‘My controlling future mother-in-law is ruining my wedding plans’

Dear Richard

I am due to marry the most fantastic man, but my rude, controlling future mother-in-law is ruining my wedding plans.

I knew she wasn’t keen – she has often said things to him like, “You can still get out of it if you want.” Every original idea I have had, she has shot down. She has contacted wedding suppliers without our knowledge. She demands constant updates via social media. She sent a horrifically bossy email to my parents, whom she has never met, the upshot of which is that they have now essentially withdrawn from the whole wedding process, which is heartbreaking.

As of now, the situation seems out of control. I don’t think I can go ahead with the wedding: the whole thing depresses me. I no longer want to talk to my fiancé’s mother: she has hurt me so badly. And my mother refuses to talk about it. What should we do?

— Nicky, via email

Dear Nicky

There’s one crucial piece of information missing from your letter, and it’s the elephant in the room. You make absolutely no mention of what your fiancé thinks. If he were as unhappy as you are about his mother’s behavior, you would have told me. Perhaps he is hers, but he feels unable to confront her. The very fact that she feels free to poke her fingers so deeply into every aspect of the wedding clearly indicates that she’s accustomed to getting her own way from her with her son from her.

What did he reply when she told him it wasn’t too late to get out of the marriage? (He should have said that you are the love of her life, and tell her to stop making such offensive comments.)

You can see what I’m getting at, Nicky, and I’m pretty sure it’s the real question you wanted me to answer. Is this really the man for you? You’re beginning to have your doubts, aren’t you? Otherwise why would you now be considering calling the whole thing off? Surely the most important thing is to marry the man you love, and to hell with the canapés. I suspect you’ve begun to worry that if he ca n’t stand up to his mum (and stick up for his fiancée), there may be other challenges he’ll funk, too.

If I’m wrong about all this, I apologize. But I don’t think I am. And on the question of thinking – I reckon you’ve got a lot of it to do. I wish you well.

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