July 05, 2020, 10:30:43 am


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Messages - Monroe

H - you are getting some valuable perspectives here.   

Here my concern: You loan him the money.  His business fails (many of them do).  He cannot pay you back.  It could destroy your relationship with him. My experience has been to use tough love instead of enabling. I find it much harder but it gives young adults a chance to make their own way and learn, (we hope), in the process.

Good luck - Stay strong. 
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. 

Patience - I agree fully with your comments.  Especially the last -- "I don't think many people understand what a difference it makes to truly put forth an effort when communicating with someone else.  We are a world shaped by social media now; we've lost that personal connection."   

I was not actually hurt by the email condolences - they were from acquaintances, and the method they chose to convey the condolences simply confirmed the status of our relationship as that of impersonal acquaintance.   As Seinfeld used to say "There's nothing wrong with that".   But it makes the handwritten notes and cards all the more meaningful. 

I do text with my kids - but i don't want it to take the place of a personal relationship.   
I'm late to the party with this response, but the original post was about how the expectant couple told his mother about the baby by texting a picture of the pregnancy test results.  After that, his mother was chilly to the DIL. 

One other factor to consider is whether the grandmother-to-be might think a text announcement is a bit impersonal.  And that would be on the son as well as on the DIL.   Probably more so on the son since that was the way he wanted to tell his mother. 

If I were to receive a text that my son and DIL were expecting, I would find it a very impersonal way to share very special news with me.  That would deflate my interest in the event. 

Our son did call to tell us when he and our DIL were expecting.   We had a nice, personal conversation in which we could share our excitement and tell him how much we loved him.   His wife was not on that call.   Her choice - of course - but she missed an opportunity to share wonderful news with us and create a bond.  The kid is a year old now, and she has yet to mention the pregnancy, the baby, or the significant gift we sent.   If I had only her to rely on, I would not yet even know I was a grandmother.

So maybe this grandmother's impersonal attitude is a reflection of the impersonal manner in which her son chose to tell her.   

We had a death in the family not too long ago - elderly parent.  I received many cards, letters and phone calls, and I deeply appreciated each and every one of them.   What I did not appreciate, and was actually offended by, were emails from people expressing sympathy for the loss of my parent.  How lame.   My parent died, and they couldn't bother to pick up the phone and talk to me personally or send a card or hand-written note.  That would be too much trouble.  I'm sure it is somewhat of a generational thing with me, but to send a sympathy message electronically really rubbed me the wrong way.  I am afraid I would have the same reaction to an electronic notification of my son having a child. 
Mamma T - you said "i dont understand why i should keep trying for a relationship with dil when she has pretty much made it clear to me she doesnt want a relationship with me."

I couldn't agree more.  I have a DIL who has made it clear she wants nothing to do with me - and I long ago lost interest in catering to her.   I know Marina meant well when she said maybe you could give her a pampering gift or host another event to make her feel special - and I'm thinking --- Why in the world should you keep catering to this young woman who has been so rude to you?   

I think her behavior is such that you are entitled to pivot 90 degrees and exit stage left.  I long ago quit making an effort towards my DIL - and no, it hasn't improved our relationship (which is nonexistent) - but it sure has helped my self esteem.  I don't feel like a doormat anymore.   I was driving myself crazy - trying and trying and getting nowhere (and I'm actually a pretty nice person).   When  I accepted it and moved on, I was emotionally healthier. 

And even if she were a lovely young woman who treated you well, the etiquette books do say that it is not appropriate to host a shower for a relative.   Too much of a gift grab.   So not only do you not HAVE to host the shower, you SHOULD NOT host the shower.   Nor should the step-mom.   Showers should only be hosted by non-relatives.   So there, Emily Post!   ;  )
Shiny and Pen - -

I know you have had issues with your DILs.  Did those issues arise only after the wedding?   Or were you on alert before the ceremony?

And even if you were happy about the union, did things happen at the wedding to spoil the day for you?  My question is really about the wedding day - not so much the relationship afterwards. 

