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My mother and fiance have argued time and again regarding wedding planning. It has recently gotten to the point where my fiance called my mother and they exchanged nasty words, and they are now not on speaking terms. This is such a painful place for me to be, as I love them both. My father, my fiance, and my fiance's family think I need to tell my mother to back out and set boundaries regarding getting involved in my relationship with my fiance. If you want to read all of this lengthy post, please go ahead. If not, here's the question I'm struggling with: Do I take my wife's side? or my mother's side?



Some background: my mother and father are divorced. My mother has had conflicts with her own brothers and sisters, to the point where she hadn't spoken to most of them in years. She is the kind of person who relentlessly tries to make you see her side of an argument, and will twist your words and manipulate your feelings to make you see things her way. One thing is for sure, where she goes, conflicts always seem to follow. While I don't want to say she causes everything, the history seems to paint a picture of her being involved in so so many conflicts.

As for my fiance and mother, things started out great. They had a very good relationship. While being two very different people, they enjoyed their time spent together. After I proposed to my fiance, and the planning of the wedding began, the issues began to spring up. First, there was the issue of my mother wanting to invite her friends to the wedding, when the list was unfortunately almost full. She is not contributing money to the wedding, and my finance's parents are paying for 90% of it. She refused to offer to pay for her friends she wanted there, saying that since she is the mother of the groom she should be important. This caused more hard feelings, and the phrase "your mother is making this all about her" which continues to resurface.

I initially tried to stay out of the middle of these arguments. When I point out the possible errors in my fiance's ways, she feels hurt, unloved, and that I don't take her side. When I try to point out the errors in my mother's ways, she always talks me out of my viewpoint and gets me to feel for her. I guess its a mother thing. Once I set up mediation over a three way phone call and got a temporary truce. But the conflicts continue, and the hard feelings were all still held on to.

My mother always wanted to be included. This definitely comes from her past with her own family excluding her. As a result she seems to try to get involved with parts of the wedding that may or may not have included the groom's mother, such as the wedding dress shopping. When my mother was not included, she got more upset.

Now there was the issue of the bridal shower. My fiance's mother planned it, my mother wanted to be involved in the planning, but it didn't happen that way. The invitations got sent out, and when my mother saw the date, she raised an issue, saying that she might have another obligation to another wedding's rehearsal dinner that day. That, and the two hour drive is too far for her and some of her family. My mother tried to offer a second bridal shower which she would throw for the people who couldn't come to the initial one. This resulted in my fiance's mother getting extremely insulted, words were exchanged, and they are not talking. My fiance then decided she had to tell my mother how she felt and basically told her she didn't appreciate any of this, she doesn't want to talk about it, and please back out. Here's the wedding date, please be there. Nasty words got exchanged, they aren't talking, and this is where I'm left.

Please offer any insight, your experiences, or what is right to do. I really appreciate it.
 

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Your mother is overstepping. You and your fiancee are supposed to be a team. Don't let your mother get between you unless you want to remain single for the rest of your life because your mother just won't quit - as you've seen her feud with all the other members of your family.

Stand up for your fiancee and draw some firm boundaries with your mother.
 

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My father, my fiance, and my fiance's family think I need to tell my mother to back out and set boundaries regarding getting involved in my relationship with my fiance.

Do I take my wife's side? or my mother's side?
As a general rule you take your wife's side. I'm aware there are times when an exception is necessary.

My mother has had conflicts with her own brothers and sisters, to the point where she hadn't spoken to most of them in years. She is the kind of person who relentlessly tries to make you see her side of an argument, and will twist your words and manipulate your feelings to make you see things her way.
I stopped reading at this point. It's obvious your mother has some serious control issues and you will have to step in on behalf of your wife to resolve this. What I'd suggest you do is read up on how to handle controlling parents calmly and directly as you can. There is a book Toxic Parents and others I'm sure. I've read plenty of them.
 

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My mother has had conflicts with her own brothers and sisters, to the point where she hadn't spoken to most of them in years. She is the kind of person who relentlessly tries to make you see her side of an argument, and will twist your words and manipulate your feelings to make you see things her way.

When I try to point out the errors in my mother's ways, she always talks me out of my viewpoint and gets me to feel for her.

My mother always wanted to be included. This definitely comes from her past with her own family excluding her.

