MIL is an OW! AIBU to tell her i disapprove?

(54 Posts)
DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 01:16:18

Backstory. Mil and I have always got on well. Mil is early 60s.Fil passed away 3 years ago (cancer).
Shortly after Fil died, mil recieved a letter fron an old male school friend. It stated that he had always been in love with her and had heard about fils passing.
Dh and I immediately decided to check him out as best we could as it all seemed a little fishy.We couldn't however find anything untoward.
This week mil has told dh that they are going on a date (no problem with that,she still deserves to live her life).She explained how much he says he likes her and that wait for it he and his wife are like brother and sister and she doesn't understand him hmm.
Mil has expressed very strong opinions about affairs in relation to others, but seems to think this is ok?
Dh says she wants to talk with me about it when we meet for lunch next week.
Wibu to point out her general views on this subject ( and mine) or should I just smile and shut up?!

CSIJanner Sun 12-Jan-14 01:19:15

Personally, if she asks your own opinion, you should give it. If she doesn't, smile nicely and order a big piece of cake to keep you occupied as she talks about old/new love.

What does your DH think?

RunRabbit Sun 12-Jan-14 01:22:53

If she wants to talk to you about it then I'd tell her.

soundevenfruity Sun 12-Jan-14 01:27:57

What is it exactly you are concerned about? Whatever you are planning to do, if you want to do it with glee I would stop there and then.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 01:29:21

Dh seems to be a little in denial. He told me the facts as they are, however when I showed a little disapproval gave catsbum face he said "ffs it's not like they're shagging" and likened it to when her and her neighbour of 30 years had coffee together.
Neighbour and his wife are both friendly with mil (were also with fil).

Tryharder Sun 12-Jan-14 01:32:19

I would keep any disapproving remarks to myself. Not my business and not my position to judge.

MillyRules Sun 12-Jan-14 01:32:50

I think that I would be telling her my opinion on the subject of seeing a married man and the bullshit story he is spinning her, but nicely.

CSIJanner Sun 12-Jan-14 01:34:30

The "misunderstood" married brother man has written to a recently bereaved woman expressing condolences and love, and they're going on a "date" this week?

Yep - your DH is in denial.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 01:35:26

Not with glee at all. She deserves to be happy. I do have strong views about this however. My uncle had an affair and I remember the effect on my Aunt.
Also I reall feel that it's not going to end well, she has had a lot of heartache over the last few years. I genuinely worry she is making a bad judgement call as she has told me and dh how lonely she is.
We try to include her in as much as possible but she still goes home alone.

Worried3 Sun 12-Jan-14 01:36:00

I agree with RunRabbit- if she wants to speak to you about it, then you give her your honest opinion. I wouldn't necessarily offer it to her unasked- she is your MIL, not your DM, sister or best friend after all (and even then, I'd be somewhat reticent to pass comment unasked- though I might if I felt they were being strung along/acting out of character).

I'd emphasis that you totally understand that she is entitled to have relationships, and that you aren't against her moving on with her life and being happy now FIL has sadly died. I'd point out that you are concerned she'll get hurt, as affairs don't usually end happily. I'd also say this is concern is compounded by the fact that it is so out of character as she normally thinks affairs aren't right.

Does the man in questions wife know about your MIL? I suppose it is possible they have an open relationship. I wonder how your MIL would feel about that?

Mimishimi Sun 12-Jan-14 01:36:54

If I were your MiL I'd insist on meeting the wife and making sure she knows this his assessment of their relationship and get her view on his extramarital relations . If it is as he says he should have no problem with them meeting up.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 01:48:48

Mimi you are right , that is what she should do. Not sure she would like it suggested to her though.

The whole thing is out of character for her. She is vunerable and lonely though.I suppose that can cloud judgement.
Fil died of a disease that resulted in a large payout though. Sorry don't mean to drip feed had meant to put that in original post.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 01:49:01

Mimi you are right , that is what she should do. Not sure she would like it suggested to her though.

