Problem Solving => Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws => Topic started by: IssaQueen on May 30, 2017, 09:51:21 am

Title: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on May 30, 2017, 09:51:21 am
I am hoping for some perspective here. My FH and I have been dating for two years. At first it was long distance, as I was on the West Coast and he was on the East Coast. After her proposed 6 months ago, I transferred my job and moved to be with him. That is the good part. The bad part is my FMIL  and I do not gel. She has not taken to me in the least and I in turn, have a hard time relating to her. Our personalities are very different and I am not sure that gap can be bridged. I have always been polite and respectful, but am very reserved in the presence of FMIL-I am sure she sses it as standoffish, but I cannot help it. I am an introvert anyway and esp when I suspect that someone does not like me, which I am sure is the case with FMIL.

FH has talked with his mom, but things have not improved much. But here is why I am writing. This past Sunday, FMIL invited us to Sunday Dinner-I did not go, but  FH did. My parents were in town for 3 days-they have never seen the area where I live and I was spending time with them. FH told his mom that I did not come as my parents were in town. FMIL was very upset by this and maybe even hurt. She asks why didn't she know that my parents were in town, why did she not get a chance to meet them? She is really insulted by this and now I am in the doghouse more than ever.

I do not see the issue. My parents were in town to spend time with me-they had dinner with FH and I their first night here-and they did not request to meet FMIL. I did not think it was necessary or important. FH and I haven't begun planning the wedding yet-we are getting hitched in late 2018-and there is plenty of time to meet before then. So it will happen eventually, both parents meeting, but  I don't see why it had to be the first time my parents visited.

To be fair, my mom is my best friend (along with my sister and my friend since 2nd grade) and I did tell her of my troubled relationship with FMIL. But at the same time, I do not consider this a snub by myself and my folks toward FMIL.

Was I wrong?
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: luise.volta on May 30, 2017, 10:40:26 am
Welcome, I. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Read Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to the Forum Agreement to be sure WWU is a fit. We are a monitored Website.

My take is there is seldom a right or a wrong. You chose not to introduce your mother...your future MIL didn't like that. What has become clear to me over the years is that an adult son talking to his mother about an issue she has with F-DIL or DIL has never been a solution. It only complicates. He has made a choice she doesn't like. Bottom line...it's a 'so what'. None of us can bring warm feelings to cold people. Some mothers can't step back and let adult children go.

I had the reverse happen to me. I married a widower with grown children who didn't like his choice. He told them that was their problem, not his...and that I wasn't the issue, they were. I guess what I am saying is that a marriage is a new family unit. It supersedes former loyalties and dynamics. You and you FH get to focus on each other and new beginnings. It's my take that pleasing others isn't a healthy priority. Often it simply can't be done. FMIL may want you gone. Or she may think her input has the power it did when FH was little. Nope. She has completed her biological role and it's time for her to get on with her life. If she can't, don't let it poison yours. Hugs...
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on May 30, 2017, 12:26:12 pm
Thank you very much. It is a hard road to be on.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: luise.volta on May 30, 2017, 01:04:38 pm
Yes, it's a package deal. FH brings this issue with him into your relationship. It's mostly up to him. When I started this Forum so many years ago...nine, I think...I named it MothersInLawUnite.com That came from my former question and answer Website, MomResponds.com where so many possessive DILs excluded their well-intentioned MILs from their lives.

It didn't take long for women who were up against what you are facing came forth, addressing the other side of the coin. Since this isn't a debate site...and unkindness isn't tolerated, I welcomed then and changed the name to focus on multiple issues.

For some, a F-MIL subtly or openly declaring war before a marriage has even taken place is a deal breaker. When I was young, a long time ago because I am 90, I think it would have been for me. I was/am too sensitive. What made it work when I hit a wall in my last marriage was my husband's allegiance. He didn't try to change anyone's opinion, he just refused to include anyone in his life that didn't respect his right to choose his own bride and treat me accordingly. Eventually, when the hard times came and I became his caretaker and saw him through end-of-life dementia, his son and daughter thanked me from the bottom of their hearts for being his rock. That isn't always the case, I know.

