I am almost engaged to the guy I am dating. The problem is that he just got hired by a company quite a distance from where I live, which means that I will be far from my family. My friends don’t think it’s a big deal, but my parents are going crazy.
I am an only daughter, and my mother always dreamed of us being close after I get married. My father once said that he would start looking for a house for me near them. So you can understand why there is so much drama going on.
My parents had a long talk with this guy and told him how they feel. They ended up having a big fight, and now my parents want me to break up with him. They used to adore him, but now they say that he showed his true colors by being chutzpadik to them and that it means he will abuse me when we get married.
They will not let me see him again. The last time we got together, I lied to my parents about where I went.
I definitely do not want to break up with him. I want to marry this guy! What can I do?
By Baila Sebrow
It seems that your parents, feeling as though they were up against a wall and about to lose you to a lack of proximity, concocted a plan and set a trap for this guy. Your parents spoke to him and expressed their disdain for his decision, and surely they were prepared to use harsh words with him. And they must have known that the guy could come back with a reply that would be displeasing. So, now they got the guy in the position of being chutzpadik.
Your relationship with this guy had been developing nicely, to the point that the two of you were ready to get engaged. Not only that, your parents “adored him.” Furthermore, your father was ready to go house-hunting for you, so that you could all live near each other happily ever after. So what went wrong here that they want you to break up with this guy? Is it because he showed disrespect to them that your parents feel he is not a good match for you anymore? Unlikely.
Instead, disappointed that their dream of living near their only daughter appeared to have been squashed, your parents needed to devise a scheme so you would no longer trust this guy.
Parnassah is a big deal. Do you know how many young married couples out there can barely pay the bills? These days, a guy who is so motivated to make a living that he is willing to relocate is hard to come by. This guy had every right to accept the position offered to him. He did so not just for his own sake, but for yours, too. He accepted this position so that he can make a good life for you and your future family.
Forgive me, but your parents are too self-absorbed to realize what a treasure they found in this guy and how lucky you are to have met him. However, I will cut them some slack in saying that their disappointment caused their views to become a bit distorted.
I have no doubt that your parents love you dearly and want you to be happy. I also believe that when your parents began their conversation with him, it must have started in a congenial manner, as they were hoping to convince this guy not to take this job so far away. However, he rejected their suggestion and most likely stated his reason quite firmly.
As is common in such scenarios, your parents panicked and likely made a comment which was then reciprocated. From what I gather, you were not there to witness the verbal exchange. So we do not know exactly what was said that caused him to be accused of not only being “chutzpadik,” but worse—to be accused of the capacity to abuse his wife. That is a huge accusation. People have a tendency to use the word “abuse” in everyday language. Abuse is a real problem that unfortunately exists in society. Abuse is a tragedy for those subjected to it. Using that word lightly in order to prove a point is offensive.
Thankfully, your parents were not successful in convincing you that this guy will abuse you. While you might have some doubts about him, you are still secretly seeing this guy even though it means lying to your parents.
At a time when you should be celebrating, instead you are going through a difficult time in your life. Your situation is probably making things appear dismal now, but you will get through it.
It sounds like the line of communication between you and this guy is still open. The next time you get together—and I hope there is going to be a next time, even if it means not telling your parents—you will need to get the story straight. You and the guy you’re planning to marry must have a conversation about what took place during the tête-à-tête between him and your parents. My gut feeling is that his version will be different from your parents’ account.
In most situations involving a disagreement, I tend to give leeway to both sides. However, in this circumstance I am comfortable advising you to consider the guy’s version of what truly took place during the discussion your parents had with him. Even if he admits to being disrespectful to them, I would not hold it against him. Think about it. A young man is offered a grand opportunity for parnassah, and someone is demanding that he give that up for no good reason other than to satisfy the demander’s ego? That would irritate the calmest person in the world. Such a demand must have seemed chutzpadik to him!
Please be understanding when hearing this guy’s version of the story. Validate any hurt feelings he may have endured. Reassure him that whatever was said by your parents was a result of the heat of the moment. Using that same train of logic, suggest that he be prepared to express to your parents that his response was a heat-of-the-moment reaction as well, and then try to arrange a dialogue between your parents and him to give him the opportunity to do so.
As soon as the two of you are back on board with plans to get married, enlist the assistance of someone your parents hold in high esteem, preferably a rav. If you feel that the rapport would be more effective if the person is a family member or even a friend, then that would be good too.
The objective is for your parents to understand that your moving away is not a rejection of them. Yes, it does change things up a bit, and yes, they will not see their daughter and, be’H, their grandchildren as often as they would like. But the time they will spend together during such visits will be cherished.
Nowadays it is common for children to move to other states or even overseas. Parents in such situations admit that the time they spend with those children is more prominent than the time they spend with those who live close by. The children and grandchildren appreciate seeing each other much more, because they do not take it for granted. They look forward to getting together as one looks forward to a special vacation. Please impart to your parents that nachas from afar is just as big a blessing from Hashem.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com.
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