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To what extent should a boyfriend stand up to family?


goldberry
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Geez Louise.

 

All my serious relationships were with oldest or only boys and their moms were always fine or awesome.

 

In-laws take time. Just like step families take time.

 

Time lots​ of time.

 

OP she does need to do her due diligence to make a relationship with her future mil if, indeed, she is sure she's going to marry this man. She absolutely has a responsibility to be the other half and that relationship (mil, Dil) and not just expect Grace's to flow down from on high.

 

If it turns out mil is a sour old lady and there won't be much of a relationship, well, she tried.

 

Meanwhile, the boyfriend has to run interference. Whether he sees the problem as such, or not.

 

Both of those things need to happen and they both take time.

 

ETA... Oh and I think it's normal what she said about not being really ready for this. For a grown up child and a Dil on the horizon with all that entails. It's a pretty big deal. People say "I'm not ready" when their kids go to school, too, but it doesn't mean they are holding them back. It's just a thing people say to communicate "oh my god I have a grown up. How did that happen?!" ...And of course she leans on her dh. That's what dhs are good for.

Edited by OKBud
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I'm still lost on what's actually going on, so I can imagine anything from outright insanity on the mom's end to hypersensitivity on the dd's end.

 

I spent years, and then intermittent periods, trying to get a decent relationship going with my MIL.  We are VERY different people and, it turns out, her issues just got worse, to the point of clinically messed up.  In some ways, it allows me to justify being upset about all of the little things from the past but, on the other hand, it makes me realize how silly some of those things were, compared to the chaos that would follow.

 

Early on, I was asked to set the table for dinner one night.  It was what I consider an informal dinner (I think we were grilling) and I was still a nervous new girlfriend.  It didn't cross my mind to use formal place settings.  MIL had FIL "fix" it.  It made me feel stupid (I do know how to set a proper table... it just wasn't and isn't part of my daily life) and I found it incredibly rude.  I'd never do that to a guest, especially one who was trying to help.  That was how visits went about 75% of the time.  Back then, I chose to feel hurt and uncomfortable.  Now I think it was oversensitive of me, and I'm content reminding myself of what pompous asses they are.

 

FWIW, I did marry a young man straight out of his parents' house.  He did not always understand why certain things upset me.  It took him a long time TO understand.  My improved communication with HIM is what improved things.

 

I did want a close relationship with his family, because mine moved far away.  It didn't happen and it never could have.  Had that been a requirement, I wouldn't have him, four of my awesome kids, or an excellent self-education in mental health!

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I haven't read every reply. 

 

I'm married to an oldest son.  When I met his mom, she was nice but not warm and welcoming. She was polite.  My husband took me home to meet his family over Christmas just before we got engaged.  I guess he wanted me to see them (and be seen by them) before we made that decision.   We lived on the west coast; they lived on the east.  

 

Anyway, she is not a warm welcoming person.  Sometimes she has been rude to me.  Sometimes she just says weird things that may or may not be directed at me (rants against fat people).  But mostly she is just... not warm.

 

Her older sister is one of those people who envelope you into her home as soon as you walk in the door.  Such a contrast!  I have always felt more welcome in her house than in my own MIL's.

 

But, it's just a personality thing. Some people are very warm, some are not so much.  Some are reserved.  Some think that their way of doing things is the "normal" or "right" way and don't get (or don't like it) it if people do things differently.  If I had been younger when I met her (I was 37), and/or more sensitive, I might have been scared off by her, felt she didn't like me, felt she was being rude.  I've grown used to her.  But, as she ages, she is getting worse.  We anticipate her being one of those really nasty old  ladies in a few years.  At this point, I can take it.

 

So as another poster said, it's hard to tell if she is really being rude or if Goldberry's daughter is a little too sensitive.  I think if I'd met my MIL when I was 18, I'd have felt awful about her and probably would have wanted my boyfriend-at-the-time to stand up to her for me. My husband has only rarely said anything to his mom about things she says that seem rude or hurtful. He would if I wanted him to.  I don't see the point of him calling her out every time. But we only see them once or twice a  year, so it's not a constant problem. 

 

Just some ramblings from a person who married the first-born, and has a cold-fish for a MIL.   

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This is not a good way to start of a potential engagement or marriage.  Your DD and her boyfriend need to work this out between themselves.  It's really not good to get you involved at all.  What happens in situations like this is the couple will make up and move on but there could now always be tension between you and her boyfriend, or you and her inlaws etc...  This is your baby and you will naturally feel protective of her.  They are very young so it may be hard for them to understand the importance of working things out together and not involving the parents.  She made an attempt to have coffee with the mom and she blew her off.  I think DD should just not go over there if she doesn't feel welcome and doesn't want to be there.  Eventually the mom may realize if she wants a good relationship with her son then she needs to make an effort to get along with his girlfriend.     

