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AIBU to send/not send Christmas present to MIL

(26 Posts)
breadisbadforducks Tue 31-Oct-17 11:02:21

My DHs mother ran away with another man when he was a child, leaving DH and brothers with their father. As an adult, DH found and made contact with her. They have never had a close relationship since, although they have maintained some regular contact, largely for the sake of him building ties with the half-sibling which she had produced since disappearing. I have always got on with her ok, I don’t have a particularly high opinion of her and the way she has behaved and tried to justify it, but I let him take the lead and am proud of him for forgiving her. I have never heard her side of the story from her own mouth, although find it hard to believe there’s any decent excuse for the way she has acted.

All was fine until our wedding, which she was invited to but for various reasons she took offence at. DH had a conversation with her about it and thought all was resolved. We next arranged to meet her at another family members house, only to turn up to be told by them that she wasn’t coming. She never contacted us directly to explain or apologise or arrange another time, in fact has not been in touch at all since.

DH isn’t interested in making the first move (again) and I think that is fair enough. My Q is what we should do re. Christmas. We will certainly send a card/present to his half-sibling, but should we do the same for his mother? AIBU to carry on as if nothing has happened? Or AIBU to not send anything and make a statement in that way?

Santawontbelong Tue 31-Oct-17 11:03:44

If your dh wants to send her a card then fine. Not your place to do anything.

Aderyn17 Tue 31-Oct-17 11:04:46

I think this is up to your husband and what he wants to do. I would, in his position, just srnd a present to the half sibling.

breadisbadforducks Tue 31-Oct-17 11:06:27

Thanks for your thoughts. I should say, present duty comes under my half of the chores usually (for either side of family), and he doesn't seem to have a strong opinion at the moment.

Nikephorus Tue 31-Oct-17 11:09:46

I'd send a card but no present. A card leaves it open for her to make contact - if she then doesn't reciprocate then you know you've done the right thing anyway.

ZanyMobster Tue 31-Oct-17 11:16:10

Similar situation here although we've never had a falling out of any sort. DHs birth mum left when he was a baby. She has never contacted him for contact but he has a half sister who he's close to. His mum will send the kids birthday/Xmas presents so I basically do all the contact, ie thank you cards, sending her Xmas cards. She doesn't even try to contact him at all but is happy for me to do the minimum.

We do not send presents or birthday cards to her and she seems to be ok with it all as I guess it means she never has to discuss/take ownership of what she did. We have met up with her on neutral territory and DH treats her like a distant relative (which she is really). I think it is important to accept the true level of the relationship and not push for anything more. Keep it distant IMO.

splendidisolation Tue 31-Oct-17 11:18:12

?

Why isnt this your husbands problem?

MyBrilliantDisguise Tue 31-Oct-17 11:22:39

She's really showing her true colours, isn't she? I think you should send a card/present to those who treat you well and respect you. This woman has shown no signs of this. It does sound as though she doesn't feel a bond with your husband - awful for him.

Butterymuffin Tue 31-Oct-17 11:27:42

Card only.

breadisbadforducks Tue 31-Oct-17 11:29:53

Thanks for your thoughtful responses. And it is really helpful to hear of similar circumstances.

Splendidisolation - yes, ultimately it is his problem, although it is a big one to bear and I try to avoid him feeling alone with it. I'm trying to decide the wisest advice to give him.

Happyemoji Tue 31-Oct-17 11:30:20

Everyone your mil left behind will be at the wedding. It will take a lot of balls for her to show up. If it was me I wouldn't send her anything.

PandorasXbox Tue 31-Oct-17 11:31:27

It’s up to your H really. I’d stay out of it.

Why was she offended regarding the wedding?

Liiinoo Tue 31-Oct-17 11:32:22

This is up to DH not you. If he wanted her to have a present or card he would make make it happen. As it stands he has made it clear he does not want to make the first move and you should respect that. If he wants to maintain links with his brother that is entirely separate and to his credit. With a mum like her it is good he has an older brother who will be more consistent.

