It's one of the most nerve-wracking things in a person's life. It's a moment they gear up for days, sometimes even weeks or months. The day they ask the love of their live's parents for permission. Sweaty palms, rapid breathing, and heart palpitations are the norm. On the other side of that conversation though, is usually joy and optimism, fathers and mothers usually say yes, as it's one of those conversations people go into knowing the answer. But not always. Sometimes they take a dramatic turn. These stories are about those second kinds of conversations. The ones that go poorly.
Contents are edited for clarity.
Her Parents Tried All They Could To Stop Things
For this proposer, things started out bad. His girlfriend’s parents were skeptical from the start,
“Well, they were upset and disapproving because I had already gotten her pregnant. They said she needed to leave me and have an abortion.”
Things didn’t get any better a few months down the road, either. It’s seems her parents were determined to get this man out of her life,
“When it became too late for that, they said she needed to leave me and give the baby up for adoption.”
They didn’t let up when the baby was born, either,
“After the baby was born, they said she needed to leave me and move back in with them and let them help her raise it.”
Finally, it didn’t matter, he loved his girlfriend and they were going to get married whether her parents wanted it to happen or not. You would think after the wedding, that her parents might relaxed and instead of fighting the relationship, just accept it and start the healing, this was the father of their grandchild after all. But nope, that’s not what happened.
“The baby was seven months old when the wedding happened. Then they made one more effort by recruiting her sister to help convince my wife to divorce me and take the child back to their home, of course.”
Of course, the parents were wrong. They were wrong about him and they were wrong about the future of the relationship. And yes, of course, they are angry that they don’t see the grandchildren enough, but he doesn’t mind, they made their bad, he’s happy for them to lie in it,
“Almost a decade later and now there are four kiddos and my wife’s parents complain that we don’t come see them enough and they can’t figure out why we seem to like spending time with my parents more than them.”
Father Knows Best
For this soldier, he was overseas, at war, but thought that his girlfriend was “the one,” so he called who he hoped would soon be his father-in-law and didn’t get the response he was expecting.
“I was in Afghanistan. I called her dad from the USO tent one night and asked him what he thought about me doing it at the airport when I got home after a seven-month deployment. He said it was an awful idea and that we were too young (21/19). I told him I was disappointed, but that I would respect his wishes and talk to the family about it when I got home.”
His girlfriend’s father response was disappointing, but he soon realized that maybe her father knew what he was talking about. Even before he returned from his tour, things changed dramatically.
“She ended up cheating on me and breaking up with me over the phone two weeks before I got home. We got back together briefly after I returned home, but it didn’t last because of the cheating.”
The cheating wasn’t the end of it, either:
“She then went on to have a crippling smack addiction and OD’d at least three times.”
In the end, it turned out that his now ex-girlfriend’s father was on to something and knew what he was talking about. It wasn’t about our hero, it was about his own daughter here. Her father seemed to know intuitively that she wasn’t ready for marriage and he was right. As for the soldier in the story, things worked out better than he ever could have dreamed, but he still felt terrible by what became of his ex:
“I’m now 31 and very happily married to a woman that has never cheated on me and I can’t even fathom the possibility of anything like that happening.
While I guess you could say I dodged a bullet, I am devastated that substances consumed her life. I truly loved her.”
Love Conquers All
This one is from a different perspective, the perspective of a bystander to the process but one that clearly cares about the couple involved. The story is one of shock, frustration, sadness, and ultimately triumph.
“My friend is an Arab lady from a working-class background that got completely rejected by the man’s parents, who are of an affluent Pakistani origin after he proposed to her without telling his parents because he knew they would say no. They wanted him to marry from the pool of other people in his class and race.”
While this isn’t all that uncommon in many parts of the world, for most Americans, it’s hard to believe situations like this still exist. It seems so… Middle Ages… or Victorian at the very least. But, as we all know in life, things don’t always work out how people want or intend them to. The love the couple had knew no bounds.
“Five years later, both of them were completely heartbroken and unwilling to move on. So they told their respective parents that if they didn’t get to be with each other then they’d happily die alone. Both parties refused every attempt to date or be set up with any other people during this time.”
They figured as long as they could hold out, eventually something might change for them and their families. It did, but tragically.
“At the end of this five year period, the man’s grandmother was unwell. In fact, she was dying. She was in the hospital and called for the man and his parents to speak to her privately.”
