(Closed) Do you believe you "marry the family"?

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 16
303 posts
Helper bee

redmango:  Absolutely, you marry the family. I never could have understood until I got married the extent to which your husband’s upbringing affects your relationship, and vice versa.

At the same time, from what you write, your own potential inlaw situation doesn’t sound like a dealbreaker at all, to me. If you go ahead with it, consider it an ongoing lesson in growing a backbone, getting along with a wide variety of people, and learning more about your husband and his family. See what you can do with the situation – get creative. 

Post # 17
3541 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

frostfromfire:  +1. 

I would not consider him standing up for me unless he said something to his mom. As far as she knows, he thinks what she did was totally appropriate. 

In regards to your original question- I do think you marry the family, sometimes more than others. Although I’ve only met her in person 3 times, I am relieved at how much I love my FMIL; she has been welcoming and loving since day one.  That being said, FH has also said I come first even before his mom if push comes to shove. 

I would not be able to handle that dynamic, and I think you need to consider carefully if you can possibly live with this the rest of your life. The SiL went out of her way to warn you, it must be pretty bad if she felt the need to give you a heads up. 

Post # 18
3611 posts
Sugar bee

I would tread lightly here. Your bf’s family sounds pretty bad based on your anecdote and the SIL’s warning. True, they might not be outright crazy or abusive, but this kind of judginess and snideness will get less and less bearable as time goes on. My mom loves my dad, but my grandma (her MIL) made her life miserable for decades (and in her case, boy did she ever “marry” my dad’s family….my grandparents lived with us full-time for over 30 years, from before I was born to when they each passed away), so I’ve seen firsthand just how badly it can affect someone when their in-laws are unkind to them. You said it’s still early in your relationship with him, so I would wait and see how things go and how your next few encounters with them are. If you love him enough to want to be with him no matter what, including putting up with these people, he’s going to have to really stand up for you, and that doesn’t mean telling you you’re allowed to not eat turkey if you don’t like it. Either he’s going to have to tell his mom (and from the sound of it, his extended family) in no uncertain terms to back off, or you’re going to have to cut your losses and move on.

Post # 19
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

frostfromfire:  In the BF’s defence though, most of the confrontation was away from the table and he missed it. (Note OP says [after getting the turkey] “I sat down next to my boyfriend who heard something but wasn’t sure what the commotion was about“).

Post # 20
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

redmango:  I think he’s looking at it as a just one incident sort of thing, which is why he doesn’t see it as a big deal, whereas your conversation with his SIL gave you an idea that stuff like that will be an ongoing issue. I’d let it rest for now, and just keep an eye on how his family acts towards you and how he reacts to that in the future.

Post # 22
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

redmango:  I don’t think you should tell him what his SIL told you, ever. Even if you end up marrying your Boyfriend or Best Friend. What she said was clearly for your ears only, not your Boyfriend or Best Friend (or worse, her husband or MIL).

Post # 23
2633 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

redmango:  dang…..well I don’t believe you marry the family, but you do have to be involved with them. I think you have to based your decision on your Boyfriend or Best Friend….if he is willing to stick up for you even against his own mother…then you have a chance…if he ALWAYS brushes you off or takes his mom’s side….RUN..run far away and never return. YOU DO NOT WANT A MAMA’S BOY. 

Post # 24
3396 posts
Sugar bee

Yes, you do marry the in-laws. Sometimes Mother-In-Law is great and sometime she is a crazy a-hole losing her god forsaken mind that her son is “leaving.” In any case , you compromise but don’t lose your entire identity and although your man is totally dense to the situation hopefully he sees the light eventually and has your back so that both of you can go home and say ” lol wut was that.”

Post # 25
1117 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have discovered that yes, you really do marry the family. And if that means you’re stuck with an overbearing Mother-In-Law and a Father-In-Law who knows all the buttons to push to make their son do what they want, it can be incredibly frustrating. I love my Darling Husband very much, but right now I’m in the same situation as your SIL. Just a couple of weeks ago I warned my SIL’s boyfriend about the very same thing so that he can be prepared. 

