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DearSugar Needs Your Help: Should We Proceed?

DearSugar and Not Liked Nancy need your help. She has been with her boyfriend for five years now and his parents still don't approve of her. They are planning on moving in together and getting married this year, but the disapproval of his parents is putting a real damper on their happiness. What can they do to all get along?
Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for nearly five years and have been talking about getting engaged in the next month or so and moving in together. We're ecstatic to take this next step and so are all of our friends. Here is the obstacle: his parents don't like me. When we first started dating, they disapproved of me for really superficial reasons: they felt I was too "aggressive," they didn't like that I came from a single parent family, and they feel like I'm inherently not good enough for him. After the rocky start (of about a year), I believed we had made progress and his parents were warming up to me. His mother was always very nice to me, said a lot of positive things about me to my boyfriend and her friends, and asked fairly often when we'd get married. However, my boyfriend recently called her to tell her about these developments and she seemed taken aback, shocked, and displeased. I can only imagine how his dad will react, given that he has always liked me less than his mom. I get the impression that he's always assumed my boyfriend would have found someone else better by now.

We both come from a very family oriented background so having parental approval is something that's important to both of us. Unlike his family, mine has always loved and embraced my boyfriend wholeheartedly and can't wait for us to marry. While he is less concerned with having his parents' complete approval, it means a lot to me. I was reduced to tears after he told me about his conversation and her reaction made me feel as if my family and I would never be good enough for his. I don't want to start off my relationship with them as in-laws on the wrong foot, but at the same time, if they honestly have so many reservations about me, I'm tempted to just say "screw them" and go on with my life. I just don't know what to do. My boyfriend isn't letting their opinions affect our relationship, but I can't help but take their viewpoint to heart. Does anyone have any advice for me?


TASTEthiss TASTEthiss 9 years
I'm not sure if having a sit-down with his parents will work for you. It sounds as if they are pretty set in their ways. There's a huge possibility they will NEVER like you. And guess what? That's perfectly fine. I would just watch out for one *red flag*. There is a difference between not letting their opinions effect how he treats you and not doing anything at all. - If your boyfriend does NOT make an effort to solve the problem - or if he allows his parents to continuously cross the line without coming to your defense.. THEN i would have to say -- run. - If he seems like a mama's boy who is afraid to put mommy in her place whenever she is wrong... walk in the other direction. Otherwise be prepared for a lifetime of infiltration from your in-laws. Because regardless if you like each other or not.. you all become family after you say "i do". Now, if he is supportive, loving and sticks by your side (and defense) then dont let your future in-laws get in the way!! You are about to start your own wonderful family and life together. And that means you (the wife) comes first. Not mommy and daddy. His parents have to decide if they will be mature enough to deal with that. Especially considering they dislike you for reasons beyond your control. Talk to him and make sure HE works that out with his parents. And while hes busy doing that, you go pick out a really fab gown!! good luck
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
*their...ugh sorry, I'm too tired.
bellydancinmary bellydancinmary 9 years
I know parent approval is important, but this is YOUR life and your BOYFRIEND's life, not their's; they already lived their's. They aren't living YOUR life, YOU are, so they're opinion is important, but ultimately, you and your boyfriend are going to be the ones making this decision on marriage and your lives. Your boyfriend needs to step up and talk to his parents and tell them that he wants you in his life for the rest of his life. If they are going to be his parents, they will have to accept that.
cittypark cittypark 9 years
it's so sad that his parents can't see that their dislike is based on things that you ultimately have NO control over (like the single fam issue). you and your fiancee are grown adults, who can make decisions without any parents involved. you are marrying each other, not them. sadly, you will just have to do without their support bc they are acting like children. if they haven't like you up until now, what makes you think they will change their minds? move on :) and why isn't your bf putting in more effort to resolve the issue? it is HIS parents. GOOD LUCK<3
girlfriday girlfriday 9 years
While I agree with the posters that yes, this is about your relationship with your boyfriend, I truly believe that when you get married, you marry the family too. Because if you have kids, you will have to deal with his parents - they will be your children's grandparents. You'll have to see them on birthdays and holidays etc. I don't think you should talk to the mother in law. Your boyfriend should take the lead. They are HIS parents. He needs to BE A MAN and talk to his parents and tell them they don't like the way they are treating you, and if he is going to accept you as his wife, then they must too. I hear this all the time about women dealing with their mothers in law and the husbands are just too much of a pansy to step in. They are his parents, and he needs to handle this.
