Not Engaged Yet

Mom and BF Relationship

TL:DR at bottom

I'm very close with my mom, and I always have been.

I am 26; I still live at home, though I pay rent to my parents and cover all of my own expenses. Because of my relationship with my father, I did not date (not trusting myself not to complete the cycle). I think my mom and younger brother (21) genuinely believed I would stay single and close by forever. Now, that's not the case, and if everything goes as planned, I'll be married this year.

My mom and little brother were both excited for me when I started dating, however as things became more serious, and we became exclusive, they had a different opinion. My mom doesn't like bf because she says he's too shy and hard to get to know, and my little brother says we moved too fast.

Obviously, the most important thing is that my relationship with my bf is healthy and happy, and my family needs to accept that I'm an adult and happy moving forward in my life. I get that. But I still wish they were nicer to him. They're never outright rude, but little bro will ignore things bf says, not greet him, etc.

My mom is standoffish and closed off towards him, and she gets depressed when I talk about the future. She doesn't want to dance with him at the wedding, and when I mentioned that he's considering e-ring designing with my mom so he chooses something I'll like and it'll still be a surprise, she was uncomfortable with that and how "awkward" it would be to spend time with him.

He is shy, but he came to my mom's birthday celebration, has met all of my family, went to 2/3 of our family Christmas celebrations, has come to the house for game nights, etc. He's made every effort to socialize and get to know my family. Nothing is ever enough. I should have expected this, because my mom was not welcoming of my SIL when she first came around either, but I always figured it was due to some of SIL's controlling tendencies, out of control spending, and some rude actions etc. Now that my SIL has given my mom her first grandchild, she's in the clear with my mom.

I've tried talking to my mom about this, but she acts like it's entirely his fault for being shy and gets defensive about it. She's even had some meltdowns with my aunt, and it's clear that she talks bad about my bf to my aunt and who knows who else in the family.

TL:DR I really want my FH to have a good relationship with my mom. But she's depressed that I'm getting married, and thinks that his family "will steal me and any future grandchildren away." How do I encourage their relationship or help my mom be okay with this?

[(Disclaimer - I was saving to buy a house end of 2016, rather than putting money in moving into an apartment with higher rent, but my bf told me not to buy a house because he wants to get married and he already has a house. Later on we discussed timelines, etc. I have never had any intention of living at home forever.)] 

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Re: Mom and BF Relationship

  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited January 13

    TL:DR at bottom

    I'm very close with my mom, and I always have been.

    I am 26; I still live at home, though I pay rent to my parents and cover all of my own expenses. Because of my relationship with my father, I did not date (not trusting myself not to complete the cycle). I think my mom and younger brother (21) genuinely believed I would stay single and close by forever. Now, that's not the case, and if everything goes as planned, I'll be married this year.

    My mom and little brother were both excited for me when I started dating, however as things became more serious, and we became exclusive, they had a different opinion. My mom doesn't like bf because she says he's too shy and hard to get to know, and my little brother says we moved too fast.

    Obviously, the most important thing is that my relationship with my bf is healthy and happy, and my family needs to accept that I'm an adult and happy moving forward in my life. I get that. But I still wish they were nicer to him. They're never outright rude, but little bro will ignore things bf says, not greet him, etc.

    My mom is standoffish and closed off towards him, and she gets depressed when I talk about the future. She doesn't want to dance with him at the wedding, and when I mentioned that he's considering e-ring designing with my mom so he chooses something I'll like and it'll still be a surprise, she was uncomfortable with that and how "awkward" it would be to spend time with him.

    He is shy, but he came to my mom's birthday celebration, has met all of my family, went to 2/3 of our family Christmas celebrations, has come to the house for game nights, etc. He's made every effort to socialize and get to know my family. Nothing is ever enough. I should have expected this, because my mom was not welcoming of my SIL when she first came around either, but I always figured it was due to some of SIL's controlling tendencies, out of control spending, and some rude actions etc. Now that my SIL has given my mom her first grandchild, she's in the clear with my mom.

