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Unwanted bridal shower/Future MIL issues

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar MaltaKano 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #783789 Reply
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    Mal5415

    Tl;dr
    My fiance’s mother is hosting a wedding shower that is the opposite of what was previously discussed and not something either of us is interested in. I will most likely grin and bear it to not ruffle any feathers, but this is becoming a pattern.

    My fiancé and I are getting married in a few months. For a variety of reasons (I’ve been married before, I don’t enjoy events where I am the center of attention, I don’t really enjoy all the typical shower games, we’re in our 30s and have a lot of stuff, etc.) I said I didn’t have a particular interest in having a shower when my future MIL initially brought it up, but said if she really wanted to do one in her state (there is not being one held in the state we live, nor any other showers in general) it would be nice if she did a casual couples shower so it was more for her son, and would allow us to celebrate with not just the female relatives/MIL’s friends/few friends of my fiancé who would be invited to a bridal shower. I reiterated some my reasons above as well.

    So we’ve received the invitation and it’s very clearly a traditional bridal shower. Only one non-female was invited, there are clearly shower games happening, and it’s at a time that we were not consulted about (and is inconvenient) and is also at time that seems like it will not be possible for my mom to attend. This seems like more of a party that she wants to have, for her, instead of something celebrating us.

    I am prepared to grin and bear his because I love my fiancé, and because I’ve really been brought up with the whole “it’s the thought that counts!” attitude, but I’m frustrated and annoyed that this is exactly what I didn’t want. And I feel like I’m being unappreciative and will 100% be viewed as unappreciative if I express my issues with this. But I don’t want this. And my future MIL’s lack of consideration is not new, and is a frequent topic of fights. I’m very non-confrontational, but I feel like it’s well past the point where I need to address things.

    My future MIL has lots of similar issues with other family members, so at the very least I don’t feel alone or crazy for feeling this way, but my fiancé has always been her favorite and her confidante and he has let relationships with other family members fade or turn negative over issues with his mom. He mostly has my back but while he is far more confrontational and direct than I am, he definitely is not when it comes to her. Our relationship is cordial but is not the best buddies relationship that both my fiancé and his mom apparently envisioned. I want to have a positive relationship with her, but I don’t really see us becoming besties at any point. At the very least, I want to make sure my fiancé’s relationship with her remains good.

    Sorry for what seems like a novel! It’s hard to know exactly how much information is necessary.

    Do I say something about the shower not being what we wanted/expected before it happens and see if there’s some compromise? Say nothing and grin and bear it? Any tips on how to handle this relationship moving forward?

    #783791 Reply
    Dear Wendy
    Dear Wendy
    Keymaster

    I empathize with you, but you didn’t want a shower in the first place, so it’s not like this shower is in lieu of the one you really wanted, or that the one you would have tolerated better was one you really wanted and will miss. I get that this is going to be inconvenient and unfun and it sucks that your mom likely won’t be able to come, but change your perspective here. this shower is not for you it’s for your MIL – likely bc for decades she’s been going to the shower of her family member’s and friends’ kids and now it’s payback time. that’s how a lot of women of her generation think. you may get some benefit in that you will get gifts, some of which you might actually use and enjoy (if you don’t have a registry yet make one, so that the likelihood of you getting gifts you actually like will be greater). it will be a few hours of your life – grin and bear it and be glad you don’t live in the same state as this woman.

    #783799 Reply
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    brise

    Totally agree with Wendy. In your case, you should have said no at once to this shower, if you weren’t in favor of it. Now it is too late. She organised it the way she knows because probably for her this wedding is a big thing, so go to it and enjoy. But for the wedding, make it clear with your fiancee that she won’t take part in it, and if she offers it, say no, not a vague answer. This day, the wedding, must be yours and your fiancee’s.
    This would be also the worse moment to have an explanation with her. She probably put a lot of effort in this shower, so let it be. Nobody asks you to be besties. Be in good terms, but in a healthy distance, and that is all what is needed.

    #783800 Reply
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    brise

    For the wedding, I mean: she shouldn’t take part in the organisation, of course I assume she will be present!

    #783805 Reply
    Lucidity
    Lucidity
    Member

    I agree with Wendy. I also think that if you weren’t consulted about the date/time and it really doesn’t work for you, you should call her immediately and tell her she needs to reschedule. You can only do this if you’ve *just* received the invitation, and if it genuinely is not a good date/time, rather than a mild inconvenience. Then you could give her a selection of dates that would work, and make sure they’re all ones your mom could attend. This would be a step towards setting boundaries because you’d be showing her that she can’t make plans for you without confirming with you first. However, it could also strain your relationship if she interprets it as an attack or if invitations have already gone out to other guests.

