July 09, 2020, 11:51:06 pm


"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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Topics - isitme?

Hi Ladies,

I haven't posted in a looooooong time, but i hope some of you still remember me!  Things have been going pretty well, and I've still been reading and learning from all the posts here (and applying a lot of what I have learned from all of you to my own relationship with my in-laws).

Well, I've got another question for you and would appreciate your thoughts:

Do you have an opinion whether or not your DIL takes your family name or if she keeps her maiden name?  What does it mean to you if she does/doesn't?

Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws / was this wrong?
January 28, 2010, 09:49:31 am
Hi everyone, I've got a question for all my "surrogate MILs" here...

Last night my uncle called me and gave me a "guilt trip" about not being able to make it to my cousin's wedding in February.  It wasn't a bad conversation at all. - my uncle just saying "Sweetheart I wish you could come" and me saying "I know, I wish I could too because I love you all but I can't etc. etc."

Just some background:  the wedding (and most of my family) is halfway around the world.  The wedding is also on a Wednesday and even if I could get myself over there in a month, there's no way I could take that time off from work right now.  I have hardly ever been able to attend any cousins' weddings in the past because it was just too hard/expensive to get myself over there for the event.  Everyone always asks me to come, I always wish I could but in the end, we all understand that it's not possible and I have always done my best to get to know my new in-laws when I finally am able to make it over for the family visit.  And see pictures of course!

After I got off the phone, my boyfriend asked me what was wrong so I just said "oh, it was my uncle calling to give me a guilt trip about not being able to make it to my cousin's wedding".  He seemed really concerned and sad and kept asking me if I was alright over and over again. Finally I said "look, it was just a guilt trip -  they want me to come, and I wish I could but I can't, so everyone understands." 

He still seemed worried about the effect of this "guilt trip" so I finally told him that guilt trips from my family weren't really that bad....  But THEN, (and here's where some of you ladies might get mad at me) I made a somewhat snarky comment that was in reference to his family.  I said "that's the way we do guilt trips...with reasonable conversation.  There's no screaming or crying or tantrums."   The minute the words were out of my mouth I felt guilty.  I thought he would get angry or deny that's what his family was like but he just said "wow, that's nice!" (which made me realize, hey that IS kind of nice, I love my family!)

Maybe it's not such a big deal but I've been thinking about you ladies here and how many of you feel your DILs start a campaign to turn your sons against you (I agree with many of you and sympathize).  But that makes me feel REALLY guilty for making that negative comment to my boyfriend about his own family.  I actually wasn't expecting him to agree.. like I said, I regretted saying something negative the minute I did.  Then again, many of you ladies have heard my stories about FMIL and know I'm not trying to start some kind of smear campaign...  but sometimes I feel like I got to tell it like I see it.  You know what I mean?  And that's how I see it. Was it so wrong?  I actually didn't start feeling bad about that comment until I started thinking of all of you...
Our counselor has suggested that BF and I go ahead and get engaged but not tell anyone about it for now (well, I"m telling you all  ;)).  I don't know if I understand her reason.  We are going to start talking about things this week but I feel weird that we're supposed to be keeping it a "secret" for now.  Is it because she thinks we need to decide on our details before dealing with FMIL and avoid interference/drama?  I"m not sure how I feel about this. 

Is it better for us to decide things like dates and places etc. before informing our families?  For all intents and purposes, we have been told that we ARE engaged already... but  I just don't feel like I would really be "engaged" if my family wasn't a part of it, as distant as they may be - it's such a huge part of life - I would want them to know.  But if I talk to them about it, they WILL want details like when and where etc. etc.  We also have to think about things like vacation time etc. and plan ahead with work/impending move etc. etc..   So in that sense maybe our counselor means that we need to decide on the practical details and then inform our families?  I think I would be okay with that and my family would be too,  but I'm not sure about FMIL's reaction or the rest of BF's family.  His brother and SIL just had a baby last week and I woulnd't want them to think we were trying to steal their thunder or anything either.  Should I just let BF worry about how to inform/deal with his family?  When your sons got engaged, did THEY tell you right away or did they wait or did you expect to hear it from your FDIL?

