Ask #staymarried: My future mother-in-law hates me. What should I do?

Ask #staymarried - advice on marriage, love, and relationships

Hello Tony and Michelle, I hope you are both well.

In November 2013, my fiancee’s mother began a one woman campaign against me. She sent a nasty email and made phone calls trying to get my partner to leave me. For the last year, we have argued non-stop. When his mother made those calls, he let her carry on for hours at a time and did not once defend me or tell her to stop. I felt and still feel abandoned.

We are getting married in 2015 and told our friends and family in August the date. His parents waited until his birthday in November to let him know that they were not coming. Our fights have become vicious and we do not know what to do. He cannot see how much he let me down and I feel attacked from all sides. 

Can you give me any advice?



Dear Olivia,

In the wise words of the philosopher Liz Lemon, “That’s a dealbreaker, Ladies.”

I am devastated to hear that any mother would so vehemently come between her son and his intended. While, on the one hand, it does make me wonder what her issue is with you, I can see that it really doesn’t matter. The real problem is the way your fiancee has handled this situation. Let me tell you a little story…

In the early days of this blog, my own mother-in-law came across a post that was written a bit tongue-in-cheek. She misunderstood and thought I was truly speaking negatively about her son, my husband. She responded with a comment not only defending him to me (which was clearly unnecessary given the massive crush I have on him) but making horrible statements and accusations about me and the family I grew up in. I read her words and through sobbing tears could not bring myself to tell Tony what was wrong or why I was crying. All of my hunches about my mother-in-law not liking me were proving valid and I was heartbroken.

I let Tony read the blog comment for himself and before I could even talk it through with him, he excused himself to the other room, and called his mother on the phone. I stood on the other side of the bedroom door listening the entire time as he… well… “passionately” told her he would not stand for his wife being so insulted or mistreated. She attempted to explain herself, and though he listened, he ultimately told his mother that he would not speak to her again until she apologized to me directly.

There is nothing more admirable... #staymarriedIn that moment, I felt more loved than I could ever have imagined. I would never have asked my husband to defend me to his mother, I know how close they are, but it turns out I really needed it. We all do.

When a couple gets married, there is a natural breaking away from their family of origin. While we may love our own parents, it is natural and even necessary for us to bond more tightly with our spouse than we ever were with our own mother and father. Our marriage depends on it. If there is not complete loyalty, if there is ever a question that one partner or another is more attached to their parent than they are to their spouse, the marriage is already in trouble.

In your case, you aren’t even married yet. So, I say, cut your losses. It may be embarrassing to tell your friends and family that the wedding is off, but the embarrassment you feel will pale in comparison to the devastation of living in a marriage where you always question your worth to your husband and someday file for divorce. If your fiancee has no reason to defend you now, if he doesn’t feel compelled to come to your aid, and if he is more inclined to fight with you over these things, it’s not likely to change just because you have a big ceremony. Once they become your in-laws, your problems with them will only get bigger.

Count yourself lucky that he has shown you this side of himself before you committed your lives to one another. Do the hard work of breaking it off now so that you don’t have to pick up the pieces of your life later.

With so much love,


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The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

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We are not therapists, doctors, lawyers, or any other type of trained experts so what we write is not to be taken as fact or prescription. We always recommend you seek professional help when it is needed. The opinions shared here are our own and do not reflect any business or organization unless explicitly stated. We will not be held liable for any negative outcomes that arise from taking our advice since we are, well, just a blog. Use your own wisdom and discretion and feel free to completely disagree with us. We won’t be offended.

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarried

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like some of these from our archives:
How to Find Your Soulmate in 5 Easy Steps
25 Things To Do Before the Wedding
♥ 2 Steps to a Better Fight

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~ Michelle


3 thoughts on “Ask #staymarried: My future mother-in-law hates me. What should I do?

  1. Please don’t tell her to cut her losses! Some men need to be taught that it’s OK to stand up to their mothers.

    My husband didn’t defend me to his mom at all and after we had our first baby, things got really bad. But then, my husband learned that it’s OK to stand up to his mom and it’s his job to do that, and after that, he put her in her place and all was well.

    Before you give up, just tell him this: “It’s your job to stand up to your mom to defend me. Even if you don’t realize that, it is. A happy marriage is possible but it is on you. It’s not on me.”

    1. Hey PJ, I am glad to hear you and your husband worked out those tricky communication issues. I think, however, the game-changer is that he’s your husband, not your boyfriend. The whole point of dating and engagement is to find out if the person you are with is someone you can share a life with… so if he’s an ass now, why on earth would you hitch your wagon to that, well, ass? Sounds like Olivia has asked her soon-to-be husband to stand up for her, and he’s told her through his actions that he won’t. So, dump his, well, you know.

  2. I thought this was one of the cutest things ever to do on an anniversary. 🙂 I Got You Babe cover on Youtube 😛 Who loves their spouse this much?

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