(cut a bit just to save space)
Fiance and I had dinner with Toxic Dad and Stepmom the other night. Stepmom, clueless, decided to ask some *very* invasive
DAD: Are you trying to change the subject, Shatzie? Your stepmother asked you a question.
ME: A very invasive question. Fiance, how was work today?
Dad and Stepmom would.not.let.it.rest. I tried bean dipping more, but conversation became very stilted. Was there a better way to handle this?
I think you did fine but am wondering if or how your fiance' answered your question and if he backed you up.
I think the reason you felt the conversation became stilted is because there was more than just insensitivity and/or rudeness going on here. ToxDad and CluelessStepmom appear to actively working together to set a course for your marriage based on theirs marriage and/or their beliefs.
You can sidestep questions w/ beandip or other ploys in social settings as the social setting is a temporary situation and you can then step away from stilted conversation.
Finance's parents are going to be a part of your life as longs as y'all are married or longer if there are kids involved.
So (again just my opinion) at some point you and your finance may (well IMHO WILL) need to sit down with this couple, maybe over dinner and set some boundaries. Finance needs to be the primary speaker too as this is 'his' side that needs to be set straight.
I personally like to begin such a conversation by crediting the guilty parties with noble motives "I am sure you mean well and... we both respect the choices you've made for your relationship
which do appear to be working for you two... and we know you both want to extend the same respect to us...." then lay it out.
- We've both decided our marriage is to be an equal partnership (or whatever you've decided) and
- We both feel conversations within a counseling session should remain private.
At this point, you're going to find out if this couple will 'agree to disagree' with you both over this pretty fundamental* difference of opinion on how roles are to be established in a marriage.
Depending on how toxic dad is, this may end up being the opening for him to cut son off emotionally or financially so you both may wish to relate this story to your pre-marriage counselor and be prepared for the fall out. You and your finance know these people and y'all may wish to take that into consideration when you select a time and a place. (Like maybe- get thru the wedding with everybody being superficially friendly.)
Or maybe bringing it up now to see how finance will or won't back you up SHOULD be done before the wedding.
BTW * when I said "fundamental", I meant "basic or foundational' not 'fundamental' as in religious- although if they're basing how your marriage should be structured on their religion, maybe before the wedding is also a good time to spell out which church (if any) finance' will be attending... or not as that could really cause an explosion.
BTW- Best Wishes