BF and I are really committed and really want to move ahead soon - the counseling has helped with this as has all the great advice I've received from the ladies here....  So I"m ready to start having these discussions about getting married  but not sure how I feel about it being "secret" - won't that just lead to more trouble down the road with FMIL?   Should I just go along with it?  I don't think we could be "engaged" for very long without me telling my sister/godmother/extended family/best friends etc. etc.  They would be really hurt that I didn't tell them.  Should I just work on deciding details with BF and not really consider myself engaged until I can tell my family?  I'm just not sure how to interpret our counselor's advice on this one... I think she is just trying to get us moving because both of us feel like the other is dragging their feet.  I think she's right on this one.

Getting married is scary and confusing but I love my BF and I knowwe will be very happy together.  But it's hard to know what the "right" thing to do is.  It wouldn't seem like such a big deal because I know my family will be supportive and understanding.  But I have no idea what to expect from BF's family  - especially FMIL...

any thoughts?
Okay, I"m cutting some of this from my last post because it didn't fit in with the theme of the thread (which was very positive):
I know I still have a lot of growing to do...I wish my FMIL was the same way but sadly, despite all our recent "positive" interactions, I will still expect bad behavior from her in the future and find it very difficult to trust.  Maybe this is a question I can ask to the MILs on this forum - it might be premature because there is a slight slight slight chance that my FMIL will change (I'm not holding my breath)...... but ladies, what are you supposed to do with an F/MIL who ISN'T like you....not willing to admit any fault, not willing to look inside herself, not willing to create a life for herself, always picking on you...  In short, a person who is pretty much impossible to have anything other than a superficial relationship with where you are walking on eggshells the entire time.....

The really kind and sweet exchanges we have been having over the last few days about appreciating one another and helping each other grow and learn have made me feel a little bit sad because I know my FMIL will never be able to be like you.  And I think many of you have heard enough of my story to form some opinions of your own about my situation.  Some of you have warned me to be on the lookout for any red flags from my BF since he comes from a family that I think most of us would characterize as unhealthy.  In some ways, I think our families are exactly opposite and that's why I'm having a hard time learning how to deal..  I think in my family, we are emotionally close but physically, we like to live our own lives and not interfere with one another too much (well, of course it happens from time to time).  In my BF's family, I see ALOT of interference, judgements, and the inability to let children grow up and lead their own adult lives...so I see them as physically close but emotionally VERY distant...  I don't want to say one is better than the other but I think I prefer my family's style since it allows us to maintain a very close and loving relationship with one another even if we aren't all up in each other's business all the time.

Ladies.. you have kind of become my surrogate MILs here and I really dont' know how I would have been able to handle things without your advice and support.  What do you think I should do?  What type of relationship should I try to have with this woman?  She's really not like any of you at all (besides the fact that I dont' think she knows how to use the internet....)
Hi ladies,
I am going to call my FMIL today.  This is something my counselor and I have talked about and she is advising me to do it today before my anxiety about it builds up too much.  I'm going to call her on my own and tell BF about it afterwards because I don't want him standing over me telling me what to say.  As a "reason" for calling, I want to ask her for her other son's mailing address - he and his wife are expecting their first baby any day now and I would like to send them flowers when that happens.

My counselor suggested I start off by saying I wanted to touch base and because I was hoping to open up some positive lines of communication... and also to ask for the address in case she didn't want to respond to the first issue.  If things start going wrong then I should get off the phone quickly but politely and discuss it with my BF in as non judgemental way as possible.  I have no idea what her reaction is going to be but I'm supposed to keep the issue of power dynamics in mind as I speak to her.

I know chickiebaby has advised me to wait until we can meet up since we don't know how she will react but I think we're actually in a very critical phase and my counselor is encouraging me to do this now.....so I'm already nervous, but I"m going to give it a shot when I get home from work tonight.  Any other thoughts or advice?
Hi ladies,
This article really resonated with me (BF said he thought it was fascinating but quickly put it down after reading further - I think it may have had some uncomfortable truths for him  :()

If you click on this link, it will open up a pdf - I hope that is acceptable for this forum. 

If your MIL or DIL shows signs of narcissistic personality disorder.. this might help explain WHY their sons/husbands put up with it. 


