How to deal with a parent who won't acknowledge my relationship?
June 6, 2011 2:03 PM Subscribe
My mother refuses to meet my fiance. I welcome any advice on how to deal with this, and would especially like to hear from people who have similar personal experiences.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (76 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I are engaged after having lived together happily for a couple of years, and could get married at any time because neither of us is interested in having a wedding or anything beyond just signing papers at the courthouse. The only thing delaying this process is my mother, who has refused to meet my partner and does not acknowledge that we are even engaged.
When we speak on the phone, she never asks about my partner and generally acts as though he doesn’t exist, and only refers to him as “your boyfriend” when it is unavoidable. Throughout our relationship, we have lived anywhere from across the country to a three hour flight away from my parents, but we have never been able to arrange for a meeting of my parents and my partner. My mother has ignored invitations to come visit our home, and has also extended no invitations for my partner to come with me when I visit my parents’ home.
I’m uncomfortable with the idea of marrying my partner before he has met my parents, and I think my mother is using this fact to manipulate the situation – I think she feels like she can prevent the progress of my life and my relationship by controlling the circumstances of when they meet, and therefore, when we can get married.
My mother and I have had a complicated, strained relationship since I was a teenager (I am in my mid-20s). When we get along, we get along very well and are very similar, but when we disagree, it is major drama. My mother has always been overprotective of me, and continues to treat me like a child who is unable to make appropriate adult decisions. She is also very resentful about relationships due to a troubled relationship with my father, and I also believe she is socially isolated and emotionally troubled.
I feel conflicted about this because I am trying to be sympathetic to her perspective, but I am also very hurt when she refuses to acknowledge an important part of my life. I love my mom and try to understand her concerns, but this situation has put enormous strain and stress on me. I can only speculate about the stress she feels about this situation, because she is not an open communicator of her emotions.
My partner and I have tentatively talked about visiting my hometown this summer, for a vacation but also to see my parents. My parents’ house can’t accommodate both of us, so we would stay in a hotel. When I proposed this to my mother, she shut me down by saying she would not be open to seeing us, and said I was selfish for trying to put my own interests ahead of her comfort. She wants to see me and have me stay at their house, but my partner is not invited. I wanted to insist that we are both coming to visit whether she likes it or not, but I held my tongue and the discussion is currently unresolved. I’m really at a loss as to what to do.
I’m seeking advice on how to deal with any of this – has anyone else been in a similar situation? How can I best facilitate the meeting of my partner and my parents?