Sometimes, the anonymous questions I get make me feel guilty about the amount of energy I spent on stressing about bridesmaid dresses. This is one of them. One of the Southern Bride community is having serious drama with her inlaws.
“My partner and I have been together for several years, and were excited to get engaged recently.
I have never felt his parents liked me, but I always made an effort. I look for thoughtful christmas/birthday/
mothers day presents etc for them, I make sure time is spent evenly with each of our families when we visit (which actually works in their favour, cos my family’s huge) and I try to get a balance between me being there and giving him one-on-one time with his parents. When we got engaged, I even personally went to his mum and asked if they had any special requests or ideas for the wedding, or would like to share family traditions with us etc so that they felt part of it.
Then they went behind my back and tried to break us up.
I can’t talk to anyone about it (my family going around to give them a piece of their mind isn’t going to help anything). My fiancé’s great. He put them in their place and strongly expressed how disappointed in them he was. He and I have had a really good talk about it, and we’re strong. But the things that they said really hurt, both me and him.
Now we don’t know what to do. The wedding planning has ceased. Right now, neither of us really want them at our wedding – but we couldn’t not invite them without a) telling everyone and b) giving them more ammunition to hate me (it’s already my fault that because of this my fiancé’s not on the best of speaking terms with them). And regardless of what happens now, they’re still his family and they’re not going anywhere.
Any advice on how to move forward and salvage some form of semi-functional relationship with my future in-laws would be really appreciated.
(p.s. eloping is not an option)”
Some ideas for how to resolve the inlaw issue
This poor bride! She’s trying hard to keep everyone happy – but obviously there’s no compromising here, and the in-laws are way out of line. She got a variety of feedback, with suggestions ranging from:
- Elope (apparently not an option)
- Focus on what you want – ignore them
- Fiance needs to continue to stand up to them, they need to realise he’s an adult and makes his own decisions, and not a child anymore.
- Invite them, but be prepared that they might not show up.
My favourite responses are:
A wedding day is about the two people getting married, not about keeping everyone else happy. It might be time to turn away and focus your energies on people who love and support you both. And don’t feel guilty about it – it sounds like you have done much more than could be expected. The problem is theirs, not yours. Let’s hope it dies down over the years ahead. (From Jo)
I think that you are taking ownership of their problems. Your family loves the both of you. Talk to them about what has happened. You need support from somewhere, it’s not your job to make people like you. Your wedding day is about you and your to-be husband. (From Rebecca)
It’s easy to say “ignore them” but a whole lot harder to do. The thing is though, they are getting exactly what they want – you’ve popped wedding planning on hold!
My take – you’ve got a fiance that has your back, and a supportive family. The in-laws actions will speak louder than your words, so I’d carry on with the wedding planning as usual. There’s plenty of pre-wedding activities/events where their true colours will be revealed (by their absence, their behavior or otherwise) and hopefully this will give your fiance and family a chance to shut them down in the moment, or will make them see that they can’t affect your relationship.
Invite them to the wedding, as I suspect if you don’t, they’ll play martyr and it’ll be more ammunition against you. But don’t go out of your way for them in the future – let your fiance deal with them. When you get married, you become your own nuclear family unit, and it is a privilege, not a right to have a relationship with your family. Don’t maintain a relationship with them because “faaaaaamily”. That’s not a good enough reason to disrespect you or your relationship.
How would you deal with issues with inlaws?
Do you have a different perspective to add, or are you having problems too? Post below to contribute to the conversation (or join the Southern Bride community to learn how to anonymously ask for feedback and support)