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My boyfriend is planning to propose! Should I tell my difficult parents now or after the engagement?

Tagged as: Dating, Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (17 May 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 18 May 2017)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend is not a secret keeper at all. For a while now we have been talking about marriage. For us, it is just the next natural step to take in our relationship. I cannot imagine it going any other way, love him dearly, and see the same from him. He told me he was going to propose "very soon". Like I said, not a secret keeper and not the most romantic thing, but regardless I am excited.

The one thing I am worried about is my parents. My mother has never married and has never dated anytime since I've been born, and my father has been married 3 times. They are FAR from the idyllic example of successful relationships but I just know they will express doubt. If they don't, I will truly be shocked, but I know them. I love them dearly, but I know them.

I do not want them to ruin my happiness or my moment with their doubt or questioning. My mother has already said something questionable about our relationship "you sure are serious about this guy, you have to date a lot of people before you know you have the one" as if I should just let him go because I've not dated "that" many people!? It was such a strange comment she made one day that still leaves me like, "what does THAT mean?"

My question is... should I talk to them about it now? Or wait until after the engagement? They know I'm in a committed relationship, but as I don't share EVERYTHING with my parents I'm not sure they really have a grasp on how serious we really are.

Would love advice...

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (18 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntWe are not traditional but my partner asked my dad for his blessings. If you are worried what they will say maybe suggest to your boyfriend that he tell them he is going to propose. If he is not comfortable doing that then you should just tell them. Nobody wants negativity around one off the happiest times off their lives. Let us know how you get on.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (18 May 2017):

Traditionally, the guy speaks to the father and gets his blessing. Since you're not the traditional family, it really doesn't matter. It's up to your boyfriend.

With or without their blessing; you're both old enough to make your own decisions. It sort of makes a better impression to give your parent props; since the bride and her parents usually pay for the reception, the bouquets, floral arrangements, and corsages. You might want to be nice to them and pretend you're listening to your mother's advice. Humor her and just say "you're right mama, but this guy is going to save me a lot of searching."

Mother's have an obligation to give advice, like it or not. They sort of have that right, since she did push you out.

You can deliver the news together, once he has proposed. Give him the chance to decide what he wants to do first.

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

Fatherly Advice agony auntTraditionally your BF would talk to your parents before talking to you. I don't know anyone in your country who still believes he needs their permission, but it is considered the courteous thing to do.

My Daughters ex husband never asked me. It didn't work out in the end but we were quite happy for them while it lasted. We are happy it ended as well but for different reasons.

There is often some good natured warning such as the old song, "if you mayry her son you're better off . . . Single." Which should never be taken seriously.

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A female reader, RubyBirtle United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

I don't think it really matters.... it's your life and your decision. Either way, you're expecting a less than enthusiastic response - so when would this response suit YOU best?

If you want to have things like engagement parties etc, maybe telling them first will give them the opportunity to get their negativity out of the way before any formal announcements.

But if you think they'll just spend the next few weeks/months nagging you about it and bringing you down... why bother saying anything?

You know your parents best.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

N91 agony auntI wouldn't give any warning.

What can they do or say? It's your life and your decisions. You love this man and want to marry him so why do you care what they say?

I'm sure they will deal with the news.

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