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Crazy in-laws?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 10, 2009 10:52 AM

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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 ...

Welcome to the family.

Readers? How should she deal with her in-laws-to-be? Share here. Read yesterday's letter about a bad date here. Sumit your own problem here.

- Meredith

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84 comments so far...
  1. Just whatever you do, never live close to his parents. They seem like the type to just show up unannounced. Nevertheless you need to have a honest, blunt discussion with your fiance about this. He needs to tell them to lay off a bit. I disagree w/ Meredith about having to stay polite. These people need to know boundaries. I dont know why people need to tip-toe around each other all the time. Just say the honest truth. You will feel much better promise.

    Posted by hot pancake March 10, 09 11:12 AM
  1. This is a great chance to drive a wedge between your fiancé and his family. You won’t get another opportunity to separate him from his consuming, over-emotional and suffocating kin folk until the babies come along. If you have any hope to call your family your own, cut out the people who want to put their fingerprints all over you, expect you every Sunday for dinner, want to name your kids, choose your godparents, insist on your attendance at all major holidays and bribe you with love and affection to the exclusion of your own family. Don’t throw your fiancé into the tumult of a family feud. He’ll need to be in good standing with his family when you both aren’t getting along. Call them yourself and make your mark…They’ll fear you even more. Mazel Tov.

    Posted by valentino March 10, 09 11:26 AM
  1. get rid of him.

    Move on.

    Posted by sarah March 10, 09 11:50 AM
  1. My husband and I solved the in-law problem (his and mine) by moving to the other side of the country in our 2nd year of marriage. It's not a practical solution for everyone, but our family relationships have greatly improved by not living near each other.

    Posted by KGF March 10, 09 11:52 AM
  1. You can be firm and still be polite in setting boundaries. Jeesh, I can't believe how negative some of you people are....get rid of him just because his family is a little over-bearing. No where in her post did she indicate that he finds this unacceptable or that he insists she follow their advice. Determine what you want and who you want to attend, with your fiance's input (not his parents) and stick to it (no exceptions - if you make one, they'll expect more). Thank them for invites to family events, but express your regret in not being able to attend due to other plans (no need to mention your family and make it a turf war). Just because you're invited doesn't mean you have to go.

    Posted by Ima March 10, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Rico suggests:

    Ok people, the master of advice is here to advise...In laws are a major issue since you are actually not marrying just your fiance but also his/her family and friends as well. It is a touchy subject that requires a lot more than just a letter on the internet so I suggest you also find counseling if you decide to pursue this further. Honestly it is usually the brides parents that act this way and not the grooms (not to be sexist just telling it as it is). That being said, if he is a mama's boy or an only child or his parents are that much of a pain now imagine what it will be like with the first born. You need to set boundaries and talk to your fiance about setting them as well and coming up with a solution that there is a family day and an us day on the weekends. As for going away you could always ignore the calls and let them leave a message. If it is important you call back otherwise you just wait to call back when you get home. These things will not change overnight but setting a pattern early on will set you up for the long term. If his parents are paying for the wedding or most of it then they are within their rights to make suggestions, if not just nod and move on to do what you want.

    If I were you I would look at the family dynamics and make sure it is a family I want to be part of for the long term otherwise cancel now and move on to finding someone else otherwise Divorce will cost you a lot more headaches than this wedding planning...Trust Rico, he knows all.

    I'll check in later to see how you are doing...call your health insurer and fnid a good family counselor and book an appointment befor you go any further. If he is a mama's boy then forget it all and dump him to his parents and move on.

    Good luck

    Love Rico

    Posted by Rico March 10, 09 12:16 PM
  1. Get rid of him? You have got to be kidding Sarah. No wonder people are single later and later in life, as every little issue is met with such callous decisions. She never said a word about it being the doing of her fiance, but you want her to get rid of him....give me a break.

    As Meredith suggests, talk to you fiance about it first - and see what his impression of the situation is. Very likely, he is feeling the same way you are - and it would be a very easy thing to work out. If he talks to him family, it would make the whole thing go a lot smoother. But either way, work this out before the wedding and before it gets any worse. Good Luck.

    Posted by Chris P March 10, 09 12:18 PM
  1. This doesn't seem too bad and they may be really excited. The real issue is how your fiance reacts. Does he agree they are being a little intrusive? Does he agree that they may be monopolizing your time? I once dated a guy that was always bringing me to his family events and would never come to any of mine. That was a bigger issue to me. Some families are very close and like to spend lots of time together. If it's too much for you, you need to discuss that with your DF. But, it sounds like you genuinely like them, which is good. The aforementioned boyfriend's family was a big reason he's a former boyfriend. They were way too conservative for me and dinner conversations became very strained. They were a little prejudiced and I couldn't see myself being comfortable with them, ever.

