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I can't stand his mother

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  December 28, 2010 01:00 AM

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Q: Meredith,

I am hoping you can give me some advice about how to deal with a situation involving my fiancés mother. I love my fiancé, Simon. He is the greatest, most generous guy in the world. The problem is that his generous nature has allowed him to rebuild his relationship with his deadbeat mother, a woman who left her children when they were young. Everything I don't like about this woman I learned from stories my fiancé told me. But now that his mom is old, Simon is starting to feel bad for her. We all live in the same area now and his mother is often over our house. I feel like she is trying to weasel her way into living with us because she is running out of money. Every time I see her car in our driveway or know that she's coming over I get overwhelmed with anger. I know she's here to make herself comfortable and "borrow" money from Simon.

The problem is I don't know how to talk about this with Simon. We are recently engaged and the wedding is over a year away, but the idea of his mother living with us makes me want to flee. It is Simon's house so I really don't feel like I can say that his mother cannot live there. But I know that the attitude I adopt when his mother is around will ultimately ruin my relationship with Simon if that woman is with us 24/7.

My question is how do I bring this up with Simon? I don't think he would mind his mother moving in. He would probably enjoy it. But I would hate it. I don't want to say "if your mother moves in I will move out," but to be honest, I will actually do that. I don't want to hurt Simon's feelings by telling him how much I cannot stand his mother, but I don’t see any other way of preventing the inevitable. Please help.

– Can't Stand My Fiancés Mother, Sudbury

A: It might be Simon's house, CSMFM, but it's also the home he shares with you, his soon-to-be wife. Now is the time to be honest about your boundaries. Now is the time to say, "I can't live with your mom -- ever."

Of course, that honesty will have to come with a compromise. Simon might agree to keep mom out of the house, but you might have to promise to show more respect when she's on your couch. You might have to support a plan to help pay for housing for Simon's mother, assuming that she's not going to be living with you.

Be honest and polite. Tell Simon that you're struggling to make this work. Threats aren't necessary. Disagreements don't have to involve ultimatums.

Just start the negotiations as soon as possible. It's not about who owns the home, it's about making a marriage work.

Readers? What should she say to Simon about his mom? Will this break the marriage? Is there a good way to be honest about the issue without becoming confrontational? Discuss.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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