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Would you stick up for your partner against your partner's parent?

(47 Posts)
BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 15:54:23

There was a horrible incident tonight.

Background. I live with DW, her mother, her sister, the sister's partner and two nephews. My sister-in-law has a third child on the way.

DW, who is a few years older, can't have children, and this is a constant source of embarrassment to my mother-in-law, who can't understand why anyone has married DW. She even went as far as to apologise to my parents, when they visited, that they wouldn't be getting any grandchildren.

Anyway. tonight she said to DW in front of the whole family at the dinner table that "Badlad will probably leave you in a few years. The urge for kids will kick in and he will look for someone who CAN have them".

There was an extremely awkward silence, and I excused myself.

Tomorrow it will just be the two of us in the house - MiL and I - and I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I have never wanted children, but she just cannot understand that.

She and I have a great relationship, and for the most part living with the in-laws has been far better than I expected when I moved here.

But I feel I have to say something. I really want her to stop bringing this up, and just let the matter of kids drop, unless she means SiL and her partner.

Or should I just let DW and her mother talk between the two of them?

All thoughts welcome.

TVTonight Sun 08-Sep-13 15:58:53

That would have got a stunned icy "That is a horrible thing for a parent to say"

But yes I have- any time a character flaw is mentioned I retort "Apple doesn't fall farm from the tree, eh?" Or something like that.

It is essential to turn the criticism 180 on the speaker.

I think I would, my MIL can be very critical of DH and I will stick up for him. It is hard if you are stuck under their roof though. If your MIL seems to like you then possibly you have more chance of getting through to her than your DW?

AnyFucker Sun 08-Sep-13 16:02:00

You should have said something at the time, mate.

But, never too late I guess.

What;s the story with all of you living in the same house ? Are you financially dependent on this horrible woman ?

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:02:48

DW says this is brought up from time to time, but this is the first time in ages that I have heard my mother-in-law say that sort of thing.

But on the other hand, I'm not sure if I would want DW speaking on my behalf if my mother was criticising me.

TVtonight, does you partner appreciate your speaking up for them in front of their mother?

Ragwort Sun 08-Sep-13 16:06:52

Wow, that is a shocking thing to have said. I can understand how you feel about speaking up on your wife's behalf however her comment seemed to be directly about you. You would be quite within your rights to say something like 'MIL, I know we usually have a great relationship and I love living here with you all - blah blah blah - but I found the comment that you made about me leaving DW very upsetting, I love DW, we were very aware that we would not be having a family when we married and it upsets me greatly that you think I would leave DW'

Why on earth didn't you say something? You realise she wasn't just insulting your wife but you as well, to imply you would do such a thing.

Yes I think it's important to stick up for your partner. My mother is a lunatic and I have never loved my DH as much as when he told her she was being cruel to me.

Obviously you need to do it in a way that doesn't make things worse but I think you could have in this situation.

StraightJacket Sun 08-Sep-13 16:07:44

But the thing is, the MIL brought you into it last night and was basically rubbishing you as a husband by saying you will eventually leave your wife. I would of had to of said something and then excused myself.

In that situation, it isn't just defending your wife, but yourself too.

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:07:48

There is also cultural difference to consider - them Japanese, me UK.

We aren't stuck here, by any means, but the situation is by no means unheard of in Japan, and DW owns 1/3 of the house. We aren't financially dependant, but it does make financial sense, as we aren't wanting to buy here but have to live here for a few years.

Mulling over saying something along the lines that if I had wanted children, I wouldn't have married DW, as she made it clear that she couldn't have them before we got serious.

I would always stick up for my partner, in fact we've both found that our mums are nicer to us now we have someone on our side

TVTonight Sun 08-Sep-13 16:11:10

I don't know really, but I'll be damned if I'll stand by.

I try to keep it light hearted, and they have long since learned that I will politely but firmly disagree/have my say.

In fairness to them, they would never make a comment as vicious as that.

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:11:11

Cross posts every time.

Didn't think of it as rubbishing me, but I see what you mean.

I have offered to have the snip, after it was suggested on here in fact, but DW says there is no need to.

As for why I didn't say something, had it just been me, DW and MiL then I probably would have, but it was excruciating in front of SiL, her partner and two young nephews. Hence if I'm going to say something I'll do it when it's more private tomorrow.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyFucker Sun 08-Sep-13 16:14:55

It was suggested that you undergo a (admittedly, minor) surgical procedure ? Why ? Even such operations have their fair share of risk. I don't understand that one.

