Friday, October 14, 2011

Do I tell my parents we're getting engaged?

Dear ESB,

I am planning to propose to my boyfriend in about a month. I'm buying him a gun that he's always wanted (I figure gun is his equivalent of a ring -- expensive, shiny and pretty much useless for anything other than having his guy friends drool over it), I got his mom to go in on it with me and get the ring he was planning to give to me (someday, I'm not ruining any elaborate plans on his part...I hope...well, no it would be ok if I am because we're one of those competitive couples and it would make him SO MAD & also happy that I beat him to the punch) sized. I'm planning a mountain-top proposal after an airsoft game we're attending in early November, I have a photographer lined up, it's perfect for us.

Here's the thing though, we're also planning on moving in together at the end of the month. Now, my parents are mid-range conservative Christians who live very far away and are NOT ok with us moving in together. I am struggling with whether or not to tell them that we're going to get engaged in November because I really don't want to share that information until after it happens to avoid any family pressure or weird expectations or jokes that make me feel terrible or anything like that. I want no negative feelings associated with this engagement. But I know if I tell them we're getting engaged they will feel 50% better about us living together. They will feel 100% better once we're married. They would honestly rather have me live with a random stranger than with my boyfriend before we're married. So, help. 

I also don't want them to be so mad about us living together that they're not happy about the engagement.



Don't jinx yourself and/or spoil the surprise by telling your parents you're planning to get engaged.

If you're going to live your own life, you might as well start now.

(No idea what to say about the gun thing. You're awesome? Or: YIKES.)

Tati Cotliar by Jason Kibbler for Twin #5 via Fashion Gone Rogue


  1. Do you have to tell them you are moving in together? If they live far away maybe they don't really need to know...

  2. "yikes" and "awesome" can go together, you just have to make sure you're eyes are open in shock and your mouth twists a a bit. :)

    i have four brother back home in ye old texas, and have since perfected the OHSHITF*CK! face. disbelief/amazement/respect.

  3. DUDETTE. you are awesome. i haven't read past the GUN part, but i wanted to say real quick that my husband would FLIP if i got him a gun as proposal gift. too cool.

  4. i think i land on more of the YIKES side of the gun thing; which isn't to say that i'm not supportive of the entire endeavor.

    don't tell your parents. get them used to you and your future husband doing things your own way. better to get that lesson over with earlier than later...

  5. Agree with ESB ... start living your own life! You're a grown-up, right? That's what grown-ups do ... make their own decisions.

    If your parents have a fit, they have a fit. This is YOUR life, not theirs.

  6. My boyfriend and I moved in together when we got engaged and had several months to go until the wedding. It made sesnse for us and I was a little worried about what my parents would think too. Then I realized I am an adult we ARE getting married and what is the big deal about moving in when we practically live together anyways!

    Don't tell them and enjoy getting engaged! :)

  7. It's your life. Do what's best for you and if your family disapproves, that's their problem. I spent like the first 22 years of my life trying to please my family and justifying things and trying to make things sound better to them so they'd get less mad at me. And then I just got tired of it. Moved half way across the world and just tell them what I'm doing as facts... not a questionable acts. And guess what? We get along better now. Because they don't feel like I'm hiding stuff anymore and I don't have to stress about putting a positive spin on everything (and yeah... the 7000 mile distance does help quite a bit)

  8. Team YIKES. But also team don't tell. And team you're a grown-up, you're gonna piss off your parents sometimes, but you know, do it anyway and live your own life.

  9. My family sounds really similar to yours, so I can commiserate. I agree - don't spoil the surprise. If your parents give you shit about moving in together, tell them nicely that you've made your choice and the topic is not open for discussion. Alternatively, you can keep the engagement plans a secret but still reassure them that you and the boyfriend are planning to make the next step very soon.

    It's tough to do something that you know will disappoint your parents, but it also feels amazing to take control of your life and make your own choices. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy, regardless of what they think.

  10. Oof. That's tough. I told my parents that my significant other and I had moved in together when I told them we were engaged. It went over like a lead balloon.

    My engaged brother has opted to lie about his cohabitation and has yet to be found out.

    His way appears to be more popular with our parents at this point.

    I have this idea that as an adult you need to own your decisions and take responsibility for how you live your life. I feel like my way was more honest, but at this point I don't know if the extra shit I took was worth it. I mean I feel like the bigger person for being open and honest, but I've been married for a few years now and I don't think my parents are close to forgiving me. YMMV.

    Congratulations. Good luck.

  11. Yep, be honest about moving in but keep the engagement to yourself.

    I moved in with my boyfriend and my parents were less than thrilled. But, you know what? I was an adult making adult decisions. Hopefully in the end your parents will gain some perspective and be thrilled for their empowered daughter living her life on her terms. Regarding telling them about getting engaged, I would keep it to yourself.

