Wedding Woes

Vent about hurtful comment from FMIL

(I want to preface this by saying I'm very sensitive, and that I know the only thing to do about it is take it with a grain of salt and focus on my relationship with FH and our lovely wedding plans. Just one of those things where you need to take the time to be pissed off before you get over it.)

Tonight we visited FILs and FMIL asked how the wedding planning was going. A bit of background-- FH have been together more than 3 years and spend a decent amount of time with his parents, visiting 3-4x per month and doing birthday dinners as well as most holidays (because we live near them). His mom is friendly enough, but a little uneven. Sometimes she'll be warm and chatty, and sometimes stonefaced and awkward, sometimes both within the same conversation! She has never indicated any interest in being involved in the wedding in any way, and will occasionally ask about plans but my responses are met only with nods and uh-huhs. Rarely does she even comment on what I tell her (although she made one complaint related to our food plans, which I plan to accommodate), and she has never offered up any ideas or advice. (Something I'm sure a lot of ladies with totally overbearing FMILs would be envious of, lol!) I'm fine with this, to be honest. Like I said, she's hard to read, and I'm sensitive, so keeping wedding talk light and vague works well for us. I'm a sentimental type and still would like to have a warm, familiar relationship with her eventually... or as close as I can get, anyway.

So after she asked, I said it was going fine, we weren't doing much at the moment as we have 9 months left and that I had been turned off of thinking about the wedding after a nightmarish snafu with our photographer, whom we fired. Not a detailed conversation, maybe 30 seconds. 

Then, since I am about to send save-the-dates, I asked if she was sure she didn't want to include any of their friends or extended family in the guest list, because I'm feeling a little self-conscious that 64% of the guest list belongs to me and I want to make sure on our wedding day FH feels surrounded by "his" people just as much as mine. She said, "No... not really. I mean, with having to go all the way up there."

"All the way up there?" That's my hometown. 1.5 hours away from where she lives. What are you talking about, lady??? People regularly travel hundreds of miles to weddings and you're complaining about 75??? Depending on how much folks choose to drink, and how late they stay, they may not even need to get a hotel! Also, not that I give a rat's ass about tradition, but if you DID want to play that card, the bride's hometown is definitely the traditional place to get married.

Plus, it makes no sense. FH's family and friends are mostly out of state, so even if we got married in her town (where FH and I also live), 90% of his people would still be traveling, plus all of my family would have to travel, resulting in 95% of the guest list traveling instead of 36%. I'm already worried that many of FH's friends may not be able to come, or may choose not to come, because of the distance. Our wedding is also a casual beer & wine & BBQ type deal so I'm also feeling self-conscious that people will come all this way and it won't be a fancy, formal, boozy dance party like most weddings - it won't be "worth" the coming. Which I know is lame, and I'm happy with our plans. But... little things like that nestle in the back of my mind and make me worry.

Anyway, clearly her comment feeds into all these insecurities I already have and it's just been hard to shake. FH didn't say much at the time (nor did I, except to stammer that it was only 1.5 hours and that if we got married here everyone would still be traveling) but he brought it up later as a weird comment, so I know it wasn't 100% just my sensitivity.

It hurts to think that my wedding - no, not MY wedding, HER SON'S wedding - is some taxing chore to be born because there is a small amount of travel involved. It hurts to think that she doesn't want to include family friends or extended family - part of my FH's community - because she doesn't think the drive is worth it. This comment makes me wonder what she thinks but doesn't say, or what she says to FH's dad about it when we're not around. Thinking about negative thoughts or comments she may be making about our wedding plans makes my stomach knot up. I guess I wish she were happier or more excited, not because I need attention and excitement, but because she is proud and happy for her son to be getting married.

Overall, FH supports me 10000%. I've had some little moments with his mom before and his response has always been, "Hey, I love you. You're my life now, and there's no way she'd ever come between us." (Not in those exact words... I think he phrased it more like, "If that's how she feels, then fuck her. I love you." haha.) And my own mom is totally amazing and supportive, and I have one of those big loud happy families that has welcomed FH with open arms, so we definitely have a good community in place. I just wish I could have that relationship with his mom, too.
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Re: Vent about hurtful comment from FMIL

  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia
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    edited August 2015
    I feel the need (though I'm not 100% certain why) to mention that her very first, immediate response to FH announcing we were getting married was, "Well, all right! At least you won't be living in sin anymore!" She's not even religious. >:{ 
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  • PupatellaPupatella
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    edited August 2015
    First, I am so glad that you came here to vent. Get it out of your system!!

    Most of us want so badly to get along with our FMIL's / MIL's. I'm sorry that you are dealing with this, and comments can hurt so badly.

    Not sure if you just want to vent, or are looking for advice...so if you just need to vent, vent away, and ignore the below.  :)

    * You said that your FMIL hasn't given any advice about your upcoming wedding, but have you asked her for any? This could be a great bonding experience. She honestly doesn't seem too overbearing if she hasn't offered her opinion without you asking first. She may offer up some great advice!!