Ginkypig Tue 31-Oct-17 11:37:50

I think it might depend on the age of his half sibling.
Is his sibling at an age where he can have an independent relationship i.e. An older teen/adult? Or are they young enough that his mother can control his ability to keep in touch?

I felt I needed to maintain a relationship with my mother while the kids (my siblings) were young incase she stopped contact but once they were old enough to have a relationship with me on their own I was free to stop contact with her if I chose to. (As it happened I'd found a way not to but to still protect my emotional self)

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 31-Oct-17 11:48:33

She sounds very immature. I’m glad your dh has found the strength to try to be a part of her life despite the temerity of her actions both past and more recent. Personally, I think if she cannot act like a grown up, it is for your husband to be the adult. In this situation, I think it would be best to send a card to acknowledge her place in the family and to let her know she is welcome if she can behave. But certainly not a present.

FenceSitter01 Tue 31-Oct-17 11:51:22

DH isn’t interested in making the first move (again) and I think that is fair enough.

There is your answer. DH wishes to do nothing. Please let him manage his own relationships.

RoseWhiteTips Tue 31-Oct-17 11:54:36

FenceSitter01

DH isn’t interested in making the first move (again) and I think that is fair enough.

There is your answer. DH wishes to do nothing. Please let him manage his own relationships.

The OP is trying to be supportive.hmm

MyKingdomForBrie Tue 31-Oct-17 11:54:53

Weird marriages some of you have - all the ‘it’s his problem’ ‘why are you worrying about it’ ffs some people like to be a unit, support each other, help each other, treat each other’s family as their own. All this ‘his mother he will send if he wants’ - sometimes one partner does all the cards/present sorting, for example if they stay at home. Clearly if she’s asking the question her DH is happy for her to make the decision so why do you lot think your opinion outweighs his?!

breadisbadforducks Tue 31-Oct-17 11:55:38

Ginkypig - thanks, although I dont think this will be an issue

Mummyoflittledragon - thanks, I think that is very sound advice.

breadisbadforducks Tue 31-Oct-17 11:57:02

Thanks Rosewhitetips and Mykingdomforbrie for the support!!

WhatwouldAryado Tue 31-Oct-17 11:58:04

I think just doing what your husband wants is OK in this situation. You're there for him and I think the situation is beyond "the right thing to do" as failing to turn up like that by his mother was clearly the wrong thing. There's no "wrong" in waiting for her to take the initiative as I'd say that your DH has tried.

Starlight2345 Tue 31-Oct-17 12:09:44

As someone estranged from family . Different set of circumstances there is an a longing to be accepted by your parents no matter how shit they were . But I have reached the point I am ok without . I would simply tell your dh you will support whatever decision you make

TempusEejit Tue 31-Oct-17 12:21:13

I agree with PPs - if your husband doesn't have a strong opinion about it then just a card acknowledges your MIL without condoning her attitude. Are you expecting a present off her? Not that you would give to receive, more along the lines of mirroring her behaviour to you so you can't be left feeling awkward.

schoolgaterebel Tue 31-Oct-17 15:01:20

I think the best option is send a card, just as you would to a distant relative.

I also don't understand the dynamics of some people's marriages 'his DM, his problem' and all that. Marriage is about teamwork and working on family relationships together, of course OP is supporting her DH through this fallout with his DM.

Why did she take offence to your wedding (I'm guessing she fabricated a problem to turn the focus off herself, and avoid facing the entire family)

How old are his half siblings? If it were me, then I would only maintain contact with the siblings (however if they are still young and under her care then this maybe difficult).
She is the ‘adult’ in her and your DH relationship (I know your DH is also an adult but she is the parent) therefore she should be the one to make the next move especially given your DH made the first move to be in contact. Cards are easy to send should you find yourself with one from her.

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