Family Matters
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His mother

What are some things I can do to try to fix/improve my relationship with my boyfriend's mother? 
Because of miscommunications and misunderstandings (perhaps due to different cultures or upbringings) things are messy right now and it's causing my boyfriend a lot of stress. 
I feel like his mom can't see any of my good points and is just looking at selfish needy things I do (or bringing up the one thing again and again). 
My boyfriend is at a loss of what to do because in the past year he says her personality has changed so much he can't understand her anymore. 

I'm willing to try as many things as it takes. 

Re: His mother

  • edited April 2014
    What are some things I can do to try to fix/improve my relationship with my boyfriend's mother?

    Because of miscommunications and misunderstandings (perhaps due to different cultures or upbringings) things are messy right now and it's causing my boyfriend a lot of stress.

    This is your problem in a nutshell:

    A cultural difference beween your boyfriend and you.

    You cannot breech culture. Very difficult to do so.

    What is normal for that culture is usually not accepted in ours...again, that is how it is.

    I feel like his mom can't see any of my good points and is just looking at selfish needy things I do (or bringing up the one thing again and again).

    My boyfriend is at a loss of what to do because in the past year he says her personality has changed so much he can't understand her anymore. 

    I'm willing to try as many things as it takes. 
    Here is my opinion:

    If he is interested in being a committed couple with you, he is going to have to put you first and be a team with you: that is a given.

    And if he sees himself marrying you somewhere down the road, he is going to have to do that, no questions asked. If he cannot get this fact, he needs to be a gent and say goodbye and do YOU a favor.

    If he is clearly not going to be the one to put you first and have your back, I very strongly suggest you find another boyfriend and one with no cultural difference. You're not going to be able to win that round. Sorry.
  • I greatly disagree that cultural difference = doom and destruction of all relationships.
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  • My take -
    if there is something that you did that has contributed to this, apologize.  Be sincere and apologize. 

    And in every interaction with her, be nice and respectful.

    AND I think that your BF needs to back you up here too.  He needs to talk to his mom and tell her that you're important to him and that he expects her to at least treat you w/ respect.  Even if she doesn't like you.

    Then, past that.... I don't know what you can do.  Because I feel that people like this - who hold on to things and just won't let up - for you to "make things right" often means you have to totally kowtow to them and open yourself up to being walked on over and over and over.  All in the name of "getting along". 

    Plus, to what I said above, you can't force her to like you. 

    You don't want to put yourself into the position of basically having to beg her to be nice to you when in reality all she might do is kick you. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • It depends on what the cultural differences are if they can be resolved. If it's something like at meals we do this and not that. That's something that can be learned. Is your BF willing to help you learn some of the things that caused the problems? How he helps you through this will be an indicator of how he will stand up for you with future issues with his mom, just with child raising or any major life event. When special events come up talk to BF and his mom and say, so what does your family do for say Christmas. Do you have any special traditions that you do & be willing to learn their way and you have to determine if some of their traditions are ones you are comfortable with because if you marry this man someday, they are traditions you will have to practice if you plan to spend time with his family.
  • Without more information (and I apologize if you're already shared that in another post), it's hard to give any advice.

    What exactly did you do that she keeps bringing up?  What kinds of things do you do that she sees as selfish and needy?  What kind of misunderstandings are you talking about?  Those answers would greatly sway my thoughts on your situation.

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  • To vague.  

    Cultural difference?  What did you do that was, by your own admission, selfish?  How does your BF stand up for you?

    without all of that, it just sounds like excuses.  
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  • Well the first thing that got on her nerves was when I was teasing/playing with my bf and asked him to get me some water to drink. I wasn't serious and said "My glass is empty." I was playing with him like that in front of her as part of acting naturally. I see now that kind of play isn't so nice, especially in front of mom. So, according to her, I'm a user.

    A big one is my lack of "omoiyari" or consideration for my bf when I tried to go home from his house and got my car stuck in the snow. (It was 90% likely to happen.) He was mad at me and I can accept that. He had to help me get it back in the drive way. But his mom came running out of the house screaming at me making things worse. We both wish she hadn't gotten involved. It would have been better if I got into an argument about it with my boyfriend and not her too. 

    She also things that I am passive aggressively bullying her buy doing things like leaving my clothes on the sofa next to me when I'm still in the room (Also right next to my bf's pile of clothes), putting my dishes in the sink like my bf told me to do many many many times after she told me to put them in the dishwasher (I thought my bf and his mom had talked about the etiquette again and was following my bf's words), and turning of the TV when I thought she wasn't coming back in the room.

    I'm not trying to bully her at all. The most frustrating thing for me is that she never confronts me about it. She want's me to read her mind and magically understand how she feels, which I believe is BS because if that was humanly possible then she should be able to notice I have no ill will towards her. If she could talk to me or even my bf before she is ready to explode I think we could have a normal relationship. I really want to improve communication with her. 

    I recognize that I made mistakes but no one is perfect. Also she never gets to see the nice loving giving things I do for my bf when she is not there. Like when he comes to my house and I cook for him. Or before she moved in and I clean up his messes for him. 



  • Although getting along with his mom is important, the real question is how do you and your BF get along with your cultural differences? I personally don't have cultural differnces with my MIL, but we have some huge personality differences. You may just need to ask yourself, if you plan on being with your BF for the long haul, is his mom something that you can deal with. If it is, then I agree with a previous poster, that if you have any fault about something, it is time to sincerely apologize. And consider how you would feel if someone making you feel offended about your culture. (not that you are doing that to her). I dunno your situation, but it may be that his mom is not quite ready to let her son grow up.
  • I see now that kind of play isn't so nice, especially in front of mom. So, according to her, I'm a user.

