LDR revisited; seeking advice

Hi everyone.

I made a thread here probably 7-8 months ago which outlined (in great detail) my long distance relationship. I’ll give you a brief summary of things and where they stand now and you can interpret it from there.

I live near Pittsburgh, she lives near Toronto. We met online almost 2 years ago and have been hitting it off ever since. I’ve visited her maybe 10-12 times, and her first visit is coming up this May. I asked her to marry me about a month ago and she said yes. I’m totally thrilled! :slight_smile:

That said, her parents have NEVER been supportive of this entire ordeal. Ever. In fact, she lived at home (she is 27, I’m almost 24) for the first 6-7 visits and they never even knew about them. They are of Maltese descent and very religious/traditional. They know of me, but as far as I know, they don’t think any contact has taken place.

Fast forward to when she moved out. That was an ordeal in itself, but she knew that the only way this would work is if she moved out on her own. She’s a vet tech making ends meet in a cheap basement (though nice) of her landlord’s home. She loves the freedom, but she goes home probably 3 weeks of the month on the weekend. She works on Saturday, so this is mostly just Saturday evening/most of Sunday.

She has no car so the visitations have been fairly one-sided. Up there, taking the bus everywhere is not terribly uncommon, and with gas being probably the equivalent of $5/gallon, she wouldn’t really be able to afford a car. Megabus recently added a line directly to Pittsburgh from Toronto, so she booked that for a meager $2.50. I’m sure it won’t be a luxury trip, but it’ll get her here, so we’re thrilled about that.

She wants to tell her folks that she is coming here. She plans on telling them of the engagement when she returns. The problem? Her mother basically freaked out when she moved out 4-5 months ago. I can’t imagine how this is going to go over. It was basically manipulative threats (ie: “Your dad doesn’t love me, I’ll hurt myself, blah blah blah”), and unfortunately she almost caved into the pressure if I had not been there to support her in the decision.

I’m sure I missed some details, so feel free to ask questions, but how do you think she should present this to her mother? Keep in mind, she seems to care deeply for her parents in spite of their lack of support for her doing anything that doesn’t involve living at home forever. They seem to be very co-dependent, and she has had a habit of indulging that. Moving out was a huge step, and a necessary one, but I hate to see what reaction this will get.

Jeez, elninost0rm. How does your family view this situation?

My only advice would be RUN - which I’m sure is not what you want to hear.

So I guess the next best thing, is save up to buy that big house so that in a few years short years, her parents can move in.

You’re only 23 (I know, I know - almost 24). Your fiance is only a few years from 30, and it sounds like she’s 15 when it comes to dealing with her mother - that crazy pass-me-the-knife cryer, currently the potential grandmother of your kids (the ones you might have). No kid plans? No worries. She’ll just be the crazy, histrionic mother-in-law. Making two lives hell is just as much fun.

Think your fiance’s controlled by her parents now? Wait 'til you’re the (never accepted) son-in-law. Remember - you’re not just marrying her; you marrying her family. That you know her parents are very traditional, and you didn’t approach her father with your intention to marry, is a curious thing to have done.

Being happily married is sometimes challenging enough, without this drama-filled crap-o-rama even before it starts.

That she’s accepted your proposal is good (for you) - that she’s all ‘secrets and lies’ about it with her parents is bad (for you). Now, and in the future.

If you’re not going to run away, then run away together. Far, far away.

I appreciate the advice, but running is not really an option. Yes, I know, it’s always an option, but I love her and we’ll make this work.

It didn’t take too much coercion for her to take the steps to move out. She did it on her own, with a little bit of advice from me. Granted, I don’t think she would’ve made that decision without my support, but then again, I don’t think she’d have a reason to do so. She is able to financially support herself on her own, but not comfortably nor long-term. Staying at home would, from a financial standpoint, probably be the safest bet. The problem is that doing so would be cancerous to not only her mental health but our relationship as well.

No kids. We’ve already both fully discussed it. That doesn’t really make the situation less complicated, but it rules out the idea of her grandchildren wondering why they never/rarely see her and why “they always scowl at Daddy.”

