My Husband's Mother Is Very Dominating And He's Always Been Under Her Thumb. We've Only Been Married A Few Months But Already, I Can Feel The Presence Of The Problem. This Is Not A Typical Mother-in-law Matter As I Like Her Well Enough As A Person. But I'm Feeling A Bit Caught In The Middle. He Complains To Me All The Time That She Wants Him To Do Things For Her. I Tell Him He Should Be More Honest And Assertive But He Says It's Very Hard After A Lifetime's Pattern Of Just Giving In. When He Does Stand His Ground, I'm Sure She Thinks I'm Responsible For His New Attitude. Maybe Marriage Has Just Given Him The Courage To Stand Up More For Himself But I Feel That He And I Are Just Starting Out And I Don't Want This Cloud Over Our Lives. What Can I Do, If Anything?


13 Answers

Gillian Smith Profile
Gillian Smith answered
Your husband has shown that he can live his own life by the very fact that he married you.
This is a good start and you are doing the right thing by not de-crying his mother. It is a very delicate situation and you are right to encourage him to stand up for himself. If he treats his mother with respect and care but firmly makes his own decisions there's a good chance that you can resolve some of the problems at least. His mother may well see you as the cause of the problem, which of course you're not. If you like her as a person why not occasionally include her in some of the things you do - all Mothers like that.
You are quite right to try and solve the problem in the early days of your marriage as it might begin to dominate your relationship if you don't sort things out now.
Dipa Suresh Profile
Dipa Suresh answered
I understand how you must feel, and I also respect the fact that you treat your mother-in-law, another woman, with the respect that she deserves as a woman, and as the mother of your husband.
I also appreciate the fact that you are willing to wait, while at the same time trying to clear the air of unpleasantness when you are just starting out on your married life.
My advice is, do nothing!
Encourage your husband to stand up for his rights and assert himself.
I am sure your mother-in-law will appreciate it at a later time, and thank you for making a man out of her son!
All the Best!
1 Person thanked the writer.
Jan Jorgensen
Jan Jorgensen commented
Not many mothers can see that the girl that married their sons,
has added an iota, let alone a few inches in the height of their
sons....characters.....usually its because they themselves want
to act as if all the good this son accomplishes is their own
forte....themselves, like mothers who just pat themselves on the
Ashley Foster
Ashley Foster commented
Yes, I agree. It is often hard for a mother to realize that her son changes.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Oh man... This is the exact problem I'm having with the guy I'm dating and his grandma/dad. (His mom is great and I even call her mom) His dad tells him to do everything around the house... The lawn, the housework, anything you can imagine, and they both work the same number of hours. (we're both 20ish)

One night, my boyfriend took a walk to blow off some steam (his dad had given him a curfew because he worked at 7am and didn't feel he was responsible enough to wake up if he wasn't in the house by 10) because we had a slight fight, and I was at a party.... His dad had the nerve to call my cell phone (I was wasted) and tell me off for dan (my boyfriend) talking a walk at 10:30. He said something about him going to get drugs or something, (which in my town... And all the police... You don't take a "walk" and get drugs) and blamed it on me! So, of course, being plastered, I went off on him.

I told him that if he raised his son better he wouldn't be taking walks to get drugs (which I know he didnt do, just being wise) and he wouldn't need a curfew because he would have been taught more responsibility by you. So his dad goes off about how he didn't finish the back yard lawn leaves (his backyard is HUGE) I was like yea... About those... Why don't you ever pitch in? Instead of sitting on your computer...

Yea so you can pretty much imagine where this went. He understood that I was the one who put my foot down in the relationship. So christmas came along, his dad accused him of siphoning gas out of his car christmas eve night because a quarter tank was missing... I don't know... So dan was upset he said that in front of his family and refused to show up.
His grandma calls (his grandma has called the cops trying to find my address and still won't admit it, so I called her a pathological liar, and she's still mad about it) and asks if I will LET him come to christmas dinner... I said he doesn't want to. We eventually showed up(I talked him into it), I said dan wants an apology from his dad(this coming from dan's mouth, not mine)... He never got it of course. 

