Post # 1
Hi, everyone. I have never posted on a website before…but I am miserable and need advice. I am a 37 year old woman. I have never been married before. And almost two years ago the most amazing man came into my life. I love him very much and he loves me too. We have been living together for a little over a year now and about 3 weeks ago he proposed to me. I thought this time in my life should be one of the happiest…but because of my Mom…I have been miserable. Right after my fiance and I moved in together…she offered us $5,000.00 towards a wedding (my guess is because her side of the family is ultra-conservative and she was embarrassed at the thought of us living together before being married). Let me just say this first IT IS NOT ABOUT THE MONEY. However, 2 weeks before the engagement my mom was bragging to me about how she just got a raise at her job and will be making close to $20.00 an hour starting in April and her house and car are BOTH paid for. She just got botox and has purchased 2 plasma TV’s this past year….but the day after we announced our engagement she began talking about the "skimpy" wedding she would have to give me. About 4 days later…I politely but directly asked her if we had a budge for the wedding….and I politely told her that the only reason I was bringing it up was because she offered us $5,000.00 last year to put towards a wedding and now she is mentioning words like "skimpy". I understand that I am a grown woman and NO ONE but my fiance and I HAVE to pay for our wedding but I she mentioned it. I stressed to her several times that she didn’t have to pay for anything …but if she planned on chipping in…that would be fantastic…I just needed to know how much so that we could plan things accordingly. I don’t want a big fancy wedding. We just wanted something with about 75-100 people. NOTHING FANCY. My dream dress is $240.00. The invitations that I want would be under $200.00…I found a lady would could do the cake for $200.00. I am really trying to keep things simple and pretty. Well, she said that she would pitch in some money (but was really vague on how much). My fiance and I decided that we wanted a small church wedding at his families church (the church where his mother was baptized as an infant…and still attends every Sunday) and the consistory of the church was letting us have it for free…and then we wanted to have a dinner reception afterwards somewhere. Well, my Mom freaked out…she said that if we wanted her to chip in for the wedding she did not want it at that church she wanted us to get married at the reception hall because she said decorating for two places was to much work. I kept stressing to her that I want SIMPLE decorations….2 bouquets on the altar…pew bows and netting. It is a small chaple church…and I told her that I was fine with just having votive candles on the tables at the reception if it meant less stress for her. All that matters to me is that I have a nice, enjoyable day with family and friends. I told her that my fiance really had his heart set on having it at that church. Anyway…my fiance and I decided to drastically cut the guest list and pay for it ourselves. Well, my Mom called a few days later and said she could give me $2,000.00 towards the wedding. "That’s wonderful". I really appreciate it…I told her again…that I didn’t expect for her to pay for everything…I just wanted to know if she wanted to pitch in. For about a week things looked like it might be okay. But then my Mom started getting very demanding on things…."I don’t know why we have to have it at that church." Even though I have explaned the sentimental value over and over and it’s only 5 minutes away from the restaurant for the reception. She didn’t want a receiving line. I told her I personally didn’t care but I needed to check with my fiance…that caused a big fight. "You don’t need to ask him. You’re the bride. You plan the wedding." I calmly told her that I needed to make sure that wasn’t something that was important to his family. She did not like that. Then we found out that there is another party in the restaurants banquet room earlier in the day and she thought it was to close to our reception time (even though the restaurant had no problem with this) she thought it wouldn’t leave her enough time to make sure the reception hall was decorated properly and her get dressed/ready. "Fine, no problem" I said. My fiance and I moved our whole ceremony back 1 hour to accomodate her and make her feel more comfortable. Even though both of us…and the restaurant were fine with the original time. And mind you…I had already had Save the Date cards printed up with the earlier time on it. I now have to get new ones printed. Anyway….and I apologize for rambling…I feel like I need to vent…yesterday I called her to see if she wanted to go look at the wedding dress that I was thinking about getting. She declined…and the conversation turned decorations. I politely reminded her that I just wanted to keep things simple. She got mad and hung up. Which she does to me ALOT. So I went over to her house and she was laying in bed sulking. I tried to be real chipper and cheer her up…and she went off….she doesn’t know why we have to have the wedding at that church, she is mad because she found out that I tried on some wedding dresses with a friend and not her and she is sick of me asking my fiance is opinion because it’s not his business. Geeezzzzzz…. She has a history of being really difficult and not