    I've tried talking to my mom about this, but she acts like it's entirely his fault for being shy and gets defensive about it. She's even had some meltdowns with my aunt, and it's clear that she talks bad about my bf to my aunt and who knows who else in the family.

    TL:DR I really want my FH to have a good relationship with my mom. But she's depressed that I'm getting married, and thinks that his family "will steal me and any future grandchildren away." How do I encourage their relationship or help my mom be okay with this?

    [(Disclaimer - I was saving to buy a house end of 2016, rather than putting money in moving into an apartment with higher rent, but my bf told me not to buy a house because he wants to get married and he already has a house. Later on we discussed timelines, etc. I have never had any intention of living at home forever.)] 

    So this is 2 things, but at the root of it all, you are doing nothing wrong. Your mum seems like she is immaturely lashing out. You can't make her happy or make her like your fi. Stop trying to force it and reframe your approach to her. 

    Next time she kicks off saying bad things about your fi just say 'Mum, I won't tolerate you saying bad things about John. He has been nothing but polite and nice to you. If you continue this I will leave/hang up' 
    then end the conversation and leave if she does. She will quickly learn to shut it. 

    As for the depression, you cant be responsible for your mother's mental health. If she is depressed you can encourage therapy and speaking to her GP. Maybe even go to a few sessions with her. But she is being emotionally manipulative by constantly demanding reassurance from you. That's not your job. When she moans about you being stolen away say 'Mum, nothing in my behaviour should lead you to think I will ignore you after my wedding. No one 'owns' me therefore no one can 'steal' me. Of course our relationship is going to evolve after I move out and get married. But no one is going to be abandoned. I encourage you to speak to a professional about these anxieties. I would be happy to go with you.' You can't make her see or be ok with this if she doesn't want to and you can't take on the burden of being responsible for her happiness. 
    KnotYetTiedSP29OliveOilsMom
  • Shyness is a harmless personality trait. They don't have to like it, but they DO have to respect it. Your brother needs to grow the fuck up and be a polite human being. That means greeting people when it's appropriate and not purposely ignoring things people say. 

    But a few things:

    - she doesn't need to dance with him at the wedding (and you aren't even engaged so keep wedding talk to a minimum)
    - she doesn't need to help him design a ring. if she thinks it'll be awkward, she's going to make it awkward and it won't be fun for anyone.

    You can't control how your mom responds to stuff. And don't let her make you feel bad about living your life. Getting married and moving away from your folks is pretty damn normal, so she needs to control herself and get used to it.
    *********************************************************************************

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    cowgirl8238SP29kimmiinthemittenOliveOilsMom
  • I agree with both of the PPs above.  All I can add is that I'm sorry that your mom and brother are being difficult.  From what you have shared I don't see anything that you are "doing anything wrong".  I would adjust your expectations now on any future relationship between your mom and your BF, it is unlikely that a wedding will change this and it will only cause you more stress and grief if you try to force them together.  It may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a counselor for ways of dealing with your family as I doubt this will magically get better.
  • KnotYetTiedKnotYetTied
    10 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited January 13
    I agree with both of the PPs above.  All I can add is that I'm sorry that your mom and brother are being difficult.  From what you have shared I don't see anything that you are "doing anything wrong".  I would adjust your expectations now on any future relationship between your mom and your BF, it is unlikely that a wedding will change this and it will only cause you more stress and grief if you try to force them together.  It may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a counselor for ways of dealing with your family as I doubt this will magically get better.

    Thank you, I appreciate that.

    My family would never go for counseling. I wanted us to get family counseling because of my dad, but my family is completely against counseling of any kind. They look down on it, which is ridiculous.

