Post # 1
I am not engaged yet but we know we will marry soon. I have been dating SO for about five months and am with he and his folks three weekends out of the month.
SO is Persian and I am caucasian, his mother from Iran and father from Afghanistan. Last year they decided to divorce (more FMIL decision) and live in separate homes. I of course knew walking into this that it would take a lot of thought on my part to equally divide my own time, but I think I misjudged how much work this would be.
Two part question. Has anyone else dealt with a separated family, and if so, how do you mediate your time with them? My tactic has been to ask FFIL about his life and his customs, many things SO has never thought to ask over the years. He has been open and seems very happy to discuss, and I think it shows I’m quite interested in his culture. He does not discuss the separation in front of me yet.
FMIL is a little more tricky. Half of the time she seems very interested in me, and the other half it seems as if she believes I am stealing her baby. My own mother said with sons, this is bound to happen and to not take it personally – but it’s hard! Most times I don’t know if she is just being courteous and I feel at a loss for conversation. Her youngest son recently got engaged and I get the sense that she is going through a lot of changes psychologically, and I may be seeing it manifest in our own relationship. FMIL is more progressive and less conservative than FFIL, but I am still confused about what is appropriate to discuss with a Persian mother. I have gotten past the phase of asking after her childhood, country questions, and have lightly touched on their religion.
Post # 3
It might help to talk about less intense subjects… just stuff like, what you’ve been up to lately and what you guys are planning to do this weekend? Or let them take the lead on talking, and more just listen and respond to what they’re saying?
Post # 4
Yea I agree w/ Mr. Bee… i think maybe you’re over-thinking? Just because they are a a different culture than you doesn’t mean that has to define who they are as people, or define your relationship with each other. You can always chat about what is going on with you, with school, your family, etc. You can also ask about their work, their vacation plans, their gardens, whatever. Keep it light.
as for dealing with the separated parents… oy. its kind of a hassle, no? my bf’s parents are divorced and we’re lucky that they live far, far away haha. my bf’s dad/step mom live in michigan, and his mom/step dad live in ny (we’re in ohio). So, that makes it somewhat easier.. but I’ll admit that I’m really worried about the wedding. I’m not sure how we’re really going to handle them because they do NOT get along at all. Do they make churches with 3 sides? haha. i think what we’re going to have to do is basically keep his parents separated and then split my family among them so that his family doesnt have to interact with each other. really though, i’d just let him take the lead on this. its his family and he probably knows best how to proceed.
Post # 5
This has been a hassle for us, we do every holiday twice (sometimes three times if we visit my family). His dad has even passed away and MIL was not able to get over all the things from the past before our wedding and did not come because she couldn’t handle the other side of the family. Her brother came and even said it was kind of ridiculous that she didn’t. Anyway, split families are always tough to deal with and it sounds like you have more with the cultural backgrounds too. Good luck