My mother-in-law is an overbearing control freak; she tried telling us who should be in our wedding party and how we should do things. When I disagreed with her, she called me selfish and unappreciative, and told the whole family, so they think the same of my family and I.
My husband thinks I’m overreacting; he gets defensive whenever I mention his mother or family. He won’t speak up to his mother unless she really crosses the line.
I’m afraid he’ll not take my side even though he says he always will. I am afraid this’ll divide us and he’ll choose his mother whom I dislike more every day.
I’ve tried speaking to her but she thinks she does nothing wrong and that I’m being ridiculous. She just doesn’t listen to me and doesn’t get it.
You’re pushing for the big blow-up, so you can be proven good and your mother-in-law bad; but if you think that will solve your in-law problem, you’re mistaken. This woman is clearly used to giving opinions, and to having people do what she says.
You have every right to disagree with her, but if you want some peace in your family, you have to choose your moments. Your wedding was your day, for you and your husband to decide.
But you’re now anticipating fights, building up resentments, and provoking your husband to test his loyalty.
Yes, this is overreaction. Wait for real trouble, instead of dreaming it up. If it comes, ask your husband to support you and to speak to his mom when she goes too far, just as he’s promised.
Meanwhile, try to learn NOT to react to her every word and request.
If you change the way you respond to her, you’ll change the dynamic. Put the wedding squabbles behind you and remember she IS his mother and now part of your family. Disliking her more every day is childish. Learning to manage your relationship with her takes maturity.
I am short, fat and engaged. I have no idea why my fiance is in love with me, but he is.
I want to lose enough weight so that when our wedding comes, he can see a whole new beautiful me! I’ve been trying tons of diets and workouts but nothing has given me the results I need.
Our wedding is next January, and I’m afraid everyone will think I’ll rip my mother's wedding gown.
- Big Bride
Your bigger problem is being too thin on self-esteem. Start working on boosting that part of your life, and excess weight will be less of an obstacle for you to tackle.
Your fiance’s love is a huge support you need to stop questioning. He loves you for yourself, not a model-thin image.
Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day, but it’s a balanced regime of good nutrition and basic fitness, which you need to seek, not a crash diet and frenetic workouts for the sake of the big day.
A push for fast weight loss usually backfires, and leads to a cycle of yo-yo dieting and low self-image.
Instead, start walking more, take the stairs instead of elevators, join a gentle fitness class. Learn the healthy ways of eating three meals plus a snack, while cutting back on sugars and junk food.
When you start feeling better about yourself, you’ll look more beautiful every day.
I know my son is an alcoholic and needs help. How do I talk to him about this, and how can I help him?
- Worried Parent
Get informed. Go to a meeting of Al-Anon/Alateen where you’ll meet other families living with the problems of an alcoholic relative, and where you’ll hear stories of what worked and didn’t work in their efforts to help.
Learn the mental and physical health effects of alcoholism, so you’re aware of symptoms and can discuss evidence of your son’s condition when he’ll listen.
Then, get him similar information, plus ways that he can help himself.
Encourage him to see his doctor for a health check-up and to attend a meeting of Alcoholics’ Anonymous. The former will bring awareness of the long-term damage to himself; the latter will introduce him to a support group with a proven method of becoming sober, when he’s ready for change.
Tip of the day:
When in-laws clash, the solution lies in learning how to handle each other’s personalities and changing your reaction to de-fuse the situation.