(Closed) Overbearing Mother-in-Law causing Fights :(

posted 10 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
62 posts
Worker bee

Wow. This situation is a mess. Are you Chinese too? If you are, I’d have my mother call his because she will probably know about Chinese tradition and be able to compromise for your wants too. I’m sorry that you and your fiance are having so many issues related to his culture but this is common when you marry outside of your ethnic background. Yes, his mother is overbearing and unreasonable but most importantly your fiance is not being reasonable either. I’m not a therapist (I’m only studying to be one) but it sounds like you need to talk to someone who can be objective. Someone who isn’t on anyone’s side. You and your fiance both need to go so that he can actually hear you and see how much you are hurting. You two need to come together as a couple and make decisions without his mother. It’d be even better if the therapist was a Chinese woman. Then your fiance wouldn’t have any reasonable excuses for not listening to her and he couldn’t say that she didn’t understand Chinese tradition or family structures. The bottom line is that you don’t want to keep bending to his mother’s will because this is unhealthy and you’re wrong if you think that after your wedding is over she will stop trying to control your lives. If you want to be married to your fiance for the rest of your life; then you will have to find a way to effectively manage these issues.

Post # 6
62 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
@olivemonkey: I’m sorry to hear about your mother. As I was typing about you two seeing a therapist I was thinking about the stigma attached to mental health and “what if her fiance won’t go?” I don’t know what to say (I wish I had a magic wand I could wave) except that you seem to be aware of what you are facing and that you’ll probably do the right thing- whatever that means for your situation. I know that sounds awfully bleak but you should trust your instincts in this case. I really am sorry that everything isn’t going as well as it should during your engagement.

Post # 7
4544 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think you need to sit down and have a serious talk with your Fiance. This wedding is about you and your Fiance. It sounds like you’ve already made a lot of compromises (the wedding date, the reception venue, the number of guests) and are starting to feel resentful. If you don’t figure something out, it sounds like you’ll be really resentful of his mother by the time the wedding rolls around. You and your Fiance need to talk and get on the same page and agree to support each other. You’re  team now and he needs to be able to stand up to his mother. It’s a bit worrying that in the past, you’ve suggested counseling and his response was along the lines of “you get it, and everything will be fine”. If he doesn’t want to do counseling, I’d suggest you go alone. It may help to talk to someone more objective who has your best intrests in mind.

Post # 8
2143 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m really sorry 🙁 My DH is Chinese and I’ve gone through similar issues with his family, though not quite as bad. I actually had a massive thread about it not too long ago. I’m not Chinese so it’s totally new to me. I hope you two can work this out, but my guess is that you will likely just have to accept the way things are. It sounds like they are very traditional and I don’t know if they would be willing to give that up. If your Fiance isn’t willing to change things for your sake, then, hard as it may be, you might want to reconsider the wedding because things probably won’t change. I’ve found myself in a position asking myself if I made a mistake in marrying my DH. As much as I love him, the thought of dealing with his family FOREVER is really daunting and I don’t know if I can do it. And they aren’t even as bad as your Future Mother-In-Law sounds! And just imagine if you ever have children how much worse she will get! I also don’t like how he says it’s “your issues.” You should be a team. If something is bothering you, it should bother him too and he should be working to help make you happy.

I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear and it’s not that encouraging, but I just wanted to be honest. Nobody deserves to be in a relationship that they can’t be 100% happy in.

Post # 9
1227 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

If it were me, I wouldn’t be worried so much about how his traditional Chinese mom is affecting the wedding as I would be worried about how much would she interfere in and try to control your married life. Your wedding is only one day (a very big, important day, but still only one day), but your marriage is the rest of your life!

I don’t come from a Chinese background, but my understanding is that it’s very common to give utmost respect to your elders and basically do pretty much what they say you should. Do you think she’ll try to interfere in your life together after the wedding? If so, then you need to really start working things out with your Fiance pronto. It’s simply not how things usually work nowadays, and I am fairly confident most women would not be happy with that kind of situation in their marriage.

