Future MIL may break up my engagement… HELP!!

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 16
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

FutureMrsBex :  Ooooh – I like this idea! Or at least a hobby. A book club, a painting class. Or many many hobbies where she is around other people and making new friends O.O

Post # 18
2844 posts
Sugar bee

What is the chance of getting her (and yourselves) into councelling? It sounds like she has some serious issues and has a lack of personal identity and boundaries. I think that until SHE gets help the issues are unlikely to stop.

If you and your fiance could also seek counselling though that might help you two come up with more constructive ways to deal with it. It can really help having a third party – who is also a professional – weigh in on the issues. Then it’s not just your opinion vs your fiance’s, there’s a third objective party making you both really look at the reality of things from another perspective. He has probably just grown used to it over the years. 

Post # 19
2332 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Not to scare you or anything…….but if it is this bad now, wait till you have a baby! 

My Mother-In-Law is a wonderful lady and we get along great…..but the moment our baby came into our lives, she’s been very much like this. 

It triggered post ppartimos depression and I spent a lot of time in therapy working through my anxiety and depression.

The one thing that helped, was couple’s therapy. We’ve been able to deal with it in the best way possible thanks to our therapist. We’ve learned ways to communicate it with each other without fighting, and we are more in sync now than ever. Even though my Mother-In-Law still does her thing and is too much to handle, we are able to deal with it without getting between us.

I highly recommend you guys go to therapy before you move on with your wedding plans.


Post # 20
2020 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Honestly, I would have her blocked/silent ringer so you can deal with it on your terms. 

I would stop visiting, not let her visit and explain that she is too much in your life and you need space.


but I’m a bad person. 

Post # 21
5189 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

Guess I’m the only one who thinks the examples are no bit deal. 

Calling off the wedding or cutting contact with your fiancés mother seem hugely out of proportion to me but it’s your life.

Post # 22
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I agree with @MrsPiggles! Having a baby will make it much worse. 

If she won’t date or get a hobby, how about a pet? Is that a dumb suggestion?

Post # 23
307 posts
Helper bee

I would think you were dating my SO’s brother if I didn’t know any better!  My SO’s mom does a lot of the same things that you mention, oversteps boundaries, has a bottomless pit of need, and doesn’t want help or to help herself.  She was hospitalized this year for panic attacks because she is so high strung, but refuses to listen to doctor’s orders. Anyway…

I think you are spot on; women like this have their hearts in the right place they just don’t have any coping mechanisms for feeling stressed/lonely and if everyone caters to them, why should they have to?  Something that I did when it was becoming WAY too much, was send her a thorough but very sweet text.  And she did back off significantly after that.  I know generally the advice is, let your SO handle his mother, but in my case he was so fed up that he just kept getting into fights with her, which would put a strain on everyone.

Key points I used were that, “I hope you realize what an amazing independent man you raised, and that while we love spending time with you, we also really value our independence.”  

– Quantity is not equivalen to quality time, and we would much rather have quality scheduled events to catch up with you.
-I also told her I would like to plan monthly dinners, and we take turns hosting.  She always gets excited for them, and is eager to plan.  


I’m not sure if this is something that would work for you, but now we see his family once/month, and while for me it’s still more than enough, it’s tolerable.  And to echo what PP’s have said, we don’t respond to every little text she sends. I think sometimes the best thing to do is lead by example, and essentially “teach” her that to have your attention, she will need to play by your rules. You’re not children anymore.  Good luck OP! I know how exhausting it can be. 

Post # 24
656 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

So maybe ask your future Mother-In-Law, very sweetly, in front of your Fiance, if she’d perhaps like you to walk away so he can live with her again, and wait on her till he’s old. And point out to her that it looks like she’s trying to accomplish exactly that, and doing a pretty good job.

Just keep being direct about her not getting a say in stuff in your relationship or daily life unless you two ask. People like that don’t get hints. And even straight talk takes a while to sink in.  Hopefully you’ve got a long time till the wedding to see if it sinks in at all. 

