My in-laws initially welcomed me into their family. But his mother purposefully caused unnecessary drama.
When my husband of six months travelled on business, she brought home a woman who’s had a creepy obsession for my husband for years (as well as a hatred for me).
She had her sleep in his bed, then invited me over the next morning so I’d know.
She’d also invite this woman over when she knew we’d visit. My husband eventually said we’d leave if she showed up again.
When we got engaged, his parents and siblings all seemed happy despite what my mother-in-law said or did when I wasn’t around.
I learnt she’d done this to almost every partner of her children.
During the planning of our wedding, she’d tell others that we’d decided something when we had not, to get us to accept her plan.
We paid for 100% of the wedding ourselves, yet she’d say, "the wedding isn’t just about (us)" and that we needed to invite all their friends.
My father-in-law went along with whatever she said.
Eventually, we still managed to have the wedding of our dreams.
But now, things are much worse. She told everyone that I was living off my husband because I’d lost my job, though I hadn't gotten pregnant yet, while she got pregnant as soon as they were married.
She became cold to me. She and my father-in-law resent me because I’m not yet pregnant.
Angrily, my husband and I decided not to visit them as often, and not to tell them I’d gotten a new job right away.
They found out three months later, and got mad at me for not telling them.
Now neither look me in the eyes or respond when I speak to them. I cry every time we leave their house.
It upsets my husband that they treat me this way, but he says his mother’s behaviour’s no surprise.
She keeps talking about his exes (from five-plus years ago) and how cute their children are, though we’ve both asked her to stop.
Any way she can try to undermine our marriage, or my feelings, she does.
They both complain about not seeing us enough anymore, won’t accept our invitations (even if we pay for it), i.e. dinner out, a walk, our house, etc.
My husband still wants a relationship with them now, but doesn’t see them in our lives when we do have children, because of how they act.
I can hardly stand being in contact with them and am trying solely for my husband's sake.
If we were honest with them, she’d make it worse by creating false rumours about me.
What can we do?
In-laws Taking a Toll
Withdraw. They’re enjoying the battle and winning by passive–aggressive means, while you two are losing some of the joy of your new marriage.
She’s a mean, selfish woman, supported by a weak husband. You two are strongly connected, committed to each other, and have tried to accommodate them to no avail.
Do not invite them to dinner any more. If you want to keep a semblance of a family relationship, only attend group events or drop in briefly on your way to something else that’s pleasant.
If there are no changes from them, then no changes from you.
Sometimes a grandchild affects such situations positively, but if that case arises, you’d best test them slowly and cautiously.
Otherwise this MIL can again bring too much stress and negativity into your life.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man in a gay relationship who wanted to marry a woman to have children (May 13):
Reader – “I’m bisexual. My first serious relationship of 10 years was with a woman. Her infidelity ended it.
“My lasting relationship (31 years) has been with a man.
“Both long-term relationships felt perfectly "natural."
“The person who wrote you is bisexual.
“It’s wrong to consider him "a gay man" denying his "basic self-identity."
“He could equally have acted first on his attraction to women and now be wanting to explore the full spectrum of his sexuality.
“It’s possible for him to self-identify as bi and not deny anything. Or, to have a fulfilled monogamous family life with a woman.
“It’s also possible that he could have a fulfilled (consensually and safely) non-monogamous family life with an open-minded (bi or straight) woman.”
Ellie – His motivation “to be like everyone else,” showed discomfort with his own decision.
Tip of the day:
When passive-aggressive in-laws create stress and destructive conflict, withdraw.