AIBU to have said this? MIL thinks I’m deliberately trying to split a family up?(25 Posts)
My dh’s brother and his wife are talking about splitting up.
They almost split up about 10 years ago, and the same problems are resurfacing.
MIL rings us up to tell us this, most upset obviously, and to ask what our thoughts are on it.
So I said it’s sad, but they have obviously not worked things through from last time, otherwise they wouldn’t be going through it again. They must be very unhappy. If they are, it’s best to cut their losses for the sake of the children (now 16 and 18, so adults really).
MIL was astonished that I came out with that, saying it will kill the children.
I replied it’ll kill the children over a long time if their parents continue to stay together in an unhappy relationship ( bitter experience), and what kind of message are they giving to the children, that’s it’s ok to be in an unhappy environment?
I also said, yes it would hurt the children initially if they split up, but eventually they’ll see happier parents and things will turn out best in the end.
MIL is furious I said this. I appreciate she comes from a generation where marriage was the be all and end all, that it was expected (whether happiness/love was involved or not) in the eyes of a judgmental society. I was just being honest.
We are having Sunday dinner with PILS next week (not DBIL and a DSIL and family) just us 4, and I’m dreading it. It will be the main/only conversation we’ll have, interspersed with ‘the buses have been running late this week again’. Aaarghh. . So anyway, WIBU ?
BTW, I think the world of my DBIL/DSIL, and children, and would love nothing more than for them to work things out and be happy. They are lovely, and wouldn’t dream of splitting them up, was being honest.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
If it crops up again, which you’ve said it will, I’d stick to “yes, it’s very sad”.
I think you've given your honest opinion on the subject and should say no more. (Admittedly difficult if pil keep bringing it up). But I would try to change the subject during the meal, and simply say it wasn't my business and I wasn't going to gossip.
Go 'grey rock' on the whole subject. Then she'll have to discuss it elsewhere. It's silly that she's asked your opinion when she doesn't actually want it IMO!
Neither scenario will kill the children, and I don't think either of you should have been gossiping about them and their relationship, so really I think you are as bad as each other.
"It's none of our business and I'm not going to talk about someone elses private relationship" would be far more appropriate.
I do think you’re absolutely right in what you said, but she’s nursing her own pain and outrage and could be for a while, so it’ll make your life harder to try and talk sense to her so I’d stick with agreeing it’s sad but that it’s really only their business.
She could have listened to your reasoned opinion but she’s not there right now for whatever reason so don’t let yourself become another target of her ire by getting into it.
A lot of people who’ve been through divorce get used to trying to make people feel better about it. At times I wanted to scream “god, I’m so sorry about what YOU’RE going through with MY divorce, I’m so soooo sorry” (channeling Father Jack). But there’s nothing you can do about it if people want to make it about them. So I feel for them, and I feel for you and your husband being caught in the middle of your MIL keeps banging on about what a mistake it is.
Just always respond in future with 'this is not an appropriate topic of conversation, and none of our business'.
Do not let it be the main conversation. A big gossip session about other family members? Not nice.
"I hope they work out the best solution for them."
"I don't feel comfortable talking about them behind their backs. They've got enough problems without having us treating them like a soap opera. Let's talk about something else. <Change subject>"
"They'll work something out for themselves eventually. We should stay out of it."
I think YABU to discuss it. How would you feel about BIL,SIL and MIL discussing your relationship?
If she brings it up again, just say you are sure they will make the best decision for them and that you don’t feel comfortable discussing it.
She asked for your opinion...she got it, she doesn’t like it. Tough. You’re right in what you said and if I was your SIL I’d have no problem wth you having said that & wouldn’t call it ‘gossiping’ at all.
Just keep saying ‘Yes it’s sad —for everyone else—, but it’s their business. Hasn't it been nippy out!’
If she keeps on, just be blunt & tell her it’s their business & you don’t wish to speculate on their marriage.
If they raise the subject, I would say, “There is no point our discussing it. They are adults and will work things out for themselves”. All we can do as a family, is to support them, what ever decision they make”.
If she carries on, I would just listen but not comment.
Tiny, fair point re gossiping, but once I responded, I changed the subject. It was all very quick, not a long drawn out conversation. I’m not happy with going for the Sunday meal either due to the above.
cold Exactly. It is none of our business I definitely will be diverting the conversation to other things.
Never, I think she wanted me to say they should stay together, which is what she wants. After all, what will the neighbours say ? She is a bit of a meddler. That’s why we never say anything to her whenever things aren’t going too rosy in the garden with us.
Of she challenged your opinion day, mmm, yes maybe your right, and change the subject. Keep repeating.
If she won't take no for an answer point out she asked for your input, and that letting your kids see you chose happiness is a great thing for them.
My mother responds similarly when there is talk of couples splitting up. It is just the way things were for her social circle at the time when they were raising their kids. Things have changed now. I make noncommittal noises and change the subject.
I think until they actually make the decision to split up, you need to be encouraging and supporting them and MIL. If they decide to split, then is the time for positive talks about the future. Mil is clinging to hope at the mo and doesn't want to hear you say that, even though you are well intended.
Just “was being honest”...whenever someone says this, it makes me wonder....
It's not an age thing, it's a narrow minded thing.
Life's much tidier if your children stay married.
Whereas I would be thinking what you said, the appropriate response would have been "well, it's always sad when a marriage is over, but it's between him and her, and nothing to do with either of us".
Don't see why you would be dreading a meal though. If she brings it up again, you can still say this, and change the subject.
In your position I would be offering MIL a listening ear. It's much more difficult for her to be objective as it's her son and her grandchildren.
Agree that it's not an age thing, unless your MIL is 150.
Sounds like the kids are at critical stages of their education, so it really would be best to keep things as stable as possible in the short ish term
I say this as someone who never normally advocates staying together for the sake of the kids, but who does work in education...
My parents were together almost 25 years and split up when I was 18. Of course it was hard, it was completely out of the blue, but it didn't kill me. Now both are much much happier and it was by far the best thing for them.
My Gran reacted in a similar way though, I'm sure she will settle down over time. I agree with pp, go with the "it's sad, but none of our business" approach.
Agree that it's not an age thing, unless your MIL is 150
How can you say that? Where I live, when my MIL got married divorce was illegal. It only became legal soon before I got married! There are plenty of that generation (although OP's mil could be anything from 40 to 90 for all we know) who have very different opinion of divorce.
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