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Thread: In Laws (Advice and Story Sharing)

  1. Team Rocket
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    #1

    In Laws (Advice and Story Sharing)

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    How much time do you spend with your inlaws? How much do you actually want to spend time with them? Do you have boundaries for them visiting? For those of you who don't like the inlaws, how much do you just grin and bear it? (Days per year?)

    I've talked a lot about my in laws on here before, they're... a handful, especially MIL.
    They called me 2 nights ago, it was awkward. DH is out of town (and didn't tell them he's in Germany) so they found that out and MIL was upset she hadn't been told.
    Then they gave me a long, loooong speech about how they appreciate how much I support their son as head of household (in a religious, conservative way).
    And then they said they will be visiting in August but don't know the dates yet and might not until right before they drive here (sigh).


    I've realized I really just don't like my MIL. I mean, she was rude and annoying and stuff before but now I really just genuinely dislike her and don't really want to see her, especially if they visit us.

    For context, last time they stayed with us, here's what happened:
    -They came 2 days earlier than they said they would and tried to crash our Valentine's day plans (we made them get a hotel for those 2 days)
    -They broke a handmade mug (beyond repair) that my mom had made for me
    -MIL promised to make dinner at least once while there so I wouldn't come home from work and have to deal with 3 hungry people. She ended up not doing so, with the excuse that she didn't want to mess up my kitchen. (Please just f-ing cook something or get takeout).
    -They hit DH's car with their car and left a scratch/dent which they did not offer to repair
    -DH and I both worked the whole time and they basically spent the days snooping around our house and complaining that we couldn't come home early and spend time with them
    -When I insisted we go out to eat for dinner a few times because I was not fucking cooking after a 13 hour workday (a grant was due that week), MIL complained the whole time that it messed up her diet
    -And last but not least, they tried to get up to drive them to the cruise ship terminal (6 hours there and back) both on the day they left (for their cruise) and the day they came back (a week later) just so they wouldn't have to pay for parking at the terminal. It would have used up the only day DH and I have off together, 2 weekends in a row. They tried to guilt trip hard but we said no.

    So.... like, I don't really want them to stay with us again. I don't know if DH is willing to put his foot down though. How do ya'll deal with inlaw visits?
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    #2
    My FIL and step IL are great, she goes out of the way to make sure she isn't making me uncomfortable. She loves my kids, which is huge. They have only visited us once (I didn't meet them until after we were married, and dh hadn't seen his dad since he was 11, so we only have eight years of family time.

    My MIL is a different story.... she used to visit yearly (if we flew her up). She once drove up with her ex husband and they crashed at our house but didn't spend much time with us, they went to a wedding (they didn't come to *our* wedding, but his niece's) and visited the ex stepdad's mother. We were just a hotel. They were also angry that I denied them use of our car while visiting.
    His mom does a lot of little things, like insisting I wasn't baking my daughter's cake right, she ungreased the pan (left it upside down in the sink so the spray dripped off) and took my hand mixer from my hand and turned it on full blast, insisting I was doing it wrong. She pulled the hair off her brush and put it *around* the trash can in clumps. She refused anything I cooked, and took a dish from me that I had just gotten out of the oven (I wasn't handing it to her) and it shattered RUINING BACON!
    She and her daughter also told our mutual friends that I was cheating (was not, have not, will not) which was projecting what was going on in her relationship with her ex onto us.
    She never sends the kids birthday cards and never tries to contact them. When she left last time I had to rush my oldest out the door so she could spend some time with her grandmother, but the woman doesn't love my kids. That's a huge thing.

    Karma struck her hard.... she became homeless, divorced, and she was battling cancer. We went down to see his dad, and I told dh he should visit his mother, I dropped him off because I thought, it could be his last chance. When I picked him up, I still got dirty looks from her.
    I contacted her telling her (years later) I wanted dh to feel comfortable talking with her and I sent her pictures of the kids. She responded once and just doesn't care. I can say I tried.
    So she doesn't visit at all. Dh contacts her, she doesn't care to contact him unless she wants something. She is really good at using people, especially dh.

    So avoidance? That's how I deal with my MIL.
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    #3
    We live about 30 minutes from the in-laws and since we had the first grandchild, if we don't see them about once a week my MIL starts complaining. In reality I think it averages out to seeing them every other week outside of the holidays (his family is really into family). How often I want to see them varies because MIL can be intense and prone to attempting to guilt people (overall she is still pretty awesome). Even liking her and being happy to have her in our lives, we have a number of boundaries in place. Personally, I think boundaries are good and healthy.

