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in laws keep excluding me - really getting me down - any advice

(54 Posts)
ashisha Mon 26-Aug-13 14:11:22


I got married straight out of university and have been married for 16 years. I have 3 children. My husband is very loyal and protective of his family. He has 4 sisters.

We visit his family every week when his whole family get together. The family are very polite and courteous towards me but never include me. The only conversations that take place between us centre around the kids whom they all adore. My mother in law is ok but she's very selective about what she tells me compared to what she tells her daughters. Whenever the sisters chat they will always to do it away from me and I seem to be most often left in front of the TV.

Whenever there is something going on in the family I often hear about it 3rd hand. Whenever we attend any functions the sisters all sit together and leave me out.

I have spoken to my husband about this numerous times and it has just caused arguments. His final word on the topic is that they are the way they are and I am the way I am and I just have to let it go. He has never intervened and nothing I could do would make him.

I have spoken to his sisters about it a couple of times but they haven't taken any notice. We are culturally close knit so I have to regularly deal with them. I try not to let it get to me but I find it very hurtful. I went through a lot of bullying and exclusion all through school and it feels exactly like that.

My husband is their only son so he is expected to make financial contributions towards his family. I don't mind for his parents so much but towards his sisters for weddings too. I hate that he gives his sisters money when they make me feel so bad. Again there is not a lot I can say to my husband as it's an argument I wouldn't win and it would cause endless arguments.

It makes me feel so sad but I need to find away of visiting them without feeling so bad each time.

LifeofPo Mon 26-Aug-13 14:13:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Mon 26-Aug-13 14:16:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryKatharine Mon 26-Aug-13 14:20:25

Why do you need to go? How much of the week is spent there? I think you need to have a serious chat with your husband. How can he see it as reasonable that your joint household income is being used to prop up the finances of women who treat you badly. That is unacceptable.

Perhaps I'm missing something here but if they are all young and unmarked then why are they not living off their own wages?

MaryKatharine Mon 26-Aug-13 14:21:01

Sorry, that should be unmarried not unmarked.

SuperiorCat Mon 26-Aug-13 14:23:27

Agree with them ^^

Also, "DH I am not giving money to people who are rude, disrespectful and exclude me".

Why would you be expected to?

ashisha Mon 26-Aug-13 14:48:03

Thanks for your responses.

I don't think I can stop visiting because DH would visit with my kids and I would never see them, they would just guilt my DH into going more often and convince him to stay longer and longer. They would love me not being there. I would also not know when they ask for money so DH would be convinced to hand over more money as I probably wouldn't even find out. DH would be so torn he would just nod his head to both of us.

The other reason is that he would then refuse to go to visit my family and my parents would worry themselves sick thinking I'm not happy at home. I couldn't put them through it.

I have spoken to DH about them and he says I don't make an effort, I've taken it the wrong way and why do I always complain about his family. He's blinded by them They are so nice to him that he doesn't see it and keeps defending them which makes it worse and more arguments. I'm happy with my husband but I can't ruin my marriage by arguing with him all the time.

MaryKatharine Mon 26-Aug-13 14:55:42

I still don't understand why they aren't supporting themselves. Are they not able bodied adults able to work?

LifeofPo Mon 26-Aug-13 15:01:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pumpkinsweetie Mon 26-Aug-13 15:05:11

Could you not be busy so that these visits are cut down a bit, say one a fortnight or per month? Couldn't you arrange some days out with your dh on weekends ? It does sound very uncomfortable having to be on the sidelines every weekconfused

ashisha Mon 26-Aug-13 15:14:36

His sisters work and spend their money. Its a cultural thing that has been instilled in DH that he has to contribute.

The whole family gets together one evening and a day on the weekend, I can't really cut it down as everyone attends and DH is expected to attend, he seems happy to go as he's doted on and would find it too awkward to refuse and would resent me for it. If I let them go on their own they would ask him to go more frequently or would ask DH to drop of the kids so they can drop them off later. I know it sounds bad but I don't want my kids to have a whole life that I'm not apart of, they are my kids I don't want them pulled away from me.

flipchart Mon 26-Aug-13 15:22:19

Are you from a Muslim background.

I know a few people in a similar situation as you. ( their DH expected to contribute to all the family, the sisters very close, the DH not seeing the problem while the wife is excluded.

I have said the same things that have been posted here to them. (Let him go by himself etc and they have the same reply as you.

There doesn't seem to be a good solution.

ashisha Mon 26-Aug-13 15:25:57

Yes I am muslim, to be honest the family expectations are so vast

mynewpassion Mon 26-Aug-13 16:12:05

I have a inlaw in your exact situation except the money part. She has learned to cope by detaching herself from the sisters. She spends the time being with her children and making polite conversations. She doesn't share anything except information about the kids.

She's incredibly hurt but she has her husband s support and understanding even if they can't change the situation. Its all superficial and she doesn't try to hide it from the relatives. We all see her relationship with her inlaws and are supportive her too so she has other people to talk to at family gatherings.

mynewpassion Mon 26-Aug-13 16:18:37

I should add that the sisters do that to everyone so wife doesn't feel as bad. And she's happy yhat her mil doesn't tell her everything. When other relatves ask why she doesn't know, her and her husband blame mil so now people just bypass mil and tell it to the wife and son.

ashisha Mon 26-Aug-13 17:54:34

thanks mynewpassion,

I'm so glad you understand my position, I will try to do what you advise,

MaryKatharine Mon 26-Aug-13 20:12:19

Do you work yourself? I'm asking because your posts strike me as though written by someone very lonely. If not then is working, even p/t a possibility? It would widen your social sphere somewhat. If this isn't possible is the any hobbies you could take up? How old are your children? If still young, could you join and social groups? When we lived in south Manchester I remember there was an NCT type group specifically for Muslim women. Is there anything like that in your area as they may have real understanding of your situation.

