To think its weird to refer to your partners parents as in-laws?

(77 Posts)
montgomerymadison Wed 26-Feb-14 00:42:09

My colleague has been with a guy for one year. They are not engaged, nor do they live together yet she refers to his parents as the in-laws. His parents also live a few hours away so it's not as if she sees them frequently.

I'd understand in more long term relationships where you've lived together and had children and for whatever reason not been married to call partners parents in laws then.

Aibu to think the first however is rather odd?

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 26-Feb-14 00:45:54

We always called them the out-laws at that stage smile

YABU. It's easier to say in-laws then DPs parents.

2cats2many Wed 26-Feb-14 00:49:01

YABU. Each to their own.

Bogeyface Wed 26-Feb-14 00:53:21


She probably uses it as a short cut rather than saying "My boyfriends parents".

This is one of those things I find it hard to understand people getting worked up about!

BumPotato Wed 26-Feb-14 01:07:57

I used outlaws until they became my in-laws, too.

BumPotato Wed 26-Feb-14 01:09:25

I cringe when people use stepdad and step mum or step kids when technically they're not.

Bubblegoose Wed 26-Feb-14 01:10:17


BOFtastic Wed 26-Feb-14 01:13:06

I don't really see the problem. If they are in a serious relationship, it's just shorthand really.

What does make me a bit hmm is when people on here talk about their 'DP', when it transpires that they have been dating for about six weeks.

FrancesGlass Wed 26-Feb-14 01:13:21

YABU. Most likely it's conversational shorthand.

FrancesGlass Wed 26-Feb-14 01:14:48

Xpost BOF

And yes, 'partner' is an odd term to use in a fledgling relationship.

RandomInternetStranger Wed 26-Feb-14 01:16:32

I don't think you are BU.

I was seeing someone for 10 months who referred to my parents as his in laws and I really did not like it at all. But then he was doing a lot which I would only expect after a long time together but at that stage was taking liberties and it was all very weird and he was far too into us as if we were married. Very odd. I wouldn't refer to my partner's parents as in laws unless we were married and they were my in laws!

Topaz25 Wed 26-Feb-14 01:28:06

I cringe when people use stepdad and step mum or step kids when technically they're not.

So by your reasoning I can't refer to my mum's longterm live in partner, who has been a part of my life for over a decade, as my stepdad just because they're not married? He helped raise me and my brother but because they didn't have a ceremony he's not a stepparent? What should I call him?

Blueuggboots Wed 26-Feb-14 02:03:25

Well clearly Topaz, "that bloke that lives with my mum and helped raise me" is much more accurate??!winkwink

BumPotato Wed 26-Feb-14 02:12:45

Topaz call him what you like, and I can cringe if I like.

Topaz call him what you like, and I can cringe if I like.

But why are you cringing?

MrsMook Wed 26-Feb-14 03:49:36

YABU. It's a short hand with fairly clear meaning.

Most of my family are described by the "wrong" title as I was brought by grandparents with step family involved. The titles I use are true from the heart and the technical titles are too remote and confused to describe the meaning of my relationships.

crispsanddips Wed 26-Feb-14 04:00:59


People call people what they are comfortable with and how they see that person.

My mum has been with her partner for 15 years. They have lived together for 12 of them. They are not married. "Stepdad" sums up our relationship perfectly. Why would you cringe at me using one word to describe him, rather than saying "my mums boyfriend who ive lived with since I was nine, so is pretty much a parent"

pricklyPea Wed 26-Feb-14 04:07:00

I call mine 'that woman'"and we're married. .but that's a whole other story. .

Yabu. Who cares. Unless it's been a week of casual dating..then it's weird.

TamerB Wed 26-Feb-14 06:30:46

It is just simpler- nothing more than that.

WottaTheOdds Wed 26-Feb-14 06:48:30

Mr Odds came into my life when my children were in their twenties and we married about a year later (no time to hang around at our age grin) and it seems odds to refer to him as their stepfather so we tend to call him them father/dc in law.

They have a brilliant relationship btw, but he wasn't involved in their upbringing so in law seems more suitable somehow. But probably wrong, so cringe away all those who can be arsed to do so!

perplexedpirate Wed 26-Feb-14 06:54:57

Agree with Topaz. My mum has been with her partner for 17 years. He is more of a parent to me than my own father, or her ex husband, or indeed my own mum is.
He walked me down the aisle and my son calls him grandad.
The only reason I don't call him my step-dad is if I call him Dad.
I can't begin to imagine how cringeworthy that is! hmm

TheRaniOfYawn Wed 26-Feb-14 07:14:13

My mum's partner raised my sister and me from when we were two and seven years old and was a parent to us in every way except the biological one. They weren't married. They couldn't get married. What should I call her if not my stepmother?

