Help! Big flight with DF...

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by chebrutta, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    over future MIL. This is gonna be a rant and a half with some pleas for advice at the end.

    I do not like MIL. She's very outspoken, rude, obnoxious, doesn't let anyone else talk, butts into finances, interrogates... you get the idea.

    I tried really hard to like her, but it's been two years and it's just not getting any better. She keeps telling me to call her mom and I've told her I'm not comfortable with that - yet she insists on it and introduces me to people as her daughter.

    She is always making herself out to be someone to be pitied - and believe me, I hope to God I never know the pain of losing a child and I do feel for her - so FIL and DF are always giving in to her demands.

    BIL had a degenerative disease; DF was left alone and basically neglected for most of his childhood while she took care of BIL. He passed away 11 years ago and I really don't think she's dealt with it.

    I've never heard a baby/childhood story about DF. I know every one about his brother. I asked her before what DF was like as a kid. She just said, "Oh. You know. Fine." and launched into another BIL story. She's gone as far as to tell me that she wishes BIL were still alive because I'd be so much better suited to him :dizzy:

    She's asked me about our sex life before. Ew.

    We're living in FL, in dire financial straits, because she couldn't bear for him to move out of state when I wanted to and gave him a HUGE guilt trip about it. We stayed home, both lost our jobs, and he ended up moving 6 hours away for work. But MIL was happy. until he moved. Now it's my fault.

    We can't get married in Vermont like we wanted because his parents have two dogs that can't be boarded and don't travel well.

    And on and on and on and on...

    He has stood up for me on occasion (most recent argument over why I don't drive up to see him more often), but usually with pleas to understand just how hard his mom's life was, how much she misses BIL, and can I please just deal with her?

    Then she called earlier. They are planning to move to St. Augustine in 2 years. I was "instructed" to look for a teaching job there, since they want DF to be close by. I have no intentions of moving to St. Augustine. Until today, neither did DF. We were planning on moving to NC. I reminded her about NC. She told me she knows what's best for us... because she's OUR mother.

    Anyway, I called DF (pissed, I admit it) and he took his mother's side... that it would make her happy and she's had a tragic life, that she looks at me as her daughter, blah blah blah. We argue on occasion, but we've never screamed at each other the way we did earlier.

    I kind of feel like we're at a cross-roads right now. I love DF more than anything else, but I'm not going to have my life railroaded by his mother. I'm really mad that she has "control" over our lives right now and I REALLY hate the fact that he can't seem to stick to standing up to her. I'm not saying he's got to give into me every time, either... but his mom is becoming a huge issue.

    So. Please. Help. Relationship advice. MIL advice. Anything.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Wow!:hugs: Have you thought about couples therapy? I don't see it getting any better, you will always live your life around keeping your MIL happy.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oh, my. You HAVE to work this out before you get married. Seriously, she's not going to change so something has to give. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your career, dreams, wishes because of your future MIL. Consider a SERIOUS discussion with df about your concerns for the future, how always putting aside your wishes as a couple will impact your relationship (and probably already is). Couples therapy might be a good idea but it will only work if you both buy into it...it's really not about his mom, it's about your relationship being a priority. So sorry, I know this can be a BIG issue in families...my MIL and FIL live 4 hours away so even though MIL can be a little 'passive aggressive' it doesn't wear away at us the way it might if we lived closer.
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    We've actually agreed to couples therapy (whenever we're finally together again)... and a BIG part of me wants to move far away so she WON'T be a daily part of our lives. I'm more jittery around her than the time I found a cottonmouth on the porch.

    My dad doesn't particularly care for DF, either, but he keeps quiet and plays nice when he's around. It helps to get a couple of beers into the two of them and a couple of fishing poles in hand, too... but there really isn't any such ice-breaker for me and his mom.
     
  6. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I agree go see a therapist. Last summer my family was having a huge issue with my sister's bf. My dad, mom, sister and myself went to talk with the therapist. And we are all doing so much better.
     
