I respectfully asked my girlfriend’s dad for her hand in marriage…and he said no.

Recently, I sat my girlfriend’s dad down, explained how I feel about her, and asked for her hand in marriage. He laughed for a moment, told me that we needed time and were too young. (We’re 24 and 23 and have been together for about a year and a half. Half of that time we’ve been living together.) That was followed up with financial advice, which was likely intended to help, but came off badly, like he was saying I don’t have enough money for us to get married.

While not traditional herself, my girlfriend comes from a very traditional family. I feel that if I ignore her father’s opinion on this issue, I’ll drive a wedge between him and I that will be difficult to remove, and if things go according to plan, I will be dealing with him for a very long time. We don’t have any other real problems; we are just two very, very different people. At the same time, I feel like not continuing with my plans would be betraying how I feel about my girlfriend. There’s zero doubt in my mind that this is the right move for us to take, outside of the father issue. How do I proceed from here?
I’m trying to imagine you sitting there, all earnest and freshly shaved, with your shirt tucked in, perched on the edge of a couch in a formal living room that no one’s sat in for about twenty years, and your future father-in-law laughing when you said you wanted to marry his daughter. What a dick.
You should have asked your girlfriend first, and then asked him as a formality. Now you have to go to your girlfriend and say, “I asked your dad for your hand in marriage, but he said no. I want to know what you think.” You two already live together, so I’m guessing you’ve discussed it before, and that you’re pretty confident she’s going to say yes. What you need to do now is come up with a game plan to deal with her dad. Maybe you could stage a big proposal in front of her family, and when she says yes, you can have piles of money rain down from the ceiling. Or you could just come up with a good strategy together, which would go something like this:
1. Lay low for a few months.
2. Work hard, and do a good job at whatever it is that you do.
3. Be kind to her parents: get her mother something cute and funny for her birthday (don’t underestimate the power of the mother to influence the father), get along with her dad, buy their dog some Frosty Paws.
4. Continue to be the good person that you are.
5. Propose.
6. Be prepared for likelihood that she’s going to say yes, but the possibility that she’s going to say no. If her father is really the controlling blowhard that he sounds like (Does he have a mustache? I imagine that he has a mustache.), she might be too scared to go against his wishes. And then your heart will break. And then your next girlfriend will have a father who is a hippie, or lives in a different country, or is no longer alive.
I know it’s a little late for you, so I don’t want to make you feel bad, but really, THIS is the problem with the whole asking-the-dad situation. Since her dad isn’t going to have to sleep with you and make babies with you and live in the same house with you and do your laundry and ask you to stay home with your sick kids while you work late and spend all the whole rest of his life under the same roof as you, it doesn’t seem reasonable that he should have any say in whether or not you get married. Like, I thought all the dads said yes, unless the potential proposer was a drug dealer or a Nickelback fan. (Are you a Nickelback fan? Because I’m telling you right now, no one will ever marry you if you are.) If this doesn’t work out, next time, just ask the girl. Her opinion is the only one that matters.
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2 Comments

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2 responses to “I respectfully asked my girlfriend’s dad for her hand in marriage…and he said no.

  1. Brittany

    What you will understand when you are a father is that your daughter is the most important person in a father’s life. Imagine holding a tiny baby and watching her grow into the beautiful young woman that you are trying to marry. He wants what’s best for her. In his eyes financial stability and a little more time for her to grow into a woman. You’re right to not want to drive a wedge between your girlfriend and her father. His rejection could have been personal and it wasn’t, be thankful for that. If you are ready to propose to your girlfriend than you are anticipating spending a life time with her. So what’s waiting two more years to ask? In the mean time, save up money and entertain her father by following his financial advice. He wasn’t giving you advice to spite you, he was giving it to you so you would be able to be in the right position to ask him again in a few years. If your girlfriend is pressuring you to get engaged, be honest with her. Tell her you are more than ready to make the next step however, you understand her father’s qualms about you two not being in the right place to be married. Also, understand he has been married or still is married. He understands far better than you what being married is like. I wish you the best, and also understand you’re planning to spend your life with this girl, you can wait until the circumstances are perfect!

  2. michael

    I’ve been together w my gf for 4 years. Lived w her for 3. It gets really annoying having to put up with the bull shit lol i still haven’t asked her to marry. Sometimes feelings fade .

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