Are these in-laws crazy? Or is it the bride? You decide.
Q: I am getting married this summer and my future in-laws are driving me nuts! They treat me like I am an orphan and don’t have a mother or several bridesmaids to help me plan my wedding. I am constantly receiving unrealistic suggestions for what I should do, what I should register for, and long-lost relatives we should invite. Not to mention, they try to fill up our weekends with family events EVERY weekend. (They seem to forget that, I, too, have a family, and that we both have friends, and each other!) Also, they call my fiancé all the time to check up on him, even when we went away for the weekend for Valentine’s Day! They are nice people, and I do love them, but ever since we got engaged, they have become CRAZY. It is becoming a huge strain on my relationship with my fiancé. Help!
-- CrazyInLaws, Boston
A: Crazy, I have to ask, how does your partner perceive his family’s behavior? I ask because it’s probably easier for him to set boundaries with his own kin. Perhaps he can help you manage their requests and attention.
Most likely, your future in-laws are just over-excited about the wedding. That’s normal. Parents of the bride and groom are often so happy about the impending union, so happy to be expanding their family, that they plan more group events, family outings … it’s a little annoying, but they mean well. One call during a weekend Valentine’s Day trip doesn’t concern me much. If it was three or four calls … well, then we’d have more to talk about.
All you can do is thank them for their suggestions and tell them you have a team of powerful women helping you plan your special day. Nod your head a lot. Know that weddings make people (even you) demanding and over-sensitive.
It may be worth working with your husband-to-be to come up with non-confrontational ways of saying “no,” “later,” and “not right now.” Saying “no” is fine, as long as you’re polite about it. But please remember that this crazy family is going to be your family, so it’s up to you to learn to accept them.
Dealing with in-laws is a learning process. You’ll get there. Consider yourself lucky that this family seems to like you and want you around. Sometimes that's not the case ...
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.