    * Have you included her in any of the wedding stuff?  i.e. dress shopping, looking at venues, etc.? This is also a potential great bonding experience. (I realize that the venue is probably 1.5 hours away from her - but how about sending her pictures next time you are there / sit down with her and show her the website?)

    * You said you are sending out STD's soon. Did you ask her what she thought of them? 

    * Please keep in mind that if you ask for her advice, it does not mean that you have to take it. But just asking can go a really long way.

    * It sounds like you live close to her. Can you invite her out for coffee? Just you and her? She may also feel the same way you're feeling - wanting to be closer but not knowing how. I would tell her bluntly that you really want a great relationship with her, and want some one on one time with just her. Don't talk all about the wedding if you do this - ask her about what's going on in her life (vacation plans, work, family, etc.), talk about your work, what you and your FI are upto during the coming weekend, etc. Wedding talk can also be included, but just talk about other stuff as well.

    Edited for: P.S. I truly hope that your relationship with her improves. Also, she may be hesitant to invite people to travel for the same reason you are: you mention that you are having a casual reception and are afraid that if people travel, it won't be "worth" it for them. Just ask her. And please know that people who want to be there for you and your FI will be there regardless of what kind of reception you throw.

  • I feel the need (though I'm not 100% certain why) to mention that her very first, immediate response to FH announcing we were getting married was, "Well, all right! At least you won't be living in sin anymore!" She's not even religious. >:{ 
    The "well, all right!" part sounds very positive...unless she was saying it with a huge sarcastic voice. And yes, I can definitely see how the rest of the comment stung, but you said that at other times she can be very warm and talkative. She may have just said the wrong thing here, and didn't realize that she hurt you. I would just let this one go. She seems to be supportive of the wedding - she's attending, asking about the wedding plans, and wanting to invite (some) friends and family, so that sounds pretty positive.

  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia
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    edited August 2015
    @Pupatella,

    Thank you for all your advice! We've been engaged forever (actually just since December) so at first we did try to involve them, but she was mostly upset that our engagement was so long and didn't want to talk about much. Also, about 3 months after we got engaged, FH's dad developed some major health issues, so we literally did not even think about the wedding for at least 12 weeks because of the stress and distress. It's just been the last 2-3 months that things have calmed down that wedding plans started to chug along again.

    I want to be clear that I like FMIL and we get along well enough. While she gets stuck on certain things (FH's long hair), in general they are very supportive of us as a couple - they gave us the money for our house downpayment, for example! When I use words like "upset" I don't mean that she gets emotional or yells or argues. Just she'll make negative comments (ex. "Oh god, that long???" referring to our 18 month engagement, when we told her the date), or pointed comments (like the one above), or stuff like that. It's not anywhere near the point where we would fight, or storm out, or stop visiting, or anything like that. Just sort of frustrating, and makes you stop and go, "Why on earth would she say that?" Not just about the wedding - about all sorts of things. I've basically accepted it as part of her personality, that she will just be prickly sometimes. It does still hurt my feelings, though. Cause I'm that kind of person, always catching feelings about something or other haha. I just try to sleep on it, get over it, and move on.

    I also want to be clear that I don't expect her to help with the wedding, or even to have discussions about it (that's why I try to keep it light on details when it does come up). God knows with FFIL's health issues she has enough to deal with! We are more than happy to plan the day ourselves and have them as honored guests. I would like to have something sweet and sentimental for them in the ceremony, like maybe having them hold the rings and bring them to us/exchange hugs.

    Anyway, getting off topic here. I appreciate your perspective, a lot. I don't want to come off as defensive. I definitely could be more proactive about sharing wedding details and asking for her input. I guess it's just because of the previous negative comments that make me hesitant to share. Sort of like, why give her another opportunity to "Hmm" and nod vaguely and make me feel super lame for even trying? But, then again, if I want a warmer relationship with her, I need to keep reaching out even if it puts my feelings at risk. 

    I also have felt awkward about wedding details because they are not financially contributing (which, um, hello, they gave us thousands of dollars for our house!!! We couldn't thank them enough!!!!) and I don't want it to seem like I'm fishing for a contribution. Like, if I said, "hey, do you want to help plan a menu for cocktail hour?" I don't want her to think I'm asking her to pay for cocktail hour food. 

    Getting her alone is hard because of FFIL's health issues, but I could ask FH to stay with his dad for the night while she and I do something together. Ack, even thinking about asking her that makes me feel wonky because I'm so nervous of getting my feelings hurt by her declining, or coming but making some of her weird/negative comments that make me feel awkward and start stuttering. 

    Sorry for my incoherent rambles, Pupatella, and thanks for bringing an outside perspective to my emotionfest :) 
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  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited August 2015
    In many cultures, living together outside of marriage is frowned on.  It wasn't common until the late 1970s in the USA, and many people are still old school about it.  Your FMIL sounds like one of these.  She may feel uncomfortable about her friends judging her.  She may have received snarky comments from other family members about the two of you living together.  It has nothing to do with being religious, and it isn't personally directed towards you.

