I’ve recently gotten engaged to a great guy, and I love him very much. Our relationship is great, except for one thing… my parents ADORE him.
Sounds like a good thing, but it's actually a bit too much – to the point of causing strife between us. I admit I can be a bossy woman and I like to be in control, but my fiancé knows, understands, and accepts this about me fully.
My parents love him so much that anytime I say ANYTHING to him, they come to his defence and make everything into a big deal when it wouldn’t normally be.
For example, they asked us if we were getting a Christmas tree. I said no, as we don't have kids, and it's a lot of work since we’re rarely home anyway, especially around Christmas time.
My fiancé asked, "We're not getting a tree?" And my parents freaked out and said "let him have a Christmas tree!!! Blah blah blah."
They act like I treat him badly, but we get along perfectly the way we are and never fight.
However, he loves that they rush to his defence, and he can even antagonize me sometimes in front of them, making me look even worse.
I’m getting to dislike being with all of them together. Help!
Your own words make me think your parents may be doing you a favour. You admittedly are “bossy” and “like to be in control.”
Perhaps your parents worry that a future husband may not, over time, love you as unconditionally as they did their own offspring.
Yes, they’re interfering by taking his side. But they may also be sending an important message.
Separate the issues. Share less information with them, as in, “We haven’t discussed that matter (of the tree) yet,” and change the topic.
But loosen up with your fiancé, listen to his views, and start learning the important marriage-saver tactic of compromise.
No one’s comfortable indefinitely, living with a bossy controller.
My daughter dated her husband of 18 months for three years before they married. Everything seemed great between them.
Now I notice my son-in-law’s depressed and moody. He's also working at a dead-end job and he can't seem to get himself in the "looking for a new job" mode.
My daughter’s working at numerous jobs to pay for rent, food, etc. She wants to start a family but my husband and I are very concerned.
How do we give some advice without being the "controlling" parents?
Worried but Cautious
It’s not easy for in-laws to give advice without crossing the line to intrusive.
Best for you, her mother, to initially talk to your daughter one-on-one, and ask how she’s doing. Let her vent, and that’ll open the door for asking if she’d like you and her father to talk with both of them.
Handle the subject of your son-in-law’s depression gently. It’s the reason he can’t motivate himself to seek another job.
Suggest he see his doctor to make sure he’s not “down” from a virus. Show concern for his well-being, not just his productivity.
He needs encouragement, and this best comes from a neutral source, such as a job placement advisor, or a teacher at an upgrading course, etc.
The couple need a plan to lift themselves from their current economic situation. Try to enthuse your daughter about the need for making sure she’s healthy and un-stressed before getting pregnant, for both a baby’s sake and her own.
My husband and I are "young seniors" who exercise and practice dental care. We eat healthy foods. One of us has high blood pressure.
We don't entertain much. Every Christmas several people give us a lot of chocolate, candy, and nuts.
Explaining that we don't want it would hurt their feelings. Besides, we don't like to push our will power so we don't want it around the house.
One year we gave it to a nearby food bank drop-off. Another year, to the staff of a nursing home. Last year, we gave it to be shared in a retirement home.
But finding a way to give it to people who might eat it in moderation and not be harmed, has become an added chore. We’re hoping that candy-givers will read this.
Ellie – Accept friends’ generosity graciously, and pass on the Christmas spirit by continuing to give it to hard-working staff at nursing and retirement homes.
Tip of the day:
Deal with the main relationship issues and handle parental intrusions separately (unless they dominate).