- 8 years ago
- Wedding: May 2011
I have a frustrating problem that I thought was solved. I’m sorry in advance that this is a long post.
FI and I have been together for 4.5 years. I met his parents after the first six or eight months. He just introduced them as “my parents” and they didn’t take the initiative to tell me what they wanted me to call them. Soooo, for a long time, I called them nothing at all. I was a master of never having to call them by any name at all.
I can’t remember when or how it came out (if they “announced it” to FI or if he asked them), but eventually it came out that I was not “allowed” to call them by their first names. They said they knew it was traditional, but they just didn’t want me to call them by their first names. They told me that “mom” and “dad” were okay with them, but I am not comfortable with that. I also think “Mr & Mrs Lastname” is overly formal and makes it hard to have a close relationship. Also, I’m 30 years old, and I haven’t called anyone Mr/Mrs in aaaaages (except for my BF’s parents, who I’ve known since nursery school! I never managed to make the switch for them).
Without me asking, FI’s parents also announced that they’d be fine with a nickname. This seemed like a good middle ground for awhile, but we tried a few nicknames, and none ever stuck at all. Soooo, I kept calling them nothing and it felt SO very awkward. Finally, over Christmas, FI and I sat down with FMIL and had a heartfelt and polite conversation about how I really want to have a close relationship with her, but that I felt the awkwardness around not knowing what to call her is getting in the way. She agreed, and we eventually decided I’d call her by the first letter of her first name. I still didn’t have a name for FFIL, but I was halfway there.
Since Christmas, I’ve used the new nickname and she has sent countless emails and cards signed with her new nickname. I thought it had stuck finally and was feeling better about the situation. In fact, I had really stopped thinking about it altogether since it seemed settled. Today, I get an email from her wanting to modify the nickname. Even though this seems like a little issue, I feel a bit shaken up about it because I thought we had this settled and were finally beginning to move on from what I find to be a very awkward situation. I don’t want to spend any more emotional energy on this, so I feel like I’m just back at ground zero with nothing to call her.
She has a history of severe power struggles with my FSIL, and so part of me can’t help but think this is part of that same dynamic, even though she’s always been nice to me. I always imagined a close relationship with my inlaws, but the awkwardness around this situation seems to preclude that kind of closeness.
Any advice? Thanks! And sorry again for writing a book!