Dear Annie: My fiance’s mother has a rocky relationship with both of her sons. We see her infrequently, but still, my fiance loses his patience with her quickly.
At first I was OK with her, but now she annoys me, as well. She brags about things, pleads to get her way, plans visits without checking with us, is sensitive to being told no or to anything she perceives as criticism, and is very demanding. She also recently pulled a childish trick. When my fiance told her no repeatedly, she simply called me to plead her case, knowing I am uncomfortable saying no.
She is in her late 60s and continues to blame her actions on a rocky childhood. My mother says to just be polite to her, which I try hard to do. But now that she is in my home for a week, conversations with her are impossible, and I feel I need to walk away. She has a psychiatric disorder, although I am not sure of the diagnosis. My fiance’s grandmother indicates it is schizophrenia, so I don’t want to push her too far.
We are getting married soon at a courthouse. During this unplanned and uninvited trip, she said it is too expensive for her and my fiance’s father to travel to see us get married. I am fine with this, but my fiance is upset that his parents do not care enough to make it work. They can afford the airline tickets.
I think it is my fiance’s place to explain his hurt feelings to them. Do I continue to be polite about it? I am currently working long hours to avoid being in my home while she is visiting. Is there a better way to handle this? – Z.
Dear Z.: Yes, please continue to be polite. We recognize that his mother’s behavior is difficult, but you see her infrequently, so try to tolerate her as best you can for your fiance’s sake. He obviously cares a great deal about his parents. He should tell them how important it is to him that they attend the wedding, but he cannot control their response. We hope they will make the effort to be there, and we hope you will be supportive without commiserating too much.