My fiancee and I (plus my brother and sister-in-law) are having trouble with my mother who's interfering in our lives, especially the women's lives.
She believes that her is always the best idea, or in someone's best interest. Example: "Don't you think you should put a sweater on the baby?"
It's been Mom's ideas that trump the upcoming wedding.
A huge fight ensued recently over Mom not listening and not respecting our wishes. She's overbearing, controlling and disrespectful.
My father approached her about the controlling stuff and she took it as, no one appreciates her. No progress was made.
Can you recommend an approach to her?
- Overruled in Vancouver
You're dealing with an expert - she's the master of the manipulative suggestion, delivered with guilt.
She's not likely to change easily, but you four can.
Stop reacting to her; make your own decisions first. If you want her involved at all in the wedding (or, if you're accepting her financial contribution) ask for suggestions only about those matters on which you're willing to compromise, e.g. the menu.
Do not discuss other issues with her, e.g. the bridesmaids' dresses.
When she pushes her opinion, say, "Thanks, but we've got it covered."
Also, the baby's mother need only remind herself that she's the one in charge of her child most of the time. Sometimes, an added sweater isn't a bad idea… but if too many suggestions are annoying her, she, too, can say, "Baby's fine," and change the subject.
For 23 years, my husband and I had what I thought was a "good" marriage, raising two great kids and doing financially well. We had many of the same interests, friends, loved to travel, went on dates, grew up with great families, and shared the same religion. We were married at 22.
This year, my husband chose to have an affair and move out and this isn't his first affair.
Why is it when some people are perceived to have it all, they want to lose it all? What for - to start over and live in an apartment with someone new?
Ellie, please send out a message to all your readers: it's not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. Think what you're doing to your loved ones (though I agree that unhappy people shouldn't stay together only for the kids' sake) and what you're doing to yourself.
In the future, will they be able to look their kids in the face and, more importantly, will they like to see their own reflection in the mirror?
Sometimes the "other side" exists in a person's mind, and has little to do with the person's former partner or surroundings.
Your husband appears to have been restless over time, and impelled to make a full break at 45, the so-called "mid-life crisis" time.
Though you knew him for so long, you couldn't know whatever was driving him internally. In some people, it's a deep-rooted insecurity that moves them to seek something new, or a need for drama and intensity over stability.
What's most important now is that you and your children adjust to this situation in ways that keep all of you as emotionally healthy as possible.
I strongly recommend counselling for you and the kids. You may learn more about your husband if he recognizes that he, too, needs some professional guidance to maintain healthy ties to his kids.
I love my boyfriend of five years, and want to get married and have kids.
He's been married twice and has two children with different women.
I think he's done with marriage; he's 35 and I'm 25.
It feels unfair fair that I can't be his first wife and mother of his first child.
I have traditional morals and values.
My parents' stayed married, with two children together - this is what I want for myself.
I should not be hurt by someone else's mistakes or their past.
- Frustrated in San Diego
I'm wondering why you've waited five years to make this statement - and, why to an advice columnist and not the guy who's obviously not the right man for your future.
I can only guess that you wanted a push, so here it is: Move on. Look for someone single, and without baggage you find too heavy to bear.
Tip of the day:
You can get my personal help with in-laws through my weekly TV show, Outlaw In-Laws, on Slice. See ww.helpmyfamily.ca. for more information.