FreyaFridays Wed 26-Feb-14 07:20:56

I've been with my partner for six years, and Mum now refers to him as her son-in-law. It doesn't bother him, and when she sends him stuff she always signs it off as "from the mother-in-law". We think it's quite funny and endearing, though I think it's a bit of a shove towards a wedding from her end!

Winterwardrobetime Wed 26-Feb-14 07:25:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ithaka Wed 26-Feb-14 07:27:25

I have the opposite problem with step parents! Both my parent's remarried, but I hate using the term 'step mum' or 'step dad' as i don't feel they really raised me (or gave that much of a shit about me when I was younger).

I felt I had a mum & dad, so I had a full set of parents. But then I had a step mum & dad too - but they aren't my parents.

If you say 'my mum/dad's husband/wife' it makes you sound rude and resentful, even though that is the accurate description of their role in my life. Modern terminology is tricky.

BrownSauceSandwich Wed 26-Feb-14 07:31:22

In-law is shorthand. Stepdad etc are a state of mind. I "technically" had a step-mother, and i never considered her as such. Relationships are much more fluid and flexible than they once were: So many of us have parents we never speak to, or cousins more like siblings, or an in-law who feels like a best friend... Call them what makes sense to you.

ginbin54 Wed 26-Feb-14 07:33:03


BeaHive Wed 26-Feb-14 07:39:44

Partner doesn't sound right until you, erm, are actually in a partnership; though boyfriend might sound a bit coy.


OddBoots Wed 26-Feb-14 07:40:20

I'm married but unless I am referring to dh's family en masse I don't call them my in-laws, I'd say 'dh's dad and step-mum' or 'dh's oldest brother' or 'dh's youngest sister and her family'.

insancerre Wed 26-Feb-14 07:42:50

What would you call them then, OP?

crochetedblanket Wed 26-Feb-14 08:24:41

YABU. Marriage is nowhere near as important to my generation as it has been in the past. Terms like this will extend to non married people more and more.

shewhowines Wed 26-Feb-14 08:32:54

It's strange to me if people over 25 call their partner "boyfriend". Thats for the young 'uns.

Dukketeater Wed 26-Feb-14 08:46:31

Yeh I think its weird that early on...

I started calling the PITA that is my MIL, the MIL after we had a baby (but weren't married) because it was easier for strangers to understand but mostly I just call her 'his mum' because I don't like associating her to me!

And yes, amongst friends I call her the outlaw...

HavantGuard Wed 26-Feb-14 08:48:43

No, not particularly. I only ever refer to mine as ILs on here and I'm married! In RL they're 'DH's parents'.

HavantGuard Wed 26-Feb-14 08:49:32

Yes to boyfriend being cringey when you're over 25!

SeaSickSal Wed 26-Feb-14 08:52:38

YABU, and does it really make a jot of difference to your life? Why are you thinking about this? People have too much time on their hands...

BringBackBod Wed 26-Feb-14 08:52:48

It doesn't really matter that much does it?

Dukketeater Wed 26-Feb-14 09:05:08

BF def cringey over 25!

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:07:50

it is just easier for people really it is usually said in a light hearted sort of way

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:08:22

so when does a boyfriend become a partner or does he progress to man friend confused

SaucyJack Wed 26-Feb-14 09:13:19

I refer to my dad's partner as that-slapped-arse-faced-slag-he-insists-on-dragging-everywhere.

Perhaps this makes me sound resentful.

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:15:27

wee bit long winded that saucy grin

EverythingCounts Wed 26-Feb-14 09:16:01

It's the length and seriousness of the relationship, not marital status, that counts for me. People who've been together for years and live together, no problem with saying ILs. But a couple who've only been together a year and don't live together and where she doesn't know the parents well - I would say they're getting ahead of themselves. So on that basis YANBU.

shewhowines Wed 26-Feb-14 09:17:16

I don't think I could ever call anyone "man friend"

Obviously when you are 24 3/4 you can call him boyfriend, but on your birthday this must change to partner grin

LyndaCartersBigPants Wed 26-Feb-14 09:19:20

I still refer to the ex's family as the ILs - is that allowed or do I have to call them my ex's sister and BIL?

I also refer to my BF as DP, even though we don't live together, because I'm too old to have a 'boyfriend'. We spend at least half our week together, go on holiday together with and without our DCs (who btw, refer to each other as step-sisters!) and would no doubt be living together if it weren't for the logistics of children's schools.

Just because we don't want to uproot our DCs from their friends and family it doesn't mean we're not committed to each other, so if I want to call him DP and his family the ILs I will.

So ner.