This conversation would change everything,
“The man was very close to his grandma. She said she wanted him to marry the woman he loved and for his parents to unify against the rest of the family because he should be more important to them than what the others have to say.
And she made it impossible for them to say no.
“She made it her dying wish and called over the family lawyer to explain to his parents that her will had been structured in such a way that any money will only be given to them if those two got to get married. If they do not do it within three months of her passing, then the fiancé will get everything. They agreed, though I’m unsure if they were motivated by the cash, and she unexpectedly died the next day.”
Not only did the grandmother’s plan work, but the wedding was proof that love can topple any adversary.
“They got married six weeks later. Granny died at peace knowing her last act in this life was an act of love. She knew and never questioned their loyalty to one another because she understood what love meant for them.
It was super emotional at the wedding. The Arabs that got invited actively rallied around the girl and protected her from the hateful stares of some of the groom’s family members. It was a gorgeous yet somber event.”
Life’s A Roller Coaster And Nothing Ever Stays The Same
This next one is very powerful. It starts with love and ends with love but in between is a roller coaster. The one thing that is sure is the love in the beginning. He would do anything for her. He just couldn’t help himself.
“At the time, I had been with her for three years. We met in college and I moved 1,600 miles to be with her after I dropped out. She was starting her career in finance while I could barely scrape by as a bartender that couldn’t stay sober and spent all of my free time glued to video games. She was quite literally the only bright spot in my life.”
Her parents saw right though his nonsense too. They weren’t stupid. They saw the drinking and the lack of ambition. So, when he asked her father for his permission, her father let him down gently.
“Her parents and I did not have the best relationship. Honestly, they saw me for what I was; a dropout who would end up hurting their daughter. Her father said no. He played it off nicely. He said he wanted me to get a degree in business to prove that I could take of her. He said I wasn’t ready.”
Her mother wasn’t impressed either. As he accidentally learned one day,
“Things got worse when I overheard an argument between my girl and her mom. Her mom was upset about a career move my girlfriend had made since it was extremely risky and because, ‘If it doesn’t work out, who are you going to fall back on to support you? Your boyfriend (me) sure as heck can’t and you know it.'”
For our narrator, things could and did get worse. A lot worse. He didn’t get it, he didn’t understand why no one else agreed with him.
“In addition to a bunch of other life factors, my drinking took a turn for the worse. I spent the next almost two years in a wasted haze. I was so angry that they couldn’t see my love for her and just give her to me. I didn’t need a good job, a stable foundation or even a clear head to take care of a wife and future children. I just needed my love for her and that would make everything work out.”
And finally, he bottomed out,
“Well, of course, it didn’t. I hit my rock bottom on November 1, 2016. I finally realized that if I didn’t stop my drinking that day I would lose her and I would let my drinking kill me. Life gave me an ultimatum and I chose to give sobriety a shot.”
Not only did he get sober, he started to fix everything that his disease had cost him. He assessed his future and what he really wanted and he took off after it. Nothing was going to stop him,
“I worked my tail off to repair the damage I had caused throughout my life. I finally put plans in motion to secure the career I wanted (running my own restaurant) and turned my life around.”
And then he was ready, again, to make the most important decision. Now was the time to approach his girlfriend’s father again, this time with a new lease of life and all that sobriety had brought him.
“After a year sober, I asked her parents again, almost three years after I had first asked. It was a completely different response. They immediately said yes and wanted to help any way they could in the proposal and were ecstatic.”
In the end, he completely understood why her parents did what they did and why the answer three years ago was what it was. And he actually agreed with it.
They said no because I wasn’t good enough for her and they were right. I wasn’t good enough for anyone, not even myself. They said yes because I decided to grow the heck up and stop trying to outrun my problems.
I might add that I think I have become a pretty ok guy through all of this.”
Young Love Is Hard
It’s a story as old as the wind, a father thinks his daughter is too young to marry her also-young boyfriend. The boyfriend sees her old man as just that an old man, someone that had no idea how the world worked today, even though that clearly isn’t usually case. Still the young man was confindent and ready to marry.
“I proposed while my wife was still in high school. I was a year older and had been out of school for six months. We met in high school and had been together four years when I asked her. The plan was to go to university and get married after.
I asked her father for his blessing to propose the day before I did it. He said that we were too young to get married and that neither of us knew what we wanted in life. I thought he was an old man and didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Her father said no, but she said yes. Like her boyfriend, she thought she knew everything. But, her father made a last appeal to her boyfriend that worked,
“She said yes and her father took me aside later that week and told me that he wasn’t going to make a fuss about it but to put the wedding off for a bit. I told him of our plans to finish university first and that seemed to appease him.”
