Social Question

Nimis's avatar

What kind of relationship do you have with your in-laws?

Asked by Nimis (13056 points ) October 13th, 2011

Do you work at maintaining/improving this relationship?
Does it just come naturally?

What are some issues that have come up?
How did you deal with them?
How did your partner deal with them?

Does your relationship with them affect their relationship with your children?

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17 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

When we were first engaged it was a little odd. They kept trying to tell my husband not to get married. They say it was because they thought he was not ready, but it felt a little personal for sure. His parents didn’t speak English, they lived outside of the country, and did not know me all that well. My Spanish was ok, not great, so I could talk to them, but not really communicate about myself so they could really know me. Plus, I think they always thought my husband would move back home after school, and I was like the nail in the coffin that he was staying in America I guess. A couple years into my marriage they moved to America.

Between my first and second house my husband and I lived with his parents for three months. I had had a back injury at work about 5 months before. While living with them his mom did absolutely everything for me. My laundry, cooking, cleaning, everything. I think my back finally healed because I did not lift a finger for months at home, and limited at work. She really started to like me when I lived with her. I wrote her a heart felt card when we had moved out, thanking her for everything she did for me. Things were great for many years.

My SIL and I had been ok, not buddy buddy close friends, but ok, from the start, although she too try to stop my husband from marrying. She moved out of the country shortly after we got married. When she moved back five years later she stayed with us a few weeks, I helped her get a job, amd much more. We seemed to get along pretty well, and then one bad conversation caused a rift between us for years. She had started the conversation, really bad, and I should have diffused it, but I got defensive. For about 5 years I desperately wanted to repair things, I tried to clear the air three separate times, and apologize, but she was just short of the silent treatment with me, and at one point I decided, fuck her. She has permanently ruined our relationship for me, because she can hold onto a grudge so long. I am not going to deal or care about people who can be so passive aggressive. I still care about her, but she will never be very close to me again. Not unless something really drastic changed. Oh, I forgot to mention when I finally decided I was going to stop giving a crap about our relationship, all of a sudden she was more friendly with me. Funny how that happens.

Now, when things fell apart between my SIL and me, her mom took her side, and things were pretty bad with my MIL also, even though her husband seemed to agree with me on a lot of the details of the situation. But, it isn’t like we discussed it much or anything. At first I was very upset and tried to defend myself, and then I just stopped. I actually have the feeling his mom came around and realized they were being awful to me, because the whole time I did everything I always do, where when they have a silent treatment going on their family one of the parties usually almost completely withdraws, doesn’t even give the children in the family birthday cards or christmas presents, it’s ridiculous. Well, not everything I always do, I did start to not care about planning so much with them. They got a little less of us, and since the burden had been always on us to take the lead, another annoying thing, they had less contact. I think she might have finally said to her daughter something that started to heal things. No way to know for sure.

My BIL, we have always gotten along ok. We don’t see him very often. When he first came out, he came out to me first. I am sure it is because he knew I knew. I wish I had asked him directly if he was gay when I first met him, so he would not have had to have suffered through coming out to me.

My husband’s extended family is awesome. On the rare occassion we see them, they are funny, and fun.

filmfann's avatar

Very positive. They are both dead.
I only met my wife’s mom three or four times, for lunch. I never met her dad, though I talked to him on the phone twice. They both thought well of me when they passed.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I have been either married legally or in a LTR that was considered common law 3 different times…

I couldn’t stand any of them. They were all very different people, and It wasn’t because I wasn’t open to them, as usual, me being different, they were not open to me.

marinelife's avatar

I am lucky. I have a difficult mother-in-law, but a totally supportive husband. He has always taken my side and run interference when necessary.

Once, shortly after we had just moved to another state, and I was working and my husband was not yet, my in-laws announced they were coming to visit and stay for 10 days (note that I said announced not asked). I could not take time off of work since I was new and we were in throes of shipping a product.