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:20:44

hehe @ shewowine I remember my neighbour would talk about her boyfriend coming to the house to meet her dds SHE WAS 85 grin

Spaghettio Wed 26-Feb-14 09:22:37

I called my DP my partner from the off. I'm in my thirties - boyfriend makes it sound like I'm 12! I'm not going to use manfriend or anything else. He was my partner - romantically, socially and everything else.

He's now my fiancé!

OTheHugeManatee Wed 26-Feb-14 09:23:38

Not weird as such, just inaccurate as 'in law' they have no relationship to te person referring to them as in-laws.

mrsravelstein Wed 26-Feb-14 09:23:58

i call my MIL my MIL even though she's not, because it's a lot easier than saying "my husband's late father's longterm gf with whom he never lived and to whom he was not married".

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:24:09

i was joking about manfriend obviously, I just think if you are in a relationship for a shortwhile then partner is serious thing to say,

oldwomaninashoe Wed 26-Feb-14 09:24:34

Ds4's girlfriend of 4 years now lives with us and I must admit the first time I heard her refer to me as the MIL I was a bit shock I prefer to be known by my own name and not catagorised.

georgesdino Wed 26-Feb-14 09:26:50

We were engaged 2 months aftee meeting so always call them the inlaws, and my parents sign all the cards from mum and dad 2

RedFocus Wed 26-Feb-14 09:28:22

It's a bit of a mouthful saying 'my boyfriends parents' every time isn't it?In-laws or out-laws is perfectly fine it's not a crime grin

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:29:00

before we were married we lived together and i always said to people this is X my mil I know that is different from the OP post but it is just easier I think

Lottapianos Wed 26-Feb-14 09:29:15

DP and I have been together 9 years, I think I started referring to the in laws after maybe 3-4 years together. Its just shorthand for 'my partner's mum/dad' although sometimes I do say that instead.

I guess people use 'partner' even for v short term relationships because referring to an adult as a 'boyfriend/girlfriend' makes then cringe a bit

mrsjay Wed 26-Feb-14 09:30:54

I suppose Lottie if people feel boyfriend is a bit teenagery then of course they should say what they are comfy with , although I have seen teenagers on facebook (dds friends) call their boyfriends PARTNERS that is weird

Lottapianos Wed 26-Feb-14 09:31:58

Yes I agree that does seem a bit excessive!

shewhowines Wed 26-Feb-14 09:33:34

We need to invent some new words for the Oxford English Dictionary

New partner = ?
New partners parents = ?

CuntyBunty Wed 26-Feb-14 09:40:28

If people want the word "partner" to sound all long term, conventional and serious, and to have their relationship observed with the gravitas they think it deserves, why not just get married ? Don't get me wrong, I don't give a shit whether you are married or not, but if you are worrying about others perceiving the word "partner" as being less than " serious", devaluing your own relationship, then maybe the age old convention of marriage is the way to go for you winkif you want to view relationships in such conventional terms of term served equaling validity, for example?

I liked calling DH "boyfriend" for 9 long years before we got hitched.

notso Wed 26-Feb-14 09:53:58

I hate partner it sound like your running a business not in a relationship.

I think I referred to PIL as PIL once I was pg with DD, I thought DH and I would get married soon after she was born, I didn't think I would have to wait 7 years hmm

CuntyBunty Wed 26-Feb-14 10:09:33

I like to mess about with my ILs, calling them "Mummy and Daddy surname". They love it.

While we are on about naming partners/ family members, at the end of the groom's speech, DH toasted me saying, " I'd like to raise a glass to Cunty, my wife, my friend, my lover" (shock). Various friends still snigger and take the piss for that one.

When people I don't know very well refer to their 'partner', and I don't know any detail, I tend to first think of a same-sex partner and then wonder if there's a polite way to check before I put my foot in it by saying he/she and getting it wrong.

I usually refer to my MIL as 'DH's mum' because that's how I think of her. He usually referred to mine by their first names, as that's what he called them. But talking to others, 'in-laws' is a useful generic term.

And at Dad's funeral, we agreed with the minister to refer to 'sons in law and daughter in law' even though there were only two out of three actual marriages involved.

I think you really just have to let people refer to each other by whatever term they choose - a year in, if she thinks of them as 'in laws' then that's up to her (and her chap). The depth and breadth of people's relationships is a complex minefield, only they can decide where they are in it at any given time!

ebwy Wed 26-Feb-14 10:13:30

My ex-husband's parents I actually called "mill and dill" but now they're exmill and exdill.

My fiance's parents were the outlaws, but we now have no contact and I don't call them anything I'd care to repeat!

No idea what he calls my mother, tbh.

