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A family brunch | Source: Freepik
A family brunch | Source: Freepik

I Called off the Engagement after Visiting My Future in-Laws' House for the First Time

Rita Kumar
Jun 17, 2024
01:42 P.M.

After three years of dating, Esther was thrilled to finally meet her boyfriend William's parents. She expected a warm weekend with her future in-laws, but what she discovered inside their home left her questioning everything. The unsettling experience was so intense, she called off the engagement.

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Hey everyone! Three years into my amazing relationship with my boyfriend William, I finally got to meet his parents this past weekend! We'd only ever spoken on the phone and video calls before, so I was a bundle of nerves and excitement leading up to the visit...

A young couple in love | Source: Unsplash

A young couple in love | Source: Unsplash

We pulled up to the Hamiltons' house around noon, and my stomach was a fluttering mess. William seemed oblivious to my anxiety, humming along to some tune on the radio as we parked.

"Ready, babe?" he asked, his grin wide and confident. I managed a nod and stepped out of the car.

The front door swung open before we even reached it. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton rushed out, engulfing William in a suffocating hug, practically ignoring me.

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Mrs. Hamilton cheerfully welcomes her son William home | Source: Midjourney

Mrs. Hamilton cheerfully welcomes her son William home | Source: Midjourney

Mrs. Hamilton's voice was high-pitched with excitement. "Oh, my baby! We’ve missed you so much!"

William laughed, and I stood there awkwardly, feeling like a third wheel. "Mom, Dad, this is Esther," he finally introduced me.

Mrs. Hamilton turned to me with a polite smile, "Nice to meet you, Esther."

"Nice to meet you too," I replied, trying to sound cheerful.

Esther warmly smiles at her future in-laws | Source: Midjourney

Esther warmly smiles at her future in-laws | Source: Midjourney

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The whole scene was unnerving, but I brushed it off as pre-meeting jitters. "Come inside, you must be starving!" Mrs. Hamilton chirped, leading us in.

I followed them into the house, hoping the weekend would get better from here. But deep down, something already felt off.

We sat down to a brunch spread that looked like it belonged in a magazine. Pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit, you name it. I was impressed and a bit relieved. Maybe I was just overthinking things.

A family toasting | Source: Unsplash

A family toasting | Source: Unsplash

"Willie, do you want syrup or honey on your pancakes?" Mrs. Hamilton asked, her voice dripping with affection.

"Syrup, please, Mom," William answered. She proceeded to cut his pancakes into bite-sized pieces, pouring the syrup meticulously over each piece. My eyebrows shot up. He’s a grown man, for crying out loud.

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"Here you go, sweetie," she said, placing the plate in front of him.

A person cutting pancakes | Source: Pexels

A person cutting pancakes | Source: Pexels

"Thanks, Mom," William responded, digging in without a second thought.

I tried to focus on my food, but it was hard not to notice the way Mrs. Hamilton kept praising William for the simplest things. "William, you always know the best shows to watch. Remember when you recommended that series last year? Brilliant!"

I glanced at William, hoping he'd say something to ease my growing discomfort. But he just smiled and continued eating, completely unfazed.

Mrs. Hamilton having a hearty chat during brunch | Source: Midjourney

Mrs. Hamilton having a hearty chat during brunch | Source: Midjourney

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"Esther, you're awfully quiet. How's your food?" Mrs. Hamilton asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.

"Oh, it's delicious, thank you," I replied, forcing a smile.

But inside, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was seriously off. And it wasn't just the syrupy pancakes.

Esther is visibly shaken | Source: Midjourney

Esther is visibly shaken | Source: Midjourney

After brunch, Mrs. Hamilton offered to give me a tour of the house. William and Mr. Hamilton stayed in the living room, discussing some TV show.

"This way, dear," Mrs. Hamilton said, leading me up the staircase. The walls were lined with photos of William at various ages – baby William, toddler William, teenage William. It was like walking through a shrine dedicated to him.