I know the “marrying the family” cliche, and it does ring true a bit. Fortunately, my parents don’t live very far from me and they have been extremely supportive of this entire ordeal. They’ve come with me on visits several times and have been very receptive to my fiance. I’ve started to understand that she wants (and plans) to leave there, and it’s basically an “oh well” situation if they don’t ever accept me (or us). It’s harsh, but families have become shattered from far less than this.

“Controller by her parents” is a pretty strong notion. I definitely agreed with you until she moved out and does most things completely independent of them now. I think it’s moreso the fact that she is concerned what will happen to them if she leaves, and that’s been a tough selling point. I think it’d be natural for anyone to have that “flaw” in this situation, but that’s me.

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the feedback, but any other thoughts on how to actually present this in the way least prone to creating hostility (yeah, dream on, right?)

As far as “far, far away” is concerned, we’ll be roughly ~6 hours from her home. It’s not inconceivable, but it should be sufficient to maintain a nice buffer should amends fail to be made.

EDIT: I touched on it a bit already, but my parents are very optimistic about this situation. They can’t possibly understand why her parents are so against her daughter living her own life, but they understand that if permanent changes need to be made, then they need to be made.

I think “run” is pretty dramatic.

If we all ran from potential spouses because of challenging family situations there would be no relationships at all. And, it sounds like your lady is equally committed to this relationship as you; moving out is a major step.

I think the “solution” to the problem is just to tell her parents she’s engaged. The parents will not change (or might, but very slowly), and there is no way to tell them that will make them not freak out. Taking that step and allowing any potential hostility to come out and then eventually diffuse is really the only option.

That’s pretty much the way we were going to approach it, I think.

Get all the fuming out of the way and then begin the immigration process. They’ll have several months (maybe more depending on the red tape) to fully process the news and (maybe) be a little less hostile towards it. It’ll probably kick back up when she actually comes here to live, but at least it won’t come as a shock.

Not really. She’s 27, had to be “coerced” by you to move because staying with her parents was “cancerous” to her “mental health” and your relationship; does “most things” (not all) independently of her parents, and regularly returns home to stay overnight. She’s concerned about “what will happen” to her parents because she’s moved, and you and I will agree to disagree on how “natural” that is.

The engagement news will come full circle for them, really. Firstly, ‘they have NEVER been supportive of this entire ordeal.’ Currently, they are under the delusion that ‘no contact has taken place.’ Which is comforting for them, because they either don’t like you, or don’t like anyone being involved with their daughter.

Your happy news will blow their minds because of this alone. Their initial reaction will be that you two hardly know each other - being that they only know ‘of’ you - and the 6 or 7 times, (not the 10 or 12) that you’ve visited her hometown. (I’m guessing these trips did not include visiting them.) At that point, I figure you’ll have to 'fess up that the relationship has been going on for 2 years - which will not engender any kind of trust in you, and will probably have them question the trust they have in their daughter.

So, they will NEVER be supportive of this entire ordeal. Probably moreso, since in their minds, it will be because of you that their daughter has ‘abandoned’ them twice: the first time to live uncomfortably when she could have stayed home with them; the second time to live an unfathomable distance away with somebody they don’t even know.

Accept the likelihood of being blamed for everything that ‘destroys’ them, and hope that time will soften the blow. Realise that no matter how you put it, you can’t break the engagement news to them gently, or in any manner that will have them rejoice with you both. Adopt the ‘oh well’ attitude, because as you say, you love each other enough to make it work, and your parents are optimistic and supportive.

elninost0rm, is seems that you’re not going to be there with her when she tells them the great/shattering news - I’m wrong about that, aren’t I?

I would gladly be there if she wants me to be there. I had no intention of storming the castle, but I am not opposed to the idea whatsoever if it comes to that. They’ll have to meet me eventually, whether they disapprove of me or not.

I just realized that encasing all of my text and setting it off with nothing but italics probably wasn’t the best move. Please note that 6Impossible did not say anything that is italicized.