My mother's husband is not my stepdad, he's her husband but nothing to do with me

2rebecca Wed 26-Feb-14 10:46:25

Before we were married I just called them "x's parents". Why would i call them inlaws when they aren't? My exhusband's parents aren't my inlaws now, they are my ex's parents or Y's parents. Some people seem keen to pretend people are part of their family who aren't. It seems a bit insecure to me.

missmartha Wed 26-Feb-14 10:56:36

My son's girl friend always calls me by my first name and introduces me as such too.

".. this is Mellissa, Jack's mum" etc.

I understand she always calls me this at work and with her friends too.

BraveLilBear Wed 26-Feb-14 11:39:45

Oo you'd love me... me and DP are not married. My partner's dad has been with his long-term partner for 20 years. They are also not married.

After many hamfisted explanations of 'we're off to see my partner's dad's girlfriend', or 'x and y, my partner's half brother and step brother' I resorted to 'my partner's stepmum' and refer to the boys as brothers in law.

DP also has a son from a previous relationship. I often refer to him as my stepson on here. He's 'partner's son' in real life - tho since we had DS it's more complicated and 'partner's other son' sounds crass.

OP YABU. It's ok to use social shortcuts.

hellooctober01 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:54:32

I cal

Thurlow Wed 26-Feb-14 11:56:13

YABU. We're not married, never will be, but its easier to say "in-laws" because there's nothing else to say.

hellooctober01 Wed 26-Feb-14 12:03:38

Excuse me, stupid phone hmm

I think it's just a matter of personal choice and feelings.
I call DPs parents PIL on here to save time, then 'my boyfriends parents' in real life and by their first names to their faces. I always will, because I don't actually like either of them and they think I'm the devil incarnate, even through marrying DP they won't feel any more like proper family to me, and they are HIS parents, not mine. They'll just be my husbands parents instead of my boyfriends.

As for the step parent thing, I call my DMs boyfriend of 15 years, who is my DSis' father, my stepdad in reference and by his name because it's habit, he was introduced to me by his name and I didn't want the confusion of calling him dad randomly after a few years. Collectively he and DM are my 'parents' rather than mum and stepdad because they both are. Just like my half sister is my 'sister' because she isn't half of anything to me, she's most definitely all in one piece grin

Twilight23 Wed 26-Feb-14 14:03:43

Yanbu. They become in-laws once you are married.

I know several women never seems to be men who call their dp's parents, in-laws. One even refers to her ex dp's parents as her ex in-laws!

Crinkle77 Wed 26-Feb-14 15:46:59

My sister has been with her partner for 15 years and they have 2 children but have never married but it's just easier to call him my brother in law than try to explain.

MimiSunshine Wed 26-Feb-14 16:11:14

For some people its just easier to use the 'wrong' term for others its them trying to, as others have said, add gravitas to their relationship.

I'll never forget someone i know mentioning that her "in-laws" were picking her up for her "BILs" wedding. She was not married to the grooms brother, nor had she been with him all that long.

When said "BIL" and now "SIL" had their first baby she loudly and proudly exclaimed I'm an aunty. She still wasnt married to her BF and nor did she yet live with him. In fact several people assumed her sister had given birth, not her BF's brothers wife. hmm

Topaz25 Fri 28-Feb-14 15:15:54

My ex fiance used to call my mother mum! Now that was awkward! She hated it! It was quite sad because his own mother was EA so maybe he was looking for a mother figure but he was also controlling and looking to push our relationship too far too fast and insinuate himself into my family.

MajorGrinch Fri 28-Feb-14 15:37:57

I referred to my "Mum's Partners Daughters" as my step-sisters for years before they got married because

A: It was simpler and
B: To people that knew me & my actual relationship to them I'd use their names.....

whatever5 Fri 28-Feb-14 18:48:41

I agree that it's odd and I don't think I would like it someone I had been seeing for a while called my parents "in laws". I would find it a bit possessive and creepy.

happygirl87 Sat 01-Mar-14 12:01:13

I do it. Been with DP for 7 years, lived together for 4, and getting married in Dec.Although as said up thread, I often say outlaws! He has 2 older sibling and they are both married, so we are very much seen as the three kids + three children in law when we visit- not three kids, two in law and "happy-who-is-youngest-DS's-fiancée"!

I also call his daughter DSD on here which is a massive faux pas apparently.....

I felt really honoured when my DP's Dad referred to me as his DD-In-Law, he was a lovely man and it was whilst I was helping care for him in the last stages of Cancer.

I didn't live with my DP, we are in our 40's and settled in our respective, close by, homes.

We were partners, though, in every sense of the word.

The relationship that I had with his Dad, is very significant to me and one that I feel very grateful for having.

The man I called my Grandad, lived with my Nan, all if my life, that again, is a treasured relationship.

An individual has the right to define and name what the nature of the relationship is, nothing to do with anyone else, or for anyone else to question, if they don't have a vested interest and then you have to go with their wishes, anyway.

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