The Family Nightmare

Carla says that her fiancé wants to buy a failing restaurant at the behest of his mother. She told him she doesn’t want to be a part of it. Dave thinks she’s making a wise decision.

QUESTION: Carla in Wyoming says that her fiancé wants to buy a failing restaurant at the behest of his mother. She’s told him she doesn’t want to be a part of it and will walk away from the marriage, but he can go ahead and do it if he wants to. Dave thinks she’s making a wise decision.

ANSWER: This guy did do wrong. A guy who puts his controlling mommy or his dreams ahead of his wife and doesn’t consider her feelings in the process of making that decision is not marriage material. Your decision was heartbreaking, but wise.

Going into a partnership with family like this is unwise. There’s a lot of messed-up stuff there. You were smart enough to not attach yourself at the hip to this deal and go down with it. It’s not that you won’t support this man in his dreams, but his dreams need to have some wisdom to them. Otherwise it will become a nightmare.

This was not the right guy. The number-one cause of divorce is money problems. Number two is in-laws. You were signing up for both. It was a train wreck looking for a place to happen. I’m sorry you had to make that tough call, but the good news is that as long as you’re willing to do that, the relationships you do enter into will be quality. You set reasonable personal boundaries around yourself. You’re not a dream killer, you just avoid nightmares.

If you want to salvage this, you could explain to him that he needs to make better decisions to win your hand. Making a better decision involves you being a part of the decision and it involves wisdom. If you can get on the same page about money, in-laws, kids and religion, you have a shot at really doing well with your marriage. But if he puts mommy and her forceful personality ahead of you, you’re going to have a long life.

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