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Mother-In-Law Stories
March 6, 2002
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MARCH 2002
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Worst gift:  My SIL gave me a cheap candle and a bar of soap.  Then, she and my MIL wrapped it in used, old tissue paper, and put it in a gift bag that I had used for my MIL's birthday gift the year before.  It was a slap in the face, since my husband got a really nice expensive shirt.

        Signed - A Cheap Candle And A Bar Of Soap

I am engaged to a great guy, who comes from a wonderful family.  I haven't had any problems until (literally) today.  My FDH and I have been house-hunting, and have found the perfect starter home for ourselves.  The problem?  This happened while his parents were out of town, and my FFIL is convinced that I orchestrated this to happen while he was away.  He went as far as to call our real-estate lawyer and tell him (falsely) that he had FDH's permission to have a copy of the offer to purchase.  Naturally, the lawyer called to tell me this (FDH was away on business for a couple of days).  How do I tell FFIL, who is otherwise a great parent, that our home decisions are not his territory?  Please help.  This sounds like the beginning of a huge problem.

        Signed - He Used To Be So Supportive

RESPONSE:  He Used To Be So Supportive
Your FFIL was way out of line.  My future in-laws were at every house showing that FDH and I went to when we were looking for a house.  They went with FDH to the closing of it too!  That really pissed me off.  And, I promise you, and everyone else, that the next time we buy or build a house together, they will have NO part in whatsoever!  You need to tell FDH about this, if you haven't already.  He should handle it.  I know that it pisses you off to no end, but it would probably be better if your FDH handled this with FFIL.  Tell your real estate lawyer that under NO circumstances is he to take orders or do anything that anyone asks him to do, except you and FDH.  That way, if FFIL calls him again, the lawyer will have to say, "I am sorry, but I can only discuss these matters with your son and his fiancé."  If you feel that you can, and want to, talk to FFIL, tell him that he was way out of line for calling your lawyer.  This house is not about him, and you and FDH are adults and can handle buying a home on your own.  Tell him that you are sorry he feels that he was left out of all this, but it is something that you and FDH wanted to do together to feel more like adults (and a couple).  You can be polite but firm at the same time.  Good luck, and keep us posted.

RESPONSE:  He Used To Be So Supportive
Oh my.  I'm sorry, but this is NOT a "great parent".  I mean, think about it.  He immediately blames YOU for the fact that you and your FDH had the audacity to choose a home without his approval?  It doesn't occur to him that you are adults, with your own lives, and do not need or want his input or approval?  THEN, he goes as far as to call your attorney to obtain a copy of your offer?!?  This is not a healthy attitude at all.  And, you should probably get used to being the bad guy every time FDH does something daddy doesn't like!  You and your FDH need to have a serious talk about this, immediately.  Your FDH needs to put daddy in his place, and right away, unless you want to set a precedent for a lifetime of his interfering in your financial and other personal matters.  If your FDH tries to make excuses, or minimize the enormity of what has taken place, be patient and gentle with him (and avoid saying things that he will perceive as attacks on his father).  But, drive home the point that your lives and your decisions are only between the two of you, and his father must respect that.  If your husband doesn't agree, then I'd suggest some premarital counseling.  Please, make no mistake that left unchecked, this situation could cause very serious problems to your marriage.  Good luck, and please let us know what happens.

Worst gift:  Housewarming Gift.  My fiancé and I just bought our dream house, and we moved in right after Christmas.  My evil FMIL and FFIL announced that they just couldn't wait to see our new house.  We told them that the house was decorated in my fiancée's and my sense of style (eclectic and slightly modern), and that it was nowhere near their decorating tastes (overly cutesy - country, and brimming with flags and patriotic cr@p).  Nevertheless, they came up shortly after we moved in.  My FMIL announced, two days before her visit, that she was bringing decorating magazines for me, so that I could completely redo the house.  Note:  Our dream house, not theirs.  We don't plan on changing a thing in the house.  It's like it was built and decorated just for us.  Nevertheless, she brought the magazines for me.  The magazines were the overly cutesy - country magazines (so, not my style, and she knows that).  Plus, to top all of it off, all the magazines were ten years old or older!!!  She had cleaned out her magazine racks, and gave me her junk!  Needless to say, those magazines started many evening fires in our fireplace after they left.

        Signed - Those Magazines Started Many Evening Fires

RESPONSE:  Those Magazines Started Many Evening Fires
I can understand you not agreeing with your MIL's decorating style.  BUT I have a BIG problem with the "patriotic cr@p", as you call it.  People have died so you can have your opinion about decorating styles.  Families are separated so you can have your ideas about what you want in your house.  But I don't think that "patriotic" and "cr@p" belong in the same sentence.  EVER.  So your ILs are patriotic.  It's your loss for not recognizing where your country is in your life.


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