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Wedding jitters, Jump ship or keep sailing?

Getting Married Cold feet to pre-marital stressors--the place to discuss all the issues that come with saying "I do."

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Old 3rd July 2017, 2:58 PM   #1
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Wedding jitters, Jump ship or keep sailing?

Wedding jitters, Jump ship or keep sailing?
I don't know if any of this makes sense but I am having a hard time balancing family with my fiancee at this point. We've gone through a lot of hard stuff since we got engaged and haven't been able to have a normal social life for awhile. Now I feel like the only reason I am trying to stay in contact with the family members that I don't always enjoy being around is for the wedding. It's making me feel guilty all the time. And I am starting to question whether I am making a mistake.
My fiancee and I are both in our 30ís. We have been having a lot of terrible arguments lately and itís causing me a lot of grief. Maybe this is normal since we are very close to the wedding day. Itís mainly about my family and him not attending big family parties. We are about 3 months away from our wedding. It will be two ceremonies: one Catholic and one Hindu and we feel like itís a nice balance and a great way to celebrate both traditions.

We dated for a year and became engaged in January of 2016. We have been together for a total of 3 years. Living together for two. He had been previously married when he was in his early twenties but apparently his ex was using the marriage as a front and in reality wanted to sleep around and wound up leaving the country and abandoning the marriage. Iím sure there is more to the story but they got divorced and he moved on. She became one of those weird self help gurus and thinks she is a divine priestess. I think you get the point, OK. AnywayÖ

Long story but we decided we would get married in the Catholic church as my parents pushed for this and I agreed. Little did I know but the church required him to get an annulment. It became very complicated because he is from India and is Hindu! My parents happen to be very overbearing and controlling with me so they pushed for the annulment and said it would be a healing process. It was hell on earth but we made it through. We had also been going through unemployment and wound up renting out two of our rooms in our apartment to keep ourselves afloat. He found freelance work thank god but we were very near financial ruin for about two years.

It was a horribly stressful time but also one we learned a lot from and grew together a bit more. The reason this is important is because my family is one of those everything must be perfect, overachieving, competitive ones. I am actually an incredibly creative, laid back, patient person and it didn't help that I was pretty on top of being talented. So I was always being put down which my family denies but once I started doing work with a therapist I found out about NPD and dysfunctional families. I 100% believe I was the family scapegoat because I could see everything clearly and did not like being teased about my weight or being pushed to be ultra successful so I stopped trying after awhile with them.

It's actually really complicated so I'll try to keep the family part short because it's too difficult to write it all here. Basically once my brother got into Harvard I knew I was screwed. Not to say I'm not talented or smart but I felt what I was doing was good enough but relatives and cousins felt a need to compete and make others look bad so they looked better. I was happy with my choice of business school and degree until I lost my job in the 2009 recession. I never fully recovered from that and it actually made all of my family problems worse because now I was being scrutinized even more. I wound up taking a job that was so overly stressful and out of my market (architecture) that I got severely ill with shingles. I decided not to go back and was pushed even harder from my parents and family to go back and when I spoke about about how I felt and how the job was wrong for me they said I needed the experience and that I could probably still go back... it's like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It will never fit.

The blessing of losing my job was I took time to figure out who I was and did a lot of work on myself and the depression I was suffering from. Once I met my fiancee I felt like I had found someone warm and caring who would allow me to be myself and wouldn't yell at me if I needed to take time out to feel better.

My fiancee decided to leave a toxic job and find a new one in his field and I wasn't able to find work for awhile because I was not well. So looks like we were both unemployed and going through financial stress. This is probably the worst kind of stress as it really messes with your stability. We will tried to maintain a "normal" life and my family was not empathetic much as they have never failed at anything or had to face as much rejection as we were going through while trying to find work.