The whole thing is out of character for her. She is vunerable and lonely though.I suppose that can cloud judgement.
Fil died of a disease that resulted in a large payout though. Sorry don't mean to drip feed had meant to put that in original post.

TheBigJessie Sun 12-Jan-14 02:21:11

Oh, your poor MIL. I'd love to believe that old school friend has an open marriage, but I think he's actually a deceitful arsewipe looking to take advantage of a grieving woman. You are not unreasonable to be worried.

I fear she will end up dreadfully hurt by this, when if it becomes clear to her that he is a deceitful arsewipe. I'm sorry, but beyond "be there for her" I have no advice. I don't even know the best way that would constitute being there for her. She is an adult, and she has the right to make her own decisions. But if this was someone in my family, my heart would be in my mouth as I stood at the sidelines.

cupofcake Sun 12-Jan-14 07:43:05

You don't need to talk of disapproval, just tell you are worried and that she needs to be careful as she hasn't seen this man for a very long time etc...
You could also suggest that in time, as long as nothing happens, she could end up making friends with the couple, and meeting someone else thru them.
She has said she wants your advice so she's obviously not sure about it.

ToniViolin Sun 12-Jan-14 07:49:38

Yes, I agree with cupofcake, talk to her in terms of concern rather than disapproval.

And you might want to tell your DH that people in their 60s do shag.

DrNick Sun 12-Jan-14 07:52:05

None if your business

JapaneseMargaret Sun 12-Jan-14 07:52:59

She explained how much he says he likes her and that wait for it he and his wife are like brother and sister and she doesn't understand him

Well, this is the clincher, surely. The comment that proves he does not have platonic intentions.

This is the line that always, but always, gets trotted out by people who cheat.

And besides, he says he's 'always been in love with her'. Your DH is probably right, they may well not be shagging, but if yer man has anything to do with it, then that clearly IS the plan. It's just a matter of time.

I fear there is pretty much nothing you can do, and this will sadly, end in tears.

JapaneseMargaret Sun 12-Jan-14 07:54:49

It is the OP's business, DrNick - the MIL wants to talk to the OP about it...?

Inertia Sun 12-Jan-14 08:02:00

I would be be totally honest with her. I would point out that this man could well be after her money. If it were really a case of desperate burning passion for your MIL , marital fidelity wouldn't have have stopped him before because he is willing to cheat on his own own wife so wouldn't have been at all bothered about his true love's husband. Wonder how long he'd stay interested if MiL suggested the money was was inaccessible in trust funds ?

I would also make it clear to her how much of a cheater's cliche the ' like brother and sister ' line is , and she can check this out by speaking directly to the wife.

My first priority would be to protect my MIL while she is so vulnerable, and try to include her in family life and help her develop her owm social life again , so that she isn't left feeling alone.

Yama Sun 12-Jan-14 08:02:05

Agree with Cupofcake and ToniViolin. So, yes YABU to tell her you disapprove.

BohemianGirl Sun 12-Jan-14 08:03:14

Just my take on it.

Old BF. In love with her. Pops up when FIL dies. How convenient is that timing?

Wife of BF may or may not exist. MIL however is vulnerable. BF is at worst predatory.

Does MIL have money? Because I bet she wont in 6 months......

Is it known that your mil got a big pay out? I mean, is it a small community, where maybe several locals had similar? Going by what you have said I think I cam hazard a guess as to the type of cancer you are talking about. Are you worried this man is sniffing about for money? I would be.

You don't know 100% what your mil wants to talk about. I would be honest with her. Not scathing, gentle and mild. Say you want to believe that he has an open marriage, but she needs to 100% sure he is telling the truth. She is a grown up, she can make her own decisions, but as you said, grief and loneliness can cloud someone's judgement.

It's lovely you have a relationship where she wants to speak openly with you.

God luck.

DrNick Sun 12-Jan-14 08:07:18

Ha sorry. Misread.

JapaneseMargaret Sun 12-Jan-14 08:25:59

The open marriage business is neither here nor there. He wouldn't need to peddle the brother/sister/she-doesn't-understand-me line if he and his wife have an open marriage.