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We reached the second floor, and Mrs. Hamilton opened the door to their bedroom which took my breath away. And not in a good way.

A door | Source: Unsplash

A door | Source: Unsplash

The room was filled with more photos of William, framed and unframed, covering every inch of wall space. His childhood art projects were displayed like museum pieces. But the kicker? The bedsheets. They had his face printed all over them.

I let out a nervous laugh, hoping this was some kind of joke. "Wow, that's... a lot of William!" I said, trying to keep my tone light.

Mrs. Hamilton beamed. "We're just so proud of him. Isn't he wonderful?"

The Hamilton's bedroom full of their son's pictures and toys | Source: Midjourney

The Hamilton's bedroom full of their son's pictures and toys | Source: Midjourney

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I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. This was beyond weird. It was downright creepy.

"Well, that's the tour! Shall we head back downstairs?" she asked cheerfully.

"Sure," I replied, eager to get out of that room. As we walked back, my mind raced with a thousand thoughts. What had I gotten myself into?

Esther is extremely worried | Source: Midjourney

Esther is extremely worried | Source: Midjourney

That night, as I got ready for bed in the guest room, I couldn't stop thinking about that shrine of a bedroom. It was like something out of a horror movie. How could William think this was normal?

I decided to bring it up casually. "Hey, babe, I saw your parents' room today. That's quite a collection of your stuff they've got there."

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William chuckled. "Yeah, they're really proud of me."

William chuckles, telling Esther about his parents extreme love for him | Source: Midjourney

William chuckles, telling Esther about his parents extreme love for him | Source: Midjourney

"Proud? It's like a museum dedicated to you. Doesn't it... I don’t know, seem a bit much?"

He looked at me, confusion clouding his face. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, the photos, the bedsheets with your face on them... It's a little intense, don't you think?"

He shrugged. "They just love me. What's wrong with that?"

Esther tries to talk some sense into William | Source: Midjourney

Esther tries to talk some sense into William | Source: Midjourney

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I bit my lip, unsure how to proceed. "It's just... a lot, William. It feels a bit unhealthy."

He frowned, his jaw tightening. "Are you saying my parents are WEIRD?"

"No, I just... I don't know. It's overwhelming," I mumbled.

"Well, if you can't handle how much they love me, maybe you're the one with the problem," he snapped.

William tells Esther that his parents are not weird | Source: Midjourney

William tells Esther that his parents are not weird | Source: Midjourney

I stared at him, stunned. This was not the reaction I had expected. "William, I'm not attacking you. I'm just trying to understand."

"There's nothing to understand. They love me. End of story," he said, turning away.

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I lay down, feeling more confused and isolated than ever. What was I supposed to do now?

Esther is shaken by William's reaction | Source: Midjourney

Esther is shaken by William's reaction | Source: Midjourney

The next morning, things only got worse. We were having breakfast in the kitchen when Mrs. Hamilton brought out a sweater she had knitted for William. It was bright blue with his name stitched across the front in big, bold letters.

"Look what I made for you, sweetheart!" she exclaimed, holding it up proudly.

William's face lit up. "Wow, Mom, that's amazing!"

Mrs. Hamilton happily shows William the bright blue knitwear she'd knitted for him | Source: Midjourney

Mrs. Hamilton happily shows William the bright blue knitwear she'd knitted for him | Source: Midjourney

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He slipped it on, and I couldn't help but feel a pang of discomfort. He looked like a giant toddler. Mr. Hamilton clapped his hands together.

"That's my boy! Looks great on you, son!" he chirped.

I pushed my food around my plate, trying to suppress my growing unease. Every little thing they did revolved around him. It was like they were in some sort of cult, with William as their deity.

Esther finds Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's obsession for William weird | Source: Midjourney

Esther finds Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's obsession for William weird | Source: Midjourney

"Esther, do you want to help me in the garden later?" Mrs. Hamilton asked suddenly.

