Dear Mary: Aunt's attack on my fiance has left me having doubts
I just got engaged to a guy I've been dating for two years. He's no hunk, he would never star in a chick movie, and he's not very athletic, but we get on really well and he's got a quirky sense of humour which makes me laugh a lot. He's also a great kisser and makes me go weak at the knees.
The problem is my family. Not my parents – they like him a lot and he's become part of the family. My brothers rag him a lot – but he gives as good as he gets so that's fine.
But at Christmas something happened that upset me a lot. My aunt, who is my father's sister, my uncle and their family arrived one evening and my fiance had to go home early for a family 'do'.
Hardly was he out of the house but my aunt started on about him – he had a weak chin, was I sure that he'd be strong enough to look after me, why was I marrying someone in a job where people were always so boring, and much more.
I wanted to strangle her and I found out later that so did my mum. My uncle wasn't much better and I ended up having a huge row with them about something stupid and charged off to my room. I even had to go down and apologise to them later and my aunt sniffed her way out of the house when they left.
My parents told me not to worry, that she was annoyed because none of her brood was engaged yet and they are older than me. But since then I've found myself looking at my boyfriend and worrying about what other people think of him.
Am I being crazy?
I am appalled at your aunt's behaviour. How dare she take away from your happiness and the excitement of getting engaged.
No matter what she thought of your fiance, she had no right to say the things that she did, and she is the one who should have been apologising to you rather than the other way around. Your parents – and particularly your father – know her better and far longer than you do, and were no doubt correct in their assertions that she was wishing it was one of her children that had become engaged.
Your aunt was in fact very envious of you, so envious that she wanted to inflict some pain on you and so she hit out and attacked the person that means so very much to you. Since early Christian times, envy has been included as one of the seven deadly sins, and you can understand why, having experienced such a malicious type of envy from your aunt.
I'm sure that prior to your aunt's outburst you would have started an email to, say, a friend by outlining all the good points concerning your fiance, and then perhaps you may have mentioned that he is not particularly athletic. Read your first paragraph to me again and see what a negative effect this onslaught has had on you.
So rather than let all of this continue to affect you, I would like you to start trying to reframe and look at all the positives that you have in this relationship and all the things that you love about your fiance. We never get everything we are looking for in any one person, and it would be totally unrealistic to expect to. After two years you should know each other pretty well, which is great, so believe in your own judgment rather than worrying about what anybody else thinks. You are the one who is going to be living with him, hopefully into old age, and I hope that you are truly happy.
I realise that some people would not invite that aunt and uncle to the wedding but let her see that you are bigger than that, your parents would be happier if you do, and that way you will give her nothing to complain about.
Enjoy your very special day.