    Completely personal opinion, but:
    Make sure that you and DH are on the same page.
    If you don't want them to stay with you, and particularly if you are going to be working during their visit, it is completely reasonable to ask them to get a hotel room for the duration of their stay.
    When doing things on a work night, I've definitely told MIL that food needs to be something I can buy or that we will need to meet at a restaurant.
    Restaurants can make sticking to a diet more challenging, handily a number of them have nutrition information available online so you can pre-plan. Tell her to choose a different location or come up with another option for the next night. You cooking is just not going to work this week.
    I get a lot of mileage out of phrases like "That's not going to work for us" and "That won't be possible." Refusing to engage or give her arguments to counter seems to help prevent/shorten her attempts to guilt.
    Could you take an evening away from them in the middle of their trip? Give yourself time to regroup and your DH time alone with them?
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    #4
    There's a reason we live so far away from both our families. It's much better for our sanity. I see the in-laws probably 4 times a year, give or take. We do not have space at our house for visitors to stay, so thankfully they always stay in a hotel. However, every single time, MIL must get my detailed opinions on what hotels are "okay", but ends up taking whatever advice her travel agent tells her and ignores me. Which really is okay (I do not have a detailed opinion on every single hotel/motel/BnB in the 5 counties she could conceivably stay in), but I don't know why we have to have this conversation every single time.

    She's a nice enough person if you don't have to talk with her too much. She's not mean purposefully, I truly believe she truly believes that all the below is how the world works, but completely tactless & not great at social cues. Hubs and I have a mutual agreement for when enough is enough and we take our leave and/or kick them out, which goes for my family too. FIL is fun to hang out with, but he has no real control over MIL.

    On previous visits:
    -argued with me ad nauseum over whether or not Hubs and I will have kids, and that our feelings will change, and that it's quite obviously our duty to have kids, that's the only reason you marry someone, Sassy
    -moved all of our furniture out by 2", just enough to screw with you when you walk through the living room in the dark
    -attempted to rearrange our kitchen cabinets, then pouted when I stopped her and told me I stored things in stupid places (well you can blame the upper cabinets on your son, since I can't reach them)
    -wanted to get into a long, detailed discussion about my experiences with foster homes (I have never been in a foster home, so that was unexpected)
    -argued with me over whether my biological mother was invited to our wedding/future nonexistent offspring's events (hard no, and I don't need to explain it 392 times, thanks, just because she birthed me doesn't make her a Mom or give her any rights to my adult life)
    -told me that just being a Navy Wife doesn't mean anything, she was a Navy Officer and Officer Wife which is better (ooooooooooooooooooooookay then)
    -ad nauseum political rants at anyone in the room, during which she'd switch sides constantly
    -heated confused discussions on why in the world I would plan on a career when obviously right now I should be planning on being a SAHM because she did and that's what you do, Sassy
    -blurted thoughts on why climate change isn't legitimate, because some random news station says so
    -heated discussions on how awful I am by not belonging to a church (this was great fun when we had moved 3 times in a year) and forcing Hubs to go with me
    -the saga of her antics when Hubs was at OCS, which I've posted about here before, and which has continued into her telling me/Hubs multiple times how awful he just must feel at failing
    -forgot that everyone else likes to eat more than once a day at dinner, especially maybe the toddler, which is why he's cranky as all hell (okay, also Sassy, who gets hangry by noon with no snacks)
    -decided she was going to arrive back to hang out with us at 7AM on a Saturday and then had to get dragged back to the hotel by FIL at nearly 10PM


    Clearly communicated and mutually enforced boundaries are what keeps Hubs and I sane. We've also decided that we are not willing to do any more family vacations with either set of parents, since the moms are both (for different reasons) awful to travel with. I have many a story of MIL's Antics in Europe and how we almost left her there. We tolerate visits (to them, and them to us) on a limited, scheduled basis throughout the year.
    I live dangerously - I drink whiskey while knitting.
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    #5
    This time I won't have in-laws both DB's parents are deceased. I have my mom, my step dad (who my mom divorced a couple years ago but I still think of him like a dad), now her new live in boyfriend, and my actual biological dad who I met as an adult so DB has had to meet/deal with many different people. Although I think all are pretty easy to deal with - my bio dad is stage 4 colon cancer so he's often heavily medicated and can be very loopy and inappropriate and confused. That's the hardest thing to deal with.

    My ex-MIL...I have some strong views on her influence/relationship with her children but I keep it to myself. Since my ex-husband abandoned my kids I have tried to set up Skypes/FaceTime for my kids with her but she constantly bails but then posts stuff on FB about how much she LOVES her grandkids (and steals pics from my FB page to do so) in my opinion if you LOVE them so much make the time to call when you say you will or send them cards for their bday or Christmas...it's not that hard to still be in their lives...but she's always been a handful from making out with my ex-husbands friends in a hot tub to encouraging her alcoholic son to drink then playing the "woe is me my son is going to die from alcoholism" card to trying to guilt me into taking back my ex-husband...she's a fruit loop. My attitude was always grin and bare it, no matter how annoying it was for me the visit would end eventually and things would go back to normal and my kids always had fun with her so it was worth the stress/mess (her dogs also always pooped in the house & had to stay with us too ewwww)...kind of.
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    #6
    Obviously DB and I aren't married so they aren't my in-laws but we have been together for a long time... and I love them. I only get to see them a few times a year over the holidays and for special events. DB is the oldest of eight siblings and has like 17 nieces and nephews and spending time with them is awesome, maybe a little overwhelming at big get-together events though. They are all so friendly and sweet. His mom is always welcoming. I think DB feels the same about my family, and he spends a decent amount of time with them. He road tripped around Iceland for 10 days with my parents, sisters, and their SOs last month. I think he got along better with them than I did Both of my parents tend to not give advice unless they are asked, which probably helps with boundaries.
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    #7
    I'm not married but we live close to DBs family, so see them regularly. We see his mom and his sister every weekend for breakfast. I love them both and am happy they include me in their lives. His dad passed away a few years ago and I appreciate that he is very close to his mom and sister. His mom can be a bit intense sometimes, but I know she means well and is just a stressed person, so it's usually NBD.

