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Started by misunderstood, March 29, 2011, 02:58:36 pm

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I'm new here and I've been having trouble with my Mother in Law, who has tried to take over and run our lives starting with our wedding and caused arguments in our home the day before we married as she wasn't the centre of attention.  I have kept my distance since that day - always encouraging my DH to call weekly (when he is in the country) and send birthday/Christmas/mothers day cards etc. We live 4.5 hours away and we have not visited since before the wedding 7months ago when we went for her birthday weekend (which unfortunately happened to also be my daughters birthday) and it was a complete disaster.

I would like for my DH's sake to build up a better relationship with her, however she has told me to my face that its her family her way or nothing, which leaves no room for compromise.  We didn't spend Christmas with them as they were not willing to make any compromise  for the fact that our family includes an 11 year old who will obviously not want to wait until 6pm on Christmas Day to open her Christmas presents (this was not something she was willing to alter in any way).  She has another DS an DD and both are unmarried or would seem never been in a relationship in their lives.  I was DH 1st GF and he's 34, his B is 36 and S is 32 all older than my age of 30.  I'm starting to wonder if there are scared of being in a relationship as she is in control.  They must attend her home every celebration all birthdays etc including their own, have to do exactly what she wants on each visit.

  Everything that DH doesn't do is blamed on me! I allowed him (and organised all our diaries so he could) to spend a weekend alone with his family in November as a one off (because he was due to be out of the country on Sabbatical from Jan to April and therefore no opportunity to meet up). It was planned to be his parents and B & S, the Friday before she told B & S they couldn't visit as they needed to talk to him alone!!!  They now think that they should have 4 to 5 weekends alone with him a year. They don't want to make the effort to meet up with us. I also arranged a day in between Christmas and new year for us to meet up in a halfway location all together with BIL and SIL for a day out  - hoping that a neutral location plus activity would make things easier for all.  We have invited IL's to join us on our holiday before Easter 2 days after my husband returns from abroad (we are going as a group of Church friends) but they have booked a cruise instead (which is fine but please don't complain that you haven't had opportunity to see your son). 

There is a huge extended family gathering in April which DH will attend we will travel down together and DD and I will use opportunity to visit friends whilst he's there (as its nearly 5 hrs away from our home) we are staying overnight so suggested to IL's that we meet up for lunch the next day so they have more time to chat and we would have time to get to know one another better but no they won't do that. 

She can't or won't accept that things have changed, that now there are 3 of us. That before we got married DH and I discussed and had marriage preparation how we would live ours lives.  That we have decided that DD and any an all future children will be treated the same and expect others to treat them as equals.  DH and my DD (aged 11) get on fabulously and have a great relationship but MIL keeps trying to put herself ahead of DD.  Why would you compete with an 11 year old child?  I don't expect her to instantly fall head over heels over DD but to set yourself in competition is just plain wrong.  DD will win hands down.

If we can afford a summer holiday then we will try and take it down near to where they live, and try and see visit them for at least one day and perhaps send DH on his own for another.  We asked them if they was any time they were away or had plans that couldn't be altered and got a long list of dates they absolutely could not do in fact out of a 4 week period in July/August there were three days they could do!  It doesn't seem that they want to make an effort.  They are retired and have lives yes and I want them to but if their other son or daughter want to visit plans are changed instantly.  We were trying to be considerate and thoughtful and inclusive but then we hear from other relatives that I won't allow them to see him, don't make any arrangements!  They haven't rung once since we got married, not to wish their son a Happy Birthday or anything - even when he leave them messages to call us when they get back or have an answer to a question invitation they don't.  There is no space in our home for them to stay here - as before dh used to give up his bed and sleep in study but now study is DD bedroom so they would have to stay elsewhere should they visit, and there is not space at their home for us despite having 2 spare bedrooms!!! 

MIL claims she wants a relationship with myself, DD and her son but every action suggests she only want her son on his own for the same time she used to have him a week at Christmas, a week at Easter and a few long weekends. 

What can I do to encourage positive interactions? 