So the impression I was giving, because I put my foot down that one night is that I was holding their grandson/son hostage. When really, he was bawling his eyes out so much he couldn't even talk on the phone christmas day because his dad disgraced him in front of his whole family. I've never seen him cry like that. And his dad has said some nasty things about him in front of his family and I just sit there and give nasty looks to his dad. Luckily he has a nice uncle that I sit by who changes the subject when D_ick (his dad's name haha) starts getting nasty.

So now, I'm banned by his dad to see Dan(we took a 1 month break to make sure we wanted to be engaged), but his Grandma says to "be careful" now that we're back together. I can't imagine what they'll say when they find out we're engaged. 

Hopefully... This woman isn't like his dad, and more like Dan's Grandma... But eventually his dad will find out and he'll have to deal with it, and I'll tell him he'll have to deal with it, and he won't be invited to the wedding, no matter what Dan says. Maybe I'll send him an invitation so it gets to him a day after the wedding.

I really can't give you advice.. I can just give you hope. (you're not the only one)

******Keep putting your foot down******

You're not going to make her like you, aside from kissing her rear, and I know thats not what you want to do. So, sit back and be you.
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Francis Goatta
Francis Goatta commented
I read your whole answer - 3 times. If Your Boyfriend lives at home he Follows home rules. If Dad / Grandma own the house he follows the rules. If he doesn't like the house rules he could move out and rent/buy hi own home. Your situation and the questioners situation are MILES apart. You didn't answer you just tried to vent about a situation that by your own description places you at a low maturity level.
Aamir Riaz Profile
Aamir Riaz answered
I can figure out the fact from your narrative question that you and your husband are mentally matured enough to be married. I have always been the strong advocate that one should not be married unless he is mentally matured even if his physical age is above 40. Well you are through from this stage.

Now about the problem, if your husband is reluctant to do whatever his mother desires, this perplexes you that if you favour your mother in law, your husband might get angry or feel embarrassed and if you favour your husband you shall be the convicted person in the eyes of your mother in law.

This leaves you with an arrangement to cut yourself out of that involvement between the mother and son dispute. Clearly say to the both of the parties that you are not the person to decide and you are not the person to give advice. Extend a friendship attitude towards your mother in law above any respects. Tell her that you are impressed with whatever qualities you find in her and at the same time show your authoritative decision for your home. In the beginning ask suggestions from your mother in law but if you disagree you must validate your disagreement with strong points and if you agree then also validate your agreement with the equally strong points. This will put you as a logical person.

You should look after your home and family and should not involve yourself in those mother son arguments. Make your presence noticeable as the protector of your home and relationship with your immediate family. Regarding your husband and mother in law disagreements this will be sorted out by those two related, if you involve yourself in that dispute only you will be the loser.

She is threatened by your presence and relationship. She feels insecure with your presence this is the way you can eliminate her doubts.

Best of luck
There is nothing you can do. He is the only one who can change it. As long as she is not meddling in your marriage it is good. Never make him choose between you and her it only will hurt you. Let her become the bad guy by doing that. Believe I know from the past there is nothing you can do it is between them and if she makes him choose he will be likely to choose you and it will make you feel great but you do not want to be the one to make him do it he will regret it and hate you for it. Just tell him when he whines about her well it is your problem you put yourself there and you need to change it and eventually she will do something to make him really mad and he will tell her off and that will be that and she may think you did it but then he will set the record straight.
charmaine saunders Profile
Your letter indicates a very mature and balanced person. I don't think this problem is yours at all yet you're caught up in it. What you have advised your husband to do is absolutely correct but you can't make him do it if he's not yet ready. He will stand up to his mother when the time is right and in the meantime, you can only stay out of it as much as possible.
yvette Jones Profile
yvette Jones answered
You need to show your husband the passage in Genesis which clearly states, "for this reason a man shall LEAVE his father and mother, and cleave to his wife...whatever God has joined together LET NO MAN (MOTHERS TO), LET NO MAN PUT-ASUNDER. In other words, your mother should not be interfering. Continue to respect his mother, but speak to your husband about his responsiblities as a husband. The mother may be feeling that she's losing her son and the only way she can keep him is to call him over to do things for her. Tell him that sometimes he needs to say no mom not today. Unless it is life threatening she should not be interfering that much.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

