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Setting Boundaries With Future Mother-in-Law

Group Therapy: How Do I Tell My Future Mother-in-Law "No"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I recently got engaged to my fiancé, and I am incredibly happy. I have been having a great time planning with my fiancé, and my parents are also helping a lot. His mother is excited about the engagement too, and she is eager to help me plan. The issue I am having is she made some comments that made me think she expects to be invited to go pick out the dress.

Now, going to pick out my wedding dress is something that I have always wanted to be a special moment with just me and my mom. No bridesmaids, no maid of honor — just the two of us. I have been involving her in other things. For example, she came with me and my fiancé and parents to go look at venues, and I invited her to go to a bridal show in a couple of weeks.

My question is — should I let her know that I want dress shopping to be just me and my mom or just go and not tell her or what? I would be happy to let her come for fittings, but the initial trip I just want my mom.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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Lenay Lenay 5 years
I'm going to guess that the mother of the groom is a woman without any daughers of her own. (As the mother of only boys, I mourn the fact that I will never get to plan a wedding.) I like the idea of taking her to lunch to break it to her that you consider picking out the dress strictly a mother/ daughter thing. Is it possible that she could help out in some other capacity? Picking out flower arrangements? Table settings for the reception? Decorating the chapel? Arranging the catering?
Lenay Lenay 5 years
I'm going to guess that the mother of the groom is a woman without any daughers of her own. (As the mother of only boys,I mourn the fact that I will never get to plan a wedding.)I like the idea of taking her to lunch to break it to her that you consider picking out the dress strictly a mother/ daughter thing. Is it possible that she could help out in some other capacity? Picking out flower arrangements? Table settings for the reception? Decorating the chapel? Arranging the catering?
inlove23 inlove23 5 years
I would go without telling her personally. She doesn't have to involved in every part of your wedding! If she brings it up I would say you wanted to bond with your mom, or if you want to lie say t was a spur of the moment thing (even though most need an appointment. lol). I also agree that you have to set the foundation now because you don't want her controlling you for the rest of your life!
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
I have a slightly different idea, with due respect. Make a big deal out of telling her. Take her out to lunch and tell her something's been weighing really heavy on you and you don't know how to tell her. Then just be really honest and tell her about what you'd dreamed about with your mom. Say you'd been so afraid of hurting her you didn't know what to do. She'll be so relieved to hear you aren't jilting her boy or eloping to Vegas, she'll wave the problem away and give you her support. ;)
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
I have a slightly different idea, with due respect. Make a big deal out of telling her. Take her out to lunch and tell her something's been weighing really heavy on you and you don't know how to tell her. Then just be really honest and tell her about what you'd dreamed about with your mom. Say you'd been so afraid of hurting her you didn't know what to do.She'll be so relieved to hear you aren't jilting her boy or eloping to Vegas, she'll wave the problem away and give you her support. ;)
GregS GregS 5 years
I'd tell her something to the effect that you had always dreamed of shopping for the dress with just you and your mom, but you'd be happy to model it for her when you pick it up. Then ask her for "something borrowed" unless you already have that covered.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 5 years
Yes, yes, yes to what others have said. Set the tone with her now or else you are setting yourself up for years of her being more involved than you want in your lives. Trust me. I am in a situation now where I tried to be nice in the beginning and now I'm stuck with a MIL who won't take no for an answer and is constantly in our business.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
Agree with Asia and gingirl. You need to set the tone for your relationship with her early on, or else she might think you're a pushover and then try to involve herself more into your lives than you want. I am not saying she is a bad person, but you are marrying her baby boy,and some of these women can be really pushy.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
Agree with Asia and gingirl. You need to set the tone for your relationship with her early on, or else she might think you're a pushover and then try to involve herself more into your lives than you want. I am not saying she is a bad person, but you are marrying her baby boy,and some of these women can be really pushy.
gingirl gingirl 5 years
Well, I guess it depends on how you think she'd react. If you think she'd have a meltdown or some such nonsense if you did the grown up thing and explained to her that this was always going to be a special mother-daughter time, just go without telling her. But if she's been mature about most other things and you think she can handle it, tell her nicely about it. Because she'll probably be hurt if she finds out after the fact that you went with just your mom. Maybe you could invite her to the first fitting, without your mom, if that'll make her feel better.I agree with the above poster though. You might want to start setting a foundation with her now, because it'll get a lot harder down the road. Good luck and congrats on your engagement!
gingirl gingirl 5 years
Well, I guess it depends on how you think she'd react. If you think she'd have a meltdown or some such nonsense if you did the grown up thing and explained to her that this was always going to be a special mother-daughter time, just go without telling her. But if she's been mature about most other things and you think she can handle it, tell her nicely about it. Because she'll probably be hurt if she finds out after the fact that you went with just your mom. Maybe you could invite her to the first fitting, without your mom, if that'll make her feel better. I agree with the above poster though. You might want to start setting a foundation with her now, because it'll get a lot harder down the road. Good luck and congrats on your engagement!
Asia84 Asia84 5 years
Hell, just tell her up front. I mean, you CAN just do what you want, but I don't know your MIL to predict how much of an a*s she'll act if she found out after the fact. This is your soon-to-be husbands mom. If she's remotely crazy, she'll be chapped about this 10 Thanksgivings from now. So it's best to talk to her when you get a chance and tell her straight up what you told us. You'll run into the same thing when you have kids later. You're gonna want your hubby and your mom in the room (usually a 2 person limit). She would come 3rd. Might as well set the precedent now as oppose to buying a smooth things out gift later. Good Luck!
Asia84 Asia84 5 years
Hell, just tell her up front. I mean, you CAN just do what you want, but I don't know your MIL to predict how much of an a*s she'll act if she found out after the fact. This is your soon-to-be husbands mom. If she's remotely crazy, she'll be chapped about this 10 Thanksgivings from now.So it's best to talk to her when you get a chance and tell her straight up what you told us. You'll run into the same thing when you have kids later. You're gonna want your hubby and your mom in the room (usually a 2 person limit). She would come 3rd. Might as well set the precedent now as oppose to buying a smooth things out gift later.Good Luck!
Rjs-baby-girl Rjs-baby-girl 5 years
Since she didn't directly ask you to come, I think you should just go according to your initial plan and not tell your MIL about it. Like popgoestheworld said, if she says something after, you can explain your feelings about it and if she is reasonable she will understand.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 5 years
I would just make plans with your mom to go dress shopping. If your future MIL seems hurt about it, just make a comment about how you've been dreaming about shopping for a dress with your mom for as long as you can remember. Anyone reasonable will understand that. And here's hoping you have a reasonable future mother-in-law...
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