How is your relationship with your in-laws?

lady_qNovember 22, 2010

I was thinking this weekend about how different my relationship is with my new in-laws, compared to how it was with my EX's family. I still have a very good relationship with my ex Mother-in-law. She always treated me like one of her own children and she understood the difficulties I experienced with her son, and never faulted me for leaving the marriage after 24 years. I love her dearly. And I still have a good relationship with my ex's siblings.

However, the relationship I now have with my husband's family is so different. DH and I have been together for 8 years and his family seemed so happy in the beginning because he had found someone who loved and respected him and was willing to take on the responsiblity of helping him raise his son. DH's mother is a lovely woman, but I always feel that when she comes to visit us (it's usually an extended stay, as she lives in another province), she is there to see her son and grandson and that's it. She also speaks a language that I don't understand and uses it to communicate with them while I'm sitting right there, effectively leaving me out of the conversation. BTW, she does speak English perfectly well.

They had a family party two years ago and DH's sister, mom, and aunts decided to do several collages of family photos, both old and new. Well, guess who didn't appear in any of those collages -- YEP, that's right -- the newby! I didn't let it bother me too much, but DH was livid. He spoke to his sister about it, and they scrambled to print off some facebook photos and stick them to the edge of the collage -- well, it was pretty lame, but I can laugh at it now.

DH's family also never acknowledge me on my birthday, christmas, etc., while I go out of my way to make sure they receive a card and gift for every occasion.

I'm a grown woman, so I don't really lose any sleep over this stuff, but I just find it really bizarre. I don't think DH's ex was liked very much by my in-laws and apparently she wasn't shy about expressing her dislike of them, so perhaps that's why they are a bit stand-offish with me.

I'm wondering how your relationship with your DH's family is and how is compares to how they were with your DH's ex.

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Hi Lady Q, I left a long term marriage too, and I assumed I would remain friendly with ex in laws, yikes , was I wrong...They showed up at EVERY divorce hearing snarling and snapping at me, and yes they knew all the problems I had with Ex , but chose to see him as a victim.He was the youngest in his family and they rallied around him big time and never spoke to me again..But if i see my ex nieces and nephews around, they are very kind and supportive....The new in laws, oh the horror of them!!!When I met them, they told me they saw BM so seldom, they didnt even remember what she looked like!!!!They live in differnt states, but NOW they are best friends!!!Calling constantly, DH s ex even called them when he was having a medical emergency, as if that was any of her business.They were angry at me for not calling them, but DH didnt tell me to call them, I never speak to them , dont even know how to reach them...We havent spoken to them in a few years, we have voted them off the island so to speak..Sick of the lies , rumors and nasty gossip they put out, even tho we havent spoke to them in years and they know nothing of our lives..They reach out every so often, as if nothings is wrong, I cant for the life of me figure out why..Sure wonder how the situation got to this point, I had nothing against them when we first met..One sister attacked me, said I called her sisters all a name(when this supposedly happened, DH was with me, he KNOWS there was no name calling)I have never met a more disfunctional family in my life.They cling to the exs, and any new partner in the family is the enemy..He does have one brother and one sister I talk to tho..But I cant see us ever repairing relations with the drama queens.....Sad for DH.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 12:28PM
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My relationship with DH's family is great. I really have no complaints. They all hated his ex though, so I have it easy :)

I am not friends with my ex-family in law, but we are civil.

You say they seemed happy in the beginning... what do you think happened?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:23PM
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Well, Silver, I think it's partially due to a cultural gap. They are french-canadian, and I don't speak French although I have great respect for the culture. We really don't have a lot in common as far as our backgrounds go. I feel that they are very set in their ways when it comes to family celebrations, foods they like to eat, etc. I, on the other hand, like to do things differently. I enjoy cooking very different foods, and I like to travel during our vacations (when DH was married to his ex, they spent most of their vacation time with their respective french-canadian families).