    My parents are further away but we see them a few times a year. My parents are still together so everything is pretty chill and boring (I mean that in the most loving way).
  8. "...now do Classical Gas"
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    #8
    I don’t have parents in law any more, as Husband’s parents are both dead. A mother in law was never on the table, as Husband’s mother died when he was a little boy and his father never formally remarried. Even if he had done, when he was alive Husband’s relationship with his father was quite strained and complicated, so I only met him once or twice. FIL was not invited to our wedding.

    The uncle who actually raised my husband is as close as I came to having parents in law.

    He does have a much younger half sister though. She’s sixteen this year, which means that like most teenagers she swings wildly between being a genuinely lovely human being and a monumental pain in the ass. At her worst, there’s a lot of slamming doors.

    SIL lives in the same place we do at the moment, so I see her fairly regularly - she comes for dinner about once every week or two, regardless of whether Husband is home or not, and I’ll sometimes ask for her help wrangling the kids (because I have more kids than hands...why didn’t I think of this before?). It’s quite interesting to watch Husband and her together; she was born after he’d already left home and joined the army, and as I said his relationship with his father was not a good one, so he didn’t know she existed for a long time. They met for the first time when she was already well on her way to being quite a complicated person, you know? He loves her very much (my daughter’s middle name was chosen for her) but he doesn’t want to overstep or get in the way of what she has with her other family...



    My family is a lot more present in our lives overall, and a lot bigger. I’m the oldest of five kids (or second of six, depending on how you count), both my parents are alive...

    It took my family a while to trust Husband. My parents don’t like soldiers. That’s not even the right word, really - they’re frightened of soldiers. For people of a certain age, who come from where my parents do and have the memories my parents have, soldiers are people who can and will hurt you. For my mother particularly...the sound of heavy soldier’s boots coming up behind her is directly from a nightmare.

    They love him now, but this is based on them seeing him as a good man rather than a good soldier. Think about it for a while, and you’ll see why these concepts are not always the same thing.

    Husband goes to a great deal of trouble to make seeing the good man easier for them. Even if (God forbid) my marriage imploded, I think he would keep doing it out of kindness for them.
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    #9
    I think you're the only person I've ever not envied at all when it comes to in laws lol. My ex MIL was a total psycho as you may remember, and my ex husband basically refused to put his foot down in any effective way. Like he would avoid his mom, pick fights with her, never actually make up with her so everything would be super tense and awkward, but never just cut her off because it made his grandma sad. So it was just constant misery and guilt tripping whenever we were back in town. She was so bad that when we broke up I seriously considered trying to only date orphans. Unfortunately, that's probably a small pool at my age and that's not a filter on okcupid.

    I feel like your husband has to be the one to tell them they can't come, or set ground rules for them. Like why do they need to stay with you? Tell them to get a hotel so they can go sight seeing or do something during the day instead of snooping around your house. I mean, is he alright with that? If you can't get him on your side here that's an issue I'd take to a counselor tbh, you can't be expected to deal with this every holiday/every time they feel like dropping in for the next couple decades until whenever they die. Or are you on reddit? Check out /r/justnomil, I feel like someone there has likely dealt with a similar situation.

    I feel like I really lucked out meeting my boyfriend. His parents live across the country both from me AND where we'll be moving. They're involved and supportive and super nice, but they let him live his life and don't interfere at all. They're actually so great that they visited Boise to see if they'd wanna move there too and I was totally cool with it and it didn't even make me nervous!
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    #10
    I have a good relationship with my MIL now but it did not start off that way.

    DH and I got engaged right after HS. After he came back from boot camp, me and MILs relationship changed because she thought I was spending too much time with her son. There was a lot of drama, and MIL likes to gossip, so this created riffs between me and DHs brothers as well.

    After we first got married, I asked DH if they could stay at a hotel when they visit. Well that upset her enough that they didn't end up visiting us until 5 years later. In the 10 years we've been gone, they have visited twice. Our families live a few minutes apart from each other so when we go home his family wants him to spend all his time with them. It used to be an issue in the beginning with MIL feeling like she didn't get enough time, or feeling jealous that we stay at my parents house and not hers.

    In 10 years I think we're at a decent place. We're not close but things are peaceful.




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