handling her emotions well. Soooo…I finally lost it. I am usually a very easy going person. I hate conflict but I finally reached my breaking point. I yelled and told her that I’ll just go get married and just telll her afterward…that way it will be less stress for her. I am her only daughter. She divorced my father 20 years ago and has never remarried. And she has always been on the "unstable" side. I love my Mother. She has some wonderful traits. When she lets people see them. I think she is jealous of me being happy and being with someone and she feels better about things when she can control them. My fiance does NOT want her at the wedding. We are going to scale things back down (because when she said she had $2,000.00 to give us…we bumped the guest list back up to near 60 people) and my fiance would still like to have a small wedding in the church and a reception dinner. I am at the point where I would be tickled pink eloping….but I want this to be special for him…because , duh, it’s his wedding too. I don’t know why my Mom had such a problem with that. He has tried really hard to win her favor but she has been very difficult the whole time we have been together. We have gone through periods of speaking and not speaking. But we did that before I met my fiance…so I know that problem is not with him. And I feel sooooo bad because my fiance’s family has been nothing but welcoming, supportive and very nice to me. My fiance is not used to this crazy behavior and he is sick of it. But if we have a wedding and invite friends and his family…part of me will feel guilty for not having my Mom there. My face is swollen from crying so much. I hate all this drama. I am very mad at my Mom for doing this…but crazy or not…she is the only Mom I have. But my fiance is worried that she will throw a fit or make a scene if we have her at the wedding. She has been known to do things like that before. I could really use some advice.
Post # 3
oh my goodness, this sounds awful! It WILL all work itself out. I didn’t want to say that maybe she is a bit jealous (I HATE saying that somebody’s mother is like that) but maybe that is the case. And maybe she is upset that she is perhaps *losing* you to your Fiance. If you are 37 and haven’t been married yet, she perhaps assumed she’d always have you to herself. You definitely still want her there, you just want her to be a little more chill. You will regret it if she isn’t there, I guarantee you that. And even if she makes a little bit of a scene, what can you do about it? You simply cannot not invite because she might embarass you a little bit. YOu mentioned your FI’s family a lot. What about the rest of yours? An aunt maybe or cousin that could sort of mediate a little? You have tried reason, but she’s sulking because she isn’t getting her way. It isn’t going to happen and she’ll have to bite the bullet on it eventually. Maybe she assumed she’d always have a second wedding, and now isn’t, so she’s taking it out on you. She’s trying to live vicariously through you a little. Of course you have to consult your Fiance on stuff! DUH! I agree. Maybe more time is needed for it to sink in?
I don’t know your mom, but maybe she responds to tough love a little. Sometimes my mom really gets on my nerves, and i have to be straight forward, blunt, and in her face about it. Instead of explaining everything so respectfully, maybe it’s time to try a new tactic. Tell her her constant griping is making this difficult on you, and she needs to stop putting her two cents in where it isn’t appreciated. "Come to the wedding and enjoy it, but don’t be such a debbie downer about it. Mom, this is supposed to be a happy day, so why is it all you can do it complain to me? Are you tryiing to tell me something?" I know this isn’t feasible for everyone, but when i get my serious face on, my mom knows it’s because i really need her to respect my wishes regarding whatever it is we’re discussing. Some might consider that disrespectful, but I don’t like how she’s guilt tripping you and making you cry so much over this! It’s awful and it simply isn’t right.
That being said, what with her complaining about the dress and not being able to go, maybe she wants to be included more…with somethign that is important to her? That sounds silly to me since she has had plenty of opportunities to help you out. That’s about all I got going from my end of things. I wish you luck with your mom though. I’m sure it will all work out somehow. Maybe a little dramatically, but who’s family isn’t full of drama??
Post # 4
If you don’t take her $$ then she should have no say in what goes for the wedding.
Post # 5
First thing I would do is take a big, deep, relaxing breath! There’s so much tension and sadness in that post, I think you deserve a mini-break from stressing about it so you can approach the problem with a clear head.
Ok, breath taken? Feeling a little better? I hope so.
It sounds like the behavior your mother is exhibiting is habitual, not specific to your wedding. If that is the case, then I think this has to be deal with differently than if this was completely out of character for your mother. It sounds like nothing you do will be “good enough” for your mother. She will likely find fault with whatever plans you are making. You must accept this (and her) and move on. You will not be able to “fix” her, unless she’s willing to go to counseling (which, by the way, is a wonderful idea but I assumed she wouldn’t agree to it).
