Ask a Planner Series ~ Mom On Side
Dear Ask a Planner,
You addressed a past Ask a Planner bride’s problem with her issue of an “unhelpful” Maid of Honour with such care and a good dose of reality that I’m hoping you might be able to help me with my situation. My problem involves my fiance’s mom. To put it simply, I don’t think she likes me. She loves her son A LOT and I can’t help, but feel that she doesn’t think I’m good enough for him. She is often very cold towards me or ignores me when we are all together.
Another example which really irks me is when she calls the house and I answer she always asks to speak with “John” without even saying hello to me first. It’s so rude and I’m tired of it! You’d think 3 years into our relationship and an engagement ring later she’d be a little kinder to the future mother of her grandchildren?! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling this way and am not sure what I should do.
I have talked about it with my fiance, but he doesn’t seem to understand how BIG a deal this is. He says not to let it bother me! Ha! Yeah right. Anyway, I’m really feeling torn by this and figure I have nothing to lose by asking you what you think I might do. Any thoughts are appreciated.
Thanks so much,
Here is my advice…
I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this. It has to be very frustrating and upsetting. Now, this is really more of a personal relationship type question over a “wedding planning” question and may be best addressed by a trained therapist or counselor. That said, you’re here and I’m happy to at least give you some initial ways you might wish to approach the situation.
As a wedding planner (and also seemingly being pretty good at helping friends and sometimes strangers overcome problems) for over 18 years, I have worked with many couples and witnessed the effects of tricky family dynamics more times than I would like to have so I do have some thoughts on how you MIGHT approach this issue. Your fiance could be right in that you need not over think the situation, but the reality is family dynamics play a HUGE factor in the long term success of a relationship so this sort of thing should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Sadly, no matter how much in love two people might be, family opinions do matter and can be a really tricky and in rare cases an insurmountable obstacle to overcome. That doesn’t mean that you should walk away from your life and plans… it just means you may need to take some more strategic and aggressive steps to getting to the bottom of the problem.
What I know for sure…
Where something this serious is concerned I will ask that you receive my feedback with an open mind and be sure to discuss your feelings with your fiance first before acting on any decisions as I am offering you advice based on what I know and without the complete back story would hate to think you would act on anything I said too hastily.
Here’s what I would do… First, talk again with your fiance (when you know you have his full attention) and explain how worried you are about the situation and the affect it could have on your future. Perhaps if he understands just how serious this issue FEELS TO YOU he will be able to work with you better to come up with a solution. He could be brushing it off because he knows his family better than you and really thinks it’s a non-issue OR it could be that he just doesn’t want to face the fact that his mom may not be as crazy about you as he is. Either way, it warrants further discussion between the two of you.
Once you have determined just how serious the issue actually is I would do one of two things:
If together you determine that it’s most likely not as personal or dire as you first thought then your next steps might include calling up his mom and ask her to join you for a coffee, a glass of wine, or a pedicure some time! I’m not suggesting you become best friends, but it is very possible that her standoffish behavior could just be that she doesn’t know how to break the ice with you and doesn’t realize how rude she is being in the process. There is a lot to be said for being the first to extend the olive branch or invitation! Maybe if she sees that you are making an effort to get to know her she will in turn open up.
Now, in the event that this just doesn’t feel right and you both know deep down there’s more to it than simply a misunderstanding, then I think “John” might need to have a few words with his mom privately about how her behavior is affecting you and your relationship. In my opinion, if he truly loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life **happily** with you he will have the confidence to stand up for you and try and make things better. This sort of thing should not be ignored.
I wish you the very best as you deal with this situation Nikki. I would love to know how things turn out for you.
Wedding Planner signing off! Until next time! Submit your conundrums and tricky wedding planning related questions by emailing us at [email protected]
a.k.a. “Two Cents McNally”
For more helpful advice check out Ask a Planner ~ Wedding Dos & Don’ts