In-law problems

I’ve been having trouble with my boyfriend’s family these last few months. For no reason, they won’t accept me as their son’s girlfriend and it’s actually very hurtful. His mother especially, doesn’t seem to like me at all. She acts as if nothing in wrong in front of her son, but when he’s not around she tells me that her son doesn’t deserve someone who doesn’t love him and that I should leave him… I don’t understand why she thinks this way because he is my world and I love him very much. 

My boyfriend’s brother has a girlfriend that is actually more accepted, respected and loved than I am. I’m really confused and very sad, it actually feels like I am the bad person here. Whatever I do to show her that I love her son is never appreciated by her.

My boyfriend doesn’t talk to his mother about this as his comments are that “nothing is wrong” but I feel like everything is. The fact is that I don’t know what to do about this situation, please help me as I don’t know what to do!!! 

Dear Miss X

I would be truly perplexed too in your situation. You seem like an honest and reasonable person so feeling attacked for no apparent reason would be even more hurtful. You have no control over the mentality and behaviour of other people, however, you can take certain ‘strategic’ steps to manage them if they are going to be effecting you.

First of all distance yourself from this situation emotionally by recognising that these people must have some insecurity or chip on their shoulder that they’re taking out on you. The problem isn’t you. Otherwise after a while it will feel that you are the bad person even though you know rationally that it’s not the case. These instances make us even more grateful for the people in our lives who genuinely love and respect us so do bolster yourself with friends and family who make you feel good. Spending more time than usual with them at this time will reinforce to you that you are indeed lovable and that the way your boyfriend’s family are treating you is only a reflection of whatever’s going on with them. The perfect excuse for some extra hugs!

As for dealing directly with the hostility you are receiving, you may want to try different ways of going about it, depending on what would suit your personality too. You can try keeping your composure, letting nasty comments fall on deaf ears, let them bounce right off you, and without making it seem like you’re trying too hard to please them, just be your usual gracious self without reacting. Perhaps you might make the occasional nice gesture towards them every now and then too. (You can punch a pillow or play a game of voodoo darts later). This may neutralise the situation and you will grow on them.

If you would rather simply get to the bottom of it and take the direct approach you can ask outright why your boyfriend’s mother thinks you don’t love him. It may be that she is being overly protective of him, maybe she thinks you’re of a higher intellectual or social level than him/them, or that you’re way too good-looking for him and you will be capricious with his emotions. Transferring her insecurities onto her son’s relationships is unproductive, obviously, so try to be understanding and patient. Do your best to assuage her insecurity without letting her get to you. Be the better person if this is the case.

I’m guessing your boyfriend is embarrassed by his mum’s behaviour towards you which is why it may look like he’s hiding his head in the sand. In any case, it would be nice for you to get some support by way of validation and by being able to talk openly about this problem with your boyfriend so you wouldn’t have to deal with it on your own. You may want to bring this to his attention. Also, this may set the precedent for other situations you may encounter with him in the future. You have the opportunity here to learn about his personality. Good luck and chin up!

What’s your opinion?  Comment in the box below.