    What's crazy about it, is that I know a wedding won't change this, but it seems like having kids would (I'm not saying that's my plan; we're waiting a few more years before children). That's what it took for my mom to have a better relationship with my SIL. I almost think my mom is trying to replace her grown children with grandchildren.

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I agree with both of the PPs above.  All I can add is that I'm sorry that your mom and brother are being difficult.  From what you have shared I don't see anything that you are "doing anything wrong".  I would adjust your expectations now on any future relationship between your mom and your BF, it is unlikely that a wedding will change this and it will only cause you more stress and grief if you try to force them together.  It may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a counselor for ways of dealing with your family as I doubt this will magically get better.

    Thank you, I appreciate that.

    My family would never go for counseling. I wanted us to get family counseling because of my dad, but my family is completely against counseling of any kind. They look down on it, which is ridiculous.

    What's crazy about it, is that I know a wedding won't change this, but it seems like having kids would (I'm not saying that's my plan; we're waiting a few more years before children). That's what it took for my mom to have a better relationship with my SIL. I almost think my mom is trying to replace her grown children with grandchildren.

    Then set and maintain appropriate boundaries: "Mom/Bro, John has been nice and polite to you and you owe him the same courtesy, whether you like him or not. But any more complaining about 'losing' me is going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don't knock it off. I refuse to listen to any more complaints from you or to take any responsibility for your mental and/or emotional state."
    SP29kimmiinthemittencowgirl8238OliveOilsMom
  • @Knotyettied

    This reminds me a lot of my relationship with my Future Future SIL (also not engaged but talking marriage seriously with my man. Over the holidays he told his family he plans to propose this year) but on the other foot. It's been stressing me out a lot lately and I was actually thinking about starting a thread about it, but I kind of know the answer. She claims to "like" me and honestly we get along just fine one on one. She's close in age to us (he's 30, she's 28, and I'm 26) and was always extremely close to her brother and his friends. She's really struggling with the idea that her brother has a partner now who comes first and who he has to compromise with and plans with (we don't live close to her so we arrange some trips and things together). Sometimes she lashes out at him and has recently started lashing out at me, which really sucks. He just told her "If you're going to be rude to my girlfriend and guilt us into spending time with you, we're not going to want to". She got really angry at that but I was proud he said something. Still, I'm not really expecting anything to change here except with time. She will get used to the change, it's just a part of growing up. I'm already making peace with the idea that when we get engaged she won't have the reaction I would hope for. I think acknowledging this possibility in advance will help it sting a lot less when it happens (idk - I'll let you know I guess!). I think the important thing here is that you can't force your parents or sibling to like your BF, but you can make it clear to them that you will not tolerate them disrespecting him. That's how you be a good partner. I also think sometimes you have to let go of visions of things. I don't have any sisters, so would I love to have some magical relationship with my FSIL and be basically family? sure. Would your BF love to design the ring with your mom in some kind of bonding moment? sure. But the sooner you start accepting that these things aren't always perfect and weddings don't turn everything into a kodak moment, the happier you'll be.
    SP29kimmiinthemitten
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited January 15

    My family would never go for counseling. I wanted us to get family counseling because of my dad, but my family is completely against counseling of any kind. They look down on it, which is ridiculous.

    What's crazy about it, is that I know a wedding won't change this, but it seems like having kids would (I'm not saying that's my plan; we're waiting a few more years before children). That's what it took for my mom to have a better relationship with my SIL. I almost think my mom is trying to replace her grown children with grandchildren.

    The highlighted potion of this quote says it all.  Your family has problems, and they refuse to do anything to make them better.  Gracious, if they went to counseling, they might actually have to CHANGE!

    I suggest that YOU get counseling.  Find out why you think your family's attitude is acceptable.  Then learn how to distance yourself from them.

    You cannot control other people.  You cannot make people like your boyfriend.  Or is he your fiance?

    My in-laws were not pleased when their son married me.  They thought I was after family money. (Wrong.)  They thought I would make their son unhappy.  (Wrong.)  We moved 1100 miles away from them, and we have been happily married for 40 years.

