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To have a life outside of MIL?

(37 Posts)
TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 08:42:56

For the past few years, we (partner and I) have been living with MIL to save some money for our own home - I am an expat, so I was unable to live with my own parents. Naturally, MIL developed a good relationship, and I am happy to have her involved in some things others wouldn't want their MILs to be near. As I've come into my own in this country, learning the languages, finding a job etc etc, I have made friends my own age, and enjoy spending weekends with said friends or doing some couple things with partner.

Now, this is where the problem begins. Since moving out my MIL has taken it VERY hard that she has gone to having a full house to being alone. She is divorced with no friends and quite frankly, refuses to put herself in situations to start her own friend circle and life. Saturdays are usually reserved for tea with family, but sometimes I am not able to host her or go to her house - my partner can spend some time with his mum and I can see my friends!
MIL has slagged me off, saying I have no sense of family and that I am not taking care of partner!!

She has now taken to inviting herself along to our 'couple days'!! Sometimes, yes, it's nice to have her along, but Jesus f-ing Christ, it's becoming suffocating at this point. Telling her to GAL is not working and I am at my wits end.

Amelie10 Fri 12-Aug-16 08:47:26

What does your dp say about it op? It does sound suffocating.

TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 08:57:07

Partner is more annoyed by the situation than I am! We should have seen that this was coming tbh, when we were house hunting, she spent every waking day on Google Maps, searching the fastest route from her house to our potential new one!

As she is not my mum, I am very cautious as to what I can say and how far I can go in terms of telling her to piss off :P

Shizzlestix Fri 12-Aug-16 09:36:31

Stop sharing information with her. If she doesn't know where you're going, she can't come. If she invites herself, you tell her it's a couples' thing, sorry. Spending every weekend with her is too much. Why has your DP not spoken to her? I realise it must be hard for her, but you need alone time with your DP and she is ruining this.

CurlyMoo Fri 12-Aug-16 09:41:25

I'm assuming that you don't have children yet? If so, it is good you have moved out before that happens. A friend of mine was in an identical situation (also expat, but no job so at home with MIL all the time) and when they had their first child and wanted to move to their own home the MIL threatened to commit suicide hmm

Sorry no advice other than you backing off slowly and letting your DP deal with her.

SaucyJack Fri 12-Aug-16 09:54:07

YANBU, but be nice and move away gently and slowly.

Spending every weekend with her obviously wasn't too much for you to bear when she was saving you 1000s a year in rent, an' all.

There! I said it.

TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 09:55:45

No, we don't have children yet, although she is incredibly annoying in terms of her future grandchildren. I am already getting comments such as "In (country) we do thing like this with our children". Umm, I grew up in bloody London, and I don't expect child rearing is too different confused.

She is also making comments such as "when you're pregnant, or need a babysitter, I'm sure you'll have time for me then etc etc etc".

KitKat1985 Fri 12-Aug-16 10:14:47

I would plan stuff to do with her regularly (e.g, offer to take her out for dinner next week) so she doesn't feel left out and has things to look forward to, and then gradually start to space these events out a bit more. When I first started seeing DH my now MIL wanted us to join them for lunch on Saturday and most of Saturday afternoon every week. I didn't mind doing it occasionally but giving up most of a Saturday every week (plus a couple of evenings in the week) was too much for me. I found gradually cutting it down helped lower her expectations a bit.

I'd also second the advice to keep tight-lipped about the stuff you and DH were planning to do just as a couple. If she doesn't know about it - she can't invite herself along to it.

Of course, you could always try the 'short, sharp shock' treatment and just book a short-notice holiday (don't tell her in advance) and go away for a couple of weeks and hope she gets used to being on her own a bit more during this time.

Birdsgottafly Fri 12-Aug-16 10:32:14

""MIL has slagged me off, saying I have no sense of family and that I am not taking care of partner!! ""

How do you know this, has it been said directly?

Ninasimoneinthemorning Fri 12-Aug-16 10:37:53

Ah the passive aggressive digs - I get them off my DGM, who is lovely when reviving attention but feels hugely redundant and left out if we just get on with life.

