My father doesn't approve of my fiancée -- how to reconcile?
August 10, 2016 3:32 AM   Subscribe

My father very much does not approve of my fiancée -- how should I proceed?

I'm 28 and newly engaged to my girlfriend of 3 years. We've been living together for the last two years and we're a great couple -- very loving, communicative, best friends, great partnership. She's an introvert and while she's made an effort to connect with my family, my father and sister haven't done the same and as such don't have much of a relationship with her. She is a very different person with a very different background than my family so this contributes to the rift. My mother has been slow to warm up to her but now really likes her.

After announcing our engagement my father said that I'm making a mistake, she's not the one for me, and I shouldn't get married until I'm at least 32 because I'm going to change so much by then. My parents are divorced and my father's wife was also divorced -- I think this plays into it. They both married the wrong person the first time and don't want me to do the same. While I tell my family about all the great times we have together, I have also have called them crying on two occasions after big fights. These have only occurred twice but now this is all my dad sees and thinks that our relationship is always on the brink of failure.

On the one hand I want to ignore his opinion and make my own decision but on the other hand we're really close and I feel like his judgement has some value in my decision. But we're also very different people with vastly different values and he really hasn't made the effort to get to know my fiancée. She definitely doesn't tick off his boxes for what he values but she does for me. He also doesn't want me to settle down so early and if he had his way I'd be having kids at age 50 like he is.

How should I go about having this conversation and reconciling? He's made up his mind and won't budge. I very much love my fiancée and want to marry her and raise a family with her, though his strength of conviction and the very important nature of this choice makes me question my decision.

Extra layer of complication: I am going to very expensive graduate school next year and he is going to pay for it. I fear he might withdraw support if I do not change my course. I choose life with my fiancée over $200k of bribery but it definitely complicates this conversation.

Lastly: should I tell my fiancée about this? She knows she hasn't been able to develop a connection which has been a bit of a sore subject for her as she's normally the person everyone loves, but she doesn't know how strongly my father feels about it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Easy part first - don't tell your fiancee about this.

Second, t's not a conversation you need to have with your father - it's one you need to have with yourself.

You seem conflicted about if *you* should be marrying her. If what you say here:

I very much love my fiancée and want to marry her and raise a family with her

is the "truest truth," your father's opinion won't really matter so much. But that fact that you are questioning that decision based on your father's disapproval, and even letting financial issues affect your thinking, suggest that you yourself are more unsure than you let on.

If you choose to marry this woman, you will need to have her back. You will need to choose her, over your father, every day, and make it clear to your family that she is your priority. Don't go into a marriage being unwilling to do that.
posted by pantarei70 at 3:58 AM on August 10, 2016 [60 favorites]

Don't tell your fiancée, it would make things more difficult and not improve them.

No one has any guarantees. Being older isn't any guarantee. Your dad is representing a protective route for you, which is normal, and you're representing the hopeful unknown route, which is normal. Two years is not a long time to get to know someone in the overall scheme of a life together. It won't always look like this.

If you have to talk with your dad, I think you say something like what you've said here: I understand you've made up your mind and won't budge, but I very much love my fiancée and want to marry her and raise a family with her. I hope in time you'll come to love and appreciate her as family.
posted by cocoagirl at 4:06 AM on August 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

- your father's opinion has no place in your relationship/marriage. You must not allow him to comment. Repeat: "it's not up for discussion, dad. If you mention it again, I am ending this phone call/leaving the house."
- do not call him to discuss your fiancee ever. Big mistake.
- don't tell her about your dad's feelings. Always reassure her that your dad's failure to connect with her is your dad's problem and does not influence your feelings. Make sure this is actually true.
- Getting married means that you support and protect and fight for your wife against the rest of the world, including your family of origin. She has your back, you have hers.
- Don't make your future wife deal with an asshole. if your dad continues to disrespect your marriage/relationship and your wife, if he won't stop saying negative things about her, threaten to cut him off entirely. Then do so.

Being married means that you commit to never seeing your family of origin again, if they refuse to behave decently to your wife.

Think about it. Are you ready for this conmitment? Are you certain she is worth it?

If not, you need to break off this relationship. Because if you make your wife miserable by waffling around, by constantly compromising with assholes because you are scared to stand up to them or not sure if maybe they are right about your wife...then it's not your dad who's the problem, it's you.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:09 AM on August 10, 2016 [22 favorites]

"While I tell my family about all the great times we have together, I have also have called them crying on two occasions after big fights. These have only occurred twice but now this is all my dad sees and thinks that our relationship is always on the brink of failure. "

This worries me. We are different people, but the only time I ever called my folks crying about my last long-term relationship was when my ex and I decided to take a break which we both felt would likely lead to a permanent separation (and did).

This is going to come across as judgemental when I don't mean it to be, but if I were your dad, this would say to me that your relationship may not quite be mature enough to move into marriage at the moment, even if the above happened a year or more ago. Your dad might well be being unreasonable, but he also has grounds to suspect that you guys aren't always the most stable.

How long an engagement are you planning? I'd aim for at least a year, two if possible, unless there are other reasons to rush forward. Then you can have a conversation with your dad along the lines of, "I hear you and we are going to wait before actually marrying, and take our time to consider and make sure that this is the right decision for us. But I am hoping that it will ultimately result in marriage, and it means a lot to me for you to support me in this as much as you can".

Lastly, of course don't tell your partner anything hurtful that your dad has said. As has been said above, you need to be their protector and their cheerleader. But do talk to them about timescales, and giving yourselves time to make sure that this is the right decision before jumping in. And ensure you have plans to make sure that you can resolve disputes in future without them becoming so upsetting.
posted by greenish at 4:25 AM on August 10, 2016 [45 favorites]

Listen to the old man. What's the rush?
posted by Rash at 5:14 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I choose life with my fiancée over $200k of bribery but it definitely complicates this conversation.

