Dear Carolyn • My boyfriend and I have talked about marriage. I expressed that my big dream for an engagement is something big and public. I don’t mean expensive, maybe just like one of those cute, on-camera things at a sporting event. My predicament: My dad told me my boyfriend has asked permission to propose to me. And, that he is going to propose at an upcoming sports event. My dad expressed concern that my boyfriend’s co-workers will make fun of him and cause problems at his job. I think my dad is projecting his own concerns onto my boyfriend. Should I tell my boyfriend not to propose this way, or let him make his own decision? We are both 30, no previous marriages, responsible professionals.
Dear Engagement Surprise • I hope your boyfriend is comfortable being told what to do, marrying into this family. Tell your dad you’ve already tugged your boyfriend’s strings to extract the public proposal in the first place, and so you’d appreciate his not tugging his strings in a different direction. Or tell Dad that, even if he’s right, Boyfriend might respond better to workplace ribbing than to having his confidence betrayed.
Dear Carolyn • I’d like to point out that given the level of detail, direction and other specifics given by the letter-writer, there’s absolutely no way this would ever be a surprise to all parties involved. There’s nothing wrong with a big proposal, but it looks like this poor guy is getting pushed around by the letter-writer and her father. I feel like there’s no way anyone is going to be happy in all of this.
Dear Anonymous • The one who’s happy is the one who gets his or her way, duh! Dear letter-writer, PLEASE let life happen, versus trying to direct it into the scene you’ve always envisioned. Have your boyfriend show his love his way versus yours, and love him your way versus his, so you can see what that means and whether that works — unless and until there are small adjustments you can make to your ways that you’re eager and able to make for each other and that don’t compromise who you are.
Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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