    I knew that I could not win them over, so I didn't try.  I just treated them with politeness and respect.  If they ever stepped out of line in my presence, I quickly left, and their son left with me.  They learned that if they wanted to see their son and his family (two grandchildren), they needed to behave.  My MIL finally forgave me for becoming her daughter-in-law.  She adored our daughter.  It worked out.

    I should add that my own family was equally dysfunctional, so I had good training for dealing with the in-laws.  You cannot control people.  Please consider counseling on your own.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    SP29cowgirl8238
  • @Knotyettied

    This reminds me a lot of my relationship with my Future Future SIL (also not engaged but talking marriage seriously with my man. Over the holidays he told his family he plans to propose this year) but on the other foot. It's been stressing me out a lot lately and I was actually thinking about starting a thread about it, but I kind of know the answer. She claims to "like" me and honestly we get along just fine one on one. She's close in age to us (he's 30, she's 28, and I'm 26) and was always extremely close to her brother and his friends. She's really struggling with the idea that her brother has a partner now who comes first and who he has to compromise with and plans with (we don't live close to her so we arrange some trips and things together). Sometimes she lashes out at him and has recently started lashing out at me, which really sucks. He just told her "If you're going to be rude to my girlfriend and guilt us into spending time with you, we're not going to want to". She got really angry at that but I was proud he said something. Still, I'm not really expecting anything to change here except with time. She will get used to the change, it's just a part of growing up. I'm already making peace with the idea that when we get engaged she won't have the reaction I would hope for. I think acknowledging this possibility in advance will help it sting a lot less when it happens (idk - I'll let you know I guess!). I think the important thing here is that you can't force your parents or sibling to like your BF, but you can make it clear to them that you will not tolerate them disrespecting him. That's how you be a good partner. I also think sometimes you have to let go of visions of things. I don't have any sisters, so would I love to have some magical relationship with my FSIL and be basically family? sure. Would your BF love to design the ring with your mom in some kind of bonding moment? sure. But the sooner you start accepting that these things aren't always perfect and weddings don't turn everything into a kodak moment, the happier you'll be.
    Thank you! I'm so glad someone else is in the same situation and understands where I'm coming from. Today is another example. I don't get to see bf near as often as I'd like with our current work schedules and him working 3 hours away during the week and some weekends (and we never really know what weekends - it's a total crapshoot). Some of my family came in today for my grandfather's surprise birthday party tomorrow. Bf managed to get off this weekend and came home last night. So, bf and I planned to get lunch with my family and then go out an 1 hour away to spend time with his family, who he hasn't seen in weeks. We're both going to the party tomorrow.

    Long story short, my family guilt tripped me into spending the day separate from him, and now I've had a boring, miserable day while they take turns holding my niece. It sucks! They consider me rude, and say I'm always "choosing his family" over mine. None of them are willing to realize or acknowledge the difficulty in a LDR. I have to take whatever time with him I can get. I'm so irritated right now!
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  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited January 15
    OP, you do realize that after you are engaged to each other, you must be invited together to any parties or events?  If he has asked you to marry him, then you are engaged.  You don't need an engagement ring to prove it. 
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    SP29
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    @Knotyettied

