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Asking mom instead of dad for hand in marriage

jonnyc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
29
I'm planning to propose to my girlfriend of 4 yrs within the next 2 weeks and have been going back and forth with the idea of asking the dad for my g/f's hand in marriage. I slyly brought it up out of context to my girlfriend a few weeks ago if she cared if I asked her dad, and she said no. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom. Something inside tells me I should, but here are some facts.

[*]He has never really shown me any respect, not even remembering my name for the first 2+ yrs we dated.
[*]He treats my girlfriend very poorly, and makes her cry often.
[*]He has made her cry on her last two birthdays in a row
[*]He talks poorly about her behind her back to her family
[*]He accepted her into his house with open arms after something happened to her where she used to live, only to treat her bad and ultimately kick her out of the house about a year later.
[*]He ignores me, unless he needs someone to talk to about something and won't let me put my own thoughts into the conversation.
[*]We have never hung out or talked outside of when I have been at family events with my g/f.


Even after all that, my girlfriend has the biggest heart and wants her family to all get a long and she tries so hard to make their relationship work. It's because of this that I have been struggling with myself to convince me to ask since I don't want to further derail anything. Currently though she is not talking to him, but if history repeats itself she'll eventually start talking to him and they will get on good terms. Things will be good for a month maybe before they tend to deteriorate again.

She gets a long fine with her mom for the most part. I was planning on asking the mom a few days before I plan to propose and not asking the dad. Do you think if I don't plan to ask the dad, I shouldn't ask the mom as well? Do you think after all the above, I should still ask the dad? There is a family get together this weekend, and I planned on possibly asking him if the opportunity exists but it wasn't something I was going to look out for.

What is everyone's thoughts?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Her father sounds pretty much exactly like mine. FWIW, I didn't care about my FI asking my father's permission. IMO, that is reserved for people that have your best interests in mind. What happens if AWOL dad says he doesn't approve? It could very well happen. Unless his approval of your union is important to her (as in, she'd say no without it or be upset that you didn't ask) I wouldn't.

If she's close with her mom and the two of you also get along well, you could maybe have a convo w/her mom about it but I don't know if I'd ask her permission either. It sounds like unless I'm missing something, they're just not a close family and that tradition probably isn't one she even worries about herself.

The only reason I'd change up this stance is if it's her first marriage and she's fairly young (as in under 25 yrs old) or hasn't been completely independent of her parents for very long.

Anyhow, good luck! I think it's sweet that you're thinking about that and it would be nice to let your future fiancee know that you did consider it, but were afraid that it wouldn't be a positive experience. I'm pretty sure she'd understand, but be thankful that you did think about it. :)
 

iota15

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
1,278
Even though I find the whole asking for permission thing outdated, I would only ask the mom if anyone at all. She's not even on speaking terms with her dad. Seriously? What would you do if he said no.

On the other hand, once they're on good terms again, he may use the fact you never asked him as a reason to cause more family discord.

If "asking permission" is not all that important to your future fiance, I would skip asking either parent - but politely and joyously let her mother know that you intend to propose in a couple of weeks. That way, it's not an asking per se, as much as you're letting a close family member know what's happening. Should the mother have any objections, she can let you know at that point.
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
I think only you and your GF can really answer this question. I imagine people will have a lot of varying opinions on the subject. For some people, I'm sure it's really important to them that the parents are asked prior to proposal.

My dad has passed away and my mom and I have a strained relationship. But even if that weren't the case, I would have been really annoyed if my FI had asked my parents' permission prior to mine. I don't live in a time period where I need my parents to approve who I want to marry. That is MY decision, and not theirs. And I say this even though I miss my dad and still think about him every single day.

