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To stop trying to get my ILs to like me?

(24 Posts)
SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 15:29:02

This is such a long story, but l will try to be as concise as possible.

DH and I met when we were very young (teenagers) and my ILs, or rather my SIL seemed to take an instant dislike to me. Nothing major, just lots of little things which made me aware she wasn't all that keen on me. For example, frosty smiles when I said something to her, avoiding being around every time we visited and everyone was kissing / saying hello. When greeting me was unavoidable, she would say "hi" and then immediately start talking to someone else, even if that meant shouting into another room so we never did the whole "how are you" stuff. She would ask her brother (not DH) to ask me things, like if she wanted to borrow something, so that she wouldn't have to talk to me. All small things and nothing really nasty or anything but just which made me think she didn't like me. I initially thought she might be painfully shy but soon noticed she was only that way with me. I got on OK with everyone else, but they certainly never warmed to me much, except maybe MIL who is absolutely lovely and I think incapable of disliking anyone or being disliked.

Anyway, now DH and I have been married 5 years and have a DD. SIL and I are a lot more friendly to each other, but I just sense there is still an underlying dislike. PILs see a lot of her and her 2 DCs and not as much of us. I understand it, as I can't drive, so don't go to see them on my own. When DH is here, he will take us to see them, but that is at the weekend when SIL is usually there too and I just find it uncomfortable. PILs have come to see us on their own before, but I don't think they really enjoy it or feel as at home here as they do when they go to SIL's house, (they do regular childcare for her as SIL works PT, as does MIL). They seem to like to leave our house early and don't like to stay over whereas they do stay at SIL's quite frequently. We are about the same distance from them and, because we have fewer children we have a guest room where SIL doesn't, so it's not that.

We were at my PILs a couple of weeks ago. SIL and DH's uncle was there too. PILs and DH were busy prepping dinner, so it was just the uncle, SIL, all the DCs and me. It was just exhausting. I just got short answers from SIL and the uncle would leave the room, when I came into it. This same uncle sometimes used to whisper to MIL when I was there and it was always a bit confused. We were there for what felt like forever and I just wanted to go home.

None of them has ever done anything bad to me at all, they just don't seem to like me very much.

So, wibu to just give up? I would like them to keep seeing DD or even seeing her more if they wanted, but wibu to just ask DH to take her on his own? I think they'd all have a much better time without me and I think I'd have a better time on my own.

ChicRock Mon 01-Aug-16 15:34:46

It sounds like the perfect in-law relationship to me tbh. You don't have to see them too often and its polite and a bit distant. grin

In all seriousness it doesn't sound unbearable, so it would be easy enough to just visit every other time with your DH rather than every single time.

You could always try having a chat with your MIL as you say she's ok, and ask her outright if she knows whether you've done something to upset or offend SIL as she seems to have a problem with you.

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 15:36:27

grin chic, you're right, it really isn't unbearable and in a way you're right about the distant thing - they are never interfering or overbearing in anyway, so in that regard I'm probably quite fortunate.

Amelie10 Mon 01-Aug-16 15:39:17

You are comparing yourself to your sil, but that's their daughter so obviously they would be more comfortable in her home and closer to her confused
Anyway Yanbu to want to not make an effort anymore. You can't make people like you, and it's really her issue to deal with.

Stevefromstevenage Mon 01-Aug-16 15:39:56

I have a pretty big family as has DH. Some of the ILs I like a lot, some I like less but luckily there are none I do not like at all. It is nothing personal I am just into some of them and not that into others. My DH and I can be a bit marmite too for them. You are right to stop trying, you have nothing to prove. You do not have to love your in laws or anyone else for that matter, you just need to respect and nuture the relationship they have with your DC and to a lesser extent your DH.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Mon 01-Aug-16 15:40:42

I'd keep lines of communication and contact open, for the sake of your DH and DC. Visit occasionally, let your DH and DC go without you sometimes, don't go out/ away if ILs are visiting your home. I have similar and I've given up trying to make them like me, but I try to be civil most if the time. Occassionally the mask slips when they are being really rude. E.g. They used to come to our house regularly (every week) but sometimes they would be lovely and other times they would ignore me totally, not acknowledge me at all, turn their backs if I spoke directly to them, and the following week were lovely again! No accounting for ILs in my experience, but for your DH and DCs sake, I'd try to avoid a full blown rupture.

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 15:58:33

*Thanks all! It's really reassuring that it isn't just me. They used to adore SIL's husband which was a bit hurtful at the time, but actually he's in the bad books for some unknown reason now. I guess it is just a bit hit and miss with ILs.
You are comparing yourself to your sil, but that's their daughter so obviously they would be more comfortable in her home and closer to her*


This is not just "my" house though, it's also their son's and their grandaughter's, but you're right, it is really silly to compare.

