24
   

So my sister is getting married, but...

 
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 06:59 pm
I'm worried. I'm older. I was pretty much responsible for raising her, so we have an interesting friendship/sistership. I'm trying not to interfere. Seriously. She can make her own decisions. I love her and want her to be happy. She says she is very happy. I wouldn't want to be responsible for / blamed for changing that. At 40, this will be her first marriage.

There have been issues between them that I won't go into. The other day a joke was made by his brother and suddenly the groom to be was insulted. It was a joking thing, not what most of us would consider an insult, but the groom took it that way. Fine. He and his brother have their own relationship which i wouldn't presume to know.

When they called to tell our Dad about the wedding, Dad joked that he would need to see pictures of the grooms livestock. Dad's a cattleman / horseman so it was just him joking around as if he expected a dowry. That was taken as an insult by the groom who, after they got off the phone, suggested to my sister that he was going to have a heart to heart with Dad. When I heard that I said "Uh, yeah, I don't suggest that." Dad's old school gentleman farmer and certainly wasn't intending to insult the groom.

Today my sister, my daughter and I went shopping all day to get sisters dress and wedding related items picked out. The groom brought my sister into town and we met up to go off on our own for these errands. Lotsa fun when the three of us "girls" get together. We were all excited.

Groom had on a new black cowboy hat that sister had said "Doesn't he look good in that hat?" We all agreed. He's quite handsome. Then sister asked if he could wear it in the church. I said I didn't know. Dad always removes his hat when entering a building, but then things aren't as strict anymore... then someone said "But ladies get to wear hats in church..." I said "Yeah, I guess they do... easter bonnets. Hey, maybe if he puts a flower in the headband it would be acceptible."

We shopped, found the perfect wedding dress, got the invitations, the guest book, the pen, the garters ... I drop sister off at their house and drive 45 minutes home. It was raining so I call to let her know I'm home safe. She's crying.

Turns out groom had taken the flower in the hat band idea as an insult. I listened to him explain that thats how he is and that he felt insulted. I assured him I didn't mean to insult. He went into how if someone says something insulting he usually remembers that for life and it can change how he treats that person. I basically said okay. Well, I didn't mean to insult you. I was joking. If I had any hint of an insult intended I'd apologize but as far as I can see it's his issue, not mine, that he would use that as a reason to change how he treats me. We joke in our family. Its the way we are.

He repeated that he felt insulted and I repeated that it was his issue, not mine.

Somewhere in the conversation he said something that made me ask if he was threatening me. He said no, but that he had not thought before that there was any animosity between us but now he is rethinking that. He said that as his future sister-in-law, he thought we could be respectful of each other but that if I was going to change the rules and make it a relationship where we could just say whatever we want to each other then that's how it would be.

I said "Fine. If you want to tell me to screw off, then tell me to screw off." He said he doesn't talk to ladies that way and has never hit a lady but..."

He finished the sentence before I hung up on him. I won't post it here. It wasn't a threat to me or my sister. But, Bear doesn't need to know the whole story.

So... should I have just apologized? Should I apologize now?

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Type: Discussion • Score: 24 • Views: 13,322 • Replies: 163
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martybarker
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:07 pm
What a (Blank-ing) Ass! You have nothing to appologize for. Sounds like this guy has some issues. I wish the best for your sister and that she finds happiness with this guy.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:07 pm
Wow, squinney, that's a tough one.

Ask yourself if you think an apology would make much difference and if it would, then maybe for the sake of family harmony, you could. It's patently obvious this is his issue - he's having them with everyone - but if he's not stable, why exacerbate the situation?

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and be the bigger person. And limit your contact/conversation with him in future!

Your poor sister!
Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:07 pm
@squinney,
Apologies for what Squinney.... I can't see you did something wrong. Your family can't walk on eggshells around Mr. Sensitive. how long have they been together. Have you met him plenty times - is this his normal behaviour. He sounds a little bit over the top sensitive - possibly threatened by the fact you may be a close family.

Dunn Squinney - I think maybe asking your sister in a roundabout way if he is normally oversensitive and a little bullish - and work you way from there. If they've been together for a long time - she probably knows his quirks.

Tough one gal - but not one I would ignore if it were me. Depends on how you and sis get on too. Let us know what happens - sounds a bit of, dare I say, bullhead. Each to their own, as long as sis knows what she's getting into. Sounds like he missed out on graduating from Charm School methinks x


Don't like the "never hit a woman before bit.........." inner voice and all that cabbodle! Why would anyone say that to a lady - especially a future sis in law! Ack!
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:13 pm
@squinney,
Don't apologize.

DO have a heart to heart with your sis before she does this...

(pings going off, wish we had PMs)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:17 pm
@squinney,
There have been "issues".

Looks like there will continue to be "issues".

It's up to your sister what she wants to do with/about Mr. Sensitive.