Edited by 1GirlTwinBoys
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This is not a good way to start of a potential engagement or marriage.  Your DD and her boyfriend need to work this out between themselves.  It's really not good to get you involved at all.  What happens in situations like this is the couple will make up and move on but there could now always be tension between you and her boyfriend, or you and her inlaws etc...  This is your baby and you will naturally feel protective of her.  They are very young so it may be hard for them to understand the importance of working things out together and not involving the parents.  She made an attempt to have coffee with the mom and she blew her off.  I think DD should just not go over there if she doesn't feel welcome and doesn't want to be there.  Eventually the mom may realize if she wants a good relationship with her son then she needs to make an effort to get along with his girlfriend.     

 

I know I just posted but I wanted to say something about the bolded.  

 

I don't think the OP is thinking of getting involved, just giving advice.  So that's good.   My anecdote hasn't anything to do with the situation the OP is in, but rather what happened in my family.

 

My sister was married to a pretty jerky guy. They ended up divorced. But while they were married, she would tell me and our mom all the bad/stupid/mean stuff he did.   We'd get mad on her behalf, but we couldn't do anything about it.  Then of course she would forgive him... and would wonder why we didn't like him.  She could forgive him, but we could not.

 

From this I concluded that people should be very careful when reporting marriage/relationship troubles with their parents (and in my case, sisters). It really can drive a wedge into the in-law relationship.  

 

ETA: they were married 20 years before they divorced, but she started complaining about him early on.  

Edited by marbel
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I know I just posted but I wanted to say something about the bolded.  

 

I don't think the OP is thinking of getting involved, just giving advice.  So that's good.   

 

Agreed.

I certainly hope my own daughters (and sons, for that matter) feel like they can come to me to vent or ask advice. Someone ought to benefit from my bizarre experiences, lol.  They don't have to face every challenge alone once they turn 18. I'm still their mom.

 

ETA: I still vent to my mom!

Edited by Carrie12345
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When I was young and dating, I noticed that a lot of young men didn't know how to handle the friend/girlfriend divide. They thought they could and should treat their girlfriend as one of the guys; a special guy that they like to cuddle and kiss, true, but essentially still a guy. That always crashed and burned in a spectacular way. Especially if the girl was a sensitive type.

 

It just sounds like this boyfriend and his family might subconsciously have a similar friendship expectation. It's awesome to get to know your potential in-laws, but the boyfriend expects her to hang out in the family group. His parents have no idea what they're doing and it kinda feels like everyone is reverting to a friendship model, except they know it's not just a friendship, so there's an awkward dissonance.

 

As we all know, marriage isn't hanging out with the in-laws. It's getting up, kissing each other goodbye, working for 8 or 9 hours (or one partner staying home with the kids), having dinner and doing couple things and/or raising a family in the evening. Not a lot of time for in-laws, even if you're blessed with amazing ones that you actually do want to spend time with.

 

If I were her, knowing what I know now, then every time I caught the guy reverting to friend mode (it often comes out in teasing, shop talk, or in expectations), I'd say: "Look, I'm not one of the guys. Stop treating me like I am." I'd also push for real dates, just the two of them, and minimize the hanging out. Especially at mom's house.

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-Your DD is getting you involved in something that is frankly none of your business.

 

If she'd ask mom, the OP, to talk to boyfriend's mom, I'd agree. Unless I missed that in there, she didn't. Talking to mom about one's problems to get insight can be a sign of a good relationship.

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She can and does, she just doesn't choose to spend a lot of EXTRA time there.  Times in the past where they have gone back to his house after a date for example, to hang out or watch tv, something weird always seems to happen. She's around the family in plenty of other circumstances. 

 

What do you consider to be "weird"?

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The who should she vent to side of the question brings up one of the best parts of cultivating a good relationship with a sane MIL if it's at all possible: She's likely the only other person who knows what it's like to thoroughly know the man (and all his faults) and love him without reserve anyway.

 

Man. Have I said lately how much I love my MIL? So much.

 

But you know what? She recently told me that she didn't really like me at first LOL. I liked her just fine, but at first I did think DH was too entwined with her. I said my many pieces, she said her pieces, DH figured it out. And now 13 years later, here we are.

 

Time!!

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Red flags. Sounds like my husband - we've been married for 7 years now and he still hasn't stood up to his mother on my behalf, OR on the behalf of our children. All I can do is set boundaries myself. We see his family twice a year at this point, and there are no signs that anything will improve. Sounds like that is what your DD is doing, she is setting boundaries for herself, which seems appropriate to me, but she should understand that THIS is the way it is going to be if they get married. This boy doesn't seem phased by it, so this is what she would be signing up for. A future of strained relationships and people acting polite instead of actually working out differences.