MyKingdomForBrie Mon 01-Aug-16 15:58:39

That's not really fair Amelie, why would they be more comfortable at their daughter's house than their son's?

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 16:00:18

Sorry, bold fail above!

Amelie10 Mon 01-Aug-16 16:04:52

I do think most people are closer to their daughters than their sons. Don't flame me, that's just my experience and opinion. So maybe they naturally feel more comfortable and make more of an effort with their daughter and her kids.
Anyway as I said, Yanbu to not make any more effort. For whatever reason, they haven't warmed to you and that's ok. We can't like everyone we meet, we just need to be polite and civil.

Stevefromstevenage Mon 01-Aug-16 16:05:39

why would they be more comfortable at their daughter's house than their son's?

That is a good question and way over my pay grade but it does seem to be pretty common and comes up a lot in MN.

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 16:06:03

Yes, thanks amelie, the rest of what you said I totally agree with. No flaming from this guy! smile

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 16:09:09

Oh lord did I just say "this guy" to mean "me"? Too much internet today, so sorry.

ChicRock Mon 01-Aug-16 16:09:25

My in-laws are certainly closer to my SIL than to my DH - if by 'closer' people mean they will visit hers more often, are a bit more willing to babysit, etc, but you've got to take the rough with the smooth, they'll also do things like walk in to SIL's house without knocking, give their opinion on her parenting, tell her that her house is a tip and needs a bloody good clean (in fairness it is and it does).

I prefer polite and distant.

MyKingdomForBrie Mon 01-Aug-16 16:13:03

Hmm, maybe the presence of a non-blood-related woman in the sons house could make the MIL more uncomfortable but that wouldn't explain the FIL. I still don't think it was an obvious, 'well of course they would' thing to say though. Not sure why not agreeing = flaming!

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 16:20:49

Oh I assumed amelie was preempting a flaming there rather than saying she'd had one already my.

Ellybellyboo Mon 01-Aug-16 16:37:53

My in laws don't like me either - well, MiL certainly doesn't and makes it extremely obvious.

I've given up trying, I'm never going to win so I've totally disengaged.

I used to organise flowers for Mother's Day, make sure DH phoned her regularly, sent photos of the kids, birthday cards, etc, but I've stopped now and find it quite liberating.

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Mon 01-Aug-16 17:02:59

Maybe they have a different talk level to you. My family usually get together for Sunday lunch and we spend a lot of it in comfortable silence reading the newspaper and only really chat at the table or if we have something to say. My MIL, on the other hand, finds silence uncomfortable and will fill it with inane chatter and ask questions to force others to join in.

JohnLithgowsLargeForehead Mon 01-Aug-16 17:11:31

I know she's not done anything really awful but it's still not very nice for you, having awkward atmospheres and people not being warm to you. If two people don't gel then that's fine, just be nice and friendly to each other but she seems to not like any contact with you. I wonder why she's like this..

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 17:13:22

No black that really isn't it. Or at least, we may have different talk levels, but that's not the problem. They chat a lot to one another just not to me (waaaa sad -not really, I'm over it). I am usually very chatty too but not to them anymore, I probably was at first but that was along time ago.

Atinybittiredandsad Mon 01-Aug-16 17:31:31

That sounds a bit sad op as you sound so nice.

I am close to all my dss and dds and make a huge effort to welcome all their partners. We all get on although all are different.

My one dil is very close and chatty while my other dil is much quieter but that's fine.grin

busymummy3boys1girl Mon 01-Aug-16 17:33:33

Do it back to her. Ignore her. Reply one word answers and make her feel as uncomfortable as she is making you. Stop caring and stop bothering what she thinks and it will make you feel a whole lot better. I wouldn't distance yourself from family why should you, you haven't done anything wrong! smile

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 19:32:22

Ah thanks both. I don't quite do the one word answers, but I no longer start conversations with SIL unless it is totally unavoidable, like if we're sitting right opposite each other at dinner or something. I find it quite awkward though and don't enjoy it. Think I'll do as chic suggests and just go every other visit, or less if I can get away with it. It's annoying as I know they'll think it odd if I don't come but then they really don't do anything to ease the tension, but I guess there's not much they can do really. Oh well.

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Mon 01-Aug-16 19:56:50

Oh sorry john just read that. I don't really know why she might dislike me. I think we are very different people or at least we were very different people when I first met DH. I don't know if she thought I was an inappropriate choice for her brother. We were definitely the sort of couple you wouldn't have put together. I remember a lot of people being surprised when we started going out, but it seems to work for us anyway.

SIL doesn't do all the same slightly rude things she used to either. She will greet me now and kiss hello. Sometimes we will have a polite chat and get on perfectly well, but it's just sometimes she is a bit off with me, as she was a couple of weeks back.

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