I mean,  in some cultures massive in law involvement is totally normal and can even be a good thing (my parents lived with my mom’s parents for years and my gran cooked and took care of the kids,  it rocked). But it sounds like you don’t want this,  can’t take it,  and it’s making you miserable. Life is too short for that nonsense. 

Post # 25
6020 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

My first thought when I was reading this was that she’s going to lose her damn mind if/when you guys have kids.

If you are committed to staying with your Fiance (and it sounds like you are) I would make your own health and well being a priority and start setting up/enforcing some brick wall boundaries. You can’t really yell at her the way her kids do (and they’re wasting a lot of energy doing that rather than establishing mature boundaries and responses to her behavior) so you’re in this shitty position of having someone boundary stomping all over you and not being able to respond the way you would if a stranger were disrespecting your space the way this woman is. That’s hella stressful.

I would do the following:

Block her number so she can’t text you. There’s no reason for her to reach out to you about anything- you will be your SO’s emergency contact so if anything happens to him, you’ll know. Otherwise, why is she contacting you? Redirect all of her contact to her son unless/until her behavior is something that is more manageable for you.

Get in the habit of giving her honest and direct responses about how you feel about things she is doing that do not respect your boundaries- She takes it upon herself to make a key to your home- change your locks (as PPs suggested) and let her know “You may not have a key to my home.”

She asks a personal question- “I don’t want to talk about that.” or “That’s not something we’re prepared to discuss with you. We’ll update you if that changes.”

I think you should basically set yourself up to be as close to no contact with her as you possibly can. Any attempts she makes to invade your mental, emotional or physcial space should be rebuffed in a matter of fact way. If she starts to ask you why, be honest “I find your invasiveness in our lives and relationship unhealthy and upsetting.”

No need to be mean to her (which, actually, her sons are doing- yelling at her and being inconsistent in enforcing their agreements, which is why she “baby monkeys” them), just establish clear guidelines under which you are willing to maintain a relationship with her. And then stick with them. It will actually probably make her feel safer.

Also- you might want to check out the book Hold Me Tight. It’s a great book about relationships (not just marital ones) where the author talks about how we behave when we feel that our primary relationships are threatened. People often lash out or act out in an attempt to get attention and re-establish the bond (which is what baby monkeys do when their mothers aren’t paying enough attention to them). Since your FMIL’s primary (and only, it seems) relationships are with her sons, she’s going to be pretty obsessive about maintaining them in a way that makes her feel safe. That book might be illuminating for all of you (and especially her). She clearly needs some therapy, but if she’s not going to do things to help herself, at least the rest of you can do things that will shift the dynamics and keep yourselves sane.

Post # 26
884 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

Get over to DWIL right away.

Post # 28
72 posts
Worker bee

You have to always remember that, that your relationship is not with your family’s, it is with each other. If you allow your family to pull you apart then you fail. Live is shared between two people and it is why you love who you love. It is an unmistakeable force that drives people together and along there path to each other. Reduce the stress and leave the family at the table and stay on your path to each other. 

Love has a mysterious why of showing you direction. And self love is where love really starts, hating the people around you and being hurtful to them is like placing puddles of water that you will always have to step over. 

Post # 29
8168 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

greeneyedgal13 : 

The fact that you and your BIL’s  gf are experiencing the same thing is potentially useful. Can  you all  four of come up with a plan of sorts as to what you are and are not be OK with? So that none of you will answer daytime texts for eg, or after a certain time of night  and/or that certain subjects are off limits ( it’s high time your Brother-In-Law left home too btw)

Actually though , I think family counselling , ie all five of you,  would  be the best form of help .  

Post # 30
1330 posts
Bumble bee

This is why my Mother-In-Law doesn’t have my contact information. People with boundary issues end up on a much shorter leash than other people, either as a precaution or a response.

Definitely change your locks and start referring her to your Fiance with any of her questions, or just have him respond when she asks you stuff. If he wants to have an unhealthy and invasive relationship with her, at least you aren’t forced to. 

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