Then do that. If you take the money you have to listen to the bullshit.
posted by fixedgear at 5:21 AM on August 10, 2016 [13 favorites]

I disagree that your father's financial help with your graduate career earns him the right to have input into your choice of marriage partner. They are entirely separate things. Parents often help their adult children launch themselves. It still doesn't mean the parent has bought rights into every personal facet of the child's autonomous life. If these two aren't separate realms, then it's indeed a bribe and is a means of controlling you not a desire to help you.
I think your task is to realize your own adult boundaries. If you marry, you are going to have to support your wife if and when her in-laws transgress the appropriate norms of politely warm, accepting, in-law behavior. You have to know she is your family now. If you don't know that yet, don't get married yet. But that wouldn't be because your father necessarily knew what was best for you; it would have been because you aren't quite ready to assert your independence from him.
posted by flourpot at 5:35 AM on August 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

In theory spending multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars should not entitle you to no input on someone's choices. In actuality fixedgear is right that if someone spends that kind of money on you it's hard to ignore their opinions.

32 is not that old. If someone offered me 200K for school I would put off the marriage and take that enormous life-changing opportunity. Graduate school is challenging enough that putting marriage off until after it is over might be a good idea from the time management perspective, anyway.
posted by winna at 5:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [13 favorites]

I find myself wondering why your dad doesn't like her.

If it's more a personality clash, or a clash of values, then I think you should look inside yourself and work on separating yourself from your family emotionally, and I think that you should let the chips fall where they may, grad-program-wise.

Frankly, when you say that your dad would withhold his financial support because he doesn't like your fiancee, that makes me doubt his judgment. Either he wants to help you make a career or he doesn't - is his rationale that he doesn't want you to have a good career if you're going to be making a family with that woman, or something? That's ridiculous. Even if you had a disastrous first marriage, having a good grad degree would be a plus.

Also, this whole "oh, men should intentionally stay single, live it up 'til they're fifty and marry a younger woman and have kids" model is sexist, for one, and risky, for another. Being a younger dad has a lot of upsides - you have more energy, your own parents are alive and more likely to be healthy and can both enjoy and help with your children and your odds of serious health problems start to climb in your forties. If one happens to have kids at fifty, sure - but it's not the ideal plan. And while you might, at fifty, meet a much younger woman who would be a great partner and share your life goals, it's going to be more difficult, since you'll be at such a different life stage. Again, if it works out that way, great - but as a life plan it has risks. It's not something that I think a responsible father would hold out as a life goal for a son.

I am worried that you're letting your dad shake you on this because what I glean of your dad in your question does not impress me.

In terms of the fights - how often do you fight? Calling your parents after a fight seems like too much enmeshment to me, although that might be sexism talking - I wonder if I'd feel the same if a woman called her mom. If you've had two big fights in three years and resolved them and generally don't fight, you should consider whether you have adequate boundaries with your family. If you fight a lot, or those fights aren't resolved, that's concerning, of course.
posted by Frowner at 5:50 AM on August 10, 2016 [32 favorites]

The next time your dad brings it up, just look him in the eye, and with a slow contented, cat-who-ate-the-canary smile dawning on your face, say "Some mistakes are worth making."

If your fiancee is across the room when you say it, look at her like you're a starving person being offered cake. She's the best thing that ever happened to you, and it doesn't matter if it all goes to shit at some point.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:50 AM on August 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

Part of the ritual and purpose of getting married is starting a new family (even if you don't plan on having kids) and cutting the apron strings of your old family. Once you are married you and your spouse should be a unified front. Now, people come from alllllll different types of families, and some families are closer than others, but it worries me that, at almost 30 years of age, you are so dependent on your parents for both emotional and financial support. In my opinion, you should have struck out on your own a long time ago.

There are a lot of details missing from this question, including the age of your fiance, your cultural background, if you have any siblings and what your birth order is, and more. But my gut feeling is that if you don't put your foot down on what I view as controlling behavior on the part of your father, your marriage will suffer from it, possibly forever. And even if you don't marry this girl, whart are the odds that you'll find another woman who meets both ALL of you, and ALL of your families, requirements.

Time to set some boundaries.
posted by Brittanie at 5:59 AM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

All I needed to read was your headline, "My father doesn't approve of my fiancee."

What a bummer for him. Good thing he's not marrying her.

In all seriousness, though, please keep in mind that getting engaged and planning a wedding and having a wedding and being married are all separate steps in the process. The planning and having of a wedding are seriously labor intensive! And if you're going to be in B-school for that time, all the work will fall to your fiancee. If that's what she wants, awesome, but you might want to talk to HER about your future together and get her thoughts on the reality of the rigors of B-school and her support role there, if any. I know a ton of guys who got married while in B-school and their courseload and workload caused a lot of resentment in the planning stages for the wedding because they seriously did not have the bandwidth to contribute. Bad timing, no one's fault, but tough to navigate. Talk to your fiancee about this, not your dad!

What should you talk to your dad about? Well, I'd start with asking the obvious question. "Dad, I love her, and I want to marry her. She's going to be by my side while I work on B-school, regardless of whether she's my wife or my fiancee. Is marrying her soon going to jeopardize the very generous gift you've offered me?" See what he says.
posted by juniperesque at 5:59 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd have a slow, low-key engagement with ideally some kind of opportunity for fiancé and folks to bond in a low-key setting. What would that be? Things they like? Positive experiences together in the past that could happen again?

Naturally if you have relationship problems again, find someone else to talk to to prevent worsening "fiancé is a problem for my child" syndrome.

It is your decision to marry or not, not your dad's, and you don't need to wait until an arbitrary age to get permission. It sounds like your dad has already voiced his concerns, so I'd take that conversation off the table. "We already discussed this."

If the school money dynamic makes you feel weird (sounds like it) I'd find a cheaper school and figure out how to do it yourself to avoid the possibility of that dynamic. Discuss potential worst scenario options with financial aid office of expensive place?
posted by sacchan at 6:03 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

"Dad, you helped raise me to be a smart, strong, independent person who can take input, analyze it, and use it to make the right choices for myself. I have heard and analyzed your input, and I am grateful for it, and I will use it to make the right choices for myself."