  We had this we our wedding moved date from a Saturday (which they could not do) to the Monday after (which altered many peoples plans and meant others could not attend and then proceeded to arrive Friday (for Wedding on Monday) which in my eyes meant we could've married on the Saturday, and insisted on sleeping in what was to have been our bed including on our wedding night which meant we had to stay elsewhere  (we had offered to pay for their accommodation in a very nice place).  We'd wanted low key, small and not fussy, no gifts just a celebration with close friends and family. However, that was not what they wanted so we had more guests (some that DH had never met and couldn't even tell me names of), more fuss, and it cost us more money, and they still weren't happy - MIL wore a black hat to our wedding.

Please, please help - I don't want to keep DH away from his family but want us all to be able to get on and spend sometime together but am dreading having anymore children as I know she will be a nightmare and I just can't cope.


You need a ((((((((((((((((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))))))))))))))))

She sounds like she is making her life miserable. :( She obviously is not willing to allow her 34 year old son to be his own man. He is an adult and shouldn't be living by mommy's rules any more.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ball is in her court. You can't control her actions. You are trying to make things work. You haven't been married long,maybe she will come around. Until then, enjoy MIL "free" time. :-) She will tire of not seeing her son and will come around.

I can't believe they had YOUR bed on YOUR wedding night! OMG!
And 4-5 weekends alone with him a year?! That is extreme. Besides, when would they do it? Certainly not in July/August LOL...


Just be glad you don't live in the same city as MIL!  You would probably be expected to visit every day!  :-\   You were his first GF when he was 34?  That should have been a red flag.  I wouldn't let MIL upset me so much...easier said than done I'm sure! 

Bottom line, when you get married your new family IS your family.  His parents, siblings, etc., should come second.  Soooo, you and he have to decide how much time you want to spend with them together.  I would not expect my DD to wait until Christmas day 6:00 p.m. to open presents either, so you did good not giving in to that. 

I guess I don't have much advice but just be grateful there are miles between you and hang in there!  Once she sees you are your DH's priority and if he stands up to her then she will cool it hopefully.  Your husband may have to sit her down and have a talk with her eventually if you feel very disrespected by her.  Good luck!   


Ahh, you're doing so good, misunderstood.  I wish I had the backbone you had at the start of our marriage too.  What is that saying, begin as you mean to go...I think that is it, and it sounds like you're doing it!  And more importantly, you've got a strong husband who is willing and able to do it from the get go.  A lot of men from these type of backgrounds simply can't do it or even see it without a lot of help and intervention.  You got a keeper there ;) 

And yep, people always have something to say.  Especially in a family like that, just keep considering the source.  My husband also didn't have a serious gf until me and I couldn't understand why?!?!  He is such a great guy.  And then I met his family LOL.  It has sure been a lesson in crazy. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Oh, misunderstood, the first gf thing is also a problem of mine as well...maybe that should have been a red flag for all of us.  :)

Welcome, you're in good company. : ) A lot of us have similar stories.

I was apprehensive about my MIL when we decided to try and have children (actually I was shortly after we married), and as it is turning out, I had every reason to be.

I've been debating about sending DH alone to visit his family, but if this would create the expectation that he always comes alone, I might not be willing to do that after all. Thanks for the unintentional warning.

I'm sorry they don't like to include you, while simultaneously having this expectation that your DH can just leave you behind. You're DH sounds amazing...I suppose some of us should be tapping you on the proverbial shoulder for advice.


You start a new family unit...you make the rules. (Hopefully they are fair and make sense.) Those who want to play...fine...those who don't,  oh, well.   Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


You sweet lady! You've really been treated poorly by your New MIL.
And I agree that your DD should always win! I do not understand how "any" woman wouldn't know that?
I'm sad for your MIL! She should be beyond happy that her Son found someone he loves and she loves him back. And he now has this wonderful little girl.
If she can't or  won't be happy for him? Its her loss. And it's a HUGE loss too!
So it is my opinion that you and your family should leave her be until she sees the light.
I'm new here too. I've only posted a few times and I don't want anyone to think I'm being mean because that is not how I mean what I'm going to say.
But really I think your husband shouldn't go without you and his daughter. Your MIL should have to accept the whole package or none at all. By him going without you its giving her just what she wants. And what she wants in my opinion is just wrong.
Wishing you lot's of happiness!