LISTEN!  I have been married for close to 27 years and I have had a HORRIBLE mother in law!  Here is what you need to know:  The patterns you establish now are the patterns you will have to live with for the remainder of your married life with your husband.  I let my witch of a mother in law get away with crazy stuff early on because I just didn't know any better at the time.  I just was not assertive enough.  Looking back, I wish I had put my foot down right from the start.  You must get your husband on your side.  Make your husband the person who communicates with your mother in law.  NOT you.  After all, it is HIS mother, not yours.  Do not worry one tiny bit about what your mother in law thinks.  I mean it.  If you let her walk all over you now, what do you think it will be like in 10 to 20 years from now?  I PROMISE you, if you are not strong now, you will regret it later.  Make your husband take a clear stand for you and for your marriage.  And forget about being too nice to this woman.  I mean it.  She must accept that YOU are now the first person in her son's life.  That's right.  The wife comes first, not the mother.  It is her responsibility to accept that change that he is married and that you and your husband need time to establish what is important to you two as a couple.  Talk to your husband alone about what you are feeling.  It is always HIS responsibility to deal with his mother, NOT yours.  If something makes you feel uncomfortable, TELL him.  And ask him to keep your marriage private and sacred.  He does not need to tell his mother anything about your conversations ever.  Your relationship with your husband is the one that matters most.    You can be cordial with the mother in law, but your first loyalty is always to the marriage, yourself and your husband.  Remember what I am saying and you will save yourself YEARS of grief.  Be strong and claim your marriage and your rights NOW before it is too late.  Good luck.

Joy Ryder Profile
Joy Ryder answered

Do you and him live with his mother?  Is it her house?  If so you need your own place..  As for mom-n-law: why is she so focused on just her son?  

Isn't there other family? Or a significant other in life to help her do things like chores and errands or just be around for some companionship?  

How about her church as a help source? Is she in bad health? If so, there are agencies that can send qualified people to help her with household or personal care or even take her shopping or do errands. They even get paid for doing these things.

Molly Angel Profile
Molly Angel answered
Why don't you offer to do some of the things she asks your husband to do? That way you can see if it is reasonable for her to expect that she should have so much help, and it would give you more time to figure out how to deal with this in the long run. It's always best in a marriage to figure out how to be on the same side, rather than opposite sides of a problem!
Jojo A. Profile
Jojo A. answered

Her feelings are NOT your responsibility. It would behoove her to treat you right and get along with you.. Your husband and her need to figure it out for themselves, you CANNOT interfere. He can interfere if she treats you poorly though because that's his job as a husband, (FORSAKING ALL OTHERS) includes your mother in law on his priority list.

Maggie Lopes Profile
Maggie Lopes answered
You've been married a few months, but you are married and your Mom-in-law needs to accept this. Did she pitch a fight when you married? In my many years alive, the best answer to most is to be honest.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
I have been married for 10 yrs. And my mother in law buts in our financial and personal life. I have grown to hate her. My husband has his own business which she works at. I have my own full time job else where. She continuously tells us how to spend our money etc.... When i try to tell my husband that she has to butt out, he takes her side, telling me that she is old and i should egnore her. I cant... It is effecting our marriage. He cant understand why i get so upset. Why does he take her side and not mine.... I am at my whits end.. I cant keep going on like this....he talks to her about our financial problems, which is none of her business. Please give advice.
LeonaBanks Gray
LeonaBanks Gray commented
I think it's great that a son loves and cares for his mother the way he does. I hope and pray he NEVER changes that. Most women come on the scene and think they can knock the mother out of the box. He has a right to make sure his mother [the one who was there for him when he COULDN'T do for're there when he can do everything for HIMSELF. She put in all the hard work..not you] He should always make his mom a priority. If you don't like it or can't live with it, then get lost. There are plenty of great women waiting for a man who shows that type of love for their mothers...and I'm one of them. Beat it!!!!!
LeonaBanks Gray
LeonaBanks Gray commented
He should ALWAYS care for his mother the way that he does. Women come and go, but mom will always be there.

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