Potential Mother-In-Law Syndrome: The Outbreak

When Avi met Sara, it was love at first sight. Their relationship survived High Holy Day services, fasting, and even a trip to the Holy Land, but it didn't survive...Potential Mother-In-Law Syndrome (PMILS).

"The first time I went there," recalls Sara, "Avi's mother kept standing over me waving a fork at my head. 'Eat, eat,!' she kept saying. 'I always said I'd fatten up Avi's bride!'"

Avi shakes his head sadly at the memory. "Sara's mother sent out wedding announcements three weeks after we started dating. The pressure was too much for me."

Avi and Sara parted ways just before Pesach. The thought of spending seder at the other's home was too much for either of them. Avi and Sara are not alone. PMILS is the number one cause of Jewish breakups. How can you avoid becoming another statistic? There are several courses of action which can be taken. The first is to simply refrain from introducing your significant other to your parents. (It should be noted that this method becomes problematic when planning a wedding.)

Jonah and Sharon have been dating for 4 years, a record for both of them. "In the beginning of our relationship, I told my mother that Jonah couldn't come because he has a fear of heights--my parents live in a penthouse on the thirtieth floor of an apartment building. So they moved to a ground floor apartment, and then I told them he was afraid of leaving his apartment. When they asked to come to his place, I told them he was afraid of strangers. My mom doesn't ask about him anymore."

Jonah, too, has found a way to hold his mother at bay. "I told her that Sharon was a shikse, he says proudly. She never mentioned Sharon's name again."

Michael and Rachael opted for a different approach. "I told my mother that I was feeling pressured into marrying Michael, and I was considering moving back home. She backed right off." Michael adds, "I started pointing out how old all the grandmothers you see pushing strollers in the park looked, and my mom stopped buying baby clothes."

PMILS, then, is a treatable disease. There are, however, many couples still suffering from its deadly clutches. If you are among them, please know that you are not alone. Write us, tell us the symptoms, and the antidote (if known to man). Together, we can win the war against PMILS.

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