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:18:14

Because this problem has reared its head before - in particular when MiL sees me playing with my nephews, and has made DW feel rather sad. When I mentioned it on here in the past, someone suggesting getting the snip and removing any doubt from DW's mind. I discussed the option with DW.

perfectstorm Sun 08-Sep-13 16:21:17

What does your wife want? In your shoes I'd be talking to her about whether your stepping in and saying you don't think such comments are fair, kind, accurate or welcome would be appreciated. It's great that you are so concerned, but I think she's the person who should be giving you advice on how she'd take your intervention. I mean, it's her fertility, family and marriage.

Personally I would love it if DH said something if I were in her position, but people are different and so are cultures.

AnyFucker Sun 08-Sep-13 16:21:38

Outrageous ! What did your DW say to that ? I hope she told you that undergoing an un necessary surgical procedure was crazy ! I also hope your bitch of a MIL didn't get wind of that particular "solution" too.

Bloody hell, this place really is a window on the world sometimes confused

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:28:51

MiL would dismiss that out of hand - anything which lessens the possibility of having kids, especially for childless couples, is crazy and not to be entertained. DW said there was no need to, as she can't have children there is no point in having it.

perfectstorm, DW has shrugged and said something along the lines of how her mother can't help feeling the way she does, and that she just can't understand a marriage where someone doesn't want kids. She said I "don't have to" talk to her mother, and if I were going to work tomorrow, and therefore returning late and not meeting her mother until at least the day after tomorrow, I would likely let it lie. But it will be the two of us here until I leave for work in the evening, and it will seem funny just to carry on as if nothing untoward had been said the previous evening.

perfectstorm Sun 08-Sep-13 16:35:33

IMO "don't have to" means she doesn't want you to feel obligated, and nor does she want to guilt trip you, but actually she'd really like it.

I'd say something.

Would your wife want kids if she could have them? If so, her mother's words are quite horrifically cruel. I have a few friends and one relative with fertility problems and it's agonising for them. This would be less salt in the wound than a knife.

Morgause Sun 08-Sep-13 16:38:52

Why are you both living with that awful woman? Get a home of your own ASAP.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 08-Sep-13 16:39:28

BadLad, I think you have to say something, along the lines of Ragwort's suggestion. This comment wasn't just a swipe at your DW, it was at you too.

Trying to be positive here, maybe MiL is actually terrified that you will indeed leave DW, leaving her with a divorced daughter who can't have children and therefore (in her mind) no one will want to marry her and she will be alone into old age... And by behaving as she is, she is sort of inuring herself to it and if it doesn't actually happen it will be a pleasant surprise..?

I don't know, nowt so queer as folk...

As an aside, does your DW actually want children but can't have them, whereas you don't want them? (There are of course lots of other ways of having children than the usual)

BadLad Sun 08-Sep-13 16:41:51

If she were a native speaker of English, that's the interpretation I would have too, perfectstorm, but she speaks very good, if not perfect English. That said, I am leaning towards a calm explanation that I am very happy just to build a life with DW.

I don't know if she would have wanted kids - apparently she has know for a long time - long before I met her - that she couldn't have them and has therefore always been a career woman. She is very good with our nephews, however.

I have actually got divorced over differing opinions about children. If she had wanted them and been able to have them, we probably wouldn't have got married, as I have always been sure than I don't want them.

Appreciate your posts, and hope I'm not seeming flippant of yours or anyone's insights.

LynetteScavo Sun 08-Sep-13 16:44:54

I would definitely say something!

I would be very hurt if my in laws suggested I would eventually leave my DH.

LynetteScavo Sun 08-Sep-13 16:46:30

I have actually got divorced over differing opinions about children.

Does your MIL know this?

thecatfromjapan Sun 08-Sep-13 16:47:53

I get the impression that you are following your wife's lead in not saying anything?

I think relationships like this are a minefield. My dh has a tricky relationship with his parents, and I know that if I waded in and defended him (on the various occasions where something grim has occurred), he wouldn't thank me.

That said, there have been times when I've been directly involved in the awful stuff - and it's just impossible: you can't stay quiet because it's involving you, but it's also about them and they often don't want you to say anything.

You could try to aim for a very neutral conversation with your mil explaining your position, again. Pitch it as a Beginner's Guide to Another Worldview Concerning the Having of Children. I doubt you'll get anywhere, but it might make you feel less complicit.

Good luck.

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