How do I convince my mother that she no longer has a voice in my love life?
I was 26 when I introduced her to the man I’d marry. He was good-looking, casual and amusing, working in his family’s very successful business.
My mother said he was cocky, self-important, and would break my heart. She was right. We divorced six years later when I discovered he’d been cheating with his co-worker, whom he later married, then divorced.
Whenever my mother hears anything about my ex, she’s quick with, “I told you so.”
I’m now involved with a man I love in a far deeper, trusting way. He’s also divorced and values, as I do, our being absolutely sure of each other.
But my mother’s cold to him and warns me that I’m “not a good judge of men.”
She persists, even though we’ve been living together for two years. My friends think we’re a great couple, even under the test of living/working in close quarters through a pandemic.
My partner would like us to marry, and I mostly agree. We both want to celebrate our union that way.
But my mother says she won’t attend rather than approve my making another “huge mistake.”
I’m 36 now, committed to this man. How do I continue a relationship with my mother when she won’t even acknowledge him? Should I just not have a wedding because she won’t attend? (It would’ve been small - ten people if allowed - or just a virtual event).
My Partner or My Mom?
You two see all the positives in your relationship, while your mother sees only negatives from the past.
As a mother, she reveals a dim view of her adult child’s ability to grow and benefit from experience. She applies that same opinion to your partner without trying to get to know him.
As a role model, your mother has no place in your wedding decision. She has a closed mind and threatens to emotionally dismiss your vows by not attending. If she persists with this view, that’s her choice.
But it needn’t be yours.
Tell your mother that you’ll always care about her, even if you two have major disagreements. You’ll marry your partner when/where/how you two choose, and prefer she’s part of it. If not, so be it.
I’m in a 20-year-long happy marriage. But I can’t tolerate his ex-wife who talks to him as if they’re still a team. She’ll refer to things they used to do together, trips they took, “hilarious” incidents she describes in great detail.
But my husband had begged me early on to be gracious and invite her with her husband when we were hosting holidays/special events in his children’s lives.
She’d encourage the adult children to also relate their “fun” stories of life with their parents. I felt left out in my own home.
Since the pandemic lockdowns have ended those gatherings, I intend to assert myself when it’s over and NOT invite her. Am I wrong?
Dislike His EX
It’s about your relationship. You and your husband are happy together. His children and grandchildren have become “family” with you. You’ve been the gracious one.
His ex-wife’s “memory-lane” is annoying, but may reflect her own discomfort being with her husband and her ex together.
Use the lockdown’s end positively after everyone’s vaccinated. Encourage the adult children to start hosting and be helpful. You and your husband can visit, then leave after a while, still gracious.
FEEDBACK Regarding in-laws upset that their son-in-law isn’t working despite dwindling finances worrying his wife (their daughter) (January 1):
Reader – “The wife cannot control her husband's behavior or force him to counseling. She shouldn't be attending counseling with him for the purpose of monitoring whether he’s being honest. If he’s not, it’s a waste of time.
“The wife must decide what she’s willing to put up with and what not. She might need her own counselor to help think through her options.”
Ellie - I was not blaming the wife, rather telling her parents to back off so the couple could possibly handle this, with the wife encouraging her husband to seek help.
Going together for the first visit is not uncommon, which some therapists welcome to get a broad picture. It’s a step sometimes used to start a process of therapy, and any counselor who doesn’t agree with it, will say so.
Tip of the day:
A negative mother who won’t attend her adult daughter’s wedding needs to know she won’t be missed.