    This reminds me a lot of my relationship with my Future Future SIL (also not engaged but talking marriage seriously with my man. Over the holidays he told his family he plans to propose this year) but on the other foot. It's been stressing me out a lot lately and I was actually thinking about starting a thread about it, but I kind of know the answer. She claims to "like" me and honestly we get along just fine one on one. She's close in age to us (he's 30, she's 28, and I'm 26) and was always extremely close to her brother and his friends. She's really struggling with the idea that her brother has a partner now who comes first and who he has to compromise with and plans with (we don't live close to her so we arrange some trips and things together). Sometimes she lashes out at him and has recently started lashing out at me, which really sucks. He just told her "If you're going to be rude to my girlfriend and guilt us into spending time with you, we're not going to want to". She got really angry at that but I was proud he said something. Still, I'm not really expecting anything to change here except with time. She will get used to the change, it's just a part of growing up. I'm already making peace with the idea that when we get engaged she won't have the reaction I would hope for. I think acknowledging this possibility in advance will help it sting a lot less when it happens (idk - I'll let you know I guess!). I think the important thing here is that you can't force your parents or sibling to like your BF, but you can make it clear to them that you will not tolerate them disrespecting him. That's how you be a good partner. I also think sometimes you have to let go of visions of things. I don't have any sisters, so would I love to have some magical relationship with my FSIL and be basically family? sure. Would your BF love to design the ring with your mom in some kind of bonding moment? sure. But the sooner you start accepting that these things aren't always perfect and weddings don't turn everything into a kodak moment, the happier you'll be.
    Thank you! I'm so glad someone else is in the same situation and understands where I'm coming from. Today is another example. I don't get to see bf near as often as I'd like with our current work schedules and him working 3 hours away during the week and some weekends (and we never really know what weekends - it's a total crapshoot). Some of my family came in today for my grandfather's surprise birthday party tomorrow. Bf managed to get off this weekend and came home last night. So, bf and I planned to get lunch with my family and then go out an 1 hour away to spend time with his family, who he hasn't seen in weeks. We're both going to the party tomorrow.

    Long story short, my family guilt tripped me into spending the day separate from him, and now I've had a boring, miserable day while they take turns holding my niece. It sucks! They consider me rude, and say I'm always "choosing his family" over mine. None of them are willing to realize or acknowledge the difficulty in a LDR. I have to take whatever time with him I can get. I'm so irritated right now!
    Except this is your own making. They can't force you to spend the day apart. You CHOSE to let them manipulate you. You could have said no.

    You need to make healthy boundaries. They are doing this to you because they know it works. 

    'Sorry, mum, I have plans today. But I'll see you at the party tomorrow' and zone it out. 

    You up need to start prioritising your fi, bc if my fi did this to me (complained I didn't see him, so I worked my schedule around, and then he ditched me for his family), I would be reevaluating. 

    Stop CHOOSING to let this happen. 


    SP29charlotte989875STARMOON44kimmiinthemitten
  • My H is an introvert, while my entire family are extroverts. At first my mother wasn't super warm to H, she felt like she "didn't know him" and wasn't the nicest about it. I ignored, he spent time with my family, and eventually he was more comfortable with them and they got to know him. 

    But I do believe one of the worst things I could have done was pushed it; trying to force them to spend time together, hang out one on one (especially for something as big as ring shopping), or trying create a relationship without letting it happen naturally is probably going to backfire and make things work. Give it time. 

    However, if she is directly saying things that are insulting or out of line, establish boundaries and follow through, but otherwise slow down a bit. 
    SP29OliveOilsMom
  • I agree with both of the PPs above.  All I can add is that I'm sorry that your mom and brother are being difficult.  From what you have shared I don't see anything that you are "doing anything wrong".  I would adjust your expectations now on any future relationship between your mom and your BF, it is unlikely that a wedding will change this and it will only cause you more stress and grief if you try to force them together.  It may be beneficial to seek the guidance of a counselor for ways of dealing with your family as I doubt this will magically get better.

    Thank you, I appreciate that.

    My family would never go for counseling. I wanted us to get family counseling because of my dad, but my family is completely against counseling of any kind. They look down on it, which is ridiculous.

    What's crazy about it, is that I know a wedding won't change this, but it seems like having kids would (I'm not saying that's my plan; we're waiting a few more years before children). That's what it took for my mom to have a better relationship with my SIL. I almost think my mom is trying to replace her grown children with grandchildren.

