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DIL seeking advice

Started by LL1, February 14, 2013, 02:03:35 pm

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My husband and I have been married for 3 years. My in laws are great people, however i feel there is no wiggle room when they make plans. If they plan something, we HAVE to go. there's no missing anything. This particularly bothers me when it comes to holidays like today, valentines day. My MIL plans a Valentines day dinner the sunday before valentines day, all her kids are adults, (20,24, 28) however my husband and i are the only ones who are married, the other two kids do not have boyfriends or girlfriends. I guess to make this shorter, I just feel like every holiday my husband associates with his family, and none just for us, even our anniversary his mom always gives us something, and it makes me feel like 'now he is thinking about how great his mom is on our anniversary instead of me'. so i just wish for once, we could have one holiday that was just for us. I also really want to create our own family traditions, but his family already does SO much, they literally cover every day of the year that has a name, and that leaves nothing for me to get creative with. What about when i have kids? will we always just be at grandma and grandpas because we cant start our own traditions? My husband doesn't understand. I feel very insecure about his family, because he is so happy around them, i feel like he loves them so much more than me, so then when he can never say no to them, about plans, it hurts me because we can't create our own traditions. Whenever I try to talk to him about family we end up in a huge fight because he is so defensive of them, and he can't see how i am feeling hurt or insecure. I would love any advice, and honesty as well. i would love any advice on how to talk to my husband, or my mother in law. Thanks much.


Welcome, LL1. Please take a moment, if you haven't already done so, to read the pink-highlighted items under the topic Open Me First on the home page. We ask this of all new members to make sure everyone understands site policies and that the site is a good fit.

Your situation reminds me of my DS's ILs in that they are always together and expect DS & DIL at every function, vacation, etc. DS had to stand up to his ILs to get time w/his DW as well as time w/his own FOO. It's not a completely fair situation now, but it's better.

Is your FOO in the picture? If so, do they also want time with the two of you? I agree that you need to get this figured out before kids arrive.

I'm glad to hear that you don't want to annihilate your MIL, you just want to (I hate this term, but it applies) "set a few boundaries." I'd start with Valentine's Day - not really a day for AC to spend with their Ps, IMO :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I would suggest some couples counseling because it feels to me as though you aren't being heard. You are sharing your feelings and DH isn't accepting them. You are supposedly his number one loyalty. How you feel matters and if all he wants you to do is stuff your feelings and conform...I seems to me that you have some work to do that isn't necessarily about the issue at hand , I see it as being more about the need for mutual respect and the need to work through things from that place. When one person is told how to be, it's not a partnership. There's a huge difference between being a life partner and being discounted and dominated.  Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


In my opinion, it sounds as though your DH is having loyalty issues about breaking out into his own family roles.  I am sure that this is something that happens to the best of us when we marry, however, seeking some couple's counselling would probably be a step in the right direction for the both of you.  DH should not be taking his frustrations about the situation out on you.  You deserve respect.
Good Luck.


I don't think you're a DIL seeking advice; you're a wife seeking advice.  You're problem isn't with your ILs; it's with your DH.  If you two can't work out a way for THE TWO OF YOU to celebrate holidays that is satisfactory to both of you, then I second the idea that you seek marriage counseling. 

Do you know that your husband spends your anniversary thinking about what a wonderful gift his mom sent rather than what a wonderful wife he has?  You may be angry over something that doesn't exist.  My parents always send us a card and check for our anniversary.  Whilst I appreciate the gift and thought, I don't spend my anniversary focused on my parents.  Also, with Valentine's Day, the Sunday before isn't the same as the actual date.  I know in the past I've used minor holidays as an excuse to plan a family gathering.  Before you confront your husband about the situation, I suggest getting a clear handle on the situation.  Go back over your calendar and figure out just how many holidays and other events you have spent with them.  I mention this because my ILs once complained how we "never" see them, but in reality, we were getting together on a bi-weekly basis.  My husband once told me he gave up trying to make plans with his family because he "knew" I would say no.  Funny, I was able to go over the previous two years and demonstrate that I hadn't said No a single time to his suggestions we see his folks. 

People are different.  What you consider an overwhelming number of visits with his family may seem like poor pittance to him.  It's just another thing couples need to compromise on.  Is it possible for you to take the bull by the horns and plan a holiday before his family comes up with an invitation?  Maybe if you have a plan in place, he won't object to saying no to his parents.  He may be looking it as "Well, we have no other plans, what reason could I give?  It seems petty to say No just to say No."  Is it only holidays that his family looms large or are their other areas in your lives that you feel his family has too large a role? 

Good luck.  I have a lot of sympathy for your situation.  I feel suffocated getting together too often with family and that has been an issue between my DH and myself. 


herbalescapes, I agree with you. I do not know that he is thinking about how great his mom is the whole day, I could very well be getting upset about something that is not there, however it always lingers in my mind and makes it harder for me to focus on the day. I agree with you about finding the times we actually do spend with them. I have done that, and literally EVERY holiday, including ones like presidents day, labor day, memorial day, st. patricks day, all spent with my DH family. My FOO is in the picture but they are much less demanding of our time, which makes it much easier to want to be with them, because i don't feel like they are trying to make sure we only make traditions with them. They are much more flexible than my IL's and provide no guilt if we can't make it to something they've planned. I am very grateful for all the responses i have gotten, and i agree. I am a wife looking for advice, however still a DIL too, as i have a difficult time with my IL's as well.


Welcome LL.  I agree with the others, you have to start with working things out with DH first before you can start on any IL issues you might have.  As far as the Anniversary present goes, my parents and DH's Mother send us a card and gift on that day.  I've never thought that DH was spending the day thinking how great his Mom or even my Mom is.  Now if you DH is going on and on, all day about what his Mom did, I would understand why you feel that way.  If he is, then again, we are back to a DH problem.

Maybe you could try taking back one holiday to start.  Say Easter? (since that's kind of the next biggie one).  Would he be open for either you two just going to do something or you hosting Easter dinner? 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


LL - I have a hard time thinking your MIL is intruding on Valentines day when she simply has a Sunday dinner 4 days before Valentines.  She is showing you warmth and acceptance, and leaving the actual day of the 14th for you and your DH to celebrate privately.  Same with anniversary gift.  Sending a gift acknowledges your position and importance to your husband - it is hardly the same as the MIL wanting to spend the anniversary WITH you. 

Perhaps you could give her a break?  Sounds like a nice MIL to me. 


Monroe makes a good point, you are lucky that you have nice ILs and that you are included with them.  When you sort out communication with your DH I am sure that you will be able to sort out times when you can celebrate certain things with your ILs and be inclusive.  If you have family who treat you well and are willing to communicate and negotiate, work on it.  It is worth it.  Good Luck with everything.  I look forward to hearing how you go. xo