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Met DP's mother...She's "difficult";. How do I play this?

(135 Posts)
kistanbul Wed 08-May-13 10:02:19

My DP, who is an only child, and I have been together for 6 months and I really want the relationship to work. The main potential problem is his mother.

I, like every women he's been with, am only after his inheritance (her semi in a not nice part of Surrey), but he's too stupid to see it. She threatens to kill herself because she's lonely and no one cares. She cried when she found out I'd stayed the night at his home - a neighbour saw me leave. She makes comments about my appearance (ugly), education (poor), family (common) and has started talking about writing him out of her will. He used to be so kind before he met me, but now she's ashamed of his (unspecified) cruelty to her.

She also has keys to his house, which he gave her when he was having work done, and lets herself in when he's at work; he has asked for them back, but the suicide threats start again, which distract him from the task at hand.

DP moved back to his home town when his father, who died two years ago, became very ill. He sees his mother twice a week and calls everyday.

She's an intelligent, capable women in excellent health, who appears to have lots of friends. I hate that this is relevant, so please don't hate me for saying it, but I own my own place and my family are "posher" and richer than hers.

She is very open about the fact that he ruined her life and career when he was born, so he owes her.

Does anyone have any advice on dealing with her? How should I expect him to behave if we're going to have a successful relationship? Is it even possible to have a successful relationship with someone like that in the background?

Hullygully Wed 08-May-13 10:04:38

Don't fight her.

Overwhelm her with love and kindness, shower her with invitations, give her heartfelt cards with the Samaritans' number on it, telling her how devastated her son would be. Cry with upset and bewilderment when she is horrid to you...

Beat her at her own game.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:05:16

What does he think about it? Does he happily accept the situation with her? Does he complain or laugh it off?

CalamityKate Wed 08-May-13 10:05:42

I'd get out while you still can!

pictish Wed 08-May-13 10:06:10

She sounds like huge problem. Unless your dp is willing to stand up to her and make positive and lasting changes, I can't see how the relationship can last long term. She will never leave the pair of you alone to get on with your lives.

6 months in...I'd be considering the viability of continuing with it.

piprabbit Wed 08-May-13 10:06:47

I don't think you should try and deal with her at all. Leave that to your DP. Build your relationship with him, find out if he is someone you want to be with long term. Until then let him cope with his mum himself.

DontmindifIdo Wed 08-May-13 10:07:20

What does your DP say about this? Does he think she is wrong and prepared to speak to her about it and stand up for you? If he's not, then end the relationship now.

Oh and re the keys, do you have a set? I'd 'lose' them then arrange for the locks to be changed and pay for it, if your DP then wants to give his mother another set, you also know he's actually got no problem with her letting herself in.

pictish Wed 08-May-13 10:07:30's a shame for your dp but it's deeply unhealthy and will bring nothing but grief yo your life. Imagine if you had a child together? How controlling would she be then?

ISeeSmallPeople Wed 08-May-13 10:09:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Wed 08-May-13 10:09:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kistanbul Wed 08-May-13 10:10:28

wonderingagain: He says she's crazy and manipulative, but his instincts seem to be to pacify her, rather than stop the crazy. I've been gently encouraging him to get counselling to learn how to respond to her. He says he thinks it's a good idea, but at the point he's about to arrange an appointment, she calms down and he decides to wait and see.

pictish Wed 08-May-13 10:10:41

Po grin

Lavenderhoney Wed 08-May-13 10:11:14

Well, it depends a lot on how he sees his relationship with his mother. Does he want to change it?

They do sound very close, all the vists and calls- but if he wants to carry on there is not much you can do tbh.

He needn't be ashamed of her. He can't change her behaviour he can only change how he reacts. She won't like it.

Branleuse Wed 08-May-13 10:11:49

why on earth did he want you to meet her? What does he say about it.

Id refuse to even meet her again, and if hes not hugely apologetic and even slightly acting like you should be ok with any of her crap, then take it as a red flag and severe warning for your future if you stay with him

Badvoc Wed 08-May-13 10:13:11

Bloody hell.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 10:13:21

"Does anyone have any advice on dealing with her? How should I expect him to behave if we're going to have a successful relationship? "

Be polite and nice but don't take any shit at the same time. IME that kind of person (a bully) loves being fawned over and will bridle at being challenged but, ultimately, will give you a wide berth if you stand up to them.

Tell him to change the locks btw. Meet suicide threats with 'don't be silly'.

Dahlen Wed 08-May-13 10:14:12

I'd call it off. If it's like this now, it will only get worse. If his instincts are to pacify rather than make a stand against unacceptable, manipulative behaviour, your relationship is doomed anyway. Unless you want to learn how to excel in the same type of behaviour, your DP will always side with her because he will always bow to the person who manages to make him feel most uncomfortable.

Life is too short for that.

pictish Wed 08-May-13 10:15:18

Well said Dahlen.

How very true.

nosleeptilever Wed 08-May-13 10:15:56

OP make sure he's worth the hassle of a nasty MIL because she will NEVER change! my MIL is not quite as bad as what you describe but her behaviour sometimes really gets me down because I'm stuck with her through no choice if my own. Thankfully my dh is 100% on my side so I know it's ok.
If you really think this guy is worth it you need to discuss the situation (as tactfully as possible) with him. If he can see it and support you then great.... If he can't then you need to have a good think about what the future will be like.

kistanbul Wed 08-May-13 10:17:24

He thought that if she met me she would see that I am lovely, rather than the slutty monster she invented in her head. Didn't exactly work as planned. I'm still a slutty, slutty monster.

He feels a lot of pressure as an only child and she's incredibly manipulative.

What is it reasonable to ask for from him? We have talked about getting married in future, so the relationship is serious enough to have serious talks.

pictish Wed 08-May-13 10:18:06

She has done a very thorough job of making sure he feels responsible for her in every way.

This will never change.

Even if he hates her behaviour, he will still feel that it is his duty to accept it. Forever.

badtasteyoni Wed 08-May-13 10:19:19

I would seriously ask myself if he is worth it - this woman could (potentially) cause you misery for the next 20 years.

And although it isn't his 'fault', he is bound to have issues after putting up with her for so long. Do you really want this woman to be the grandmother of your children?

piprabbit Wed 08-May-13 10:20:47

She is also recently bereaved, possibly suffering from depression and leaning heavily on her only child.

I not saying it is healthy or a good basis for a long term relationship, but you need to tread very, very carefully if you don't want to end up as the bad guy.

badtasteyoni Wed 08-May-13 10:21:05

Sorry x posted with you. It's even worse if he's an only child. He is her sole focus and always will be.

schobe Wed 08-May-13 10:22:16

I know a couple of people in this situation and it's very, very difficult indeed.

The ONLY thing that can make the dynamic workable is for the partner who is the child of this person/these people to have worked out clear boundaries. However this is extremely rare and often only works if they are prepared to go no contact.

It has blighted my one friend's relationship to the point where they barely stagger on together and the partner (toxic people's son) is a hypochondriachal, anxiety-ridden, borderline abusive mess. There is this awful cycle he goes through of rationality and seeing his parents for what they are, followed by nagging doubts where he starts to wonder if they are in fact right all along. This is followed by him tormenting my friend as perhaps SHE is the real problem and his parents are right. They have kids unfortunately. It's pretty awful.

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