From a LW:
“I have a controlling and mentally abusive mother who was physically abusive to me as a child. She is 92 and still verbally abusive and just this past weekend I blocked her on Facebook for my own sanity.
You see, I recently got engaged to this wonderful man who adores me but there’s an issue. I had my mother here this past week and she doesn’t know my fiance’s family so she tried with all her might to drill him and me with questions like whether they are fat, are the nice, what do they do, etc. Then she noticed my fiance’s parents’ pictures and said “Your father, he’s bald. Did you ever have hair?” He shows her a picture of him as a young man when he had lots of hair!!! Then my Mom says, “Well, you must have had lots of hair when you got married to your ex. Can I see your wedding picture?” That’s when I stepped in and said, “That’s enough.” And I told my fiance: “Nooo, you’re not showing her your wedding pictures.” I told my Mom she was disrespecting me – that I was right beside her and she didn’t even care about my feelings.
Later, I asked my fiancé if I hadn’t have been there, would he have shown her and he said “yes, probably.” Then I said, “Now you’re disrespecting me. Wow!”
He once sat in front of his friends in front of me reminiscing with old pictures of him and his ex and I almost left him then and didn’t!!! We had a talk about our past and how it was ok to have memories but it was time to move ahead. He thought that when I said it’s ok to have memories, I meant he could also share them.
He’s a smart brilliant man. He cooks, cleans, and gardens. He’s a fantastic carpenter, too. But when it comes to sharing things that shouldn’t be shared in my opinion, is too much!”KAJanuary 30, 2024 at 1:08 pm #1127936
I think you are mixing up your trauma with an abusive busy body mother and possibly the normal sharing that your boyfriend is doing. Now that you are finally cutting her off it feels like you are possibly drawing the line too far? I would want to know how often your fiancé is sharing old photos and with whom and what prompted the sharing (someone asking, the other people he is sharing with also being in the pictures or on the trips, etc.), before I would pass judgement on this topic.
I might suggest some pre-marital counseling to work through this issue as well as make sure you guys learn to have constructive healthy communication. My guess is you learned some very dysfunctional patterns from your mom. A pre-marital health check now might save you an expensive divorce later.CanadaGooseJanuary 30, 2024 at 1:35 pm #1127937
What’s the question here? Is LW hoping to hear that her mother or her fiance is wrong? Both? It’s not clear at all what advice is she looking for. She just seems to be complaining her elderly mother is controlling and also that she, the LW, cannot control either the questions her mother asks or the information her fiance shares about his life.LisforLeslieJanuary 30, 2024 at 1:46 pm #1127938
If you’re mom is 92, then you are somewhere between 50 and mid-70s correct? So you have been dealing with her nonsense for a looooong time. Your mother knows how to push your buttons – she installed them right? So keeping her nonsense blocked off is for the best.
However, as for your partner… just about any person is going to have history of some sort. You know what your mom was going to do with that information – she sounds like a piece of work for sure, but people who don’t come from manipulative and untrustworthy parents aren’t disrespecting you for having or showing old photos. They don’t have the same protective behaviors because their parents / family don’t require it.
So is this guy still pining for his ex? I mean, one of my parents saved a copy of their wedding album (honestly, not sure which, I just know that over the years it appeared but I can’t remember if it was when my dad died or my mom moved) but they divorced when I was 5. I don’t think either of them wanted the book but one of them saved it for my sake. Is he holding on to those pictures for some reason? If he’s holding them for his kids or because it has pictures of long gone relatives… let it go – it’s not there to taunt you. It’s just there because it’s his history. If he’s keeping all of his mementos for posterity or whatever, have him put them in a box where they are difficult to access. Or a storage locker somewhere that you never see.KateJanuary 30, 2024 at 3:00 pm #1127939
Yeah what the others said. I think you handled it well with your mom, cutting her off. If anything, maybe you could have said, “mom, that’s rude” a little earlier, idk, but I think you’re going off the rails with saying it’d be disrespectful if he shared a pic with her. When alone with an old lady being rude and making demands and he doesn’t want to rock the boat, sure, he’d play along and show her an old wedding picture.
Most divorced people have old wedding pics or pics of their exes. It’s okay. It’s not disrespectful. If I were you I’d try to unpack this a bit before getting married.