I think they are having a hard time accepting that DH has different priorities now and we don't want to spend all our free time either visiting with them, or having them as guests in our home. I really believe it's all about them not being able to accept change in their lives. My DH had a problem with that when I met him, and it's taken a lot of work for me to get him to realize that life doesn't revolve around his childhood home.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense here, but bottom line is that I think I make them feel insecure in their relationship with DH.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:53PM
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I have not much in common at all with DH's family. But we make do. I was actually just telling DH the other night that I think it's amazing that if I were not related to my family I would not be friends with most of them. They are nice people, I just have nothing in common with them.

Basically though, you did change your DH's priorities (willing though he might be) and I can see why they feel their relationship is in jeopardy and that you are to blame.

(not that I think you are in the wrong)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 2:05PM
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I always had great relationship with exinlaws, especially exMIL while were married and after divorce. They don't like ex's current wife that much (I think she is very nice) and my ex and I find it finny that they are still obsessed with me so many years later. I have nothing in common with them at all, not much in common with ex either, we do share common views on parenting though.

My parents are civil with ex but no relationship or friendship. As about my current SO, his family is far away and they do not speak much English. He does have extended family here and I get along with them nicely. My family treats SO very nice, they never treated any man that nice LOL he is nice with them too.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 7:34PM
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Aaahh the good old inlaws, yes, interesting topic.

I can see how you've upset their routine, I'm in the same position myself :-)

I grew up completely different to FDH. I went to uni and was always encouraged to get out there so I travelled a bit and finally emigrated by myself to this country when I was 29.

My FDH has always lived here and never travelled. He got married young, had kids, a different life.

At first things seemed ok with MIL, but after a couple of years things changed. MIL became more passive aggressive towards me, I didn't understand it at first and didn't see it coming. I thought we were ok.

Now, after a couple of rocky years I understand. MIL is scared of change, she lives in a very small world and she feels threatened by me. I think she's also depressed, her marriage is not the happiest, she finds it hard to hold on to friends, she's not really interested in anyone or anything.

My life is very different to hers. I'm not scared to get out there, I come from a different culture, I'm more openminded, I've got a career, FDH now wants to travel so we're going to Europe next year, he's changed jobs and got out of his comfort zone. Lots of stuff to feel threatened about I guess. I've upset the status quo (is that how you say it?). Even though that was not my intention.

My MIL also has a mean side to her, she's not a very kind person. But that is totally her problem, FDH says she's always been like that. Cold.

At first I let MIL upset me with her passive aggrrressive ways (sneaky mean comments, undermining me, pushing boundaries etc) but that made things worse. Once she knew how to push my buttons she was going for it! And I pushed back, making me feel ashamed about myself for being so immature! It just went down hill from there :-(

Eventually I decided to change my ways, to try and save the relationship, for our family's sake. I saw how it affected FDH and decided to suck it up. Now I've learned to disengage. That's my favorite tool for dealing with difficult situations :-)

I don't take the bait anymore, I don't share much of my life anymore either. I don't approach her much anymore, I don't show a lot of emotion, I just smile and engage in small talk. I accept we will not be best buds, I just try and be pleasant. She's caught on to that and she's backed off a bit. She now makes an effort too, I appreciate that. Maybe that will work for you as well?

Try and not take it personal, because it isn't really. They're just lashing out because they don't know any other way of dealing with something new (read: scary/threatening).

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:03PM
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I'm dreading Thursday....

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:30PM
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I hear you imamommy....

we have no kids this year, so we are going to Vegas for Thanksgiving, three days no job and no relatives!!!! LOL

We broke up 2 times on Thanksgiving and it was always something related to which side of the family we must visit, and his kids changing plans, my aunt insisting we go there, SO does not like to go there, it ended up in a fight and me leaving 2 years in a row. So this time we are gone!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 6:11AM
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I don't really have a "relationship" with my in-laws. My MIL is frankly not the kind of person I'd choose to be friendly with in real-life; she's (like yabber's) passive-aggressive, gossipy, talking behind one's back type.

They didn't like his ex; MIL and she would get into arguments into which they'd try to drag friends and relatives to be on "their side". But they've always been completely distant with me; I'd try to reach out and I'd just be disregarded. My mother tried to reach out during wedding planning and was ignored. So I've given up and don't really much care what they think of me. When we've visited them or they've been here (not often), I don't apologize, don't change things, I just remain perfectly civil and disengaged. Since they've rebuffed any effort to know me, their opinion is a matter of indifference to me, since they know almost nothing about me.