Your husband is being a little selfish and a little too caught up in being doted upon. You really need to try and get across to him how lonely it is making you feel. I do understand the cultural aspect to the gathering but is there a cultural expectation for him to financially support 4 young women who should be supporting themselves?

Isetan Mon 26-Aug-13 21:18:04

You H does see, its just that his comfort level trumps your hurt feelings.

Nothing you have said to date has changed or improved their behaviour, so its safe to say that more of your "if he/ they would only see how hurtful this is" would yield similar results, you can't change them. If you insist on discounting not visiting them, then for your own sanity, you need to suck it up and let their bad manners wash over you.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 26-Aug-13 21:31:45

A lot of this problem could be resolved by your DH standing up to his family. But as you have said that he it's instilled in him to be this way and he is the only son, it seems as though there isn't much you can do.

As you said that you have a happy marriage, you have to find peace with this situation. Yes it must feel really terrible to be around them, as though they clique together but I think you just need to think of them as your husbands family and not your family iyswim. By separating that you may be able to deal with it. You just need to be polite with each other and nothing more.

As for the financial part he should be consulting with you. If he has to do it, maybe come to an agreement on the amount. He will not stop Providing for them or being so loyal to them, just try to manage it from your side.

mynewpassion Mon 26-Aug-13 21:34:42

Look, its not you. Its them. They are in a clique by themselves. Its like being back in school where there are always a bunch of people excluding others. Even if they like you, being with themselves is much more important. They don't like you, stop trying to befriend them. Ignore them.

Your husband does see but he can't change his sisters' bad behavior. If he brings up, its 1 vs. 5 (including MIL). He's never going to win. MIL probably supports this bad behavior because she would've said something many years ago.

All you can do is ignore and detach from them. Keep going to family gatherings and keep yourself busy with taking a long time clearing up or talking to other relatives or the children. Let them be bitches. You are a good person and people will see through that.

Isetan Mon 26-Aug-13 21:51:18

Sorry to be blunt but sometimes people, even family, aren't very nice. Not standing up to them just enables them to continue their poor behaviour.

ashisha Tue 27-Aug-13 10:33:14

I don't work because the kids are just too young and I want to bring them up myself. I have always worked and was very career minded before the kids. I worked abroad a lot and was always well respected. I felt like what I had to say mattered, what I thought mattered.

I am trying to make an effort to make friends with mums at the kids school and nursery. I have made a few friends and have begun to spend time with them but it's always difficult as all of them have young kids. They respect me and treat me well and I think this is what is making me feel even more intolerant of my in laws. They treat me like I am nothing. When I'm with my new friends they think I'm interesting and witty, I feel valued.

My parent always taught me that when you get married your in laws become your family and should come first and I have always been encouraged to spend time with my in laws. I am not really a practicing Muslim and very English and liberal. I never attend Muslim events, it's not really my thing, but I have still given his family an important place as my parents have taught me. I feel like I'm living 2 lives. One when I'm with DH, kids, friends where I actually exist, and the other where I'm with my in laws where I'm a stray dog waiting for scraps. When I'm with them I feel worthless like I have no dignity.

QueenofWhispers Tue 27-Aug-13 10:46:53

So, I'm muslim too. We're Indian and I think I pretty much have the in-laws from hell itself.

What I did was before we got married was explain to my husband that any money he and or I made was only for us and our children. I refused to marry him if he decided that he was going to contribute financially to the wellbeing of family members.

I had to establish boundaries quite early, with everything. His sister doesn't like me, and I'm not fond of her...but I am respectful towards her and she is kind and respectful towards me. They have always treated me like an outsider and always will. I treat them the same way.

The good thing is though, when I see them some of my friends and their families come along so if I'm left sat on the sofa, I'm not alone. It's an asian family thing never to refuse guests and I have taken advantage of this (admittedly, it's wrong but it saves me from being lonely and sad). My friends tag along for me, and I tag along to their family events for them.

I feel that my boundaries, and strong insistence on not letting my in-laws dictate how i feel about myself have made my marriage quite stable when it comes to family events. I hope this helps you.

Emptychairs Tue 27-Aug-13 10:49:37

Hi OP, neither I/dh or his family are Muslim and yet I also get treated this way a lot. This is our second marriage and we have dc from our first marriages. We scype once a week as inlaws live abroad and see each other once a year. (Thank God)
Dh is doted on, dsc are doted on, dh used to invite me to their scype sessions but as soon as one of the dsc came along to say hi I was practically pushed off my chair!
I know it sounds mild in comparison to your situation but I just want you to know its probably not a Muslim thing, but inlaws who just dont approve of any wife for their darling son, spoiled him, still spoil him, spoil dsc, just to make a point that you are redundant...
Now I ignore their scyping unless I'm actively invited to join in, or I give my spot to dsc most insistently and then busy myself. It's all "I have a life" now and it works for me.

claudedebussy Tue 27-Aug-13 10:55:22

so i'd let him go on his own to the evening do and then go as a family to the day event.

i agree you should be with the kids.

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