  7. melnm

    melnm Companion

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    Oh that sounds awful! I think your best bet would be to live as far away as possible! I agree, you need to work this out before you get married. And I hope you are able to get it all straightened out with your fiance. I know dealing with in-laws can be difficult sometimes.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Therapy, good idea.
    He must stand up for you, always. He may not agree with you, but he can't let you be bullied.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Can I play Dear Abbey? Like some of the other posters have said, things are not going to change. If anything, they will get worse when you get married because BF will not be on his best behavior like when you are courting. BF has not learned that you are his priority, not his mother. I wouldn't wait until you are together to begin counseling, I would go now. You need to learn how to deal with MIL. She also needs some serious help, but probably would resist the idea of counseling because then she would lose the martyr status.
    If you want to get married in VT...go for it. This is the beginning of your new life and she has to learn to live with that. Give in to all her demands now and you will be miserable in that marriage.
    As far as MIL's tragic life..I feel sorry for her and I know firsthand the grief she feels upon losing a child. (We lost our son suddenly 2 years ago) I'm certainly not going to tell someone how they should move through the grieving process, but she has gone completely overboard and is trying to drag the rest of the family down with her.
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    This is a huge red flag! Get the counseling. Make it happen even if you have to drive up to his area every week. This has to be addressed before you commit your life to him.

    What I have seen over the years is that it is best for a new married couple to move away from their families for a while, so they can focus on becoming "one" and being their own family, with their own way of doing things. You two have to work together then stand together. Yep.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I completely agree!! I would go ahead and get married in VT as well because that's what both of you want. You give in to all she demands and she'sgoing to think she can continue to dictate your lives for you. I've been married to dh for 7 years, together almost 10 and I'm still not comfortable calling my MIL 'mom' and she understands that. My sister currently lives with her MIL and she's miserable!!!!!!! It has really put a strain in her marriage.
     
  12. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    Just read your post to my mom (65 yrs old) and she said write her back and tell her to RUN!

    You see your story sounds just like my biological grandmother. She even went so far as to rearrange the house when my mom was at work so the house was set up just like hers. She instructed my mom how to feed her son etc. My mom and Biological father have been divorced for over 33 yrs.
     
  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I think it might help if you make your husband see that giving into every desire she has is only enabling her to continue to live a tragic and grief-striken life. HE is not allowing her to move through the grieving process.
     
  14. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    I agree with the RUN! If your df won't/can't realize that he doesn't owe his mother his entire life, you will be living with her wishes for as long as she lives. It's not something you can really argue about because when tempers get involved, the real issues get hidden. It's not about moving to ______, but allowing another person to determine your life as a couple. Is he feeling guilty that he is alive while his brother is deceased? Your posting reads like someone who hasn't cut the apron strings. I would be very, very leery of marrying someone who didn't put my wants and wishes first.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Especially since you are not asking for anything unreasonable! You have a dream location for a wedding - people usually bend over backwards to accomodate the bride and groom and make their day special; you want to move to an area where you can both get a job, what is unreasonable about that?

    I just have a sore spot with controlling people. I was not able to deal with them for so many years of my life until I started having ulcers! I spent many years like you said, as nervous as if there were a snake at my feet! When I got the ulcers, I started changing. Then I finally hit overload, and went into my "not gonna take it anymore!" stage. Now I am more balanced, but IT IS painful to stand up and tell controlling people you are not going down that road anymore.

    I really believe in Love and Logic. It works fairly well with difficult adults. I had to use it recently when a "friend" freaked out on me in public in front of my kids. So weird. This was someone I have bent over backwards for a million times, truly, and there was no basis for the freak out. sheesh.

    You have to ask yourself if you want to live like this for the rest of your life, and yes, it will get worse after the wedding unless your DF develops a backbone, sorry, and also starts refusing to let his mother control him. It is very difficult and painful at first, but once you start feeling empowered and in control of your own life it is so wonderful and freeing! And usually the controlling people just have to learn their lesson the hard way, but they will learn it if you stick to your guns.

    Glad you guys are getting the counselling. That is terrific!
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    She sounds like a friend's mother. This woman has controlled our friend's life for a good 25 years now, throughout their whole marriage. It's a wonder the marriage has survived.

    Think very, VERY carefully about marrying this man. Loving him isn't enough. You have to be able to live with him and with the knowledge that he's always putting someone else's wishes above yours.

    When you go into labor, she'll pull out her back and need his help.

    Christmas Day will be spent at her house, not letting your kids play with their gifts.

    Mother's Day will be about HER, never YOU.

    I'm very fortunate that my Mother in Law isn't like this, but I've seen it from afar... it isn't pretty.
     