    Posted by Bostowyo March 10, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Are these emails serious? Small problem. These people are excited. Learn to cope. Your future husband can probably solve this problem rather easily. In the whole scheme of things, you should be counting your blessings.

    Posted by sf March 10, 09 12:22 PM
  1. This is an absolutely normal issue, and don't listen to anyone who tells you to over react. This can be dealt with in 3 easy steps:
    1. Hash it out calmly with your fiance and come up with some boundaries for your relationships with both your parents and his parents that you agree on. You will both have to compromise. Be as rational and sensitive as possible; 2. You each manage the boundaries with your own family and go to bat for each other when necessary; 3. When your in-laws get pushy, thank them for the advice and just nod and smile. Then do what you want and have your fiance deal with any problems. All that matters is that you and your fiance are on the same page. Speaking from personal experience.

    Posted by Lisa G. March 10, 09 12:25 PM
  1. marriage will be your death knell...
    get rid of him.

    Move on.

    Posted by sj March 10, 09 12:29 PM
  1. This is what life and family is all about. Its mostly stinks. Stop whining and develop a drinking problem already . . .

    Posted by Mike March 10, 09 12:30 PM
  1. Ima-
    It's Hatfields v McCoys all the way. When you start down a path of selective truths, you set yourself up for being found out. And who do you think they're going to blame? The Bride...not their darling boy. She should tell her parents not to give away her bedroom. The duel at the "I Do Coral" is neigh.

    Posted by valentino March 10, 09 12:32 PM
  1. This is what life, family and marriage is all about. It mostly stinks. Stop whining like a little girl and just hit the bottle hard at all family events to dull your senses. . .

    Posted by Mike March 10, 09 12:33 PM
  1. It may be that it feels more overbearing than it is. Suddenly, you're not just the GF, but an almost bonafide member of his family, and he of yours. As your family grows, so do your obligations (but not the time to fulfill them). This will also happen if/when you have kids. Sit down with your fiance each weekend and plan the week ahead. Decide which invitations to accept, which nights to save as breathing room, and what you need to do that week to plan for your wedding and just lead your life. Then, let the phone take messages, and ask your fiance to share returning calls and turning down invitations that don't fit into your agreed-upon plan. There are many Thanksgivings, Christmases, vacations, etc., in the future, and you need a system in place for how to deal with plans. Agreeing on the systems is a part of marriage.

    Posted by Sasha March 10, 09 12:35 PM
  1. These people don't sound that bad at all. Check the bridal message boards for real horror stories. Maybe the problem is you are not open to having these people in your family. Lighten up a bit, learn how to politely deflect unwanted advice, and if there is a true problem, then yes, you will need to convene with your husband-to-be on it. But don't make a fed case of it with him.

    Posted by lilmonkeybean March 10, 09 12:37 PM
  1. Dear Meredith:
    My son is getting married this summer and my future daughter -in-law is driving me nuts! She treats me like I am interfearing when all I want to do is to help her plan the wedding. I have made helpful suggestions for what they should do, what they should register for, and important long-lost relatives who they should invite. Not to mention, we invite them over for family events EVERY weekend and they never come! (They seem to forget that, my son, too, has a family, and that we miss seeing him!) Also, when we call my son to say hello, they seem to act like we are interfering. I even called him to say Happy Valentine's Day and he cut me short! She is a nice person, and I do love her, but ever since they got engaged, she has become CRAZY. It is becoming a huge strain on my relationship with my son. Help!

    Posted by AuntBeth March 10, 09 12:37 PM
  1. I really hope all of the above posters are married because the family really does get frenzied, especially the women, at the mention of a wedding. Everyone has a suggestion and request and of course not all of them or any for that matter, will come to fruition. They can't help it and think they are just helping you. I do think you should talk to your fiancé about your frustrations, and maybe he feels the same way about your parents or thought you could handle the way things were going. Most likely everything will return to normal after the wedding but you should at least talk to your future husband now, before it is too late. You may just have to ride out this exuberance until the wedding but just remember one thing, on your wedding day, let whatever happens happen. It is too late to change almost anything whether it is right or wrong or not what you planned, so just enjoy the day for what it is and do not fret the small stuff. Enjoy the happy feelings that all of your family and friends have brought together.

    Posted by Tony March 10, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Be thankful that you have your and his family around you. If it were your family you probably wouldnt find a problem with it. Suck it up and be happy that his family cares about you. You need to appreciate what is right in front of you. Nothing beat family

    Posted by DD March 10, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Weeks have past and I have wondered who this Rico is. What a name, what a lifestlye. You are a wiseman.

