Post # 1
Hi bees! I’m an undercover bee here again. I’m in need of some advice. Future Mother-In-Law and I had an amazing relationship before Fiance and I got engaged. I absolutely adored her. However, ever since we’ve been engaged – I feel like she is a completely different person. I am now seeing this controlling/needy side to her.
Fiance and I got our own place last month, and since then – his mom requests that he comes ‘home’ 1 or 2 nights a week for dinner.
This year we attended his Easter family party first, before mine, just to please her. When we were leaving she acted so incredibly sad, because she would miss him. Really?
Here’s the latest thing however.. she has insisted that Fiance and I give her a spare key to our new place. She said, and I quote: “This is really important. I need a spare key. I will come over and let the dog out for you guys when you aren’t home, and I can come help clean when I’m bored.” (She is currently laid off from work) Also, I know that she will be over often because we only live 4 minutes down the road from her.
SO, would you let her have a spare key?
I immediately was turned off to this idea. I explained to Fiance that I did not feel comfortable with this, but he seems like he just wants to give her a key ‘to make her happy.’
She has already told Fiance and I that she feels ‘unneeded’ now that Fiance and I are living together and he has me. She has also stated that she has known many grooms to abandon their families after their wedding, and become much closer to the brides family. I explained to her that this would not happen – but she still insists that it’s a very huge fear of hers now.
Ugh, please bees… help..
Any and all thoughts on this situation would be helpful. I am at a loss of what to do right now. I want to respect her, and love her, because she’s my FMIL! But she’s just making it hard these days 🙁
Post # 3
I wouldn’t give her a key. It sounds like she is kind of testing her boundaries, and it’s time for your Fiance to set some. I would try really hard to stay out of it, this is an issue between the two of them and you don’t want to get demonized for it.
He needs to make it clear that even though he will always love her and care about her he is going to be starting a family of his own soon and that means that she will need accept some compromises.
Post # 4
oooooo… I would NOT give her a key..maybe you should invite her over for dinner once a week…like having a standing appointment.
I think your Fiance needs to talk to her. He has to set some boundaries because i have seen things like this get out of control QUICK!
Post # 5
@batwoman: Agree completely. For sure sounds like she’s testing boundaries as she wants to be VERY involved in your life together.
I also would not give her a key because, like you said, she can come over any time she wants and let herself in. If you need help with the dog, etc., you could always hide a key that day.
I understand she may be having a hard time letting her son go, and while you don’t have to be mean about it, I would try to be clear that you two do need your space and privacy to make decisions, etc. by yourselves.
Post # 6
I think Fi needs to understand your need for privacy and respect that you don’t want his mom to have a spare key. He should also be the one to speak to her regarding the issue. Not sure what should be said, but boundaries do need to be respected. There is no reason why she should have a key. I wouldn’t want my Mother-In-Law to be able to come in to our plave whenever she wants either.
This was a Kardashians episode, but I can’t remember how Kourtney and Scott handled it.
Post # 7
@MadTownGirl: Exactly. I completely understand that this is hard for her, because she feels like she is partially ‘losing’ her son. I do not want to be disrespectful to her, or rude in anyway. I truly do understand why this could be a somewhat difficult hurdle for her. But I just fear that this will really come between us. (she and I)
Post # 8
It’s probably gotten worse since she’s been laid off work. She probably has a ton of time and is really feeling the effects of an ’empty nest.’ I definitely would not give her a spare key, if I was in your situation. I think establishing boundaries this early are important or else you can get pushed around– at least that’s what happened for Darling Husband and I with my Mother-In-Law throughout wedding planning/early in our marriage. I liked what a PP said about having her over for dinner. Also, is there any DIY project that she could take on for your wedding so that she could feel more involved?
Post # 9
Ugh no. Definitely no key. I agree that shes testing her boundaries and maybe even trying to send a message that she’s still #1 in her sons life. Unfortunately a lot of moms feel threatened when their son gets engaged. You guys just have to find a balance between reassuring that you’re not going to forget about her and establishing yourselves as a couple. I agree with the poster that suggested a standing “date” with her and also making it clear to her that stopping by unannounced is not cool.
Post # 10
@CEtoSAHM: Hmm that is a good point. I would like to give her a DIY project to keep her involved, do you have any ideas? I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. My wedding is soon, so there are not many things left to plan.
Post # 11
@anonymous_01: Is he an only son, or youngest by chance? I have gone through something like this too (my Fiance is the very youngest of 4…although he’s 28 so he’s a big boy now), and his mom had a hard time letting go. She eventually admitted that was a big part of her struggle with me/us, and we are now on great terms. Hopefully as time goes on it will get better.
Post # 12
@MadTownGirl: Yes. He is the youngest, and the only son.
Post # 13
I think it is strange she asked for the key. I mean, I would love for someone to come over during the day and let my dog out while I was at work but only if that someone respected personal boundaries. I feel like it would only be appropriate to give her the key if it was a decision you and Fiance came to without her being the one to ask first. I agree with SapphireSun about testing the boundaries. Yeah…don’t give in!
Post # 14
First, no key. Not now, not ever.
Mom is having some trouble adjusting. I can relate. Even after 8 years of living with each-other, on the other side of the country, we moved back and now live 1.5 MILES from my Mother-In-Law. Yet, she STILL drove ALL the routes between our houses to find the fastest one! She also gave us a stuffed animal which reminded her of my now-33 y.o. DH’s toddlerhood security object as a housewarming present. Be kind and sensitive that she is making this adjustment and include in your lives regularly. Help her understand that her family is expanding, not leaving her.
But I can tell you that it’s equally important to set your boundaries NOW–if you don’t, she will continue to trespass and you will become irritated until your relationship becomes problematic. Set up the boundaries now and it’ll make your life easier down the line, especially if you choose to have children!
I’m also a believer in the fact that most issues should be dealt with by Fiance rather than you (if he can handle it–if he’s ineffective, then forget it)–this is because her attachment is with him and if he’s the one telling her that she needs to back off, she’ll begin to understand that HE wants to grow up and have his independence and be less likely to resent and blame you. So tell Fiance that he needs to gently but firmly let mom know that you very much appreciate her offer to clean and take care of the dog–and that you *might* take her up on it (although the idea of either my Mother-In-Law or my OWN mother cleaning my house is terrifying) for future vacations and the like–but the two of you would like to set up your own household and will provide a key for those occasions. OR, if you NEVER want her to have one (suggested!) then just say, “Look, it makes us uncomfortable to have our living space open to anyone but us. We’re not going to give out keys, sorry.” End of discussion.
She can dislike this all she wants and she might mope, but in the end, this is the boundary and she’ll learn to adapt.
Post # 15
DEFINITELY do not give her a key! She needs to go make some friends or something. Most importantly, your fiance is the one who has to set the boundary with her.
Post # 16
Thank you so much everyone for all of your advice!! Please keep the thoughts coming.. it’s helping 🙂 and very much appreciated!
Lately I have been questioning myself, and wondering if I’m just a terrible person for feeling this way about things. I’m glad to see, however, that I am not alone.