Then their world went sideways. They didn’t fixed their issues and instead got married. Her father remained skeptical.
“We were both in the middle of a natural disaster the following year. We made it out ok but some of our friends did not. We both dropped out of university and moved back to our hometown. Looking back now, I can’t see how we didn’t notice we had both slipped into a deep depression.
We got married six months later. I think the decision to bring the wedding forward was as much to give us something to look forward to as any real desire to be married so soon. I was just 21 and she was 19.
At our wedding, her father gave his toast and said nice things but you could tell he didn’t agree with what we had done.”
Luckily things worked out. Many aren’t so lucky.
“It’s now seven years later and our son just turned 1. We got lucky. For three years, we were both depressed and there was no love or passion in our relationship, just the need to not be alone. After getting professional help, we both managed to climb out of the pit of despair we had found ourselves in and found our love. The year we got married, three other couples in our circle of friends got married mostly for the same reasons we did. Of the four couples who got married within six months of each other, we are the only ones still together.
I’m not trying to say young love doesn’t survive. I love my wife more today than I ever did while I was a hormone-crazed teen. All I’m saying is 21 was young to get married and even without the depression, I think we are lucky to have made it.”
They Talked Her Out Of It
Then there is this poor sap. He kept the story simple, but you can sense the anger and frustration.
“I was dating my girlfriend for five years before I went to her parents to ask what they would think of me proposing to their daughter. After they told me no, I let them know that I would take their opinions into consideration. I then told them that I was coming to them to make them aware of my intentions to propose, rather than truly asking for permission. They didn’t like that very much.”
You have to appreciate his confidence, but it was short-lived. The lesson is that is is tough to take on a woman’s parents.
“By the time I finally proposed to my girlfriend, they had taken it upon themselves to tell her all of the reasons why an engagement to me would be a bad idea, and why she should stay single. She said yes to my proposal, but was so conflicted that she changed her mind about half an hour afterward. She broke it off with me just a few months later.”
A Different Approach
Sometimes, people reject for good reasons, sometimes it’s selfish and silly reasons. For this guy, it falls somewhere in between. Her parents had a reason, though it wasn’t a realistic one.
“When my great-grandfather asked for my great-grandmother’s hand in marriage, her parents declined because they needed to keep her as a farm hand and her getting married would mean she moved away.”
So he figured out a way around it.
“So they got pregnant. Her parents had to allow the marriage then to save face!”
He Wouldn’t Let Old-Timey Religion Or Anything Else Stop Him
Religion is often one of the biggest barriers for lovers and their families. This story shows how it can be,
“My wife’s family were strong Southern Baptists and I was some military guy who came from a broken home. The dad instantly didn’t approve of me.”
Winning over instant skeptics is very hard, and when that is rooted in a deep-seated heart-felt faith, the walls that go up can be impenetrable. But he stayed after it.
“Over the course of a year, we continued to date and I did my best to be a ‘suitable’ boyfriend.”
Then he was called to war and he knew it was the time to make a move. So he did. And it went very badly. Very badly.
“Orders came for me to go to Afghanistan and I knew I was in love and she was for me. I brought her dad out to breakfast and asked his permission. He flat out said no because I was not a good enough Christian. I looked at him and told him I didn’t give a darn what he thought and we are going to go through with it. Things got real ugly and he went ballistic on my wife. He was a verbally abusive person.”
That settled it, it was an easy decision. Her father lost his right to refuse. Or even his right to have an opinion. He was going to lose his daughter if he didn’t change his ways. That started with the wedding, which he was most definitely NOT invited to.
“After the dust settled, we had a small, $500 wedding. None of our family was there. We invited six of our good friends and had Jimmy John’s cater. Today is 7 years of our marriage and we are as happy as ever. I married the best women in the world and her dad has since apologized about the whole ordeal. Her family loves me now and it all worked out in the end.”
It’s wonderful to hear that her father clearly got the message and things have worked out.
He Saw What Her Mother Could Not
This guy had to deal with what sounded like a pretty mean mom. His loved one was the daughter of a single mother, so you might expect that she would be protective of her daughter, but she takes it another way. Yeah, she tries to talk him out of proposing, but only by telling him how terrible her daughter is.
