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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For various reasons, I feel really uncomfortable around my mother-in-law. Some of them pertain to things she's said and done, and some of them pertain to my own issues. Since I want to maintain anonymity, suffice it to say we're both human, and neither of us are perfect.

I decided a while back that I'd rather spend time with her with my husband and his whole family, since this is more comfortable for me, but she's constantly trying to plan things for just the two of us.

Up until now, I've politely declined those invitations, but she seems to have a real strong need to form a close bond with me. I don't fault her for that, but I plain and simply don't want it--and the guilt has been killing me.

Can anyone relate? Does anyone else feel more comfortable having a cordial but not mother-daughter or BFF relationship with their MIL? And how exactly can I do that, when she seems determined to spend a lot of time alone with me? I don't want to put my husband in the middle, which I've done far too often. But I really don't know how else to create the boundaries I want in this relationship. (I may soften those boundaries in time, but I don't feel comfortable right now.)

I appreciate any insight and advice!

UPDATE: I understand why she would want to be close to me, but I really feel uncomfortable around her, for various reasons that I did not include to protect both of our anonymity. While I appreciate the advice to give closeness a chance, I would also appreciate advice that addresses how to create the relationship I want (a cordial, but not super close one), as that's all I feel comfortable with at this point in time.
 

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You don't have to be close just because she is your MIL but equally you don't have to be distant because she is your MIL.

She is your husband parent, maybe put yourself in her shoes in the future, you might be a MIL someday, do you want to be ostracised?
You have already put your husband in the middle, why not be more personable with the MIL and avoid future drama. What is the big deal? It is not hard to have happy relationships with extended family, you don't have to be best mates but a good healthy relationship is good for everyone involved.
 

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I love my MIL. She annoys me sometimes, but she is one of the most important person in my life. Love is a choice. I choose to love my MIL.

It is nice to have another person who loves you. Your mother in law wants to get closer to you because she loves her son unconditionally. She will love you because you make her son happy. She is not your enemy. Please give her a chance.
 

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For various reasons, I feel really uncomfortable around my mother-in-law. Some of them pertain to things she's said and done, and some of them pertain to my own issues. Since I want to maintain anonymity, suffice it to say we're both human, and neither of us are perfect.

I decided a while back that I'd rather spend time with her with my husband and his whole family, since this is more comfortable for me, but she's constantly trying to plan things for just the two of us.

Up until now, I've politely declined those invitations, but she seems to have a real strong need to form a close bond with me. I don't fault her for that, but I plain and simply don't want it--and the guilt has been killing me.

Can anyone relate? Does anyone else feel more comfortable having a cordial but not mother-daughter or BFF relationship with their MIL? And how exactly can I do that, when she seems determined to spend a lot of time alone with me? I don't want to put my husband in the middle, which I've done far too often. But I really don't know how else to create the boundaries I want in this relationship. (I may soften those boundaries in time, but I don't feel comfortable right now.)

I appreciate any insight and advice!
I can totally relate. My H tried to get me to be close with his sister. I plain just don't like her. I prefer to see her as little as possible.

I'm not sure how she feels about me, but judging how she's treated me, I don't think she likes me very much either.

Then again, she has a habit of being nasty to a lot of people. My H says she doesn't mean to and it's just her personality but who knows?

I don't think pushing yourself to like someone or spend time with them is a good idea. Even if it's your mother in law. If she's not an idiot, she will know you are uncomfortable and that will make things worse.

But I think planning more activities with the whole family is a good idea. Then take it from there. Your mother in law seems to be making an effort, so it would be good if you responded to that in a positive way and at least met her half way.

You never know, you might find that you have more in common than you think and in 5 years she might be someone you're close to.
 

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This is an answer based on you not giving the why.

What you are searching for is something you will never find. The dreaded "how can I avoid hurting her feelings but still get what I want"... You have to tell her some version of the truth. She will be hurt. It could damage the relationship. But you cannot have "arms lenght relationship" and "totally unperterbed MIL"... You have to risk ruffling a feather or two.

