Carolyn Hax: Father’s wishes baffle engaged couple

Carolyn Hax
Columnist September 19, 2013

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

My fiance and I have been planning our wedding for next year and would like to move in together this fall when his current lease is up. The problem is that his parents are quite religious, and when his father heard of our plans, he was furious and threatened to cut off all financial help he gives my fiance (which isn’t needed, but is appreciated as a gift). He also offered fiance a boatload of money not to live with me so that the affordability of the new place wouldn’t be an issue.

I’m flabbergasted because I’m not sure exactly what he thinks he’s preventing. His father says he loves me and is helping pay for our wedding, but I feel so uncomfortable that he’s trying to literally pay his 27-year-old son not to have sex.

How can we handle this situation with maturity and grace? We don’t want to set the precedent that our minds can be changed if the price is right.


(Nick Galifianakis/The Washington Post)

Anonymous

The only way to handle this situation with maturity and grace is for Son to tell Father that he respects Father’s right to have his views and apply his money accordingly, but that Son will do only as Son sees fit.

Then, you and he live your lives as you see fit. As in, live just fine without the money and the strings attached to it.

What the father proposed is flabbergasting, I agree, but if his pressure had come in a more reasonable form, the problem and answer would be the same.

If for your own reasons you and your fiance end up not moving in together, then it goes without saying that accepting the father’s money is not an option. Not for a home, not for the wedding, not for new napkin rings. Good luck.

Dear Carolyn:

My best friend has been dating Boyfriend for four years. Best Friend wants marriage and babies but, according to her, not with Boyfriend. She is 36 and realizes time is ticking but for unknown reasons won’t or can’t break up with Boyfriend.

She’s in counseling. My problem: Boyfriend has shared that he’s picked a date and is going to propose. Do I warn her or keep my mouth shut?

Doomed

I understand your impulse to try to protect these two, but you can’t, nor is it your place to — after all, you don’t really know what your friend wants, needs, or will say in response to a proposal. Stay out of it and let them figure it out.

Dear Carolyn:

I got laid off from my full-time job last year and have only been able to find part-time work since then (but my husband still has a great job, so I’m fortunately not destitute).

My life is still quite full — friends, family, involvement with a community organization, etc. — but most of it is stuff I want to do, vs. have to do, so I feel a little self-conscious talking about my day when my husband gets home from a grueling 10-hour workday and starts doing household chores. Until I have a better job again, how can I avoid feeling so useless?

Involuntary Time Off

Do more household chores.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

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