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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanks Misgivings

Dear Mistress Maeve,

Not looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year and seeking some guidance. Let's just say my husband's mother is less than thankful to have me as a daughter-in-law. We have a long history of bickering, mostly about my career leading her beloved first son far away from his family (even though we're less than a five-hour drive). It's a classic case of overbearing mother-in-law, and I don't want to go through another holiday season fighting.

The most infuriating part is that my husband won't help me. No matter how much I beg for him to step in and put his foot down with his mother, he won't do it. I'm sick of fighting this battle on my own. How do I get my husband to be on my side?

Signed,
Thanks for Nothing

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Dear Thanks,

What’s the goal here? If you’re asking your husband to value you more than his own mother, you’re in for a cornucopia of disappointment.

If you’re having little spats with Mom-in-law, try your best to work them out one on one. This year, as you're peeling potatoes and stuffing the bird, call a truce with her. Tell her you know your relationship has had the consistency of lumpy gravy, but you're ready to smooth it out. See what you can carve out on your own, since the fewer arguments you involve your husband in, the happier your marriage will be.
If your mother-in-law exhibits consistently disrespectful or hurtful behavior even after you’ve spoken with her, you can ask your hubby for constructive backup. Just remember, it’s not about your husband valuing your relationship more; it’s about him valuing both relationships equally.

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, so do not exacerbate family arguments by unfairly involving your partner. For your own sanity, let go of this competitiveness with your mother-in-law. You’ll be a much happier person, and the pie will taste all the sweeter.

Talking turkey,
MM

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