    Posted by Russell March 10, 09 12:47 PM
  1. IMO you've received some fine advice here. Talk to your fiance, and jointly determine limits with which you both can live. If he is willing to back you up when you are reasonable, then keep him. (But remember, if you are unreasonable but his family is reasonable, he should back them up too.)

    What I will add, is that even when you are frustrated with your ILs that you must remember to be respectful of them. They are your husband's family and he loves them too. You will only make him unhappy if you are speak disrespectfully of them. (I learned this one the hard way.)

    Posted by HollyP March 10, 09 12:49 PM
  1. Wow How ungrateful! His mother is giving you the greatest gift of all....her son....all "potty trained", school "learned" maybe college educated and she wants to be a part of her son's life.....oh boy.....shame on her huh? We watch television shows where families intertwine, cousins know their cousins but young girls "these days" just want the prize.......Well sons, when she know longer wants you (one in two fail), it will be your family that will love and support you through that sadness. BEEN THERE......I hate Daughters in laws....and I have had 4 beautys!!!! .....couldn't care less anymore....gave up trying

    Posted by EDUCATED MIL March 10, 09 12:58 PM
  1. You're right AuntBeth!!!!
    Speaking as a sister-in-law who was deemed 'interfearing', 'over-bearing'...My brother has been married for 13 1/2 years to the same woman. Before he was married, our family was extremely close - we socialized together a lot. Holidays were a must. When he got engaged to her, she took the stance of 'putting us in our place' making sure we all knew that the close family unit was at an end. She told us, she had her friends tell us, as well as her family. After my nephews were born, it was even worse. We were made to feel unwelcome, unwanted and certainly not a part of the family. She's raised the children to be the same way toward us. The bottom line is that my brother has gone along with her plan, so that's the way the family is now.
    All we wanted was for her to be a part of our large family. She ruined it. We get together occassionally (birthdays, holidays) and she's so happy with the distant relationship. My family, on the other hand, feels as if there's been a death - my brother was taken away. The way I 'get over it' is that he went willingly. But it's still a shame that in the creation of a new family unit, an existing, loving, caring unit gets destroyed.
    My advice is to embrace the fact that they want to even be around you. If they didn't like you, it would be worse. You should realize that they are going to be your family now - don't drive a wedge.

    Posted by Unwanted In Law March 10, 09 01:08 PM
  1. I'll leave the advice specific to this problem to Meredith. My only advice would be to never listen to the advice of someone like poster #2 who wrote "This is a great chance to drive a wedge between your fiancé and his family." A great chance to drive a wedge?! WOW!!

    Posted by zitface March 10, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Dear Aunt Beth, chill out the lady is saying she gets requests for EVERY weekend. I am sorry but that is unrealistic and I would be feeling the pressure as well.

    Dear Crazy- Talk to your fiance and figure out the boundaries you want to set as a couple and stick to them. That goes for his parents and yours, stick to the boundaries. That does not mean you need to be rude, you can be quite polite and when you establish your boundaries and no you don't need to see the inlaws or your parents EVERY weekend. The suggestions for the wedding, take with a grain of salt.

    My DH is so involved in his parents life, he usually chats with them every day. They live about 20 minutes from us and we see them often, mine are out of state, I email them and talk to them once a week unless something major comes up. There are times where they invite us over all the time (there was a few weeks ago, it was for a Friday night, then we had plans to go to a game with them and others on Saturday and then a family birthday party on Sunday, I declined the Friday night thing because well I knew I was seeing them twice that weekend. I love my inlaws but I knew it was too much and by Sunday I would be toast, however my DH is so used to just saying yes without thinking. He fortunately did ask and I presented my case and he realized that I did have a point and we agreed that we would skip the Friday event. We are learning the balance together, sometimes I go when I don't want to and other times we stay home the important thing is we talk to each other. Oh and he goes to his parents one night a month for dinner and he and his Dad get a haircut and, I am always invited but I generally decline, I like the night to myself.

    Good luck

    Posted by Girl with the Local Inlaws March 10, 09 01:17 PM
  1. It's probably time to move on and find a different family.

    Save yourself the heartache.

    There's more good men out there.

    hang in there.

    Posted by sarah March 10, 09 01:19 PM
  1. look up the definition of family (esp. hot pancake, valentino and sarah)..i'd be offended if my in-laws or parents felt obligated to call before they stopped over - other than to make sure we're home..just remember this if you plan on having kids of your own.

    Posted by familyman March 10, 09 01:27 PM
  1. LisaG (#16) and HollyP (#18) are right on. You and your fiance just need a healthy dose of communication tempered by respect. It's up to each of you to "manage" your own families while at the same time building and preserving your relationship as the core relationship in your lives now that you have made this commitment to each other. You must not disparage each other's families, but learn to speak of the things that bother you in a way that is constructive and respectful. If there are problems with setting and keeping boundaries, a bit of couples therapy to help you figure out how to do that.