    Cut her a break.  She is going to be family.  She has shown support by giving you two money for your house, something many families are unable or unwilling to do.  Just keep smiling and let the comments go.  She may be the grandmother of your children someday.
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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia
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    @CMGragain,

    True! I didn't think of that. She had never made a remark about it before, so I wouldn't think so (as you can tell, she is not one to pass up an opportunity to make remarks haha), but maybe she was trying to be funny. Or maybe something else was going on. Or, maybe her shoes were too tight or something. I definitely agree that their overall support for us and their status as our parents are the most important things. I just wish I found it easier to let negative comments go. Not just from FMIL but everyone! They get inside my brain and make me insecure.

    We are childless by choice, but point taken anyway. ;) I hope to have FMIL around for many more years and will continue to work on building a relationship with her.

    Thank you for your perspective!
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  • PupatellaPupatella
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    edited August 2015
    :smile:

    You are so welcome!! You didn't come off defensive at all btw. It just sounded like you had a really rough evening.

    Also, I take that as awesome she didn't want you to have a long engagement!! That means she already accepts you and is ready to formally welcome you into the family. And your IL's giving you money for a down payment is also a huge compliment. Maybe the living in sin comment was more directed towards your FI? Maybe your MIL knew a long time ago that you were the one for her son, and she was just antsy for you guys to make it official. I think it is so special that you want to involve them in your ceremony.

    If she is having to take care of her DH, that can be rough. If your FI is going to watch FFIL, can I suggest a spa day? Get massages, your nails done, etc. Just something to get her some relaxation time, and something she will enjoy? This also takes some of the pressure off of you by not having to talk to her so much of your alone time with her.

    If you talk to her about the menu, I don't think that will come off as you asking for money. "We just got a list of the menu options from our caterer. Do you want to take a look and tell us what you would enjoy the most"?

    It honestly sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with your MIL!! If she's always made little side comments, maybe that's just her. :smile:

  • I feel the need (though I'm not 100% certain why) to mention that her very first, immediate response to FH announcing we were getting married was, "Well, all right! At least you won't be living in sin anymore!" She's not even religious. >:{ 

    My Late FIL's response was "I ain't going to Jamaica" (right in front of his son/DIL who had a DW there)...  No "Congratulations" just that...  Later on he also made the entire building at work spit coffee out when he made the comment "I don't want her to make me look cheap!" to SIL (referencing my tighter than tight spending habits that everyone quickly realized that there really was someone on this earth tighter than he was!)... But you know what, FIL & I got along great because he knew that his son was marrying someone tighter than he was and willing to work just as late if not later hours...  And people still talk about that day years later because FIL had finally met his match which no one else thought possible. 

    Don't get too worked up about this!  Just go along with planning and when it comes time for the actual invitations to go out set aside some for FMIL to invite some of her friends with a "it's o.k. if they choose not to attend, but we want them invited anyway so they at least get to make that choice for themselves.".  Just insist that your FI handles this when it's time for the invites.  STD's isn't a big deal if not everyone invited gets one, the invites are all that matter!


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  • I wouldn't worry about her not inviting her friends.  I'm a 4 time MOB and I never invited my friends to my girls' weddings.  As far as the extended family goes, is there anyone in that group your FI wants to invite?  If so, he needs to commandeer his mom's address book and get addresses or email an aunt or cousin, etc who would have the addresses.

    Don't worry about her comments and keep moving forward.  Sounds like you have a good relationship so let it slide.  Some people think an hour and half drive requires a passport - I know people like that.  That is my daily round trip to work!

    MesmrEwe
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    This definitely sounds like something to just shake off. I wouldn't dwell on it.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia
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    Good morning peeps, thank you @MesmrEwe, @kmmssg, and @AddieCake

    I definitely feel over it now. Rereading my post, I can't quite conjure up the same level of emotion I felt last night. I think my mom also sort of egged me on last night - when I told her what FMIL said she got SUPER offended and I think that fed into it for me, moving it from "irritating offhand comment" into "hurtful barb niggling in my mind" ha. I feel great this morning, though. :)

    I still do wish I could figure out FMIL in general. FH's only response when this stuff happens is, "Yeah, I don't get her sometimes." Maybe I'll "get her" someday and maybe I won't. 
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    Pupatella
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    I understand. I'm pretty sensitive, too, and often overanalyze that kind of thing. Glad you're feeling better about it!
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • I just want to say, I understand where you were coming from with some of her comments. I felt hurt when my MIL refused to invite a single friend of hers to our wedding that was a 5hr drive / 1 hr plane ride away when 2 years earlier she had invited at least 5 couples to my BIL's wedding that was in San Diego - a muuuuuch longer plane ride and much more expensive location. (we are in IL, she is in KY). I'm glad you are feeling better about everything, though! Try to just let those comments slide by and focus on the good parts!
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