I hope you can help me. I’ll get straight to my problem…
My boyfriend’s mum cannot stand me. She makes it abundantly clear and I don’t know what to do about it.
She disliked me from the moment I was introduced to her six months ago. Nothing bad happened in particular, she just didn’t take to me and made no effort to hide that fact.
I never ever ever complain to my boyfriend about her behaviour because I saw how much it drove a wedge between my parents when my mum complained ceaselessly about my dad’s family directly to him. My parents ended up divorcing. I’m not saying that’s the reason, but it certainly didn’t help and I intend on being with my boyfriend until the end of time so don’t want to repeat their mistakes.
The thing is though, my mother in law and I cannot go on like this.
To give you an idea of how bad it is, my boyfriend’s family are all going on a group holiday (or are supposed to be, Covid-pending) in January. My boyfriend’s siblings and their respective partners are all going. I, however, was not invited. My boyfriend has tried to play it down, acting like he didn’t want to go, but I overheard him and his mum arguing about it and she said “I am not spending two weeks with that brat. It’s bad enough that she’s in my house so often.”
I know you must be thinking ‘there’s two sides to every story’ but I genuinely have searched and searched the darkest corners of my memory to try to work out what it is I must have done wrong, but I can’t come up with anything.
I want to heal things with my boyfriend’s mum because I plan on being with him for the rest of my life, but I keep envisioning her trying to ruin our wedding day or even trying to turn my future children against me.
How can I begin to make amends?
First off I’d like to say that I’m so sorry you’re going through this. There are few things worse than being in a situation where someone dislikes you but you have no idea when, and it’s even worse when that could have a negative impact on a relationship you care very much about.
You’re right, my usual response would be that there are two sides to every story, however this sounds like an exception to the rule and possible a case of her being a ‘smother’. This is a term I use to describe a mother who loves her child, in this case her son, so much that no one will ever being good enough however it’s important to understand that this is not a reflection on you.
However, given that her negative feelings seem to be directed towards you and not the other partners of her children I would say this definitely runs deeper that just feeling that you’re not good enough, which I don’t believe for a second is true.
I know you are worried that if you talk about it with you boyfriend you could end up in a situation like your parents, which is hard for a child to watch, but the matter of fact is that if you don’t say anything then that could also cause a break down in the relationship cause you may grow to resent his family.
It’s very common not to get on with your in laws, they’re not you’re family at the end of the day, however I would absolutely agree that if you want your relationship to last then it cannot go on like this.
My honest opinion would be the oldest trick in the book, talk to your boyfriend about it. I would say that it is his responsibility to deal with how his mother is treating you. Family and parents will always be important, but there comes a time when you need to put your partner first and I believe for you and your boyfriend that is now.
You never want to give a man a choice between you and his mother, but I think he owes it to you to try and find out what the route of the problem is and then you can go from there because at the end of the day this could become a problem in your relationship.
I think you need to tell him the impact his mothers actions are having on you and then he needs to bring it up with his mother. You can do this in a way without complaining about his mum, talk about your feelings and how it’s making you feel rather than her or what you think of her as a person. Then ask him how he feels or what he thinks about it but this conversation will only work if you are both completely honest.
He should then try and find out what her problem is, because there is clearly a reason, I’m not saying it’s a valid one, but no one has feelings that strong for the sake of it.
An option could be to try and speak to her yourself but in my opinion that would be a last resort as I don’t know how constructive that conversation would be given her feelings towards you. If your mum disliked your boyfriend, you would feel the responsibility to try and fix it, not expect your boyfriend to have a sit down with her.
If he can’t find a reason or a way to mend this relationship then it may be something you just have to deal with if you really want to be with him, at the end of the day you are in a relationship with him and not his mother.
You could limit the amount of time you spend around her, the less you are in each others company then the less issues there will be. And when you are in her company you may need to just learn to let things slide. You are never going to please everyone in life and that is a fact, there will always be people who dislike you and there may be nothing you can do about it.
With regards to thinking she could possibly try and ruin your wedding day or whatever, remember that would also have a negative impact on her son which I think sounds like the last thing she wants.
Anything family related is a very tricky situation and you need to do what feels right for you, but I would say first steps are being honest with your boyfriend about how it’s making you feel.
Lots of love,