DEAR AMY: I am a 21-year-old business professional fresh out of university. My fiance (28 years old) and I have been engaged since last fall, but I've kept it a secret. He is kind and supportive, and I know he loves me unconditionally, as I love him. We've been together for two years. My family does not approve of him. My mother, who has always been my idol and closest confidante, told me that if I marry this man she will not attend the wedding. She feels that because he does not have a university education, our relationship is doomed. He simply "isn't good enough." Since this conversation, I've stopped wearing my ring around family members. I can see how much it hurts my fiance to see me tuck my beautiful engagement ring into a box instead of wearing it, but I love my family too much to cause them any unnecessary stress. I know this is selfish and cruel, but I'm torn between the man I love (and want to marry) and my family members, who support and love me. Recently the idea to elope to Vegas has come up. Where do I go from here?I
--Do, or Do I?
DEAR I DO: You need to take your ring out of its box and be brave enough to be engaged -- 24 hours a day.
I'm sure your mother loves you fiercely, but look at how she expresses her love: by forcing you into a situation in which you are torn and too paralyzed to do anything about it. By refusing to accept the man in your life, she is pushing you toward an elopement.
This is a great thing about being engaged: You can watch your beautiful ring sparkle in the sunlight as you give yourself more time to mature and your fiance more time to ingratiate himself to your family.
Over time you will realize there is absolutely no way to please everyone in your life. Own your independence. And do what is right for you. Your mother may need to sit out your wedding. If so, you should accept her choice but not the manipulation.