(Tangentially, I've had kids at 31 and 42, and I regret delaying the second one.)
posted by Etrigan at 6:18 AM on August 10, 2016

This is not advice, simply a hopeful anecdote:

Recently my father revealed that when he asked my grandfather for Mom's hand in marriage, Grandpa didn't actually like him either. But Grandpa didn't just tell Mom that - Grandpa actually told my father that, to his face, in a ninety-second rant about how Mom was too good for him. But then he grudgingly relented.

And Dad and Mom married and just kept on keepin' on, and three years later, by the time I was born, Grandpa thought the sun shone out of Dad's ass.

I say that simply to encourage you that sometimes parents do come around.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on August 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

Similar to EmpressCallipygos, my mom's parents apparently HATED my dad to the point of literally kicking him out of their house at one point when they were dating! I would never have known this growing up -- by the time they had kids, my grandparents loved my parents. I'm not saying it always works out this way, but I think parents can often have misgivings about their kid's partner, especially if there are different cultures/values involved (as was the case with my parents). If everyone involved really is good people, I think it can work out in the end.

Ultimately this sounds like a great case for a long engagement. I was also in grad school when I got engaged, but we waited a couple of years to get married because there was no way I could have handled wedding planning on top of finishing school. It was 100% the right choice -- if you're committed to the relationship, you'll still be married in the end but with way less stress. In this case, your family could get more used to your fiancee and you could get the most out of your graduate program.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:36 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Lot of pile-up here on how dad is so irrelevant. I'd like to know what those fights were that you called him about and why you called him crying about your fiancee. The question isn't what he feels about your fiancee. The question is whether some part of you shares the same concern. What did YOU take away from the fights you had, and how they were resolved?

If you are sure those fights really aren't indicative of a major problem ("major problem" = anything indicating a mismatch in values) then you can explain to your dad why you've put that stuff behind you, and that you are sure, 100%, that she is the person for you, and that you would like his support, but that you aren't going to let the love of your life get away because he won't give his blessing.

(I got married at 28 by the way. It's a good age for that.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:38 AM on August 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

I think you should reframe this issue slightly in your mind- your father doesn't approve of you getting married. It's not about your fiance, although she's certainly ancillary to the issue; don't set it up in your mind as Him vs. Her, it's really Him vs. You. Own that he's questioning your choices and act accordingly.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 AM on August 10, 2016 [11 favorites]

I'm not saying your father is correct or that you should heed his wishes and not marry your fiance, but I think understanding why he feels that way and what his rationale is sort of matters here, at least for internet strangers trying to weigh in. I agree that the reasons behind your tearful calls to them, as well as his explanations for WHY he thinks she is a poor choice, matter. You keep saying she has "different values" and a "vastly different background" from your family. Can you elaborate on what those difference are?

I also think it also is odd/troubling that everyone has had difficulty establishing any sort of relationship with your fiance. The reason isn't introversion (introvert =/= hard to get along with), there is something else going on, and (sorry) I have to wonder if the problem isn't on the side of your fiance. It isn't just ONE person in your family that has struggled to connect with her, but it is ALL of them. Yes, your mother has apparently finally been able to develop a relationship with her, but from your description even that was difficult and took a long time. It absolutely could be a problem on your family's side, but you need to consider that it could be something on your fiance's side.

And like others, cry home fights are sort of a big deal for a lot of people and aren't things that happen unless the relationship is pretty damaged and unhealthy. Everyone is different, every relationship has a different dynamic, but from my experience that is a worrying red flag. I mean, I have a flair for the dramatic (to put it very very mildly), cry easily and cry HARD, and my emotions run very strong, but not once have I ever cried home due to a fight with my husband at any point in our relationship. I have cried home absolutely hysterical over a billion other things (laptop not working, kidney infection, frustration over work assignments, failed recipes, etc) but never my relationship. Again, I am not saying your father is correct or has the correct take on things, but I am saying that for a lot of people that just doesn't happen in healthy relationships.

So can you elaborate on what those fights were about?

Anyway, I think you need to do a bit more deep thinking on what exactly is going on and why this engagement isn't being received happily and why everyone seems to struggle with your relationship with her. And in the meantime, like others I suggest a long engagement. If she truly is the one for you then delaying the actual wedding day by a couple years in order to allow your family to acclimate to the idea shouldn't be a big deal.

That said, my grandmother HATED my mom when she and my dad started dating, and was absolutely horrified when she moved in with my dad before they were married. The issue wasn't with mom so much as it was with how their relationship progressed and how it flew in the face of what my grandmother considered "proper". Once they were married grammie forgot about all that and became very close with my mom. So take that as you wish.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:11 AM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

Extra layer of complication: I am going to very expensive graduate school next year and he is going to pay for it. I fear he might withdraw support if I do not change my course.

Has he actually said anything like that? I'm assuming next year is 2017, not the coming semester. If you are sure you want to get married, I think you are just going to have to let the chips fall where they may in this regard.

But by the time he were to withdraw his support, there would probably be other conversations. It sounds to me like that stuff about "you will be different in four years' time" may have everything to do with things you have said (i.e. during those phone calls). A lot of us have probably had the experience of being asked to stand up at a wedding where we've heard one side of a couple of fights. That's a weird position to be in. You should be sure where you stand on this and when you are, clarify with him.

A long engagement is fine, but beware of the indefinite engagement where you are really not sure what's going to happen and it's going to depend partly on your father coming around. That's not a good way to start your marriage. I think it would be reasonable to decide you don't want to be married while you are going to school on your parents' dime, that you want to be completely independent when you marry. Whether that involves putting off the wedding or going to a different school, I really can't say.
posted by BibiRose at 7:20 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Final bit of advice: Never complain to your family about your partner during a fight. Ever. This is especially true during bad fights, because if/when you reconcile with your partner your family won't have. Your family would have only been party to the bad side and not been witness to the discussion and reconciliation and healing. They will see your partner under the shadow of the fight and it will taint their view of them.

Worse, you complaining to your family about your partner may result in their expressing all their hidden feelings of "Thank god, I never liked her." and saying all the bad things they have been thinking about them, which makes it all extremely awkward for both you and them if/when you reconcile.

So yeah. Quit doing that.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:20 AM on August 10, 2016 [34 favorites]

I agree with everyone else that your father is not actually the fountain of wisdom that he thinks he is and you seem to be tempted to want to believe he is.

