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Posted by: Cols | 2008/07/18

Is there something wrong with me...

I have been going out with a really fantastic guy and last year October we got engaged... all went very well and we were starting to make wedding arrangements when things started getting difficult.

From the begnning I was aware that his mother had a health issue and his grandmother was also still around and that he had made the decission to look after them for as long as needed, but this was going to be with us living in our own place close to where they lived.... this idea changed within a very short period of time and things just started going south.... the more I tried to express my hesitation and dislike of the idea, the more I was not heard.

First thing was that his mother started interfering in arrangements that actually had very little to do with her - it is after all the brides parents that do the wedding stuff. From telling me when the wedding should be to how the wedding should look to which lodge I should book all the guests into.... I do not come from money and this instantly offended not only me but my parents too.

She then started pushing for home alterations to be done - her house was being re-designed so that we could live there with her. When I voiced my opinion that I was not happy about living in her house I was told that this is all he can afford and that he has to be there for his mother. Her ideas became his ideas and before long I was the outsider and the one being difficult and not realising how much his family was compromising to make me feel welcome.
To add to the already uncomfortable situation, he turned around to me and told me that he wants us to live together first before he marries me to see if we could live together.... this to me was offensive because I saw it that if he was not happy with the " way we live together"  he would naturally ask me to leave.

These things all just became too mauch a week or so ago and I called off the engagement.... it almost killed me.
We have since spoken and we both agreed that we love eachother madly and that that could be worth trying for... but both of us have allot to look at changing.

We are dating again in the hopes that we will find that reason for being, but I still have problems with the whole thing of his mother' s house, and other problems like drinking, the weed, the partying every Friday &  Saturday night and the fact that I don' t feel this is the right enviroment to start a family in. He has promised to not drink as much and not to party as much, the weed he does not want to stop and the living arrangements is definatly not going to change.

My question is - am I mad to try and find happiness with this man I love so much or am I just setting myself up for more heartache?
Do I have the right to feel uncomfortable about living in his mother' s house with all the responsibilities of her health and his grans health? Am I wrong in asking for a space of our own?
I feel like I am expected to give up my mother (who is also not healthy) and replace her with his mother....

I clearly need advise and probably should also find some professional help....

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Drinking and the weed, and the partying, if a large part of his agenda, could be continuing problems : and doesn't seem to fit with a guy so devoted to caring for his mother than he wants to switch from an engagement with definite marriage plans, to an auition for you. . Its admirable that he wants to be able to look after his mom ( if she does indeed have significant health problems.) But he does sound as though he underestimated his duties towards you as a fiancee.
Your concerns are fully valid. And he can't be very experienced with women if he doesn't realize that putting three strong-willed women within one household mis likely to cause conflict. And as you are expected to abaodnon your wish for a household for just the pair of you, expecting you to pay to convert his mom's home sounds rather cheeky.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cols | 2008/07/21

I want to firstly thank all of you that have given me your opinions and all the advise.... you have no idea how much it has all meant to me.

I am still not sure where to go from here.... I love the man (that I know), I know that there is allot to work on and I would like to try and work on these things before giving up totally (for my own sanity more than anything else - so that I can say that I did try and it was of no fault of mine...)

I have decided to find a professional to talk to... just finding one is proving a little more difficult. I think I need someone that can deal with some crisis councelling aswell because I think there is allot of things in my past that I have not dealt with (armed robberies, the hit on a family friend, the news from the docs that my mom only had 18month to live - somethings have happened others did not happen, but how I have dealt with it seems to be the problem)

So, if anyone knows of someone good (preferably contracted in with the medical aids) please send me their details - It would be great.

Again, thanks for all the people that responded to me

Reply to Cols
Posted by: me | 2008/07/21

MY EX HUSband smoked weed. he promised he will stopped. It didn' t happened. I am married again and my mother in law lives with us. I dont prefer the weed or the mother in law. Let him go, please. This relationship of yours is a dissaster

Reply to me
Posted by: Gerri | 2008/07/18

Your fears are quite valid. I had similar problems when we were planning our wedding. Up to the date we announced our plans, I was the best person on earth. Then I was called every name under the sun, because I ' took'  her son away from her. The whole thing has never subsided. But now I have his support. That took a long time to achieve.