The invitations got sent out, and when my mother saw the date, she raised an issue, saying that she might have another obligation to another wedding's rehearsal dinner that day. That, and the two hour drive is too far for her and some of her family.
I pulled the parts of your post that really stood out to me. To begin with, your mother doesn't speak to most of her own family due to "conflicts." I imagine her own family got sick of her manipulating behavior. You, however, seem to be one family member she can still successfully manipulate. She can only talk you out of your viewpoint because you allow it. Sounds like everyone else dropped her like a hot rock years ago. Thus, you are the "lucky" one with whom she can get her way ... at least some of the time.

I call total B.S. on your mother saying she might have to attend some other wedding rehearsal dinner. From my experience, guests at rehearsal dinners are the wedding party and family members of the bride and groom. So, mom might be going to some rehearsal dinner for some no-name couple. C'mon, are you buying that? Plus it's a two-hour drive for her and "her family" to attend the bridal shower? WHAT FAMILY?? It sounds as if the family has cut her out. Did your fiance's mom invite other family members from your side besides your mom? So what if it's two hours? Can't she grab a ride with another invited family member?

You are marrying your fiance, not your mother. And it would bode well if you decided right now to have your fiance's back. I imagine if you stood your ground with your mother, you would be added to her do-not-talk-to list.

Yes, your mother is manipulative. But you are an adult. You see it for what it is. She might want to be included in the wedding and shower planning, but she wants things on her terms. This type of attitude can drive a wedge between you and your fiance once you get married.
 

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I agree with Hope, you need to step in and be more assertive. This is suppose to be a happy time in your lives and your Mom is making it about her. Sit her down, try to have a rational conversation with her.
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In general, I think your mom needs to back off, and you need to stand up to her. If you don't stand with your fiancée and protect her, I predict an uncomfortable future for you.

But... You did say that by the time your mom got to invite some friends, the guest list was almost full. Forgetting who paid for what, can you honestly say that your mom was given an equal opportunity as your dad and fiancée's parents? If you broke things down, what are the numbers for "parent's friends"?

C
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One of the hardest things to do is to put your own mother in her place but if you do not set boundaries now she will attempt to push her way into your marriage for years to come.
 

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I had to tell my mother to butt the flick out and mind her own damn business when it came to my wedding. She tried to have me "uninvite" my father because they are bitterly divorced and not walk me down the aisle or give me away.

Mind you I said it in much less nicer terms.

As for your mother - tell her to flick off and keep her nose out of it. Not her day, not her way. She complains, tried to manipulate... Tell her don't come to the wedding. It's either she behaves or she gets cut off.

As another said - you are marrying your fiance, not your mother.
 

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When it comes to YOUR side of the family. ALWAYS step up and defend your finance. Stand up to your mother and get in the MIDDLE of it!!!!

Seriously, if my fiancé did this to me, I'd call off the wedding. My husband always stands up for me!!! My husband protects my children and most of all... Me! He would never put me in that situation ever. If anyone ever has anything negative to say about my husband, you bet I'd stand up for him too!
 

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If you want a successful marriage you had better put your fiance first now. Wait until kids arrive, it will get much worse! Putting your mother before your wife will end in a nasty divorce.

I have a very manipulative, critical, over stepping her boundaries mother in law for almost 22 years. I am sure the only reason I am still married is because my husband NEVER took his mothers side even if I was wrong about something. That for me is a deal breaker!

Be very careful and good luck!
 

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I'm going to go against the grain here. Are you an only child or only have brothers? It sounds to me like your mother is wanting to be as involved as the mother of the bride would be, possibly feeling left out of things she will never get to experience. While I somewhat agree with what everyone is saying that you need to take your fiances side of things I also think that once you decide to have the traditional big wedding you are automatically making the day about family. If it were only to be about the two of you then you should have just eloped. It isn't exactly the right thing to do to include and care about everyone except your mother just because she has social issues.

I think there has to be some sort of compromise in this situation that isn't cutting your mother off. Do you really want to lose her? Because in all honesty with the rate of divorce I wouldn't want to be cutting my family off for a spouse. I would suggest that any communication regarding the wedding goes through you, you deal with your mother and save your fiance from that headache. But don't just send her the date and be there if you want, unless you really dislike your mother that is just hurtful.
 

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My father, my fiance, and my fiance's family think I need to tell my mother to back out and set boundaries regarding getting involved in my relationship with my fiance. . They are right.

If you want to read all of this lengthy post, please go ahead. If not, here's the question I'm struggling with: Do I take my wife's side? or my mother's side? That's a silly question, the wedding is always about the bride (and groom).



