Hello Dr. Buckingham,
My fiancé and I have been dating for four years. During this time, his mother has been highly over involved. After our first year, she sent him a text and email saying that marrying me will bring shame to the family and that he should leave me. This has led to some situations where I have gotten mad at my then boyfriend for putting his family ahead of our relationship.
One of the issues being that I wanted my mother to walk me down the isle and her (his mother) feeling that I am out of control because a normal person would have an uncle do it. This caused my family to not trust him and caused me to break up with him.
We finally got back together and in November of 2015 we got engaged. While planning the event and recalling the hurt his family has caused me, I decided to call his mother to talk to her woman to woman. But she took it as a challenge and got the rest of the family involved in trying to separate us.
As both Christians, I feel like his parents are playing with his mind because you can disagree with someone without dishonoring them…which is a topic I don’t feel like he understands. He talks about being hurt cause he is not with me and I feel the same way. And now, my family feels like they definitely can’t trust my safety and protection in our marriage because he cant stand up to his parents without them making him feel like he is dishonoring them.
I know he is the person I am supposed to be with and know without his parent’s interference we can be very successful. I want to know how to get this information to him without offending him or his family and without getting into my emotions. Sometimes this process and their involvement is overwhelming. And in the back of my mind, I know I shouldn’t have talked to his mom and just left things the way they were. My fiancé’s Parents Control Him, What Should I Do?
Dear Ms. Sad,
Some relationships are worth fighting for and some are not. You are experiencing a great deal of drama and have not gotten married yet. Your fiancé’s inability to separate his love for you from his loyalty to his parents will continue to problematic. I say this because he continually allows his parents to dictate the relationship path.
I often remind women to be cautious of marrying men who are externally motivated and influenced by others. I know that you feel that he is the one that you are “supposed” to be with, but I caution you to think about this. A man who does not have the ability to make sound decisions and take control of his own life, will not be capable of making sound decisions in his household.
If he cannot lead himself, he will not be able to be a leader in his home.
Family influence, especially parental influence, can destroy relationships if not managed properly. If his mother does not like you or feel that you are good for her son, you will be consumed by this and work diligently to prove her wrong. This behavior will cause you to be on edge all the time and negatively impact your relationship. Your fiancé has to take a stand and let his mother know that you are the woman that he chose. He has to let his mother know that his desire to respect her does not mean that he has to disrespect or lose you.
You are focusing on your fiancé’s parents, but the real problem is your fiancé. This is not your battle alone. You both must decide if getting married is healthy. Family involvement should never direct the heart of a woman or man, but unfortunately it does. When you marry an individual, you marry into their family. For some reason, people minimize or ignore this fundamental fact. How you deal with in-laws is a personal choice, but know that you will have to deal with them.
I remind couples that fighting is normal and occurs over time. However, if fighting is present during dating and the engagement phase, they should seriously consider their decision to marry. Love can propel you to marry, but it cannot keep you married. You must be realistic and develop the necessary skills to make marriage work and last. This means being able to successfully resolve and navigate through in-law drama.
Do not allow love to blind you. Love to thrive, not to survive. Please seek professional help if you desire to learn how to cope with in-law drama and plan to continue with marriage arrangements.
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