You need to set boundaries from the outset. YOU both need too, otherwise she will be interferring on your life, and she will be causing problems. And it sounds like you will be getting it from both sides. I have watched helplessly as my mother-in-law helped to destroy her daughter' s marriage by interferring. Stop it before you start.

As to paying for the alterations to her house. It is not your responsibility or his. She is merely trying to stake her claim over his money. She is trying to show you that she can still control him. You cannot go into your marriage with this problem. Next it might be her holiday overseas. If you do, it will be a constant problem.

I' m a bit concern about the partying and the weed. How do you really feel about it? This boils down to the values that you hold. You' ve tolerated thus far, but what happens when you have children. You both need to have similar or the same values when it comes to starting your life together and raising a family. Perhaps you need to rethink this one carefully.

I wish you luck. YOu have a lot of evaluation to do. Just, think over each question carefully, and if you still confuse, seek some professional help, for you or both of you. What is it that you are willing to accept, and how far will you go to accommodate him and his concerns in your life together. And remember, you both have to give and take in this situation, or you will be constantly having battles.

Reply to Gerri
Posted by: Cols | 2008/07/18

Thank you... I was really starting to doubt that I had the right to rebel against the expectations and the wants from his families side.

It is difficult enough to live up to my own expectations for myself, without having the added emotional tug of war going on.

Reply to Cols
Posted by: Just me | 2008/07/18

Cols - if I were you - I would have felt excactly the same! No way - when you get married you start a live together with one another, not with one another' s families! He is being unreasonable and I would definitely not marry a guy like that. You will always be unhappy and you will never feel at home and like yourself again. And the weed thing is defintely bothering me! I would not even think twice about a man with such a problem. Really - you are setting yourself up for trouble if you give in to everything these people are asking of you. You have every right to feel like you do.

Reply to Just me
Posted by: SC not CS | 2008/07/18

Let me start off by just pointing out that I am not so sure if people do read other postings in general or even better, before they post theirs.

There is a lot of theory, experience and similar advices that have been shared to similar types of challenges.

E.g. I can point out to the following as said by Cols:
" I feel like I am expected to give up my mother (who is also not healthy) and replace her with his mother...." 

well a lot about FEARS has been said by Societal Condemnation recently. To me the major challenge is this issue of fear of replacing your family with his as you specified.

Also somewhere in your posting you mention some comparison of wealth of both families. I think that there could lie a lot bigger part of the root problem.

in the African culture, in the olden days, a son would marry and for some time his wife belong to the family in terms of location until the parents/father/circumstances decide that the son has to now stand on his own and look after his wife. I wonder how those newly weds survived? I see these days that the root cause of many fights and marital problems generally stems from parents interefering and or bride fearing for the mother staking over or competing with them for their sons. I wonder how these newly weds survived that we can' t? Or have we seen too much hurting emanating from this parental intervention that we want none of that? Parents, maybe need to learn to let go:)

It' s a scary situation that I wish my sister Cols all the best on.

Reply to SC not CS
Posted by: Cols | 2008/07/18

Is it wrong for me to feel I need a place of my own in which I can create my own identitiy and an identitiy as a couple.... why can' t he see that putting 3 strong willed women under 1 roof could lead to serious problems?

He keeps telling me that if I would just try harder to fit in and help more with his mother, I might be a happier person. And now his mother feels I should financially contribute to the alterations that she has decided on for us - am I allowed to say " hell no" ?
Is there not a valid reason for couples to leave their parent' s homes when they decide to build a future together.

Reply to Cols
Posted by: Maria | 2008/07/18

I think your concerns are all very valid. Unless you are happy about living with his mom and gran (and there is no reason why you should be happy), you are setting yourself up for many years of fights and unpleasantness. Therapy, both individual and as a couple could help you figure out the way forward. Realistically, that might mean splitting up because you have such different views of what life should be like.

Reply to Maria

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