A mom took to Reddit to get advice about a problem she's having with her family. Her daughter, Jaelinn, and boyfriend, James, were planning to get married. They had organized a marriage proposal party, which is different from an engagement party, according to Proposal007.com:
The proposal party usually comes right after the proposal moment, when the question has been asked and the [engagement] ring is put on the finger. ... It is a great opportunity to catch those pure, raw emotions and wish the newly engaged couple all good wishes.
But unfortunately, the only raw emotions that were being conjured up by the planning of this marriage proposal party were negative ones.
The event was supposed to take place at this mother’s house. However, the party planning was turning James into a control freak. He was becoming increasingly demanding about how his future in-laws should act around his family when they showed up to the party.
This would be the first time that both families would meet in person. Therefore, James wanted everything to be perfect.
He started ordering around his girlfriend’s mom, saying things like: “Be sure you don't turn on the television while my parents are here.” “Don't serve store-brand chips or soda for snacks.” “Make sure the bathroom is clean.”
This mom was getting annoyed by all this nagging. She already thought James was an "unpleasant" person and "radically right-wing."
That's when James sent her over the edge: he asked that Jaelinn's brother, this mom's son, not act “too gay” at the event.
The son in question isn't even gay but is bisexual. But James doesn't believe in either "lifestyle."
This mom had always sensed that James had something against the LGBT community, what with the way he'd always treated her son, "rolling his eyes or snickering under his breath when he thinks no one's looking."
But this level of disrespect was too much. She wasn't going to take it anymore.
She told James he'd have to find another place to propose to her daughter. When Jaelinn found out about this, she was furious.
James’s reaction was even worse. He decided to call off the proposal altogether.
Jaelinn was heartbroken. She told her mom she'd ruined her life. Now, this mom is at a loss as to what to do.
Did she do the right thing by standing up for her son and canceling her daughter's marriage proposal party at her house? Or has she made the serious mistake of driving her future son-in-law away?
Sure, experts agree that there is no way to change your future son-in-law, even if there are things about him you don't like. It's also important for future in-laws to work out issues in a civil manner. Patience is needed in these situations.
According to Ruth Nemzoff, author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family:
When a man marries into a family it can be tricky. Often there's the expectation that he is part of the family, but he hasn't had all the years together that his wife has. He hasn't had all that time of unconditional love — fighting and making up.
This was a fight and this mom should try to make up with James. And yet, James was most decidedly being homophobic.
Damon Young from The Washington Post defines “homophobic” like this:
You have your violent homophobes, who use excuses like religion, their concept of morality, or their complicated feelings about their own sexuality, to perpetuate hate. Then there are people who perhaps don’t carry any conscious personal animus toward queer people, but have internalized negative and reductive stereotypes about them.
James was certainly expressing “negative and reductive stereotypes” about this woman’s bisexual son. She had every right to stand up to James.
She was even in her full right to cancel her daughter's marriage proposal party. What's shocking is that Jaelinn didn't back her on this.
Instead, her daughter seemed to still side with James, even if she was crushed he called off the proposal.
Philip Galanes wrote in The New York Times that it's not strange for a daughter to take her boyfriend’s side during an altercation between her beau and her mother.
And yet, hopefully, Jaelinn will see the light. She will forgive her mom and finally realize she’s better off without a man who can't accept her brother as he is.
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