Whether you want to think harder about your choice given that your dad does have a point here and there, or whether you just want to make dad remember his etiquette and butt out, my suggestion would be to say this (like the now equal adult you are or purport to be):
'Dad, I am 'here' because 'here' is where you and mum influenced or downright dictated my steps to end up. So it's a bit late complaining about it now. Saying that, if you and I place a hefty wager on whether my Jewish lad will turn out to be "just like all the rest", I'm game if you are (and I'll even, come the time, let you do a victory dance). Because me, I *am* sure of my own judgement powers. HOWEVER, the rules include that you don't HELP it along a downwards trajectory - NOT EVEN REMOTELY - to where it eventually, inevitably crumbles, by behaving nothing like a dignified, gentleman patriarch... because that would be CHEATING, meaning, you'll automatically lose the bet and have to pay up. That means, as far as all interactions with my future husband are concerned, you get over yourself and your own personal feelings and opinions about it and pretend you like him to the point where even I end up convinced. Deal? If not, keep your uninvited, unwanted opinions to yourself like a grown adult who can understand how my business is ultimately my business and mine alone now that I'm an adult, thank-you very much'.
If he can't bring himself to spit and shake hands over a quite significant sum - enough that he'd miss it if paid out - then he'll be literally refusing to put his money where his mouth is, meaning, you'll know for certain his attitude holds zero substance aside from personal baggage aimed at your fiance's race rather than fiance the individual. If YOU can't bring yourself to spit and shake, then the inference is likewise clear, isn't it, meaning, more test-driving is required before you sign your life away on that dotted line.
PS: What do you MEAN, when *we* went to buy an engagement ring? Why didn't fiance buy it alone and then present it to you on bended knee? And what does dad mean by 'the sort of relationship you have' as opposed to the type that warrants introduction to parents?
first of all, wow SOULMATE! thank you so much for the long reply!!
the thing is, he's not actually jewish. he just has a large enough nose to make my dad think it. and there is nothing i can do to convince him otherwise, because according to him that is nonsense that is used to "powder my ears." basically, a distraction that has nothing to do with the truth.
and as for the cd drive. i have no idea who had it last, i seem to remember getting it back home, but this summer we renovated my room, and everything went in boxes and different places, and i have no idea where the disc could now be because everything is in a different place than it had been before, i could have just as easily put it somewhere with my dad's things and he hasn't found it. so the thing really may be anywhere.
about the ring: fiance is indecisive, and in the russian orthodox faith there are no engagement rings, so we picked it out together, since we have very different preferences in jewelry, which can coincide in very unpredictable ways, and we wanted us both to like it, as we'll be looking at the thing for quite a while. he then proposed later.
about this: "And what does dad mean by 'the sort of relationship you have' as opposed to the type that warrants introduction to parents?" - i have no idea what so ever. i believe he seems to delude himself into thinking we're just a casual fling. i don't know what else he could possibly be meaning by it.
fiance is not passive-agressive. when we have an issue we discuss it rather than screaming at each other like reasonable adults and not toddlers throwing a temper tantrum. as for the laid-back-ness, yeah he is laid back on most things, but if he has a strong opinion, then it is a very firm one. he has sufficient stubbornness in him. as for independent-mindedness... well, he's not at all one to 'go with the crowd' so to speak.
the bet would be a wonderful idea (i'd do it in a heartbeat), if i weren't positive he would take it as an insult. a very very bad one. aside from the fact that gambling is not something a self-respecting person would do (in his oppinion), it's not just random gambling, it's about my future, and he, as my parent, has complete responsibility over how happy/successful i'll be in life (in his opinion). i think it could be edited to take the money part out of it.
WTF - YOUR FELLA ISN'T EVEN JEWISH, HE JUST HAS A JEWISH-LOOKING NOSE? Oh, ye GODS! Does your father avoid people with LEGS as well???
Gaffaw-gaffaw! Someone up his meds!
Sorry. But I find that unbelievable. Christ, you poor thing!
Listen, at this point (everything noted) I suggest you just ignore and/or humour your dad and to whatever he says, say nothing but this: "Noted. Thanks for your thoughts". You're not going to win over this in the short term because he sounds like he has distinct problems requiring professional intervention (therapy). Or possibly (hopefully!) is simply too proud (old school) to reveal his terror about losing 'his little girl'.
There are easy solutions to this, but, before I give them... Are you an only child? Where's your mum? And am I guessing correctly that you and fiance have plans your dad knows about to move quite far away, geographically, once married?
no, only people with noses. (thank god)
i am an only child. my mother is currently with us, but because of work she's out of the country for most of the year. she has a normal human reaction to the whole situation and neither of us knows what to do with my dad.
we have no immediate plans to move far away, because we'll be doing our phd's at our current work places, which will take another 4-5 years. after that who knows. with the current political situation anything may happen in this time frame.
"no, only people with noses. (thank god)"
Only child, mum absent - right, got it.
Your dad feels HIGHLY insecure. So what you have to do is box clever in planting in him the idea that he is NOT going to lose his only daughter but merely GAIN a 'son'. Berbom. Fear always blocks this otherwise-bleedin'-obvious brain-wave.
I suggest your partner and you buy a new external CD drive but that your partner puts only his name to it, accompanied by a note swearing on his mum's life that he was NOT the one to lose it but, despite that, because he doesn't want the two men who most love his daughter to not get on, here, for her happiness's sake, is a gesture of goodwill which he hopes your dad will accept in the spirit in which it's intended.
If that doesn't make your dad feel totally ashamed and like a right cad then nothing will.