If any of you read this, would definitely like to know what you think...
sorry to keep pestering you with questions, but I just can't go to the DIL support forum for this one.. I know what kind of answer I"m going to get and it won't be nice.

My FMIL finally agreed to speak to me on the phone yesterday.  My BF called her up and then turned the phone over to me.  This time we left it on speakerphone so both of us could hear the things she said (is that underhanded and sneaky?).  When I got on the phone, I tried to be polite and said hello, how are you etc. and that I was happy to talk to her.  She started berating me for only calling her when her son told her to and after about 30 seconds, she shouted "I've had enough, don't talk to me anymore!" and hung up the phone.  My poor BF was flabbergasted.  Then about 5 minutes later she texted him and asked him to call.  She apologized and then got back on the phone with me.  For the next 25 minutes, she continued to berate me for not ever calling - telling me that my behavior was not normal, and that she knew I wasn't normal and there were a lot of things that she saw about me that made her unhappy...I wasn't a good family person, I had made no effort to get to know her so I didn't care about family and I had no respect for her etc. etc.  She kept on telling me that I wasn't normal.  Because I didn't call her up on my own all the time.   Is that a reasonable expectation?    :o

When I tried to (respectfully) tell her I that I was sorry she was so unhappy and that she felt I hadn't tried to get to know her but that I thought I HAD made an effort .. by visiting with her family over the holidays and spending time at her home in Florida last winter and her home upstate, she shouted "Don't tell me about those times, I don't want to hear about it, I've forgotten it!"   :o

I was calm throughout the whole conversation and kept trying to just be respectful and let her vent her frustrations.  I'm glad I've reached a point where hearing her say these things no longer hurt my feelings (well, they do a little bit but I can understand that it's not me, it's her) but what can I do?  My BF kept whispering to me "Just tell her you respect her and want a relationship and that she's really important to you and don't try to reason with her."   :(

BF and I are going to go to counseling and try to figure this out, but I thought it might be good to get some of your perspectives on this...

After I talked to his mother, we had a long conversation about things - he's agreed that maybe his mother is suffering from some kind of clinical depression but says his dad will never do anything about it and that maybe he would bridge the subject with his brother sometime in the future.  He doesn't want to do it now, because he thinks it's more important for us to focus on what's going on in OUR relationship (vis a vis her) and also because he doesn't want her to make the connection between my involvement and her being told she needs to seek professional help.  I TOTALLY agree with the latter point but am not too sure about the idea that this can wait. 

His mom's main argument against me is that I never call her and that shows I don't respect her and am not normal and do not believe in family.  When she talks she sounds like she is out of touch with reality, does not want to  listen to any rational response, and seems to get disproportionally upset over what she perceives as any slight.

I don't think anything I will ever do will make her happy, because fundamentally, she is an unhappy person.  This makes me sad for her and her family.  But to counter this particular criticism, I am perfectly happy to call her each and every day and say  "hello, how are you" and let her vent her frustrations on me.  It might hurt a little bit to hear her say all these bad things about me but now that I understand she is sick, it is easier to look at her behavior with pity and not anger. 

Again, I don't think this is really going to accomplish anything.  On the DIL support groups, I know I"m just going to be told - "too bad, so sad, tell BF that you've tried and you're done trying and now cut the bat out."  But what do you ladies think?  I hope our counselor can help us figure something out once we finally find one and go  :-\
FMIL still refuses to speak to me over the phone but tells everyone she "really wants to talk". As I've said in some of my other posts, the problem is not really with me - it's that she is an unhappy person and her whole family has given into her tantrums and buried their heads in the sand about the fact that she might actually need professional help for 40 years.  This is destroying her family as her sons make themselves more and more distant from her.  At this point, I don't feel like I want anything to do with her - I have tried and tried but have been kicked too many times.

