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Future In-Laws Don't Like Me

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I'm spending time with my fiancé's family next month, and I am very nervous. You see, I met them last year and things did not go too well. They think I'm a gold-digging local who wants to marry someone with silver or gold draped on his shoulders. This is not true.

I know that I'm not good enough for their standard, and they think I will weigh my fiancé down if he marries me because I'm bringing extra baggage: failed relationships and a 5-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Of course, I want them to like me and to accept and love my daughter. Furthermore, I love my fiancé. But how do I get "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" to realize I'm the one for their son?

By the way, did I mention that his father is a retired Navy captain? Sometimes I wonder if I'm in over my head with this family and if they will ever accept me. They could always be looking and hoping for me to make some mistake.

I know I'm not what they expected, but I'm a smart woman and I've started my own business. I design accessories for little girls like hair bows and designer socks. I'm not a millionaire, but this is my very own business from my own ideas.

My fiancé has an ex-fiancée. She's also a Navy officer. Of course, the Smiths loved her. She was the one for their son because they both graduated from the Naval Academy. I heard she's stationed in Japan and I wonder if she still keeps in touch with my fiancé.

I'm wondering if should I travel to Texas to spend time with Tim's family or should I have something else to do instead.

Sincerely,
Worried I'm Not the One

Dear Worried,

I'm not so concerned about the Smiths' attitude. I am concerned about you second-guessing yourself and falling prey to what they think about you.

At this point, you have already tapped out. You have given up. Truth is, they could never genuinely accept you. And guess what? If you marry Tim, you will have to live with that.

Sometimes, you will never be able to change a person's mind about you. Once they get one image or perception in their mind, they will keep it forever.

First, if you love your fiancé and you think he's worth the criticism and the chilly cold weather with his family, you may accept your in-laws in spite of the way they feel about you.

Second, stop comparing yourself to the ex-fiancée. She's gone. She's history. That's why she's an ex. If you keep thinking about her and digging her up, she just might surface and you don't want that.

Third, I am concerned for your daughter being thrown into this. She needs a supportive family and to be around people who will love her, including a stepfamily. I think you and your fiancé should start with some couples counseling now. You should address and strategize ways to build your blended family and how he should really introduce you to his family.

Your fiancé has to be willing to demand that his family respects you and your daughter. If they love their son, they will love you and your daughter too.

Now, here's my last point. I don't think you and your daughter should go to Texas to spend time with his family yet. You should forgo this trip. Let him spend time with his family on his own. His job will be to let his family know how important you are and how incomplete his life is without you and your daughter.

Furthermore, he won't be able to stay very long in Texas because he needs to rush back to you. This will send his parents and others a clear message that if they want him to come home for longer visits, he has to bring you and your daughter. 

It's possible to build a wonderful marriage and family together. You have to think about your daughter first. No doubt you are a bright, intelligent woman and you deserve a good man who will be good to you and your daughter. However, there is no rush. Let me know what you decide to do.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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