Partners tussle over drunken mother
Dear Amy: My partner and I have been together for almost three years. Over the course of this time, I've come to know his family (and he, mine). While I understand that no one is perfect, it seems to me that my partner's mother has had it in for me since we met.
Every time I go home with him, she ends up drunk-fighting with my boyfriend about our relationship. She has told him that I'm disrespectful and rude. She says that I have no personality. She's yelled at me, told me I'm not good enough for her son and kicked us out of her house because we didn't want to get drunk with her.
I always thank her for her hospitality. I help with dishes every morning, afternoon and evening. I clean up after myself, speak to her the way I would anyone else and follow the rules she's put in place.
We've begun to talk about starting a family. When the topic of his mother came up, he said that if I wanted our children to see his mother, that was fine -- but if I didn't, my partner was OK with that, too. I feel conflicted.
While I understand that his mum might change, I also don't want to put my children in an environment where their grandmother disrespects their mother. Either way, I feel like in the end, I'm the monster.
-- Helpless Monster-in-law
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Dear Helpless: Don't overdramatize your role as a "monster" here. This whole dynamic existed before you came into the fold; you are collateral damage.
How do I know this? The phrase "drunk-fighting."
If you have been a guest in a household where the host is drunk, mean and disrespectful, you should stay away from that household until you have some realistic hope that the dynamic has changed.
This is your partner's mother, and you should be as supportive as you can be in terms of his relationship to her. If he wants to spend time with her, you should encourage him to do so, but you should only accompany him if you have a getaway plan in place.