Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Inlaws don't like me

(150 Posts)
BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 09:30:52

Been with DH for 8 years. Went through a financial crisis recently which put us under a lot of strain.

Then during an argument, DH blurts out that his family criticise me and he often has to defend me. Things they said about me include: that I've 'got it easy' and should get a job (I'm a SAHM to 2 toddlers who is actually struggling with the role).

I (naively) thought his family really liked me! Until now I had no reason to think otherwise. So I emailed them (politely) and asked them to clarify if it was true. They confirmed that they did say those things.

Now I'm worried. DH is a mommy's boy and loves his family fiercly. He hates me at the moment. I'm afraid they could push him into hating me more, and could crumble our marriage. There is, after all, only so much 'defending' DH can do (I'm upset that he even has to).

So basically my question to you guys is: If your inlaws don't like you, does it spell curtains for the marriage?

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 10-Apr-13 12:16:48

Is this emailing going on while you're talking to us? I just wouldn't answer them tbh.

VodkaJelly Wed 10-Apr-13 12:18:51

I feel for you BlackMaryJanes. There is nothing worse than thinking somebody likes you and you like them in return to find out that actually they dont like you and havent for years. The deceit is hard to take.

Your husband started this by bringing them into the argument. You did nothing wrong by emailing the in laws to ask if it was true what he said. You did this for your own peace of mind, otherwise you would have always wondered if your DH was telling you the truth, shit stirring or just being plain nasty.

Your DH is a spineless tool and you might be better off without him.

At least my DP's family made it clear from the start that they didnt like me. 13 years later and we have a strained relationship. DD was born in January (our second child) and to be fair his mum is trying to build bridges with me but for me it is too late. I am civil to her but I would never go out of my way to go round their house (they only live round the corner) or go shopping with her.

After one falling out (conducted via DP when I had actually done nothing wrong) it took me over 5 years to go round their house again. If I had my way I would never seem the again but I keep the pretence going to make DP happy.

If I was in your position I would shop DH the door.

VodkaJelly Wed 10-Apr-13 12:19:02

Show, not shop!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Apr-13 12:21:40

Rule 1 is never moan to your family about your partner, they have the memories of elephants and will always hold that against DP!

This all sounds one-sided. So his family have opinions of you, <shrug>. Fwiw I think now it's out in the open you will be on a different footing but it doesn't spell curtains. 200 miles away is better than next door. Don't get side-tracked, this is between you and H.

Remind him it cut both ways. He might grumble about you to his folks, you could say the same to your family. We all like to sound off occasionally and of course family ties are strong but at some point you both have to agree not to blurt out every detail of what's going on at times of strife. Ask him if he will for now work on what's wrong with you and not bring others into it.

Btw don't sit passively and let him reel off your 'faults' without challenging them or pointing out where he could pick up his game.

Regarding mending fences, any couple has problems, unless it's something like adultery or DV it's not the issues, it's how you deal with them that counts.

whattodoo Wed 10-Apr-13 12:31:41

I think you should email back and say something along the lines of

"We'll have to agree to disagree on the WOTH vs SAHM debate. I hope us disagreeing on this one issue isn't going to mean us falling out. Let's chat at the weekend to clear the air. How are you and FIL? How s the weather where you are?"

Honestly, one difference of opinion doesn't mean they don't like you.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Apr-13 12:40:06

It's easy to pontificate at a distance, if in-laws lived locally they might be around to help with child-care, they might suddenly find themselves too busy or occupied to help. I'm sure if you said fine, let's book the DCs into a nice nursery like 1 000s of other people, and from now on you have salaried work too and DH has to step up his share of housework and maybe cope solo at weekends or in the evenings, they'd soon have an opinion on that too, as he'd no doubt voice his opinion on that as well.

alarkaspree Wed 10-Apr-13 12:47:43

I like all my in-laws very much. Doesn't mean I have never said anything critical of them though. I think you are extrapolating too much to believe that they don't like you. Have you never made a negative comment to your husband about one of your family members? Or his?

Your husband deliberately told you about it during and argument in order to hurt your feelings, which is more of an issue for your marriage I think.

OhBuggerandArse Wed 10-Apr-13 12:55:50

But why aren't you helping earn some money if times are tough? If your choice to be an SAHM is jeopardising your family's security and your relationship with your husband, it's possible that they have a point.

That's not suggesting that looking after kids isn't hard work, it's just asking you to think about whether there mightn't be more urgent priorities at this moment in your family's life.

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 13:08:08

I was told at therapy to always - always call DH's bluff. If I threaten to do something and he goads me by saying, "go on then!" I must go through with it, especially as I gave him a choice: "Tell me the exact details of what they said or I will have to contact them". He refused to give any more details of what was said so I told him I'll have to contact his family. He said, "go on then!" Now he's pissed off. WTF?

