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Well, I'll keep this as short as possible, while still getting the important points across. I've been engaged since March of this year, and we're planning a wedding for next March (2004). The woman I'm engaged to is absolutely perfect for me, and I wouldn't change a single thing about our relationship....except for her mother! I know it's not uncommon to have issues with the mother-in-law (or there wouldn't be so many jokes floating around :) , but this seems to be causing a lot of problems for us. For some reason, her Mom is quite against our marriage (we're 35 and 37, so it’s not like this is an issue of someone too young to make their own decisions). My fiancée was raised by her Mom (her Dad abandoned them when she was 3), so before proposing I asked her Mom for permission (trying to be proper and all that). I was basically told she couldn't do that (she didn't say no - she just wouldn't give me her blessing). There have been a string of incidents since then, which I won't bore you with - but many of them have involved downright rudeness towards me (as one example, being invited up with my fiancée for a weekend (we have to get on an airplane to reach her mothers), then being told she bought theater tickets in NYC for the daughters and mother only and I had to find my own ride back to the airport while they went to the show). Problems of this type have been present for some time.

Last week, we went on a family vacation with the Mom and my fiancée’s 3 sisters (and sister’s boyfriends). More of the same occurred during the trip. Finally one night while everyone else was sitting by the lake, I went to bed early out of frustration (we were camping). Being that I was a long ways from the lake, I let out my frustration alone in the tent by uttering a few choice words against my future mother-in-law. (This is just my way of venting - some people lift weights, some drink, I cuss ;). Unfortunately - unbeknownst to me, one of her sisters had come back as well, and was in her tent and overheard me. This comment was definitely not designed for anyone to hear - it was just getting rid of some pent up anger. Her sister then told her mother about the comment, and my relationship went from bad to terrible. To make things more confusing, my fiancée’s father (the one who abandoned them at 3) was actually on this vacation as well - and was flirting with her mother the entire time!! (Never mind that her Dad has been remarried for 20+ years and was coming very close to committing adultery). On the last day there, her Dad (who is a retired military colonel) gave me the butt-chewing of a lifetime for my comment and attitude (completely out of line IMO coming from a guy who had nothing to do with the family until this week when he attempted to cheat on his current wife). As part of this wonderful discussion, he informed me the rest of the family had a group meeting (everyone but my fiancée and I) and decided they don't want me to marry her and want me gone!!!

So - after that exceptionally long background - my question is how the heck do I recover from this? My fiancée is very understanding and wants to work through this and is frankly a lot more pissed off at her family for creating the problems in the first place then at me for my rude comment which wasn't intended to be heard. But if my relationship with the family remains this poor, I'm greatly concerned about what effect it will have on our relationship. Particularly if I have a group of people all actively working to break up our relationship. Any thoughts / suggestions / ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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