Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been happily living together for almost two years. We moved in together early in our relationship to pursue our educations in the same city. We are in our mid-20s and felt that we were old enough to take this "risk." It has worked out well for us. Upon announcing our decision to his family, his mother turned on me, calling me "manipulative" and "controlling." She began spreading hurtful lies about me to other family members. My boyfriend confronted his mother. She agreed to a fresh start. We occasionally attend his family gatherings, but these are extremely awkward for me. I feel as though his mother still dislikes me, and she shows it. For instance, I have special dietary needs. She says she is more than willing to accommodate, but then she doesn't (despite reminders), leaving me unable to eat meals served at her home. I am at the point that I don't want to attend these gatherings. My boyfriend really wants me to have a relationship with his family, but I am finding it increasingly difficult. I am at a loss for what I should do! Ideas?--Stuck
DEAR STUCK: Your boyfriend's mother may have promised a fresh start, but so far this seems to herald nothing more than a shift in tactics -- away from her more obviously aggressive maneuvers and toward a more passive guerrilla-style engagement. If you want her to "win" this war, then by all means, stay home. This is probably what she wants.
One more course correction might be effective. This is where her son says: "Mom, really. If you're going to invite us over, it would be great if you could also serve something my girlfriend can eat. If you can't or don't want to do this, we'll bring our own food. But don't be insulted when we do." Your own behavior while you're with her should be above reproach. Enter the house assuming that things will go well. Also, return the hospitality by inviting his family to your home. That'll show her.