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controlling in laws


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i am soon to be married, annd to be honest, quite terrified of my future in laws. My fiance is a dream come true, and he is wonderful, and makes me so happy, however is parents (in particular his mother) are very controlling!! They are always nagging at him, and if they offer him advice and he doesnt take it, they get mad, and go on about it for days on end. They also ignore him, when they dont get their own way, and ignore me aswell!! I have never spoken up to them, (because Im not very assertive), and his mother can be quite intimidating at times. Im at times quite scared about how they will be when we are married, and if the control will contine. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it.


is anyone able to offer some advice - perhaps someone is in a similiar situation. Your thoughts, experiences and comments would be very appreciated.

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Move as far away as you possibly can, possibly to a country with poor phone service. Save yourself!


The only thing I can suggest is learning to say NO and mean it. Your guy has to cut the cord and be loyal to you. Anything else is insanity.


My ex-inlaws thought I was a bum and didn't want me to marry their baby. MIL would visit and rearrange the furniture, told me to buy a safer car like a Benz, hated my beard and asked where we keep our silverware. FIL would offer money with strings attached to control us. We declined.

Since we split up, I've enjoyed not worrying about the in-laws.


My smart grandfather used to say, "Always marry an orphan."

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Well, I would say talk to your fiance and voice your opinions to him very seriously and assertively. I think it should be his responsibility to communicate this to his parents... I wouldn't expect them to change, but maybe they'll soften up a little at least...


How close is he to his family? That might cause some tension later on if this situation keeps up.


But he's "a dream come true" and if you guys have a good relationship, you'll get through this I think somehow...


"A dream come true." Wow, congratulations!

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to the both of you: thanks for you advice.


Firstly, moving away is not really a practical option, as that would mean leaving my family, as we live in the same state. Also, my fiance has recently been employed in a good position. We are a young couple, and just trying to get are feet on the ground.


My fiance has cut the cord, but he understands how difficult his parents are, and is also feeling stressed by their demands. (Btw, we are still living with our own parents, and will be moving in together when we marry). He tells them no, but they still nag him. Especially his mother!! Im afraid to say no to them, because of their reaction. When they are mad with my fiance, they ignore us. Get this - my fiance still has a curfew, and his mom calls us when we are with friends to see if he is ok, and where he is.


My in laws also have moments of great generosity - but with strings attached! Their most recent glitch with us has to do with where we are going to live when we marry. THey are mad because we wont accept a great offer to live 2 minutes away from them (cheap rent), and they have been going on about it for the past week. He told them he wants his independence and space, but they dont understand. They said he is stupid for not choosing to live there and save money. They have also caused us great stress with our wedding plans, and are not happy with our place of ceremony, honeymoon, the list goes on....


My fiance and I communicate very well, however there is only so much we can talk about it. He knows exactly how I feel, and it is making him feel even worse. He says that he feels he has no real relationship with his parents, because of the way they are. Basically his mother will be as nice as pie, if you 'obey' her and turn cold as ice if you want to do things your own way..


i know im blabbering on, but i really need to vent. thanks for listening.

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You both should be careful about letting the inlaws influence your life together. Gifts or advice mght be very costly to accept from them.

Establishing rules at the start with your husband can prevent tension from building as time goes by. Better to upset them than suffer in silence.

I was halfway joking about moving. My in laws once moved 750 miles to live three blocks from us. I'd come home to find the house rearranged, pictures moved and my wife furious. It got old really fast.

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His parents are controlling, maybe because they want to keep you guys close? Or maybe because that is just how they are? Regardless...


I think there needs to be a big-time discussion/argument and get everything out...let the pieces fall where they may...then pick them up afterwards...


It's the only way I think, as you can't leave and you definitely shouldn't be subjected to such controlling behavior...


It's time to take the gloves off I think...

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They are controlling because they think they know best, and because they don't respect our decisions or opinions. I am sometimes so nervous before walking into their home - I feel like a timid little mouse. They are making me very resentful towards them, and sometimes I wish they would move country!! It is not in my nature to be nasty or means towards people, and I feel bad for having these feelings towards them, as after all they are my fiancés parents (and my fiancé is such a good person).


