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Beginner May 2023

Having a hard time forgiving/warming up to future mother-in-law

Starla, on April 3, 2021 at 4:08 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 39
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My fiance and I have dated 4 years. For various reasons, due to work schedules or school, etc, I never spent a holiday with his family till Thanksgiving 2009. I had met his family twice before. I was very nervous, because his family leaves across the country from mine and I had never spent a holiday without them.

So, my fiance and I arrive the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's just me, his parents-his grandparents will be coming over-his one sister lives in Canada and his other sister will be with her in-laws for the holiday. Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, I come downstairs, looking for someone to tell me where the toilet paper is, because the bathroom my fiance and I had been using is out.

I hear voices, so I head towards the kitchen-the door is closed and I start to head in when I hear my name and stop. My fiance is basically telling his mom that I am really nervous because this is the first time away from my family and that it would be really nice if in a welcoming gesture, his mom could make bread pudding for dessert, which a staple at my family's Thanksgiving dinners.

His mom raises her voice and says, "NO. This is MY family, not hers and if she wants bread pudding, she can go back home and have it there. We have always had pumpkin pie for dessert. Always."

His mom goes onto say that I sound spoiled to her and that when she visited her inlaws, she didn't ask that things be changed and that her husband didn't ask for accomodations, either.

My fiance asked again and again his mother said no and she didn't want to hear anymore. I went back upstairs and cried. It wasn't that she didn't want to make the bread pudding, I get that. It was just the outright anger in her voice and the hatefulness in her tone. She didn't want me there at all.

I was polite, got through through dinner and was the perfect guest until we left Friday morning. I told my fiance when we got back home that I heard what his mother said, that I was hurt. He was upset that I heard and that his mother isn't good with change and that she is very territorial, that she isn't one to take to people easily and that she is a bit possessive as he is the only boy and the baby.

I have not reached out to his mom or really talked to her since that happened, which is easy, because covid has thrown things off kilter. My fiance proposed on Vday, and now his mother wants to help plan. My attitude is hell no and that is also my family's attitude, as I told them what she said and they are not keen on her.

So, what I do? I already know we are marrying in my hometown, at my family's church and my mom is actually a wedding planner, so she knows tons of vendors, etc, And his family lives across the country from mine and they can't really help much due to distance.


39 Comments

Latest activity by Maggie, on April 5, 2021 at 1:25 PM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    Based on the first impression which you cannot do over, follow your gut because it will never steer you wrong. Cut off all ties with mother in law because she has made it crystal clear you don't fit in to her idea of family. Get full support from fiance and do not allow her to plan your wedding. She will take it on herself to control every other major decision in your lives: where you live, where you work, where you spend holidays, how your children are raised. Maintain boundaries as a team and nip that in the bud right now.

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  • Samantha
    Rockstar October 2022
    Samantha ·
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    I wouldn’t let her help plan. Nothing to do with the insulting remarks at all. That is a separate issue.
    You fh said she is territorial, you know she lashes out verbally, and you and your mom have it well in hand. And that is all you need to say - we have it handled.
    In your situation, I would always be cautious with her. It’s not about forgiveness, but her character. She’s mean. I don’t open myself up to mean people.
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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    Yeah. I am thinking about what happens when we have kids, going forward. I know that my dad's mom was not the best person to my mom or to her own kids sometimes, but she was an excellent grandmother. I was closer to my mom's mom but my dad's mom was a loving, important person in my life.

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  • B
    Super July 2017
    Becky ·
    • Flag

    Does your future mother in law even know that you overheard this?

    I'm not excusing lashing out or possessiveness (or even standoffishness) - however, from her perspective - your FH went to her *the night before* a MAJOR holiday and asked her to change the menu. Even if she had been willing to accomodate, it would have looked to her like you were being judgy before you even tried her food. I know that this is not your fault. On the other hand she may have thought you were asking for the change rather than him asking for something on your behalf. (Obviously not the case, but she may have seen it that way.) Additionally, she may not have had the items on hand for bread pudding (I don't) and would have had to go to the grocery on Thanksgiving.

    To your question: I wouldn't let her help a lot, but maybe give her something small she can help you with? My MIL helped very little with the planing, also because my in-laws were far away from the wedding.

