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What relationship did you want to have?

Started by willingtohelp, March 29, 2010, 09:56:13 pm

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I'm curious what type of relationship you wanted to have with your IL(s).  What did you imagine it would be when they were just figments of your imagination?  I always assumed that my ILs and I would have a cordial and friendly relationship.  I saw things playing out a bit like how my mom and dad interacted with his mom.  They'd go over to Granny and Paps house about once a month.  Mom and Granny would have coffee (and I'd get to have coffee with them that consisted of about 1 tsp of coffee to 1c milk) while Dad and Paps would watch TV or do some yard work or grill out.   We'd all get together at some other location (eg, our home, a restuarant, the park) to celebrate birthdays or other "big" events (new job, promotion, report cards).  Holidays were usually spent at our home with the family descending upon it (mainly because my dad can really cook and my family likes to eat).   

While my mom and Granny were good friends, I wouldn't say that she treated my mom like a second daughter or that my mom treated my grandmother like a mom.  I define that relationship to be one where truly and completely anything goes.  I can tell my mom I need to pee (heck, I can tell my mom about my pee) and not be embarrassed about it.  I don't know that my mom and Granny would have ever discussed bodily functions.  That line was still there.  I'm curious about when people say they were getting another daughter....do you really want that level of closeness or just a good friend?  Would what I imagined be equal to what you wanted, more than or less than? 


I wanted a woman who made my son happy. It never dawned on me that she wouldn't treat me with respect and kindness. It was just a given in my fantasy. I wasn't looking for a girlfriend and I don't think getting a daughter was an issue. She would be someone else's daughter and grown. I saw her as someone I would admire and respect. I had a full life and had lots of room for them to do the same. I didn't want anyone living in my "pocket" or visa versa. I don't think I gave much thought to holidays...I probably thought it would all just work out.

My two sons gave me six DILs. I know that sounds  awful but I set the tradition. I have been married five times. Each time I married the right man but it wasn't until my now DH that I found one that was willing to grow with me. I outgrew the others, so that what once was a fit became pretty difficult.

I was raised in a no-divorce home. I doubt there had ever been one back to Adam and Eve. However, I saw lots of dead marriages. Not my thing. My younger son's second ex is closer to me than anyone on the planet and they were divorced twenty-five years ago. My eldest son's first wife, and the mother of my grandsons, comes to family picnics etc. We are cordial but not tight. His second wife is the one who attacked me nine days after his death. We have learned to be cordial at family affairs. My younger son's first wife was a nut case. Then he married the DIL that I am still so close to. Then he married the Wicked witch of the West and now he has a great partner and I dearly love her.

So, there you have it...my fantasies and my realities.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Good topic! I was hoping we'd be friendly, respectful to each other and kind. I didn't want or need another daughter, and she definitely didn't want or need another mom (her family walks on water.) I pictured all of us being grown-ups together, getting together for the usual family events and celebrations when possible but being OK with it if not, sharing those times with DILs family or dividing the time equally, and feeling comfortable enough to call when we needed to but not too often. I also hoped she would see that although we are different from her parents, we have interests and knowledge that would enhance FGC's lives. Alas, so far we're not doing so well.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I think the relationship I wanted with my DIL was more inbetween friendship and having a daughter.  At first I believe we had it, but when I started noticing that "ALL" my conversations had to be with her, I faltered a bit.  I wanted to talk to my son too and those conversations had been modified by her input.  If I asked a question, he gave me her answer and there was an echo effect in my conversations with my son.  We seem to be doing well now and I get to talk to both of them, but he's living at my house right now.  I hope that doesn't change and my son and I talked about it, so if they ever work out their problems I'm hopeful that we all can be better together.  We really had great relationships other than that but that was a biggie for me.

I always had  a great relationship with my MIL.  She was my best friend and pushed me to go out with her son.  My DIL was like my best friend also and like I said, that was the only problem.  My biggest problem has been with my son-IL and I believe it goes way back to when he hit my daughter and she broke up with him in high school.  When they got back together I threatened him, so that started us out on the wrong foot.  I believe he's abusive and controlling, so I just need to stay back and let her wake up on her own - I believe she will someday.


I was SO hopeful when I met DH, because his family is very similar to mine, we come from the same background, religion, culture, language - everything!  We even fold towels the same way.  It seemed like his family was close, but in hindsight, they only ever SAID they were close.

I was also aware that it would be hard for ANYONE to marry into my Family, because we ARE a close family and that it would be hard for anyone to measure up to my Mom - because my Mom is a saint.  She's one of those genuinely GOOD people.  My brother married a woman who can be a pill, but my Mom really makes a BIG effort to get along with her DIL (because she knows that the DIL controls the social calendar and access to the kids).  It's actually funny because we make such an effort to get along with her, biting our tongues ect, that she can't cut us off, so she gets 'punished' by spending MORE time with our family.

I expected to be welcomed into DH's family, like he had been welcomed into mine.  I expected to be able to visit and joke and laugh together.  In every IL situation I had seen, the PIL's actually 'favour' the SnIL / DIL, often sticking up for them and also trying learn about them, particularly favourite / disliked foods.  My Mom figured out pretty quick what my DH likes / dislikes and she caters to that (as much as she caters to everyone else's likes / dislikes).

A dozen years later and I doubt that MIL could tell you much of anything about me, she certainly doesn't know what I like / dislike to eat.  Or maybe she doesn't care, because I married the Golden Child and she does everything for HIM.  My MIL doesn't even know (or doesn't care) what her grandkids like / dislike, so I guess expecting anything different for me is just crazy.