MsAspreyDiamonds Sun 12-Jan-14 10:01:57

Warn her & your dh that it is most likely to be a inheritance scam. It adds up, a recently widowed woman & a bloke from 30 yrs ago professing his undying love. Plus he has a sibling wife & expects your mil to accept this. The possibility that he may be interested in anything that your mil has inherited from your fil should not be ignored. Tell your dh is inheritance is at risk, that might wake him up!

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 10:08:19

I really think she is going to get hurt. Dh spoke to her on the phone this morning and said she was like a schoolgirl. He still believes its just 2 friends having a bite to eat and tells me its no different to going out with her female friends.( He also pointed out that I have a close male friend from work and I regularly have lunch with him, usually at the on-site cafe where we work. I knew his ex wife well and also socialise with his new partner. DH knows him well.I dont really think this is the same as no undying love has been declared, only a shared unusual hobby) We are meeting up with Mil today for Sunday pub lunch but nothing will be said as her Mil is coming too.
She still does a lot for her.
Think I will gauge the situation and see what she says during the week

fedup21 Sun 12-Jan-14 10:08:51

Yes, agree with the others. DH needs to wake up a bit!

Why does your mil want to speak to you about it?

tilliebob Sun 12-Jan-14 10:12:39

Nothing much to add, just that I love the name. Still haven't been in the Duchess of Kirkcaldy despite being in the toon at least three times a week wink

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 12-Jan-14 10:15:14

I think you need to broach it quite neutrally and softly if you can, you can't let her get defensive over it - I've seen too many people too proud to go back to their friends/family or put an end to a situation because they can't face the 'told you so's.

If you can plant the seeds for her to mull over in private without losing face she's much more likely to keep an open dialogue with you should it all go tits up.

The 'she doesn't understand me' line is so old and cliché, but it works because in the moment both parties want to believe that their justified and it lets them ignore the reality of what their doing. As a stand alone line it's whiny and immature.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 10:16:18

I don't know really.I just got half a message from dh.
Dh is an only child so she has no daughters of her own and her dsis is ill at the moment. I think she just wants a friendly ear and maybe a blessing?
Perhaps she wants to win me round so I can work on Dh.
I wont know for sure until I see her

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 10:19:49

tilliebob They stole my name! I had it first grin
Pop in if you can it's v nice.
I still miss it as Nicols though. shows age

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 12-Jan-14 10:20:26

Actually, having someone there to prevent the subject being talked about openly might work in your favour. If you can steer conversations to subjects that mirror elements of the situation it's an opportunity to get her thinking.

It all needs to be subtle obviously, but if you can manage it, it's not a bad way to get her thinking realistically.

I suppose after being married for so long, her feelings now are very much like young love. The need to be with someone is stronger than the need to take care of self preservation, and that's what gets taken advantage of.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 10:25:54

Yes sparklyknickers that may work. I will need to get dh on board as may end up with bruised shins under the table.

diddl Sun 12-Jan-14 10:26:13

"Shortly after Fil died, mil recieved a letter fron an old male school friend. It stated that he had always been in love with her and had heard about fils passing."

That is just bleurgh/stalky/innappropriate & for that alone she shouldn't be going.

tilliebob Sun 12-Jan-14 10:32:17

<off topic again>

Yeah, I had my hen night in Nicols/ Mammia Mia's pizzeria!

(Decades ago.....wink)

ilovesooty Sun 12-Jan-14 10:35:37

I'm a bit worried by your need to check him out when she got the letter. She's early 60s, hardly old. Does she run everything by you? Doesn't she make any of her own life decisions?

CalamitouslyWrong Sun 12-Jan-14 10:38:53

I feel for your MIL. The old school friend sounds dubious and somewhat predatory. A 'misunderstood' married man writing to recently bereaved widow to express feelings for her sounds a lot like targeting a woman while she's vulnerable. I can't see how she could come out of it not hurt.

I think, if it were my MIL, my DH would be livid because the old friend sounds like an arse.

Mollydoggerson Sun 12-Jan-14 10:52:28

What's in it for her?

