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Should I stick up for me (22 yr old) and my fiance (19 yr old)? How?

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  • #329705
    buddhajackson
    Participant

    I love my fiance and her parents very much. We mostly get along, but it’s hard for me to be affectionate around my fiance when her parents are around.

    This isn’t a huge deal because we don’t see them very much, but it still bothers me and I don’t know whether I should do anything about it.

    I’ve been with my fiance for about 1 yr, 6 mo and we’ve been engaged for most of it. Her parents seem very supportive of our relationship, but we’ve definitely had our ups and downs.

    When I was homeless for a second, her parents let me stay with them while I figured things out. They really took me in and treat me like one of their own, giving me advice, and getting me more presents for holidays than my own parents even do. They’re incredible people and help others a lot.

    The only real problem is that my fiance’s parents, while affectionate with her and each other, are also anti being too lovey if that makes sense. For instance, if I tell my fiance I love her too much in a day, her mom will comment on it and say things like she wants to vomit. She heard me give my fiance a kiss and shouted from another room to “stop making out” (we weren’t).

    She also can be a little verbally abusive (though she’s become better over time). Like one time she found a hickey on my fiance’s neck and screamed at her, calling her a whore. During our visit for Christmas this year, she called my fiance lazy and almost shutdown after I corrected her (my fiance is not lazy at all, but suffers from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem).

    I’m not mad at her mom because she’s suffered a lot of physical and verbal abuse in her own life, and I know she’s always doing the best she can. She has little outbursts, but they don’t happen often and like I said, we don’t see them enough for it to be a huge problem.

    I guess I was just hoping that with time, as me and my fiance’s relationship became more serious, they would relax about it. I feel like if I had a kid I would be thrilled to hear what a loving relationship they had with their significant other, especially with how much crap my sisters go through with other guys (a healthy relationship just seems really hard to find these days). Plus, being affectionate with my fiance is one way I cope with my anxiety in social situations so it sucks not being able to be as close to her as I want to. She pulls away from me even when her parents aren’t around because she’s afraid her mom will suddenly walk in.

    I used to say nothing when my fiance’s mom had these outbursts, but lately I’ve been sticking up for us a little more. I feel like it’s the right thing to do, but I feel guilty about it for hours after (partly because of my anxiety and partly because my dad was abusive and made me feel bad for sticking up for myself).

    Anyway, sorry this is long, I just wanted to give a good idea of all sides of this. No one is being awful here, but I think things could be a lot better (at least I hope they could…) and I wanted to hear others’ thoughts.

    #329731
    Sarkari
    Participant

    Awesome post.

    Valuable and appreciable, thanks for sharing keep it up Sarkari Result tc

    #329769
    Nekoshema
    Participant

    I had similar problems when I first started seeing my fiance. We first met at a con and he was homeless [we started dated 3 years later] His parents are amazing people who accepted me into their home from day one [total shock to my system lol] My fiance has a ton of good qualities, he can be a bit annoying to people [he has ADHD, I don’t mind it, but his esoteric references and hyperactivity can be overwhelming to people who aren’t used to him] and he’s struggled with finding and keeping jobs. My family [specifically my mom’s side since my parents are divorced and I rarely see my dad’s side because of distance] constantly harped on my finance and would insist I leave him. Years of this. I know the stress.

    Good people who mean well, doing the best they can. I know what it’s like to live with flawed individuals [my life was filled with flawed people] I understand being abused [I was] and it is an incredibly difficult thing to overcome, especially learned patterns [I struggle with a few myself] but it isn’t acceptable to fall back on why you’re abusing another because you were abused. Your fiance doesn’t deserve it and neither do you. I understand your mother in law slipping up on that rare occasion where tensions are high, but acknowledge, apologize, and work towards healing. If she verbally abuses you, then goes “I was abused” and never attempts to change this behaviour, it’s a toxic pattern you both need to step away from. Calmly talk with her, and explain why you need your space. You still love her, but until she starts working towards change, you cannot keep exposing yourselves to the pain. Especially if you’re planning a future together that may include kids. [just saying, if that is part of your future goals, it’s better to start now instead of when their first grandchild arrives]

    Limiting your interactions with them is wise, going to therapy [your fiance, but also your mother in law] and all of you being open and understanding of each other’s struggles would be ideal. Sadly, things are rarely this perfect, so have a plan in place, prepare yourselves for these little visits, and know when to walk away. You don’t need to stay, you’re not obliged to do anything. My friend always says you don’t owe your relatives anything, you’re related by circumstance, you become family by choice. That bond is what you build with people, it isn’t blood. My fiance has also chosen not to go places where certain family members will be because he knows it will end with a fight. I limit my interactions with them for the same reason, and I’ve even cut ties with one family member [granted, he threatened to kill us and my family all laughed it off because he’s threatened to kill everyone at one point or another, but I’m the crazy one] point is, your fiance is your family. Everyone else you can choose. You don’t owe them anything. Work towards healing, they do seem like lovely people but don’t feel obligated. If you and your fiance are putting in all the effort, or you feel more stressed than loved, you can choose to walk away.