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When I was young and dating, I noticed that a lot of young men didn't know how to handle the friend/girlfriend divide. They thought they could and should treat their girlfriend as one of the guys; a special guy that they like to cuddle and kiss, true, but essentially still a guy. That always crashed and burned in a spectacular way. Especially if the girl was a sensitive type.

 

It just sounds like this boyfriend and his family might subconsciously have a similar friendship expectation. It's awesome to get to know your potential in-laws, but the boyfriend expects her to hang out in the family group. His parents have no idea what they're doing and it kinda feels like everyone is reverting to a friendship model, except they know it's not just a friendship, so there's an awkward dissonance.

 

As we all know, marriage isn't hanging out with the in-laws. It's getting up, kissing each other goodbye, working for 8 or 9 hours (or one partner staying home with the kids), having dinner and doing couple things and/or raising a family in the evening. Not a lot of time for in-laws, even if you're blessed with amazing ones that you actually do want to spend time with.

 

If I were her, knowing what I know now, then every time I caught the guy reverting to friend mode (it often comes out in teasing, shop talk, or in expectations), I'd say: "Look, I'm not one of the guys. Stop treating me like I am." I'd also push for real dates, just the two of them, and minimize the hanging out. Especially at mom's house.

 

+1

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Red flags. Sounds like my husband - we've been married for 7 years now and he still hasn't stood up to his mother on my behalf, OR on the behalf of our children. All I can do is set boundaries myself. We see his family twice a year at this point, and there are no signs that anything will improve. Sounds like that is what your DD is doing, she is setting boundaries for herself, which seems appropriate to me, but she should understand that THIS is the way it is going to be if they get married. This boy doesn't seem phased by it, so this is what she would be signing up for. A future of strained relationships and people acting polite instead of actually working out differences.

 

Honestly, though.... are you guys REALLY the same as you were when you were 19? Do you still converse with and relate to your parents the same as you did when you were 19?

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Agreed.

I certainly hope my own daughters (and sons, for that matter) feel like they can come to me to vent or ask advice. Someone ought to benefit from my bizarre experiences, lol. They don't have to face every challenge alone once they turn 18. I'm still their mom.

 

ETA: I still vent to my mom!

Ah, I said it wrong. I don't think venting to mom is a good thing. I think asking how to handle some things is fine. I think discussing major problems can be dangerous. I think venting may be the most dangerous of all. If I was going to vent to anyone about my husband, it would not be to my mom. In my experience, moms don't forgive and forget as easily as wives/girlfriends do.

Edited by marbel
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Marriage should not be on the table.  I understand boyfriend is between a rock and a hard place.  His mom is his mom.  Never easy to stand up to mom and he is still quite young.  Until he is willing to stand up for girlfriend to his mom he is not ready for the responsibility of marriage.

Based on what you wrote, red flags all over the place.

He is unwilling to acknowledge that he has a role to play in this.

He expects your daughter to fix things, absolving his family of any responsibility.

He appears unwilling to hear and validate your daughters feelings on the matter.

 

There appears to be a lot of growing up to do.  He is currently setting a pattern that will not serve your daughter and will serve their long term relationship.

Which is not to say the growth won't happen.  They are just not there yet.

Edited by kewb
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Ah, I said it wrong. I don't think venting to mom is a good thing. I think asking how to handle some things is fine. I think discussing major problems can be dangerous. I think venting may be the most dangerous of all. If I was going to vent to anyone about my husband, it would not be to my mom. In my experience, moms don't forgive and forget as easily as wives/girlfriends do.

 

Oops!  So, I disagree, lol.

 

I guess it's all about personality and individual family dynamics.  My own mother and I can roll our eyes about my inlaws or even my husband together, while still loving my husband. (Inlaws are a lost cause. :-p )  Ultimately, we both come from the perspective that I'm a big girl who will handle things in a way that works for me.  Plus there's the fact that my family probably likes dh more than they like me, lol.  What would be dangerous (for me) would be not having a loving sounding board as I work through all the stuff in my head.

 

I actually didn't have that loving sounding board when I was 20, pregnant, and in a bad (not abusive) relationship.  It was terribly lonely and I made many choices with a lack of self-confidence that probably made things a whole lot worse.  

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If none of my mom's kids called to vent to her / ask for advice, my mom would have almost nothing to do all day, LOL.  (And she'd probably have darker hair.)  My mom's youngest kid is 37 and married.  :P

 

I am very in favor of a young adult talking to mom about things mom may have gone through or observed or just developed wisdom for.  Said young adult's boyfriends and potential MILs should expect that.  "Go solve your own relationship problems" sounds like a really cold response and I'd feel sorry for the boyfriend if that kind of person was going to be his MIL.