Good post Kennedy

And I believe you are right, do not let her dictate or divide your family.. it's hard enough to begin to blend a family without the mil driving a wedge at the same time....

Also IMHO.. Christmas is for the kids.. nothing like starting the day with the excitement of gift opening.


Yup, count me in! Present a united front! Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks Guys for all your advice.

Its just such a shame that there doesn't seem to be hope for a positive relationship, its hard work feeling tense all the time.  My DH feels torn and I know that when he's home they will up the pressure again.  He often says yes then has to call back and change his mind, he just doesn't seem to know he is allowed to have an opinion.  At Christmas, it took a close friends husband explaining how Children come first and that his mother was welcome to join them but if she wanted to be present at stocking opening, then she had to get up with kids - they were not going to wait!  He'd initially just said that's what he'd had to do. 

Its not even like MIL has to worry about my family, I see my sister and my granma about once a month as they both live within an hour and speak as and when sometimes frequently and sometimes less so, but no one is offended, phones work 2 ways, but have nothing to do with my mother due to abuse so there isn't competition from the other side.  That being said DD does have her own df and extended family and although he has a disability which means he only sees her for 4 hours at a time - that relationship must be nourished and allowed to flourish so if its his Saturday then we're busy that weekend.

Has anyone any ideas for how to make MIL feel wanted without giving in to her every demand?  Can any Mils (though I'm sure you're not anything like my MIL) have any thoughts on what would be a reasonable frequency of visit and the small things that DIL/Son could do that would make you feel included (perhaps there are some I haven't thought of)



I think calling once in awhile helps. I used to call MIL, but she doesn't answer and I know that DH contacts her when he's stuck in traffic (which around  here, is quite often), so I think that does work.

You could try calling yourself, but frankly, she doesn't sound like she really wants to hear from you...just her son, so that might not work. I'm not saying you shouldn't try though.

I had Blackberry Messenger for awhile and would send MIL photos of what we were doing that day (even if it was nothing). That might help...but again...she might not like that either. Wow, you're in a difficult  position.

I think the biggest thing you can do is just hope she comes around and be patient. She has to warm up to you somehow, and the only real way I see that happening is time, mainly b/c the problem is hers, not yours. I'm sorry, that sounds like a tough situation.


No, I don't know of anything that satisfies a person like that unless they get exactly what they want.

The only thing I can think of is to pull back severely and give her a dose of what it could be like....nothing at all and perhaps she will come to her senses and appreciate what she does get.

Now, really what is it with these people?  I don't get it, I feel so lucky every day for the most part.  I live in the greatest country in worlds history, I have so many things available to me to pursue, I can virtually reach out and do anything I want whenever I want.  Most of us are so, so, so lucky and well, wealthy considering the rest of the world and history.  They are so determined to be miserable and be a victim, ugh.  There's nothing you can do with that.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift



You have gotten some very good advice. I agree that you should always go with your DH to visit your ILs. If you feel up to it maybe you could try calling your MIL every couple of weeks (I would love it if my DIL would take that iniciative), I tried calling her but she doesn't want anything to do with me and don't lose hope even if things don't look like they will ever get better.


The fact that she behaves the way she does, treats you the way she does, always expects things to be her way or the highway and you're STILL willing to plan holidays to visit with her, do things to (try) to make her happy, and foster good communication with her and also between her and her son just shows what an understanding person you are.  You are being BEYOND fair, you are going above and beyond and you deserve a medal IMO!  Just make sure you keep your sanity in the process!  :-)


Quote from: NotChattyCathy on March 30, 2011, 08:04:31 am
The fact that she behaves the way she does, treats you the way she does, always expects things to be her way or the highway and you're STILL willing to plan holidays to visit with her, do things to (try) to make her happy, and foster good communication with her and also between her and her son just shows what an understanding person you are.  You are being BEYOND fair, you are going above and beyond and you deserve a medal IMO!  Just make sure you keep your sanity in the process!  :-)

I agree! You should be nominated as "DIL of the Year" :-)