Your father sounds like a flawed, somewhat bitter, somewhat controlling, cold man. Do you want to be like him? Then listen to him. Or do you want to be like you? Someone who values being a younger dad, values family over money/high achievement? Someone who is not afraid to take risks and doesn't wait until the last possible moment to commit to family life? Someone who doesn't threaten to take away financial support from your adult son? Someone who will make an effort to let your son be happy and make his own mistakes?

I mean, how self-aware is your father really, even today? It's possible his first marriage failed because he didn't wait until he was 32. In my opinion, though, it's far more likely his first marriage failed because he exhibited negative personality traits, such as being unwilling to compromise or communicate, or being controlling. Being over 32 (a random magic number) doesn't seem likely to me to be the main or only reason.

Your finance is, presumably, a perfectly nice, innocent young woman who "everyone likes" (I don't know why you called your dad crying those two times, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it's not because she was absolutely terrible and awful, and was more because of common misunderstandings/growing apart/etc.) The fact that your older, presumably rich and successful father cannot even be arsed to be polite and kind and welcoming to her says a LOT about him and nothing about her.

Even if he doesn't want you to marry her, that is absolutely no excuse for him not to treat her like a person. In my opinion, older and established people should be kind to innocent well-meaning young people as a general rule. Parents should always make an effort to be polite and kind to their children's dates, unless those dates are actively being terrible to their children, even if everyone is on the same page that no one is ever going to get married. It's not like you only save your praise for "the one" -as we move through life, we meet and experience different people and kindness costs him nothing. His behavior leads me to conclude that he's actively trying to be rude to her to get her to go away. Which is really appalling and passive aggressive. How terrible and controlling, honestly. How narcissistic.

It's your life. Cut ties with dad. Financially if you have to. You won't regret not living under fear of his control. It's past time you did it anyway. Even if you don't marry fiancee. I realize this is easier said than done- negative in laws can make life hard and dads sometimes help pay for weddings, although as the bride, her family will typically cover the cost- but I think you need to face the possibility that no amount of contorting yourself, no amount of life perfection will ever please your father. He is probably best written off as a loss and a negative to fee yourself from, even if you end up marrying the perfect woman of his dreams for his son. There will always be something with him.

If you're having doubts about her for valid reasons besides your dad not liking her, I would extend the engagement and/or go to couple's therapy.
posted by stockpuppet at 8:03 AM on August 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

So this pulls in two directions, right?

On the one hand, older people occasionally do have greater experience and are able to see things clearer, even if they also may be more prejudiced because of own faults made. This is difficult to parse, but worth looking at in detail: does your father have a point? WHAT point exactly does he have?
Because, on the other hand, it's not like he needs to live together with your wife-to-be, ever. If your partnership floats, it will float way past your dad's time. So you owe it to yourself and your fiancée to look at how you two have it, want to have it, likely will have it, and act accordingly.

The second angle above is also why wou should never call your parents after big domestic fights. You should worry about big fights, though, and look very carefully at how you two resolve a fight: is this manner of interaction sustainable? How will either of you act if X or Y [imagined scenarios] happen? How will you feel if Z [remembered partner's behavior] gets worse (according to your judgment)? What might your partner do if you Keep Doing That Thing Again that she's been criticizing? Go on...

Nobody can look into the future, and one should not obsess about worse-case-scenarios, but to make a silly move without really looking isn't so hot either. Act and judge like your own internal grown-up: be wise.
posted by Namlit at 8:06 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Something to consider: is his "not liking" her just a means of control (either controlling you specifically, or is he maybe one of those people who hates all ideas that don't originate with him so he has to shit on any narrative that isn't his), rather than an actual personal like/dislike of your fiancee? Feel free to be a little skeptical, consider all the options.

Sometimes in life we have to feel some discomfort and carry on anyway. You aren't owed a resolution or reconciliation to this from your father, he gets to determine his own path through life. Meanwhile, you get to have the relationships you choose. He gets to choose whether or not to pay for your grad school, and if he should try to use that as leverage you get to tell him that's now how it works.

Have some boundaries, and stand up for them. Stop airing your dirty laundry to people who use it against you. Steer your own ship instead of having it pushed around by the currents in your life.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Being financially independent from your parents is a precondition of adulthood. Cut that tie first, then start thinking about marriage without it weighing you down.
posted by 256 at 8:12 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

TBH though when I read your question I initially expected you to be 22 or 23, and was surprised to find you are 28. I had planned to say, you know, actually people DO change a TON in their mid-20s, and while 32 seems really arbitrary, it's not the dumbest idea to wait until your brain has actually finished developing before you make a decision like that. Lord knows I literally made ONE good decision between ages 17 and 32; everything else was insanely stupid.

Lots of folks answering here seem to be from generations that had, like, jobs and a functioning economy and shit, and they could be completely independent by their late 20s. That hasn't been the case for most folks I know who are your age. Plus, obviously you could be from a culture where complete separation from parents is rare or odd.

So I don't think your lack of $200K, or your desire to avoid a lifetime of crushing loans, makes you "not an adult," that's ridiculous. But I do think that your approach, and your attitude as expressed here, are not coming across as maturely as you might think they are.

-You don't give any reasons why you want/need to marry your fiancee right now right this minute; generally speaking, a mature person with confidence in their relationship can easily consider putting off a wedding until after, for example, a stressful grad program.

-You are very vague about your dad's values and your own, and you're easily swayed about your own experiences by someone just because he's louder and bossier.

-You really don't do a good job of pretending you're willing to give up that $200K ;)

So, based just on what you've given me here, I'd conclude: your dad's kind of an ass, but also, you might not be super-duper ready to get married. A stopped clock is right twice a day, and all.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:37 AM on August 10, 2016 [20 favorites]

Lots of different advice here. If you're sure you want to get married to your fiancee, and that's a big if, but if we're starting there, my conversation would be along the lines of "Dad, I love you and I appreciate your input, but I've made my decision and won't discuss it with you again." I would then put a stop to any attempt from dad to bring it up again, even if that means leaving the room, ending the vacation early, etc. I would make it clear that if he tries to raise the issue again I'm done with the conversation. And if he brought it up every time we saw each other, I'd start a slow fade, and inform him of why I was fading away.

