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Whose side?


Senior Member

Today my girlfriend and I went and had dinner with her sister and her sister's SO, her mom and dad. They've never met my mom.

Now, my mom is nuts. She's difficult and has been difficult with my GF. In what she perceived as being humorous, my GF told a story about my mom to her family. It had to do with medication she takes- and really exemplifies her mental illness. I was mortified!!

I called her out on it at the time, kind of saying "ok, that's enough" and brought it up again at home. She felt her parents didn't think anything of it. My thought is that IF my GF and I are to be together, our "in laws" will know one another. I don't want them to judge my mom before meeting her. (She is friendly and most people don't catch on to how "ill" she is unless they have a close relationship with her- she has a good job, etc. )

I think I can talk about my mom however I want, but my GF can't. She says I'm trying to put on a show. She says I made out "better" when it comes to dealing with the other person's parents. (Hers have their own set of issues but are more normal than mine.) This is just one more problem in a long list we've had recently. <!--grumpy--> We are already in counseling so this will just get added to the list of things to talk about. Happy New year to me. She is now sleeping in the guest room.


Senior Member
If it's the first time it's happened, cut her a break.

After 26 years, my DH and I *just* made a rule...(should have made it long ago). Only *I* can dis my family and only *he* can dis his.


Senior Member
I get where you are coming from. My sister is a mess and when my BF and I talk it irritates me a bit when he criticizes her. He hasn't ever done it in front of his family (and I don't think he would).

I would definitely not talk about my BF's mother as a family conversation. I've mentioned the crazy things she's done to my own mother in confidence, but she would never bring them up in front him.


Senior Member
I know exactly what you mean...my sister in law sometimes talks very negatively about my parents and I feel she shouldn't...at least in front of me. She has her own crazy parents to diss!

It makes me feel defensive about them and mad at her for pointing out their faults. My parents are very challenging, I l know...I totally know! But they do have a good side...and I feel that is totally ignored. I think she should complain about them to her friends rather than me. But it is hard to really verbalize...bc my brother and I do complain about my parents in front of her, so she just chimes in...so I feel weird saying 'I can say it, but you can't'

Whew...like my own little therapy sesson...sorry! I feel for you! I am on your side.


Senior Member
I think she was out of line. It was disrespectful to you. Chances are good she would have told the story anyway at another time, and honestly, I think that's to be expected. Hopefully her parents would be mature enough to judge your mom on her own merits when they do meet her, but I could see her wanting to share that information. You can request she doesn't, but it's her call, imo. However, telling the story to her family in front of you, to me, is really disrespectful and I'd be pissed about that. What purpose could it serve except to embarrass you?

I have said some not great things to my mom about my mil, I'm sure dh has said some things to his mom about mine. They met, and were very kind to one another. I would NEVER dis his mom in front of him and my mom.

I think I can talk about my mom however I want, but my GF can't.
I would say this is true (if the talk is to be pointing out weaknesses or something) when you two are in front of a group of people, such as the situation you described. I would say she can still talk about your mom how she wants in front of you alone or in front of others alone, if it's based on her own experiences with her and she is venting frustrations or whatever.

I'm sorry you guys are still having trouble :(


Senior Member
I do think she was out of line with talking about your mom in front of you. It is embarrassing and would not have been appreciated if it was on the foot.

I also do not think her parents will think less of your mom over what was said. If they do, then they have a problem and are immature.

Enjoy your new year, you are someone that I love to hear about because you are making your success. Don't let your GF control your life, you are too together for that. :)

Peaches Pears

Senior Member
I'm on your side.
Your GF crossed a line and what's worse (IMHO) is she doesn't get that she crossed the line.
Maybe she is unable to apologize. Does she ever apologize or recognize that sometimes she should apologize?
None of my business. Just something to think about.


Senior Member
Love the advice you got from eliza4one.

Straightforward, commonsense, and empathetic.

Good luck, and don't be unhappy.

Life is too short to not be happy.


Senior Member
I always say that I can talk about my family but I really don't appreciate anyone else saying things about them...LOL It gets me mad.

I actually think it speaks to who you are that you stood up for mom. I don't know if I would want everyone knowing about my medications etc.

I am sure this too will pass...but I say YAY FOR YOU!


Senior Member
I think airing your family's faults in front of her family shows a lack of maturity and some disrespect. She should understand how much your mother's illness bothers you and you should be able to freely vent about your mother's behavior with your SO.

I once told a "funny" story about my FIL to a group of our friends. It hurt my DH's feelings and I did not mean to do that! I apologized and learned my lesson. You do nor put down your SO's family in public bacause that is the way it is perceived.

If she is keeping score about who gets the better inlaws, that seems immature to me. She could really be hurt about your mother's behavior toward the two of you, but is not dealing with it.
Sorry you are going through this.


Senior Member
This is a very common problem for couples. It's a thin line to walk, because we all have some negative things to say about our own families but it hurts to hear other people say it. I think you have to establish a ground rule about it. You are allowed to express your feelings about your mom and her issues, but your GF is not to tell anyone about them. I would actually consider this one a deal-breaker because it will cause too much heartache down the line if she can't abide by this rule.


Senior Member
Your partner's family is off limits

It was disrespectful of her to say it, especially if she is aware of how hurtful your relationship with your mom has been over the years and how your life has been influenced by having a mom with these issues. The other side of the coin is that it is cruel to make fun of someone who has mental health issues to get a laugh. I think it might be something to bring up in therapy.


Senior Member

I completely agree with you. My husband and I still have these discussions because he likes to constantly say negative things about my parents but they go out of their way to do things for him. If I vent about my mom it doesn't usually bother me if he chimes in but he likes to make comments in front of others. The privacy of our bedroom is one thing but when others can hear is another.

Mr Sensai

Senior Member
I dunno any gf I have had who has had the misfortune of meeting a certain family member has said the person is a kook. I do not dispute this and have no issue with them saying that. As long as they are honest about it and don't embellish I am Ok with that


Senior Member
The hardest part of any relationship is learning that your SO does not look at everyone the way you do. It took my mom going WAY off the deep end for my DH to understand why I got so mad at him when he involved her behind my back. Literally, 20 years later, he gets it. But that's my story. Let's talk about yours.

I don't think this is 100% about family, and I know that there is nothing more volatile than family.

Rather than making this about family, make it about respect. One of the "rules" in many marriage books is to respect your DH in public. I found out that he felt demeaned in public when I thought I was being funny.

Rather than try to defend your feelings about your family, make it about how her comments make you feel. Perhaps you can make her see that her comments hurt you, and will make adjustments. Focus on "I" statements- it hurts me when you talk about my mom" and keep the focus on you. If she says it's not a big deal because her family has issues too, don't take the bait. Say "But I'm the one who is hurting. I don't like hearing jokes made about my mom" Don't let any of mom's actions come into the conversation- and don't accuse her of having any motives. Repeat "it hurts me when" as often as you need to.

{{{hugs}}} I have been wondering how you've been.


Senior Member

Mental illness is not "fair game" as a laughing matter or a point of table talk with others. I would be hurt, too.

I would ask that your mom's condition not be discussed in front of others, period.