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How Can I Keep His Mom Happy While Including His Dad's New Honey?

Dear Olivia,

My future in-laws are divorced and there is a new woman in my future father-in-law’s life.  I would like to include her in things, but my future mother-in-law gets upset and gives me the cold shoulder if she hears I am even around his new girlfriend. Help! I need this to be an easy process, as my fiancé is really close to his mom. - Jennifer

 

I don't envy you! With so many tricky family dynamics, trying to keep everyone happy is TOUGH! Emotions are running high and all of your family members (future and current!) will want to feel heard and understood. And y'know what? It's super-nice of you to want to include your future father-in-law’s girlfriend. I’m sure she and your dad-in-law appreciate it. 

Have you thought of having a heart-to-heart with your fiancé’s mom? Explain how much you appreciate her and are so happy to have her in your wedding (and your life!). Weddings might just be a bit tough for her, too - bringing up painful memories of her own ultimately unhappy marriage. That being said, she should be able to put her feelings to the side and be supportive of the decisions you and your fiancé make. 

If you do choose to include the new girlfriend, be mindful of your future mother-in-law’s feelings - don't force them together or pit them against one another! Maybe put them in charge of different tasks or activities. At pre-wedding functions, try to keep them (subtly) far apart. 

On the day, don't feel you have to include the girlfriend - beyond inviting her. Strictly speaking, she's not family, so she doesn't need to walk down the aisle or be in every photo - but it would be a nice gesture to include her in some! Take a few shots of your fiancé with his dad and his girlfriend. You don't have to include them in your wedding album, but the pictures would make a nice gift to your father-in-law after the wedding. Be sure to let your wedding planner (if you have one) and photographer know the dynamics of your family to avoid awkwardness. 

Let's talk seating arrangements! If at all possible, it would be best for his parents to have their own tables with their respective families and friends. During the ceremony, if it's important to for your fiancé's dad to be in the first row, have other family members sit between his parents to avoid conflict. 

Take the time to sit down with both parents (separately, if necessary) to talk about the wedding and any future events where you'll all be together. Hopefully his parents will remember this is about you and their son starting your new life together and work to minimize any potential drama or stress for you and their son.

Love, laughter and happiness,

Olivia

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