Question: Dear Luise: I am at a loss. I have a wonderful daughter who got married a few months ago. My daughter moved 4 hours away a couple years ago – she met her husband there. I think he is a wonderful man and is very good to her. Here is my problem – I feel I am loosing her but not in the way one might expect. You see she has a mother in law that she gets along with (and for this I am truely thankful) – however – for myself I have issues with this woman. I can not begin to give you all the examples of what she has done to push me out of the picture – The thing that she did that wasn’t the worst but was the most hurtful was not allowing me to have my daughters wedding dress the night before the wedding (My daughter and I purchased the dress from a local store – I kept it at my home until she needed to have her fitting – which was done in her town – after it was finished my daughter had her mother in law keep it so as to not have her future husband see it) After the rehearsal I asked to get the dress she told me no. I was in shock and didn’t know what to say. There was so many other things – but I had dreamed of the day my daughter would get married and the few minutes we would have getting her ready – none of that happened, and those things can never be relived. I predicted at the time of the wedding that her mother-in-law would have me out of my daughters life within 6 months. I was wrong – it took 3!!!!!!! Help I do not know what to do. I feel helpless being 4 hours away and am so hurt that my daughter is not speaking to me for no apparent reason. I drove to her house yesterday – I gave her a hug and a kiss told her that I loved her and that I would always love her and I left. No one in our lives understand why she is not speaking to me and I certainly don’t understand why she is doing this. I am not perfect but I have done NOTHING to be treated this badly. I do not know what to do. How do I explain that I want a relationship with her and her husband. I am thankful that she has in-laws that she loves, but they are not my family. She and her husband are my family and I want to see them. For some reason she thinks we should ALL spend time together – I do not want to be around her mother in law. I want my own time with my child and her husband. Please help any advice is appreciated. T.
Answer: Dear T.: Your daughter wants to run her own life. She wants to make up her own rules. As an adult, that is her right, even if she hasn’t got a clue how to do that. You are not being factored in…what you want or need is not where she is coming from. She has an exciting, new relative that she really likes, her MIL. You are old news. They decided where the dress was to go the night before the wedding and they are deciding to see you are a pair.
It’s quite possible that in the “love-fog” often experienced by a newly-weds, your daughter has no idea why you are “being so weird.” She may have no concept of what your expectations are or she may not care. The result is the same. It simply doesn’t matter.
You have one option that I can see…to accept that it’s her way or the highway. If you want to continue to have a relationship with her, your SIL and any future grandkids…apologize for acting so strangely and tell her you don’t know what came over you. Call it “the mother-of-the-bride-willies” or whatever but back peddle all over the place until this blows over. Then remember your place. Things may eventually change or they may not. Right now, your job is to become as invisible as possible and ultra-cooperative.
I know this isn’t what you want to hear. It isn’t fair and it’s totally uncalled for. You deserve so much better but/and that’s still how it is. Try not to get stuck in being right and feeling sorry for yourself. You have just cause for both but they will only make things worse.
You were a whole person before your daughter was born and you can be whole again. Look to see what will bring you joy and peace beyond your family and then go for it. I‘m serious. Blessings, Luise