I need help with a future mother in law!

teddy2020May 20, 2008

I really need some help here. I'm not married to the man that I live with and we're very much in love. We plan on getting married in the future (we're 24 and 25), but we have a big problem. My futre mother in law dislikes me very much. Before I start I want to put on here that she is not a bad person... just difficult with me. Another issue that needs to be taken into consideration is that she lost one of her sons when he was 15 in a car crash. A lot of the issues started when we moved in together and moved far away. She told everyone that I was only dating him for his money (my family has more money than his) and that I was lazy, among other things. I quit a very promising job that I took when I had to stop college for a bit to move with him so it took a few weeks to find a new job since we moved to such a secluded place. She called every day and talked for at least 45 mins to him when he got home which didn't always bother me, but could be overwhelming. Eventually we moved back to our home state and (even though I said it was the worst idea ever) bought a house 2.3 miles from her house. Again, it was a smaller town and it took me some time to find a job. When I did find one it wasn't the best, but it was a paycheck. We also got a dog in the middle of all of this. Here's the issue. She insisted on having a key to our house in case there was an emergency. I said it was a bad idea, he said it was. She got the key. The "emergency" she used the key for was usually if we didn't come to the door fast enough. She, on more than one occasion, walked in on us asleep in our bedroom for no reason. Just because she thought we should get up. She tells my dog to call her mommy, not me, and refuses to help with the training we had to do to stop her from jumping. She said, "She does that because she loves me so much." She also came by every day and once came by twice and called three times before noon. If she didn't come by it was unusual. The real issue I've had is her lack of respect for me. She frequently tell her family and my friends, people I see often, that I'm "running around spending money I don't have". The last time was because I was in a wedding and had to drive across the state to go to it. I don't think it would bother me so much if she didn't treat her other DIL with such amazing respect and love. She does this because this DIL was her son's boss so she makes more money than him. My boyfriend sticks up for me, but I can't and won't keep him from his mother. I was told at one time that if I got my degree and a good job she would respect me, but if that's the only thing she cares about I'm not sure if I want it. If this helps any of you out with advice on what I should do I was also told that, "In your family it's enough for someone to be a good person, but in my family that's expected. Now what else can you do?" PLEASE HELP ME BEFORE I EXPLODE! We don't want to get married yet because of her. What if it never...

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What if it never does? Because when you marry a person, you marry the family, too. You and your guy are going to have to drive it (together) or park it.

You say your guy sticks up for you, but look at his actions: moving near the toxic MIL, letting her have a key-and what happened next when she walked in? Did either of you tell her this was out of line? Why was she allowed to continue this? If you want to marry him, you are going to have to work as a team and set behavioral limits for this woman. I know this is difficult for young people, especially if you have not raised a child, but it is pretty much the same. You set limits on what is an okay way to act toward you and what is not. She will surely test you, just like a child. If you two do not stick together, the division has begun.

Now, you have expressed the possibility of an emotional explosion; that happens because you have held stuff in. Are you trying to be polite because she's his mom? Forget it! You need to set down rules for her as if she were his child. Why should you be the polite one and she is walking all over you? This may sound weird, but I suggest that you two take a parenting class. Managing kids and difficult people can be done with a mimimum of emotional carnage if you have rules and consistency.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 4:59PM
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Well you do need help. You have abandoned your own college and several jobs for this guy who has a mother that could star in her own horror movie. You have moved several times to places you didn't pick that sound like locations that make no sense. How come your mother isn't yelling at you?
Just in case you don't have a mother to yell at you--let me give you a sample of what I would tell my own daughter in the same circumstances.
Decide what you want to do with your life and start doing it. This guy doesn't sound like the brightest either. I don't know if the possible MIL would respect you if you got a degree but I suspect you would have more respect for yourself. But getting a degree is a lot of work and time and money. Kind of moving around is easy.
I'm sure you are in love with this wonderful guy. What happens when you have kids? Managing a home and children is difficult. Love sort of goes out the door if there are lots of problems.
This is the easiest time in your life. So if you think its tough dealing with her now--when you can still move out and say good bye--wait until you are married with small kids.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 7:44PM
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We were both to shocked to say anything about her walking into the room, to be honest. I have tried to set boundries. I once asked her why she was in our house when no one was there and she got so offended she wouldn't come inside for three weeks (which was kind of nice) and she would stand outside staring into the distance pouting. When I talk about her to other people that know her they all agree that she's crazy, but that my boyfriend and I are such a perfect match. I will say that we are moving away after staying in his hometown for only six months because she was so difficult and so we could go to a large city for me to finish school. He pays the bills without complaint and was the one to suggest I stop work to finish up. We're great when she's not around. How can I set boundries when she can be so child-like?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:09PM
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I'm wondering about how you get along with the other members of the family? Is your fiance the "baby"? Sometimes the youngest is pushed around by the older siblings. H/she may have the role of the scapegoat or the designated "special" child. The one mommy dotes on. The parents may have some kind of dysfunction in their relationship and turn to one of the children to fill their emotional needs. It is an extremely unhealthy way to relate to a child. In a sense it is a form of emotional incest. That child may develop an unhealthy attachment to the parent and when he or she tries to commit to someone there is an emotional tug of war going on. They feel compromised and guilty because of the strong attachment to a parent. The parent may also apply pressure as their child tries to disengage. After all, they have had a "special" relationship all along. The other siblings join in with the parent or look the other way as their brother or sister struggle with the over involved parent. I have experienced the above situation and did a little reading on the subject.