Of course hard feelings at the wedding often carry over into relationship difficulties later.  Even if  you are delighted with your child's choice of a life partner, sometimes friction between your family's culture and traditions and the new in-law family's traditions are enough to put people on edge - even if they are very happy with the spouse their child has chosen. 

i've just decided that weddings are way overdone and ridiculous.   Even if the bride is not a Bridezilla - sometimes the groom's family can be rude and demanding - and don't get me started on the rudeness of guests.   Luise would have to start a new category for issues with drunk, obnoxious groomsmen at weddings. 

We all know marriage is tough - but I am wondering how many weddings are actually happy affairs, or if it is typical for families of the bride and groom to be gritting their teeth to get through it? 

On the surface, all is happy and lovely, but having been behind the scenes at several weddings now it occurs to me that, while the bride and groom are happy and well-matched, for the families to get together can be a clash of cultures and expectations and hurt feelings. 

I am aware of a situation where there was room for 130 people.  The bride's family allotted ten seats for the mother of the groom to issue invitations.  The groom had a few on the primary list - but the parents of the groom were only allowed to invite ten people - while the brides parents invited dozens. 

At another wedding the mother of groom was never told when pictures would be taken.  She assumed after the ceremony - and was surprised when pictures were all over by the time she arrived. 

In another situation, the groom's friends were totally obnoxious, chanting for the groom to smash cake in the bride's face, which would have ruined her hair, dress, etc.  This deeply offended the parents of the bride - the mother of the bride was in tears for a week afterwards - so hurt that "friends" would propose such an attack. 

I am just wondering if many weddings are genuinely happy for the families, or only for the bride and groom.  I am beginning to think there is a lot of unhappiness and resentment at weddings on the part of the families - but it is all glossed over. 

What do you all think?
Ladybreck - I sympathize with your loss and your heartbreak - but I would ask you to take a step back and try to look at it from their perspective.  You were informed of the pregnancy, you knew of her health issues and her concern about the pregnancy, you were told not to tell anyone, yet you did let it slip.  You also had been told not to put anything of the baby on social media. 

The first - confirming the pregnancy to the third party - was arguably an accident.  The friend guessed, and you confirmed.  But the second - putting the video on social media - cannot be construed as an accident.  That took an affirmative act on your part - which you did despite knowing they did not want anything of the baby on social media. 

I am one who is dismayed at all the private information people put out on Facebook, etc.  That information can easily fall into the wrong hands, endangering the financial and physical security of people.   I do not think it is crazy or controlling to not want information about the child on social media.  I think it is just common sense. 

Have you apologized unconditionally?  Or do you try to defend yourself when you apologize?   Maybe if you did not try to excuse your slip-ups, if you truly understood why they were upset, and apologized unconditionally they would give you another chance. 

It seems that to move far away is not a solution.  You would lose touch with the other grandchildren, and never have a chance to earn the trust and get to know this one child. 

I think you are well-intentioned and loving.  But I would be very upset if someone put personal information or videos of my family on the internet.  I would feel violated. 
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Re: DS under pressure?
September 28, 2016, 10:06:47 pm
I think Green Thumb was just trying to be helpful and offer a different perspective. 

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Big News
February 10, 2016, 10:15:54 pm
Thanks for your comments, ladies.   

Still Learning, I agree that we did a good job as mothers.   Our job was to raise them to be independent and self-sufficient.   We have done that.  Perhaps too well!  ::)   But the worst would be to have a son that couldn't stand on his own two feet, couldn't hold a job, couldn't make it on his own.   So I don't have that to deal with.   And I don't want to be the center of his life.   That would be sick.  I just didn't realize that raising an independent son would cut me out of his life.  Of course his choice of a wife affects that, too.  The DIL can be a bridge or a barrier to the son.  No, it is not the DIL's JOB to be the bridge.   The son is responsible for his own relationships.   But some women are just lucky to have a DIL who is a bridge.  (My own daughter is a bridge for her MIL)

Green T -- nothing on the phone call triggered resentment.  The resentment was years ago, when DIL made it clear she had no interest in us.  We have gotten so used to the cold shoulder that it triggers no new feelings at all.  Yes, the general culture expects us to be all excited about the grand baby.  I don't resent not being involved with the baby.   What I resent is the expectation that we should be all excited when we have been shoved away.   Adult sons and DILs should be consistent.   Happily include the parents, and then it is reasonable to expect the parents to be excited about becoming grandparents.   Give the parents the cold shoulder, and then don't be surprised that they have little interest in the grandchild. 

