"My Parents Are Driving Us Apart!"
Her TurnMy Parents Are Overly Demanding
"My husband says my parents' meddling is ruining our marriage," said Mindy, 32, a marketing executive and newlywed. "I know he has a point -- my parents are control freaks, and are very involved in our lives -- but what Todd doesn't acknowledge is how generous they are to us and how much their behavior is motivated by the fact that they care so much. We've only been married for six months, but Todd and I constantly argue about their behavior and its effect on me."
"It's true Mom is a royal nudge. She calls me at work every day and pays no attention when I tell her I'm too busy to talk. She expects me to drop everything for her; like during the holidays, she wants us to celebrate every one with her and my father. To guilt us into doing this, she'll remind us that they bought us a new couch or stove.
"Dad isn't as demanding, but he also knows how to push the guilt buttons: He won't let us forget that they spent a small fortune on our wedding. It drives Todd crazy that my parents' gifts and financial help come with strings attached. He wants to decline their offers, but I don't want my parents to think that we're ungrateful.
"Just the other day, Todd accused me of letting them push me around. I found that offensive because I'm hardly a doormat. When Mom pressures me, I don't always give in. In fact, sometimes I snap at her, and then we argue, which leaves me in a rotten mood. Todd hates to see me agitated, and if I'm upset about something Mom did, he'll bad-mouth her and put me on the defensive. He doesn't understand that his saying unkind things about my mother, even if they are true, is hurtful to me -- so the two of us end up fighting. Our sex life is suffering; it's hard to feel romantic when we're arguing all the time.
"Money was never an issue when I was growing up. Dad was and still is a successful lawyer; Mom has always been a homemaker. My parents were generous with my older brother and me. Even now, I enjoy Mom and Dad's company, whether it's watching a football game on TV or going out to dinner. I just wish they'd stop butting in on my marriage.
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