"Sure," I replied, hoping the fresh air would help clear my head.

As we worked in the garden, Mrs. Hamilton kept talking about William's achievements, from his first steps to his recent work successes. It was non-stop.

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Mrs. Hamilton sings praises of her son, irking Esther | Source: Midjourney

Mrs. Hamilton sings praises of her son, irking Esther | Source: Midjourney

"Isn't he just perfect?" she gushed.

I forced a smile. "He's great, Mrs. Hamilton."

But inside, I was screaming. How could they not see how suffocating this was?

That evening, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I pulled William aside while his parents were distracted. "We need to talk," I said.

Esther grows paranoid about the Hamilton's obsession for their son | Source: Midjourney

Esther grows paranoid about the Hamilton's obsession for their son | Source: Midjourney

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He looked concerned. "What's wrong?"

"William, this whole weekend has been... strange. Your parents treat you like a child. It's suffocating."

He frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"Cutting your food, dressing you up, praising you for the smallest things. It's not normal, William. It’s like they're OBSESSED with you."

Esther expresses her concern to William | Source: Midjourney

Esther expresses her concern to William | Source: Midjourney

He crossed his arms, his face darkening, his smile sarcastic. "So, you think my parents are crazy? That they love me too much?"

I took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. "I think their love is... unhealthy. It's not about you. It's about how they're treating you."

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"You're just JEALOUS!" he snapped. "Jealous that my parents love me and yours don't."

His words hit me like a slap in the face. "That's not fair, and you know it," I snapped.

William just doesn't care about Esther's feelings and fears | Source: Midjourney

William just doesn't care about Esther's feelings and fears | Source: Midjourney

"Maybe you should just leave if you can’t handle it," he said, his voice cold.

I felt tears prick my eyes. "Maybe I should," I whispered.

With that, I turned and walked away, my heart breaking. This wasn't how I imagined our future.

That night, I lay in bed, unable to sleep. My mind was racing, my heart aching. I knew what I had to do, but it didn't make it any easier.

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William's outburst shatters poor Esther | Source: Midjourney

William's outburst shatters poor Esther | Source: Midjourney

The next morning, I found William in the living room. He looked up as I approached, his expression guarded. "We need to talk," I said quietly.

He nodded, and we sat down. "I can't marry into a family like this," I began, my voice shaking as I took off his proposal ring and placed it on the table. "I love you, but your parents' behavior is too much for me. I need some time to think."

His eyes narrowed. "So, you’re calling off the engagement?"

Esther takes off her proposal ring | Source: Midjourney

Esther takes off her proposal ring | Source: Midjourney

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I nodded, tears streaming down my face. "I need to sort things out. I can't marry you until we figure this out."

William’s face hardened. "If you can't accept my family, then maybe we shouldn't be together at all."

My heart broke all over again. "Is that what you want?" I tearfully asked William.

William yells at Esther | Source: Midjourney

William yells at Esther | Source: Midjourney

He stood up, his jaw clenched. "If you don't want to marry me, then there’s no point in us being together."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "William, please, let's talk about this."

"There's nothing to talk about," he said, walking away.

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I felt like my world was crumbling around me. How had things gone so wrong?

William's behaviour leaves Esther extremely crushed | Source: Midjourney

William's behaviour leaves Esther extremely crushed | Source: Midjourney

I packed my bags in silence, my mind numb. William barely looked at me as I walked to the taxi. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton stood on the porch, their expressions grave and cold.

I got in the car, feeling like I was in a nightmare. As I drove away, I glanced back at the house, my heart heavy. How had everything fallen apart so quickly?

A taxi outside the Hamilton's house | Source: Midjourney

A taxi outside the Hamilton's house | Source: Midjourney

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The drive home was silent. When I finally reached my apartment, I sank into my bed and burst into tears. Everything was... over.