petite42 petite42 9 years
I think this is about the relationship between your boyfriend and his parents, and not about your relationship with them. I would encourage you to take a step back and allow him to work on his own relationship with them. Do not bend over backwards trying for their approval. All that does is give them no reason to work on the relationship with their son. He needs to stand up to his folks and tell them that if they don't accept you (graciously and truly - not begrudgingly), then they will have very little contact with him, because he's chosen you as his family, and will not stand by seeing you in pain over this. They need to respect you and realize you are his first loyalty now. He needs to tell them, "If you love me, you love her too - we're a package deal." Good luck!
When you two get married, ya'll are your own family. I think a lot of people seem to forget that, what with all the divorce going on today. I mean, do your parents still ask their mom and dad for their approval on everything? I would hope not, as that would make for a horrible life. If you are not asking for their financial support, then it doesn't matter what they think of ya'lls relationship. There will always be someone who doesn't approve!
BeautiJunki BeautiJunki 9 years
From someone who has been in the same place with my father law, you just have to focus on your relationship with your boyfriend because that is the person you took many years for him to come around. My husband and I just married in September and I have the beautiful Moroccan glasses in a beautiful rosy hew and for our wedding gift his father gave us an beautiful moroccan tea set in the same rosy hew, which I now is his way of accepting me into his family (cuz my husband has zero interest in a rosy tea set) and he is excited for the future with grandchildren. So keep your faith in your love and they will come around because if you're important to their son they will get it!
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
If you boyfriend still loves you more than anything, and he doesn't let his parents' mean opinions of you get in the way of his love, then forget them. I mean, don't be nasty and make their lives miserable, but don't stress yourself about how to gain their approval. Some people are close-minded, and maybe with more time, they'll come to their senses. Nothing should ruin a good love (like people outside the two of you), especially ignorance. :)
whitefox whitefox 9 years
Oh my, you have recieved a lof of good advice here (da*m, I snapped my fingers in the air at GlowingMoon's comment! LOL). Do the talk, but really, really rehearse what you're going to say. Have your fiance there - you will need the witness! The in-laws can make life miserable and even decay your relationship. I had a similiar problem with my long-term boyfriend. I am the creative, glam-type, but quite intelligent as well. However, his mother, particuarlly, couldn't quite get past the blonde hair and large breasts. It was a shame, because the more I tried to engratiate myself, the more foolish I felt - and likely looked. I was so nice and did everything I could at family gatherings, but they still never really gave me a chance. My now ex-boyfriend usually stood up for me, but after the years it became an issue with him. His need for approval from his mother tainted our relationship. It seems to me that you have a great guy who loves you no matter what his family thinks. He is willing to commit to you. If he has been this great, this long and is willing to go the distance with you, I don't understand the problem. You and he need to hold on to each other, rely on each other and that is all that matters. When (If) you have children things will change. My sister had the MIL from hell, but when she had their first child, it was as if there was never any bad blood! The MIL came even came over and helped with laundry!! Go figure!! Congratulations! Don't worry! Be Happy - BE CONTENT - BE APPRECIATIVE. Some people never find what you already have (that goes for him, too!)