Only you really know your GF. Do you think it's important to her that you ask either her mom or her dad? I would do whatever you think will make her happy.
 

turboflgrl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
275
I think that asking the Dad or Mom should be done only if you or your future wife truly want that approval. I really dislike when guys feel like "they have to" or it's the "right thing to do". It's really not if there is no meaning behind it. In fact, I kind of think it's a mockery if you only asked because that's what tradition states. I'm not saying this is you or your intention but really think about why you're asking in the first place.

If her Mom is her guiding force in her life, it would only make sense to ask her. Her father sounds like a complete jerk and I would honestly be upset if I were your girlfriend and you asked for his approval when he's been such a poor representation of a father. By the sounds of it, she isn't super close to either parent so I don't even think asking would be worth it. Unless your girlfriend expressly stated that she wanted you to ask or you feel some sort of connection in doing it, I really wouldn't.
 

jonnyc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
29
I agree not asking permission, but I think it's the right thing to do to let them know I will be proposing. It's a strange relationship. At times, she can be close to one or the other, but at other times she gets very distant from them. In her heart though, she always wants to be close to them, and keeps trying. That's the only reason why I considered telling him beforehand as well. Even though he hurts her, and she isn't talking to him she still loves him a lot. It's a sad thing, but in any case all of you have helped me not feel so bad if I don't tell/ask the dad beforehand. I'll prob still mention it quickly to her mom a day or two before I do it (I'll be doing it in Barbados). I may still hold off on telling the mom too, because I don't trust her keeping a secret either (when she knows what I'm getting for Christmas, she always let's me know she knows. Pretty annoying, and it upsets my g/f too).
 

charbie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
2,512
Her situation sounds pretty similar to mine. If im perfectly honest, I was relieved my now husband called my dad before proposing. Im pretty sure they had actually met in person 3 times before the proposal. He did not ask either parent for permission, but he called both of them to let them know he was planning on proposing. Since im not very close with my dad, knowing he had sort of opened the door and I didn't have to be the first to spill the beans on such big news to my dad. My dad now says it was one of his proudest moments and he was overjoyed to get that call. I think my dad had a lot more respect after that for my now husband as well (not that I really cared).

My sister got engaged a few months later. Her now husband didn't inform either parent that he was proposing. My mom wasn't upset per say....but she felt a little sad by the fact that clearly his family was in on everything and she knew nothing. She later told me that she was very proud of my husband for calling both of them even though it wasn't necessary.
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
889
FI actually talked to my mom, and asked her to ask both my dad and my brother for "permission." They were thrilled. When FSIL's now husband proposed to her, he asked each member of the family individually, including FI. FI was absolutely delighted to be asked, even though his sister is obviously not his to "give." He talks about it all the time. He felt completely honored, and he now has a wonderful relationship with his BIL. It has very little to do with asking for permission in most cases these days, and much more to do with building a relationship or trust, respect, and communication with the family you are about to become a part of.

To each his own. If such traditions are not important to you, your SO, or her family, then there is absolutely no need. But if it is important to any of those parties, it is a wonderful way to start building a good family relationship. If I were you, I'd go ahead and speak to mom AND dad. If you are worried they will say no, then don't phrase it as a question. Let them know that you intend to propose to their daughter and it would mean a lot to you to have their support. Few people are bold enough to say no at that point, but if they do, you propose without their support. Oh, well. It does sound to me like the relationship with dad, even though it is very rocky, is very important to your SO, and I suspect she would really appreciate your making the effort. If she is angry at her dad now, you don't even have to tell her until they are once again on better terms, but I think she will appreciate it then.
 

jonnyc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
29
blacksand - part of the problem is that the dad has never once shown me any respect. He actually has talked down about me for no apparent reason. I don't like how he treats my girlfriend either, so part of me says I don't have the respect for him to care for his support. He has one last chance to make me view him in a diffeent light at the get together on Saturday, where I may give him the heads up. Currently though, I am leaning to keeping it a secret from both parents.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,097
Ask the mom and not the dad and depending on how old you are and how long you two have been on your
own then I might ask neither and just let them know when you are engaged.
 
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