I think that part of the problem between my MIL and I is that I considered myself a "grown up" and she considered DH and I as "the kids".  He had never stood up to his parents, or established himself as an independent adult, he had no boundary between where he ended and they began.  (I want to point out here that he had gone away to school and was working and living a couple of hours away from them when we met.)  I feel badly for DH because he still doesn't have an adult / friend type relationship with his parents.  He doesn't see them as 'friends', they're still more like 'authority figures', not that he obeys them or anything, but it's like seeing your teachers outside of school.

When my cousin got married, her IL's gave such a nice speech at the wedding, they welcomed her so warmly and so unconditionally that I teared up, because I knew that I did not and would NEVER have that with my IL's.  Even now, we're working slowly back towards each other, but I think there has been too much water under the bridge for us to ever be more than acquaintance-friendly.


I really don't know what I expected. I had a very close relationship with my ex boyfriends' mom and I knew that it was an uncommon relationship for mother in laws and the girls. I didn't have an example to follow either because my dad's parents died very early in my parents marriage so I didn't see my mother's relationship with my grandmother. When I met my husband's parents I didn't connect with them very well because we are so different so I don't think we got past that first meeting.


It just seems hopeless to me...our son's girlfiends loved us so much!  Every one of them wanted us to be their inlaws.

I guess it's just different when you marry...don't want us anywhere except when we're needed to do something.

I don't know where to turn anymore.  Just don't.


March 30, 2010, 08:03:45 am #7 Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 08:07:45 am by womenrule123
Hello ladies!!
I've deeply enjoy reading your posts!! I've been with dh for over 14 yrs now and we share a dd who we both cherish...she adds zest in our life!  ;)  Through the years, I've experienced the "roller coaster" ride in dealing with in laws, my own family and life in general. My mil is very outgoing, an only child, has two sons, been married for 40 yrs and loves to socialize. My fil is more reserved, very opinionated, has 3 siblings, and  he drives my mil crazy. He works hard and has been a good provider for his family. My bil is kind-hearted, loves to travel , engaged and lives near his parent's farm. I married the oldest son who has grown into an amazing family man and a loving husband. Sounds like a fantasy...doesn't it?? As I mentioned, it's a roller coaster ride but what family doesn't experience up's and down's throughout life. I love my in laws...whole-hearted! They are who they are and they are not going to change after this many years. LOL We did have major losses and various other challenges in one year...this did change the foundation of the family but we moved forward. It could have destroyed the family but that story is for another time! My ideals of my in laws were not exactly as I imagined but doesn't that apply to most things in life?? I do have another story to share (besides the one mentioned above) about my bil's future wife...can't wait to read your posts! LOL All I can say...my mil doesn't have much chance with the youngest son's future wife. Outgoing vs anti-social!! Ladies...many thanks and many hugs! XO


Chickie your whole situation is so hard for me to understand sometimes.  I would have loved to have a MIL with your sense of humor and personality!  They really don't know what they're missing and I can only hope someday things turn around.  I'm at a loss.  I hope you find something to fill your heart! 

Hugging you and keeping you in my prayers, where you already were, but I want you to know you still are!


Welcom womenrule!  Glad you're here with us too!  I agree with your statement that we don't always get what we imagine we want, and yes, most families have their roller coaster rides.  LOL!  I guess that's good even if we scream like a little girl!

When you get the time, why don't you post your own stories?  Sounds interesting and I'm looking forward to reading about it!

Thanks again!  Sending you hugs!


Quote from: 2chickiebaby on March 30, 2010, 07:16:25 am
It just seems hopeless to me...our son's girlfriends loved us so much!  Every one of them wanted us to be their in laws.

I guess it's just different when you marry...don't want us anywhere except when we're needed to do something.

I don't know where to turn anymore.  Just don't.

Hi Chickie!! It'll work out! Just allow them space to adjust to marriage and in general...learning to be adults and taking on adult responsibilities! It's not easy but I feel it'll work itself out! XOXO


Regarding "the kids"...we do that, too. I think it can just be a healthy reference or it can be very demeaning depending on the bigger picture.

My husband thinks of me as a "kid" and I am 83.  ;D ;D From his position of being 98, it sometimes looks like that. He will mention something and then he will say "Well, you wouldn't know about that...you're hardly dry around the ears!" Or "There's no way you could remember that, you weren't even born yet!" More  ;D ;D.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thank you, Womenrule and all of you....but 16 and 17 years?  It seems like that would be enough time to adjust. 


Quote from: Anna on March 30, 2010, 08:23:29 am
Chickie, I'm so sorry you feel so hopeless.  I know that feeling, it's not a nice one.  Have you talked to your sons recently?  I know you have talked to them bit do they truly understand how unhappy you are, & how willing you are to love your dils? 
sending you a huge hug.   :'(

No, I can't talk to our sons.  They run and tell the DILs.  It becomes horrible for me...one gets on the phone and tells
me off for talking to him.  I never dreamed I'd be dealing with these kinds of people in my whole life.


I really didn't think about a relationship with a bonus child(in-law)until my oldest married his first wife.  Luckily that didn't last long(lots to this story).  His wife(now, my wonderful DIL set the bar really high.  She is more than a friend but not exactly a daughter.  I just love her.
My SIL is just another of my boys.  Yes I still refer to my grown sons as my boys and my daughter will be baby girl until the day I die.  I knew my SIL from the time has 9 or so.  He just fit right in.
The FDIL, she is making it very hard for me to tolerate her, let alone love her.  I used to ask about wedding plans, colors, flower.(you get the idea).  Now I never mention it.  I will show up at the rehearsal and wedding and go through the motions.  But I will not be blackmailed into losing weight for the pictures, going to multiple showers, buying a wedding gift I can not afford.  I will not be bullied into keeping my house up to her standards, changing my hobbies, other relationships or reordering my life to suit her.