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
what do you need their approval for? seriously, if these people lived across the street from you would you seek their approval? what's the saying: people can only make you feel inferior if you let them. their son loves YOU. if you get married you won't have the norman rockwell family dinners but you will still have a family and be married to the man you love. if you are always looking for approval you will be frequently dissapointed. live your best life, not someone elses.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
You've received some really good advice so far. Personally, if I were you, I would accept that they don't like me, and that's it. You can't change someone else's opinion, only she or he can. Truthfully, I think your future in-laws are being very foolish to alienate you. Come on, their son wants to marry you. His heart belongs to you, and he's loyal to you. You will be the future mother of their grandchildren. You are in a position of power. If they want a good relationship with their son (and future grandchildren), they need to be on your good side. They shouldn't f*ck with you. Yes, their approval is important, but honey, you're not powerless. Your approval OF THEM matters, too. You're a matriarch in your own right.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Just screw them. You've been with your boyfriend for 5 years, and he's very supportive of you. You don't have to see the in-laws every single day (probably only during the holidays and birthdays and such) so don't try to force something you can't change. I mean, by all means, have a chat with the future MIL, but don't expect anything to come out of it. If anything, it could make things worse. They'll eventually get over it. And if they don't...its their loss!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
after 5 years of them not liking you, you're still upset?! they will NEVER like you. you have to face that possibility. maybe once you have their grandchild, but if someone has a strong opinion, it's kinda hard to change that. i don't know you or them, so i don't know what the real reason is. but it is what it is. all i can say is give it time. if you try to make them like you, it will only make things worst. but i'm kinda curious as to why you fiance is telling you all of this negative stuff if he knows it will upset you so much. if it didn't bother him, it seems like he would protect you from the harsh welcome, or lack there of.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
I wouldn't even try to meet and discuss this with the MIL - doesn't seem like it would help any. Continue to be civil and polite to his family, but otherwise ignore their disapproval. Not all Mother-in-Law - Daughter-in-Law relationships are going to be picture-perfect. You've already tried with them, it hasn't really changed anything. You can't control other people, you can only control your reaction to them. Maybe they'll come around eventually, but until then, work on not letting it bother you so much. Go see a counselor if you need help in learning how to change your reaction to them.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
What exactly do you need approval for? Not everyone will believe what you believe and sometimes you have to accept that. Are you going to break up with him because they don't approve? What if he does that to you?
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I think you should follow your boyfriends lead your not always going to do things that your family or friends approve of and it sounds like you are living your life that way. No wonder your miserable. You can try to talk to them but I wouldn't expect things to really change that much. It is their loss not yours.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 9 years
The important thing here is that you and him love each other. His parents will realize that one day. Ultimately they love their son and want his happiness so they will see how much he loves you and how you two care for one another. Just treat them with respect and show how much you love their son and that you're a good person and they will see for themselves how wrong they are about you.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
kudos to ur man for not caring about his parents' opinion and sticking by u. u must know this means alot! i cant even tell u how many girls were left after years by men who were head over heels for them just cuz mama said no. good luck =)
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Exactly as the others said...MEET with her! She is going to be your mother-in-law and you don't want that tension. If you sit down and express to her how much you love her son and that you want a family and how important it is that you and her share a relationship, she will see your initiative and maybe realize that her preconceptions of you are quite false. She will respect not only that you came to her yourself, but that you want to have that connection with her. If you sit back and let him do the fighting for you, or just let it all go with nothing being said, it will be detrimental to your relationship with your boyfriend/fiance/husband, and eventually on the kids that you will have! Let her know you are genuine and allow her to see the real you. It can be very nerve wracking, so try to pick a place that you feel very comfortable, since the conversation probably won't be:) But get it over with and then bam, it's done and never has to be dealt with again! then either you will be able to have that bond with her, or she will continue to not like you (though unlikely, unless you just come across so very pompous) but at least you will know that you have done all that you can. Remember you are taking away her son, and she wants the best for let her know that's you!