Post # 10
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Holy &*(%! This woman is OUT.OF.HAND!!

You can’t let her keep calling the shots. I know you don’t want to offend your FI’s family, but you’ve GOT TO put your foot down; otherwise, she’s just going to keep calling the shots for the ENTIRE marriage. What happens if she doesn’ t like your parenting style? Will she discipline your children for you, too? What if she starts dictating your finances? If she’s finding it this easy to step in now, it will only get worse. You need to tell your Fiance to cut the umbilical cord. There’s a fine line between respect and demand. You can still respect her without having to give in to everthing she says.

I’m also confused about why she’s able to call all these shots when they’re not paying for it. And using your gift money to pay for it is absolutely not acceptable. I’m shocked by all of this! You’ve got to speak up for yourself, babe… otherwise, you’ll just be miserable. You only get one shot at YOUR OWN wedding, right?

Post # 11
1135 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

You and your Fiance need to be on the same team.  The fact that he’s acting as though it’s you against him and his family is a big, big problem.  You need to sit down with him, away from his mother, and have a very serious conversation about this.  All the wedding details are just a symptom–the real problem is that he is not putting you and your relationship first and he’s acting as though the two of you are on different sides.  The best thing about marriage is having someone who is always, without fail, on your team and so all problems and challenges are made smaller because you’re tackling them together.  Your problems are being made larger than they need to be because you two are on opposing sides.  I hope that you two can have a long talk about this and work it out…I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, and I wish you a lot of luck!

Post # 12
32 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. 

I just wanted to add that I agree with everything bunnyfoofoo said.  I was upset reading your post because I can’t believe your FI’s mother is steamrolling you like this.  And he is obliging her on everything. I think you deserve so much more.  =(

I hope it works out.

Post # 13
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Call his bluff. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but things are looking pretty drastic here for you.

What I would do would be to ask him to take some time to talk to you about the wedding – a date, even if it’s at home. Take a shower, do your hair, put on something that makes you feel nice. I’m not sure why, but things always feel more desperate and out of control when you’re in sweatpants. Then, without tears or yelling (not that you’ve been that way…just throwing it in there), say that you are concerned that without a clear understanding of priorities in your upcoming marriage, you have to put your path to wedded bliss in neutral right now until it can be worked out. That is to say, you’re not breaking up, but you can’t continue until it’s clear. 

Every marriage needs priorities so that when things are in conflict, the answer is clear. Assure him that you understand his immense love for his mother and that you will always support him as best you can. Assure him that you understand that there is a kind of culture-clash going on and you’re going to work it out calmly and carefully. Assure him that you understand how much having the “right” wedding means to his mother – for her, the wrong wedding might mean ridicule or pity from her close-knit friends and family for the rest of her life. Knowing that you understand this is going to go a long way. Assure him that because you love him, you are going to compromise on some aspects of your wedding, and you need his help as your partner to come up with creative compromises. 

Next, sympathize. He must be under incredible stress running interference between the women he loves the most. Tell him that it must be incredibly stressful for him, and you are so sorry about it. But don’t cave and say you’ll do whatever to make his mother happy – just sympathize with his stress. Try to get him so that his face relaxes and shoulders come down, because this shows that he trusts that you’re not “the enemy.”

Lastly, tell him, that you will not get married in a wedding that doesn’t contain any hint of you, and that you won’t live your married life with a man who doesn’t prioritize your marriage. And you shouldn’t. Remind him again that you’re there to help him and you’re willing to give his mother certain things, but that you want to be thanked and treated respectfully for having chosen to give those gifts – not bullied into giving and giving and giving. 

I know how it is without a mother. Mine died unexpectedly a few years ago, too, and I honestly believe that people steamroll right over you because they know how vulnerable you are. It’s really mean; I’m not sure people even realize they’re doing it. 

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