    Posted by susan March 10, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Dignity and diplomacy are the only words to remember here. You made it clear that the in-laws have only become annoying since you got engaged. They are enthusiastic and excited about the wedding. Don't lose sight of the fact that ultimately, all of the wedding decisions are yours and your fiance's. So smile and nod, agree with them about everything wedding-related and then do your own thing anyway, and be grateful that they are - by and large - very good people who will soon be your family. There is no need to panic, and your marriage will withstand plenty of challenges that will make all this seem inconsequential someday.
    If all else fails, I would immediately default to the sage advice of Mike (post 11).

    Posted by Jetta March 10, 09 02:05 PM
  1. My now ex mother inlaw couldn't do enough for us when we were getting married.
    Of course I was marrying the Favorite Son. I tried to include her in most everything. I had her come see the gowns for the bridesmaids, my gown, I had her
    go with my mom and I to pick out the cake. I made sure that she didn't feel left out, as I knew it was going to be hard on her son moving out.
    I thought for sure his entire family was going to be a pain once we married.
    In fact he is the one who told them they had to call first before coming over. I said
    no they don't.
    Eventually my in laws moved two blocks away from us and unless we went over there we hardly ever saw them. I did most of the calling to my mother inlaw to keep her in touch with us and the kids, I invited them over to our house for dinners, coffee etc.
    Talk to you fiance'. Have him set the bounderies or be the one to tell them no.

    Posted by sue March 10, 09 02:09 PM
  1. Look, you're all missing the point. This is only a problem if your fiance doesn't handle it. His family is excited for the two of you and the upcoming wedding. He needs to establish the boundaries for his family in his relationship with you. The sooner the better. Establish precedence. If he chooses to continue to cave in and be silent in an attempt to have you be the "bad guy" and back Momma off, then I would suggest postponing the wedding. You do not want to have meddling, unfettered in-laws looming when you start raising children. No way. No how.

    Hoss has spoken.

    Posted by Hoss March 10, 09 02:15 PM
    You are my new Sensei...
    Walk on the rice paper, Grasshopper.

    Posted by valentino March 10, 09 02:19 PM
  1. No mention here about who is paying for the wedding. Remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules. If you are paying out of your own pocket, then sure, set some boundaries. If they are footing the bill, well, then the proper response is "Of course, I'd LOVE to have great-aunt Glenda there!". If your parents are paying, you can have more control over the guest list.

    But if you think weddings are nuts, wait till the kids come along. Then truly everyone has an opinion.

    Posted by J March 10, 09 02:19 PM
  1. Wow, Educated MIL, sounds like your sons picked some real winners. Just to be clear, though, not all husbands come fully trained, regardless what their mommies think! And, keep in mind, that if you have had bad relationships with 4 different women as daughters-in-law, there is one common denominator in these relationships... you.

    Posted by has a wicked MIL March 10, 09 02:20 PM
  1. Where there's smoke there's fire. These "infractions" may seem minor, but keep in mind how they can escalate in time especially after marriage/kids. Establishing boundaries is imperative in such cases, failure to do so only enables them to continue the pattern. All family sytstems are different, so of course there has to be some understanding, ideally, on both ends. However, this is not always the case. A spouse should always back the other, few exceptions, and no divided loyalties. I took the "bite my toungue" so as not to upset anyone route. I finally snapped...twice. They leave me alone now and we keep our distance, but I doubt this is what either party wanted upfront, and although it has stressed our marriage, I cannot imagine having continued down that path. Reccommended reading "The Toxic In-laws" by Susan Forward.

    Posted by Have the talk now March 10, 09 02:21 PM
  1. Aunt Beth, I think you should reconsider. The wedding, for the most part, is the bride and her mother's big event, especially if the bride's parents are paying. Insistencies and difficulties caused by the future in-laws complicate and make things worse than they need to be.

    Marriage is the creation of a new family. This bride and groom will now be each other’s first priority. Time needs to be equally split among families (especially if they live close by), but also, you need to make sure you spend time with your new husband! I think your soon to be in-laws are having a hard time letting go of their son. They need to learn that he is not going to be their little baby forever. You can still be close to them, but they are no longer the first priority.

    Posted by letsbereasonable March 10, 09 02:25 PM
  1. Have you tried staring at your mother in law? Sort of as a sign of dominance and symbol of your love toward her.

    Perhaps invite her to a comedy show and coincidentally meet up with someone else? Sort of as a way to see how she handles it and if the courtship with her son should continue.

    Posted by Ghost Of Love Letters Past March 10, 09 02:30 PM
  1. Sounds like you are marrying my X-Husband. RUN !!!!!

