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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.

sis Tue 27-Aug-13 11:07:32

Can you take a book or magazine to read so that at least your time isn't being wasted? Do you have any other hobbies - knitting, etc? Or just your phone and MN while you are with them? It sort of sends the message that you know what they are doing but aren't going to let it get to you. You have lots of things to do with your valuable time.

JustinBsMum Tue 27-Aug-13 17:56:05

How old are the sisters, will they be marrying soon and spending time with their inlaws?
Perhaps they have a chip on their shoulders as you had a successful career, which is probably more than they do.
To be honest would you really want to be included in their gossiping/ coven? Make sure you have the tv controller and watch something you like!

ashisha Tue 27-Aug-13 19:43:47

2 of the sisters are married but seem to be mostly at their mums. They keep saying things like "it's alright for you, you don't have to work", "you just watch TV all day". They make it sound like I sit on my butt all day spending their brothers money. Before the kids I worked for 11 years around 14 hours a day (I loved my job I didn't mind the hours). I saved like mad knowing that I wanted a nice home and wanted to be at home when my kids were young. Even now I don't sit around. I take care of everything, the house the kids all the admin, I'm also a governor at both my kids schools so I'm always busy during term time.

crescentmoon Tue 27-Aug-13 20:40:43

i really felt for you reading this thread OP. i cut down on visiting in laws a few years ago except for big occasions. my DH goes with our children but 9 times out of 10 i go off and do my own thing rather than visit with them. im lucky DH will still visit my family and turn up for family occasions BUT my family are unfailingly polite and kind to him. iv been happy with this arrangement for a long time until just this weekend gone when i felt that i was really unaware of how my dc got on with their aunts/uncles/ cousins. i would like to share that time with them sometimes but i just dont know if i can handle all the family politics.

crescentmoon Tue 27-Aug-13 21:19:52

(It also really disappoints my parents how little I have to do with my in laws - out of all my married siblings I get on with mine the least. They have the same attitude and tradition your parents have op but I got burned really badly and after that retreated and for that they think I am stuck up rather than 'once bitten twice shy'.i need to do something about my own situation).

ashisha Wed 28-Aug-13 09:39:25


I find when I go round I'm quiet and withdrawn lately because I've run out of steam. I try to make the effort but somehow my mouth doesn't move even when my brain orders it to, I even rehearse polite conversation with my sis before I go but when it comes to it nothing comes out. I thought they would at least wonder what has happened to me but they haven't, they just pretty much blank me, I'm sure they think I'm stuck up rather than just hurt. I'm sure mil will speak to DH if I don't go back to normal and complain that I'm rude and stuck up.

JustinBsMum Wed 28-Aug-13 15:29:59

Aren't DCs of an age where you can take them to sports or something rather than always have to go to inlaws. Eg you take one of them swimming, footie training or something then join the others at ILs later, so you don't have to spend so much time there.
Surely as DCs get older they will be fed up with sitting about at ILs, or don't they know anything else?

nobeer Wed 28-Aug-13 15:39:44

I hope you put your SILs straight and tell them that actually you have a very busy life and make a valuable contribution to the house and the DC's schools. Cheeky madams!

riskit4abiskit Wed 28-Aug-13 19:35:00

I can't believe you have to financially contribute to FOUR sisters! Perhaps a one-off contribution to weddings, I could see how historically that became a custom, but do you have to contribute regularly? Is it a lot? (Sorry if you don't want to answer, I'm just being nosey).

You sound lovely, and the in-laws sound dreadful!

crescentmoon Wed 28-Aug-13 19:38:30

my DH is not expected to contribute money or things like that i would find it hard if so. i also think that its better you go both of you together if his sisters have the habit of asknig and expecting him to give them money. in fact with my in laws thankfully theyve helped us out financially a fair bit,- far more than my own family - on that i cant say a word against them. but theres politics in DHs family like you wouldnt believe - just wouldnt ever believe - and after continually being caught up in the wrong end of it i just declared i would go no contact as much as possible. his parents are lovely to me but they retired abroad, its his huge extended family i cant hold my own with. some things that are considered social niceties in my upbringing and culture are considered differently in his and vice versa, so we offend each other sometimes without meaning to. its hard iv decided im going to make more of an effort with them because as you said, it looks really wrong when i dont go to events with him and the dc but they only just started asking me why. my parents say they understand me but i know they secretly think im really wrong in being that way - my mum recently said to me you have no allies amongst them anymore as you've burnt so many bridges and that did get me thinking also.

Chottie Wed 28-Aug-13 19:55:24

OP - I can't believe how unkind and welcoming your IL are to you. They sound absolutely dreadful.

waltzingmathilda Wed 28-Aug-13 20:27:32

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ashisha Wed 28-Aug-13 21:39:44


I'm not really a practicing Muslim because I have been exposed to so many cultures during that I see good in all of them. I was born in London and have been taught about family values and so try to respect them.

I do want to be fully inclusive that's exactly what marriage and family means to me. I never said I don't like anything about the Islamic way, it's nothing to do with religion, the difficulties I'm having aren't unique to Muslims.