Does she fancy him or is it an ego boost? What is she going to get out of it?

Can she meet him in public or have any type of public relationship with him?

I think the advice should be, she should tread carefully. If he means what he says why doesn't he separate from his sister-wife and be free to do as he wishes?

As for the inheritance, you don't want to insult your MIL, presumably she is clever enough not to share any money with random men. I would be cautious about telling her the school friend is just after her for her money, there doesn't seem to be any basis for that extrapolation from the info you have given. Secondly she is not looking for financial advice, so I would be careful on that front. Her money is her money and for her to decide what to do with it. (you don't want to appear grabby).

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 12-Jan-14 10:53:53

Ilovesooty, I was thinking it was more to do with looking out for someone grieving and lonely, who's spent a long time nursing their partner. It takes it's toll emotionally doesn't it and can skew peoples perspective.

When it's someone you love, you probably do poke your nose in to try and prevent them getting hurt, I couldn't sit back and do nothing if I had an option not to for the sake of not annoying them.

Not so much to do with age.

Cocolepew Sun 12-Jan-14 10:55:41

If the man has said he has always loved her and they are going in a date why does DH insist it is just friends meeting for coffee? It's obvious it is more than that.
If yourr fil died from something like absestos poisoning, then people will know there would have been compensation paid out.

I would tell her how I feel if asked. It sounds like he's out to fleece her sad

ilovesooty Sun 12-Jan-14 10:57:51

Sparkly point taken. To be fair it sounds as though she has little confidence in her own decision making and I think that's rather sad. She's not going to live her own life in any meaningful sense without developing that.

ilovesooty Sun 12-Jan-14 10:59:53

Perhaps the OP s husband isn't as naturally suspicious as some of the posters here.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sun 12-Jan-14 11:06:38

I would be very wary about this. It is natural that your MIL would start dating again (3 years is not that recent a bereavement so no concern for me in that respect). However, dating a married man is wrong by most people's standards and by my your MIL's previous standards. I would have no qualms saying this. Also the fact your MIL has some money from FIL's payout would make me very suspicious that financial motives lay at the root of this. That would be worst that extra marital romantic ones as far as I'm concerned. I'd definitely let her know your views and concerns. She may not like it but she may thank you later if he tries to get his hand on her or her money.

ilovesooty Sun 12-Jan-14 11:09:08

I'd be interested in who defined it as a date in the first place.

TBH would be of benefit to get the OP's DH to read this thread?

Not something I normally suggest, but really my alarms bells are all ringing over this one.

- Letter from friend declaring love soon after FIL died
- A married man who's "misunderstood" by his wife what a cliché
- A large payout as compensation after FIL dies of cancer. Compensation for these cancers are common knowledge these days.

To me this just adds up to a bloke who's intentions are not very nice. I would be very surprised if this bloke's wife agrees with his description of their marriage.

And I think the DH needs to know that yes, people in their 60s do indeed shag, courtesy of my mum's chats that contain TMI.

MistressDeeCee Sun 12-Jan-14 11:12:41

To be honest I think Id smile and shut up. Whilst I know having an affair isnt appropriate - its none of your business OP. I suppose Id say different if this was 2 mates talking but as its your MIL, your husband's mother, I just feel its overstepping a boundary somehow. The dynamics are somehow wrong in terms of whats to be discussed..she's a grown lady, not of your generation and not of your own mother. Perhaps Im being unfair..Im not sure...but either way it just doesnt seem right. Also a bit of TMI really, seems strange your MIL would confide in you as opposed to friends of her own peer group. Im guessing she doesnt have many, or is lonely? Its a shame if thats the case but still, Id be wary of coming across disapproving or judgmental...

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 12-Jan-14 11:13:56

Whose husband/partner ever is grin?

I think I would be concerned like the OP, that being taken for a ride will knock whatever confidence she has left and ruin things for her for a long time after.