    Posted by Been around March 10, 09 02:31 PM
  1. All you in laws are insanse. A.) Maybe people should learn to speak english before they decide to try and make a point. Overuse of quotation marks and mispellings does a lot to invalidate your case. B.) Your sons and brothers aren't 8 years old anymore, you should probably let them live their own lives and be greatful for the time you get to spend with them. You are putting all the blame on the evil wives of your poor sons like they deserve no blame in this situation, are you kidding me?! C.) Ever think that maybe you're annoying and your son (or brother)just doesn't want to see you every week or every month or whatever the case may be?? From the ridiculous comments that a few of you have left i think it's safe to assume that is the case.

    Posted by youpeoplearenuts March 10, 09 02:37 PM
  1. Hatfields v. McCoys? This isn't a war and I said nothing of selective truths. There is nothing wrong with declining an invitation. Again, if she had said that her fiance was 100% on the side of his family and was pressuring her into following their demands, I'd agree with you whole-heartedly, but she did NOT say those things. My fiance's family makes similar requests for gatherings. They live 2 hours away and often have expectations of our traveling to see them on their terms, etc. We have, together, decided what is reasonable and what is not and we've politely declined invites when they've been deemed too demanding. We set a wedding limit of 60 people and we've stuck to it, despite some family grumblings on both sides. We're paying for it, we get to choose. PERIOD.

    Posted by IMA March 10, 09 02:38 PM
  1. Girl with the Local Inlaws and letsbereasonable,

    My point is that there are two sides to every story. Sister spelled it out. If new wife thinks that hubby's family takes too much time, I betcha hubby's family thinks they never see him. His family has expectations - you simply have to manage that with love.

    And we've all seen the situation where the hubby 'joins' her family because she is in charge of social life. His family gets left out. It happens.

    Be careful you are managing your family life with BOTH families. And when MIL makes a suggestion for the wedding, take it as it is given, with love, excitement, caring. Then, after nodding your head, thanking her for her wisdom and taking all into consideration - you make your own decision.

    Posted by AuntBeth March 10, 09 02:39 PM
  1. I think CrazyInLaws doesnt like that her fiance is too meek to say anything and it's probably a huge turn off to her. His lack of ability to actually defend her wishes or stand up to his family is in my opinion, demasculating. Who wants to date a mama's boy?? Her fiance needs to grow a pair.

    Posted by hot pancake March 10, 09 02:39 PM
  1. It sounds like your husband maybe the first one to get married in his family and your future in-laws are new to this process. (It's amazing how relaxed my parents are after five weddings.) It's all about setting boundaries of your time and space. Your fiance should be able to talk to them about the vision of the wedding, the time needed to plan and relax, the budget and how many people you can afford to invite. He needs to be your wing man and you have to keep him "on message" with them. Give your MIL some tasks to do, maybe give her a responsibility like the
    table settings or party favors which will keep her occupied and a part of the planning. A small sacrifice now will pay off when you're a young mom, you're going to need her help.

    Posted by lolipopp March 10, 09 02:48 PM
  1. They probably always suspected that he was gay and are just excited that there still might be grandchildren in the future. How long did he drag his feet before popping the question?

    Posted by herebychoice March 10, 09 02:49 PM
  1. Just Leave Him.

    Posted by sarah March 10, 09 02:51 PM
  1. boundaries, boundaries, boundaries..... establish them now or you will be sorry forever. insist on your fiance's support, without it you're dead in the water.....

    Posted by moongrl March 10, 09 02:53 PM
  1. AuntBeth, stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. The solution is for you to know your role. I wouldn't take that expectation and attitude from my own relatives, I certainly wouldn't take it from inlaws.

    Posted by dave March 10, 09 02:56 PM
  1. I agree with Jetta that when all else fails Default to what Mike posted on # 11. That comes in handy many a time.....

    Posted by Been around March 10, 09 02:58 PM
  1. The Mother isn't 'giving" the son to the girl. I assume he went willingly and wanted to be married since he proposed. Family IS important but they need to start their own life, and it is "their" wedding.

    Posted by Bish March 10, 09 02:59 PM
  1. everybody just butt out. "Crazy" just yes your in-laws to death (although you should talk to your fiance) and then do whatever the heck you want. Its your wedding not theirs!!!!!!!!!!! Either that or elope without their knowledge ;)

    Posted by bostonam1525 March 10, 09 03:01 PM
  1. Just go gracefully.

    You will find another fiancee.

    Let the family live their lives in peace.

    Posted by sarah March 10, 09 03:11 PM
  1. F-A-C-E-T-I-O-U-S
    If you're going to be an in-law, you need a sense of humor.

    Posted by valentino March 10, 09 03:11 PM
  1. To "you people are nuts," #36: Spelling problems? Let's start with "greatful." Oh, and you might want to look up "comma splice," as you have two of those in your posting. Then review the rules on capitalization and you'll be all set!