DH has had his own problems with them in the past. He was, and is, the one in the family who is blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong - yet he is also the one who is expected to drop everything and run up to save the day at their convenience. I leave it all up to him; if he feels that we should visit, I go - if he wants to invite them here, I do my best to plan a nice event and ignore the fact that they will be unhappy and find fault with it. It's not often that we do see them because of their behavior towards all of us.

That's right, all of us. MIL had done a lot of babysitting of SS18 when he was young, and blatantly favors him over SS8. When SS8 sees them, he is first told how they miss him and he should see them more often (maybe he should drive himself?), then treated to a dissertation on his grandmother's health issues, then questioned about and compared to his brother. And then he's just ignored - given one of his brother's old toys to play with and set in a corner. And now, since SS18 is on-and-off living with BM, the two of them (BM and MIL) are back playing some twisted game. BM will invite herself over and promise to bring SS18, SS18 will refuse to go, and BM will show up with SS8 whereupon MIL and BM go right back into their bickering, while SS sits, ignored by both of them.

It's fascinating in a horrible way to watch it all as an outside observer (like watching a train wreck). I'd often wondered why DH had married BM at all (aside from the shotgun part) since they seem so different. I realized a few months ago that MIL's behavior (self-centered, back-stabbing, playing favorites and pitting people against each other, the drama queen behavior, the disagreements in which everyone is expected to pick a side) is so very similar to BM's that it's no wonder that he didn't see anything unusual with it. Additionally, DH already knew that anything and everything that went wrong was his fault and his responsibility to fix - he'd been brought up that way!

Poor DH and SS; they both deserve so much better. I don't understand it, maybe they were very badly behaved in a past life or something. I'd always thought my family was kind of out there, but DH and SS love them. We may be weird and quirky but everyone is well-meaning and unfortunately there are too few like that in DH's family.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 7:48AM
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I get along GREAT with my inlaws. Well, that's mostly because we live at least a day's drive away from them. It really sucks when bad things happen because it's hard to get to their state quickly. But it keeps us from getting on eachother's nerves too bad.

We got along fantastically when we were all there for the funeral. I was so surprised at how everyone chipped in and came together. My inlaws are a pretty classy group of people.

MIL has a way of making crazy comments sometimes, though. Once when she came to visit, before we were married, I took her out to lunch. She didn't want to go because of money, but I told her that DH had given us some spending money, to reassure her. She said to me "So if he gives you money, what do you give him?" Oh I had plenty of things I could've said, but I just sat there in the car shocked. I think I muttered something about cleaning his house for him or something. Ha ha ha!