  17. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    I agree STG, I love my MIL and I can't call her mom. She's not my mom, and we're okay with that. I call her and my FIL by their first names.

    I hope some counseling can help you sort it out. Maybe it could become a family session, she probably needs to see some of the stress it is putting on your relationship with DF. It is very tragic that she lost her son, I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone. But, she has to understand that the other son is a grown man and is seeking to have a family of his own, and needs to act in the interest of his new family, and not necessarily his mother's.
     
  18. MrsHoot

    MrsHoot Comrade

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    Goodness gracious, I feel for you!!

    My mom's MIL (my grandma) is like that. She has always sort of pitted against my mom and used to come up with these conspiracy theories that my mom brainwashed us to hate her, etc.etc. My parents lived in VA (because that's the only place where my Dad could do his job) and my gparents were in California. So that made things a little easier for my mom. However, my dad never really stood up against his mom for her and it just made things not good between my parents.

    I agree to do counseling and to think very carefully. I would HATE HATE HATE a controlling MIL like that and if your DF refuses to take your side.... there are going to be major issues IMO. When you are married, you come first. NOT his mother. YOU are THE WOMAN in his life from then on and you need to make sure that he puts you first.

    I think you just need to lay it on the line for DF. He needs to realize that he isn't always going to be able to please both of you and that YOU need to come FIRST and live your own lives. It is nice to be around family... but not when they are so controlling!

    My MIL is nice. She's quirky and I like her. BUT she is very Christian and really pushes it on everyone (IMO). My sister in law is Atheist and she tries to send home bible stories, etc. on the sly to their kids. My sister in law doesn't appreciate it and it causes tension between them. I don't feel comfortable sometimes and I've stopped going to church with them when they ask. I have certain beliefs but I don't need things pushed on me and I can make my own decisions. Off topic.

    We live 9 hours away from both sets of parents. I like it that way for the most part. I would eventually like my parents to come move closer to me when we have kids =), which they may do because they are not huge fans of Iowa.

    COuples counseling would be good- because he or she could give you insight on how to deal with MIL and maybe even be a mediator to his Mom and explain things to her as well?

    Sorry this is such a sucky situation!
     
  19. BLHutch25

    BLHutch25 Rookie

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    I can only echo what others have said. During my first marriage, my in-laws were VERY intrusive and frequently said all sorts of horrible things about me to my wife. She always took their side and never stood up for me. That is a large part of why she has been my ex-wife for a few years! I thought that when we got married, things would be better. They were worse. We divorced after 5 years. They lived about five miles away from us, so they were constantly around.

    Now that I've remarried, my in-laws live 3 states away. That is a welcome change!
     
  20. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Thank you for all of the responses. I feel slightly better. My SIL is in town and she took my out for delicious frothy adult drinks served with large chunks of pineapples.

    He does stand up for me - but not when she throws out the "You're the only child I have left" card. And yes, he does have survivor's guilt and I do think he needs counseling for it. I avoid talking with her as much as possible, but every two months or so I have to give in.

    Alice - I'm not sure so much that it's so much that everything will be about her as a person. I think she's relieved in a way - like she doesn't have to compete with my mom. But I have a mom - even if she's passed - and no one's taking her place. No matter how much they encourage me to think of them as my mom or want me to call them mom. God. The delivery room. If I ever have kids, is there a way to BAR her from the room? Because that's my vision of hell right there. Satan's got nothing on that woman.

    I'd bring her to therapy... but she and DF were IN therapy when he was younger. She pulled them out when the therapist suggested that her total focus on BIL and indifference to DF were the source of his issues.

    What really irks me is that he knows *just* how much I hate the Florida weather and how much the humidity affects me (depression-wise). He *knows* it would be much healthier for me to live somewhere cooler and drier. And he was gung-ho and excited about it... until she pulled out the guilt card. The guilt card, it annoys me. I don't pull that crap on my dad, telling him he's not allowed to go to PA every summer because he's the only parent I have left.

    So... I'll insist on therapy as soon as it's feasible for us, but in the meantime... I do need to call him. I'll certainly apologize for screaming, refuse St. Augustine... and tell him to cut the apron strings and see what happens?
     