I don't know if this comes into play in your situation but is one reason why mil's won't let go. Especially, of a son.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Your problem is very likely in the title of your post. She is NOT your MIL. YOU are the harlot (she's likely thinking) that talked her boy into living together without being married -- and then brought your sin into her own territory, yet. I'd bet that she's more than half nuts over the situation even if she's not religious. If you say she was 1/2 nuts before, then now you've got a whole. My suspicion is that most of the wackiness is wrapped up right in there.

Item two: You haven't said much about your SO's opinion of this other than his talking on the phone forever and giving her a key (huge bad idea, by the way.). When you talk about it, how do those talks go?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:58PM
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The potential MIL, has issues.

She has lost a son, heartbreaking. And her other son is moving out of her life.

I would imagine she is having difficulties moving on from these events.

She is sending out daggers, and they are landing in your direction, I would not take it personally, its just any woman who wants to marry him would have problems.

So what do you do about this ?

Perhaps talk to someone who can be objective, they may help you to focus on how you can best deal with it all.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 3:27AM
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I guess I should elaborate on what she's like. She has three living sons who have all moved at least four hours away. Her marriage is dysfuntional, in my opinion, but maybe it works for her. She has zero friends except for three from high school who have all moved far away. When I was with her during the day she called each son every day and talked as long as they would allow. She seemed lonely and unable to make friends so all her focus was on her sons. I have a large circle of friends, much like my parents do, and her latest issue was because I was in to many weddings this summer (three). She also calls her son that I date "her sensitive one". At the end of the day I feel sorry for her, but still think she should grow up.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 10:51AM
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"How can I set boundries when she can be so child-like?" The same way you teach a kid. Be kind, do not yell and get all emotional, but be firm. Focus on the behavior, not the person.(Say, "The rule is you may not come in without knocking and waiting for us to come to the door". Don't say, "You are a rude person, etc.")

Use repetition: "Do you remember the door rule? What is it?" Praise her when she does what you want, I'll bet she's hungry for that. She will quickly learn that actions have consequences.

You feel sorry for her? You are helping her by teaching her how to act toward other people. I would plan some type of activity with her in the not too distant future. Something she can look foreward to, IF she behaves. Just like a kid, "If you accomplish this or that, we will go to Disneyland". She's lonely, she wants company. Teach her how to behave so people want to be with her.

I don't think you realize that you are actually holding the aces here. SHE NEEDS the two of you. So make her act right to get it. (You're going to have to learn all the parenting stuff eventually anyway.It sure makes life easier!)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:27PM
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Thank you so much for the advice scarlett2001! I wish I would have thought of posting this question earlier. It would have saved some big headaches.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:59PM
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After OP's additional info, I have little doubt I read it wrong. Please disregard previous.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 4:13PM
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There is a lot of good advice here, but to my mind, her walking into your bedroom is utterly devoid of the smallest shred of respect or common sense! You are a very patient person for putting up with all this, and the non-MIL really is pitiable, when you come to think of it.

I am also concerned about a boyfriend who would give in to her demand for a key, when he knows she doesn't respect boundaries. When you are married, you want to be able to count on him to "protect" you. Will he?

If she continues to abuse the key privilege and you have a closer friend or neighbor that you can trust, you might consider letting them have a key and telling her that in an emergency she can get it from them. Yes, she will probably have a tantrum, but you can remain calm and just keep repeating why it is necessary. If she gets the key back, she will most likely be more considerate.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 5:42PM
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JMHO, but RUN do not walk away from this relationship. It will not get better when you get married. Ugh, it turns my stomach just to read whatyou put up with.

Plenty more fish in the sea sweetie. I would lose this dude and his awful mother pronto!!


    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:47PM
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