My fiancé has had many arguments with his parents before, battling to explain why he wants do make his own decisions, but they just keep on at him. He fights with them about once a week, and sometimes more. Normally after their arguments, his mother will say 'that's it, run your on life; I'll stay out of your life, its clear you don't want me to have anything to do with it.' The next day she is back to her old self. I forgot to mention, she is very manipulative. And the worst part is, my fiancés only sibling does not support him (his brother is a real mommy's boy- and he believes that my fiancé is selfish for wanting to control his own life).


My fiancé does not want to accept any gifts from them, because as he says, 'my mother gives with one hand, and slaps you with the other'. But if we don't accept their gifts, they get all offended.


They are driving me mad.


I'm scared about the future, so many thoughts run through my mind about how they will try to control our lives… but I know I have no choice but to stand up for myself.. Better for them to hate me, than to go insane!


Thanks for your help.

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Well, you've got a tough decision to make then: stay or go.


Your soon-to-be in-laws are probably set in their ways and won't change. thereforeeee, you can either stay and keep putting up with this cycle or move away...make a clean cut...either way...a sacrifice...


There's no other way really that I can see...

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If he wants to maintain a relationship with them then confronting them head-on will do no good. The best way is polite indifference. He should just say "Thanks for the input, I'll take that under advisement" and then do what he wants.". Don't argue, don't react, just say things like 'Thanks, for the advise".


Try not to make this a war with him in the middle for that will serve no one.


But if when you are married and together and they do something like Dako's in-laws did and want to re-arrange the furniture, then both of you present a united front and say "Thank you but we prefer to do it our way. Isn't the weather nice?


Think judo rather than nuclear war. Diversion rather than confrontation.

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For once, I'm going to disagree with DN.


His folks are ignoring and strong-arming you guys plus worse yet, you are scared and going mad, as you put it. They are asserting their will through manipulation. Do you think side-stepping the issue through indifference will help this? Will it make you feel better? Will it make them stop doing what they're doing?


I think it will make it worse and they will walk over you even more. You've got to stand up to the bully here. You need to take charge and stop this unhealthy situation...


There may be a period of falling out, but ultimately in time I think they will respect you more for standing up for yourselves and meeting the situation head-on than essentially using reverse-manipulation tactics on them and playing by their rules...

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Perhaps that may be necessary in the long run if all else fails. But even then it is hazardous. Declaring war on a partner's family is rarely a good idea. It could easily result in a permanent breach and estrangement which will leave him feeling guilty and resenting his partner for being the cause. That would undermine the marriage and at the first major disagreement he might decide he made a mistake in cutting off the people who he knows love him despite their controlling ways.


It is more important to win the campaign than a single battle. And sometimes avoiding a war is the best way to get what you want, because fights always leave scars no matter who wins.

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There is an old saying...


...A son is a son until he finds himself a wife, a daughter is a daughter the whole of her life.


I wouldn't worry too much as very often that old saying comes true. Things are about to change and so is your status.When you move into your new home, if they continue to nag etc... Just close the door and ignore the phone, they will get the picutre soon enough.

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Well it seems like your fiance is at least aware of their controlling ways (by his comments about not wanting to accept gifts from them) and also dislikes the control as much as you do.


Bottom line: You're both adults and will do as you wish, regardless. In other words, their bark is probably more than their bite.


When you're married, you'll become a team. Your lives will be more busy, you can pick and choose when you want to visit them- and just tolerate them on holidays, etc....I've personally found that drinking a good amount of wine on holidays is a great thing.


My husband and I have a lot of family members barking at us- you eventually will master the art of ignoring by being able to smile and nod at them while saying "kiss my butt" in your mind , without having to say it out loud.


It's ok to accept gifts from them on holidays and events such as your wedding. Just don't take monetary favors for no occasion- like if they try to help you get a house, etc. Because it sounds like they will use it as their ticket to have a say in everything.


I don't think you should start a war- but an unobvious battle-plan on how to avoid conflict is perfectly acceptable.


The best way is polite indifference. He should just say "Thanks for the input, I'll take that under advisement" and then do what he wants.". Don't argue, don't react, just say things like 'Thanks, for the advise".



I agree with that 100%. Don't even entertain an argument. The best plan is to never take money, and just brsuh off what they say.


I hate to sound terribly mean- but this is the truth: they won't be around forever, so don't let it ruin your marriage.


Also, just a sidenote- they should get in the habit of planning any visits they have with you. Don't allow pop-ins. Also, if you have kids one day- call the shots from the beginning. Children MUST see their grandparents, but don't let them tell you how to parent, and make visits with the grandchildren plannned. Common courtesy is for them to call if they want to make plans or coem over- no popping in- your home is your turf.



