I am getting married next year and I love my soon-to-be-wife so much. The thing is, she comes from a very wealthy family and I stick out like a sore thumb. Not only do I make a modest living, but I don’t have the kinds of interests they do (and I couldn’t afford them, if I did). No one really says anything, but the looks I get when I use the wrong fork or don’t know the history of a wine sting me to the bone. I am trying to “catch up” so to speak, but I always feel like I am tripping up. My fiancée never makes me feel this way, it’s only her mother and extended family. She says that’s just how they are and not to worry about it, but I do.
Do you have any suggestions?
Dear Falling Short:
First things first, I want you to stand tall. You said the right thing right at the beginning: you love your soon-to-be-wife and it is clear she loves you. While snobbery and snubbing can feel very hurtful at times, it has nothing to do with you.
I have found myself in a number of demographics in my lifetime, and I can assure you that there are good people, not-so-good people and bad people in every one of them. Yes, it’s nice to know which fork to use in a fancy restaurant (and you can easily learn those skills with a bit of research or a coach), but what is more important is that you are able to feed the soul of the woman who loves you and who has agreed to be your wife.
Short, even as I encourage you to always work to better yourself (as I do everyone), I also want to try to empower you be proud of the man you are. I am a big fan of “keeping it real” and the reality is that you likely work hard for your modest living and you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Stay true to who you are instead of allowing others to smother you with ideas of who they think you should be. If you want to polish your etiquette skills and pick up whatever hobbies your father-in-law enjoys, do it because you want to, not because you feel you need to to it to be accepted.
I also want to gently encourage you to look at the situation with objective eyes. It may be difficult, but I think it’s essential in situations like this one.Perhaps your future in-law’s are behaving badly, but could it also be that you’re feeling a bit insecure and might be taking looks and comments harder than they are meant to be. I do not ask this to downplay anything, I just know this is a possibility for everyone.
In closing, I will say that we are all equal in this world and no one has the right to put others down for not being as privileged as they are. As humans, we must all ask: where is the humanity in that?
What are your thoughts, readers?
Please note: This Preston Bailey image has no association with the situation described in this post.