You should discuss with hour hub how exactly you tell your MIL....that does not cuase undue damage and harm.. But basically some form of "nothing personal, but in my world MIL's are not BFF's, so I can't do 1x1 activites with you."
 

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This is really tough since you are not giving us the whole story.
Additionally, I personally appreciate anyone who makes an effort to be close to me and I try to reciprocate that effort (except for in the case of my ex-boyfriend).

I would love it if my MIL made any sort of effort toward me.

It sounds like you have a problem with your MIL, she is completely clueless as to this problem and she is putting forth effort to be a good MIL to you. You can't tell her the truth because she will get extremely offended and/or tell the rest of the family.

How well do you know your MIL? If you've never really spent time with her 1-1 (only in family gatherings), then how well do you really know her? Is there any possibility that you have misjudged her?

I personally feel I have made every effort with my MIL, but she is extremely cold to me. She told my husband that her problem with me is that I am a different race than her (them), and she would find a passage in the Bible that proves that interracial marriages are forbidden by God. It has been years, she has yet to find scripture in the Bible prohibiting interracial marriage. I say this to make a point that my MIL never gave me a shot to being with.

Your options are:
1) Tell your MIL the truth.
2) Give you MIL a shot. Go out with her with an open mind.
 

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It would be good to know her motivation for wanting to do things with you and be close.

As I don't know what she did to upset you, it's difficult to say.

My MIL would have wanted to be close only to get more into our lives and be the center of attention, so that wouldn't have worked. We are perfectly cordial and see each other only a few times per year.

I would say to tread with caution and don't force yourself to do things you don't want to do! If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
 

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It's simple. There are only so many hours in the day and you have responsibilities. Any time you spend alone with her, you can not spend on your husband/mother/friends the dog.

Let her know that you enjoy having her as a MIL and look forward to seeing her at family functions. Suggest she cultivate some friends her own age.

BTW, this seems rather pushy of her.
 

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No, you don't have to be close.

But honestly, is it really too much to meet her for an hour for coffee, say once every month or two?

Why not try to help an older lady be happy? She's probably lonely.

Of course, without knowing any details, that's the best advice I can give. Unless she is an axe murderer or something like that. Or has deliberately tried to undermine your relationship with your husband. In which case you simply call her out on what she has done and why you no longer want to spend time with her. Even "little old ladies" don't get a free pass on bad behavior.
 

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Because I care for my wife, the things and people important to her have to be important to me or I have to convincingly pretend they are. I don't guess you just have to get along great with your MIL but life with your husband will have lots less drama if you can. Your MIL very likely has influence over your spouse. She raised him. If she likes you, your MIL will sing your praises to your spouse. If she doesn't like you, he's got to endure hearing from his own mother how evil, stupid, lazy, etc you are. I bend over backwards to get along great with my in-laws.
 

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OP, whenever ANYONE on this planet goes up and beyond and wants to get close to you.......you embrace it!!!

Be thankful such person exists!

Go against yourself here and step outside of your boundaries a bit. IMO that is good to do every now and then anyways.

Go out with her, who knows, you guys might form a lifetime bond that will become priceless.

And if things don't work out, what do you have to lose?

Your MIL will be your kids grandparent, and if you are looking to stay with your husband forever, she WILL be a VERY important person to you rather you like it or not.

Chances are, his mother is also looking for companionship and decided to choose you.

You should be thankful appreciative of that.....not hateful/bitter.

I also think there is a lot of pros with this (and cons as well). Focus on the positive. Look you will get to know a woman that raised your husband and get to know your husband a bit more in the process.

I'm also sure your husband will be VERY happy as well.

Just to give you example, my wife is NOT a big fan of my mom (just like you). But she has gone against herself and just does her best to be the best daughter in law she can be.

I cherish that and applaud her for doing it as it makes my mom's life happier/better.....and ANY son will want that.
 

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Question.. Why does she want to spend so much time with you, what do you have in common? I am with the others, without knowing a little more of the story... how can we offer insight to what you should do...how you should handle...

What about her bothers YOU? When we enjoy someone , we LIKE to spend time with them, we laugh, connect -it just flows... so I assume you do not enjoy her company..

