Long story short, I (22F) never had an actual long-term relationship. After several failed attempts to meet other people, I started focusing more on myself. However, my parents weren’t happy about this. They forced me to meet this man (37M), who (by their definition) is the “ideal man” – meaning financially well-off, because he is lacking in character. I got bombed by him with expensive gifts that I returned upon the first opportunity that came around, because I am aware that such gifts come with strings attached, and neither do I need them. He absolutely disregarded anything I said whenever I spoke during our meetings, oftentimes treating me in a very infantile manner and preferring to talk with my father instead, claiming that I “shouldn’t fill my head with things I shouldn’t be concerned about”. I tried to maintain strict boundaries with him whenever he tried to interact with me, whether it was a physical interaction or via text/call, which he respected to a degree after lots of arguing.
Fast forward to now, my parents arranged for the two of us to date one evening without them around, and he never even asked me if I am alright with that, just demanding of me to dress elegantly and to meet him in a certain place in the city. Well, I didn’t. I chose to visit a friend that evening, and I came home late.
He was furious. I don’t know what did he tell my parents, but my father is absolutely upset at me and he is trying to force me to apologise to him. This man cannot take no for an answer, and he finds all of my actions, including the returning of the gifts (even when I used arguments to justify why did I do this), as a personal attack to his very existence. I don’t want to have anything to do with a man who uses money and his charms to manipulate a situation in his favour and who almost exploded with jealousy when he saw the interactions between me and my friends, as well as my cats (yes, he dislikes my cats because to him it seems that I am “too attached” to them). Also, given the rather big age gap, I cannot fathom what can he see in a 22 year old as a potential romantic partner. However, my parents are very adamant, saying that they “deserve” grandchildren from me.
How do I diplomatically handle this to avoid pouring even more fuel on fire?
I am SO very proud of you for not going!!! I was in a similar situation when I was 19, I did not know how to handle getting out of an arranged marriage at all, so I just used passive aggression until I drove the man so crazy he was actually relieved when I told him I didn’t want to get married. I don’t actually recommend this, but it worked.
What I would recommend is just flat out telling your parents that unless they have your acceptance for a date, you will continue to not show up, so they should not embarrass themselves any further with these attempts.
Don’t try to defend yourself or point out why this man was so inappropriate as a choice– they’re not going to listen. Just continue to set that hard boundary of not showing up, it’s the only control you have, really.
I admire you.
Culture plays a lot in the response. If you are in a western liberal democracy, move out.
You can’t really be diplomatic about it. The simplest thing is just not to discuss your dating life with them. Don’t argue, don’t fight, just don’t engage. They set up a date. Don’t go.
I’m sorry if this is jumping to conclusions, but his demanding and entitled attitude with you reminding him now seems like a huge warning sign, that he’d be even more controlling once fully involved in a relationship.
Easy solution: appease everyone by apologizing for your actions and excuse your feeling uncomfortable with something more trivial.
Best solution: explain to your parents that although he Is financially successful, that doesn’t mean he’s a good man to have as your partner and he constantly makes you feel belittled or like he’s trying to manipulate those around him. It’s not healthy and they hopefully would want better for your life.
That might not go over well. But it would be the truth and they should hear it.
He doesn’t want a romantic partner. He wanys a bed slave. He wants a 22 year old because a 32-42 year old would tell her parents to screw themselves if they so much as suggested that she should go out with someone she dislikes.
Pour more fuel on it. Your parents need to fuck off, period. Stop arguing with them. Arguing means their viewpoint is valid, but it’s not. You don’t need to get married, ever. They don’t deserve grandchildren, they deserve to be cut off.
Sometimes it’s okay to set the fire and walk away. Please do you have it right focus on yourself and everything will fall into place. Enjoy the show and know one thing: You deserve better than some parents that will attempt to pawn you off to someone almost double your age. Stay safe and good luck.
Are your parents in the 18th Century or something? I say to hell with diplomacy, but there might be a cultural context I’m unaware of here. From my perspective your parents are basically trying to pimp you out.
Do you live with your parents or depend on them financially?
Short term fire extinguisher:
Be nice to the stranger. Apologize, blame the age gap on making you uncomfortable. He’s 37, he knows he’s 37. Sounds insufferable tbh. If he goes into insecurity mode, hang up.
Be firm with the parents. If they don’t want to be embarrassed again, stop.
You are not going to figure out who you are as a person so long as they meddle in your life. The second you are financially independent, cut the convo there.
Your PARENTS wanted you date a guy 15 YEARS older than you?? That’s a itty little bit bizarre. My parents would do everything on their power to not let an old guy take advantage of me at 22, a time which you are barely starting your life and have only had a glimpse of the real world. He has has twice the life experiences as you. I’m not saying it doesn’t work out for some people, but typically a man this age trying to date a 22 year old can’t get a woman his own age because they’re too damn smart for him. Date someone your own age
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