With that said, if you love this man and want to marry him, do it! Just know that the two of you will have to discuss with each other what boundaries you feel are appropriate, for both of your families (not just his). Just because you are now a part of his family does not mean that you should allow them to have control over your life or your emotions. 

Post # 26
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I don’t think your situation is a deal breaker but I do think you need to be careful. Ultimately I think it will come down to how your boyfriend handles it. He needs to stand up for you and ultimately he must make you his priority… but he needs to also do this preferably without driving a wedge between him and his mother, because that’s something he may eventually resent you for. 

Post # 27
2123 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

No. Definitely marrying just the man. However I am accepting what he brings with that, and his family will be mine.

Post # 28
3049 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Well don’t feel weird because I don’t like turkey either.


I think it was a small situation (for now at least). I would let it go and wait for bigger battles to assess the situation. You should of just politely stated your preference and not taken any. Let them make their comments and go on. 

I think marrying the family depends on the circumstances. If your family or his family is mentally or physically abusive then there’s no reason to tie you to them. Some families have their quirks and ups/downs so you just have to gauge how it’s affecting you both. If he’s extremely close to his family then that also is something that you’ll have to compromise on. However, I wouldn’t leap to cutting them off just from this one instance. Next time hold your ground and if your fiancé is aware of the situation in the moment then he should have your back. 

It sounds like, for the SIL, that they would benefit from moving a little farther so they have some space to breathe and parent without judgement. 

My Future Mother-In-Law tells a lot of her children what they need to do and the main thing to do is nod in appreciation for her suggestion, don’t verbally fight it, and just not do it later lol. When she hears later we didn’t follow it, nothing is usually said so it’s a process that works for his family. She lectured me on not letting my fiancé get a cat when we bought a house…little did she know, we already had three cats but I nodded anyhow in the moment.  She knows now we have them but no ill words were said. So basically, just know we all have family battles to fight lol…

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  soymilk.
Post # 29
1262 posts
Bumble bee

His parents’s behavior is awful, but this is what worries me most: “I did tell my Boyfriend or Best Friend that this really bothered me and he thinks I’m making a mountain of a molehill.”

You wouldn’t be marrying the family, but you would be marrying the man who won’t validate your feelings and defend you to his family.

Post # 30
2579 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

redmango:  How inappropriate of them. I know as a guest it’s polite to eat what’s put in front of you unless you have an allergy – I would always put something on my plate. But as a host you’re supposed to make your guests happy and relaxed. I host quite often and would never point out that someone hadn’t eaten something. I may notice and make a note for next time (redmango doesn’t like turkey, maybe she doesn’t like chicken either. I’ll be sure to check next time/avoid cooking those meats)

If I were your boyfriend I would have taken the turkey from your plate and scolded my family, but maybe he didn’t realise quite what the big deal is. The SIL, how does she ‘manage’ them? Have you noticed? Perhaps her approach isn’t working and you need something better. Or maybe they’ll never learn. But if she’s being meek and apologetic then they’ll think they can boss you around too. I don’t think you need to grow a back bone per se. I do think you need to start being assertive from herein. That first occasion you just get blindsided – you’re in someone’s house for a celebration and you don’t know how far the criticism is going to go. But now you need to be firm.

It was an act of kindness what SIL said by the sound of it. She’s probably at her wits end with the second baby so I imagine her defence for these things is lower than usual. You two may well end up being one another’s greatest support.

I don’t think you marry the family (I came here to say ‘I sincerely hope not!) Your relationship with the family will be for as long as your with SO though. I’d see if you can get some more exposure with them and see if you can find a way to handle them. You also need your SO to have your back at all times (do they criticise him?) If you can’t find a way to deal with them then either agree to limit your contact with them or consider seriously whether you want to marry. It seems a shame to lose someone you love due to their family but it is a lifelong commitment. Those people will be in your children’s lives too if you choose to have them.

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