I get along well with my MIL, no grievances, or awkwardness ...she loves me , knows I am a good wife to her son...I cook for all the Holidays at our house.. and am appreciated for this..

But outside of this we have very little in common...she does crafts, likes to shop at craft stores (for me that would = :sleeping::sleeping: ).... reads horror books.. not my thing.. .she is very close to one of her daughters..who also enjoys craft type things....so I have never felt she wanted to interject more on me that I would be comfortable with.

We can't choose our relatives...or In Laws, but yet.. we could spare some of our time to keep the connection going... there is always a balance.. Don't swing all the way if it is too much but allow for some time, go out to meet her for lunch twice a month (for example)..... this would be my advice... going on as little as what has been said.
 

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You have left a ton out, so everyone is going to give you advice based on their personal history. You should give a truncated version of your problems or balance all the advice with a grain of salt. Sure, you can embrace it, but like with some of my familial situations, a few in-laws as well, I stay distant for good reasons.


Talking about the "whys" and problems is your best bet. Otherwise, if she is intelligent, you can make matters worse IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for the advice, everyone. I realize it's hard to advise me, given all the details I've left out. I am just incredibly paranoid about her finding this and knowing I'm talking about her!

If there's anyone who would be open to me sending them a private message to share more specifics, I would very much appreciate it, as I could really use an objective outside opinion.
 

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Elizabeth. Give the pertinent details & throw in a few lies that don't matter (we live in a dumpy townhouse outside of Boston, I grew up milking dairy cows in Kansas, even her name bothers me, it's Morticia). Even if she DID find this message board, and DID find your thread, she'd never figure it was HER.
 

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You don't need to give details. You don't want a buddy relationship with your MIL and there is no law that says you have to be buddies.

It's ok! Feel free to tell her you would prefer a more traditional MIL/DIL relationship with her. Everyone is entitled to their personal boundaries and to spend their free time as they wish.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you, Blondilocks. I think I was looking for someone to write exactly what you wrote. I feel guilty reading all these responses telling me to give her a chance, appreciate her love, etc when I feel so certain I don't want to be that close to her. And it's not for lack of time knowing her. I've known her for many years and have spent a lot of time around her; for various reasons, I don't enjoy her company and would prefer not to be put in awkward situations with forced intimacy.

I want my in-law relationships to be like my husband's relationship with my parents--friendly when he sees them, but no expectations on him to be either of my parents' surrogate son, best friend, or confidant.

I know that, to some degree, you marry the family, in that they are in your life forever. But I don't think it's fair to expect a daughter-in-law will be like a daughter, or that the DIL will love the MIL like a mother. If it happens, great, but I don't want to feel guilty about the fact that, right now, I don't feel that way.

I do regret putting my husband in the middle, which is why I'm trying to figure out a way to deal with this situation. And I suspect in the future I will need to spell it out, as you've suggested.

Thank you again!
 

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You're welcome. Don't be afraid of putting your husband in the middle - his family is his responsibility.

I would address a situation like this with my husband and ask him if he wanted to handle it or if I should. He, invariably, chose to handle it as he knew I would not be as diplomatic as he.

You can always see how the relationship goes and change course IF you want to. Good luck!
 

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I'm no help on MIL advice, my reality would definitely taint my view.

My MIL likes to live in a dream world where she looks like the perfect mom, MIL, grandma. She will do things to make herself LOOK like that mom, MIL, or grandma. She doesn't seek relationship she seeks appearances. When my kids hit about 12 they start avoiding her, preferring their other grandmas (great grams included). It is also about that age they start complaining about the way she treats people, little things she says.

I think feeling permission will allow you to still feel comfortable at family gatherings while avoiding her advances.
 

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Thank you, Blondilocks. I think I was looking for someone to write exactly what you wrote.
So you came her looking for advice that you wanted to hear.

Great, why even bother?

Stop being selfish and spoiled. You are now part of your husband family and need to start forming bonds with them.

Rather you like it or not, they are YOUR family now too.
 
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