bonchicbongenre bonchicbongenre 9 years
I'm in a very similar situation with my boyfriend of four years, so I know how much it can hurt when someone disapproves of your relationship. The important thing to remember is that you did nothing wrong, and it is THEIR issue, not yours. Keep in mind that when someone dislikes you for no substantal reason, it is often a result of some sort of deep-seeded issue within themselves and not a reflection of you. The best advice I can give you is to hold your head high and not let it affect you or your relationship. As I previsouly said, I am in a very similar situation and it used to really upset me. To make matters worse, not only do his parents disapprove, but they are openly hostile towards me. I used to complain to my boyfriend about how poorly his family treated me, but that only resulted in him denying that they were mean or making him defensive. I finally realized that to him, his family and thier behavior was normal. Like you, I was lucky enough to grow up in a very welcoming and loving family. Unfortuntely, not every family is like that. Keep in mind, that if another girl was in your shoes, they would probably treat her the same way. I used to go out of my way to try and make his parents like me, but to no avail. Then I realized that their issue was not really with me, but within themselves. No amount of kindess on my behalf would change that - only a trip to the shrink would! So while I am still polite to them, I no longer go out of my way to please them and I do not let thier opinion get me down. So hold your head up and celebrate your engagment! This is your time!
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
Hang in there. I had to go through this with my in laws also, mostly from my MIL. They did not think I was good enough & probably still don't. It was a very rough & rocky first 10 years or so, with them. (We have been together for 21 years, the last 13 of them being married.) There were a few times that I wanted to leave, because of the in law's nasty ways, but I'm glad I stayed & married him. My husband is a great guy & not at all like them. As long as your boyfriend supports you, it will be fine. (That is, he sticks up for you to them.) You'll be marrying him, not the parents. It does hurt that someone, especially his parents, don't like you. However, once you accept that you are only in control of yourself & that you might not be able to change their minds, you will stop worrying about their opinions. I know I did. Just don't stoop to their level & don't let them break your spirit. They are only two people, in what sounds like a big family of people that care for you. Good luck to you.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Maybe a meeting, where you composedly tell them that you feel that they are unsupportive, and you feel like they don't like you; and ask if there is something you need to do to make them more comfortable(even if you want to say f#!* off) with your fiancees choice. Just try to be diplomatic, and calm. Otherwise it will do more harm than good. And don't write a letter or email, it can really go the wrong way, I know from experience with my own family. It's not your responsibility to do this, or make them like you, but it might help if you are still trying. Otherwise, remember that you are not who they think you are, and that you have your family, friends and future husband that loves you exactly for who you are. Try to let it go, and spend time and energy on positive things instead. Maybe they would have disliked most girls, and not just you. Some families don't deal well with newcomers who aren't exactly like them, but that is not your fault. So put them low on the list of people you care what think about you, and have a happier life.
sunnyheart sunnyheart 9 years
I would not leave a wonderful relationship over this, especially because you said he isn't letting it affect your relationship. But I understand your concerns, since "you marry the whole family." When you get engaged, try again with his parents. Ask your mother-in-law-to-be if she would be willing to go out to lunch with you to help you with the wedding plans (she was excited about the idea at some point, yes?). The groom's mother is notoriously left out of plans, and she may be just nervous about losing her son to you. At lunch tell her honestly how much you would like her to support your new family. She might not really realize how much it's upsetting you. Give her the benefit of the doubt and a chance to come around...she's going to be in the picture anyways, so what can it hurt to try honey instead of vinegar?
richandfamous10 richandfamous10 9 years
One of my friends - her boyfriend broke up with her after 6 years together, because his parents didn't approve. It was because she came from a different cultural background. Now he is coming around, after 7-8 months, saying he'll fight for her, but she has already lost feelings for him... I think it's great your boyfriend is supportive, and that you care even more than him to be on good terms with his parents. The thing is time - it's been 5 years. If they don't get it by now, it's time to stop caring about them. You haven't done anything wrong, and the more and more you try to win their approval, the more you'll be disappointed. Your family is great, supportive and behind you 100%. Why hurt your pride when you have so much going for you? It's been five years, the time has come to say "screw them."
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