In the meantime, I'd just let the $200k issue play out however it plays out. You just mentioned that you have a feeling he'd withdraw support, but he hasn't made that statement yet (so it seems). So I wouldn't address it until its an issue.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:45 AM on August 10, 2016

If you're certain you want to marry this woman, you can start trying various little ways for your family to get to know her better. The most obvious things, like getting together for dinner, might be uncomfortable for her now, or they might not understand if she's quiet during the meal.

Mention nice things about your relationship, without sounding like a public relations campaign. If the two of you do something interesting during a weekend, if you have a good visit with one of her relatives -- talk about it. Even if you just say, "Fiance loves chocolate so I'm making double-fudge brownies," it's a way of saying that you love her and like to do things for her. Try to come up with some ways that she and they can be together for a while and do something other than just sitting around and talking.

NEVER say anything negative about your partner to your relatives. Use that energy to talk with her and work things out. Venting to family members doesn't really help anything, and (as you've found out) whatever bad things you tell them will be seared into their brains.

If you and your fiance aren't arguing constructively, both of you should learn and practice active listening (also called listening skills). My husband and I went to a therapist for 2 sessions early in our marriage to do just that, and we both do our best to avoid name calling, to acknowledge and empathize about each other's feelings and views, and to talk in a way we'd like to be spoken to ourselves. It's not easy when things get heated, but it really works.

When your father or sister comments, say something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I know you want me to be happy." and then change the subject. Keep your voice calm.
posted by wryly at 9:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would think hard about the reasons why your dad doesn't like her and decide if those are values you want to align yourself with. You say she's from a different background and that contributes to their distance. Is race a factor here? Is she just from a poorer family? And it's already been mentioned above, so I won't go more into the sexist implications of preferring you to have kids when you're 50. My parents objected to my sister and now brother-in-law's relationship since the beginning, and a lot of it was racist bs. They've been married for 9 years now. My sister stuck to what she wanted and my parents got over it.
posted by monologish at 10:01 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
Some great info and thought provoking comments so far. Here is some additional clarifying information:

- Fiancée is 27. We are planning a one year engagement with the wedding next year because she will be in between school and a new job and she'll be able to plan it. She would be okay putting it off for another year if I really want to but it wouldn't work nearly as well for her and she would much prefer a wedding next year.

- It was definitely my mistake to call up my family crying after big fights. I realize this now but didn't know this at the time. My family has always been my support and I've always been really open with them so I thought that this was okay or normal. I know now it is not and I need to work to repair the damage. The fights that we've had after which I called them were not insignificant but we have good communication and were able to work through them, learn from them, and move past them. We do not otherwise regularly fight and I am working to establish new boundaries with my family. Good suggestion to more regularly let my family know about the fun and loving things we're doing together.

- I come from a wealthy Jewish business family. My father values wealth and success but also family. He's not as cold and mean as I've made him out to be, and he really is a loving thoughtful father, but he also has his way of things and would clearly rather follow his prescribed path. My fiancée comes from a small town in the Midwest where her family lives comfortably but not nearly like mine. Her values are family and happiness. She is super smart and successful in her own right in the realm of healthcare but she definitely puts family first whereas my father is always prioritizing business. My sister and I were always picked up late from school, he was always on the phone, etc.

I myself am not entirely sure why he doesn't like my fiancée. We don't live near each other so when we come to visit his priority is definitely more about spending time with me rather than getting to know her, though I try to facilitate interaction. She is definitely very quiet but on the other hand my father really doesn't make an effort to get to know her more. She really is the sweetest nicest person, I can't imagine how someone couldn't like her.

- My sister with whom my fiancée also hasn't developed a connection is a radical left wing lesbian witch. My fiancée has tried to foster a relationship with her but struggles to find common ground. It's also partially my fault because of the two phone calls but with the exception of those two fights I always ensure my family that things with her are great.

- I am not financially dependent on my family and I support my fiancée while she finishes up school. I'm planning to attend medical school and while we could make this work with student loans it would obviously be better with financial support. My father hasn't made the claim that he would withdraw support if I proceed, it's just something I could envision happening. I think med school also ties into the conversation -- my fiancée introduced me into healthcare and my father would rather see me go into business. He supports med school but still now even sees it as a way to leverage myself into business. My fiancée has been a bit cautious about me going to medical school as we are planning to start a family but she supports me 100%. I need to do better to support and defend her as well.

- I admit I myself am a little bit hesitant about this decision. Part of this is because I myself feel like I should date someone for 4 or 5 years before marriage and to not do so is impulsive. I know this isn't perhaps necessary, but with divorce rampant in my family, I worry about making the wrong decision. However, this relationship has felt right from the start and I love her with all my heart. I truly do love my fiancée and undoubtedly want to spend the rest of my life with her. She is an amazing partner and I wouldn't want to share my life with anyone else. I feel ready to marry her and ready to have her back every single day. But even so, I find myself nervous about making this decision, nervous about trusting my feelings, nervous about being another unsuccessful marriage in my family.

All in all this is another step in an important life lesson that I struggle to learn: live my own life, not the life that my family wants me to. I truly value my partnership with my fiancée and with her I am my truest, best self. I want nothing more thanto start a family with her and grow old together. I will try to reconcile the conversation with my father but I choose my fiancée.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

It would be extra difficult for an extreme introvert (or someone who has trouble opening up to people) to marry into a family from a different culture. Your family might interpret her being withdrawn as her not being comfortable with them being from X culture.

I am in an interracial marriage and a somewhat intercultural one (black and white American culture being a little bit different, generally). Your fiancée will already be an outsider when she's with your family, and the burden is more on her to affirmatively cross that bridge and be comfortable with them. It's part of being in an intercultural marriage, in my opinion. I don't think there's as much room to be "the shy one" and not have that be misinterpreted.

