Wedding Woes

The dog fight

Dear Prudence,

My mother is retired and found a purpose in fostering rescue dogs. Unfortunately, my fiancée and her young daughter are both profoundly allergic. My mother gets offended because she can’t bring her “puppers” over to visit me and we will not come over and stay with her. Last Christmas we had to drive 200 miles to stay in an uncomfortable motel room and go out to an expensive restaurant so we could see her. My mother complains she doesn’t see me and calls my fiancée a “dog hater.” This is fraying my relationship with my mother. She is irrational about these dogs: They are pets, not people, and certainly not as important as her soon-to-be grandchild! My mother refuses to get a dog-sitter and thinks my fiancée and her daughter should just take some allergy pills. This situation is only going to get worse when I marry my wife and adopt this little girl. How do I get through to her?

—Canine Complications

Re: The dog fight

  • You both need to compromise here; mom has to understand that other people will not love/tolerate the dogs like she does and can't expect other people to welcome dogs into their home. She needs to find someone to watch them when she visits. 

    But you have to be reasonable to; if you physically can't stay in her house when you visit then you need to suck it up and stay at a hotel. It isn't fair to expect your mom to kick out the dogs when you come to visit. Unless it's a deadly allergy, take some Claritin and visit. Ask mom to vacuum/clean before you come over. Be polite. 

    So, yeah, everyone is being unreasonable and needs to grow up. 
    kimmiinthemitten
  • nicolegs17nicolegs17 YoMamaHouse
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
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    Unless it's a deadly allergy, take some Claritin and visit. Ask mom to vacuum/clean before you come over. Be polite.

    I agreed with you until I got here.  These people are PROFOUNDLY allergic.  No.  I cannot imagine walking into a house full of my most irritating allergen and then being told, "It's ok, I vacuumed!"  No.  My health is more important than that. 

    IF they want to visit (sounds like they don't), they should stay in the hotel, go to the dinner out, and then get back on the road for home.  If she doesn't want to visit, she's making the choice for all of them that the dogs are more important.  And that's okay, but they also have to know that relationship is conditioned upon her fostering activities.  In which case, I'd lower all my future expectations and move on with my new family.
  • Unless it's a deadly allergy, take some Claritin and visit. Ask mom to vacuum/clean before you come over. Be polite.

    I agreed with you until I got here.  These people are PROFOUNDLY allergic.  No.  I cannot imagine walking into a house full of my most irritating allergen and then being told, "It's ok, I vacuumed!"  No.  My health is more important than that. 

    IF they want to visit (sounds like they don't), they should stay in the hotel, go to the dinner out, and then get back on the road for home.  If she doesn't want to visit, she's making the choice for all of them that the dogs are more important.  And that's okay, but they also have to know that relationship is conditioned upon her fostering activities.  In which case, I'd lower all my future expectations and move on with my new family.
    Totally not saying that their health isn't important, but unless they can't go into the house, I do think some compromise is needed on both sides. Provided they both actually want to see each other. If they don't, that's fine. 

    I think both sides are being ridiculous. Dog sitters are perfectly safe and can care for the dogs, so the mother should do that are visit her son. But the LW has to understand these dogs are important to the mother, too. Maybe dinner and a hotel are the perfect arrangement, but if they can't go into the house, then what other option do they have when they visit? 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    I think LW needs to have a CTJ talk with his mom about these dogs.  Mom is allowed to have any attachment she wants to the dogs, but she needs to stop with the snide comments about "dog haters" and LW not seeing her.  Mom needs to realize that the allergy is serious and it cannot be taken lightly.  Mom also needs to realize they will be a packaged deal.

    But LW also needs to do what is needed to keep the relationship alive (if this is what he wants).  If that means driving to Mom for dinner and either coming right home or going to a hotel for the night, that is the length that LW needs to go to.

    I also hope that LW isn't setting himself up for disappointment.  He mentioned about how the daughter will be mom's future granddaughter.  If she is already not happy making accommodations for their visits/her visits to them, LW needs to be prepared for mom to not accept the little girl as a granddaughter or even resent her because she is the reason the dogs cannot come with her.  I hope that is not the case, but I don't get the feeling that mom is loving towards either LW's FI or the daughter.

    mrsconn23short+sassy
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    I am living this right now. I'm VERY allergic to cats, and my parents keep adopting cats. It's really not as simple as just popping an allergy pill. My allergy is severe enough that a pill does not work. It MAY help a little with sneezing, but it does not stop my entire face from swelling. My parents keep a very clean house, and there are no carpets. When I went to their house after my grandma passed (I hadn't been there in 3 years because of the cat), I took a pill before I even went inside. And within 2 hours, my face was puffing up. 

