A Bit Of Turbulence
Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 1, 2002
I'm a 26-year-old flight attendant engaged to be married in 10 weeks. Our wedding reception was to be held in a marquee in my in-laws' garden. On Saturday night my future mother-in-law flipped out at my fiancé for wanting to marry me.
On Sunday she verbally attacked me at their house. This woman, who is very unhappy with her husband, claims I am used goods, a gold digger, and not good enough for her son. My future father-in-law doesn't say much, as he can't handle his wife, but everyone else is happy for us.
I have one disadvantage in that I met my fiancé through his youngest brother, who I dated briefly. Since we did not see any future in the relationship, we stayed friends. My fiancé, a lawyer, loves me very much and thanks his brother for introducing us!
I come from a close loving family and find this very difficult. We've been engaged eight months, and everything seemed to be going well. I don't know what to do about our wedding. My fiancé would like to try for a reconciliation, but I don't know if I can forgive her after a scene full of such hatred.
Marissa, as a flight attendant, you must have dealt with many angry, unhappy people. A delay at the ticket counter, a business deal gone awry, and you became a target.
Your prospective mother-in-law is a bitter woman. She knows you are in no position to retaliate. You are like the employee of a business who must control her tongue before a rude customer. Only the owner of the business is free to say, "Go somewhere else!"
Usually we recommend being forthright in stating feelings lest the person making the scene be allowed to win. However, in this case it may not be necessary. Everyone knows what the situation is.
When you are around this woman, you can use the pleasant manner you use at work, play deaf, or give simple, factual responses. The most important thing is this. Your future mother-in-law must understand she is not the deciding factor in whether you marry her son. The sooner she understands she has no power to stop this, the better.
You must also be prepared to move the wedding to another location, even at the last moment, if that becomes necessary. In one way, this situation is an excellent opportunity. It is a chance for your fiancé to demonstrate he is free from his mother's apron strings and ready to take a wife.
Wayne & Tamara
A Dubious Admission
Please explain my wife's actions if you can. In 10 years of marriage we overcame many obstacles and roadblocks. Perhaps the largest one was my inability to come clean to my wife when I may have erred. Finally I took the major step forward she pleaded for so long.
Should I not feel anger when she says now it's over and done with? Isn't this a case where the best thing is to let her go and get on with my life?
Lewis, you're right. The best thing is to let her go and get on with your life. The saying which fits is "too little, too late."
When you noticed some subtle change in your wife, unconsciously you knew she'd left the relationship emotionally, though she hadn't left physically. Only when she was halfway out the door could you admit you "may" have erred.
You wouldn't change until it came down to your last chance, and you are mad she didn't warn you time was up. But the truth is if she wasn't leaving, you wouldn't consider change. If now she stayed, you'd think change was unnecessary.
If you can't admit you're wrong, if you can't say you're sorry, chances are your life will repeat itself. When we can't admit our mistakes, the same mistakes keep happening.
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
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