I would think the wisest choice would be for you to go there, meet her parents, and ask for their daughter’s hand. If they decline, at least you can say you did the right thing. Is there a particular reason you’re doing it the opposite way, her visiting you and coming back engaged?

I’m not sure I understand why you’ve never met them.

I’ve never met them because they don’t want to meet me. She has already asked them to meet me (and my parents as well, they’re such charming folks, too!), and they refused. That pretty much rules out anything related to asking permission, making sure they’re okay with it, etc.

Salem, more of the same thing above, really. We’ve tried the conventional approach and that don’t seem to want to have any part of it. She avoids telling them of visits for pretty much the same reason. We’ve been fairly incognito about the whole thing mainly out of necessity. I told my parents when I started talking to her 2 years ago. They’ve been smitten by her ever since. Why it won’t work both ways is not really up to me, I guess.

Essentially, I guess the best approach is “break the news and brace for impact.” Unfortunate, but seemingly the way it’s gonna be.

Then maybe you should simply call them, and extend an invitation to meet you and your parents because you intend to be part of their daughter’s life.

If they reject this offer, let them know to expect an invitation to the engagement celebrations. It means the world to their daughter, you, and your parents that they are there to share in this joyous ocassion, and you and your fiance accept that it is a choice for them to make. Should they decide not to attend, it will not change the way you feel about each other.

I’d treat the whole thing like I was ripping a super-adhesive bandaid off the underarm of an angry gorilla.

Ok, since you’ve tried to do the right things by them, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. She’s old enough and then some to make her own decisions and she’s given them the opportunity to share in that and they’ve refused. Break the news and brace both of yourselves for impact. Hope she’s strong enough to withstand the ammo with which her parents will be barraging you. I also hope your relationship is strong enough to take the hit for an extended period after the novelty and charm of moving away to get married wears off. It’s nice she’ll have your parents support to help her through. That will be a really important link for her, along with any friends she can make. best of luck!

Yeah, a phone call is a good idea. I just would like to avoid that kind of anonymity while they will (likely) take it out on their daughter, or at least shun her, reject her invitations to visit, etc. I don’t want to make her last several months there uncomfortable, but I suppose that’s going to be inevitable if she tells them anyway.

We fully intend to invite them to any and all celebrations even if the mother threatens to remove my scrotum and cook it on an open flame when my fiance breaks the news.

Pretty sound analogy, though. :smiley:

Another thing I don’t quite understand, elninost0rm - the “being incognito out of necessity” thing. You’re both adults. Not teenagers. And nobody’s underaged.

Thank you for the kind words.

Those are all very important questions, but if we never took any chances, there wouldn’t be much of a point. They will be answered in time, and I think any relationship eventually runs into any or all of them.

She has expressed concerns me to that she is scared things won’t work out, but don’t confuse this with lack of confidence in the relationship. It seems like a very normal concern for anyone, especially someone moving 300 miles to live with their partner. Sometimes, you have to just weigh the options, take the jump, and hope for the best.

My parents have actually been a huge help in all of this. They provided furniture for her and other decorations for her apartment. Her mom provided her with some things, but they have not (and refuse to see) her apartment. :smack: To me, that’s just not normal. At all. It’s just a huge, explosive case of holding the sand too tightly.

Perhaps I used the wrong word. Something like that is not too uncommon for me. I just meant that we’re keeping things secretive for the sake of her having to deal with their wrath when she visits home, goes out for occasional meals with them, etc. She doesn’t want to deal with that.

That being said, she will have to deal with it to a degree after breaking the news, or just not see them at all if the storm is that severe. She knows it and I know it.

Dealing with the wrath is, as you say, inevitable. And I wouldn’t worry about trying to avoid being anonymous. You already are.

I pretty much am, yeah. They know of me and that we’re a “thing,” but nothing more than that really.

I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I’d man up, go there and introduce myself. Even if you end up with barbequed balls, it would at least prove you had them in the first place. I just think that if her father is traditional, and a man’s man, even if he doesn’t like you, he’d gotta respect you for that.

Nobody’s ever died from being screamed at. Even if the back-up weapon of tears is deployed.