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I won't repeat what others have said that I might agree with, but I will say this:  I think your daughter is right. They should not be hanging out at his family's house. When they are together, as much as possible, they should be out and about. They can do this inexpensively by meeting at a park to take a walk, going to a matinee, walking around the mall and getting a shake, etc.

 

I suspect the mom is feeling uncomfortable about having an extra person hanging around with their family, when she is not part of the family. It's unfortunate that she is letting it show, but it's not really surprising that she might feel this way. She's a busy mom with lots of children, and now she has an extra person hanging around, who may be very sweet but still doesn't fit in naturally. So this mom may be feeling some tension in her own home, personally, and she is not handling it well.

 

I'm not a person who can just have extra people in my home and go about feeling like normal. Even when they are good friends or extended family, I am still in a different emotional mode of operation when it's not just my family in the home. Having an extra person in the home really often would have an impact on my comfort level.

 

They should give the mom some space and hang out elsewhere most of the time.

 

They should also keep in mind that the mom may find it annoying as well, if the son is never at home with his own family. So the boyfriend should be considerate and make sure he spends some meals at home without his girlfriend there. And he should not invite her to all of his family events. Let his mom have her immediate family just be a unit to themselves sometimes. At 19, he is a man, yes, but he is still her boy, and I'm sure she wants to have him around. The boyfriend might not have his mom's feelings on his radar, because... well, he's a teenage boy.

 

Some of this will shake out naturally in the fall when they are together less often, but I think they can take some steps to smooth things over in the meantime.

 

 

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One thing that might make me be a little stand offish or seeming rude would be people, non-family at my house very late at night.  After about 8:30 or 9 ish, I'm pretty much done at the end of the day. But, if there was a guest sitting on my couch, I wouldn't feel right about going on to bed. And I would be acting weird, thinking "I really want to go to bed. Is she going home yet?"

 

My kids know this. In fact, I've pulled my dd aside and said, "Hey, can your guest go on home now?"

 

It's not that I don't trust my dd's with male guests. Unless a kid is officially sleeping over, I stay up till my house is empty and quiet. My dh is the same. Yeah, I know that's weird with adultish kids in the house. I just can't get to sleep with the way my house is laid out when people are here.

 

For a mom who worries about "temptation" of her son, that dynamic might be magnified. Think that might be it?

 

So I don't know what the dynamic is, but could this come into play? Just another perspective. The way it worked out might be completely different.

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I think fairfarmhand may be on to something. OP you say the weird happens when they are hanging out after a date, which would be later in the evening, I presume. Perhaps mom is staying up to chaperone and she may honestly be just exhausted! Plus, if she's really "so not ready" for her son to be dating, she probably is really not ready for him to be awake for some kissing on the couch after everyone else turns in for the evening.

 

I have been surprised these last few years by college kids coming home unannounced and bringing along friends who hang out together til the wee hours, because that's the college life schedule. With little kids, then kids away at school, I'd gotten comfortable walking through the house to the kitchen at midnight in my pjs. But I have to be careful these days not to be surprised in a state of undress! It happened just this weekend as I went in there at midnight for a glass of water, to find my oldest (already college graduated) son standing in the kitchen illuminated only by the light of his phone screen. He hadn't mentioned he was going to be in town for an appointment the next day. A nice surprise, but a surprise nonetheless!

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This conversation is very interesting to me, as I have recently been accused of being unwelcoming and not friendly enough to a gf. This took me pretty much completely by surprise because I thought I had done quite well. Even to the point of remembering to get a little gift before they left. Apparently her expectation was that I treat her like a daughter and have heart-to-heart conversations. Even if I had that sort of personality, which I don't, I wouldn't have done that. Because 1. she is a gf, not a fiance or spouse, 2. She is not the first serious gf to come through the door 3. Did I mention, I am not that kind of person. I was an excellent host for the week or so she was here, which was not enough, I guess.

 

I have an wonderful relationship with my dmil. But it was very formal at first. We went to lunch together (just the two of us) for the first time after dh and I got married. This was 7 years after we started dating. Now, we are friends, but it took a long time. I have lasted through 2 failed engagements and 1 other marriage in the family. I have earned her trust and respect and she mine.

 

I think it is weird to have coffee with the bf's mom without a ring on your finger. Either she is actively rude, in which case, why would you want to do that? or she is waiting it out to see where the relationship is going. This is not wrong, I think, but a slow road to becoming family.