I have sympathy for you about the grad school issue. It's not like you can go out on your own and raise $200,000 by flipping hamburgers. Him financing your grad school is a huge deal that will have financial repercussions for the rest of your adult life and your fiancée's life, if you do get married. So tread carefully. If your dad can help you out this way, it's a wonderful advantage and there is certainly no shame in it.
posted by gentian at 11:30 AM on August 10, 2016

I am tempted to give your dad the benefit of the doubt unless he has one of those overbearing, know it all, I am the authority of the family-type personalities. Does he constantly spout off to others that he knows better? Do you and him generally get along? Have you listened to other advice he's given you in the past? Nthing the advice above that you should look at why your family has not been able to connect with your fiancee. Do you think you got involved with her because she is so different from your family?

Many years ago, my dad and I told my sibling that getting married to the woman he was dating was not really a good idea. He was much younger than you were and had been living with his fiancee for a much shorter period of time. Then we gave reasons. He went and got married anyway, and they soon divorced, with a kid in the mix, and years later, he's still dealing with child support. But the marriage detonated in ways that neither of us could have imagined. So we were wrong and right.

On preview, thanks for the update!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:31 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

The follow-up is appreciated but you still dodged the most important point:

The fights that we've had after which I called them were not insignificant but we have good communication and were able to work through them, learn from them, and move past them.

I suspect that these fights are the reason your father does not like your fiancee. Several posters asked for details about those fights, but you've chosen to characterize them as 'not insignificant' but otherwise not discuss them in any way. That makes me wonder whether your father really is onto something that you're reluctant to talk about.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:32 AM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

My reading of your update is that your father is primarily concerned that your romantic partners have certain status markers and that those markers are more important to him than any other good qualities they may have. If that's the case, there is absolutely nothing your girlfriend can do to curry favor with him and anyone you seriously date who falls outside his preconceived ideas about who is acceptable for you will fail to satisfy him as well.

How much do you care about the status markers your father is so concerned with? Reflexively you might think "not at all!" but you asking this question acts as one piece of evidence to the contrary. If you break-up with your girlfriend, are you willing to limit your dating pool to women who meet your father's standards? I suspect that unless you do that your father will never be happy with anyone you date.
posted by scantee at 11:56 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mod note: This is another followup from the asker.
Sorry to not include details on the two fights, I didn't intentionally dodge the question.

First fight was when we first moved in together. We were both having growing pains as we adjusted to living together and she was particularly grumpy one day. Earlier in our relationship I would take her grumpiness to equal frustration with me when that wasn't necessarily the case. This escalated into name calling and yelling and expressed doubts as to the future of our relationship. We were able to reconcile and apologize and delve into what we said and why.

The second fight was more recent (about 10 months ago). It's precipitous wasn't very clear but the content was again about the future of our relationship. I was getting cold feet as we had been getting particularly serious and just needed to take a step back to reconsider if this is who I want to be with for the rest of my life. The reconsideration yielded a yes, but not before some heated exchanges.

It makes sense that expressed doubts about the relationship during these two fights would make my family think that we aren't stable in a relationship, though also these have been really our only two major fights in 3 years together. I've expressed to them the thought and consideration I've put into this decision and how we've worked through our concerns, though clearly those still linger elsewhere.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:08 PM on August 10, 2016

Just speaking generally, small-town Midwestern vs. coastal (I'm assuming) Jewish can be a tough cross-cultural interaction. The Midwesterner can find the Jewish person abrupt and aggressive and unable to recognize the Midwesterner's way of signaling boundaries. Conversely, the Jewish person can find the Midwesterner distant, inauthentic, maybe even snobbish. Possibly this is an issue for your father.

Three years is hardly a short time to date someone before proposing. On the whole, I'd say follow your heart. However, there is an important caveat here. It sounds like your family is quite well-off and you have continued to live that lifestyle. Going to med school doesn't usually result in penury, but it sounds like it may be a step down from what you are used to. Have you really grappled with that viscerally? Because you should before you marry someone whose financial circumstances mean you are likely to always be living on a "lower" level. This is not a decision you want to end up resenting your spouse for.
posted by praemunire at 12:13 PM on August 10, 2016

Good parents don't want to see their children hurt. This relationship has already caused you sufficient pain that you called your parents crying, twice. Regardless of the good times, or how you've rationalized the fights, I think you should assume that your father's concerns are rational and expressed out of love.

That being said. You're the one who has to marry her, not him. You should do what you want (which, it sounds like means marrying her), the money be damned. There's a good chance that once she's really part of the family, relations will warm up, and even if they don't, you'll have her and the family that you will build together.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:21 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm going to suggest something that people are going to jump on me for: if you are sure -- I mean really super extremely sure -- you are going ahead with your engagement, here is what I would do:

1. Tell her you are crazy about her, you are sure you are right together, and that you know your dad will come around.

2. Ask if she'd consider converting. Not demand it. Not say "do it to make my dad like you." But ask if she'd be into it.

I will tell you that my brother and I both married people who converted to Judaism. We didn't demand they do it; they offered out of love and we accepted it as gifts of love. It has done EVERYTHING to smooth out bumps when any might have come up in the family. They automatically get the benefit of the doubt with our folks. (And while both were appreciated, the one that really put everyone at ease was their daughter in law doing it.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:21 PM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

A few minor points:
- Calling your sister a "radical left wing lesbian witch" is probably not the spirit with which you want to tackle improving family relations,
- Please don't follow suggestions of an earlier poster to ask your girlfriend to convert to Judaism to get your family to like her more, as that both devalues the religion and puts your girlfriend in a really tough spot,
- Definitely start talking up your girlfriend to your parents every chance you get
- Why not wait a year to see how your relationship develops under the pressure of medical school, rather than getting married right now?
posted by loquacious crouton at 12:29 PM on August 10, 2016 [11 favorites]

Calling your sister a "radical left wing lesbian witch" is probably not the spirit with which you want to tackle improving family relations

OP, based on the tone of your reply, I am assuming that your sister would describe herself as a radical left wing lesbian witch, right? Like, she is radical, she is a lesbian (or maybe she's a radical lesbian), she's left wing and she practices witchcraft? I actually know someone with these identifiers who disapproves of straight relationships and marriage to the point where she was at one point rather cold to the partner of a sibling, so if your situation is similar, I wanted to say that I know that it's a real thing. Time mellowed out that relationship, plus the birth of children on both sides. Time and, I think, everyone getting a little older and more secure in their identities.