This is where the trouble started. Before we were engaged I brought my fiancee to some family events and my family is kind of dysfunctional but not in an extreme way but enough to make you say wth just happened? It seems to me that a lot of members of my family just want to look good or have fun and want things their way and are pretty selfish and materialistic. They love to drink a lot and crack obnoxious jokes or talk extreme politics where the ivy league siblings start up "friendly" arguments and the rest of the group is left sitting in silence while they hold court.

It's an intense environment and not enjoyable to be around even for me. My brother in particular loves to talk loudly to a room full of people... My father's brother is gay which doesn't matter except for the fact that he's extremely selfish and hurtful to others. I don't know why we all still try and get together. He was previously married to a high powered lawyer and has a child who also loves to hold court and give speeches without being asked. It's about being very self important. So the older siblings/cousins in the family are pushed aside and are eclipsed by the attention hogging younger ones. It's almost like a role reversal where when an older sibling would guide a younger one and should be asked to lead or give a speech this doesnít happen as the others take over. So for most of my life I've felt like a small child who can't grow up and is stuck in this weird backwards place.

You'd think why not stand up for yourself? Why not try to communicate? I've tried to do that and have been dismissed many times. This is why I'm convinced that my family is dysfunctional and I'm the scapegoat. So my fiancee feels bad for me and doesn't like my family as a result because he sees my brother and younger cousins acting like they own the world and can't relate. My brother has a tendency to sort of tell people how they should do things or to be very critical as I guess he feels people can be made better but he winds up sounding like a 45 year old man when he's much younger. My fiancee is in his upper 30's and doesn't like being told what to do by a young "kid" so he got tired of dealing with it. He finally did find a job in a corporate company so at least that pressure is off.

While we were going through the annullment his ex threatened to deport him and went bezerk. They couldn't have one civil conversation but it was like old wounds were brought back up and he was re-living the trauma again. He was also having a hard time findind work during that time and started getting anxious and angry more often. My family did not approve of the way he was behaving and how stressed things were but again couldnít fully understand.

So once we became engaged less than a month later two of my cousins became engaged and started planning their weddings. So that fall and spring they were married and all the attention was off us which I guess was a good thing but I felt eclipsed again. Then another cousin got engaged right after and 3 months later my brother announced only a few months before our wedding became insane. We never had an engagement party for ourselves which is fine I guess. Some of our relatives planned a joint engagement celebration but no one made an effort to even get to know my fiancee and once again my brother and cousins were holding court and drinking heavily with my gay uncle while crack obnoxious jokes. My two youngest cousins decided to take out the champagne and give a toast without waiting for the adults to do so. I felt this was annoying because no one asked them to but I guess it was a nice gesture.

My fiancee wasn't comfortable with my family and I usually am not either. I guess the only way for us to break the ice was to get really drunk and tell obnoxious jokes but we are very patient laid back people so we donít fit in. I have relatives who are still reliving their glory days from college and try to sit with the young twenty year old cousins and tell dirty jokes and get wasted. Itís backwards.

I tried to forge a bridge between my gay uncle's partner and my fiancee but by the time they both spoke my uncle's partner was piss drunk on tequila and the first thing he said to my fiancee was I just read they still burn brides in India... they still do that. My fiancee responded: no, they don't do that and if they did that is a very old terrible practice. So my uncle's partner said: I just read about it, it still happens.

Clearly this is not the time or place to say something like that even if it was meant as a joke. My gay uncle's daughter used to stare at my breasts and say why are hers bigger than mine? and my uncle would say, they are going to start sagging anyway.

This would all be fine if it happened every once in awhile but this is the norm and it just makes people feel horrible. I feel like my family is trying really hard to be normal but they are just so abnormal that it makes things more stressful.

So the other problem is that they are all too busy being important to notice that they are being obnoxious. My fiancee is great with my parents and my aunt and her kids but he doesn't like my brother or uncle's partner at this point.

My fiancee is now saying I'm not going to any more family events why does every event become so important and such a big deal? I'll come after we are married. And now he refuses to attend anything except to meet with my parents at their house.