My mother-in-law was appalled that my husband cooked and did the dishes event though I was working a 55-hour week.

When they went home, they wrote a letter offering my husband money to divorce me and move home with them, slamming me, and blaming me for the situation. My husband wrote them a magnificent letter telling them to butt out of his life, and that they had to treat me with respect. We did not speak to them for more than a year.

They apologized.

It got better through the years. But I was awfully forgiving.

JLeslie's avatar

Like @marinelife my husband and I have always been a united front regarding the trials with his family, if anything he is more offended than I am. There have been a few occassions where he has seen his parents side on something, but it is more like him exolaining how they think about something, sometimes it is cultural, never about any of the really big issues. Luckily, most of the time, we all get along for the most part, and they have never been interferring once we were married.

john65pennington's avatar

Both in-laws are now deceased. But, before my mother-in-law died. we were really good friends. See had red hair and always reminded me of Samantha on Bewitched.

Each visit to my home, I would tell her “your broom is double parked. It will have to be moved”. I also called her an old battleax. Of course, all of it was in fun and she loved it.

I miss her and the blackberry jam German cake she made each year at Christmas. One slice of this cake and you would fail a breathalyzer test. It was loaded with Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

I think I miss her cake….....more.

thorninmud's avatar

I’d describe our relationship as benevolently bewildered. My family of origin just couldn’t be any more different from my wife’s family, in virtually all respects (my father died before meeting my wife’s parents, ending forever the anxious speculation about what would happen if they were ever forced into proximity). Insofar as I’m a product of my upbringing, the manner of person I am is about as difficult for them to understand as would be a New Guinea tribesman.

Over the nearly 30 years of our marriage, we’ve never managed better than a mutual commitment to just accept this heterogeneity and muddle on the best we can. They and I have nothing but good will toward each other. As far as they were concerned, from the moment I was written into their family, it was a given that I had their full support. And I’ll do anything I can to return their generosity. But we’re pretty much resigned to the fact that we’ll never be entirely at ease in each other’s company and will continue to regard each other bemusedly across some strange gulf.

geeky_mama's avatar

I’m one of the fortunate few(?) with in-laws who actually do nothing but lavish love on us, and our kids (their grandkids) and who bite their tongue and never offer unwanted advice.
We see them a fair bit (I intentionally bought a home near their town) and attend the same church.
Occasionally when I see my MIL she will give me a big hug and then hold me back at about an arms length look at me and say: “You know, I just love you.”
They are generous, like to spend time with the grandkids (some, but not too much – it’s a nice balance…especially because our kids are getting older and entering those years where they really want to be with their friends and are very busy with extracurricular activities)..I am truly fortunate.

Honestly, my poor husband has to be more patient with my parents…but we know they mean well nonetheless. I suppose it’s a very good thing we live close to HIS parents but my family is in another state and we visit infrequently.

MissAusten's avatar

I mainly get along with my in-laws. When my husband and I were first married, we lived with his parents for a while until we bought our first house and we all still liked each other when we moved out.

My mother in law can be a bit overbearing and sometimes she drives us crazy because she tends to be very confident about her opinion even when she’s wrong. She’s very happy to help out with babysitting or whatever else we need, so whenever she annoys me I just remind myself that good outweighs the bad. We get along great as long as we don’t spend too much time together all at once. Otherwise, I (actually, my husband too) get tired of her sensitive feelings and rather bossy ways. She seems to be getting more extreme as she gets older but we don’t know what to do about it.

My father in law is generally an easy-going guy, but he’s also an alcoholic. Mostly he’s the “asleep by early evening” drinker, but once in a while he’ll just drink too much and get argumentative and rude. He’s also always willing to help and very generous with his time. He’s a very smart guy too, but he does love to annoy people with his political comments. I usually ignore him when he gets that way or my husband and I will look at each other and know it’s time to take the kids home.