    I wish you all the best.

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by Nekoshema.
    #329847
    anita
    Participant

    * two replies didn’t reflect under Topics

    #329955
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Buddhajackson

    Five years ago, Dec 30, 2014, you were 17, planning to attend college in 8 months (Sept 2015), and you shared in your first thread that you lived with your father, mother, and sisters. Regarding your father, you wrote: “Things always have to be done his way, or he throws a tantrum.. He is often in a bad moo.. he will take it out on us at times”. You wrote that your mother “tries so hard to make him happy”, cooks and cleans and even cleared the garage so to please him, in addition to work in the family business and home schooling her children, but he hardly shows any appreciation for all her work and efforts, and when they argued, he made that clear to her, that “he doesn’t think she does anything”. Sometimes they argued over money, and your father told your mother that he was going to die young, and that “it was going to be her fault that he would die young because of the stress she puts him through”.

    You wrote: “I can’t help but feel angry and heartbroken witnessing this struggle between them”, that you have insomnia, that you are “stressed out almost all the time”, feeling uncomfortable to be in your father’s presence, especially being “stuck at home pretty much 24/7” because you didn’t have a car, upset about how he treats your mother. You also shared that your father is a hard worker and a  good provider, that he gives you and your sisters “loads of business advice.. and is very encouraging when it comes to our dreams. He believes we can do anything we put our minds to and does his best to make us believe he same”.

    In your Jan 27, 2015 thread, you shared that you just found out that your brother cheated on his girlfriend, that you feel badly for her, “thinking about how much she must be feeling”. You were shocked that your brother did that, “I thought he was way more mature than that”, but you felt  empathy for him too, “he’s very insecure… I’m afraid of making him feel any worse than he probably already does about hurting his ex”.

    Exactly four years after your above post, you posted again yesterday, Jan 26, 2019: now 22, you are in a 1.5 years relationship with a woman, your fiancé. You shared that your girlfriend’s mother has “little outbursts”, heard you tell her daughter repeatedly that you love her, and commented that “she wants to vomit”, having heard it. She heard you kiss her daughter and she shouted “stop  making out”, she saw a hickey on her daughter’s neck and screamed at her daughter, calling her a wh**. At another time, she called her daughter lazy. You shared that her daughter, your girlfriend, pulls away rom you “even when her parents aren’t around because she’s afraid her mom will suddenly walk in”, that your girlfriend “suffers from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, and that you suffer from “anxiety in social situations”.

    “I wanted to hear others’ thoughts”, you wrote. I will be glad to offer you my thoughts, but first I need to know:

    -are you living with your girlfriend, away from her parents and yours?

    -how often do you and your girlfriend visit her parents’ home, and for about how long is each visit?

    -is there a wedding planned or is the engagement open-ended, as in: sometime in the future, a year, a few years from now, we’ll get married?

    anita

     

    #330039
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Buddhajackson:

    I thought about a few useful suggestions to give you without your answers to the questions I asked. Here they are:

    1. Do not display affection for your girlfriend when visiting her mother’s house, or in any place where her mother is present. Do not hold her hand, hug her, kiss her, tell her that you love her, none of these things, not in the presence of her mother. Reasons:

    -it makes your girlfriend very uncomfortable, it increases her anxiety: “She pulls away from me even when her parents aren’t around because she’s afraid her mom will suddenly walk in”. This means when you display affection for your girlfriend in her mother’s presence, you are harming your girlfriend.

    -it makes her mother very uncomfortable (“she wants to vomit”) and angry. She can’t help feeling this way, she doesn’t choose to feel this way. It is automatic. So even if you would feel differently in her mother’s place (“if I had a kid I would be thrilled..”), her mother had different life experiences from yours, and therefore she feels differently. When you visit your girlfriend’s mother’s house, her mother is your hostess and you are her guest. It is your duty as a guest to respect your hostess by not causing her unecessary discomfort in her own home.

    -you don’t spend much time in her mother’s presence, so you have plenty of time to display affection for your girlfriend away from her mother’s presence, it is not a situation where her mother is always there (“we don’t see them very much”, them being her parents).

    2. You forcefully kissed your girlfriend on the neck, causing her a hickey. When her mother saw that hickey, she “screamed at her, calling her a wh***” . Maybe your girlfriend didn’t mind hickeys before her mother’s reaction, but now she minds. I imagine if your girlfriend receives a future hickey from you, once she sees it, the image and sound of her mother’s screaming and calling her a name will pop into her mind and she will feel very uncomfortable. So don’t add to your girlfriend’s anxiety with future hickeys.

    3. You wrote about her mother: “She has little outbursts, but they don’t happen often and like I said, we don’t see them enough for it to be a huge problem”- her mother’s outbursts probably happened way before you met her daughter, and are responsible for much of your girlfriend’s anxiety. Even though each outburst doesn’t last long, the waiting in-between the outbursts lasts a long, long time. An abused child waits fearfully for the next outburst, afraid to say the wrong thing, afraid every time she sees the parent unhappy, waiting fearfully. So “little outbursts” are “a huge problem“!