On the DIL support groups (what are called "MIL Hate sites" here), I've been advised to try to talk to on the phone ONE more time if/when it comes up and then cut her off completely when/if she refuses and tell my BF that I've done everything I can and now I'm done.  Is that acceptable?  It sounds to me like they also think that in order for us to present a united front, BF should ALSO refuse to speak to his mother until she can behave.  I don't think this is right, nor do I think it is possible.  In fact, because his phone isn't working, I let him borrow mine so he could call her yesterday.  I didn't hear their conversation but in the past, I have been very hurt by the fact that he glosses over anything that's wrong and basically does not even bring me up during these conversations.  When he's with his mom, I feel like he has to pretend that I don't exist or else she will get too upset.  Sometimes when I'm mad I call myself "his invisible girlfriend that doesn't really exist around his mother."  He claims that he confronts her on her behavior but I have never witnessed it and don't know what this means anymore.  This is eroding our relationship day by day and I no longer feel like a united front because I don't know what is going on.  I don't want to pester him about this everyday - we both work long hours and are tired in the evening.  I also don't want this situation to continue - either I will leave him, and/or something is going to give with his mother and destroy whatever relationship currently exists (between them).  This is NOT something that I feel he can bury his head in the sand about any longer and as much as I hate the idea of giving him ultimatums, I feel like maybe I should because I want this relationship to work - I love my boyfriend very much and want him to be happy.  His mother is making us both REALLY unhappy and because of how things are, I no longer feel like we are on the same page.  But he's told me that if we break up because of his mother, he will never forgive her.  I don't want to make him cut off his mother - she's his mother.  But as the outsider, how much can I do?  These are the choices I want to give him:

1)  Try to get his mother some professional help - she needs some kind of psychiatric or psychological counseling.
2)  Get himself some counseling to help him understand the situation a little better.
3)  Have us BOTH (me and him, not me and FMIL as someone on this forum suggested) got to counseling so we can try to deal with this with an objective third party.
4)  End the relationship and go back to his mother.  Some of my mentors are pushing me to apply for a job overseas and I have started considering it - if we have to break up, I just want to get away from my life here and start over somewhere new.
5)  Come up with some kind of active plan on his own but TELL ME ABOUT IT and put it into action NOW...  not two months from now, not six months from now, not the week before he's supposed to move to Chicago, because I will have left him long before that...

I hate the idea of having to be so pushy about this but I just dont' know what to do.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Ladies,

let me just say in advance - sorry for the super long post and thanks to anyone who takes the time to read it!  I have been reading a lot of posts on this site over the last few days.  I know this forum is geared more for mothers and mother-in-laws, but there have been a number of daughter-in-laws on this site who have also contributed to the discussion and received some support here as well, so I hope you donââ,¬â,,¢t mind if one more joins in. I think many people here have made some excellent points about in-laws and family relationships in general that have really helped me so thanks to you all already for the insight and wisdom you have provided me.  Thanks for sharing your stories and helping me to see the other side of the coinââ,¬Â¦

Basically, I am a rejected potential future daughter in law (RPFDIL?).  Iââ,¬â,,¢ve been with my boyfriend for more than a year ââ,¬â€œ we are both in our 30ââ,¬â,,¢s (me early, him late) and are starting to talk about getting married. His parents have said negative things about me behind my back from even before they ever met me.  We are from the same ethnic community, from the same home town ââ,¬â€œ I grew up knowing his parents, but our families were never close and I never met their son until we were both adults, and we never figured out the connection until a few months into our relationship!  My boyfriend takes this as a sign that we were meant to be.  Me?  Well, Iââ,¬â,,¢m sorry to say if I had know he was from this family before we started dating, I never would have gone out with him in the first place. 

Iââ,¬â,,¢ve posted my story and some comments on one of those ââ,¬Å"MIL hate sitesââ,¬Â already, and you ladies are right that there is a lot of hate and anger in those places.  People are very quick to suggest that I simply dump my boyfriend, or avoid my potential in-laws at all cost and win my boyfriend over to ââ,¬Å"my sideââ,¬Â. Though I received a good deal of excellent advice and support from these sites, thereââ,¬â,,¢s so much negativityââ,¬Â¦ I feel like Iââ,¬â,,¢m dealing with enough of that already!  To be fair, I understand where all this hate comes from though ââ,¬â€œ a lot of these women feel hurt, betrayed, and have been treated very very badly.  I turned to this website because I wanted to try to have a little more compassion and try to see things from another perspective.  After reading some of your posts, Iââ,¬â,,¢m somewhat reassured because I donââ,¬â,,¢t think I am that terrible a person (as some of the DILââ,¬â,,¢s described here), but Iââ,¬â,,¢m also recognizing that maybe my boyfriendââ,¬â,,¢s mother does have some kind of borderline personality disorder which is making her act this way.   A lot of the comments I have seen here have really rung true in terms of  how it might not necessarily be just a ââ,¬Å"mother in law problemââ,¬Â or a ââ,¬Å"daughter in law problem but rather how our struggles have more to do with power, control and unhealthy personalities/relationships.  I think thatââ,¬â,,¢s exactly whatââ,¬â,,¢s going on in my case but I just donââ,¬â,,¢t know what to do.

