Girl­friend wor­ries about fu­ture mother-in-law

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - LIFE - Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy AMY Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I am a 23-year-old woman who has been in a relationship with my boyfriend for four years. We cur­rently live to­gether and plan on get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing chil­dren.

We are per­fect to­gether and I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter part­ner.

His mother and I do not get along. From the very be­gin­ning of our relationship she has talked con­stantly about his exes. She will post pic­tures and tag them and in­vite them to fam­ily func­tions where her son and I are ex­pected to at­tend.

For the past cou­ple of years we have both told her that this makes me feel un­com­fort­able and that I won’t be go­ing to these func­tions if an ex or mul­ti­ple exes will be there.

The last fam­ily func­tion was three months ago. I de­cided not to go be­cause his ex ac­cepted the in­vite. My boyfriend de­cided he would not at­tend, ei­ther.

This caused a ma­jor up­roar and his fam­ily is now ac­cus­ing me of keep­ing their son and brother from them. I have de­cided I want noth­ing to do with them any­more.

Is it right for us to be up­set about this? Am I be­ing un­rea­son­able or jealous? My feel­ings are badly hurt and I can’t un­der­stand why they can’t let these exes go. Can my boyfriend and I still thrive in a relationship if there is a strain be­tween me and his fam­ily? — Wor­ried

Dear Wor­ried: Your boyfriend holds the key to how to both hold firm and help to re­build your relationship with his fam­ily mem­bers. He should not put this all on you, but should say, “I don’t want to see my ex-girl­friends at every fam­ily event. So if one or more of them will be present, please let me know in ad­vance.”

You are also go­ing to need to get ahold of your feel­ings. It is in­evitable that you will see and some­times in­ter­act with other women who have been in his life. You should not freak out, but ac­cept this oc­ca­sional in­evitabil­ity.

His fam­ily should re­spect his (and your) wishes, but you have handed them am­mu­ni­tion to cast you in the role of the bad guy. You can prove them wrong by be­ing po­lite, not tak­ing the bait and be­com­ing more se­cure in your rights and wishes. Your boyfriend should also see them when he wants to and keep his dis­tance when he feels dis­re­spected.

You should both read, Toxic In-laws: Lov­ing Strate­gies for Pro­tect­ing Your Mar­riage, by Su­san For­ward (2002, Harper Peren­nial).

Dear Amy: “Wor­ried Hubby” was threat­ened by a deep friend­ship his wife had with a man at work. A quick “rule” about out­side friend­ships is if the spouse is dis­clos­ing things to the friend she should be telling the hus­band, then they have a prob­lem.

— Been There

Dear Been There: Ex­actly. Thank you.

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