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I try very hard but still can't seem to hit the right mark with the girlfriends that come to my house. One ds brings home girls that are very friendly and outgoing and want hugs all the time. That just isn't me. Feels insincere for me to act like a gf I just met is a daughter. Yet, that seems to be the expectation.

 

I try hard and still don't get it quite right. I do try, though, because I am a grownup and she is a kid. I figure I can bend and step out of my comfort zone more to try to find the common ground. I do feel that because I love my

boys and want relationships with them it is on me to try to meet the girl's needs within reason.

 

All that to say - even though I do try to be welcoming and make the girls comfortable- I still fail sometimes. The MIL role is not easy either. I am humbly trying hard and it still isn't good enough sometimes. This stuff can just be hard all

around. My boys know I try. They would feel awful to confront me about this. So, it is a hard place for a teen boy to be too.

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YES! And that's what she was doing actually.  But he was "I want you all to get along, and spend more time together.."  They do "get along" in that there is no arguing or bad feelings or outright rudeness.  I don't blame him for being young and uncertain how to handle it.

 

 

 

 

I kind of think on his side he is envisioning her blending with his family in a big happy group.  When she was not too keen on hanging out with them for various reasons, it spoiled that vision.  She was fine just being polite but keeping her distance.  He has to realize that he can either deal with some of the issues OR be okay with her keeping her distance a little.  He can't just say "you be okay" and have it happen.  

I've noticed that young men tend to be like this when they love their family of origin. They are happy there. They are used to everyone's oddities. They love their mamas. And they want their girlfriends/fiancees/wives to just join the big party.

 

They struggle to get a vision that the new wife or girlfriend isn't as interested in joining the family of origin as she is in creating her OWN individual family unit.

 

OP, your dd needs to tell her bf that she's doesn't want to be at war with her bf's mom, but she doesn't necessarily yearn to be close to her either. That may come over a period of years after marriage. That takes time and will have to naturally unfold, or not. He needs to be okay if it doesn't. There's different personalities and such and people can be polite and kind and loving without being close. However, she needs to tell him that she's dating him. Not his mother. Not his family. That doesn't mean that there's animosity, but she wants to know HIM better. The family isn't necessarily a part of her deal. If he can't deal with that, that could be a huge problem for your dd.

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One thing that might make me be a little stand offish or seeming rude would be people, non-family at my house very late at night.  After about 8:30 or 9 ish, I'm pretty much done at the end of the day. But, if there was a guest sitting on my couch, I wouldn't feel right about going on to bed. And I would be acting weird, thinking "I really want to go to bed. Is she going home yet?"

 

My kids know this. In fact, I've pulled my dd aside and said, "Hey, can your guest go on home now?"

 

It's not that I don't trust my dd's with male guests. Unless a kid is officially sleeping over, I stay up till my house is empty and quiet. My dh is the same. Yeah, I know that's weird with adultish kids in the house. I just can't get to sleep with the way my house is laid out when people are here.

 

For a mom who worries about "temptation" of her son, that dynamic might be magnified. Think that might be it?

 

So I don't know what the dynamic is, but could this come into play? Just another perspective. The way it worked out might be completely different.

This may definitely be a contributing factor.  I know that DH can only handle so much time with other people in our home before his comfort zone and ability to act welcoming is severely strained.  That even goes for his own parents and siblings.  By the end of the day he is spent and needs quiet and his own space.  Heck, I love having people over and frequently have allowed the kids' friends to stay incredibly late but there are times I reach a point I just have no energy left to be pleasant and welcoming and just need people out of my house.  

 

Actually, that's why I like being the one to pick up friends and drop them off again.  I'm in control of how long they stay.  Now none of mine are dating yet but DD is a teenager and does have a male friend that comes over to hang out (not dating, just friends with both of my kids).  Mom usually drops him off at our house then I take him home again.  He knows I will make it clear when it is time to go.  I'm not rude.  I'm just clear in my communication.

 

If boyfriend is wanting and expecting girlfriend to hang out like a family member all the time that may be stressful on the family, especially the mom, since she ISN'T a member of the family.  Not everyone is comfortable with that dynamic.  Boyfriend's mom may be trying to be cordial but is struggling with not feeling like she can just be herself in front of a guest.  Couple that with this being the oldest son and first one to date or at least date seriously and she may really be having a hard time.