My sister in law and I usually get along fine. We have a good amount in common and she takes her role as aunt and godmother very seriously. She is great about going out of her way to spend time with our kids and is extremely thoughtful. I do think there’s something going on with her lately though. She is very quick to anger and seems sensitive to a lot of things. She has become very bossy with our kids and will jump on them for the smallest thing, giving them long lectures or pointing out every small breach of manners. We’ve tried suggesting that she ease up and leave the parenting to us, but she doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself. Quite a while ago she said some things to me about how she worried she wouldn’t be able to have kids (they’ve been trying for a while), and I wonder if something related to that is causing her moods to be more dramatic. I try to just keep people happy, but sometimes I end up snapping at her because she rides the kids so hard (and I am not the kind of parent to let them get away with things or make excuses for bad behavior). My daughter already doesn’t want to be around her and I worry the boys will start to feel that way too.

Anyway, for all their annoyances (and I’m sure I irritate them too from time to time), I think I did pretty well with the in-laws. My husband has a large extended family and we always have fun when we all get together. Much better than my family, with my insane and horrifying mother and my dad who does nothing but sit and smoke and barely say two words to anyone.

janbb's avatar

They are now both dead but it had been very good. And the fact that they lived 4,000 miles away had nothing to do with that. :-)

Pandora's avatar

The loooooong distance kind.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My in-law parents are pretty neat. I get along well with my fiancee’s mother and her husband to the point we enjoy to have dinners together, go sailing together and share holidays. They have been an important source of stability and love for my stepkids who have had an awful time with their parents’ divorce handling.

As for problems, my fiancee’s father might be a little skitchy. He is a bit like me and well, there can be only one.~

YARNLADY's avatar

I always had a good relationship with my in-laws. I am especially close to my husband’s mother. I have also been on mostly good terms with most of my Daughters-In-Law with two exceptions. One is now divorced from my oldest son, and the other is a source of a struggle on my part to remain civil.

tedibear's avatar

Round 1: My FIL was a nice guy and I was sad to see him deteriorate with Parkinson’s disease. I didn’t get to know him very well before the illness really kicked in. I think he was the only reason my ex didn’t lose his mind completely as a kid. My MIL was an alcoholic and an emotional wreck. Luckily, she liked me and never did anything to hassle me. She even insisted that I have her wedding ring set when we married. (It was beautiful.) After the divorce I gave it back, though she kept telling me to keep it in case I needed the money. When she was drinking though, I hated to be around her. She would get maudlin and start rambling. I did not miss her in the least after the break-up.

Round 2: I got very, very, very lucky. I have a wonderful MIL and SIL who I think of as my friends more than my in-laws. I’m more likely to have email contact with his mom than he is! And if there’s a phone call, I’m on the phone much longer most of the time. They’re really terrific people. They even come to my choir concerts, and the choir I’m in isn’t that good! It’s nice to have in-laws that I like to spend time with.

Bellatrix's avatar

We get on very well. They are dead.

I used to have a good relationship with my ex parents-in-law, until I heard from three, totally unconnected sources, that they were spreading malicious gossip about me. Their son and I were going through a messy divorce but I still made sure I phoned them so they could speak to their grandchildren and I sent them photos. I was so hurt I broke off contact and said they could rely on their son for contact. That was the last time they spoke to our children. I feel I should change that. I strongly believe grandparents are important and despite them doing the wrong thing, I have heard my mother-in-law still writes to my stepmother and my stepmother forwards copies of photos of my children. I am strongly considering sending her a letter and including some photos with updates on her grandchildren. Still considering this one though.

fizzbanger's avatar

My in-laws are very sweet. I get jealous sometimes that my husband’s relatives all live in our state, but visiting my family requires plane tickets.

I am shy, and feel bad about sometimes not responding to their text messages cause they want to hang out all the time.

dabbler's avatar

None of the older generation left on either side of our marriage.
But I lucked out that the siblings-in-law and extended family are good folks and for the most part I wouldn’t mind living next door to any of them.

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