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Oh Moonstone. I totally feel for you. My mother-in-law is very similar but only to me because I am too passive. My husband doesn't tolerate it.


If you two ever have children...take Dako's advice and move as FAR away as possible. And watch a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond. That helps me...


Seriously though - I think taking a stand, however passively or aggressively, is a good idea.


I assert myself through my husband. Not the most courageous I agree, but my husband is the ONLY person my mother-in-law takes serioulsy or shows even the smalles amount of respect for.


I just tell him, call your mom and tell her NO, she may not buy us new curtains because she thinks ours are getting yucky. If we drop the kids off i say, tell your mother there is NO need to change and wash their clothes. Tell your mom the kids do NOT need new winter coats!!! AHHHH


Good luck! Maybe if you have kids you'll find a different strength.

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Unfortunately these people come with the package of your wonderful fiance, so you don't have much choice but to tolerate them.


Just make sure your fiance isn't a "mama's boy" and sticks up for you if they start bashing you.


There's a problem solving technique for anything: Do they call too much? Get caller ID and don't answer, take the phone off the hook, etc.

Do they badger you with their stupid ideas?: Smile and nod.

Do you feel afraid in their house?: Start sticking up for yourself! You're going to marry their son, and be part of their lives forever. Now is the time to stand your ground and the two of you need to learn to be more assertive to them.

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hi all, thank you for all your input into this situation with my soon to be in-laws. I understand the advantages that might come from taking a less aggressive approach to my fiance parents - however, it is not as simple as nodding when they give us advice, and then just doing things the way we want to. We have done that many times, and once they find out they we never actually took their advice, they get mad at my fiance. I want my fiance to have a positive relationship with his parents, but if we dont do what they say, it seems impossible. They put unreasonable demands on him (and me), and it is not fair for me to sit by and take it. I have never said a bad word to them, and for the years I have known them, i have always nodded and smiled when they gave me their advice, and it hasnt got me anywhere. Of course one simple solution to the problem would be to obey them, and then they would be pleased with us. But I can not live my life like that. I am getting married soon - this should be a stage in my life where I gain more independence and responsibility, not the other way around.


Let me give you one example of their unreasonable demands, last new years eve, his mother kept asking my fiance what we had planned. And my fiance told her that we (my fiance and I) were going out for dinner. His mother was not happy with this, because she is very strict, and believes that it would be 'unsafe' to go out on New Years Eve. Considering the fact that we had spent the New Years Eve before that with his parents (whilst they had guests over) and we cleaned up after them, and sat watching TV all night, we felt it was not unfair for us to atleast do something little this time. He could tell she was not happy about out decision, but she said 'ok, if thats what you choose to do, that is your business'. As it got closer to News Years Eve, she began to say that she did not want him going out, and he told her, I have already planned to, and that we really wanted to something a little special. She was mad that he did not 'obey' her. When we came back from dinner that night, at a very early time of 9:30pm, (as to keep things peaceful) she had made a huge platter of food. She then approached us with it, and said would you like some. Being very full, and just finished dinner ourselves, we said no thank you, maybe later, because we have just eaten. (and she knew we had just eaten!!). His parents decided that was very rude of us not to eat something, and ignored us for the rest of the night. We counted down to the New Year in an uncomfortable silence.


This is one of the *many* things they do that drive me crazy. We have had another eventful weekend with them (they are making trouble for us for the wedding again - they want the wedding done their own way), and now my fiance wants to move out of his home, and he is looking for places to live.


A long reply I know - but in someway this is helping me feel a bit better.

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In the story you told above about New Years Eve- I'm glad you went to dinner anyway- despite what his mother was saying.


The wedding is probably going to be your biggest hurdle with them- because most relatives (even the nicest ones) can turn ugly during wedding planning. Are they paying for the wedding at all? If you can avoid taking any financial help from them for the wedding- that would be the best thing because then they would not have as much power. Money = power for these people.