  21. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    OMG! DO you really love this guy enough to put up with his mother? IT IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE SO BETTER GET USED TO IT B4 you get married. You should just SERIOUSLY bring it up to him that he's going to marry you SO MIL will have to go! If his reaction is still the same as b4 THEN you need to make the decision IF it is going to be worth it. Marriage will not change anything that is going on right now. You'll be stuck in the middle of CHAOS and worse, you can't just UP and leave. It's going to be a STRESSFUL LIFE!:(
    Good luck and make the right choice.
    Rebel1
     
  22. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I agree with everyone above. Marriage is a huge decision!!! If you marry this guy, you will also be "marrying" his mom. Talk to him, tell him how you feel in a calm cool voice, and have a discussion as to where you both see yourselves in the future.
     
  23. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    My mil isn't half a bad as the one the op wrote about, but we have some of the same issues as you're writing about, Alice. Holidays are huge. She dictates how they are going to be, regardless of my wishes, my family's wishes, etc. I had a nice picnic at a Vineyard planned for DH for father's day, already bought the $70 tickets...when she decided to throw a brunch. She didn't decide this until the Friday before the holiday. And dh told me he'd rather go to the brunch. I told him that he's wasting his only gift (the picnic) and he was ok with it, rather than make his mom mad.

    Our Disney trip happens to coincide with mil/fil's wedding anniversary. DH really considered not going because he'd miss their anniversary dinner. We're going.

    I have had to learn to put my foot down. That means that sometimes, I do things (with my own kids) that I want to, but he goes and does what his mom wants. I think that makes her even angrier -because, really, once grandkids are in the picture, that's who she wants to see - but it works for me.
    Kim
     
  24. Sunny Teacher

    Sunny Teacher Rookie

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    Have you been able to talk to your DF yet?
     
  25. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Actually, I composed an email. A very long email. It included a family history and how I don't want to be like my mom - stepped on by her MIL and my dad refusing to stand up for her.

    It may also have included an ultimatum. That if he can't stand up to his mom on this, we can't move forward.
     
  26. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I read your original post, but not really the other posters, so excuse me if I'm repetitive. :)

    How sad & wrong for his mom to toss him in the corner so to speak, while she gave all her attn to his bro. :( In a way, sounds like your DF is a tiny bit a momma's boy, but then I know it has more to do w/ her wanting to be close only because he's all she has left. I strongly believe that if his bro was still alive, the mom would keep devoting all her time & attn to him & wouldn't care what your DF did or where he moved nearly as much, which actually would have been a lot more pleasant for YOU!

    He may have stood up to her a few times, but obviously not strongly enough. It's up to the son to alleve the situation btwn his wife & mother. Hopefully counselilng helps, but he needs to tell her to butt out & you two just go ahead & do what you want, move where you want, etc. because after so long, her guilt trips, crying, begging, etc. gets old.

    Life is way too short to have to deal w/ this. You & your DF have to seriously talk about whether you want to be happy together & start a new chapter of your life as a happily married couple OR is it going to be a marriage of frustration & misery because he allows his mom to keep butting in.

    If I were you, I'd want to move FAR, FAR away so you only have to see her once, hopefully just twice a year.

    But, this whole marriage won't work if your DF doesn't put his foot down much harder & stronger. He's given into his mom all this time. If he wants to get married, YOU become the most important person in his life. It would be a shame if you're always playing 2nd fiddle while he keeps putting his mother on this pedestal.

    Maybe you should give him an ultimatum that if things w/ his mom don't get better, you're seriously going to consider ending this engagement. How long have the two of you been together?

    Good luck & I hope it works out!
     
  27. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I just read this thread. Oh, sweetie, you're in such a tight place and I feel for you! My family had a tough time letting go of me emotionally when I moved away (I had always been the family homebody), but they support my decision constantly.

    I cannot fathom being where you are with your fiance refusing to be the one who "leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife" (I don't dive for my bible to quote verse often). Please know we're here for you!
     
  28. flyingmickey

    flyingmickey Rookie

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    You will need a husband who always puts you and your future kids first no matter what his mother says. He needs a backbone.

    I'm lucky that my MIL is wonderful and he has never needed to do anything. It's my own family that's crazy and when it was getting more crazy he took a stand that was the best for me. I am always first. You need to be as well.

    You may love him but it's at a cost. How much are you willing to pay?
     