Be prepared (and firm!) when you talk to her about your wedding plans. Don’t change your plans because she’s criticizing you – seems as though she’s going to criticize you anyway. If the criticism is coming no matter what, better off with an idea you liked than an idea you changed for her. You can still keep her involved with the planning (if you want) but practice polite answers to her suggestions (re: the restaurant not being ready after the earlier party, “thanks, mom, it didn’t occur to me to think about the timing like that. I’ll definitely look into it.”).
Then, after the wedding, I’d approach her about your relationship. Tell her you’re very concerned about the direction it’s headed and you would like to work on it together. Suggest counseling if you are up for it. It’s obvious this is a distressing issue for you and ultimately, it’s about the relationship between you and your mother, not the wedding itself.
Post # 6
Ditto boggerette and PS- Congrats on the engagement!
Post # 7
She could be controlling or jealous of your happiness. Also, could she be worried that since she got divorced, you are making the same mistake? If she is "alone" and you have been until 37, I think she is feeling abandoned too.
I would stop going back and forth about the money. It sounds like you don’t want an elaborate wedding anyway. I’ll guess you can swing the wedding you described by yourselves.
I would try to have a heart to heart with mom. It sounds like she’s been insecure in life for a while. Try your best to reassure her that you still love her and will be there for her. And by all means still invite her to the wedding. If you don’t she’ll really feel abandoned.
Post # 8
Ok. I am so, so, so sorry for you. It will get better, and it will get worse, but you will get through it.
If I understand correctly you are the only child. I am the only child to a divorced mother as well and we went through it when I was first engaged. I have learned to manage her during this. I don’t tell her things because she is full of jealousy. Its a shame, but you have to just stop talking to her about all the plans.
What I did do to please my Mom was give her a shower to plan. My Maid/Matron of Honor is not planning a shower. My Mom is doing the entire thing in the location she wants. It is actually at the Church she wanted me to get married in, in the city she wanted, etc.
I am not doing anything she wants me to do. However, I am 32 year old woman, and she has to learn to respect that.
It sucks, because it should be about you and your fiance and not your Mom. If you can, take her out for coffee and talk about it all. I had a very difficult talk with my Mom. We were in public so I felt I couldn’t cry as much.
You can’t change her. She is just going to be who she is, but hopefully she will be able to respect you and your fiance and act civilized.
HANG IN THERE!!!!
Post # 9
I think the only way you are going to maintain your sanity and get married in the way you’d both like is to cut your mom out of the planning. Don’t take her money. Don’t ask her opinion. Instead, inform her of your decisions. She will continue to complain and attempt to manipulate you but you need to stay firm in your decisions. Send her an invite, you’ll want her there and your fiance needs to respect that.
If you stop reacting to her, the hope is that she will eventually stop acting up. The more attention you give her and the more you show displeasure at her unhappiness, the more she will treat you like this.
My mom came from a similar family dynamic as yours and she took assertiveness classes to learn how to "handle" her mother. It’s helped her tremendously over the last 36 yrs of her marriage. Definitely seek counseling – it will help you learn how to deal with your mother, and more importantly it will teach you how to keep this out of your marriage.
Good luck and Congrats on your engagement!
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2010 - The Tower Club
I think it’s evident in your post that you will have to give the money back (or refuse to accept it, if she hasn’t yet given it to you). Your wedding is too important to give her that much power.