    So, once again, I will not be returning to my parents house, and honestly, I have a lot of anger towards them for this. They've known I've been allergic to cats since I was 19. 

    charlotte989875eileenrobahoywedding
  • I think LW needs to have a CTJ talk with his mom about these dogs.  Mom is allowed to have any attachment she wants to the dogs, but she needs to stop with the snide comments about "dog haters" and LW not seeing her.  Mom needs to realize that the allergy is serious and it cannot be taken lightly.  Mom also needs to realize they will be a packaged deal.

    But LW also needs to do what is needed to keep the relationship alive (if this is what he wants).  If that means driving to Mom for dinner and either coming right home or going to a hotel for the night, that is the length that LW needs to go to.

    I also hope that LW isn't setting himself up for disappointment.  He mentioned about how the daughter will be mom's future granddaughter.  If she is already not happy making accommodations for their visits/her visits to them, LW needs to be prepared for mom to not accept the little girl as a granddaughter or even resent her because she is the reason the dogs cannot come with her.  I hope that is not the case, but I don't get the feeling that mom is loving towards either LW's FI or the daughter.

    To me, this is the bigger problem.  Mom only sees her son as part of her family.  The g/f and her daughter are the "dog-hating obstacles" that keep her from seeing her son more often.

    However, I also agree with @charlotte989875 that he is being really petty about staying at a hotel and having to go out for "expensive" meals.  I assume, under normal circumstances, that they'd all be visiting each other roughly 50-50 anyway.  So, he and his family should go as often as they normally might and, if its fewer visits because mom refuses to visit them without her dogs, then its fewer visits.

    I don't know where mom lives, but he should also look at staying at an AirBnB/VRBO that will have a kitchen and maybe some nice backyard seating to have meals in.  Those are often both cheaper and nicer than a standard hotel room. 

    Sure, it might be great if allergy pills worked for both the g/f and daughter.  But, unless it's a pretty mild allergy anyway, I doubt they'll work.  I assume the g/f already knows if that would solve the problem or not and it wouldn't.

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    eileenrobShesSoColdcharlotte989875
  • I am living this right now. I'm VERY allergic to cats, and my parents keep adopting cats. It's really not as simple as just popping an allergy pill. My allergy is severe enough that a pill does not work. It MAY help a little with sneezing, but it does not stop my entire face from swelling. My parents keep a very clean house, and there are no carpets. When I went to their house after my grandma passed (I hadn't been there in 3 years because of the cat), I took a pill before I even went inside. And within 2 hours, my face was puffing up. 

    So, once again, I will not be returning to my parents house, and honestly, I have a lot of anger towards them for this. They've known I've been allergic to cats since I was 19. 
    I was probably being a little too flippant about taking the Claritin. My context is my more H who said he was "super allergic" to cats, who in reality doesn't like cats and does get sniffly/a little itchy, but is fine with allergy meds+ no cat on the furniture+running the Roomba. I get not all allergies are like this. 

    I do stand by the "everyone is being a bit ridiculous" and should compromise. 
    STARMOON44short+sassyeileenrob
  • I am living this right now. I'm VERY allergic to cats, and my parents keep adopting cats. It's really not as simple as just popping an allergy pill. My allergy is severe enough that a pill does not work. It MAY help a little with sneezing, but it does not stop my entire face from swelling. My parents keep a very clean house, and there are no carpets. When I went to their house after my grandma passed (I hadn't been there in 3 years because of the cat), I took a pill before I even went inside. And within 2 hours, my face was puffing up. 

    So, once again, I will not be returning to my parents house, and honestly, I have a lot of anger towards them for this. They've known I've been allergic to cats since I was 19. 
    I was probably being a little too flippant about taking the Claritin. My context is my more H who said he was "super allergic" to cats, who in reality doesn't like cats and does get sniffly/a little itchy, but is fine with allergy meds+ no cat on the furniture+running the Roomba. I get not all allergies are like this. 

    I do stand by the "everyone is being a bit ridiculous" and should compromise. 
    I think if they really can’t be around dogs, he should make some effort to occasionally visit his mom’s home alone. Pretty sad for her for him to be like oh well I’ll never visit you in your home again. 
    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I am living this right now. I'm VERY allergic to cats, and my parents keep adopting cats. It's really not as simple as just popping an allergy pill. My allergy is severe enough that a pill does not work. It MAY help a little with sneezing, but it does not stop my entire face from swelling. My parents keep a very clean house, and there are no carpets. When I went to their house after my grandma passed (I hadn't been there in 3 years because of the cat), I took a pill before I even went inside. And within 2 hours, my face was puffing up. 

    So, once again, I will not be returning to my parents house, and honestly, I have a lot of anger towards them for this. They've known I've been allergic to cats since I was 19. 
    I was probably being a little too flippant about taking the Claritin. My context is my more H who said he was "super allergic" to cats, who in reality doesn't like cats and does get sniffly/a little itchy, but is fine with allergy meds+ no cat on the furniture+running the Roomba. I get not all allergies are like this. 