 

FWIW, when I met DH's grandparents for the first time I knew this was a kind of right of passage.  His grandmother was a powerful little rancher lady and managed to cause strain to two different relationships his cousins had had.  The boyfriends didn't pass muster and she made it clear they were not welcome in her home.  Grandfather was so warm and welcoming.  Grandmother was cold and intimidating, even though she was tiny.  Even after DH and I were married she could be challenging to be around.  But I was in this for the long haul.  I was patient.  I slowly made inroads.  I accepted that she had a different way of doing things and while in her home I respected that.  I also recognized that the extended family had her at their center and if being married to DH mattered to me then I had to accept that she was going to be a part of our lives.  He loved her.  I also tried to help DH see that our own lives would not revolve around his grandmother but that I did understand how important she was to him and I would try to get along with her.  I was pleasant but not pushy.   I treated her with respect and gave the relationship time to develop. Eventually I came to care deeply about her and she for me.  I began to see her for the amazing person she was and to come to understand her as a person in her own right, not tied to me or DH.  She had been through a lot, had survived some really tough times, and had come out the other end.  I admired her.  And she was so strong in spirit.  She would have fought to the death to protect her family, including me and my kids, even as an elderly frail old woman.  When she passed away it was incredibly sad and I still miss her.  It just took time for us to really get to know each other and let the barriers fall away.  

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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People see "MIL" and fill in their own blanks based on their own relationships. MIL issues are huge trigger issues on this board. 

 

I think there's not enough information about what is actually happening to even give an opinion, let alone advice.

 

Very very true!

 

I'm really the last person on earth anyone wants to discuss MIL issues with.  LOL

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I try very hard but still can't seem to hit the right mark with the girlfriends that come to my house. One ds brings home girls that are very friendly and outgoing and want hugs all the time. That just isn't me. Feels insincere for me to act like a gf I just met is a daughter. Yet, that seems to be the expectation.

 

 

this was me too.  I met mil after dh and I were married, and I was seven months pg.  she  was referring to herself as my "mother" and just assuming one big happy family.  while it was something I wanted - it was not comfortable.  at. all.  (mil is also  . . . nuts. and could be very overbearing.  she's 91.)

my sil did the same thing.  totally ignored me while dh and i were dating (I understand he dated a lot, so why should she get to know someone - but to not even bother to say hello in response to someone saying hello?) - then started referring to herself as my "sister" and like we were bosom buddies after she was informed we were engaged.

people aren't light switches.

 

there may also be something to the being there in the evening when mom wants the household to shut down - and it's not.  I used to yell at my then teen boys to go to bed - because they'd stay up so late. I couldn't rest while kids were up - I just couldn't.  my mom brain was still running and not allowed to shut down.   at least 1ds eventually understood it.

and having non-family members in the house can be disruptive, just becasue of the sense of obligation.

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I think fairfarmhand may be on to something. OP you say the weird happens when they are hanging out after a date, which would be later in the evening, I presume. Perhaps mom is staying up to chaperone and she may honestly be just exhausted! Plus, if she's really "so not ready" for her son to be dating, she probably is really not ready for him to be awake for some kissing on the couch after everyone else turns in for the evening.

 

 

MY dd's girlfriends know me and like me. They know I love them and enjoy their company.

 

My dd informed me that one of her friends asked her "Are we annoying your mom? She's not her usual self." after one late night. My dd just told her that I become someone else after 9 p.m. I'm not rude or even curt, but I am SO not engaged. I don't intend to be unkind or unwelcoming but I can only tolerate people so late at night.

 

I can see my dd rolling her eyes behind my back when I was just out of it and she had a friend over. She knows I'm not myself late at night. Doesn't mean she thinks I'm unkind or she's being disrespectful, it's more "That's my mom...totally old fogey who can't function after 9. "

 

More sensitive houseguests have to be informed of this. So far, I've not hurt anyone's feelings. It's just been raised eyebrows because my after bedtime persona is so different from my warmer, bubbly, silly daytime one.

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MY dd's girlfriends know me and like me. They know I love them and enjoy their company.

 

My dd informed me that one of her friends asked her "Are we annoying your mom? She's not her usual self." after one late night. My dd just told her that I become someone else after 9 p.m. I'm not rude or even curt, but I am SO not engaged. I don't intend to be unkind or unwelcoming but I can only tolerate people so late at night.

 

I can see my dd rolling her eyes behind my back when I was just out of it and she had a friend over. She knows I'm not myself late at night. Doesn't mean she thinks I'm unkind or she's being disrespectful, it's more "That's my mom...totally old fogey who can't function after 9. "

 

More sensitive houseguests have to be informed of this. So far, I've not hurt anyone's feelings. It's just been raised eyebrows because my after bedtime persona is so different from my warmer, bubbly, silly daytime one.

 

My sister refers to it as "turning into a pumpkin" after __ o'clock.  :P

 

It's good to know our limits.  :)

 

Lord help the son-in-law who expects me to be all chipper before my morning coffee has been fully digested.

