Groom Duties

When the Groom Won’t Tell His Parents He’s Engaged

Why won’t he tell his parents he’s engaged?

“My fiance is really nervous to tell his family about our engagement. Now, having said that, being a bride to be this is a little hard to swallow…. You know women, we get excited and tell everyone and their brother till we can’t breathe anymore then continue to tell more people.

I’ve officially done that, but he is so afraid of what his side will think, and every time I bring up the wedding he gets this weird look. When I ask him about it, he tells me he’s messing everything up because we keep it a secret from his side of the family. Especially his father, who seems to criticize him at every turn.

Don’t get me wrong I know that he just wants what’s best for his son but sometimes he seems a little “open” about his opinions. The whole story is, is that we haven’t been together that long. I’ve met his mother once and that’s all of his side I know. He moved a state and a half away to be with me.

So now I ask you:

  1. Why is he so scared?
  2. How do we break it to them? (his family)
  3. Am I being too pushy? (when i asked him this he said no I’m just pushing the date part)
  4. Finally, how do I get him involved? Not the bridezilla type of involved but the “I want your signature on the wedding too” kind.”

-The Plunge Reader

Why is he so scared?

There’s an easy possibility and a hard possibility. The easy possibility is that he’s used to being pushed around by his parents, he’s afraid of them, and he’s just being a wuss. That’s (sort of) normal. And this sounds likely, given what you said about his hyper-critical Pops. Not that big a deal. But if he really wants this to work, it’s time for him to step up.
The hard possibility: he’s waffling, and he’s using the parents as an excuse. The fact that he moved “a state and a half” for you is a good sign, but it’s not definitive. You’re completely within your rights to call him on this. And you should.

See also: Groom and Doom – Cold Feet On The Wedding Day

Something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s okay. If you think we’re rushing, if you’re having second thoughts, if you have cold feet, you can tell me and I’m not going to be pissed. It’s more important to me that you be honest than it is that you make me feel better.” (Even if you’re going to be pissed, tell him you won’t be pissed.)  Once you have this State of the Union, and assuming that he’s passionately committed and that the delay has nothing to do with you, then…

How do we break it to them? (His family)

Two words. He needs to Nut Up.

He’s frickin’ getting married. If this isn’t an appropriate time to have a Big Boy conversation with his parents, we don’t know when is. Specifically, though, there are a few things he can do to soften the blow:

  • Tell his father how much the father’s respect, advice, and support means to him.
  • Anticipate his father’s concerns by telling him that he has thought through all the consequences: he’s thought through expenses, the lifetime commitment, how the two of you will raise a family, etc.  (Aside: have you? That stuff’s important.)
  • Ask his father’s “blessing,” not “approval.” This clarifies things. He still wants his father’s buy-in, but the marriage doesn’t hinge upon it.
  • Underscore how well he knows you. He should talk not just about how “in love” he is–this is the kind of fuzzy and teenage language that will make his father lose his shit–but how, in the limited time you’ve been together, he truly knows and understands you.

Am I being too pushy?


If you’re actually engaged, there’s no reason to not tell the parents. (To answer a question you didn’t ask, however, it is possible that you were too pushy–maybe without knowing it–in getting engaged so soon in the first place. This gets us back to the “hard possibility” above. It might be that he proposed to you without thinking it through, and now he’s skittish. If that’s the case, for the sake of both of you, let him off the hook.)

Finally, how do I get him involved?

Well, he’s a guy. Like us, he’s not going to want to be that involved. Despite what you’ve heard about the whole “groomzilla” trend, it’s mostly been manufactured by the media. Most guys will still do the bare minimum. Your best bet is to get him involved on the stuff that he would actually have fun with–the bar options, the music, the honeymoon, etc. A good guide (not that we’re biased) is here: Groom Duties–When to Wake Up and When to Hit Snooze.

Good luck.

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