Fu­ture in-laws giv­ing bride cold feet

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - Askamy@amy­dick­in­ Twit­ter @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I am get­ting mar­ried in Au­gust to an in­cred­i­ble guy. He’s kind, pa­tient, hard­work­ing, fun-lov­ing, and we have a com­mon pic­ture of our fu­ture. The only prob­lem is his fam­ily.

His par­ents fre­quently lie to each other and then con­fide in their chil­dren about it. They are big­oted to­ward LGBTQ peo­ple and peo­ple of color. They spend money care­lessly, are in huge amounts of debt and then ask us for money. They were hor­ri­fied when I told them I’d be keep­ing my own name when we got mar­ried.

I am an opin­ion­ated woman. I speak my mind openly (and thought­fully). I am per­fectly ca­pa­ble of stand­ing up for my­self and for oth­ers, and I have done so on many oc­ca­sions. They don’t value this.

In the past, when I speak my mind (in a man­ner deemed calm and re­spect­ful by my­self, my fi­ancé and my ther­a­pist), it leads to his mother and sis­ter cry­ing for weeks and then call­ing my fi­ancé to tell him about it. When his mother calls him, she will end the call quickly if she finds out I am in the room.

My fi­ancé and I are on the same page. We have our own house­hold with its own val­ues. But I worry a lot about hav­ing to deal with all of this for the rest of my life.

Are dif­fi­cult in-laws a good enough rea­son to not get mar­ried or to hold off get­ting mar­ried? Or does ev­ery­body go through this? Af­ter all, this is not my fi­ancé’s fault, and their be­hav­ior is not within his con­trol. Am I just get­ting cold feet?

Dear Cold Feet: Hav­ing cold feet — no mat­ter the un­der­ly­ing rea­sons — would be a le­git­i­mate jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to hold off on get­ting mar­ried.

When you marry some­one, you si­dle into your spouse’s fam­ily sys­tem — for bet­ter (of­ten), but also for worse.

Even if you have rel­a­tively lit­tle to do with your part­ner’s fam­ily, it sounds as if you and your fi­ancé have enough con­tact with them that they con­tin­u­ally up­set you (and you, them).

This is a test of your abil­ity to tol­er­ate peo­ple you don’t re­spect and be­hav­ior you don’t like. My sug­ges­tion is that you fig­ure out how not to care so much about what they think and how they be­have, un­less their be­hav­ior is di­rected specif­i­cally to­ward you. Given your own strong and out­spo­ken na­ture, I won­der if you are ca­pa­ble of de­tach­ing to this ex­tent.

It is also vi­tal that you and your fi­ancé be on the same page re­gard­ing their debt, money trou­ble and re­quests for bailouts. This will likely get more in­tense as they age.

This is a topic you and your fi­ancé should dis­cuss at length in your pre­mar­i­tal coun­sel­ing ses­sions. Of the two of you, he’s the one I truly worry about. If things con­tinue as they are, he is go­ing to feel trapped be­tween two cy­clones.

Dear Amy: I’ve no­ticed that my mom seems to be much more tired and stressed out lately than she usu­ally is.

I des­per­ately want to help her, but I don’t know how. Any sug­ges­tions?

Dear Wor­ried: This is a re­ally stress­ful time for ev­ery­one — you in­cluded. You can ask your mom if there are some house­hold chores you could take on, like clear­ing the ta­ble and do­ing the dishes af­ter din­ner, scour­ing the bath­tub, wa­ter­ing the plants and tak­ing care of your pets (if you have them).

Your mom is prob­a­bly like most moms — and she doesn’t want you to worry about her. You do­ing well in your own life (school, ac­tiv­i­ties and friend­ships) will help her a lot, be­cause know­ing you are OK is prob­a­bly her first pri­or­ity.

And kind ges­tures like bring­ing her a cup of her fa­vorite tea and leav­ing her a note on the kitchen ta­ble (telling her how much you ap­pre­ci­ate her) will make her feel re­ally loved and taken care of. This will help with her stress.

Dear Amy: “Paul” wrote to you, ex­press­ing his re­luc­tance to give out his phone num­ber to the re­cep­tion­ist when he gets his hair cut or to the greeter when he is wait­ing for a ta­ble at a res­tau­rant.

Paul should re­al­ize that his phone num­ber could be cru­cial in the cur­rent pan­demic fight. Phone num­bers can be used for “con­tact trac­ing” if there is an out­break.

Dear Reader: I’ve been read­ing about how use­ful our phones will be­come in terms of track­ing the coro­n­avirus. Thank you.

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