Before my wedding, my mother-in-law (MIL) separated from her husband and went on an "I'm coming/not coming" saga throughout the planning.
With much begging (including me cancelling/ rescheduling my bachelorette party to include her), she finally decided on the wedding day that she’d attend.
We were overjoyed at the news. She did attend but unexpectedly and bizarrely also invited (without telling us) her new dentist whom she’d met for the first time a week prior to the wedding.
After marriage it got worse with the in-laws' continual interference in our lives. If we don't visit them weekly, I offend them. If we make purchases that they disagree with (for example, a new vacuum cleaner), they lecture us on why we should’ve consulted them first.
I've tried my best to be a good daughter-in-law, including taking time off work to care for my MIL in our home when she got briefly sick. We shower them and their extended family with gifts, make regular phone calls, etc. to show them we care.
I'm not alone in this struggle for in-law acceptance of me. My sister-in-law's fiancé is not liked either and they disclosed to my husband and I at a family dinner one evening that they think he’s beneath her.
Perhaps they feel the same about me though I’m a successful businesswoman with a degree from a prestigious school.
I've stayed respectful and polite for my husband's sake. But after becoming ill, I've begun maintaining a cordial distance, and politely forgoing my weekly visits except on special occasions.
Why have I written you? The in-laws decided that I’m disrespectful for not visiting regularly. So, for Christmas, they took to icing me out.
This included giving a Christmas present only to my husband, with an attached note to him, and not a single Christmas wish or even acknowledgement of my existence at their event despite my help in organizing it. They even put the gift we gave them in some random spot and didn't bother acknowledging it, unlike the rest of their gifts. When the evening ended, they only thanked my husband and ignored me.
My husband hasn’t supported me at all through this. He suggested that I disrespected and hurt them for not visiting regularly, which was why they didn’t give me a gift.
I told him, tearfully, that I found their actions very hurtful and that I was surprised that he didn't defend me.
Now, he’s phoned them in front of me to apologize on my behalf for misunderstanding them. He accepted their response that they love me, and don't know why I'm hurt.
I was gas-lighted, sold-out, and humiliated by my husband.
This stress isn’t helping my illness. I feel trapped. We have no kids. Can this marriage be salvaged or should I walk away?
A marriage can only be “salvaged” by two partners.
If you stay under these same circumstances, you’d only be tolerating the various dramas from your in-laws, who apparently didn’t stay separated… or was that just an MIL attention-getter when she was “losing” her son?
I like to think that marriages are worth trying to save. But with no kids, no partner support (aka emotional abuse), plus your illness needing your focus on managing it, your story adds up to a separation.
Maybe, once apart, he’ll see the need for trying counselling to become a team, instead of an extension of his parents’ willful demands. If not, move on.
I’m a guy, 16, in high school. A new friend started hanging out with me a lot at my house, (fine with my parents as his aren’t home much).
He brought me into the “cool” group, which I enjoyed. But he started leaving a mess at my place, and didn’t return some things.
He invited others over without asking and got them vaping, which he knew isn’t allowed in my house.
My parents broke it up and told him he couldn’t visit here again. I know they’re right, I don’t miss him, but I miss hanging out with that group.
Disappointed in “Cool”
Someone who uses others isn’t really cool. It’s very likely some others will break away from that guy.
You were good to this seeming-friend, but had the values and respect for your parents and home to know what’s unacceptable.
Those are leadership qualities that are cooler than the passing appearance of people just thinking they’re cool.
Tip of the day:
Couples need to set boundaries with interfering in-laws, if they want their union to last and thrive.