 

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the input.  It's awful to hear some of these MIL stories!  This is nothing close to the extent of what you are describing.  Just "unwelcoming" and I appreciate the input some of you have on why she might be acting in that manner.  I'm starting to think we are an extra-welcoming family (I thought we were just polite/average), so maybe culture is coming into play.

 

Ultimately DD and BF are talking it out, which is what they need to do. She is aware that BF taking her feelings seriously is something she needs to keep an eye on.  

 

I just wanted to hear some other experiences and am grateful for perspective, which the hive of course delivered! 

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My sister refers to it as "turning into a pumpkin" after __ o'clock.  :p

 

It's good to know our limits.  :)

 

Lord help the son-in-law who expects me to be all chipper before my morning coffee has been fully digested.

 

I do believe I need one of those calibrated coffee mugs--the kind that get to 'You may speak now' at the bottom of the (large) mug.

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the input. It's awful to hear some of these MIL stories! This is nothing close to the extent of what you are describing. Just "unwelcoming" and I appreciate the input some of you have on why she might be acting in that manner. I'm starting to think we are an extra-welcoming family (I thought we were just polite/average), so maybe culture is coming into play.

 

Ultimately DD and BF are talking it out, which is what they need to do. She is aware that BF taking her feelings seriously is something she needs to keep an eye on.

 

I just wanted to hear some other experiences and am grateful for perspective, which the hive of course delivered!

Best wishes and hugs to your DD as she navigates these waters. And hugs and best wishes to you, too, Mom. 😀

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Why did I ever think it would get easier as they get older? :001_rolleyes:

LOL. I was just thinking this morning that when DD and DS were little I had no clue how how challenging and uncertain parenting could still be when they were old enough to fix their own food, arrange their own friend time, etc. Where is that all encompassing electronic parenting manual with the wicked cool search engine all parents should be given upon acquisition of a child?

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I was the oldest in a large family, and the dynamics were so different from my boyfriends' families that were all only children or one of two. My mom didn't like us hanging out at the house after a date, because even if I was technically an adult, she still had very young children in the home who needed to do their bedtime routine and get to bed. This was more difficult when there were extra people. She also was still right in the thick of parenting toddlers and young children, and not all of my boyfriends understood what young kids are like. My mom was tired, especially in the evenings, and not overly interested in getting to know or being chummy with boyfriends that were not engaged. My youngest siblings are now 18 and 22, and the difference with the boys they bring home is amazing. I wonder if this can be chalked up to simple family dynamics.

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There are many things that could be going on here.  I would not take the mother's lack of contact regarding a coffee date as a big sign.  If she has five younger children, odds are that she is busy with them and her own life.  She may also be avoiding meddling in her son's relationships.  How serious is the relationship?  How serious does the mother think the relationship is?

 

Although I do think it should be a husband's place to deal with his own parents on serious matters, it is unclear that there are serious matters at play here and the young man is far from being a husband.  At this point, he should show respect for his parents and his parents' way of doing things within their home where he is living.  If his parents have certain behavioral patterns within their home that they have always had and have with a number of people, he is not going to change those for the convenience of his girlfriend.  If there are ways that his family does things that are foreign to his girlfriend, he should take the lead in educating her, especially if she is feeling uncomfortable, to make her feel more welcome. 

 

The term "stand up to his family" is a bit of a concern to me.  It would be one thing to stand up to parents and say, "no, you cannot drop into my wife's and my home at your whim" or "You cannot take our kids for a ride in your car without carseats."   Given that they are not even engaged and without specifics, I am afraid that this may result in a power struggle of "prove you are going to stand up for me.."  That will not end well.  I would hope that a young man is sensitive to how a guest he brings into his parents' home feels and that, especially if the relationships are important to him, he would do the best he could to foster a good relationship between the parties.  Perhaps it would be nice if he could have a talk with his mom and let her know how his girlfriend is feeling. To me, that is far different from "standing up to family" 

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I'm confused by all the advice about how wives shouldn't talk to their mothers but should work out their problems with their husbands alone...

 

I thought we were discussing two teenagers, both living at home, who are getting very serious but who aren't even engaged yet.

I agree this is an 18 yo girl dating a 19 yo boy who still lives with his mother.  They are boyfriend/girlfriend, nothing else.  Giving advice and guidance is fine at this stage.

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I know someone who wanted her new husband to "stand up for her" at gatherings with the in-laws. In that case though she expected her dh to come to her defense during political (or otherwise) discussions even if dh didn't agree with her. He didn't have a problem with her voicing her opinions but felt no need to agree with or defend her either. She was/is the type to get very offended by people who have differing opinions so it caused a lot of conflict in their marriage for a while.

 

I'm not saying that is the case with your dd and her bf, but they have different expectations for what familial interactions look like.