If you previously got on id say the case is similar for your mil. Just ignore and carry on what your doing and don't be guilt tripped in to doing things her way. Don't give her too much infomation about stuff either.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 12-Aug-16 10:38:51

Your tone is pretty spiteful given that you're talking of someone who put you up for years and who you had a good relationship with for as long as she was useful to you. Not saying you shouldn't have your own circle of friends, of course you should. But maybe try some empathy?

FinallyHere Fri 12-Aug-16 10:47:16

I agree that its good to have the next time you meet up sorted out at the latest when you leave. This is setting the expectation of when you will next meet up.

YouSay Fri 12-Aug-16 10:48:57

It must be hard on her. She sounds lonely. It seems she was very kind to you when you lived with her but now you have your own friends you want her to get lost. No good deed goes unpunished.

JessieMcJessie Fri 12-Aug-16 10:49:38

When you were living with her, did you also socialise with her a lot outside the home?

I'm thinking that if you were going out with friends and as a couple then she might not have noticed because you were all living together and so she was part of your at home time.

On the other hand, if you have now stopped going out and about with her when you previously did a lot of that, one can see that you stopping this as soon as you left her home suggests that you were indeed (as a PP suggested) only doing this because you owed her one given all the money she was saving you. She might well feel hurt that things have now changed and be re-evaluating the prior relationship.

If you were often socialising out and about with her when you all lived together, why was that? Would you not have had MORE reason to want to do your own thing given you always saw her at home?

I am not saying you should give in to her demands, but perhaps you might see her perspective a little more? It is absolutely not on for her to want to intrude on your couple time though, so just stop telling her any details of what you are doing and get your DP to be absolutely firm with her that joining you is not appropriate.

TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 10:52:15

Yes, birdsgottafly, it has been said directly that I have no sense of family. But yet she is forgetting that it is ME that forces partner to go to all the family events. I do quite a lot for her, as I know she is alone. (Today she is quite poorly, and I am leaving work early to clean the house and cook dinner for her and just give her some company.) She has also spoilt partner beyond belief and is "concerned" that he is suffering because I'm not at home 24/7 to make him food and clean whenever he makes a mess...

And JenniferYellowHat1980, I have been emphatic and have cancelled meeting up with friends/bought her along with events that had previously been planned for partner and I. But there is a limit. I understand that it is a shock to the system and that having an "empty nest" must be extremely lonely- but we can't give up our lives for her. I think that she should either cope that her evenings and some weekends will be lonely, or go out and live her life, find some friends.

JacquelineChan Fri 12-Aug-16 10:59:43

i kind of do agree with PP , she sounds lonely, imagine how that feels , not nice.
And she has been kind to you opening up her home and making you feel welcome , it kind of looks like she was ok when you had nothing else but now you have friends , learn the language etc you're not interested.

And i can see your side too OP because my MIL is like this. Sometimes you need to be firm and she will slowly get it . But always with kindness. Does she have face book /watsapp? I find messaging my MIL keeps the pressure off a bit, just chatty stuff.

If you are planning to have children you will find her invaluable - don't cut her out.

Also tell your OH to spend some time with her - it's his mum after all !

pictish Fri 12-Aug-16 11:10:00

I agree OP. You do sound a little harsh and blunt about the situation but I think that's a symptom of being at the end of your tether with your mil's overcrowding.

As much as see the pov of whoever said you were happy in her company when she was saving you ££££s so it's a bit off to complain now, I don't think mil effectively bought unlimited access to your lives either.

pictish Fri 12-Aug-16 11:12:43

What's the scale of her intrusion anyway? You don't say. That's quite important.

hungryhippo90 Fri 12-Aug-16 11:18:33

Perhaps she feels a little used. You must have spent lots of time together when you lived with her,
Now you presumably have a job, friends, your own home, and her son.
It reads like he's an only child? So her only son.
She probably feels like the house is now empty, and she's no longer useful to her son, and discarded by you.
She must feel a bit lost.

Can you not invite her to do something once a week? Can you pop in for a cuppa with's half an hour?

My mother in-law sometimes drives me mental, but as the wife of her only child, I feel I've gotta make the effort. Men don't seem to have such an interest in the dynamics of keeping their mums in the loop...or at least mine doesn't.