I think I'd let her know that it'll be polite courtesy/limited contact from here on in.

Let her know that you'll be there for her in the future, but anything has to be initiated by her.

A bunch of us (friends and family) did something like that with a friend some years ago. She did eventually reach out to a couple of people when the "issues" finally outweighed the glamour.
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:23 pm
@Mame,
An apology may make a difference for now, but then again he already said he remembers it for life. I can be the bigger person, especially for sisters sake.

I guess it just really ticks me off 'cause I'm just getting past all that "for the sake of harmony" crap in life. Knowing it wasn't intended the way it was taken and being expected to apologize because that's the way HE is drives me nuts.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:25 pm
@squinney,
He does sound hyper-touchy, or paranoid or something Confused, squinney.

And it doesn't sound like what you'd done or said warranted anything like such a strong reaction.

How long has your sister known him? Did she seem to be as surprised by his reactions to you & your father as you were?

If anyone had said to me:

Quote:
(that) ... "he doesn't talk to ladies that way and has never hit a lady but..."


I'd be rather alarmed ... especially since the exchange was about something as silly as a joke about a hat!

I dunno what to make of him at all (apart from thinking he sounds scary). I'm wondering if perhaps he feels threatened by your family (though this doesn't explain or excuse his reactions at all).

Should you apologise or not? Well I'm not sure what you would be apologising for, exactly .... for not talking to him in a suitably respectful way? For hanging up on him? For being assertive when talking with him?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:26 pm
@squinney,
You know, it really sounds like Groom makes a virtue of being insulted, and carrying a grudge. Do not apologize. Anyway, I'm kind of guessing he isn't going to be a brother in law all that long, anyway. Slightly veiled threats, though? Somehow, from halfway across the country, I feel like I know the Bear better than potential b-i-l.

The hat. Somehow, I always thought a man removed the hat indoors, church or otherwise. In the late '60s, I moved to Oklahoma and noticed that wasn't just wasn't done anymore.

Of course, she is responsible for her own life. I don't expect this to be an enduring marriage if she goes through with it, but be supportive when it flops.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:30 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
There have been "issues".

Looks like there will continue to be "issues".

It's up to your sister what she wants to do with/about Mr. Sensitive.


Yep, that's what I was thinking, too.

Me, I'm also thinking that he sounds more like Mr Controlling rather than Mr Sensitive ...

Scary.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:30 pm
@squinney,
For the record, on Cowboy hats...

A real cowboy is a true gentleman and removes his hat indoors, much as your father. (certainly in church)

A pretend cowboy wants to preen, so everyone can see what his hat makes him feel he is...

(what else is he insecure about, and how often will your sis be allowed to participate in family matters when the grudges get rolling?)

(I will worry for your sis.)
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:36 pm
@Izzie,
They have been together for a couple of years. Fair amount of interaction with him in various settings on my part. Some go well. Sometimes there's a "where the heck did that come from" moment where sister and I exchange looks, with her look mostly saying "Don't worry about it. It's not worth making a big deal over. That's just him. He's had a rough life."

They have both been through rough times, separately and prior to knowing each other. I guess my issue is that I don't find that to be an excuse. We've all had our challenges.

So, yeah, they've been together long enough for sister and groom to both know each other well. She claims they talk through stuff, discuss, he's come a long way, she's come a long way... they love each other.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:44 pm
@squinney,
Hmmmmm...either he has serious wedding jitters, or you have something to worry about.

Prolly both, or so my "waters" tell me.

Look, if he's gonna be an abusive ****, he's gonna be. I am getting bad vibes....but heck, I have wrong a lot before in my life.

As you likely know, the first tactic is usually cutting off partner from family and friends.

For what it's worth, (and I have lived through this with a couple of friends, plus a zillion times with clients but that doesn't necessarily mean I know anything helpful to you) I think your aim is either not to get cut off if possible, or, at the very least, to let your sister know that, no matter what happens, you guys are there for her, and she need never feel bad about coming to her family. You'll be there.

This means you walk a fine line re raising concerns about him with her.

If she's in love, she's half nuts right now....chemically speaking. I'd be careful about making any overt criticism of him...even if she does. If she goes through the yo-yo thing with him that a lot of folk do in bad relationships, she'll resent you for anything bad you say about him on the outswing when she's back on the inswing.

I WOULD, however, be very empathic with her tears and worries, and maybe gently ask if this behaviour is of concern to her. Kind of let her know you are concerned, too, without actually saying anything really overt....unless you get the vibe that she is really worried, in which case I'd just quietly make it clear that cancelling the wedding, should she wish to do that, is something you'd all help her deal with...but be careful, is my advice. If you are like me, you are aiming to still be there if the **** hits the fan.

Your being in a semi-parental role perhaps makes it a bit mine-fieldier?