My parents died when I was 18, the rest of my family is in India and I have one twin sister who is also currently working abroad (sheââ,¬â,,¢ll be home in January). Iââ,¬â,,¢ve worked so hard to finish my education and be independent and to keep my connections with the rest of my family ââ,¬â€œ but I feel so alone right now. Everything has been about his family and how they need to scrutinize me. This family knows who my parents were ââ,¬â€œ they were educated professionals and respected pillars of our community.  In the short time that I was blessed to be with them, I think they did an excellent job of being parents - itââ,¬â,,¢s only because of their parenting that I was able to go on without them.   But my boyfriendââ,¬â,,¢s family seem to think that thereââ,¬â,,¢s something wrong with me because they died  One of the first things they said when they found out he was dating me was ââ,¬Å"you shouldnââ,¬â,,¢t date her because her parents died young, so sheââ,¬â,,¢ll probably die young tooââ,¬Â. Not a day goes by that I donââ,¬â,,¢t miss my parents but Iââ,¬â,,¢ve never missed them so much before. No one has ever been so cruel to me but I donââ,¬â,,¢t want to come between anyone and their parents ââ,¬â€œ I believe people should respect their elders. But I donââ,¬â,,¢t think that means I need to give up my own self respect.

Throughout our relationship my boyfriend has asked me to continue to visit his parents and talk to them in order to try and improve the situation. I have done my best to be gracious and good mannered during all of these times but they pretty much show no interest in getting to know me and continue to say really mean things about me behind my back.  Especially his mother ââ,¬â€œ at first it was all these objections to my profession (Iââ,¬â,,¢m a college professor so Iââ,¬â,,¢m educated but I wonââ,¬â,,¢t make a lot of money ââ,¬â€œ she thinks what I do is a waste of time), my height (Iââ,¬â,,¢m too short), the fact that I go back to India frequently for both work and family visits (they never go back ââ,¬â€œ my boyfriend hasnââ,¬â,,¢t been to India since he was about 12 and has told me he ââ,¬Å"wouldnââ,¬â,,¢t recognize his own cousins if they were walking down the streetââ,¬Â), I don't want to have children (I have never said that - I want children... but do I really want HER grandchildren?) the list goes on endlessly.  There will always be something wrong with me.

Iââ,¬â,,¢ve heard so many different kinds of advice ââ,¬â€œ from ââ,¬Å"just keep your mouth shut, grin and bear itââ,¬Â, to ââ,¬Å"donââ,¬â,,¢t have anything to do with these peopleââ,¬Â to ââ,¬Å"speak up for yourself and donââ,¬â,,¢t put up with this nonsenseââ,¬Â.  I just donââ,¬â,,¢t know what to do anymore.

For six months, my boyfriend's mom tried to break us up so he wouldn't let her talk to me.  Then he put me on the phone with her and she yelled at me for not calling her for 6 months.   Now his dad is pulling the same thing and they are both complaining that they just donââ,¬â,,¢t know me well enough and Iââ,¬â,,¢m not making the effort. I have said over and over again, they can have my number and they should feel free to talk to me anytime.  Iââ,¬â,,¢m happy to talk to them.  But they're not going to do that - they want me to go to them. I think his parents think it's proper that I reach out to them (to get kicked) but it's really just a question of control. Iââ,¬â,,¢m not trying to be rude ââ,¬â€œ I actually think that if you know someone wants to speak to you or ââ,¬Å"get to know youââ,¬Â itââ,¬â,,¢s polite to provide your phone number and say ââ,¬Å"Iââ,¬â,,¢m happy to talk, feel free to call me anytimeââ,¬Â.  Am I wrong about this? 