Not to sound harsh, but as busy as you see your life now, it will get busier when you have children (sorry to make the assumption that you will)
But you will then be juggling about double the amount of stuff on your plate, and part of that is figuring out where grandparents go.
To us, birthdays, bank holidays, and special things like promotions and new jobs are Celebrated as a family.
We probably go over there once a month for dinner, they come to us every 2-3 months. We drop in for a cuppa every few weeks,
My in-laws get invited to things like sports days etc.

All these things lead to a pretty cool relationship with them. On the most part they feel involved in our lives. It also doesn't hurt to ask her advice on a few things (not often!) But I realise it makes my MIL feel a bit important.

Good luck OP, this isn't all your responsibility to sort out though, her son needs to make a bit of an effort too, and she needs to take some responsibility in filling her day with activities and some new friends.

RebootYourEngine Fri 12-Aug-16 11:19:24

I know how your MIL feels.

Not the same situation but I have struggled with my ds growing up. He is 12 now and doesnt need me as much. I have spent 12 years solely looking after him and now at the age of 30 i dont really have a life or friends.

Empty nest syndrome is a real thing.

I would say take a few moments to consider how your MIL must be feeling. She had a house full of people. A social life. Someone to talk to. Now she has an empty house and someone who treated her like a friend suddenly not interested.

TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 11:26:24

I am not sure how to tag people or reply yet, so forgive me! But regarding the scale of her intrusion, I'll give a list:

-Partner and I have set aside two/three evenings a week in which she'll come over to our house for dinner. This is fine, and I quite like catching up with her. The deal is, we'll send her a text when we're on our way home, she will either pick up chips on her way to ours, or we find a restaurant (she doesn't like spicy or Caribbean food, which is what I tend to cook). We have stated a million times to NOT enter our home without us, unless we have given permission or have lost a key. MULTIPLE times we have texted MIL "where are you, we're almost home" to receive back "at yours, setting the dinner table".

-She comes over and critiques our house/my method of cooking/cleaning.

-She stalks our colleagues and friends online (which warrants its own thread tbh :P)

-She reads our bills when she thinks we're not looking

-Hints to me that I am going back to London too much to see my own family "Eurostar is expensive you know!!"

-Tells me and partner that we are "too good" for our friends and that we shouldn't hang out with them.

I could go on, but those are the things that really get on my tits!!

TheQueenOfItAll Fri 12-Aug-16 11:31:31

And as some posters have mentioned that I have completely dropped her which isn't true at all. We text and email continuously throughout the day - every day. And as mentioned previously, we see her 2/3 times for dinner.

I regard family very highly, and I genuinely think she is a lovely woman, but I think she is being VERY unreasonable to expect me to drop my own social life.

When we do have kids, it'll be even worse I suspect. When partner and family want to go to the themepark or sea, she can't expect to come along every single time. Yes, they will spend quality time with their grandma, and she will be invited sometimes, but not every single outing.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 12-Aug-16 11:35:27

You don't tag or reply directly to people on here - the best you can do is bold their names by putting asterisks around them, like this TheQueen (Without any spaces).

Your MIL sounds like she's having a passive aggressive go at you for just wanting to live your life, but it's not really unexpected that she would suddenly feel bereft when you moved out!

When I moved to Australia with DH (he is Aussie), we also had to stay at MIL's for a few weeks to start with - then when we finally moved into our house, she started off coming almost every day. I got the hump. I asked DH if this was the way it was going to continue, because we would fall out if so - I said no more than 3 times a week, thanks. I'm sure she was hurt to start with, but she did at least stop coming so often, and things worked out.

pictish Fri 12-Aug-16 11:46:12

I wouldn't mind my mil coming in and setting the table, but if you don't like it, how is she getting in? Is your door not locked? Does she have keys and if so, why?

If I didn't want someone letting themselves in my house, they wouldn't be.

myownprivateidaho Fri 12-Aug-16 11:46:21

YANBU at all, and I don't think that it sounds like you are planning to ditch her or leave her in the cold. But it sounds like the situation is not sustainable. I think that in large part it's for your partner to take the lead - he should really have a word with her about criticisms of you. Also, you need to stop telling her your plans. Or tell her and when she invites herself along your DP says, "sorry this is something Queen and me are doing as a couple." Also, can you encourage her to take up a hobby, join a group, volunteer etc?

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