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  • JM Sunshine
    August 2020
    JM Sunshine ·
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    I was thinking the same exact thing about being asked to add/change menu night before Thanksgiving. I'm always having to host it, and if anyone else here has had to do all the planning cooking (no matter how big/small family is), they know it's stressful. That was sweet of your fiance to think of a way to honor your tradition, but bringing it up night before was not okay. Otherwise, if it was important, you both could have got the ingredients yourself and made it for the family as an addition to the already carefully planned out menu. Did you try to offer to help with the meal preparation--peeling potatoes, etc,?


    I understand your feelings are hurt with the tone of her voice, but it won't help if you alienate her further and it will put your fiance between a rock and a hard place.
    Traditionally, the groom's family hosts the Rehearsal Dinner. Could you allow her to do that as a way to be involved?
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  • Katie
    Rockstar August 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    Hi Starla, I’m sorry you overheard that. I do agree with Becky, she likely had her menu planned and ingredients purchased weeks in advance. I put myself in her shoes and Thanksgiving is no easy feat and he may have caught her at a stressful moment. I would include her with something small that is easy from far away. What I don’t want to happen to you is having this moment define your entire relationship with her for the rest of your life. For the betterment of your fiancé, give his mom a second chance as it is in his best interest. I’m sure if she knew you overheard, she would be embarrassed. Good luck ❤️
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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    I had no idea that my fiance was going to ask his mom to make bread pudding. I had offered to do dishes or help with the cooking, but his mother said no, no one is allowed in her kitchen when she is cooking.

    I kind of should have known from day one that something was going on because the whole time I was there, his mom stayed in the kitchen. It was a steady dream of food, which was delicious, but I think she was just not comfortable with having a non-female family member on her turf, let alone one who was dating her son AND it was a serious relationship. I just don't think it was something she was thrilled about.

    His mom has no idea that I overheard what she said. My mom is a very, very, blunt person, with NO and I mean NO filter. My whole family is like that, so am I, but I have a filter, plus I'm very tiny, so I have to watch it. My mom says I should tell my fiance's mom I overheard what she said. My mom says she should know that I heard it and that it was not ok. Because of how my mom is and my family, cause like I said, they know about the whole thanksgiving thing and our motto is if you mess with one of us, you mess with us all and I have a large, Creole family and I know that I am going to have my family and esp my mom and my grandma as far from my fiance's mom as possible.

    I am gonna catch hell from my family if my fiance's mom helps out with the wedding. It isn't worth it.

    I was not judgy re the food. My fiance's mom is an excellent cook. I think that my fiance thought it wasn't an issue because his mom always keeps the house stocked with food like a nuclear disaster is gonna strike-his words not mine and it is something she is famous for in the family-and also, when my fiance was in school, his mom would always make treats for him and his friends-female-as well, when they came over, so he thought she would do it like she always did.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    Again, it sounds like she doesn't want you in his life, period. Otherwise she would have been much more welcoming at your first visit instead of openly hostile and disrespectful toward you when you were kind to her. If she had no intention of being kind to you then, nothing on your part will make her change her mind. Unfortunately some people are that way. Doesn't make it right, nor should it be tolerated. He needs to be the one to talk to her and tell her how things will be moving forward: that you and him are a family and she needs to respect that. I stand by not allowing her any contact after her treatment of you when you did absolutely nothing to provoke her. Her providing any input in planning is off the table.

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  • Natalie
    Super November 2020
    Natalie ·
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    I have to agree with this. It sounds like your fiancé not only made this request at a bad time, he may have unknowingly said or explained things in a way that weren’t the most complimentary to you. I would try giving her a second chance.
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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
    • Flag

    I wouldn't say that it was made at a bad time, but as I told him, he meant, well, from what I head, it was kind of like he just assumed he could ask and she would just do it. I think his mom didn't like it and I don't blame her, but I don't think that was the main issue she didn't comply. She felt like it was her house, her holiday, her family and I didn't factor in. As far as she was concerned, we could have broken up at any time, so why extend herself?

    I think things were not helped by the fact that we ended up not eating dessert with the family on Thanksgiving. Instead, we went to a restaurant that my fiance found that was open that had bread pudding. He sent a strong message that didn't go over well-it went against tradition in his family not to stay for dessert and also there were family friends and business associates coming over for dessert-that happens ever year and FH was expected to stay and be hospitable when they got there, esp as these people hadn't seen him in several years.