The next few days were a blur. I tried to distract myself with work and friends, but my mind kept drifting back to William. I missed him, but I couldn’t shake the image of his parents' bizarre behavior.

Esther misses William and is still upset about his parents' behaviour | Source: Midjourney

Esther misses William and is still upset about his parents' behaviour | Source: Midjourney

One evening, I decided to call him. My heart pounded as the phone rang, and I was relieved when he answered. "Hi, William. Can we talk?" I said.

He scoffed, "What is there to talk about, Esther?"

"Everything. I want to figure this out. But I need you to see things from my perspective," I replied.

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Esther reaches out to William | Source: Midjourney

Esther reaches out to William | Source: Midjourney

He was silent for a moment. "I don't understand why you have such a problem with my parents."

"It’s not about them, William. It's about how they treat you and how you think it's normal. It's unhealthy, and it scares me," I reasoned, hoping he would understand.

He didn't respond right away. When he did, his voice was softer. "I don't know what you want me to do."

Man talking on the phone | Source: Unsplash

Man talking on the phone | Source: Unsplash

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"I want us to work through this together. I love you, but I can't marry you until we figure this out."

He sighed again. "I don't know, Esther. I need some time."

"Okay. Take all the time you need. I'll be here when you're ready to talk."

As I hung up, I felt a pang of hope and fear. I wanted to believe we could work things out, but deep down, I wasn't sure.

A heartbroken Esther is uncertain about the future | Source: Midjourney

A heartbroken Esther is uncertain about the future | Source: Midjourney

A few days passed, and I tried to give William the space he needed. I focused on my own life, but the uncertainty gnawed at me. One evening, my phone rang. It was William.

"Hi, Esther. Can we meet?" he asked, his voice calm.

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"Of course. Where?" I replied.

"Let's meet at the park where we had our first date," he suggested. "Wait for me at that same bench."

The wooden bench at the park where Esther and William had their first date | Source: Midjourney

The wooden bench at the park where Esther and William had their first date | Source: Midjourney

My heart raced as I agreed. When I arrived, he was already there, looking as anxious as I felt. We sat down on the bench, the memories of our first date flooding back.

"Esther, I've been thinking a lot," he began, looking down at his hands.

I took a deep breath. "Me too. We need to talk about your parents and how their behavior is affecting us."

His expression hardened. "Don't play that game, Esther. You don't know what you're talking about."

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An annoyed man | Source: Pexels

An annoyed man | Source: Pexels

I stared at him, stunned. "What game? William, this isn’t about any game. It's about boundaries. Your parents' behavior is unhealthy, and it's suffocating our relationship."

He shook his head, his eyes filled with frustration. "They've always been this way. It's all I've ever known. Are you trying to take that away from me?"

"Take away? William, listen to yourself. This isn't normal. You deserve better than to be treated like a child," I protested, tears threatening to spill from my eyes.

Esther is furious with William | Source: Midjourney

Esther is furious with William | Source: Midjourney

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He stood up abruptly, his face flushed with anger.

"If you can't handle how my parents love me, then maybe you’re the one with the problem. If you don't want to marry into my family, then I don't want to marry you."

My heart sank. "Is that really how you feel?"

"Yes," he said, his voice cold. "Maybe it's better if we just end things here."

A couple arguing in a park | Source: Pexels

A couple arguing in a park | Source: Pexels

Tears filled my eyes as I realized he was serious. I stood up, my legs shaky. "Fine, goodbye, William."

"Goodbye, Esther," he replied, turning and walking away without looking back.

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I watched him go, conflicted by sadness and relief. It was over. And while it hurt, I knew it was the right decision. Maybe I overreacted. His parents were a little obsessed with him, but is that so bad? What do you all think? Would you have ended things over something like this?

Esther and William part ways | Source: Midjourney

Esther and William part ways | Source: Midjourney

Here's another story: When her sister-in-law and husband's ex Olivia constantly copied her, Amy decided it was time to teach her SIL an unforgettable lesson publicly.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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