    Posted by Fresi March 10, 09 03:13 PM
  1. Aunt Beth said "My point is that there are two sides to every story. Sister spelled it out. If new wife thinks that hubby's family takes too much time, I betcha hubby's family thinks they never see him. His family has expectations - you simply have to manage that with love. "

    If the hubby to be's family is inviting them every weekend, that is too much. And I am inferring a bit here but my guess is that they do see his family however she would like some time to just her and the husband and then again maybe some time with her family. Nowhere from her letter did I get the impression that she doesn't want to be with his family she just wants them to back off a little bit , and not that she wants them out of her life, which is what your response implies; that she wants to banish her husband's family.

    And quite frankly when I go away with my DH I would find it odd if his parents called to check up on him. We let them know we are going a trip and if we call that is fine but for them to call while on a trip, particularly a romantic trip yeah that is gonna seem a bit intrusive.

    Aunt Beth said "And we've all seen the situation where the hubby 'joins' her family because she is in charge of social life. His family gets left out. It happens."

    Well doesn't that just say something about the hubby as well as the wife! For him to go along with that, means there is more to the issue than just the wife being "in charge of social life", why doesn't he talk to his wife and schedule for time to be with his family? Why should the woman be the sole arbiter of when he talks to his parents/family? Two of my sisters both have to remind their husband's to call their family members, why is it the wife's job to do this? If family is important to him then he should join her in being in charge of their social lives. I don't understand why my sisters do this but it works for them, for me not so much if it is important to my husband than he has to tell me and make the effort. I am his partner and not his mother, scheduler, admin, he has a brain and just because he got married doesn't mean he can stop keeping in touch with his family and expect me to do it.

    Posted by Girl with the Local Inlaws March 10, 09 03:18 PM
  1. To: Fresi on post#50 - you put it alot nicer than I would. I was thinking more along the lines of a good dopeslap for #36 herpeoplearenuts.

    Posted by Been around March 10, 09 03:29 PM
  1. Leave him with your dignity intact.

    There are plenty more men out there.

    Good luck.

    Posted by john March 10, 09 03:30 PM
  1. Think they're officious now? You ain't seen nothing yet. Further propinquity is imminent. Beware. "More distant in-laws will lead to a fonder heart." Say you saw it in a fortune cookie, wish them all well, flee. Spring is when everything begins again!

    Posted by Bony Melon March 10, 09 03:33 PM
  1. I too disagree w/ meredith. Tip-toeing, being polite etc. makes it seem like you're willing to compromise or willing to cave if they push. Be firm, kindly of course and express your feelings FLAT OUT. Let them know you like to spend time with them but you have parents, bridesmaids and family of your own that are being neglected. As for the long lost relatives, who's paying for the wedding? Plain and simple. If you both stated at the time of engagement that you want a small wedding stick to it, if your both or the bride's family is paying then finding these long lost (emphasis on that BTW) and inviting them should be out of the question or at least discussed with those who are paying. Getting rid of your fiance is rediculous because youobviously love each other and I get the impression he is not the one who's out of control. He may also need help and back up (which is what couples should be) when discussing these things with his family. It's only fair, especially since it's the bride that's bringing this up. DO NOT however, waver, be polite o rwhat have you. Be firm and set the boundaries now.

    Posted by RayRay01 March 10, 09 03:40 PM
  1. Think they're officious now? You ain't seen nothing yet. Further propinquity is imminent. Beware. "More distant in-laws will lead to a fonder heart." Say you saw it in a fortune cookie, wish them all well, flee. Spring is when everything begins again!

    Posted by Bony Melon March 10, 09 03:45 PM
  1. To: Been around. Learn to read it was "youpeoplearenuts" not "herpeoplearenuts" Also, "alot" is two words not one. Maybe you're due for a good "dopeslap" yourself.

    To: Fresi - Touche.

    Posted by good one guys! March 10, 09 03:47 PM
  1. ELOPE. Problem solved. For now. :-)

    Posted by Linda March 10, 09 03:48 PM
  1. To "Has a wicked mother-in law"...Oh yes my college degreed sons picked girls who looked good in bikinis....ones who couldn't/wouldn't boil water.....the Take Out Queens....one was a drinker....one stopped her anti-depressants 6 months before her wedding and became a WENCH. I forgot to stand up at "her" wedding rehearsal dinner and make a speech welcoming her into the family (I never knew I had to or was expected to) and she was "embarassed" so she stopped talking to me. So now I have a 14 month old grandson I have never met and can never see. Daughter in laws?? I wouldn't give you a nickel for all 4 tied together!!