  29. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I broke up with my previous fiance in part because of his mother. I've never made a better decision. She only spoke Thai around me, lied to the relatives about me, manipulated us with money, etc. My mom was truly fearful she would kidnap our children when we had them and take them back to Thailand with her. That is NOT something I want to worry about.

    My current MIL is pretty great, but she has her quirks. It's gotten worse since we got married, simply because she's more comfortable with me and doesn't hold back anything. In one weekend, she sprayed my shoes and told me they smell terrible, told me to put away my laptop and not bring it back out because it was too loud, tried to badmouth my parents for not giving us money for a downpayment like they were and chided me for not eating certain things at dinner. But it's tolerable. If she were trying to pit dh against me, I would NOT be able to handle that.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    How far is he from you? (I think you said he's in a different town/location now for work?)...Emails can be tricky because of implied tone. Did you send the email or are you sitting on it for a while? I'm just wondering if this might be better 'in person' or at least followed up with a phone call or face-to-face with him. This could potentially be the 'watershed moment' of your relationship. Either things are going to change for the better or as you said it could be a matter of not being able to 'move forward'. I'm wishing you the best, chebrutta.
     
  31. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    And people wonder why it has never bothered me that my husband's parents had died long before we married.
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The flip side, of course, is that some inlaws are phenomenal. My mother in law is a gem! When she got word that I was ill, she cried.

    Does she occasionally make me crazy? Sure, but so does my own mom. But her heart is in the right place and she's never been anything but kind to me and to all those I love.
     
  33. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    I have awesome inlaws -- I have a blast with my wife's dad, even when he's coercing me into trying strange unlabeled foreign drinks and foods (okay, I'll admit -- especially those times). My BIL and SIL and nieces/nephew on that side are likewise cool to be around, involved in life, and tend to laugh a lot. Frankly, most of the time I like them better than my family, and while my sister's DH is okay, he tends to be waaaayyyy over-the-top interested in sports, and he's a Boston fan (I'm from NY).

    I don't have a MIL, though: she died when DW was 18. I do wish I could have met her.
     
  34. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I sent it. I'm not a very good conversationalist - especially when I get mad. I stutter and lose my train of thought very easily. He knows this and he'll be ok with an email. He's still at work... doesn't get off until 10 tonight.
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Gives him a little time to digest the email and you a little time to 'chill'. Will you have time together this holiday weekend?
     
  36. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    No, that's my other source of contention right now. I have to work on the 4th. As my boss puts it, "You don't have a real family yet since you don't have kids."

    Actually, I had asked for last night off to spend time with SIL before she goes back to NYC. He scheduled me anyway (he does this every time I request a day off, even though I rarely do it and also do it 2 weeks ahead of time) and I didn't go in. Still don't know if I'm fired yet. Find out tomorrow morning, I guess.
     
  37. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jul 2, 2009

    Wow. You sure have some tough people in your life. Sorry about your jerk boss. Uh . . . I think what he said is illegal, but whatever. You have a lot on your plate right now. Hugs and prayers to you!
     
  38. Sunny Teacher

    Sunny Teacher Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2009

    Wishing you the best. Let us know if he writes back/calls.
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2009

    Cherbrutta, how did he react to the email??
     
  40. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I am going to speak for the in-laws. It takes a lot of adjustment to let a new person become the most important person in your child's life. With this new person comes another family that has different values and traditions. And, sometimes you just don't like each other. My daughter has been married over 10 years, and it is just recently that my SIL and I have gotten along. He stayed with us once without the rest of the family. I really got to know him, and liked him. I do wish my daughter had made more effort to help us get acquainted.

    What would have helped? I don't know, but it does take time.
     
  41. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jul 3, 2009

    He emailed me back (I worked all day)... and while he understands where I'm coming from with regards to my family (not wanting to be like my mom, stepped on & never stood up for), he doesn't think I've given his mom a fair chance or tried to get to know her. He did say he doesn't want to go to St. Augustine either; he just doesn't know how to say no to his mom. So it looks like I will have to play the "bad guy" by not getting a job there.

    Which he may have a point... she just really rubs me the wrong way. I'd *like* to like her. But I don't.

    Blue, I have tried some things... asking her to teach me how to cook for a proper seder (I'm Catholic, he's Jewish). I go over for dinner, have them over... it's hard because she makes me feel like it's my job to sit back, listen, and have no opinions. Including a say in me and DF's life.
     

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