Edited by DesertBlossom
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Count me as another one who isn't quite sure about "stand up to his family." As others have said, if someone is being outright rude or dangerous that is one thing. But, IME, when a girlfriend (or even wife) wants her husband to stand up to his parents for her it is for little things-usually different expectations. In my family (including extended and IL's) we have had really hurt feelings with a Dh "standing up to his mom" for his girlfriend/wife. It has happened because the mom didn't hug girlfriend enough, didn't invite her to go shopping with mom and sisters, didn't stay up to watch a movie, made a holiday menu without consulting girlfriend, etc. I don't think the Dh/boyfriend should have "stood up" in any of those situations.

 

Without more info, it is really impossible to know if this boyfriend needs to "stand up." And, with him living with his mother, he has much less room to "stand up" unless he wants to move out.

 

I also agree with the poster who said the two of them need to not hang out there as much. And, the boy should still do normal "family" things occasionally with just his family.

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The above quote about the Mom says quite a bit, really. She is passing off dealing with this to her dh. The son is passing off the responsibility to your dd. It sounds like this family has an unhealthy culture of avoidance. If he's just young and immature, that's one thing. If this is how they roll as a family, I would be very concerned.

 

Your dd seems like she has a good head on her shoulders. But, you can't drop sane (her) into a bag full of crazy (them). Eventually the sane one looks nuts.

And that might be simply a different family dynamic. I'm not a general fan of it, but the attitude of dad handles boys and mom handles girls is not really all that unusual. I know I'm not the only mom out there who has pulled dh aside to ask how best to handle a son or turned things over to dad.

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I was the oldest in a large family, and the dynamics were so different from my boyfriends' families that were all only children or one of two. My mom didn't like us hanging out at the house after a date, because even if I was technically an adult, she still had very young children in the home who needed to do their bedtime routine and get to bed. This was more difficult when there were extra people. She also was still right in the thick of parenting toddlers and young children, and not all of my boyfriends understood what young kids are like. My mom was tired, especially in the evenings, and not overly interested in getting to know or being chummy with boyfriends that were not engaged. My youngest siblings are now 18 and 22, and the difference with the boys they bring home is amazing. I wonder if this can be chalked up to simple family dynamics.

This is me right now. It's hard to navigate bc otoh, we have to get up and hime school and run errand and be up with babies all night. But relationships also matter. My middlers really miss their older siblings and the little ones idolize them. So I sorta feel like a witch when I say enough already, it's baths and bedtime. And my house isn't a McMansion, once the kids are in bed, I don't care how long they hang out, but don't wake the kids or daddy! And my living room is like a opera house. The upstairs overlooks the living room, so anything they do in there can be seen and heard upstairs.

 

But if someone thinks that makes me unwelcoming... not sure there's much I can do about that.

Edited by Murphy101
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Count me as another one who isn't quite sure about "stand up to his family." As others have said, if someone is being outright rude or dangerous that is one thing. But, IME, when a girlfriend (or even wife) wants her husband to stand up to his parents for her it is for little things-usually different expectations. In my family (including extended and IL's) we have had really hurt feelings with a Dh "standing up to his mom" for his girlfriend/wife. It has happened because the mom didn't hug girlfriend enough, didn't invite her to go shopping with mom and sisters, didn't stay up to watch a movie, made a holiday menu without consulting girlfriend, etc. I don't think the Dh/boyfriend should have "stood up" in any of those situations.

Oh my gosh. No. Just no. I agree with you. None of that is worth calling in the "stand up for me" card. It's petty and nit picking and if my sons did that, my husband would call them on that. I want to make people feel welcome to the family, even if they don't actually become family, but a large part of that is being real, being accepting, and learning that none of us are getting exactly what we want or need. Everyone has to have a lot of give and take to get along. And if son didn't give me clear indicators that he was looking to make her official family, it wouldn't even occur to me to invite them to go shopping or whatever with us or to meet for coffee and such. I'd even think that rather odd.

 

Without more info, it is really impossible to know if this boyfriend needs to "stand up." And, with him living with his mother, he has much less room to "stand up" unless he wants to move out.

 

I also agree with the poster who said the two of them need to not hang out there as much. And, the boy should still do normal "family" things occasionally with just his family.

Idk. Dh and I hung out a LOT at both our family homes when dating back in high school and after he graduated. There comes a point when dating isn't dating bc it's more. And when it's more, you aren't going out on dates. You are just hanging out. And when young this is especially true I would think simply because they can't afford to go out on official dates all the time. Eating out and movies and such come at a cost. But dh was an only child and I might as well have been. And we weren't handing out with our family even when at home. My house was almost always empty. Dh's house was large and we just went to the second family room to watch tv and chat or hung out at the pool. Edited by Murphy101
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