    It is important that you and your girlfriend let her mother know that her outbursts must never happen again, not a single outburst, no screaming at her daughter, no calling her daughters names. Her abusive behavior toward her daughter must stop.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by anita.
    #330935
    buddhajackson
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    Wow, you’ve really given me a lot to think about here. I guess I was seeing my (future) mother-in-law’s reaction to our affection as abuse, especially after she called my fiance a wh***. I was worried it would make things worse — make my (future) mother-in-law feel like she can throw a tantrum and get her way with us — by giving in, but you’re right. I’ve been hurting my fiance in ways I didn’t see before.

    I really appreciate you taking such an in-depth look into this, even going back to look at my posts from years ago. In answer to your questions:

    -are you living with your girlfriend, away from her parents and yours? Yes, we have an apartment together that is several hours from either of our parents. We were living with her parents for a month or so (until the wh*** thing happened), then we scrambled to get our own place so we could be together in a better environment. We share a roommate and my fiance is in therapy 1x a week.

    -how often do you and your girlfriend visit her parents’ home, and for about how long is each visit? We usually visit her parents once a month or once every couple of months. It’s never longer than a week. We have a new rule not to stay more than two days because that’s usually when tension occurs for one reason or another.

    -is there a wedding planned or is the engagement open-ended, as in: sometime in the future, a year, a few years from now, we’ll get married? We’re getting married on Halloween this year (we’ll have been together for more than 2 years at that point).

    Do these answers add anything to your thoughts? If so, I would love to hear more from you.

    P.S. I don’t give my fiance hickeys anymore lol, it was just a stupid puppy love thing I did once before I realized how harmful they can be to the body

    #330939
    buddhajackson
    Participant

    If she verbally abuses you, then goes “I was abused” and never attempts to change this behaviour, it’s a toxic pattern you both need to step away from.

    She doesn’t user her abuse as a crutch, or even see anything wrong with her behavior. That’s the most irritating thing about the situation.

    Example: over Christmas, we stayed a few days with her family and a few days with mine. Her parents are trying to sell their house and didn’t tell us that anyone would be coming over to look at it (why would anyone do that on Christmas anyway?). She told us she wouldn’t even be going downstairs where we were staying and that we could leave it messy.

    Still, we cleaned the area we were staying in before leaving to be with my family — but it wasn’t “spotless.” So when people decided to come by the house, her mother sent her a ton of texts calling her an asshole, demanding an apology, and saying we weren’t welcome to stay the next night (which had been our plan). My fiance cried for half an hour, and when we returned to gather our things and they acted like nothing happened. It was infuriating and caused me to lose time with family that I hadn’t seen in over a year. But things like that happen with them every time we see them.

     

    Calmly talk with her, and explain why you need your space. You still love her, but until she starts working towards change, you cannot keep exposing yourselves to the pain.

    I’ve wanted to address it for a while now, but my fiance says she’s tried before. She says “my parents don’t hear what you’re saying, they hear that you’re disagreeing with them and that’s it.” My dad is the same way. Our plan for now is to just distance ourselves more, and my fiance is going to say something from now on when her mother calls her names. She’s also going to stop apologizing for things that aren’t her fault.

     

    Limiting your interactions with them is wise, going to therapy [your fiance, but also your mother in law] and all of you being open and understanding of each other’s struggles would be ideal.

    That’s the plan for now. I can’t afford therapy myself, but my fiance goes 1x per week and I try to do other things (exercise, mindfulness practice, etc). I do see my (future) mother-in-law improving in many ways — for example, she was once an alcholic and quit drinking shortly before I met her — and she is a great mother in many other ways. She’s even helped pay for some of my fiance’s therapy sessions. I know she wants to be better and I see a future where she has recovered more from her pain and will quit the name-calling / needless anger. In the meantime I guess we’re just taking it slow and trying to determine the best way to navigate it all without cutting ties, because I honestly don’t think that’s the solution in this case. If it were, I think (hope) her therapist would’ve suggested it.

     

    You don’t owe them anything. Work towards healing, they do seem like lovely people but don’t feel obligated.

    Thank you. I sincerely appreciate your time and advice. Good luck to you and your fiance!

    #330987
    anita
    Participant

    Dear buddhajackson:

    You are welcome and thank you for your words of appreciation. In your most recent post I read of another name your girlfriend’s mother called her, together I know of two names she called her, both are aggressive words. It doesn’t matter that her mother no longer drinks or that she improved in whatever way she did improve. Calling her daughter a name one time is one too many.

    There needs to be an ultimatum: your girlfriend and you, with the guidance of her therapist, need to let her mother know that the next time she calls her daughter a name, the next time she abuses her daughter (and be very specific of what this means, so that there is no ambiguity), there will be no visits and no contact whatsoever between the mother and her daughter or you.

    anita

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