My Parents Are In Town
My parents are in town. My fiancé is still in bed — for which I’m grateful, because he didn’t want to be here at all this morning.
My parents are kind of a touchy subject for us. I adore his parents, so maybe for me, his not feeling comfortable or having much of a relationship with my parents is what most people deal with. People complain about their in-laws all the time.
He tried to have a relationship with them. He really did. We used to have Sunday night dinners at my house when we first started dating — something my parents just didn’t do, so it was special. He hosted dinner for them at his apartment. He took them out to dinner and asked for their permission to propose. He took wonderful care of me — and still does. But no matter what, he never feels like he’s good enough for them, and doesn’t see any reassurance from them that he is.
Whether or not he’s good enough isn’t their choice. It’s mine. But however they feel about him matters to him.
It probably doesn’t help that they spent several years, months at a time, living in Saudi Arabia for my dad’s work. When they would come home to visit, they carried on like normal — minus Sunday night dinners. I still lived at home, so we returned to being a family unit while they were in the States, and when they went away again, I picked up my life wherever it had left off, and spent more time at my fiancé’s house with his family than I did at home by myself.
So maybe while a foundation was laid for a relationship in the beginning, it was never fully built upon. It takes more than one person to build a house. It takes more than one person to build a strong, lasting relationship.
I always felt anxious in college when I knew my parents were coming home from Saudi. I know my fiancé feels anxious now that they’re in town at all. I know how he feels, and as much as I might wish for different circumstances, this is the hand I’ve been dealt. I can wish all I want, but wishing changes nothing.
Maybe it’s wise to set some boundaries.
I suppose it’s fair to assume that my fiancé is not the first man my dad would choose for me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him, but maybe my dad would have picked someone more like himself, which my fiancé is not. (Maybe that’s why I chose him, and I just didn’t know it when I was 18.) But he works very hard to take care of both of us. He doesn’t try to change me or ask that I be someone I’m not capable of being. He doesn’t place demands on me. He doesn’t ask that I choose between him and my family.
Of course, he is my family, too.
It takes more than one person to build a strong, lasting relationship.
I know they’re on their way, and I don’t know how this weekend will go. As much as I’d love to host them at home, have a guest room they can stay in, maybe it’s wise that we don’t. Maybe it’s wise to set some boundaries.
I’ve never been very good at that, but this weekend is as good a time as any to begin.