Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas Into Discoveries – Tell The Truth or Stay Silent?
It’s a rotten situation: you don’t like the woman your son is about to marry. Should you be honest and tell him – or remain silent?
Q. Our son is planning to marry a woman we don’t think is right for him. To be blunt, we don’t really like her much either. She is 14 years younger, extremely childish and clingy, barely supports herself and is uneducated. Our son, in contrast, is well-educated, has a good job and is responsible. But he seems to have the blinders on. (Other family members totally agree.) We wonder if his fiancé sees him as her meal ticket. We can’t understand why he’s so enamoured, but we suspect if they do marry that it won’t last. We know it’s not our choice to make but we also wonder if we should be saying something before it’s too late.
Irene and Ray, Ottawa
A. That’s a rotten situation, and you may not like the advice you’re going to get, but here goes: you need to tell your son how you feel. In fact, you should tell both your son and his fiancé how you feel.
“What if the relationship ends and the son comes back later and finds out you saw it coming but said nothing?” says Dr Grenier. “He’s going to say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’”
So silence is not an option. Instead, “Define what you see as the problem and put it out there,” he advises. “Respect is telling the truth, and it’s about the exchange of quality information. And good communication isn’t fluffy communication. It’s not all just sweetness and light and the idea that you say something positive before you say something negative. Frankly, that’s patronizing and annoying.”
And if you talk to your son and his fiancé and they go away mad or won’t talk to you?
“Well, then that’s the best you can do,” says Dr. Grenier. “Painful truths are more respectful than soothing lies.”