Photo: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Can a horrible first impression be corrected? Sometimes yes, say these brides! Below are all the embarrassing details when real brides reveal what went wrong when they met their future in-laws.
"When I first met my future in-laws, I was well aware that I wasn't what they had in mind for a daughter-in-law. My fiancé is the eldest in a traditional Gujarati family from Mumbai and, like everyone else in this large joint family, was meant to be in an arranged marriage. I'm a half-Cherokee, half-white woman from the US. His mother doesn't speak any English, and my Hindi was basic at best. His father clearly wasn't happy with the situation. The first meeting was at a teahouse in the lobby of the hotel I was staying at in Mumbai. My fiancé's family didn't know about me, let alone that I was in India. He sprung it on them on his dad's 60th birthday. The first meeting was awkward and nerve-wracking. During the next meeting, I 'interviewed' with his grandfather who seemed confused as to why I couldn't 'find a man from America.' However, I'm blessed to have been welcomed into this super-sized family and, two years later, we're all learning the new dynamics together." —Jessica
"I nearly killed my mother-in-law! My husband, an only child, was very nervous to have the two ladies in his life meet. His mother, a full foot taller than I, is gregarious and very sensitive. After meeting her, I thought I'd be the best future daughter-in-law and send her a huge bouquet of flowers, letting her know I look forward to sharing her son. This gesture sent her into a full-blown asthma attack. She thought it was sweet but she put the flowers in the fridge to keep from repeating this misstep throughout the day. She cried at our wedding and was devastated that I was "stealing" her kid. But in the nearly 23 years since, we have become very close and have a lot of fun." —Jess
"When my fiancé brought me to his parents' house to meet them, the unthinkable happened: I got food poisoning from my mother-in-law-to-be's shrimp scampi! We wound up in the ER, as I was a mess from both ends! She felt awful to have made me sick, and I felt terribly guilty to have unintentionally offended her! It took a while for her to feel comfortable cooking for me, and truth be told, for me to feel comfortable eating her food, but six years later all is good!" —Beth
"The first time I met Dan's mother I blurted out, 'Uck, where did you get that painting?' in a voice that clearly showed I thought the water color was repugnant. Naturally it turned out she painted it! It was quite the horrible gaffe, but I said over and over that my tone came out wrong, and I really, really loved it. She wound up believing me and — sigh — that awful painting now hangs in a place of honor in my home!" —Sara
"The first time I met future in-laws for dinner, my husband's stepsister was there. She was a bartender at a bar I used to frequent, but I didn't know she had any connection to my husband at all. When I walked in, she announced, 'I know her, she is ALWAYS at the bar!' The rest of the evening she regaled everyone with these crazy stories about things I had done while drunk at her bar. It was not great. There should be some sort of bartender/drinker confidentiality agreement, like lawyers and medical professionals have — I got the last laugh because now his parents love me and don't speak to her!" —Ellen
"I met my future in-laws in the middle of the last presidential election. I was and am an ardent Obama supporter, and they wanted Romney. If only I'd obeyed the common sense rule of not having a political debate, but alas, things got heated — but definitely not friendly. We've kept quiet during this 2016 Presidential election!" —Pam
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author..