“My wife grew up with a single mom. I asked her permission. She sighed and told me, ‘She won’t make you a good housewife. She hates cleaning, she cooks okay, but I spent my life telling her that school is number one and never got her to lose weight, act like a woman, or anything feminine. If you want my blessing, you better accept she will never cook or clean for you.’ I replied I was marrying a human being, not a slave. She went, ‘Okay then. You’re a good man, a brave man, but not the best boyfriend my daughter ever dated, so…'”
As you would expect, she was VERY wrong.
“We were married 25 years before my wife died from sarcoidosis. Mom was right, she was a terrible housekeeper, but an amazing partner. I miss her every day.”
The Only Thing For Sure Is That Things Change
This story, told by a friend is somewhere in between an approval and a rejection. The man in the couple were fresh out of college and was starting a promising career. He wasn’t a deadbeat or a slacker, he loved the woman very much. She was still in school and that might have been the fist sticking point.
“A really close friend of mine had been dating his girlfriend for about two years when he brought the idea up to her dad. They had met in college when he was a junior, and she was a sophomore. Thing is, he’d graduated college about six months prior to the proposal conversation and had secured an above average starting salary in his field at a good company. The complication was that the girl was still in school as a fourth-year, and was going to need to stay as a fifth-year senior to complete her degree, and then she still kind of needed to feel out her graduate school/career options.”
The young man felt good about his career and thought it was time to propose. Her father had different thoughts.
“Basically, the girl’s dad had some qualms about getting married so young. To be fair, my friend was 23 and she was 22, which was pretty young. Anyway, he explained that he, too, had been in love with his college sweetheart, but elected to wait on the marriage until both of them had settled careers/jobs and then decided to reevaluate the situation. Long story short, the dad’s college sweetheart basically became career-obsessed upon graduation and ditched him, so I guess he was warning his own daughter’s boyfriend on the possibilities.”
So, the father had some great reasons and he finally summed it up, it wasn’t the young man, it was their age.
“Anyway, the gist of the conversation was, ‘I don’t approve of you marrying my daughter so young, but that doesn’t mean I don’t approve of you.’ Fair, overall, but still tough to hear.”
Then things took a big turn and it started with the young woman graduating and getting a job. The bigger turn, the complete 180 in fact, happened when his future father-in-law called him:
About a year later, she got her dream job two states over and they have a tough conversation. Without a fuss, he left his job in favor of a different one in the other state in order to stay together. Kind of a slight ‘here’s your proof’ to the dad. About three weeks later, the dad called him crying, asking him to please marry his daughter. This was about a month ago.
I’m pretty sure he’s proposing within this summer.”
Overcoming Religious And Cultural Differences
As we talked about, religion is often the cause of the biggest rifts. Another big one is big cultural differences. In this final story, there were huge obstacles to overcome. Her parents were not happy and in fact, we determined to stop it.
“I’m marrying my Indian, Muslim fiancée late September. I’m a white, English man. While I wasn’t told no when I told them I planned on marrying her, for three years since we started dating they tried every single thing they could to break us up.”
The young couple were wary from the beginning, they knew what they would be up against.
“For a year, we didn’t actually tell them we were dating, but when we did, they threatened to remove her from the UK and move her back to where they lived originally (India). They threatened to not help her through university unless we broke up, they conspired with other members of the family to try and find new men for her. Many of her family members were actively introducing her to other men in the hopes of her realizing there were ‘better options’ (one of which was an illiterate devout Muslim who believed a man should be able to have multiple wives).”
And then the worst happened. Her parents made good on their threat and brought her home to India. That didn’t stop our man though. He loved her too much.
“They eventually did remove my girlfriend from the country, but we did long distance for a year or so, with me visiting against their wishes regardless. The last time I visited, I told them I intend to marry her.”
The time in India has paid off.
“Now I’ve spent more time with her parents face to face, I think they’ve come to realize what the situation is exactly. They’re allowing her to come back to the UK to study and they’re singing my praises to the entire family. I went from being the imposter to them acting as if I’m a welcomed member of the family.”
Then, when the time came to ask permission, it was less permission and more him telling them what was going to happen in a respectful mannor, something they came to appreciate and in the end, it looks like true love will win the day!
“When I told them I plan to marry her, I said I respect their wishes, but heavily implied that I will disregard them if they’re not compliant with my intentions. I’m glad they came around to realizing the situation, as my fiancée values family and we’d have hated to cause a rift between us and them.”