Dear Dr. Darcy:
I married my wife back in 2009. I was told living with her mother would be a temporary thing. It's now 2013 with absolutely no end in sight. The mother-in-law issue is a big one for me. I don't know what to do.
Whenever I think about leaving, it's always because of her. Not my wife. I love her dearly, and I'm trying to be the best person for her and her family (she has a preteen daughter too), but this thing with the mother-in-law is out of control and I just don't know what to do. I really don't. But it's driving a huge wedge and my wife doesn't want to do therapy because she doesn't see anything wrong with the situation. So it's just me!
Oh, it’s not just you. And it’s not just your mother-in-law. The biggest issue is with your wife, whose failure to set and abide by boundaries is going to resurface the moment your mother-in-law is out of the house unless she learns this life lesson.
The idea that she doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a problem is concerning to me. It’s extremely invalidating to your feelings and demonstrates a complete lack of regard for the agreement she had with you before you got married. As I’m writing this, I can feel myself wanting to communicate directly with her, so do me a favor and forward this to her:
I realize that your wife probably looks like the pain in the ass in this situation, but make no mistakes, I’m clear about what’s going on and soon you’ll be too.
It takes 2 people to create a nag: One person who ignores a request (YOU) and one person who reminds the other about the request that is being ignored (your wife). You are by no means the innocent in this situation. Furthermore, your steadfast desire to avoid learning how to set and hold boundaries is only going to bite you in the ass if you manage to avoid taking responsibility for this. You made a promise to your wife before you got married and it’s going on 3 years now. What do you think your failure to keep your word has done to her ability to trust you?
The universe will give you this test in another form if you don’t pass it now, and I can promise that you won’t like the next form it’s going to show up in: Your daughter. She’s going to be a teenager soon, and if you don’t learn how to say what you mean and mean what you say, your daughter’s going to grow into a hellion. Your next test will be so severe that you’ll wish you learned this life lesson with your mother.
The saddest part of this is that your poor daughter, who needs a mom and not a pussy for a mom, is going to be the victim of an unnecessarily difficult adolescent experience. I suggest you grab your ovaries and get into couples counseling before the end of the week. Email me for some names.
Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.