My XILs are low-class people who make you hate being anywhere near them. XMIL treated me very well when X & I were together, but she quickly reversed course on that and causes lots of problems. XBIL is a COMPLETE FRIGGIN IDIOT. I seriously have doubts about DS's safety when he is around, not that I could do anything about it. If you tick them off in any way, you might fiknd yourself in some crazy family feud that last decades. I just don't get that. They were never a good fit for me, not I a good fit for them, and the farther removed I am, the more convinced I am that I never did fit in.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 5:28PM
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I'm so lucky - I love my in-laws. . . for the main part. My MIL can get on my nerves in little ways, but over all she is fantastic and treats me wonderfully. My FIL tends to drink too much and has his own set of flaws, but has always been so appreciative of how I've treated SD and what I've done for the family. My BIL I adore and his wife is my closest friend, so we spend at least one weekend a month when them and their kids. None liked the ex much (BIL and SIL detested her) so that does make it easy to be 'the good wife.'
We'll all be together at my home for Thanksgiving dinner Friday, after the girls hit the sales and the boys watch football. It's a day I look forward to each year.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 2:25AM
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I am almost divorced, and although my ex and I are getting along better now, the reason for our break up is his alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. His family, even though we had a good relationship prior to this, hates me because of me leaving him, even though he was the one who drove high with the kids. My daughter's communion is coming up, and I have sent my MIL a letter expressing my apology, and I have also called and left a message that they are welcome to come to the reception. I can't understand why they can't move forward. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 7:45AM
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Sharon, I'm not sure why you're apologizing to your MIL. If the reasons for the break down of your marriage are as you say, you certainly have no reason to apologize to anyone. That said, it is great that you invited them to your daughter's communion reception, and I hope, for your daughter's sake that they are mature enough to accept it and be there for her on her special day. Do they have an ongoing relationship with their grandchildren since the breakup? As far as them moving on, well, that could take some time. I think they may feel ackward because of the way they've treated you in the past. This could be an opportunity for you to reconnect with them. However, if they show signs of not being interested in a renewed relationship with you, just let it go. You will have to be in their company many times in future years because of your children, but you don't have to best friends with them. Just be polite and take the high road on this one.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:54AM
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We dont speak to my DH father and his husband - They are both manipulative coniving and liars. They tried everything they could do to plit us up and went to the lengths of HARASSING children and families with false accusations of abuse. They were almost charged. They tried to claim SD on thier taxes - didnt work. As for DH mother she is "ok" a little wierd - flakey - fruity.. But i can deal due to the fact she is thousands of miles away. :) She is very loving and doesnt referre to me as her daughter in law - i am her daughter. I think your husband should have a good heart to heart with his mother and sister. Not be mean just let them know how the french speaking and leaving you out of holidays and pictures hurts your feelings and when your feelings are hurt so are his. Not that they HAVE to love you - but 8 years later??? It should have been made clear by now you will be around for some time to come (hopefully)... My ex was spanish and his family used to that - speak spanish to where i didnt understand... Untill i caught on and answered them back once when they were talking bad about me. After that it was a different attitude from them all around. I seemed to have been "hazed" in lol... Infact i still talk to his sisters and its been 6 years.. I was very young though also 16-20 years old. But i lived with them once i turned 17. I tell you what though - your a better woman than me. I understand going out of your way for christmas and such - but after 8 years I would have just been like screw it - love me or hate me i will still be happy with my DH!!

TINK228 - i have no suggestions you did what you could - the ball is in her court , you made your peace. I doubt she will come around but she needs to realise it wont hurt you it will hurt her granddaughter... Good job for leaving!! They are probably upset because now its "their" problem rather than "your" problem...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:59AM
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Wow -- MrsP -- I have learned a whole lot from this post. So DH has family drama too? You kind of made it sound like just BM came from some wacky situation in other posts. And you lived with your Spanish boyfriends family at 17... Yikes... Hope this isn't the role modeling that you feel is 'best' for SD ... I guess either side is just as good as the other. Wow.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:40PM
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yes dh came from a split family - he was raised by his father and his husband. he had a bad upbringing that all ties into why he doesnt speak to him. dh is nothing like his father. I have an amazing family. my parents have been married for 30 years. I decided at 17 to be a little brat and do what i wanted. mom thought i would come running back but i was to stubborn. role modeling? i would think by what you have read from me so far you would know better. No1 in dh family is in and out of jail or sex offenders or drug users. If we thought that kind of role modeling was ok or normal we would still be talking with them no? or letting them around our children... my kids have never met dh family - none.. the only family member dh speaks to is his mom - i said she was fruity , doesnt everyone have one of those in thier family? We do not consider it drama since - we do not conversate with them. We are no where near the low level of BM.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 3:59PM
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Must admit i am offended. Just because DH was raised by a father with no sense or care doesnt mean Dh is this way. "The apple doesnt fall far" i get that but he learned what kind of dad NOT to be as well. The mistakes i made as a teen should not be held against me as my judgement as a mother/sm.. DH father used to lock him outside from 8am to 9pm as a kid... DH wont let DD play outside unless an adult is around... I was a rebeling teen who was as you could say out of control. That does not mean i have no sense as a mother. My mother was at her witts end with me - she knew i was still attending school - paying my own car insurance and taking care of my horse without asking for her help. I was a spoiled brat that doesnt make my family "wacky"

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Oh don't be offended sweetie. My post was judgemental and I only commented on the info you gave. You explained it later. I just read a lot of your posts as BM is a pos and so is her family.. But then your DH seems to not have a perfect family as well... So wondering why it was different standards... But you say your DH learned how not to be a parent and that's all fine. No worries.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:56PM
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