Moms and Maids

Mother In Law Woe's

My fiance and I got engaged back in September.  Just a few weeks after we were engaged, we arranged for his parents to come into town for the weekend and have a our parents meet for the first time.  The meeting did not go as well as I had hoped.  

My fiance's parents were completely absorbed in him.  How has he been?  What does he have planned for these week?  Could he follow them home at the end of the weekend and stay?  They sat at the opposite end of the table away from my parents, and hardly conversed with us them at all.  We (my parents and I) tried to engage in topics on the recent move of my future sister-in-law's family, who has moved to the east coast (we live in TX), and much they must miss their grandbaby.  We got a quick response, and then it went right back to focus on my fiance.  

I have tried to include my future mother in law in dress shopping and other activities, especially since she did not get to experience this with her only daughter, she had agreed, but then at the last minute she will decline.  

Just recently, my mother and friends schemed to have a surprise engagement party in our honor.  She was included in every aspect of planning, she was even part of the surprise.  She sat across from my family, but next to my fiance.  Again, she did not socialize.  Guests later asked if there was an issue between my mother in law and I since she did not socialize or make a speech with well wedding wishes.  

My mother, having the "hostess with the mostest" attitude, was offended by the lack of socializing and participation for our benefit.  She even asked me later that night, after the party was over, where I was sitting, which was right next to her son. 

I am concerned that this is going to continue to be something that will always plauge our marriage.  I feel like there is some sort of power struggle between my self and her over her son.   My fiance and I have had several chats about this, he has no idea what to do or  to say.  When confronted the last time, and asked she was upset with someone, she simply denied anything was wrong, but was distant for several months. 

Could anyone offer any advice to us on this? 

Re: Mother In Law Woe's

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_mother-in-law-whoas-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:50023367-7627-46c9-a930-9d4dd192c42dPost:4f0a0bc0-a414-4139-a926-b302dfaf5c72">Mother In Law Whoa's</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and I got engaged back in September.  Just a few weeks after we were engaged, we arranged for his parents to come into town for the weekend and have a our parents meet for the first time.  The meeting did not go as well as I had hoped.   My fiance's parents were completely absorbed in him.  How has he been?  What does he have planned for these week?  Could he follow them home at the end of the weekend and stay?  They sat at the opposite end of the table away from my parents, and hardly conversed with us them at all.  We (my parents and I) tried to engage in topics on the recent move of my future sister-in-law's family, who has moved to the east coast (we live in TX), and much they must miss their grandbaby.  We got a quick response, and then it went right back to focus on my fiance.   I have tried to include my future mother in law in dress shopping and other activities, especially since she did not get to experience this with her only daughter, she had agreed, but then at the last minute she will decline.   Just recently, my mother and friends schemed to have a surprise engagement party in our honor.  She was included in every aspect of planning, she was even part of the surprise.  She sat across from my family, but next to my fiance.  Again, she did not socialize.  Guests later asked if there was an issue between my mother in law and I since she did not socialize or make a speech with well wedding wishes.   My mother, having the "hostess with the mostest" attitude, was offended by the lack of socializing and participation for our benefit.  She even asked me later that night, after the party was over, where I was sitting, which was right next to her son.  I am concerned that this is going to continue to be something that will always plauge our marriage.  I feel like there is some sort of power struggle between my self and her over her son.   My fiance and I have had several chats about this, he has no idea what to do or  to say.  <strong>When confronted the last time, and asked she was upset with someone, she simply denied anything was wrong, but was distant for several months.</strong>  Could anyone offer any advice to us on this? 
    Posted by shiny25[/QUOTE]

    Who confronted her, you or your FI?

    And it's <strong>woes</strong>. Not whoa's.
  • So, without more, I don't see a power struggle here.  I'm not getting anything out of this other than that your FMIL is painfully introverted, feels uncomfortable in social situations, has trouble getting to know new people, and is the sort of socially awkward where, when placed in an unfamiliar situation, clings to the only familiar thing in the room (i.e. your FI).  As in, nothing but benign social awkwardness; nothing to do with you (or not liking you) at all.

    Any additional details that might refute this?  (For instance if she's the life of the party around everyone but you, that would be different.)
  • FI and FSL both talked to FML.  

    She has used the expression to others and to my FI that "He was mine first."  This is in regards to birthday and holiday plans, which the FML and FFL were included on.  

    We live a few hours apart, but my FI does not like to go home and visit.  
  • FI and FSL both talked to FML.  
  • It's hard to tell what might be going on here, but I wonder if she's not a little sad about this life-stage change her son is now going through.  She's being supplanted (ltheorectically) by another woman as the most important lady in his life.  He's already shifted away from her - you mention he doesn't go home a lot.  Even if you have been together for a while, your wedding makes it real that he's not her little boy anymore.

    I also wonder if there isn't some disappointed from not having participated, or been asked to participate, in some of these moments when her daughter got married.  It seems like she's trying to be involved and a good sport overcome by shyness, sadness, something.  I'd suggest you have your FI talk to her, in person, and make sure she's doing okay.  She might just need a reminder that although you and he are affirming your own family, she has a role to play in his life and in your new family life. 
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Your FMIL may be shy, introverted or stand-offish. She may enjoy people watching at social events, rather than active participation. I don't understand why the 'hostess with the mostest' isn't familiar with many different personality types or why she would take offense that your FMIL is quiet.

    Your FMIL is most likely sad that her daughter and granddaughter have moved far away. Some of us like to talk about our sadness, others (like me) prefer to think things through, quietly, and don't like to be pressured into talking about our feelings. It was nice of you to be concerned, though.

    Mother's Day is a few months away. In your card for FMIL include a note about how you appreciate the fine son she has brought up. Mention something that you admire about her. It may sound silly, but I wrote such a note to my MIL many, many years ago. Like you, I felt that my MIL was trying to compete with me and didn't like me much. I found that letter in a keepsake box, in her dresser, after she had been moved into a nursing home. She never mentioned the letter to me or thanked me for it, but judging from the treasured photos that she kept in that box, I know it meant a lot to her.


                       
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