I can't blame him too muchÖ but I now I am panicking he is trying to isolate me. Now and again I enjoy a fun party but not all the time. Since I come from a controlling family my first thought was he is being controlling and this can't continue. But everything else with us is fine. I just hate the idea of having to go to family parties alone because I hate their obnoxious ways. I almost feel like I am the only grown up in my family and no one else wants to be responsible.

Is it normal for there to be a power struggle between a fianceeís brother and groom to be? I just want to enjoy this time and not feel crazy stressed anymore. I hope to get some positive feedback here.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 5:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by seamist View Post
I can't blame him too much… but I now I am panicking he is trying to isolate me. Now and again I enjoy a fun party but not all the time. Since I come from a controlling family my first thought was he is being controlling and this can't continue. But everything else with us is fine. I just hate the idea of having to go to family parties alone because I hate their obnoxious ways. I almost feel like I am the only grown up in my family and no one else wants to be responsible.
I would feel the exact same way as your fiance - no way would I be attending any more of your family events. My family is pretty obnoxious, too. When I go see them I always tell my boyfriend that he doesn't have to come, because I know exactly how my family is. However, I like hanging out with my family so it's no big thing to me. Why do you even go and see yours if you don't even like them?

Edited to add: The only way I would see him as controlling is if he tells you that he doesn't want you visiting your family as well.

Last edited by rushed; 3rd July 2017 at 5:55 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 3rd July 2017, 6:06 PM   #3
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You appear to be seeking respect and approval that will never be given unless you can muscle your way to the top of your family hierarchy. This would require you to excel in a high status career and be equally obnoxious.

Why bother? It's not what makes you happy premised on what you've expressed in your post. Let it go. Maintain distance from your family as much as possible without alienating them.

As far as your fiance's concerned, there's insufficient information to draw any conclusions. Because of this, it's impossible to give advice to get married or walk away.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 6:36 PM   #4
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Your fiance isn't isolating you because he has not said that you cannot see your family.
He just isn't going to subject himself to them anymore.

You need to work on your need for family approval because it will make you an unhappy person and poison your marriage. There's no reason why an adult should allow parents to control her to this extent either.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 6:43 PM   #5
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I read all of this however I am unsure why you are rethinking your marriage. Perhaps you need to elaborate further on the fights the two of you have been having. What are you fighting over?

But on what you've written, your fiance must love you a great deal if he's been able to tolerate your family thus far. However, it's gotten to the point where he is unwilling to subject himself to any more of their obnoxious behaviour. I wouldn't be surprised if continues to avoid them after your marriage too. And I wouldn't blame him one bit if he stayed away. If you truly love your fiance, you will support him in his endeavours to stay away from this toxicity.

Last edited by basil67; 3rd July 2017 at 6:45 PM..
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Old 4th July 2017, 8:19 AM   #6
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When you marry you have to let go of your family of origin (parents, siblings) & focus on building a new family of your own with your spouse.

When you learn to let these other people roll off your back you will be much happier.

Focus on your FI & your new life. Ignore everybody else & you will be fine.

If you can't do that you will lose the FI.
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Old 4th July 2017, 7:12 PM   #7
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I would only suggest that if you are still that under your family's influence, then I am not sure you are really a mature adult yet. You need to be willing to make your own decisions on most things without family influence.
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Old 4th July 2017, 7:26 PM   #8
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I know all too well how family can really have an impact on a relationship. My ex-H's family actually played a huge part in the demise of my marriage. They were intrusive to the point of smothering - and demanded my Husband's undivided attention. If we tried to have a day to ourselves, his family would take it personally (and blame me). I couldn't take it anymore, and it became a huge source of our fights. I stopped going over to their place, and that gave me peace. I got tired of spending endless hours with his family, who saw me as an enemy who "stole" their son from them.

I agree with others that say, you can't blame him for distancing himself from your family. You admit yourself that it can be a toxic experience, and it's healthy to remove toxic elements from your life!

One thing I can say is that it's important to sort this out before getting married. Family can really do a number on a marriage, and you don't want to go into the marriage with this problem unresolved.
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