    I do stand by the "everyone is being a bit ridiculous" and should compromise. 
    This is older FBIL. He is super dramatic and exaggerates about everything. Like, comically exaggerates. To the point where it's a family joke. He lived with FMIL/FFIL when they had two cats and two dogs and he was totally fine. I never once heard him sneeze. But when he comes over to our house now he makes a huge show of cringing whenever a cat approaches him. Meanwhile FI is actually allergic (despite loving and owning cats) and he is a sneezing, puffy mess most of the time. He also refuses to take anything for it.

    For a legitimate allergy though? I wouldn't expect someone to endure that. I have a bit of a problem coming up in August with having someone stop by to check on the kitties while we are on vacation. I have a good friend who lives close and who would be happy to do it, but she is super allergic to cats and I refuse to ask her because I know she'd say yes and then she would be miserable. 


    image
    charlotte989875
  • I think if they really can’t be around dogs, he should make some effort to occasionally visit his mom’s home alone. Pretty sad for her for him to be like oh well I’ll never visit you in your home again. 


    That would be a great compromise also.  I did the "math", lol.  If he lives 200 miles away from his mother, that's about a 6-7 hour round trip.  Doable for the occasional weekend.

    Though it also makes it that much sillier for me that the mom won't compromise at all and be away from the dogs for a few days.

    In addition, these are foster dogs.  I'm assuming the word "foster" implies that she is taking care of them in the short-term.  I don't mean that in any disparaging way toward the dogs nor am I trying to imply that foster parents don't become attached to the animals they take care of.  But that does make me find her attitude even odder, considering various dogs will be regularly coming in and out of her life as they hopefully each find a forever home. 

    I love my dog and cat as much as anyone.  My H and I are their forever home.  I miss them when I go on vacation, even if it is just a weekender.  But I have no inclination to halt my life over that.  Especially to put missing them above missing my family.

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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
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    I think if they really can’t be around dogs, he should make some effort to occasionally visit his mom’s home alone. Pretty sad for her for him to be like oh well I’ll never visit you in your home again. 


    That would be a great compromise also.  I did the "math", lol.  If he lives 200 miles away from his mother, that's about a 6-7 hour round trip.  Doable for the occasional weekend.

    Though it also makes it that much sillier for me that the mom won't compromise at all and be away from the dogs for a few days.

    In addition, these are foster dogs.  I'm assuming the word "foster" implies that she is taking care of them in the short-term.  I don't mean that in any disparaging way toward the dogs nor am I trying to imply that foster parents don't become attached to the animals they take care of.  But that does make me find her attitude even odder, considering various dogs will be regularly coming in and out of her life as they hopefully each find a forever home. 

    I love my dog and cat as much as anyone.  My H and I are their forever home.  I miss them when I go on vacation, even if it is just a weekender.  But I have no inclination to halt my life over that.  Especially to put missing them above missing my family.

    It could be less depending on the roads, H's mom is 400 miles away and we get there in about 6 hours.

    Also with fosters, she can choose to wait a bit before she gets another dog after the previous one(s) is adopted, ya know? Our aunt fosters and she takes a little time off here and there by not volunteering to take another pup for a while.

    I agree, though, that everyone here sounds pretty extreme and unwilling to compromise. I get the impression that LW doesn't think his mom should have dogs at all, which is a bit much. And Mom here seems extreme in that she things FI and SD should just deal with it. No.

    Oh, and if this woman doesn't see the fiancée's daughter as a grandkid now, she's not going to when they're married. Something else you'll have to learn to deal with, LW.

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    short+sassydowntondivacharlotte989875STARMOON44
  • I’m sorry that you’re having this trouble. I would just have it in your head that from now on you will have to stay with others or in a hotel when you visit and try not to let that upset you. Your visits will be less frequent, but you are marrying into a new family now and will need to compromise. Invite your mom to stay with the dogs either outside or give her a list of pet friendly hotels. It’s her decision so try and not let it get to you. Remember that you’re going to grow old with your future spouse and the child will decide what nursing home you go to so be kind to them and accommodating. Another option would be to visit mom by yourself. The visitor doesn’t pay for the meal unless they are staying in the home and it’s a thank you gesture... but that could just be my family. 
    OliveOilsMom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    A reasonable compromise would be if either the LW visits his mother on his own and washes up before going home, or if his mother leaves the dogs at home when visiting him.

    But if his FI and her daughter are so allergic to dogs that they can't be around them, then his mother needs to accept that and knock off the "hater" crap. She has to start accepting the three of them as a family unit and leaving her dogs at home if she wants to visit them. Her refusal to do so shows that she either doesn't understand or doesn't GAF about their needs. 
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