Some background: my mother and father are divorced. My mother has had conflicts with her own brothers and sisters, to the point where she hadn't spoken to most of them in years. She is the kind of person who relentlessly tries to make you see her side of an argument, and will twist your words and manipulate your feelings to make you see things her way. One thing is for sure, where she goes, conflicts always seem to follow. While I don't want to say she causes everything, the history seems to paint a picture of her being involved in so so many conflicts. Unless you want to be a part of her drama you need to draw the line in the sand now.

First, there was the issue of my mother wanting to invite her friends to the wedding, when the list was unfortunately almost full.
The wedding isn't about mom's friends, it should be about you and your fiancés friends & family.
She is not contributing money to the wedding, and my finance's parents are paying for 90% of it. Then she really shouldn't get a say about it..
She refused to offer to pay for her friends she wanted there, saying that since she is the mother of the groom she should be important. Then she REALLY shouldn't get a say about anything.
This caused more hard feelings, Yeah, I can understand that. and the phrase "your mother is making this all about her" which continues to resurface. Sounds like they have a point.

I initially tried to stay out of the middle of these arguments. When I point out the possible errors in my fiance's ways, Uh Oh, bad move on your part. Brides are usually emotionally charged already then you added fuel to the fire. Yikes. she feels hurt, unloved, and that I don't take her side. Any woman thatnhas been there agrees that she has a point. If your mother was being reasonable it might be different.

When I try to point out the errors in my mother's ways, she always talks me out of my viewpoint and gets me to feel for her. I guess its a mother thing. . No, absolutely not a "mother thing", its called manipulation. From what you described about your mother, you shouldn't try to discuss anything with her. State your decision and tell her that's it. No discussion.

My mother always wanted to be included. Again, it's NOT about her. In the beginning your fiancee tried to include her, she then overstepped, now she has to deal with it. This definitely comes from her past with her own family excluding her. Hmm, wonder why.
As a result she seems to try to get involved with parts of the wedding that may or may not have included the groom's mother, such as the wedding dress shopping. . It's a nice gesture to include the MIL to be, but considering her behavior she would probably made it a miserable experience for all. When my mother was not included, she got more upset.

Now there was the issue of the bridal shower. My fiance's mother planned it, my mother wanted to be involved in the planning, but it didn't happen that way. It is usually planned by the ones giving it, although it would have been nice to run the date by your mother first.
The invitations got sent out, and when my mother saw the date, she raised an issue, saying that she might have another obligation . Do you know if this was legitimate? Or was your mother being manipulative? to another wedding's rehearsal dinner that day. That, and the two hour drive is too far for her and some of her family.
My mother tried to offer a second bridal shower which she would throw for the people who couldn't come to the initial one. This is pretty common.
This resulted in my fiance's mother getting extremely insulted, I don't really think she should have been insulted, unless that was your mothers intention. words were exchanged, and they are not talking.
My fiance then decided she had to tell my mother how she felt THIS was a mistake, if anyone should be having words with your mother it's you. She could have graciously accepted a second shower.
and basically told her she didn't appreciate any of this, she doesn't want to talk about it, and please back out. Here's the wedding date, please be there. Nasty words got exchanged, they aren't talking, and this is where I'm left. I feel for you.

Please offer any insight, your experiences, or what is right to do. I really appreciate it.
You have to support your fiancée, and in light of what you have said about your mother's other relationships I urge you to be firm and set strong boundaries now. Best of luck to you and your fiancée.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Aunt Ava... thank you so much for taking the time to dissect this piece by piece.

I'm getting a common message... to stand by my fiance, and set a boundary with my mother. I know some sides were right and some were wrong but this is about my fiance and I.

Can you guys please help me figure out what exactly the 'boundary' should be? What it would mean? And where we can go from here?

Thanks again for the overwhelming support so quickly.
 

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We can't tell you what your boundary should be. That's between you and your wife. Do you know what we mean by 'boundary'?

First thing you need to do is apologize to your wife for your mothers behaviour, and for not standing up for your wife as much as you should have.

Then work together with your wife and decide what you are going to say to your mother, how you're going to say it (in person, on the phone, email, whatever), when you're going to say it, and what will happen when your mother ignores what you've told her (because you KNOW she will).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I guess I'm not really sure what boundaries are... or can be... Please help me figure out what this would mean.
 

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The first three boundaries are back off.

1. This is MY wedding not yours,
2. This is the day my wife will look back on for decades and I do not want it tainted with bad memories.
3. Unless you are willing to foot the bill, we make the decisions for the guest list. Not you.
 
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