Charles from England writes:
I've recently become engaged to a woman that I've loved for over 30 years and no one seems to approve. I had a previous marriage that failed and she unfortunately died, but she seems to haunt me wherever I go. Mum and Dad and my family say that they approve, practically shouting it to the world, but I think it's all for show to be honest. I don't think my parents have ever approved of anything I've done...well, that's a therapy session in and of itself. My parents aren't even coming to my wedding. We're having a lot of problems with the planning, our first venue is unavailable and now it seems we'll need to have the wedding in the local town hall. I just want to be happy and no one else seems to understand. Sometimes I feel like people are plotting against me. I don't expect the world to approve but I just want some acceptance for my relationship with the woman I love.
Well Charles, love is never easy. I'm happy that you've found happiness with the woman you love. Your saying 'woman I love' actually reminds me of another man who wrote in; he actually used that very phrase! His love for this woman was so strong that he eventually had to give up his job and escape to France. Hopefully this is not the case with you.
I'm guessing that this isn't some sort of rebound relationship following on the heels of your divorce. Did this woman that you're now cohorting with have anything to do with the breakdown of your marriage? Were you having an affair? That could indeed explain why there's a lack of approval. Maybe your mum and dad and friends really liked your first wife. You say that she still haunts you to this day...maybe you should explore that. Is it her approval that you're seeking?
The fact that your mum and dad are 'shouting it out to the world' is a good sign and I don't think that they're doing it for show. The fact that your parents aren't coming to the wedding causes me some concern. You could read a lot into that alone but I'll let you ponder that for yourself. Maybe they don't like where they're seated, maybe your mum can't find something suitable to wear, maybe they don't want to pay for another wedding...who knows.
Planning a wedding is stressfull, especially when you've got a large family and they've invited you to their weddings and now you're not returning the favor. I don't agree with the practice of inviting people you only see at weddings and funerals...even if they're re-gifting the blender I gave them at their wedding. To relieve stress I find it soothing go out into my garden and talk to my plants...the rhubarb is particularily understanding and delicious to eat afterwards.
My psychotherapist recently quoted Bill Cosby: I don't know what they key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.. Is this what I'm paying her for?..I can't believe I'm paying her to throw quotes out at me...who is she going to quote next?...Oprah?..Dr. Phil? Maybe these sessions are covered by my insurance, I'll have to look into that...Oh, sorry! where was I?...Oh yes..back to the Bill Cosby quote. I think you should take that nugget of wisdom to heart and go forward with your plans, knowing that happiness is the best revenge.
© Marilyn Braun 2005
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