Love FAQ

Love FAQ
If GLaDOS is Your Mother-In-Law, Maybe You Should Rethink the Wedding

Lara Crigger | 16 Sep 2011 16:00
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Dear Love FAQ,

I am on the brink of engagement with my long-distance boyfriend. However, I find his family unloving and unlovable. They make me feel awkward, loud, goofy, and pitiable.

His mother is the worst. My boyfriend tells me she comes from a long line of Southern ladies who grew up treating their mothers'-in-law with respect, and I will be expected to do the same. But I don't find her worthy of respect. She treats him like a child, and she keeps him under her thumb at age 22 with rules, anger, and belittlement.

He doesn't enjoy his family's company either; he has told me as much several times. Yet he just doesn't seem motivated to get out of it. He even went so far as to suggest we move in with them after we finish college and get married.

Please help me out here: Am I wrong to think he should put his foot down with his family and insist they treat him like an adult?

Sincerely,
Marrying the Companion Cube

Dear MtCC,

You're not wrong for wanting your boyfriend to show some spine. But you can't make him do it, either. She's his mother, and that means *he* needs to decide to put his foot down, not you by proxy. And for whatever reason, he has chosen not to do so. You can't change that. Only he can, and only if he wants.

Marriage is a package deal. You don't just get a husband; you also gain a mother, a father, siblings; maybe some cats, or a crazy Bavarian uncle, or a goldfish named Dogmeat that knows how to play fetch. In short, you gain a family. So you better be damn sure it's one you want to be part of.
You may hate your boyfriend's relatives, but that's the stock he came from, and while exceptions to the rule always exist, the truth is the Korok rarely falls far from the Deku Tree.

So keep that in mind before you leap headfirst into marriage. Chances are, he's more like his family than you yet know-not unlikely, considering you two are still long-distance.

Yes, his mom sounds like a bit of a pill, but you're not the first woman to clash with her future mother-in-law, and you certainly won't be the last. And that fact doesn't excuse you from culpability in this continuing standoff.

Whether you like this woman or not is irrelevant. As the mother of your future husband, she deserves your respect. So put your big girl pants on, and treat her with class and civility, no matter how rude she is to you. If nothing else, you might discover that when you give respect, respect is returned in kind.

Besides, no woman ever gained brownie points with a man by insulting his mother.

Overall, from what you've written, I worry that neither you nor your boyfriend are ready yet for marriage. You might love each other, but a lifelong commitment needs more than love to thrive: It also requires maturity, determination, and the ability to stand together on problems just like this one.

Holding off on your engagement for awhile wouldn't hurt. Resolve your issues with Mommy Dearest and finish school first, then see where the two of you are in a few years. If he's the right guy, then you'll both be glad you worked this stuff out before getting married-because it only gets harder from here on.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor - just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don't take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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