Our compromise is that when my boyfriend calls them, he will put me on the line.  After an initial refusal, his dad and I have spoken a few times on the phone ââ,¬â€œ it was really just casual conversation about his upcoming surgery (I sent him a card).  Then the other day, I was put on the phone with his mom ââ,¬â€œ she answered my questions and attempts at conversations with one word answers and then kept quiet.  It was obvious that she didnââ,¬â,,¢tââ,¬â,,¢ want to talk to me even though she has told both her sons that she really wants to.  How can you have a conversation with someone who isnââ,¬â,,¢t willing to participate?  Everyone in this family walks on eggshells around his mother ââ,¬â€œ they keep quiet about her tantrums and crying and just give in because itââ,¬â,,¢s easier.  So nothing has ever changed but now I feel like they expect ME to be able to change things?  I donââ,¬â,,¢t know if there is anything I can do.  I donââ,¬â,,¢t feel like anyone has an honest conversation in that family ââ,¬â€œ my boyfriend and his brother hide or keep quiet about anything important in their lives (even to each other it seems), and they NEVER share anything significant with their parents.  I feel very sad about this ââ,¬â€œ my sister and I often argue but we are so close and I tell her everything ââ,¬â€œ same with my closest extended relatives ââ,¬â€œ aunts, uncles, cousins and godmother.  I never hide things from them - I would feel ashamed of myself if I had to.

I could go on with lists of mean things that have been said, insults and slights, and my fears about the future.  I accept that my boyfriendââ,¬â,,¢s family is not going to change and that if I marry him, they will be a part of my life.  However, how can you deal with people like this and not let their negativity affect you?  Should I marry him?  Iââ,¬â,,¢m scared to right now for so many reasons.

Once I accepted that his parents were not going to change, or ââ,¬Å"warm up to meââ,¬Â (believe me, I have triedââ,¬Â¦.), my main fear has been that my boyfriend wonââ,¬â,,¢t stand up for me ââ,¬â€œ that was what was happening in the beginning and weââ,¬â,,¢ve talked a lot about it. I understand that this is difficult on him as well ââ,¬â€œ these are his parents and he loves them.  Heââ,¬â,,¢s also spent his whole life with them so itââ,¬â,,¢s hard for him to accept that their behavior might not be healthy.   I think their relationship is very unhealthy and sadly, I have to admit I have said that a few times to him when we were discussing our problems.  But I think itââ,¬â,,¢s not my place to do that.  Iââ,¬â,,¢ve never wanted to turn anyone against their own family and I have been raised to respect my elders.  Now I notice my boyfriend will occasionally make negative comments about his mother ââ,¬â€œ about how she has always been this way, how she has never supported him, how she poisons relationships etc. etc.   In some ways, this makes me feel better because he is finally seeing my perspective, but at the same time, I feel sad that he has to say negative things about his mother ââ,¬â€œ the woman who gave birth to him, raised him, and loves him probably more than anything else in the world.  It broke my heart when I read on this forum about how the DIL always plants the seeds of hate in the sonââ,¬â,,¢s mind and he always listens to her.   It has never been my intention to do this sort of thing -  I donââ,¬â,,¢t want to control anyone.  I donââ,¬â,,¢t want to destroy any family relationships or poison anyoneââ,¬â,,¢s mind against their parents.  I would fight tooth and nail for my own family if anyone ever said anything against them.  But at the same time, I DONââ,¬â,,¢T think whatââ,¬â,,¢s going on in this family is healthy ââ,¬â€œ I think my boyfriendââ,¬â,,¢s mother is lonely and unhappy, but lacks insight into her own behavior.  I feel sorry for her but at the same time, I donââ,¬â,,¢t want anything to do with such a person.  Am I wrong?  Please, if thereââ,¬â,,¢s anything I should do,  I could use some advice.  Itââ,¬â,,¢s easy enough to find support on an ââ,¬Å"MIL hate siteââ,¬Â, but if I can find some here ââ,¬â€œ among the MILs ââ,¬â€œ then maybe, just maybe... Iââ,¬â,,¢m not so bad after all?