I also wanted to say that I have been in a long term and serious relationship where we had a couple of big and in retrospect kind of stupid fights in the first couple of years - only you can know whether these big fights that you describe are truly things you've moved past, but I did want to submit a data point that it is possible to have a couple of big stupid fights early in a good, committed relationship that lasts. Even if you start the relationship as adults.
posted by Frowner at 12:39 PM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

You are aware that your more recent fight sounds like you had to ARGUE your way into believing she was the person you want to spend your life with. Do you understand how effed up that sounds? I mean, honestly, if I was your parents and you called me crying and extremely upset because of a fight with your partner and you told me the context was that you were trying to "take a step back" and reconsider whether she was the right person for you... hells yes I would be against the engagement! I think maybe your father isn't addressing it the right way or terribly tactfully, but I am really starting to get on his side...

Regardless of the whole family not being on board thing, it sounds like you two would strongly benefit from learning how to argue in a relationship that doesn't result in name calling and tears and such deep hurts that you have to call your parents. It sounds like there are some problems there. Knowing how to disagree and resolve issues in a relationship is absolutely key, and it doesn't sound like you guys have figured that out yet. For the love of mercy, learn how to argue without hurting each other before you get married.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's a bit of a joke now with metafilter, but may I recommend talk therapy? Establishing boundaries and having good communication with family are some of the Great things that therapy can help with. Along with knowing your own mind and desires, coping strategies for tough times (like, say, one is in med school or family is trying), Good therapy could also help you with a lot of the things that are making this a question worth asking strangers on the internet about.
posted by ldthomps at 1:09 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

While I totally understand people saying "don't complain about your SO to your family" as a blanket statement, I think there are some cases when it's okay. As you said, you tend to talk to your family about lots of things. I'm the same way. I talk to my dad every day and I have called him crying that my husband and I had a stupid fight. Many times he's taken my husband's side of things too and told me - his own perfect amazing daughter - to take a step back and think about my spouse. I don't think "we had a fight" always means your family will dislike your SO.

However - I think it's the content of the fights you've described to him that are worrying him. If you called him saying "Oh my gosh we got in the dumbest fight about dishes and I stormed off and arg!" then maybe it's just venting and asking for parental guidance through a rough patch.

But you called crying both times saying you weren't sure about the relationship. That's much different than "my SO is doing something annoying." That leads to "I'm not sure I should be with my SO" and now your dad is mirroring that back to you. Have you actively given him a reason to not mirror that back? For example the last time I called about the dumb dishes fight or whatever I would text my dad back when my husband and I settled everything. Just to let him know I was okay.

I think you need to take a step back and figure out what you want. Do you want to be with this person? Why is the money/schooling affecting the relationship to your parent and SO? Do you want to be married during this big time of change - career and medical school - or should you wait? Is there a nugget of truth to what your dad has to say?

And also, above everything - can YOU do a better job of helping your SO adjust to your family? Can you actively do things to get her involved? Can you actively call your parents telling them all the GOOD things about her?

Look, everyone has things that aren't perfect about them. But this semi-reminds me of my ex. He would have a new group of friends and do nothing to introduce me. It was almost to the point of actively excluding me. Are you involving your SO with your family? Or are you tense and standoffish about it?

So my plan of action:
-Decide what's going on in your relationship. If you choose to marry this person they are your chosen family and they come first.
-Tell your dad you're happy for his concern. You can see why he thought your relationship may be a certain way due to only hearing about the big fights but that you've gotten through it and talk to him about positive things.
- No longer discuss bad fights or negative things about your SO - (again I think there are types of relationships in which you CAN do this but I wouldn't count on it.)
- Actively include your SO with your family and talk with her about what would make her more comfortable around your family.

Also as an example, my Sister in Law and I are both introverts and it's taken us awhile to get to know each other. I asked my husband if she and I could have some one-on-one time when she visited and she and I had a blast! We both were just needing some girl time together to break the ice. (He and I have been together for nearly 7 years and this just happened a few months ago because she lives out of state.)

Lastly, I too am wondering about the way you referenced your sister and the culture/status differences between your family and your SO's. Be sure that these ideas aren't bleeding into your relationship and influencing how your family might be interacting with her/her family. If you go in saying "we we're so different" she's going to pick up on that.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think scantee may have a good point about status markers. If your father won't be happy with you marrying anyone who doesn't come from the same background as you, that changes things. And, oh yes, there are parents who have very specific requirements along these lines. A lot of them are quite upfront about it. My sense is it's a bit more complicated than that in your case. Your father could plausibly claim his objections are based on other things. But, yes, I think it would be good to find out if he has some specific ideas about who you should marry and how you feel about that.
posted by BibiRose at 2:19 PM on August 10, 2016

Fighting over stuff when you move in together is practically a right of passage. That fight doesn't concern me that much. Being in a grumpy mood and other partner thinking "they must be mad at me, I must fix it" is also a real thing that could basically happen to anyone. Eh. Whatever. It happens.

The only thing that concerns me is "name calling." That's a no-no and hard to come back from depending on how bad it was.

The fight over the cold feet is the one your dad is thinking about. He thinks she's pressuring you into proposing, which to be honest, she probably kind of sort of is. I personally will give you a break for this one too, though, because I think "traditional surprise proposals" kind of suck anyway, and I have sympathy for women who just want to know where things are going. I think this is taboo to talk about but also basically very common and doesn't automatically mean you're doomed. I think 99% of everyone has doubts about marriage at some point. I don't know, maybe my expectations are off, but really people just expect you to sail through life on the same timeline in perfect bliss and never talk about it, and never have difficult conversations like, "Look we need to break up if we're not going to get married and have kids, because I want to do that in x years"? I mean....we live in the real world. Maybe other people never have those problems/tough conversations, but that's not my experience. I would pretty much write this fight off too, with some reservations.

Couple's counseling is a good idea for you anyway, FYI. Just because.