Also, I'm glad your fiance is moving out. He needs to be untied from mommy's apron strings- and it sounds like he can't bear another second of his current situation. The one thing I see as your advantage is that your fiance does not like this treatment. Some "momma's boys" bask in it- but your fiance seems like he wants out. It is ultimately going to be him who must really put his foot down and tell them to STOP. Otherwsie, if you do it- they will just balme it all on you and think you're not good enough for their dear son, bla bla bla, etc. Keep in mind that his parents are this way, in part, to your fiance allowing them to act this way for many years. There is always some level of enableing if a situation goes on for this long and becomes so dysfunctional. They treat him this way because he's let them in the past. He's going to have to put his foot down in a major way to compensate for the years of dysfunction and "obeying" behavior he used to allow/tolerate..


Your fiance moving out and becoming his own man is a great first step to ending the dictation from his parents.



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hello belladonna


thank you for your reply.. it is true what you say, it is almost like they are dictating him (and consequently me). But they do not see it that way - they believe they have the right as parents to treat him this way.


my fiance admits that in the past he would do what they say.... he just put up with it. But now he stands up to them. Standing up to them causes so many problems, and I feel sorry for him being so stressed about it.


Unfortunatley, they are paying part of the wedding (and so are my parents). Initially his parents wanted to pay for all the wedding. My fiance and I regret that they are contributing, yet we dont have much choice, since we dont have excess money to pay for all of it ourselves. However, my fiance wants to repay them their money one day, as he said it is better that way. Otherwise, it is likely they would use it against him, and say things like ' we help you pay your wedding, and this is how you treat us in return'.


I know I need to work on being more assertive towards them , because i have never stood up for myself with them. But they intimidate me, and I find it difficult to be assert myself. Any assertion tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Since both your parents and his parents are contributing financially- then here's an idea:


When discussing any aspects of wedding planning- you should create an opportunity for both sets of parents to sit down with you and your fiance at the same time. You need some allies. I would love to see if his mom would act the way she usually does in front of your mother. My guess is that she'd be a bit more docile.... Let his parents realize that there are other people paying for this wedding too, and that they have to respect your wishes as the bride and groom.


You can do all of this discreetly by saying "Since our families are going to unite in marriage, I thought we should all spend some time together" then arrange for the meetings (lol). You'll seem like such a dear too- how thoughtful. Do you see how you can be smarter than them and use their behavior to work to your advantage? Then you can work things out about the guest list, etc., with allies on your side too. My guess is you might feel more confident and in your element if your family is there. Now both sides of this war will have soliders. Be sure to arrange this wonderful meeting on your turf- either at your house or your parents' house.


My guess is if you did this- his parents (who sounds quite prim and proper by the way) might tone it down a notch (because they'll want to impress your family and seem perfect) and also realize they are not the only family members that are involved in this wedding.


I think it's worth a try.



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thanks for your idea about getting our parents together. Im not sure if it would work that way, though. I dont think I would ever dare talk about the wedding plans in detail with both sets of parents, as there is already so much tension that surrounds wedding plans with my fiances parents. THE RSVP for my wedding date is in 3 days, and we still have not sent out the invitiations for my fiances parents side. (BTW, they are not having any relatives attend, because they dont have any family living here). Thus, their guests will be friends. However they have been *very* difficult and inconsiderate with choosing their guests. Long story short they want to invite their friends children now, because they think it rude to only put adults names on invitations. We have only catered for x amount of guests, and they have known this for a year and half. And now 3 days before the RSVP they have put this on us. This is what made my fiance so mad on the weekend, and start another argument. They are now giving him the cold shoulder again (and me). To top it all off, they have now decided (without speaking to me or asking what my fiances thinks), that they will be having a party to celebrate our marriage a few weeks after our actualy wedding date, so that they can do it their way. I am personally insulted, am I being too touchy? Its just that we are spending a small fortune on our wedding, and my fiance and I have put so much time and effort in organising it. ANd I guess its their way of saying 'we dont like how you are having your wedding, so we will do it again'.


I seriously feel like im going to go crazy. Its just too much to handle.

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In all honesty, it sounds like you two have to stand up for yourselves and talk to them. Explain in no uncertain terms that unfortunately for them, this is your wedding, your decision, and none of their business how things are done.


Have you ever considered not letting it get to you guys so much? Say NO! Of course you'll be in the 'bad books' for a while, but the fact of the matter is, if you two don't stick up for yourselves, this is going to continue on and on for all eternity.


Time to take some action. Talk to them, these are people you are going to have to deal with forever. Have dinner with them, sit them down, and explain the way things are going to be with your wedding.

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