Personal observation and pure amateur speculation, but I have noticed people on their own after a long marriage or relationship seem surprised that not everyone behaves/thinks the way their last partner did. It's almost like they're so tuned in to the person they felt they knew inside out that anyone they grow to like will fit into that mould - they don't realise they're squashing them in there and ignoring the blatant individual in front of them.

Subtly is the way to go, I'm a big fan of letting people come to their own conclusions, but if you can get them to think about things from a different angle then at least you can reassure yourself. A lot of people will go away and mull things over in private.

Until there is some sort of 100% factual evidence, you can't go bowling in to 'protect' her. Either you'll be way off the mark, or she won't accept your interpretation.

MistressDeeCee Sun 12-Jan-14 11:14:37

Change of mind - I think I would tell her - IF asked - but I would be very diplomatic. & my reason for advising would be her wellbeing. I wouldnt want my MIL to be (possibly) taken advantage of Id want to let her know she could do far better for herself than get entangled with another woman's husband.

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 12-Jan-14 11:16:18

OP, how would the suggestion of meeting up with MiL and her friend for dinner go down?

diddl Sun 12-Jan-14 11:18:54

Sorry, I hadn't noticed the three years.

So he got in touch soon aftered she was widowed, they've been in touch for three yrs(?) & she is about to meet him.

I'd have to tell her what I thought if asked tbh.

KurriKurri Sun 12-Jan-14 11:22:50

If his wife doesn't understand him and they are like brother and sister why hasn't he left her? Decent people end one relationship before they start another one.
He is using every cheater cliche in the book. And he wants to have his cake and eat it.

By conspiring with him in this deceit your MIL is going to be a cause of hurt to someone. Either his wife - who probably has no idea and will be devastated if she finds out, or your mIL herself when it turns out he wantsto try out two women and then choose which one he wants - it may not be her. This man can;t commit to his wife and he can;t commit to your MIL - he wants both, so he is using both women for his own selfish desires.

Even if he does leave his wife for your MIL - this is a man who is a liar and a cheat, and that wont change, it means that at his core he has no moral compass,so he will hurt you MIL at some point sooner or later.

I would let my feelings be known about this particular liason, whilst encouraging your MIL to go on other dates with available men on a friendly basis so that she can find the happiness and companionship she is looking for.

needtonamechangejustforthis Sun 12-Jan-14 11:27:02

I am a regular who has name changed just for this thread.

I found out my father was having an affair recently. Similar age to your mil. He told his ow (who is single) that his marriage was over and that he was separated etc. The usual crap. I can not begin to tell you the heartache and hurt that has been caused to my mother, my brother, the grandchildren, my fathers brother and his family. The affair has far reaching consequences. The trust is gone, the man who you loved and thought was your hero your whole life is not who you thought they were. The complete anger and rage I feel at how my mother has been treated is overwhelming. I can't even cry - I am beyond that. My mother is broken. I am hoping that time is a healer.

I blame my father 100% but then ow found out that he was still married and yet she still persisted to call him and meet him and convince him that leaving a marriage of 43 years was the right thing to do. She should have walked away and never looked back.

I can not leave this thread without saying my piece. Any woman who has a relationship with a man who she knows is married is imo a terrible person who is morally bankrupt. My father is too. I know that - he knows that. But if I could speak to ow I would be so angry with her and would just plead with her to realise that she is involved in the destruction of not just one relationship - that of my father and mother, but also that of father and daughter and father and son. I can never look at my father in the same way again. I am trying to forgive - we all are yet ow seems oblivious to what she has been involved in.

YOur mil needs to WALK AWAY NOW. This is no basis for a meaningful relationship.

DuchessofKirkcaldy Sun 12-Jan-14 11:40:45

The first letter arrived around 4-5 months after fil died. Other letters have appeared sporadically since then. The first we knew they had been in contact was just before xmas. One of her kitchen appliances had broken down, we offered to take her to get a new one. She replied " thanks, but x is taking me".
She has no need to run any decision by me ( or anyone else) but I do love her. I met dh very young so have known her most of my life. I dont think it would be natural not to worry.
namechange sorry to hear about your family. My views on extramarital affairs mirror yours.

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