You have a life to live. You have found love and made a commitment. How the two of you align regarding this will set the pattern for your future. Know that all of us are here for you and think seriously about taking a stand regarding mutual solidarity.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on May 30, 2017, 02:15:41 pm
Again, thank you for being so welcoming. I am not so sure that my MIL to be has declared war. I hope she hasn't. I hope we get past this bump. But you are older than I, so you have more knowledge of human nature. My mother has told me not to give MIL to be any ammunition and to keep my true self, thoughts and feelings from her, because  my fiance's mom could use it against her. I know as of this writing, my mom and dad have no intention f meeting FMIL.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: luise.volta on May 30, 2017, 03:07:54 pm
How wonderful that you have that kind of support. If a person wants to discredit you, they will find a way no matter how careful you are. I'm so sorry this is part of what should be a really joyful time. More hugs...
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: Marina on May 30, 2017, 05:13:25 pm
I have some very mixed feelings about this situation.  As a DIL, my parents and DH's parents met for the first time at our wedding, even though everyone lived locally.  These two sets of parents had zero interest in each other's lives, and I never questioned it.  We all got together for another occasion, and I think they were cordial and polite but mainly disinterested. 

On the other hand, when my FDIL's family was visiting when the relationship between DS and FDIL's was becoming serious but they were not yet engaged, I was delighted to meet FDIL's family on that visit.  In fact, I would have felt hurt if I had not had the chance to meet and speak with them.  We hit it off well, and it was a warm beginning, I thought.  For me, it was a wonderful time in anticipation of an extended family, with my beloved DS marrying the dear FDIL. 

So your FMIL's desire to meet your parents on their visit seems reasonable to me, and I understand her disappointment.  I can also understand your parents' disinterest, especially if you had some negative things to say about FMIL. 

In my situation, little did I know that the pinnacle of our shared joy and closeness would be DS/DIL's wedding.  It took quite a while for me to understand that DIL had no interest in having a relationship with me (in fact, she is hostile towards me), and that I would no longer be included in any of the many events with her side of the family.  With my DS caught in the middle, I became "collateral damage"--that is, I no longer have a relationship with DS/DIL.  (It is an irony to see in hindsight that although FDIL's mom on that early visit did not approve of FDIL marrying my DS, I am now the one who is "out" and DIL's mom is the favored one.)

IssaQueen, I would encourage you to have some premarital counselling so you can discuss how to deal with your and FH's expectations of relationships with future in-laws.  If you and FH are not clear and in agreement, you may continue to have problems in how you relate to FMIL.  Perhaps FMIL will come around when she realizes it's in her best interests to do so.  (Or FMIL is insecure and doesn't have the social skills to deal with it better?)  Of course, I would be guarded in the meantime.   

Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: Stilllearning on May 30, 2017, 06:14:24 pm
Issa although you were and are not wrong I can see why your FMIL is a little put off by the way things went.  She is trying to get closer to you and is certainly willing to host your parents when they come back into town.  I think that it would help matters if you went to her and explained that you wanted to show your parents around and honestly did not think about introducing them to her.  See if you can set up a visit at some future date when the four of them can meet.  It will give you something to talk to your FMIL about and something for her to plan with you.  You may become closer just from sharing your feelings with her and planning the upcoming visit.  It took years for me to feel close to my MIL.  You are just at the beginning of a long life with her son.  Your relationship with her, like your relationship with her son, will change many times.  Be careful to keep the bridges open so that changes may occur. 

I hope that when your FMIL leaves this earth you will miss her as much as I miss my MIL who died this year.  It can happen but this relationship, like any deep relationship takes both time and commitment from you both.  Don't give up yet!!

Good luck!
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: Marina on May 30, 2017, 07:14:43 pm
On the heels of Stilllearning's excellent comment, I just want to add that if a good relationship with FMIL is important to FH, it is well worth the effort for you to go the extra mile to mend and improve your relationship with FMIL.  I try to remember to err on the side of kindness, unless it is clear that someone is trying to deliberately hurt me.     
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: luise.volta on May 30, 2017, 07:43:08 pm
If what I. wrote in her first post about F-MIL not liking her is correct, that's a choice she has made that set the stage unless I am missing something. What I got is the I. pulled away from the rejection.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on May 31, 2017, 04:22:54 pm
Thank you guys for the replies. Like I said, it just didn't occur to me as I always got the vibe my FMIL does not care for me and therefore I figured she would not care to meet my family. And like I said, now of course, my mom and dad are not too thrilled with the prospect of meeting FMIL at all. They would be fine to just meet her at the wedding.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: Monroe on May 31, 2017, 11:59:44 pm
As a MIL, I offered my DIL friendship, support (loan of car when hers broken down, other typical familial support) only to be given the cold shoulder.   I never had any desire to run her life, but I thought since we both loved the same man - albeit in different ways - but since we both loved the same man, that should give us enough common ground for a basic friendship. 

