My Cold War with My Conservative In-Laws Ended Differently from What I Expected

I’ve always been a patient person. I got to practice my patience when my father remarried following my mom’s death. So, when my in-laws tried to get me to break up with my husband before we could get married, I just used what I had learned earlier in life to withstand their onslaught.

You know, sometimes trying to find your place in someone else’s family can be really tricky. At least, it was for me when I met my husband’s family. See, I’m originally from Morocco, while my husband, Jeremy, was raised by an extremely conservative family from Georgia. That should be enough to give you an idea of what I faced.

I immigrated to the US shortly after my mother passed away. I was 11 at the time, and it felt like my entire world was coming to an end. To add to this, my dad married a new woman only a little over a year after Mom’s death. Naturally, adjusting to life in a new country and coming to terms that there was a new woman in my mom’s place was jarring.

My stepmom wasn’t a bad person, but we never got along. I think she felt insecure about the fact that she could never have kids, so she would often be mean and distant toward my sister and me. She used to try to upset us all the time by doing petty things that she knew would make us uncomfortable, but luckily my mom had taught me to always smile when people were intentionally being mean to me.

This turned out to be a great defense mechanism, and my stepmom couldn’t bear that her tricks weren’t working on me. Eventually, things died down and we made our peace, but I would never forget how effective it was to just smile through whatever petty new ploy she had devised to try and upset me. It truly was one of the greatest gifts my mom had ever given me.

But my stepmom was a minor hindrance compared to Jeremy’s family. When I met them for the first time, I knew I was in for a lengthy cold war.

I met Leona, Jeremy’s mom, and the rest of the Fergus family at one of their family dinners. By that time, I had been dating Jeremy for almost a year, and they had used every excuse to avoid inviting me to their dinners. This time, Jeremy ensured that they couldn’t weasel out of meeting me, and he even told his mom to prepare a few dishes that I could eat, since I steer clear of any pork and alcohol.

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