I’ll agree with the others that this seems habitual and non-specific to your wedding. I think not reacting much to her and not discussing the wedding very much is probably the best approach. Yes, it’s sad not to have a mother-daughter bonding experience during your engagement, but that’s just not possible with what you’ve described here. Most important is your sanity & peace of mind as you move forward with your fiancé.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Congrats on your engagement! 🙂
Post # 11
I feel your pain sadbridetobe. Sounds like our mothers act very similarily. My parents have decided to not come to our wedding. Its kind of a really long story, but for the most part they decided that they didn’t approve of my marriage to mr.luetzielady and then decided to cut themselves out of my life. Its been really hard trying to go through the motions without them, but this is where you take a step into a new life with your fiance. He’s your family now and this is supposed to be about you guys. Just keep reminding yourself how great you will be to be the wife of your fiance. At least that’s what I try to do . . . You’ll make it through sisterfriend! Just hold your head up high and try to smile through the tears and pain
Post # 12
THANK YOU!!!!! to everyone for their encouragement and advice. Both have been really helpful. My Mom’s side of the family is not the closest…but with that being said, I did call my Aunt (my Mom’s older sister) and asked her to try and keep my Mom relaxed and calmed down. I tried to be really positive about it. My Aunt is aware of her emotional issues. Over the years numerous family members have encouraged my Mom to go to counseling. But she has refused. My Mom often goes through phases where she is remorseful for her behavior. She acknowledges that she is difficult and mean. During those times I have encouraged her to talk to her family physician about things and have hoped that he points her in the direction of some help. But she just blows if off. I went to counseling for about a year a few years back. It was very helpful…my insurance changed so I stopped going. Mom my flipped out when she found out I was going to therapy. Oh,well. I am not an only child. I have an older brother who has a developmental delays. He is basically at a 7yr. old level. I think paying for the wedding ourselves is the only way to go. I am hoping that with time my fiance will calm down….he is still pretty upset. I can’t say that I blame him. I have 37 of learning how to deal with my Mom and he has only had about two. I know her behavior is confusing to him and well, she has treated him like crap. We have gone round and round about that before the engagement and for a period of about 6 months that got along in a very civil manner. I’m not asking for them to be best friends…just civil. I’m hoping time will make it better.
Thanks again for everyones well wishes. It really made me feel like I am not alone.
Post # 13
Ok… can I say that I COMPLETELY understand what you are going through and that your post made me feel immensely better that I am not the only one. My mother and I are best friends but we have just had a lot of miscommunications about the wedding thus far. She doesn’t seem to understand that my Fi wants to have the wedding he dreamed of as well. YES he has thought about his own wedding before and he has certain ideas of what he would like. Also, he and I have a very laid back, outdoorsy personality and I have always dreamed of having an outdoor wedding. He proposed in January and so most Fall wedding sites were already booked up but we did not want to wait a year and a half to get married. I didn’t want a cold outdoor wedding so our only option was to go with this summer. Mind you, this is early January. I found a place that would be perfect for the ceremony and the reception (with the possibility of having the ceremony at the chapel where we took our very first hike) . I went ahead and booked it for August 22: I got the Lodge rented from Friday 10-9:50 and Saturday from 9:00am until 10:00pm for a whopping total of $1551. Two full days with nothing else going on there for only $1551. Then the economic crisis started driving my mother insane and she kept making snide comments about "if" my dad kept his job and "wow, i didn’t know you wanted such an elaborate ordeal" and so on. As if I were a bridezilla of some kind. We are inviting about 125 people and only expect about 70-85 to show up. That is NOT a huge, lavish affair. I just went through a lot of soul-searching because she made me feel so terrible about wanting friends and family there. At the same time, she took me dress shopping and said she didn’t want to scrimp and cut corners. Told me she wanted a sit-down affair and she and my dad would take care of the catering. Awesome. That is a huge chunk. Now, at this time I was still trying to find a job and I was crying to my fi every single night that I got rejected or didn’t get called back or so on and so forth. It was just WAY too much pressure. So fi finally told me that he thought we should just push it back a year and give ourselves time to save for it. Ok. No problem – he said it, it made sense. I cancelled the reservation only losing 100 dollars. Our save the dates arrived two days later and we decided they would be kindle for camping. But I just got a job and I have been surrounding myself with wedding blogs like this one and SMP and so many other gorgeous sites and it is KILLING me. I just want to make it happen and get a move on. Patience is a virtue but a 19 month engagement? OUCH. And to rub it all in… my mother has been buying decor for the house left and right lately. So we didn’t have any money before when I was wanting to get married but now we have money to remodel the kitchen? The thing is, I understand this all completely and I am ok with waiting and it is fine. His timing (though I would not change a thing) was a little off and so we will wait a year. But he keeps bringing up how much he wishes we were getting married soon and it makes me feel so terrible. And he constantly makes jokes about my mom and the issues with the wedding and I hate it because she is my best friend and I understand her idiosyncracies better than he does. I feel guilty even writing this because I really do understand her thoughts and everything else she is going through right now. But sometimes it is good to vent. So don’t feel bad sadbride. There are more of us out there! Let us know how it all turns out, in the end, you will be married to the love your life no matter what. Isn’t that good to know?