I was wrong.   She gave me the cold shoulder for years.  I kept trying.  Then I finally gave up. 

I would be curious if you have anything definite other than a "vibe" to indicate that your FMIL does not care for you.  That sounds pretty vague.  Perhaps she started out liking you, wanting to be friends and to welcome you to the family, and feels rebuffed.  If you are standoffish, that could be very hurtful. 

A very standoffish woman married my son.   I loved him, raised him, devoted a great deal of my life to him.  And because his wife is standoffish and wants nothing to do with us, DH and I have effectively lost him.   This is hurtful.   It is also on him as well as on her.  But since his first loyalty is, as it should be, to her - he is put in the middle.  We don't want him to be put in the middle, so we simply backed off. 

Of course he would choose her over his parents.  I would not want him to choose us over his wife.   But why would a DIL want him to be in that position?   Is it not somewhat hurtful to him to have to choose between his wife and his FOO?  Those relationships need not be mutually exclusive. 

I have failed to understand why a DIL would not welcome a basic friendship with her MIL.  The DIL will win, of course.  Ask Pen. 

Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on June 01, 2017, 12:24:54 am
Monroe, it's hard to explain. I have a college degree, FMIL does not, comes from a blue collar background, works with FFIL at the family roofing company. FH has said that his mom is very sensitive about coming from an impoverished background and being blue collar. Feels ashamed of not having much education. She did not learn to read until she was 16. i have never mentioned this or brought up my education or shamed FMIL for her lack of education. But I think that she thinks I may look down on her.

At our first meeting, FH and his dad did the talking. FMIL did not say much, but just looked at me and not in the friendliest way. My parents also have advanced degrees, as dows the majority of my family. This may also be something that could be causing discomfort on FMIL's part.

I don't know what to say about this. I do not feel the need nor do I have the desire to apologize for my education and privileged background. I feel that maybe FMIL thinks I should.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: Stilllearning on June 01, 2017, 03:38:59 am
Oh wow!  What an incredible accomplishment!  To have gone from not being able to read until she was 16 to being, not only the mother of the incredible man you want to marry, but also the owner of a successful business.  That takes not only spunk but intelligence.  My Grandfather never knew how to read but he was so knowledgeable about other things that I would sit and listen to him for hours and I still tell some of his stories.  There is value in people who do not have the pieces of paper that say they know things, you just have to look a little harder to find it.  Relying heavily on the fact that you and your family have advanced degrees could be viewed as somewhat shallow.  Maybe your FMIL senses (perhaps wrongly) that you feel like you are "marrying down" and is feeling protective about her DS. 

Good luck!
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: IssaQueen on June 01, 2017, 06:04:58 am
In no way do I feel like I am marrying down. FH is going for his graduate degree and then will go for his  PHD. I am content with just a college degree! I have never looked down on FMIL at all. But it is hard for me to like her when I feel she dislikes me and my family.
Title: Re: Help! Need a MIL/FMIL perspective
Post by: luise.volta on June 01, 2017, 06:59:40 am
Our posts based on our experiences, there are no professionals here, as you know. We listen, ask and share and it's a take what you want and leave the rest environment. There is the opportunity to be heard and sometimes to get a different slant or two without anyone being put on the defensive. Often the next step is to move on to counseling.

We can't know the 'whys' of your FMIL's attitudes or of yours. Personalities prevail...expectations...hopes and dreams...fears. Some are felt and some may be too deep to even be aware of.

My guess is that you have enough feedback to be able to take a time out to digest it. A suggestion has been made that you read the posts in our archives from 'Pen'. You might want to give that a try. They go back over the last eight years. The dynamics are similar but she writes from a MIL's perspective.

In support of a 'time out', I am going to close this thread. It feels complete to me. Please stay with us. Hugs...