I don't think couples who literally never disagree or fight are healthy or being honest or passionate enough with each other. The key is disagreeing/fighting the right way, maintaining a baseline level of respect, and coming to some sort of compromise.

Also, your dad pretty much does sound like I imagined him. Kind of repressed, has very rigid ideas about Proper Things. Maybe a little less mean, but he clearly values status, achievement, and money, and attempts to control others through these things. It's okay not to value those things. I would bet money (ha) this contributed to the demise of his first marriage. You are not your dad. This is good.
posted by stockpuppet at 2:37 PM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I feel like whether your father is right or not is not really the point. If you have doubts about your relationship, you should not get married. Following the tenets of Fuck Yes, or No, it is very strange to me that you have to talk yourself into marrying your finacee. To me, that's not a strong relationship.
posted by ethidda at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2016

I don't read this as you having to talk yourself into anything - I find that interpretation really strange. I totally identify with getting sort of swept up in things and needing to stop and check in with yourself, and I totally get how that might have scared her and caused a fight. That said, name-calling is a big no, and it is totally worth a little counselling/ reading some Gottman together to make sure that stops. I nth Stockpuppet.

My in laws don't like me, partly because they assume I'm behind things my husband does that they don't like. We don't see his brothers much? It's me who's not family oriented - really he just doesn't like them that much. There's really no way to know what your dad's deal is unless you ask. They still don't like me and you know, life goes on. The thing is, he's not marrying her and whether he "approves" or not really is not your concern. I'm guessing there are a number of cultural factors at play too.

I also think the "do you want to be married at such a time of change" thing is weird, as if you're going to break up. Getting married should be a celebration of an existing relationship - it shouldn't substantially change things. Why wouldn't you get married? A good marriage/partner will help! Additionally, life is hard, and life is change. There's never a good time blah blah blah. There's always something. If she makes you happy, go for it.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:15 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does your father think that were your fiancée not in the picture, you'd be going into "business" (possibly with him?) rather than attending med school?

(Also, you're so anxious about all of this, but why aren't you angry and insulted? Your dad regrets his first marriage -- you were the product of that marriage. He's made no effort to get to know the woman you love, he's constantly undermining your relationship of three years... I'm not sure how others are reading his behavior as loving, concerned parent rather than as rude, overbearing, maybe-should-be-limited-to-holidays-only relative.) (And since family dynamics are a hell of a thing, is it actually a mark against your fiancée that your mother likes her so much?)

I think you could benefit from speaking with a therapist. You need to separate whatever legitimate concerns you yourself might have, about marrying this woman, about your schooling and career path, from your father's voice echoing in your head.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:38 PM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

Honestly, the answer here is that you kind of can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't cry to your parents on the phone about fights you and your partner are having and ALSO expect them to assume your relationship is great and your partner is definitely marriage material. Especially if you're not close enough with your family that they're getting an accurate portrait of her as an individual. Like, everyone knows couples sometimes fight, but if "made my son cry" is a significant portion of what they know of her, or that was a formative early impression of her, there's not a lot you can do to make them like her.

So you have to either move forward understanding that your parents don't have enough information to get a say in this, or you have to work to be closer to them so that they can get a better picture of your relationship.

For what it's worth, I didn't even call my parents crying about fights when I was an abusive relationship with a man who hit me. Unless you're from a vastly different culture than mine, or this is considered standard practice in your particular family, "adult offspring calls me crying after a fight with their very serious S.O." would be a GIGANTIC red flag that you're in a toxic, possibly abusive relationship with someone you should under no circumstances consider marrying.
posted by Sara C. at 6:58 PM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

The more I read, the more I suspect that the situation with your father is a can of worms you need to open, apart-- to whatever extent you can separate them-- from your engagement. Having a parent remarry and start a new family when you are an adult can be really jarring and it affects your expectations of how much support you can expect from them. Your father's interest and his resources are going to be much more stretched now. Paying for medical school may be his last big gesture of support to you-- and his last chance to exert power. So this is a transitional time in your relationship. This would probably be the case no matter what you were doing with your life right now. He is moving on, and you are moving on. I think that's something to sort of sit with for a while.
posted by BibiRose at 4:58 AM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

It sounds like your father may have a latent need to see you fulfill his script for his unlived dreams -- which may or may not include when and how to get married (e.g. "not with the first person you fall for" or whatnot).

FWIW I had an experience of being rejected by my partner's parents once our relationship got more serious. I don't think who I was even mattered -- I just didn't fit the mold of what his parents were looking for in a daughter-in-law. My then-boyfriend had simply never bothered to explore this for himself before dating me. He just always went along with whatever his parents wanted him to do (and yes, $$ was also a controlling factor). So when it hit the fan, he did what he had always done (sacrificed individuation for parental approval) -- and all said individuation was blamed on my bad influence (because, you know, he hurt his mom's feelings when he tried to say 'no' and that certainly had to get blamed on someone other than him).

You sound possibly similar -- like maybe you waited for a relationship to feel safe to explore your individuation in, and for your parents it ends up looking like the person you're with is driving your unfamiliar (therefore dangerous and unacceptably risky) choices. You called and told your parents about two fights? You never made choices outside of what your parents wanted you to choose until she came along? Yeah buddy (if that's the case), adult-up and step-up to the I'm-my-own-person plate.

If that's not the case though, then take some time for yourself and explore this in a safe place such as therapy:

I find myself nervous about making this decision, nervous about trusting my feelings, nervous about being another unsuccessful marriage in my family.

This will come up again no matter what decision you make here; therefore, it is worth addressing and dealing with for yourself. Have you adequately developed your adult gauge for when to trust your family of origin vs yourself? How can you know you can trust your feelings about marriage as your own person vs as a product of your parent's experiences? If you have a job with employee benefits, or you're a student with access to counseling services, think of going in to sort out these questions as healthy fine-tuning before moving forward with some big steps, like a life path consultation or something. (FWIW, had your father had this kind of support available to him when he was your age, he might have been able to make choices more aligned with the life path he was already following, and been prouder for himself today as a result.) Anyhow good luck!
posted by human ecologist at 6:31 PM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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