I'd be trying very hard to maintain contact with her even if he tries to make this very difficult. This might mean swallowing his crap a bit more than you normally would.....remember, if he is abusive, he'll be out to get rid of you and isolate her.



I am likely just telling you how to suck eggs, in which case I am very sorry.


And I also hope like hell I am way wrong, and they'll be damn happy.

Believe me, I do wrong often enough!
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:50 pm
@squinney,
squinney wrote:

An apology may make a difference for now, but then again he already said he remembers it for life. I can be the bigger person, especially for sisters sake.

I guess it just really ticks me off 'cause I'm just getting past all that "for the sake of harmony" crap in life. Knowing it wasn't intended the way it was taken and being expected to apologize because that's the way HE is drives me nuts.


I know. It's a lose-lose situation. I know where you're coming from and when you're dealing with balanced people, it's fine. However. You are dealing with an unbalanced person and like others said, you don't want to have him isolate your sister from everyone she loves and who love her. I think dlowan is right that this may be his motive.

I'm worried, too, and would likely swallow the bile and not apologize, but just ignore all the crap he dishes out to you in future. For your relationship with your sister.

You can't treat him like you would anyone else because a) he's got issues, and b) he's with your sister.

A fine line to be taken, indeed.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:02 pm
Cutting off from family - mentioned that once before. We are both aware of it, though you are correct that she probably isn't as aware at the moment.

She is also getting a bit of a settlement. Not much, but he told her he was finally ready to get married the week he found out she was getting and after being engaged for 20 months. So, that was another red flag for me. Not that he wants her money, but that if she spends it on the wedding she won't have it to leave him. Or, if he marries her she can't leave him as easily.

He has not to date been violent that I know of. I think she would tell me. I also think, knowing her, that he would have a few marks to show for it if he tried. Then again, she's wanted marriage for a long time. I'm trying to balance that out.

Thanks for listening and being level headed for me. I'm pretty sure she knows I'm always here for her but will emphasize it again without making it sound like I think she's going to need me soon.

He's very sensitive. "Walking on eggshells" was exactly what Bear said when I mentioned the heart to heart with Dad incident.

Rock - Dad wouldn't dream of wearing his hat indoors. I just wasn't sure if there were any gentlemen left. You are so right about the difference between those that do and those that don't. Smile
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:13 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

You know, it really sounds like Groom makes a virtue of being insulted, and carrying a grudge. ...


I think you are onto something there. I've felt that without being able to put it into words.

Yes, I'm sure you and I know the future b-i-l much better than the groom does. Smile I'll consider that a secret weapon.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:21 pm
Squinney, while reading your first post, I got bad vibes too, and I also think
in the same terms as dlowan mentioned. It sounds to me that this guy has a plan. He'll behave for another while but the pressure of the wedding is getting to him already and he probably has difficulties holding his composure too well.

The red flags are there and numerous in my book. Your sister wouldn't necessarily tell you if/when her fiance is abusive. She might be ashamed
and she might think you'd talk her out of marrying him, and married she wants
to be.

I guess there is no stopping her now, but afterwards (if she lives close by)
make it a point to stop by her house unannounced, look out for signs of changes in her, not only physical. She might be overzealous in telling you how happy she is, and how much she loves being married. Just look out for any signs that seem out of the ordinary to you.

Telling you that he never hit a lady, but.... is a major red flag, gives me the
creeps.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:26 pm
My first impressions of reading your description was of muttering to myself: "Is this a cultural difference? Is the guy Mid-Eastern?" "This guy is a control freak." "This guy sounds like he's trying to push her family away in an attempt to isolate her." "I wouldn't take his word about never having hit a woman, I'd want to hear confirmation of that from her sister."

I think you have some good reasons to be concerned. Are these quirks new ones or have they been there all along but gone unnoticed until your bat senses started tingling?

Regarding the settlement, make sure your sister knows how to protect her money. Maybe an appointment with a financial advisor would be good. If you are worried about his motives, you could always ask if he'd be willing to sign a prenup if your sister were to ask for one. His reaction will reveal a lot.
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:47 pm
@Butrflynet,
May be cultural. He's not real sophisticated, country boy, construction worker... Not that that means anything. There are plenty of the same that don't worry me.

His "quirks" aren't new. One of our first outings was to a gun show. He was looking for a particular gun. I'd never been to one so I went along just to have the day with them. This was just a little over a year ago. Sister said we needed to stay with him and not wander off on our own because the day before they had been in Wal Mart looking for something and when she went down one aisle without telling him she was turning he freaked out. He told her that when they are together they are together and for her to not stay at his side, go down another aisle without him, meant she didn't really mentally think of them as together and that when she did that he worried about where she might be.

I was so stunned when I heard this that I didn't really know how to respond other than "Damn. That's kinda weird. Are you serious? Really? Damn."
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 08:53 pm
@squinney,
ping...
0 Replies
 
 

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