Mother hates my possibly soon to be fiancé

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I dated a guy 2 years ago and we got to the point where we said I love you to each other. He ended up taking my virginity and then we ended up braking up on bad terms. He didn’t cheat on me. My mom found out about a year later and she decided that she hates him with all her heart and she never wanted me to see him again. At the time I had no problem with it because I forced myself to hate him so I wouldn’t get hurt even more.

With in those two years he tried to get me back many times and finally stopped last year in the early fall. I have tried to date other guys but it just didn’t feel right and I realized that it was because I still loved him. So I gave him my number on facebook to call me and he did. He was shocked that I wanted to talk to him; he never expected to hear from me again. So we talked for a while and found out that we still care about each other very much. I also found out that he is in the army and is getting deployed to Afghanistan in February.

One of the things we have talked about is getting married. I’m not sure when but probably soon. The hardest thing I have to deal with right now is trying to tell my mom that I love him very much and that we are dating. And I need to do this before July 23 of this year because I don’t want to have to lie to her about hanging out with him. I want her to not hate him anymore. I can understand her fear of us having sex again, but we have already talked about it and I told him I don’t want to again until I’m married. He is fine with that and promised not to pressure me.

I can’t see myself with anyone else. I really truly love him with all my heart and he feels the same way about me and I don’t want to get married with out my mother’s approval but I will if I have to.

A: Thank you very much for asking us your question, but you are not likely to be happy with what I have to say.

Sometimes the things we want are not the things that are the best for us. While I very much appreciate your love for this young man there are several features that scream out here. Nothing in this scenario has the makings of a foundation that will sustain a life-long relationship. Very few people are ready to get married when they are 17, and I would encourage you to seriously rethink your situation.

At some point studying relationships is like understanding physics. Certain rules are going to be in effect whether or not we like it. Imagine holding a delicate ceramic cup out the window of a two-story building and aiming for a marshmallow to land on safely and not break. Getting married at 17 and expecting a life-long relationship to evolve happily is equivalent to this feat. It could happen, but chances are against it.

Marriage in general is a risky undertaking and the divorce rate is high; nearly half. If you are serious about making your commitment to each other make the promise and see how it goes. The piece of paper saying you are married can be added down the road if desire is still there. If it feels safer for you to say you are engaged then okay, but I would not have a wedding until you have spent time with your boyfriend after he returns. This is a particularly tender time in your lives, and you are both likely to change radically over the next several years. Your perhaps future fiancé is going off to war, and this will require him to readjust to civilian life when he returns. In other words, you will both be different people when he comes back. Learn about who you are; you can decide what kind of a relationship you want when you have reconnected. That will be the time to see if you want to be together, not now.

Your mother simply does not want you to be hurt. A parent’s instinct is to protect the child. Your mother has a good point. He hurt you and the relationship ended badly, and now he is going away – another hurt I am sure your mom senses coming toward you.

If you love this guy then stay connected to him while he is away and when he returns see if a relationship evolves. If you need to be engaged you should at least wait until you are 18 to marry, but I would recommend against it. Develop yourself while he is away, then see if there is enough to build on when he is back. If you choose otherwise, I wish the marshmallow and the cup good luck.

I would also seek therapy while he is in Afghanistan to cope with the separation as you develop. You can find a referral at the top of this page under “find help.”

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Mother hates my possibly soon to be fiancé. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/01/mother-hates-my-possibly-soon-to-be-fiance/