Yes, Greenie - I am leaving it under a rock.  I have many items on my bucket list - - and a limited time to get to do them.   ;D

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Re: Big News
February 08, 2016, 08:05:14 pm
Quote from: Pen on February 08, 2016, 06:23:09 pm
Monroe, I wish there was a word that acknowledged being a GP even when our AC don't validate us as GPs.

Pen - it's not so much that I don't have GP status - what is annoying is that I am expected to be excited and oohing and aching over the baby-to-be when we have been treated with disregard.  I just don't really have much interest.  Zero excitement, which I think is consistent with how we have been treated.   But I am expected to be excited about the baby.   DS just doesn't get that when DIL, and to some extent he, have pushed us away for so long, we have lost the desire to get close.  I don't know that I want to be included more.

Green Thumb - I get what you say about a solo phone call.  That alone would not be any big deal.   It's just consistent with a multi-year history of her having little to do with us.

Luise - I am copying your thought - -

"We don't raise children with the idea that their choices in adulthood will end our relationship."

and keeping it handy.   Good to know I am not the only one

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / Big News
February 07, 2016, 08:20:35 am
So the call came last night.   By way of background, DS is married to chilly DIL, who has demonstrated for years that she wants little to do with us.   But last night the phone rang - DS wanted to speak with both of us.   Told us they are expecting.   

They live far away - so a phone call to announce was most appropriate.  But the call was from him alone.  DIL was there but didn't bother to participate in the call.   DS made a point of wanting me and my DH on the phone to break the news - but DIL was not part of it at all.   

She has given us the cold shoulder for years, so I am not shocked she didn't bother to participate in the announcement.  Not even surprised, actually. I can't help feeling more and more shut out. 

I just feel empty.   Not excited, not anything.   Just empty.   DS is further and further away from us all the time.   And I am confident I will never get to know this baby.   Not sure I even want to since DIL will be in control of everything, and I am clearly not welcome.   But it must all be OK with DS or it wouldn't happen this way.   

Just feeling discouraged.   Any thoughts, wise ladies?

Helpful Resources / Re: Loving Detachment 101
November 01, 2015, 10:23:21 am
Bamboo -- thank you for posting this.   I am going to print it out and refer to it often.   

Quote from: Bamboo2 on October 31, 2015, 08:26:59 pm
You've got that right, Pen.  And I have a page filled with "Penisms"...most notably something you wrote a few years ago about detachment and what that might look like in practice with a loved one.  (Those examples are so useful). I'm going to practice that dance of detachment over the holidays if needed.  I'm going to be okay, with support from my WWU friends as needed.

Thanks for being here  ;D

Bamboo - could you re-post what Pen wrote about detachment?   I could use a refresher.   Thanks

Bamboo - -

Good for you, bringing up the cold shoulder treatment from your daughter.   In my opinion, you were simply holding her accountable for bad behavior.   I think to sweep it under the rug, take her call and pretend like nothing happened, everything was fine - - just creates that elephant in the room.   By holding her accountable, and setting your boundary of what is acceptable behavior - you are sending her a positive message - tough love, maybe - but you are no longer enabling and calling it love. 

I doubt you will get an apology, and you don't really need one.   She acknowledged her bad behavior was a result of anger about the letter and not co-signing.   You sent the clear message that you will not accept that kind of treatment.   You have set your boundary.  Don't hold your breath waiting for an apology.   

What you do next is your choice.   You can extend the invitations, and see if she responds and behaves appropriately.  If so, this is all history.   But you don't tolerate such behavior in the future.   If she does behave inappropriately, you reinforce your boundary.   At some point, like Pooh, you may quit calling.   But if she respects your boundary and acts appropriately in the future, I see nothing wrong with extending some invitations.   

Best wishes.