    Posted by Educated MIL March 10, 09 03:51 PM
  1. There were six boys in my familiy. My mom had a policy. There are only three things the mother of the groom needs to do. Sit down, shut up, and wear beige

    Posted by Brad March 10, 09 03:51 PM
  1. Here's a thought that hasn't been discussed on this board at all and maybe it should be... At the colleges you are finding Gen Y / Millenials with parents who tend to hover around their child's every move. Reading the books on the reading list, making doctor appointments for their kids... Some of these parents have been audacious enough to call their son's / daughter's first boss to ask why their kid didn't get a raise. Educators call them "helicopter parents" and now here's a new term that maybe young couples - before they get married - should be aware of: HELICOPTER IN LAWS.

    Posted by lolipopp March 10, 09 04:06 PM
  1. #36 (youpeoplearenuts) says: "All you in laws are insanse. A.) Maybe people should learn to speak english before they decide to try and make a point. Overuse of quotation marks and mispellings does a lot to invalidate your case. B.) Your sons and brothers aren't 8 years old anymore, you should probably let them live their own lives and be greatful for the time you get to spend with them."
    There really is just one thing to say to this entire post: Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, ESPECIALLY when it comes to grammar and misspelling words. To wit: "All you in laws..." "insanse" "mispellings" "greatful"

    Enough said.

    Posted by Linda March 10, 09 04:09 PM
  1. "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"

    Posted by William Shakespeare March 10, 09 04:15 PM
  1. Just listen to Rico's advice and tune out the rest of these morons...He seems to know best no matter what the issue(s) are.

    Posted by Rico's fanclub March 10, 09 04:16 PM
  1. Educated MIL in #55 says: "Oh yes my college degreed sons picked girls who looked good in bikinis....ones who couldn't/wouldn't boil water.....the Take Out Queens....one was a drinker....one stopped her anti-depressants 6 months before her wedding and became a WENCH."
    Well, that doesn't say much for your sons' standards and choices, now does it? SO much for that college education. :-/

    Posted by Linda March 10, 09 04:17 PM
  1. But Linda #59
    I'll bet she looks great in a bathing suit (#36)

    Right on Educated MIL
    Young gals just don't get it. I hope they have all sons!!!

    Posted by Karen March 10, 09 04:17 PM
  1. Hey Sarah,
    I'm also engaged looking to get out....maybe we should meet for coffee and runaway!
    By the way I am male and not a female ;)

    Posted by JOJO March 10, 09 04:52 PM
  1. I love Aunt Beth! She's so dead on! If the bride to be is so freaked out about her fiance's family liking her and being so supportive of the wedding, she needs to rent Monster in Law to see what the other side looks like. I think she's lucky marrying into such a tight supportive clan. One other note -- Rico, will you marry me? You are wise...

    Posted by J Bar March 10, 09 04:54 PM
  1. Linda
    I forgot to mention...college educated sons smartened up......Three of the four beauties are gone. The WENCH lives on though.....It took them a while. The passion wore off and sons moved on when they saw the light. AND NOT BACK TO MOM'S as one off you are sure to say. Because there are kids involved, I still refer to them as daughter-in-laws. Hope I have no more daughter in laws.....never will I give my heart to another. I know by doing this I may miss out on a great relationship but I will never try and bond again. The son who said his mom had a motto to "Show up, Shutuo, Keep your mouth shut and wear beige" forgot one other part. "Keep your pocketbook OPEN"

    Posted by Educated MIL March 10, 09 04:56 PM
  1. My husband and I had an awful relationship with his parents - they were overbearing, demanding, manipulative, they lied to us about many things, they stole money from us, they yelled and screamed at us regularly when we did not do exactly what they wanted (like attending each and every family function), they regularly bad-mouthed me to my husband behind my back, they accused me of ridiculous things (like stealing! which was of COURSE untrue, and was proven to be untrue, yet my father-in-law has still refused to apologize), etc. etc. Anyway, finally I read the book "Toxic In-Laws" and it had some great suggestions to dealing with them.

    We now continue to have a very strained relationship with them but it is better than it was a few years ago when they were trying to dance us around like puppets on strings. They still attempt to control us but we are much better now at dealing with them and telling them "no." I don't know if your situation is as serious as mine, but my suggestion is to just stand your ground and do what makes you and your husband happy. Do not feel like you have to dance around for them just because they are so controlling. Take yourselves out of the bad relationship with them. It was causing too much stress in our lives so my husband and I decided we needed to cut them out and we have felt MUCH better ever since. Now we are much better at standing up for ourselves, not returning their obsessive phone calls, and saying no to seeing them. My in-laws feel that only their feelings and wants are the main priority and that they trump everyone else, so it has been difficult for them to accept that my husband and I have our own life that does not revolve around them and their wants. I suggest you try to get a plan going for dealing with them as soon as possible or it will just continue to spiral out of control. Unfortunately this is one of those things that won't just get better on its own with time.
    Good luck, and check out the book for some great tips on dealing with extremely difficult in-laws.