(Sorry I should of mentioned the fact that I gave him a choice. Sorry for the drip-feeding).

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 13:10:51

I'm sure if you said fine, let's book the DCs into a nice nursery like 1 000s of other people, and from now on you have salaried work too and DH has to step up his share of housework and maybe cope solo at weekends or in the evenings, they'd soon have an opinion on that too, as he'd no doubt voice his opinion on that as well.

This is something that concerns me. I could give up being a SAHM but DH will still argue "my work is harder than yours" and still think I have it 'easy' compared to him. His family will, of course, back him up.

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 13:15:01

I like all my in-laws very much. Doesn't mean I have never said anything critical of them though. I think you are extrapolating too much to believe that they don't like you. Have you never made a negative comment to your husband about one of your family members? Or his?

I believe if you have issues with someone - confront them personally (and politely).

If your choice to be an SAHM is jeopardising your family's security and your relationship with your husband, it's possible that they have a point.

My wage wouldn't cover childcare. There is, of course, the option of working in a supermarket at night. So I work all day looking after the kids, then work all evening. Whereas DH clocks off at 8pm when the kids go to bed - sensible? fair?

Its all very well them all, including your dh saying that being a sahm isn't work etc. But this is a subject your dh needs to discuss with you, not involve others.
Have they not thought childcare might be too expensive that working clearly isn't an option either?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Apr-13 13:30:24

Ultimately if your H really wants to call it a day then he will and if he does that he'll have his parents' backing. Not because you are a bad wife or inadequate mum or lazy woman but because he is their son.

If he stays and complains and whinges to his parents then guess what,
he'll have his parents' backing. Not because you are a bad wife or inadequate mum or lazy woman but because he is their son.

I bet no matter how wonderful you are, the fact that their 'boy' is 200 miles away is a sore point. Now you have feet of clay they can jump in and say what they think.

Once you get into competitive tiredness and resentment of one person -
"I work all day and get home shattered and the house is messy and my dinner's not on the table waiting and the bairns aren't clean and ready for bed, she has no idea of the pressure I'm under"
versus
"I slave all day with the children and he does SFA when he gets in, just pleases himself, all he does eat, sleep, shower, shit and I have to do everything round the house 24/7 without pay and with never a day off"

- then it becomes a vicious cycle. Now he has gone one step further and you feel he is being disloyal and the genie's out of the bottle so you know how his parents react to his moaning.

It's not nice to feel judged. But what does that change, really?

I know you feel ganged up on but keep to the original thorny issue, he and you are at odds.

It is not just he who gets to decide how things stand or how they will be. Do you have rl support, btw?

TryDrawing Wed 10-Apr-13 13:33:00

It's not about comparing your wage to the cost of childcare. It's about what will give you and your family the happiest, most fulfilling life. If you could cover half the cost, then it's up to your dh to cover the other half. Or, as we do, cover it out of the general household budget.

DistanceCall Wed 10-Apr-13 13:33:04

You're married to your husband. Not to your inlaws. If they bitch about you, that's their problem. If your husband places his own family before you and your children, then that IS your problem indeed.

He shouldn't bring his family into your rows. And if he does, refuse to engage - tell him that you're talking about your marriage, not his family, and you don't care about what his family think. If he persists, then you might have to give him an ultimatum.

And for God's sake, STOP emailing your inlaws.

pictish Wed 10-Apr-13 13:37:35

You are holding WAY too much stock by what they said. You are coming across as a person who cannot cope with slight and inconsequential critisism.
They are entitled to their opinion without cofessing all to you, you know.

You are also putting over that you have never said anything detrimental about someone without taking it up with that person too - and I just don't believe that for a minute.

We all have conversations that certain people are not supposed to hear.

The problem here is that your dh is a shit stirrer. And it worked.

Pictish is right, your dh has stirred up shit alrite!

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 13:49:32

Ultimately if your H really wants to call it a day then he will and if he does that he'll have his parents' backing. Not because you are a bad wife or inadequate mum or lazy woman but because he is their son.

Yes, but does it work in reverse? If DH says he wants to stay with me, will he have their backing? I'm not so sure. After all, he says he has to 'defend me' when he's talking to them.

Now you have feet of clay

Sorry, what does that mean?

Now he has gone one step further and you feel he is being disloyal and the genie's out of the bottle so you know how his parents react to his moaning.

Yes. That's exactly what's happened. I don't moan to my family btw, because I have no family.

It's not about comparing your wage to the cost of childcare. It's about what will give you and your family the happiest, most fulfilling life. If you could cover half the cost, then it's up to your dh to cover the other half. Or, as we do, cover it out of the general household budget.

But the financial pressure is what has triggered all this drama in the first place. If I went to work, we would be under even more financial pressure.