    I can't roll my eyes enough at this.  For the fact that she takes ONE incident and determines that you're a "user" or that your BF can't say to her "mom - it was a joke".

    A big one is my lack of "omoiyari" or consideration for my bf when I tried to go home from his house and got my car stuck in the snow. (It was 90% likely to happen.) He was mad at me and I can accept that. He had to help me get it back in the drive way. But his mom came running out of the house screaming at me making things worse. We both wish she hadn't gotten involved. It would have been better if I got into an argument about it with my boyfriend and not her too.

    O.k - what exactly was your BF upset about and why was your getting stuck in the snow something to argue about?  And how does this translate to "consideration for your BF".  So - you're supposed to unstick yourself.  Or.... what? 

    Leaving my clothes on the sofa next to me when I'm still in the room (Also right next to my bf's pile of clothes), putting my dishes in the sink like my bf told me to do many many many times after she told me to put them in the dishwasher (I thought my bf and his mom had talked about the etiquette again and was following my bf's words), and turning of the TV when I thought she wasn't coming back in the room.

    This is "bullying" her?  Oh boy.  This really makes HER sound insane.  BULLYING?!?!?! 

    That being said - clearly your BF lives with his mom.  I will say that some of this can be seen as being inconsiderate, though.  Even if it's "his" house, if this is a cultural thing, she may feel that as the  'elder' in the home, it's HER rules  - so do as absolutely much as you can to follow what SHE tells you.  not your BF. 

    Regardless - she sounds very nit-picky and quite honestly like she's LOOKING for things to find wrong with you.  

    I recognize that I made mistakes but no one is perfect. Also she never gets to see the nice loving giving things I do for my bf when she is not there. Like when he comes to my house and I cook for him. Or before she moved in and I clean up his messes for him. 

    Your BF could stand up for you and talk to his mom about this stuff. 


    I don't know how much of this is cultural vs her just being WAY TO INVOLVED in her son's life.  The fact that she moved into his house... what's the long term plan?  What if you and BF want to live together, or get married?  Will she still be there?  If so... I have a feeling you're going ot have a LIFETIME of issues with this woman.

    And again - where exactly is your BF in all of this?  Is he just sitting on the sidelines staying mum or does he try to tlak to her about this and explain to her that  you're important to him and as such... he wishes she'd make an effort? 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • My BF definitely stands up for me and tries to explain that I have only good intentions. However while I don't know details it seems like my bf and his mom's relationship is rocky now too. According to him she has become childish and selfish. I don't know the details because I'm not there most of the time and he wants to leave me out of it. 
    Originally if we got married the three of us were going to live together and I was okay with that. Now I'm not sure. I want to try to open up some better communication to see if we can work things out before giving up. 
    As far as my bf, I believe he is really regretting inviting her to move in. I think he is looking for a way to dissolve the current situation so he can be stress free. I won't give him and ultimatum.

    If I put in my own effort to make things better and it doesn't work out, then I can say I did my best. 


    So, anyone have any ideas on how to approach her? I don't feel apologizing is in order since most things are misunderstandings. I'm thinking of writing a letter so I can get my thoughts well organized in my second language, but then what would I say? 
  • Knowing that your BF is having problems with her and he says that she has become childish and selfish - DO NOT approach her yourself (letter or otherwise) to try and smooth things over.  You will only make things worse.  I guarantee that!!

    The first line of defense HAS to be your BF and if he can't get anywhere with her?  YOU trying to make things better will NOT go well. 

    In the end, you need to figure out what YOU want.  Where you want this relationship to go.  You know, you KNOW, that moving in w/ him AND her will be a shit show.  You KNOW this.  So do some soul searching and really figure out what you want.  it needs to be more than "but I LOVE him and don't want to lose him!". 

    If you decide that the only way you can marry him and be happy is if his mother doesn't live with you, what you need to understand is that this isn't about giving him an ultimatum.  This is about saying "here is what I need....".  Yes, in a sense it's saying the same thing.  "Either she goes or I go", but it's not that trivial and it's not about being a power play (which is really what I see an ultimatum being about- power). 

    It's about you really figuring out your life and simply stating "this is what I need".

    And really- you have to understand that all this that is mother is doing... it really has nothing to do with YOU.  That's why you approaching her isn't going to do shit.  ANY person he is with - his mother is going to cause problems.  I also guarantee you that.  Which is what HE needs to realize too and HE needs to do some soul searching too and figure out what is important to him and what he wants to do . 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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    PrincessVegan
  • My H and I come from very different cultures.  Culture may be an explanation, but not an excuse.  

    MIL issues= SO issues

    My mother had some words of wisdom when it comes to ILs: ILs aren't treating you badly because of YOU- they had issues with their child long before you and they are simply deflecting onto you because it's easier.  

    Do not approach her.  You've already tried to be nice and friendly and to create a relationship.  You need to let your boyfriend approach her and fix this.  This is his mother and his problem.

    Another piece of advice- people tend to come to you when you back off.  I have the best relationship with my in laws that I've ever had now because… I backed off.  I completely ignored them for a year and now they go out of their way to be nice to me.

    I knew I could marry my husband when he told them he wouldn't stand for their behavior and he would never forgive them if I left him because of that behavior.  He was willing to stand with me and stand up to his parents.  If your boyfriend can do that, your relationship will be fine.
    Sillygirl45
  • @BlueBirdMB has great advice as does @EastCoastBride

    Your BF should be able to explain you were joking in the first instance (which shouldn't need explanation anyway) and as far as the car getting stuck...WTF? How is that your fault? Maybe if BF had his drive properly cleared out you wouldn't have gotten stuck. And how is any of this his mothers business? 

    I wouldn't marry or move in with him if mom is there. She can get her own subsidized apartment if she is low income. He doesn't have to have her there.
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