    There is nothing wrong with seeking the outside opinion of a professional counselor.  My family also "looks down upon" counseling...but that didn't stop me from seeking help.  I was suggesting that YOU go to a counselor.  You don't have to tell them if you don't want to...but I think it would be a good experience for you.  The counselor will be able to assist you in finding healthy ways to set boundaries and help you with how to navigate their behavior. 

    @Knotyettied

    This reminds me a lot of my relationship with my Future Future SIL (also not engaged but talking marriage seriously with my man. Over the holidays he told his family he plans to propose this year) but on the other foot. It's been stressing me out a lot lately and I was actually thinking about starting a thread about it, but I kind of know the answer. She claims to "like" me and honestly we get along just fine one on one. She's close in age to us (he's 30, she's 28, and I'm 26) and was always extremely close to her brother and his friends. She's really struggling with the idea that her brother has a partner now who comes first and who he has to compromise with and plans with (we don't live close to her so we arrange some trips and things together). Sometimes she lashes out at him and has recently started lashing out at me, which really sucks. He just told her "If you're going to be rude to my girlfriend and guilt us into spending time with you, we're not going to want to". She got really angry at that but I was proud he said something. Still, I'm not really expecting anything to change here except with time. She will get used to the change, it's just a part of growing up. I'm already making peace with the idea that when we get engaged she won't have the reaction I would hope for. I think acknowledging this possibility in advance will help it sting a lot less when it happens (idk - I'll let you know I guess!). I think the important thing here is that you can't force your parents or sibling to like your BF, but you can make it clear to them that you will not tolerate them disrespecting him. That's how you be a good partner. I also think sometimes you have to let go of visions of things. I don't have any sisters, so would I love to have some magical relationship with my FSIL and be basically family? sure. Would your BF love to design the ring with your mom in some kind of bonding moment? sure. But the sooner you start accepting that these things aren't always perfect and weddings don't turn everything into a kodak moment, the happier you'll be.
    Thank you! I'm so glad someone else is in the same situation and understands where I'm coming from. Today is another example. I don't get to see bf near as often as I'd like with our current work schedules and him working 3 hours away during the week and some weekends (and we never really know what weekends - it's a total crapshoot). Some of my family came in today for my grandfather's surprise birthday party tomorrow. Bf managed to get off this weekend and came home last night. So, bf and I planned to get lunch with my family and then go out an 1 hour away to spend time with his family, who he hasn't seen in weeks. We're both going to the party tomorrow.

    Long story short, my family guilt tripped me into spending the day separate from him, and now I've had a boring, miserable day while they take turns holding my niece. It sucks! They consider me rude, and say I'm always "choosing his family" over mine. None of them are willing to realize or acknowledge the difficulty in a LDR. I have to take whatever time with him I can get. I'm so irritated right now!

    Again, this is where some guidance may be helpful.  It sounds like you have some boundary/"lack of backbone" issues.  Seeking some help with this is not being weak, it is being strong.  It is learning how to empower yourself and how to better deal with these situations.  These things will not go away by ignoring them, and having kids in the future may only make the behavior worse.  Your parents may start saying things like, "you never let us see the grandkids" or "Why do your ILs get to spend so much time with them and we don't."  Obviously I can't force you to do something that you don't want to do, but I would at least consider it.
    SP29OliveOilsMom
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    As a PP said, I think counseling would be beneficial to you.  You should go to help you put up some healthy boundaries with your family. 

    While I'm not advocating doing this if you both are not ready, but can you move out of your parents house?  I think that would be a huge first step for you in terms of setting boundaries.  Can you move into your FI's house?

    Healthy boundaries would have been very beneficial to you in saying no to your family in hanging out with them recently, when you initially had plans with your FI's family.  What happens when you ARE married and you want to spend time with your ILs?  What about holidays?  Your parents can't honestly expect you to spend every hour of every holiday with only your side.  That isn't fair to your FI and his family. 

    SP29cowgirl8238
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