  12. what is the deal with parents and cohabitating???!!! I mean seriously. My now-husband and I practically lived together for two years (read: spent every single consecutive night together at either one of our two separate apartments). Eventually we realized this was something we'd like to do for many years to come and were tired of having roomates, so we got ourselves a cute one bedroom. There was no engagement in sight at that point to help cushion the blow when we told our parents. His folks responded with, "well does she pay bills on time?" and mine said, "do you need anything for the kitchen?". Their acceptance of our decision didn't change all of the anxiety we instinctively felt at the thought of having to admit to our parents we wanted to cohabitate. THIS ANXIETY WAS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. when it comes down to it, we were each paying our own rent bills, making our own car payments, putting ourselves through college....our parents were in no place to judge our decisions because we were each self-supporting adults. thankfully (surprisingly), ours realized that, but still, for those experiencing tough times with their parents because of a disagreement over whether living together is "right" --- what is it that makes parents so mad? are they just stuck on it being inappropriate because now they have no way to pretend your still a virgin? are they that niave to think that up until the day you share a house, you have no way to get into eachothers pants?!.. Unless a parent has a financial investment in their adult child (i.e. is still paying their bills), they have no right to judge the kid's lifestyle choices. and they should get down from the high horse anyway --- didn't our parents grow up smoking weed and living out of VW vans with god knows how many friends/lovers.

    bottom line: be honest about moving in together, and keep the engagement a surprise. take control of your life, love it and tell your parents to chill. it is really not the end of the world that you and your boy want to wake up/fall asleep/eat dinner/share a shower in your own place, because YOU LOVE EACHOTHER. im sure you could make far worse life decisions.

  13. I'm confused about the ring you purchased for yourself.

    Once he accepts the proposal gun, are you going to whip out the ring and put it on or what?

  14. AWESOME on the gun. Don't tell your parents.

  15. If your parents are actually going to flip out over the moving in together thing (and I would assume you know this for sure), I might attempt to cushion the blow by telling them that you guys are very close to taking the next step. DON'T tell them you are engaged. Just that you're on the path.

    Sure, the more adult thing to do is to just make them suck it up, but I know people who are irrational about the not living together thing, and the hassle of dealing with that might not be worth the adultness.

    Alternately, don't tell them you're moving in together. You both have cell phones, right? So no need to worry about the wrong person answering the phone and giving you away anymore.

    I am a big fan of being an adult and declaring my independence, but I'm also a big fan of not fighting battles that I can't win if they aren't necessary. I'm lazy, what can I say?

  16. Hi! Could you remove that picture of me from your site. I have nothing to do with the story so don´t want my pic here. thank you.

  17. I'm with anon 8:02! Lie! :p
    But seriously. I hate guns, but am totally aware that they're the jewelry equivalent to my husband.

  18. Wow, that's quite a difficult situation considering the beliefs of your parents. :D But yeah, you're all grown up, the decision will always be on you. :) Anyway, a gun as an equivalent of the ring is an awesome idea! :D

  19. I'm with Nikki-- why are you bringing your own ring; it seems like that whole--'I knew what you wanted to do for me so I did it for myself' gesture might be awkward. Why not just propose with the gun(yikes!) and then let the ring part unfold later?

  20. I'm seeing the gun as a civil-war-style revolver to romanticize this even more in my head.

  21. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this, but ...

    Now, my parents are mid-range conservative Christians who live very far away and are NOT ok with us moving in together.

    If they're the type of conservative Christians that aren't OK with co-habitation, they're REALLY not going to like the girl-proposes-to-guy scenario you have planned. I mean, I could be wrong (it's been known to happen), but girl-proposes-to-guy is WAY more radical, at this point, than cohabitation-before-marriage.

    Just to illustrate, my mom, who was cool with me sharing a bed with boyfriends when visiting her (once I graduated from college and was living on my own, that is), and didn't bat an eye at cohabitation, would NOT have liked the idea of me proposing to my (now) husband.

    Not to mention, conservative Christian folks generally like it when the guy asks for permission first which, obviously, won't be happening here. (Sounds like you essentially did the reverse w/ his mom, which is an interesting twist - I like it!)

    This isn't to say your plan isn't totally rockin, because it is (and, um, please send ESB pics once it happens!), but to say, your parents aren't going to be thrilled with ANY of this anyway, so you might as well work with your own timeline.

  22. I have never heard of a proposal like this. I don't know whether to think the gun part it's extremely cool or extremely tasteless. But I'm sure of one thing: You are one ass kicking lady. Respect for that.

    With regard to the tell or don't tell your parents question, I think you shouldn't tell them.

    The Scandinavian

  23. Bean bought me an axe as a wedding present.

    I say buy one of those fake bang guns - change the bang sign to a marry me flag and get him to pretend to shoot you in front of your parents. The perfect proposal!

    Everyone's a winner.

  24. I don't have any advice other than to echo the "live your own life" sentiment.

    I just DO NOT understand or have any experience of parents who have problems with pre-marriage co-habitation. What if you were never to get married?

    Maybe it's something that is more common in the US than here (Australia), but I've never known a single person who hasn't lived with their partner before marriage.

    In fact, my husband and I are in a minority for even being married in the first place.

  25. I say this in the best non offensive way possible - but what did you buy him a gun for? (not why, but for what purpose). And what kind? Maybe it's because in the UK guns are illegal, but something about a gun as a present makes me uncomfortable.

  26. The gun freaks me out more than I can even say. But guns are only popular with farmers, bikers and gangs in Australia, so what do I know...

  27. All I have to say is the gun idea is fantastic. If your man is anything like my man he will adore it far more than a ring.