    Posted by I Feel Your Pain March 10, 09 05:06 PM
  1. My inlaws were difficult, and I established limits but the bottom line was that they and I shared a critical thing in common - we both loved my husband and could always agree on that! My husband loved his parents and I grew to like and respect them both. We chose to move up our wedding as my future MIL was terminally ill and died days after we returned from our honeymoon - she hung on to be there for us. My FIL died a year to the day later. I am lucky to have both my folks still. Like any human relationship, empathy & gice & take go far...

    Posted by rugbygrrl March 10, 09 05:21 PM
  1. These comments are awful. While I agree with the bride-to-be's is annoyance at her future MIL's involvement, I think all of you posters out there have to realize that our parents and in-laws won't be around for ever and we have to take them for what they are while they are still here with us on earth. Shame on you for suggesting such awful things.

    Posted by meggles March 10, 09 05:22 PM
  1. Over-bearing in laws are pretty much a staple in most relationships. I would try to look at it from their point of view before blowing up at them or causing a rift between your fiance and his family. They probably feel as though they SHOULD include you in all family plans, and they're super excited about your pending nuptials. How much worse would you feel if they were completely ignoring you, not excited or involved in the least, and generally bored with the whole process? I, for one, would rather feel a bit smothered and have to take a step back to breathe than feel like I was unwanted as a member of my significant other's family. At least they like you and are happy to have you marring their son - it would be SO much worse. Try to remember that.

    Posted by Liz March 10, 09 05:59 PM
  1. His family should have just as much input as hers. It is a partnership you are entering into. It is not only your big day. His mother should play just as big a role in the planning as yours.

    Posted by wcgravy March 10, 09 07:27 PM
  1. Does Rico's fan club consist of Rico? (See #67.) Rico, your advice is usually status quo, unnuanced, presented in less-than-standard English, repetitive, and solipsistic. You need to be more concrete and specific, and much, much less centered on yourself before you can consider yourself a master. If you feel you have a native gift, go for the degree.

    Posted by Fresi March 10, 09 08:00 PM
  1. I suspect you are right, Fresi. It's obvious that Rico is his own biggest fan. I can just imagine him hitting 'Refresh' on his browser every few minutes just waiting for Meredith to post the next Love Letter so he can start working on his response and get it posted quickly.

    Posted by Slash March 11, 09 12:36 AM
  1. Fresi...it's a freaking BLOG, not an English Grammar test. You need to look past the grammatical errors. As for his advice, he normally seems to be right on the money. I haven't seen him centered on himself other than to give life experience as an example. I am part of his fanclub, not the poster yesterday either. I see someone else wants to marry him...ha ha. I think he said he is married in a past blog if I remember correctly.


    Posted by Gabriella in brighton March 11, 09 09:21 AM
  1. Fresi, you are spot on!

    Posted by Situation March 11, 09 09:40 AM
  1. Rico should write prescription bottle warnings for children’s adhd medication. He’s a walking sedative. If he wants his own advice column, he’ll need to wake up his readers first.

    Posted by snoozy March 11, 09 10:16 AM
  1. I'll hit refresh for Rico, he seems to give more realistic advice than anyone else on here...Hey snoozy, sounds like a little jealousy...what is your advice or do you just like to complain about other people? Maybe you should write a letter to Meredith for help?

    Keep writing Rico, intelligent people are reading.

    Posted by John March 11, 09 12:31 PM
  1. I am currently in a marriage where we had these issues prior to our wedding, and here are a few suggestions. Talk candidly about your life after the wedding day with your fiance. This day is supposed to be about you marrying the one you love and live a life together in peace. However, if you do not address these issues now, they will likely get worse. Discuss how he will handle his parents when they overstep their boundaries, when you have children what their role will be, how you expect to be treated by them, and if they make inappropriate comments if he would be able to handle discussing how inappropriate those comments were with them. Also, find out how important your needs are compared to those of his parents. Someone gave me this piece of advice: They had a family dynamic and you have come in and disrupted this dynamic, and you are not familiar with it. If you would like to have a relationship with them, you will likely have to remember that you are the in-law. There are times when you will have to stand up and assert your needs and/or wants. Just be mindful of how you do this and always discuss your feelings with your husband prior to discussing it with your in-laws. He will likely be able to clarify something they have done or said eventhough it will not make you feel better. At least you will see that he loves you and is trying to help make things better for you. They likely love you and are just as excited about the impending nuptials, but I understand how you just need a little space.

    Posted by DeeDee April 18, 09 08:27 PM
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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.

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