Hi, I'm Dr. Jackie and would like to try to help
I read your post and am re-reading now a second time to make sure I have a better grasp.
ok, ask me anything as needed
I definitely will. Maybe you could start with what you want to discuss first?
What I should do about her father's meltdown and disapproval
Parents are such a difficult issue because you want to please them and I'm sure she wants to please her father. You probably have put yourself in her shoes--she probably feels very torn.
Im sure she does.
You are going to stay in a hotel/motel when you go visit, right?
yes, we're staying in one together
Because it sounds like she is living back home?
Oh, I can imagine her father would be upset by that as well.
she is staying with a family friend during the week while at school, and back home on weekends. But by home, i mean her mother's. Her parents are divorced
Let me ask this--did she move to Wisconsin to be with you? Because it could be her father would resent anyone who took away his "baby".
She moved to wisconsin for an internship. We met after she moved here, and then she ended up going full time at her job. I was a big reason she decided to stay for sure
I'm trying to understand if there are perhaps deeper issues on the part of the father.
Yes and if her dad needs someone to "blame," you're the perfect scapegoat, especially if she has expressed negative aspects of your relationship to her father in the past.
Yes. He 's a very toxic individual. He was very abusive while his children grew up. He's 70, and still has child like tantrums. He's actually suing one of his sons right now.
Well, that actually clarifies things, at least on my friend as far as me being objective...
Yeah, he's a piece of work. But he's been very supportive of D(my girlfriend) going back to school. he's paying for everything
What I mean is, it sounds like he is well set in his ways and isn't going to change unless HE wants to
Is she afraid of him pulling the plug on the money if you two get engaged?
I'm sure, but I told her I would 100% support her if she came back here and went back to school.
And to address what I think you have said is your biggest challenge--he is not going to accept you any time soon. And both of you have to be realistic that asking for his blessing is actually not only not going to happen, but it could make things worse. What I mean is, think about this. I often "give advice" based on real research and what people in interviews and surveys tell us about their relationships. We know there is always a distribution of power in any relationship (romantic, parent-child, etc.). From what you have shared, he controlled his children with a lot of "power." And he is still doing that. If you ask for his blessing, you actually are giving up more power to him, at least from an outsider's point of view. Does that make sense?
Yes, it does. So now I'm torn on how to approach this weekend. I planned on proposing, it's what I want, and it would show her I'm committed to this. But she wants the blessing, which isn't going to happen, most likely ever. And hearing her father say things about me, such as there's no way I can change, and I'm only faking things to get her back, has caused hesitation on her part. She told me she doesn't believe those things, but she did hear them.
So I would suggest that while the two of you are together, you discuss this and the fact that if you two really are together, he is not going to be fishing or golfing with you and that it most likely is going to cause more friction between her and him. I am NOT suggesting at all to be mean or nasty to him--if either of you did that, you would be sinking to his level. But the reality truly is this: If she wants to be with you, she has to realize her father's reactions.
She actually thought he could react poorly. But I wanted to be honest with him, to let him know we were trying to work it out. So we both agreed she would tell him, then I would eventually contact him. Last night, she was on board with this. And now today, after what he did, she's lost certainty in what we were trying to do
She has no clue that I'm planning to propose this weekend
yes, please do
Not changed her mind, she says she still wants to work things out. She has just become a lot less committed to definitely coming back. She says I have to prove things to her, which I get. But her father's words are weighing heavily.
Not that much, I mean we're still talking, still working, and despite her father telling her not to see me and not to spend any alone time with me this weekend, I'm still going out there.
I know she wants to get married, we were talking about it last night, and starting a family, even as soon as next summer, and she was definitely excited. She wants to get married, but this issue with her father throws a wrench in it. How do I broach the issue, and find out whether i should propose or not, without coming out and basically proposing?
What i know is she definitely wants a ring, she just also wants to please everyone, including her father. But the way he is, he will never approve. So how do i discuss the proposal without actually letting on that my plan is to propose?
So talk directly, let her know it's what I want and am willing to do it right now, but ask her if she wants to wait for the blessing or to go for it now and work that out with her father later?
Ok. So the plan is to take the ring, but keep it in my pocket, possibly for the whole weekend and bring it back with me. Talk it out, and if it's what she wants, go for it. If not, ride it out.
Nervous. Scared. Like a huge part of my future hinges on a 70 year old child
Ok, That's the plan. Any advice on dealing with her father? Or just let it work itself out?
no, not this weekend. But he will eventually need to be spoken with, whether we're engaged or not
ok, so we both agree he will never give us his blessing. How do I overcome that with my girlfriend?
Ok, so basically just let her know that while he may not approve now, if we work things out together, over time we will prove to him we know what we're doing and are making the right choice. Do that, and he'll come around?
Any parting words of wisdom on how to talk to her about wanting to get married? I know to be direct, but is there any way to do it in a really positive way? To make her know its really what i want, but don't want to pressure her?
That's a lot easier to do on here than when facing her and my entire future...
ok, i'll give it a shot.