    I think that helped me to be looked at even more as an outsider, that this was something that broke an important family tradition.

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  • Julie
    VIP February 2020
    Julie ·
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    You wrote 2009... Did you mean 2019? Or have you been holding onto this for 12 years?
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  • JM Sunshine
    August 2020
    JM Sunshine ·
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    It is her house and her family tradition. Now that more of the story comes out, I think you and FH both behaved poorly as guests.
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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    Crap I meant 2019. Thank you for the correction! I was distracted by my cat when I wrote that.

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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    I never said it wasn't her house. I was a very good guest. I wrote a thank you note after the visit, I complimented her food, offered to help with dinner, do dishes, etc.

    I do not feel my fiance did an unforgivable sin by making the request. And I do not feel that going out to dessert was a huge faux pas. The next night we took his parents and grandparents out to dinner.

    Neither of us disrespected his home. And maybe, you know, things change when children get in serious relationships. We spent Xmas in 2019 with my family and we all did an ugly Xmas sweater gift exchange. My fiance and I came up with this tradition on our own, introduced it to my family, they love it and will do it going forward. Nothing wrong with introducing new traditions. Things change.

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  • Elizabeth
    Super June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    Honestly it seems like MIL did literally nothing wrong, while you and FH were horrible guests. She is gracious to still want to be involved in planning with you.


    Your FH asked his mother on the night before a massive holiday to just change the menu and whip up a dessert she has potentially never made before. This is a wildly rude request, and if FMIL thought it was coming from you, I can see why she was upset. You don't ask a host to make a specific thing for you when youre a guest.
    So you overheard her say an exasperated no, and you and FH decided to bounce out halfway through the holiday to spite her for saying no to your unreasonable request??? That is SO RUDE. So rude.
    And somehow you are the one holding a grudge after all this time? And you trash-talked her to your family??
    If she is as toxic as you say she is, we need another example because in this story she is NTA.
    • Reply
  • L
    Dedicated August 2021
    Lw ·
    • Flag
    I would try to think on the positive side of it was thanksgiving and she had already shopped. Having lots of food on hand with young kids is a lot different than having food with kids out of the house. It sounds like you took one interaction and built it into a huge negative ordeal without even discussing it. And you told your whole family and built it up even more. While she could have had bad manners and bad intentions, I also don’t think your reaction has been great either. I think her not wanting to change a family tradition doesn’t mean she didn’t want you there at all. It does depend on the person as well. My grandmother hated people in the kitchen as well. Having a steady stream of food come out also doesn’t necessarily mean she was hiding from you. I think you should take a step back and let something that happened over a year ago not ruin a relationship without further discussion with her. All this said, I wouldn’t let them help plan.
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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    One, my fiance's mom has made bread pudding before. It is a favorite of his sister's. That is why he thought his mom would be ok making it. My fiance surprised me re taking me out to dessert.

    I would not call his mom toxic, I think she is standoffish. For instance, the first time I met her and the whole family, I suggested that she, her daughters and I go out and get our nails done, as some girl bonding. His mother said no, she didn't have time to do superficial things. Did that hurt? You bet it did.

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  • Elizabeth
    Super June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
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    Surprise or not, it was extremely rude. I still am in shock that you two thought that's an okay thing to do to a woman who just spent all day over a hot stove making food for you. You actually owe her an apology.


    Also you really thought she stayed in the kitchen all day because of you and not because she had worked extremely hard on the Thanksgiving meal?
    I think you need to step back and look at this whole situation from the outside. As a completely uninvolved third party, it seems like you and FH are causing drama and stoking division
    • Reply
  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    I feel like you are reading what you want to. I did not not come up with the idea to ask re the bread pudding. Two, did you see what I said about how I invited my fiance's mom out to have a bonding activity and and she turned me down cold for no reason?

    Did you see the part where I and my fiance introduced a new tradition to my family and things were fine? Things change when kids have serious relationships, they do. Sorry that you think I am some bad guy. I am not and neither is my fiance.

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  • S
    Beginner May 2023
    Starla ·
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    Re her staying the kitchen all day. I am not explaining it well. You had to be there. It was a vibe and a gut instinct that I wasn't wanted and hadn't been since I walked in the door.

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