If your husband places his own family before you and your children, then that IS your problem indeed.

Yes it is sad And i think this is the case. Rather than being concerned that I found out his family dislike me (after 8 years of believing they loved me), DH is more concerned (read: pissed off) that I contacted them. He is now ignoring me.

And for God's sake, STOP emailing your inlaws.

I know I really ought to blush But MIL is talking about how they all have work ethics, and tbh I need to defend myself. I am incredibly hard working.

*You are coming across as a person who cannot cope with slight and inconsequential critisism.
They are entitled to their opinion without cofessing all to you, you know. *

They're all nicey-nicey to my face though. It feels so fake now, and I feel like a fool. Also I admit, I'm scared. Because I know how much power they hold in this scenario. DH is a mummy's boy. It was DH's sister who lent us a few hundred quid to get us out of the financial disaster.

The problem here is that your dh is a shit stirrer. And it worked.

I don't think he actually wanted me to contact them though. He's genuinely pissed off that I did. So his shit-stirring appears to have had negative consequences. So how has 'it worked'?

MooncupGoddess Wed 10-Apr-13 13:53:39

You mentioned therapy - are you in therapy together, or alone?

And what are the other problems in your relationship with your DH - as honestly that sounds like the main issue here.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Apr-13 13:54:59

'feet of clay' - sorry, I meant, they may have only heard lovely things about you to start with, as is natural, but now over time they get to hear the nitty gritty. So if he whinges they can wade in too. But they answered your question truthfully and it doesn't mean they hate your guts or think he could do better.

Is it two-faced of them now when they have always been nice to your face, well if anything they might be more careful in future about saying anything to H if he blabs it back to you. it doesn't mean they don't care about the pair of you making a go of it with two DCs.

He should have kept his mouth shut but it comes naturally to grumble to let off steam and what's done is done.

pictish Wed 10-Apr-13 14:01:42

Well I'm nice to people I like, without thinking they are perfect too!

It's not two faced especially - you've just found out via your stupid husband, that they have an opinion about your choices that do not tally in with yours, that's all!! So what?

They are allowed to have a work ethic mentality. Now that you have confronted them with this nonsense, they are forced into telling you their pov whixh you are now taking as further proof of their secret dislike of you! They wouldn't have bothered saying anything otherwise, as it's not their call!
They are not your parents, and they are not obliged to think the sun shines out of your bum ok?

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 14:01:52

MooncupGoddess - together. Although it's currently on a break because our therapist retired and they're finding a replacement. It's sex therapy though (whollllllle different issue), but of course, the therapist discusses disputes as they arise.

they may have only heard lovely things about you to start with, as is natural, but now over time they get to hear the nitty gritty.

It's took 8 years though?

it doesn't mean they hate your guts or think he could do better.

Hmmmm. I've never thought about whether they 'think he could do better'. That would be very interesting to know. I personally don't think he could. Sorry that sounds big-headed but I am not bad looking, 13 years younger than him, highly educated, good sense of humour and lots of friends. So tbh I don't think they're helping DH in the slightest, unless they really do think he could do better and want to nudge him in that direction?

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 14:05:43

It's not two faced especially - you've just found out via your stupid husband, that they have an opinion about your choices that do not tally in with yours, that's all!! So what?

So here's the situation:

DH thinks being a SAHM is lazy and I 'have it easy'.
DH's family thinks being a SAHM is lazy and I 'have it easy'.

Where did this SAHM-resentment originate, DH or his family? I will never know, but one feeds the other and it is wrecking our marriage.

They are allowed to have a work ethic mentality.

I'm not sure how that is incompatible with being a SAHM? I can't understand how they think the two are mutually exclusive. I'm afraid I've just sent this in an email to MIL blush

They are not your parents, and they are not obliged to think the sun shines out of your bum ok?

Should parents think that of their children? Very unhealthy.

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Apr-13 14:10:52

So you're damned if you don't work and damned if you do, aren't you?

You'll never really know what his family think of you because they pretend to really like you when inside they are thinking nasty thoughts about you.

I understand that every parent will want to stand up for their own child but in their position I would want the marriage to last and so would say, "Don't be silly, I think you're doing a really good job and you must be exhausted." I would then give my son an absolute bollocking.

He has a fierce loyalty to and love for his family. Can you say he feels the same way about you? If not, I'd go for a temporary separation. You may not need therapy if you're on your own. Life is immeasurably easier without someone like that around. Try it - you'll feel like you're on holiday.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Apr-13 14:12:11

pictish said this in her first post:
Hmmmm.....I think your in laws do probably like you. They may not think you are perfect and said those things as it is their opinion...but that does not mean they dislike you.

Hold that thought.

May I ask, what was that argument you alluded to in your opening paragraph? or if you'd rather not say, how did H leap from that to "my family criticise you so ner, ner"?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now