Soo. You blocked your mom on Facebook, but what has your real-life contact with her looked like over the years? Have you limited it/do you plan to? Yes, your mom sounds difficult, but your issue with her is in real life, not online, so I’m not sure what kind of point you’re trying to make by blocking a nonagenarian on social media. I don’t think blocking her online is making the point you think it’s making.
Additional context would help me decide if I think it is “off” that your fiance reminisced with his friends about his ex right in front of you. Like, are these group photos of the good ol’ days and she just happens to be in ’em? Because that’s different from, IDK, whipping out old honeymoon pics and saying he misses her or whatever. I’d find the latter weird, but not the former.
I keep mushy cards from past relationships. I’m sure there are old photos on the Cloud, maybe some in print somewhere. Keeping/having access to these mementos aren’t a sign I haven’t moved on from past loves, but I don’t bring them out to reminisce (alone or with others).
Anyway, respect is huge in relationships and if you sincerely feel your fiance behaves disrespectfully toward you, I’d second the suggestion to consider couples counseling before you lock it down. If you haven’t already sought therapy to process your childhood abuse, it’d benefit you. That kind of trauma is real and can be triggered by seemingly silly thing (for me anyway), but having a trained professional to listen, validate, and develop coping mechanisms for those high stress moments is very helpful.ronJanuary 30, 2024 at 5:48 pm #1127942
It is not disrespectful to you that your fiance had a life prior to you, has pictures from that former life, and is willing to show them to others. Your mother asked to see a (as in one) picture from your fiance’s prior wedding in order to see what his hair looked like (and, admittedly probably to mock him for losing said hair). His being willing to indulge your mother in this is in no way disrespectful to you. To him, it’s a relatively easy way out of an uncomfortable situation which you and your mother put him in. Yes, your mother likely would have also seen what his ex looked like. So what? If you can’t handle that, then I guess you need to keep your fiance away from your mother and likely stay away from her yourself. She was already being rude to him by the time you shut her down. Your question to him and your response were out of bounds. You asked, he gave you an honest answer. I doubt he wanted to talk to your mother.KateJanuary 30, 2024 at 8:10 pm #1127943
Anecdotally, I’m 48 and got married the first time so long ago that there weren’t any digital pics. I don’t have any on my phone, but I do have some albums that include a bunch of candids of the shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and our early years. There are people in these photos who are no longer alive. People who are much older now but are young in the pics. These are basically the only pics I have of *myself* in my early 20s. For the past several years they were in a box in a storage unit. My current husband and I visited the unit to grab things we wanted to keep before we would have it cleared out. I had to send him back to find my box of pictures. He knew what he was looking for and took a peek at some of them. He doesn’t think it’s weird or disrespectful or wrong that I want to keep them. I have no interest in ever being in contact with my ex although I wish him well and we split amicably.
Now if I busted these pics out (or pics of pics on my phone) in front of friends, that might be weird… or it might not, depending on the context. What was the context?
And I guess bigger issue, why are you marrying a man you feel doesn’t respect you?AnonymousseJanuary 30, 2024 at 8:18 pm #1127944
This entire thing is bizarre.
I don’t think you’re using the word “disrespect” correctly.Part-time LurkerJanuary 31, 2024 at 8:56 am #1127955
There’s no question that your mom was rude and out of line; but it sounds like you have some insecurities that need to be worked on in therapy. Everyone has a past and they’re allowed to share that in an appropriate manner – which it sounds like he did.Miss MJJanuary 31, 2024 at 11:43 am #1127956
You know, by the time you get to be in you fifties to seventies, most everyone has a lifetime of history, your fiance is no different. It makes him who he is today, which is someone you presumably love. And it’s not fair or realistic to expect him never to mention that history or share photographs from prior times in his life, even if his ex in them. Frankly, this is something you should’ve learned decades ago. You’re too old for this kind of drama. I would encourage you to seek therapy individually to sort out your issues with your mom and also perhaps couples therapy to sort out your issues with your fiancé. Your mom isn’t the only controlling person in this equation and you may have picked up some bad relationship habits from her.KateJanuary 31, 2024 at 11:53 am #1127957
Another question I have is why you want to marry someone who you have no interest in knowing about in the context of his past relationship(s)? Like, that history is part of who he is. Why wouldn’t you want to know about it?
Another question too, is why didn’t you cut your mom off when she was being objectively pretty rude and disrespectful to your fiancée? She asked if his family is fat, etc. That’s not okay, and did you stop her there, or only shut her down when you felt things were getting disrespectful to *you* and a picture might come out?