Lately, I’ve received a number of troubled emails from readers who are experiencing problems with overwhelming mothers-in-law. As Simone says in her recent comment:
I am facing big difficulties because I feel my mother-in-law constantly pokes her nose into my husband’s and my affairs. She always interferes, wants to know everything, wants to be part of the decisions, gives unwanted advice and so on.
Usually, these mothers-in-law expect to speak to their sons several times a day, constantly worry about them, and want to do everything for them. This often includes hand feeding them when they are adults. And the sons? They don’t see a problem with it. They have grown up very close to their mothers, and such a close relationship feels natural to them.
Unfortunately, although the reason for this kind of situation isn’t difficult to find, a solution often is. This is because neither party (the mother or the son) wants to change. The mothers usually have unfulfilled relationships with their husbands. As a result, they direct all the love and care that would usually be in a marriage towards their sons. The sons have always seen their mothers as the most important person in their lives, nurturing them and taking care of all their needs. They continue to rely on their mothers, and don’t want to hurt them. In these circumstances, where there is such a well established bond, the new addition of a wife will always take second place.
Readers have asked me for advice but unfortunately, I can’t offer much as I’ve never had to deal with this kind of problem. My gem of a mother-in-law is the mother of three sons (as well as two daughters), but she believes in letting everyone be. She did of course lovingly dote on her children, but she’s been way too busy to dominate their lives. Besides, I don’t think it’s in her nature. She’s an independent woman. When her children were all away from her at one point in her life, she started meditating and attending a spiritual center to deal with the loneliness. This strengthened her outlook greatly.
I know I’m very fortunate, because it seems that Indian mothers-in-law are often the biggest cause of marital problems. What’s your relationship with your mother-in-law like? Does anyone here have any good advice as to what to do when mothers-in-law interfere too much in marriages (and sons willingly allow them)?