    Whatever you do, be thankful and gracious at the shower. Send a small gift or flowers afterwards, with a thank you note, to show your appreciation. If you let on that you’re disappointed with what she’s likely gone to a lot of effort/expense to organize, or act like you don’t want to be there, you will harm your relationship.

    #783807 Reply
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    JD

    I don’t think she should ask to change the date as the actual paper invitations have been sent. Guarantee that would incite insane drama. I also agree with wendy that you should just go and play nice for a few hours. I get that you want your mom there but why is it such a big deal if you didn’t even want any of it anyway? Register, be nice and understand that it’s not worth causing drama when this person will be in your life forever.

    #783820 Reply
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    Mal5415

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate the perspectives from others. We just received the invitation so the frustration is pretty fresh.

    To clear a few things up, I never mentioned anything about asking her change the date, nor do I think I gave off any impression that I would be anything but nice/gracious. I am actively trying to have a better relationship with her and not cause unnecessary drama but it’s a struggle when she seems to actively disregard our wishes and the plans we thought we had made with her. I totally understand this is a big deal for her, too, and I am sure she has put in a lot of effort, so I am not trying to derail those plans at all. My intention from the beginning has really been to try to make the whole wedding experience something we (us, my parents, his mom, his dad/his dad’s partner) were all happy and comfortable with.

    We were consulted about the day and we said it was fine although we were unable to be there until that actual day so we asked that it be held later in the afternoon to accommodate travel— it will be at 10 am. I said I did not want a shower but if she wanted to do a couples shower instead that would be great. She asked for a list of people we wanted invited, we sent a list of people. She chose who was included from that list. I was unaware of that until the invitations were sent. She asked us to ensure my mom could make it, we said the same thing applied for her as applied to us (couldn’t make it the night before, would need it to be later to accommodate travel).

    I appreciate the advice and the reminder that his mom will be in my life forever, and that is a bigger part of my issue… she will be in my life forever, I want to have a good relationship, but the disregard for things that aren’t exactly what she wants to do (or things we absolutely don’t want to do) has become a pattern, and I don’t know how to address that. I understand right now is not the best time but there have been several instances where I chose not to address her choices or behavior to keep the peace because it wasn’t the best time, and there doesn’t seem like there is ever going to be a “right time.” The idea of having to be the one responsible for keeping the peace indefinitely is a bit (a lot) daunting.

    #783821 Reply

    You’re not the one who has to keep the peace, your fiancé is. It is his job to run interference with his mother. You two should really dig into how he is going to handle her when these types of issues inevitably come up. If he’s always going to defer to her you’re going to be resentful and unhappy. The time to have the hard conversations is Now.

    #783826 Reply
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    anonymousse
    Member

    He should be the person communicating with her about all of this, not you. When someone has tricky parents, that’s how it should work.

    Where is he in all of this?

    If you can’t make the shower, because she literally scheduled it before the time you told her…don’t go. Maybe she wanted to receive the gifts for you.

    Also, adjust your expectations. She’s this way.

    #783829 Reply
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    Mal5415

    Thanks for the further replies.

    We’ve talked about how my expectation is that, in general, I think each of us should handle issues with our respective parents. We’ve not run into any with his dad (who is thankfully the most easy going of all of our parents) and have had minimal issues with my parents, which I have taken care of. He has always been the main support system for his mom, and she is either estranged or has strained relationships with the rest of hers and their immediate family, so I think he’s afraid of her feeling more alone. Therefore, any sort of discussion generally is avoided at all cost and when it does eventually happen it is more of a blowup which is neither productive nor a pleasant feeling for either of them. He’s put his foot down on a few things that were important so there’s been progress, but, yes, the conversations about how to handle particular relationships has been happening and will continue.

    #783837 Reply
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    anonymousse
    Member

    Well, I sort of figured she was the only problem parent.

    Oh boy. He’s her main support system? That’s kind of a red flag, to me. Dangerous territory. And I see you wrote he’s let other relationships fade because of issues with her. He’s non confrontational with her. Yikes.

    I would really encourage you and he to have a conversation about your shared expectations for this. Will he side with her? Is he who you meant feels you are being unappreciative? She estranged because of her behavior, right? Calmly mentioning that if he brings up how alone she is might be a good point to make. Does he have boundaries with her? Does he have your back?

    Thank goodness you don’t live near her.

    #783839 Reply

    I’m glad you’re having the talks but it’s pretty concerning that he’s worried about her feeling more alone when it seems as though she is the one who causes the problems with other people. You may want to check out r/justnomil over on reddit…it’s important that you go into your marriage with your eyes wide open.

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