Caricature of sexpert Chris Hart
E. del Rosso

Help! My girlfriend’s mum hates me

My mother-in-law hates me. I want to marry my pregnant girlfriend but her mother has refused. I don’t know why. What should I do?

Scared mother-in-law

Just about everyone feels weird about someone who wants to marry their child – whether it’s their daughter or their son! It’s sort of understandable when you think about it. Your mother-in-law has known her daughter for many years – and hardly knows you at all. And she’s also afraid you’re going to take her daughter away from her.

High expectations

She probably also had all sorts of crazy ideas of who her daughter would marry – and through no fault of your own, you’re not him. She probably imagined you and her daughter having a long romantic courtship, and a long period of preparation for a wonderful wedding, during which you’d all listen to her advice. And instead, her daughter is pregnant, and everything’s out of her control. And happening too fast.

So don’t take her hatred too personally – except maybe the bit about getting her daughter pregnant!
But what should you do about it all?

Take it slowly

Don’t push things. And talk to your girlfriend. Be absolutely sure that she’s okay about the baby, for example, and about the two of you getting married.

Ask her to tell you about any worries she might have. For example, she might be anxious about where you’re going to live together, or whether you’ll have enough money for everything, or whether you’ll stick around when the baby arrives. She may have planned to study or work, and now she can’t.

Once your girlfriend is comfortable talking about her concerns – which her mother might also share – start to work together to fix them.

Ask your girlfriend about her mother’s attitude towards you, and ask for her suggestions about what to do about it. She may have had some conversations with her mother that will enable you both to approach her better in future.

United front

Above all, make sure that you and your girlfriend are on the same page about all the concerns you’re facing, and especially your mother-in-law’s opposition to your marriage.

Because the most important person in this issue of your mother-in-law is your girlfriend. If she’s obviously happy about getting married, and realistically prepared for married life, then her mother will slowly start to relax.

After that – apart from behaving very well – the best thing you can do is to let a little more time pass. Because the more you begin to look like a permanent fixture, the less your mother-in-law will hate you!

How did you get your in-laws to like you? Share your story in the comments below or on Facebook. You can find us at Love Matters Africa and Love Matters Naija

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