Monster-In-Law: When Someone Hates You for Being Polyamorous

When someone just doesn’t like you on principle, there is nothing you can do to change that. It sucks, as a kind person, to be hated on for something that you can’t or won’t change. To have someone look down on you, to feel as though they are better than you, because of a relationship style that you are in. Something that frankly does not affect them in the least. Something that improves your life at the very core. Yet, to them, it is an abomination, a mark on the family. They can’t see past the weirdness of it. They refuse to ask questions or if they ask questions, they are leading and filled with hate. They make up their mind about what you are doing, and they use that idea as a framework on how to treat you. Frankly, it sucks.

She Doesn’t Like Me, And I Can’t Change That

I finally accepted that my boyfriend’s mother will never like me. No matter how nice I am, how respectful, kind, sweet I am to her. No matter how much joy I bring her son. No matter how great a mother I am to her grandchildren. Just because we are polyamorous, she will not like or respect me. (Rob feels this from my brother and Brandon’s mom and step-dad as well. It’s not unique to me.)

She seems to put all the blame on me for this “crap” relationship, as she once called it after getting me alone to scrutinize my life. My boyfriend and husband skate by, seemingly blameless in her eyes. Or maybe she just sees me as the weakest link and doesn’t dare pick on the stronger members of our three-person relationship. I feel the brunt of the hate. She never brings things up like this to Rob, her own child, or to Brandon, who she has known since he was 8 years old. No, she knows better, as Rob says. However, I’m the woman who swept in and stole her child off into a sinful relationship. I’m a siren, singing my hypnotic song and watching sailors crash and die on my rocks. I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I am sin itself.

The Verbal Attack in the Park

Back in August, I tweeted, “When your bf’s mom gets you alone to tell you how she is a Christian and doesn’t approve of your open relationship, knows it will fail, and its hurting your children – all while holding your baby. Okay thanks Terri, what else you wanna talk about?” It’s not like I didn’t already know how she felt, or that I think she doesn’t have the right to tell me, but it was the way she went about it that bothered Rob and I.

Rob, I, and the kids were at a local county park, enjoying a nice day, and he decided to invite his mom. The past year, she had been pleasant. It had seemed like she had finally given up on completely icing me out. She came around to our house, brought gifts for the children, ate with us, played card games.

It had been awkward. She seemed to avoid eye contact with me. She never said goodbye to me, though she would say goodbye to everyone else. There were no hugs exchanged between me and her. However, I could write all of that off to her discomfort with our relationship.

When she came to meet us at the county park, she brought us all milkshakes. She played with the kids. She talked to me and made eye contact. And then about halfway through the visit, Rob and our oldest child, L, went hiking off into the woods, leaving me, his mom, and the baby, J, alone. She pounced.
“So, how is your relationship with your husband?” She asked, leadingly.

I knew that her line of questioning was going somewhere, because she never asked things like this, and the way she snidely said “your husband” was telling.
“Oh, good. He’s been pretty busy lately with his side business, so I haven’t been seeing a lot of him, but it’s good.” I answered.

“So, how did all of this crap start?” She asked, menacingly.

I knew exactly what she meant by ‘crap’ but I was going to make her say it.

“What crap are you talking about?” I asked, feigning innocence.

“This crap. This relationship.” She said, sounding annoyed that I was even making her say it.

We sat down on some benches on the side of the path, her holding J. I took a deep breath.

“I don’t know how much detail to go into, but pretty much Brandon and I decided to open our relationship. Rob wasn’t interested. I let it go. Then he was interested. Now we are here.” I shortly explained.

She huffed disapprovingly. I smirked, blinking away some tears and steeling myself. I couldn’t show weakness to her; I knew better than that. I needed to meet her head on.

“I can tell you disapprove.” I said, slowly, calculated.

“Yes. I am a Christian, and I believe in my marriage vows,” She said haughtily, “I’ve seen this before, and it never lasts. I’ll never say this in front of the children, but you are going to end up hurting them. “

“I’ve seen many relationships fail, mainly monogamous ones. Brandon and I both come from divorced monogamous families, where the children got hurt.” I said, diplomatically.

Before we could continue our conversation, Rob and L returned. She didn’t dare have such a conversation in front of her son. I kept it to myself for most of the walk back to the car to avoid a blow up in front of L. But I couldn’t hold it in for long. I texted Rob, to let him know the cliff notes of what happened, but I also told him not to confront his mom, I had it handled. As he read the text, I saw fury pass through his eyes, but he kept quiet. He was short with his mom as we parted ways. I acted as if everything was normal. And we left.

Finding Reasons to Look Down on Me

I haven’t seen her in person since then. I don’t want to. And we hadn’t interacted on social media either until last week, when she couldn’t help but take another dig at me. Rob posted a ham recipe, and I asked if that was what he was making for Thanksgiving. “Tiffany, you’re not cooking?” She asked. This might seem harmless to some; others might read the judgment in it. Given our relationship, or lack thereof, I knew what she meant and so did Rob. Still, I responded diplomatically as I do, maybe a little over the top, “I usually do the side dishes, and the guys make the meats. Brandon’s doing an air fryer turkey as well as this ham that your son is going to make. I think Rob also was going to try making a homemade stuffing. He really enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. So happy to have such hardworking, well-rounded men!”

In Denial

After such interactions with me, she had the audacity to ask if she could come over for Thanksgiving dinner, to which Rob responded,  “No, mom, because we are locked down for COVID and you aren’t nice to Tiffany.” To which she retorted that she isn’t mean to me just because she doesn’t like our relationship and then went on to deny the things she said to me that day in the park. Rob has said before that his mom can be oblivious to her aggressiveness, blind to her bullying. But this is not something I will tolerate, no matter how un-self-aware she is.

Letting It Go

This dig, the denial, and the incident in the park were the wake-up calls I needed to realize she just is never going to like me. I finally am able to accept it. And honestly, I have no qualms never seeing her again. Why invite someone into my house who so obviously doesn’t respect me? Who looks down on me? Who does not see the value I bring to her son’s life, to life in general? If Rob wants me to be around her, then maybe I’ll reconsider for his sake. However, at this point, he doesn’t care. He’s on my side all the way. He will still visit her on occasion and even bring the children. But I respectfully decline from seeing her again. I don’t need the scorn and negativity in my very happy and full polyamorous life.

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