What To Do When Your Partner’s Mom Hates You

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
This post contains spoilers from season 24 of The Bachelor.
If you were one of the millions of viewers who tuned in to the Bachelor finale to see whether or not Peter Weber found his happily ever after, you were in for a rude awakening. Not only did Pilot Pete break the heart of his fiancé-for-a-day, Hannah Ann Sluss, but he also broke the heart of his dear mother, Barbara Weber, by choosing a life with Madison Prewett instead.
Those who were enraptured by the Barb Cam know that Peter's mom isn't afraid to let everyone know how she really feels — including her thoughts about her son's chosen bae. She even let out an eye roll after Madison said she "couldn't eat or sleep" after leaving the pilot back in Australia. “Everyone that knows him knows it’s not going to work," Barb said on the finale.
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Bachelor drama aside, this isn't exactly how anyone wants to enter into a new relationship — with your partner's mother hating your guts. So what should Madison (or you, if you find yourself in this situation) do going forward?
The first step once you realize your de facto mother-in-law may not like you is to take a deep breath, according to Moraya Seeger DeGeare, MA, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the co-owner of BFF Therapy in Beacon, NY.
DeGeare notes that stopping to take a moment may seem silly, but it's more helpful than you'd think. Try to understand how you're feeling and where you're coming from. "Say, 'Okay, this person hates me. This isn't in my head. Let me breathe and acknowledge that not everyone is going to love me,'" she explains.
Once you've established that there's tension between you and your partner's mom, it's time to find out how your significant other feels about the situation.
"You can have all of these feelings, but this is their mother," DeGeare says. "Your partner might have similar feelings or different feelings. Are you going to be on your own in this and do you need to reach out for support? Or are you going to be someone who has a team and you're working together?"
For starters, you could bring up your feelings by referencing a certain situation where you felt attacked by your partner's mother. They could've cut you off at dinner the night before, or even confessed their feelings of dislike for you on national television — just an example. The main idea is to be open about your feelings.
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"Don't sugarcoat it or try to blame the mother, just go from the vulnerable place and ask your partner, 'What are your thoughts on this?' so you're both on the same page," DeGeare explains.
If your SO is deeply loyal to their mom and refuses to see what they could be doing wrong (which, isn't that unbelievable) then DeGeare advises to stick with discussing your feelings about the situation. It's less about you arguing about facts — it's more about how they respond to the person they care about (you!) in pain.
"Boundaries are your best friend," explains DeGeare. "You're moving forward and you're choosing to stay together, even if there's someone telling you not to." Cough, cough, Barb!
While there are moments where you can confront your partner's mother, it's not something you necessarily should tackle alone. DeGeare says you want to make sure you're giving your significant other the opportunity to speak with their mom first before other measures are taken.
"Just say, 'Hey this is impacting our relationship, you can't just ignore this'," the relationship therapist says. "Give your partner that space."
DeGearne acknowledges that there's no written rule for any partnership and situation, but there are certain times where you might want to reevaluate your relationship. "What are the boundaries that are being crossed?" she says. "If your partner can't see that, you do want to question where this connection and partnership is at."
If the situation between you and your de facto (or legal!) mother-in-law is still strained, you'll want to have an open line of communication flowing in your romantic relationship. "Be very clear around where you're getting hurt and what's acceptable and not acceptable," DeGeare advises. And, if needed, couple's therapy is something you can definitely consider — or you can pull a Megxit, like Meghan and Harry. The choice is yours.
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While Madison and Peter's relationship status may still be up in there air, it doesn't appear to be too soon to have The Barb Talk — it may just save their relationship.
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