‘Come home for dinner with me’ - he said one evening. ‘Are your parents out? I asked. ‘No, mom is at home. I want you to meet her’. We had only been dating six months, but I was comforted to hear that. ‘Sure’, I said.

How I Got My Mom-in-Law to Start Liking Me

I fell in love with Harit the moment I saw him. Okay that might sound like an exaggeration, but it definitely feels like that now. He was pretty sought after in the company where we worked together - so popular that I thought I was being catfished when he asked me to have coffee with him on Instagram DMs. I knew I had lucked out when I saw him waiting for me at Starbucks.

But this vibe of a girl smitten by a boy and feeling like he’s too good for her only sounds cute till the appreciation remains between the two of them. If the mother of the boy starts feeling the same way - then there’s definitely trouble in paradise. 

Let me clarify, Harit was the first one to send me a follow-request and message. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised and modest enough to express it, but that had nothing to do with his mother’s dislike for me.

Harit and I were madly in love. Always texting, sharing memes, meeting every day. He would either surprise me with flowers at work, or order a dessert for me at lunchtime, drop me back home from the office and do all these special things all the time. 

‘Come home for dinner with me’ - he said one evening. ‘Are your parents out? I asked. ‘No, mom is at home. I want you to meet her’. We had only been dating six months, but I was comforted to hear that. ‘Sure’, I said. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening - that night, however, I wished it hadn’t!

His house was beautiful. His mom has great taste. A beautifully curated garden, expensive artwork, quaint interiors combined with state-of-the-art decor. Her aesthetics game was on point. As was her manipulation - which I found out later. 

She met me with the biggest smile and gave me the warmest hug - except that it wasn’t. There was something off about her. She didn’t feel genuine to me. But I had barely met her to believe that instinct of mine. So I took her at face value. 

She did odd things all throughout that evening. Like ask me a question, but call the butler for something the minute I would begin to answer. Say that my hair-color looks nice and then compare it to her aunt’s. I was polite enough to smile and ignore, and just focus on the food that was oh so good. 

I thought I was finally being proven wrong when she asked me what vegetables I did not like to eat. ‘Tori, Tinda and Baingan’, I told her. Would you believe that was the menu for the next lunch Harit invited me to! A monster-in-law was loading up on arsenal but I wasn’t gonna let her win!

Stuff like this kept happening over the next few months, till I finally decided to do something about it. 

If there was one good thing I had learnt from K-serials, it was that when the mother-in-law troubles, involving the son is pointless. They love them as much as they love you (if not more), so I did not complain to him about her attitude even once. It’s not like he didn’t notice her being mean at times - but I would always pretend like I did not hear her. 

My nonchalance began getting to her. So much so that she started telling her son things that she doesn’t like about me. Harit of course never told me what these things were, but I know because once he got really upset and asked me if I would agree to do a court marriage with him if his mother caused trouble. 

That day, I realized that my silence and her resistance were affecting my partner - and by not addressing the issue, I was being as manipulative as his mother. So I picked up my phone and asked her if she and I could go out for coffee. We met at a coffee shop near her house and I used all my courage to address the elephant in the room. 

I told her that I was aware she didn’t like me. She denied at first, but later understood that it made no sense for her to lie. ‘Your son loves me a lot and I am going nowhere’, I said to her. I even conveyed that I wish to have a good relationship with my in-laws, and expect a mutually respectful relationship. I assured her that I would never take her only son away from her and instead, I would be the daughter she never had. 

It was obviously not the most comfortable conversation to have with my boyfriend’s mother. But I had to do it. For myself and for us. 

About a week later, I cooked some biryani and sent it over for her as a peace gesture. That weekend, I received a batch of brownies baked by her, with a note that said ‘Welcome to the family’.

And that’s how I made sure that the Queen who gave birth to my Prince Charming was reminded of how important her presence in our life was. 

Mothers often feel neglected and this lack of attention can lead to toxicity in any human being. But instead of letting her negativity fester in me, I wanted to get to know the woman who had raised Harit so well and made him such a respectful and loving man. So I used the power of communication and gained a mother, a friend and a confidant for life.

As for Harit and I, we hopefully get married by the end of the year - IF he manages to impress my dad! *Wink*

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Teesta Rajan
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