• Chas

How Do I Handle A Difficult Mother-In-Law?

Dear Chas,

I need some advice on handling my future mother-in-law. I am newly engaged to the man of my dreams. We have been together for 2 years and will be getting married in 10 months. I am so excited for this time in my life and enjoying all that goes into planning our wedding, but I am starting to realize how controlling his mother is. I have the upmost respect for my future mother-in-law, but she is trying to manage the wedding and anytime I disagree with her ideas, she shuts down. It is causing a lot of unnecessary tension and it is making me concerned for our future. If this is how she acts in regards to a wedding, what will she be like when we have kids?!

I am a very patient person, but one can only handle so much. I am biting my tongue and holding in how I feel around my fiancé because I don’t want to cause any issues. How do I manage this moving forward? How do I get the relationship I was hoping for with her? Please help!

Sincerely, Bitten Tongue

Dear Bitten Tongue,

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this situation. I can only imagine how stressful it is. I unfortunately can not relate, but I do empathize! I was lucky to get amazing in-laws but I know that is not the case for everyone. My advice is coming from how I would handle this situation if I was in it.

First, I would advise you talk to your fiancé. This is HIS mother and if you can’t communicate your feelings with a topic that is as difficult as such, then it will simmer until it boils over and it will cause a lot more damage than necessary. Don’t attack him with all your pent up energy and emotions, just politely express your frustrations. He SHOULD take the initiative to have a word with his mom, but if he doesn’t, then we need to be proactive ourselves.

Second, have a wedding-prep meeting with your mom, your fiancé, and his mom. It is time to lay out some ground rules and also, some roles within the planning. Assign different tasks to each person and explain your frustrations as a whole, do not point the blame on ANYONE. Explain that you feel like there are too many chefs in the kitchen and you want to scale it back to you and your fiancé calling the shots. If she can’t respect that, go back to step one and talk to your fiancé.

Communication is key. Depending on her personality, I would also advise you speak with her openly and honestly and tell her how she is making you feel. Express how much you love her son and how excited you are to be apart of their family, but how you are feeling like your own thoughts and feelings about how you wish YOUR wedding will be, are not being heard. Thank her for all that she is contributing to, but express your exact vision of what you want your day to be. Is she is aware of your exact wishes, she will probably be less inclined to announce her own ideas. Normally, it is coming from a place of her “living vicariously” through you. Maybe she didn’t get her dream wedding, so she is trying to achieve it with her sons.

Honesty and communication is key and this is the time to really hone in on those skills. This is a tricky situation, so go at it with the best intentions and be cautious of others feelings.


Sincerely, Chas

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