I don't want to work right now, I've worked really hard so that I can be with my kids while they are young. I do have a lovely life and want to try and be a good person. I want to get along with my in laws and have a place in their family because it would ultimately bring my DH and kids a lot of joy. If I can I want to fix the situation so that I can effortlessly be apart of DH family.

I'm not sure what you mean by the UK lifestyle but as far as I'm concerned I'm as English as it gets in modern day Britain.

carlywurly Wed 28-Aug-13 21:58:01

Waltzing, that's an odd post.

Op, you sound lovely and they sound like bloody hard work. Sometimes there just isn't anything you can do to change established family dynamics but they're the ones missing out. It makes little sense to me to behave the way they are doing. Keep being yourself and hopefully they'll slowly come round to the idea you're a permanent fixture in the family.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 21:59:58

I agree with the first post, stop visiting. You don't have to go and he can't make you.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 28-Aug-13 22:00:42

Ooh or I like the idea of taking a book.

Shelby2010 Wed 28-Aug-13 22:37:24

Following on from a previous suggestion, perhaps you could take your sister along occasionally? It sounds like she is aware of your situation & at least would stop you feeling outnumbered & they might be more friendly when there is someone who is more of a guest present.

Another idea might be to try & build a relationship with either MIL or the nicest SIL away from the others. However as this would involve spending more time with them eg during the day without DH, then I can see that it might not appeal.

JustinBsMum Thu 29-Aug-13 07:01:45

Yes, that sounds an idea, taking DMIL places during the week without SILs.
All you can do is try different things over the next year and hope things improve. What about inviting them to your home?
Life isn't fixed, MIL will age, DCs will get older and more independent, you should find hobbies that interest and fulfil you and might interest ILs. If you are depressed you are not someone that others want to have fun with (speaking from experience here not meaning this as a criticism) so what can you do to make yourself happier and more interesting and light-hearted?

ashisha Fri 30-Aug-13 10:23:34

My parent live 45 min away and we seem to always put them on the back burner and visit on special occasions. I would love to visit them on a more regular basis. They all adore my kids and my sisters kids are my kids ages so it's nice for them too.

It would be ideal to go and see each of our families on alternate weeks. I'm not sure how to bring it up with DH as we have been going to his family on the weekend for the last 16 years and I think he's going to take it as me trying to stop us from going to his family. I'm worried it might turn into a you've never liked my family kind of argument. Any ideas?

JustinBsMum Fri 30-Aug-13 13:45:47

Well, you could tell a few white lies about your family, your DF wants to see more of the DCs now he is getting on a bit, not as well as he was, busier than he used to be, whatever. Start out with 2 wkends at ILs and 1 at your family's. My DCs saw GPs a few times a year and that seemed plenty. This every weekend thing sounds like purgatory to me let alone doing it for 16 years. Just sounds like everyone wasting their lives to me.

What about doing some study to enhance your prospects of a good job or part time job once DCs are older then you are planning for a happier future despite now being a drag.

purrpurr Fri 30-Aug-13 13:56:19

Waltzing, how odd. It's like Racism Lite. Not thoroughly offensive but enough to make me stop and not feel good after reading it.

justanuthermanicmumsday Fri 30-Aug-13 14:13:24

This is an Asian thing not muslim as such. So Indians, south Asians do it. I'm certain this occurs in many European cultures too unmarried kids no matter how old don't pay anything live with parents and provided for. Boys are expected to pay towards the household bills girls nothing except if they work they pay for their own clothes and toiletries. But even this is often paid for. Girls weddings are paid for by parents and brothers, but increasingly girls help towards costs or pay for it themselves. Same with boys. Basically you stay at home until you get married.

I used to visit my mums house every weekend my husband loved it since he came from a small family and had become part of a large family. No longer visit so much as we've moved far away, and even if we were near not possible have a lot more chores with 4 kids.

If your sister in laws and parents in laws don't make you feel welcome don't visit as often tell your husband why. but if you think this will cause unnecessary friction make your excuses your busy. You have chores to do your own friends to meet. Sure visit to keep things amicable and keep family ties as its a sin for muslims to break family ties unless there's a pressing need for it. My sister has been in the same predicament for near 20 years. Yet every wknd or even wk day if they demand it she's there. She's totally knackered rfrom work and household chores yet she keeps up with all the niceties. They say its a lunch or dinner invite but wen she gets there they have meat defrosted and waiting . basically they use her to make their meals.She doesn't speak up, don't be a doormat or it will continue like this.

justanuthermanicmumsday Fri 30-Aug-13 14:21:39

Ashisha this is exactly what is happening with my sister. She only lived mins drive yet she spent every weekend for 20 years at her in laws she felt she had no choice she couldn't cross them. Hr husband didn't stick up for her either. He's a mummy's boy he'd rather go to his mums plus he's scared of her .

Only when my mum got suddenly ill and died did my sister regret it. I said nevermind don't blame yourself mum understood what you were going through. But her regret has never gone 3 years on. She now comes often but my mum is not here just the rest of us siblings and my dad. But that is better than nothing.

Be blunt say let's make it fair how about we visit your parents one week and my parents the next. Our parents are old soon they will be gone let's make the most of seeing all of them whilst we have no regrets. Plus your kids will get to know both sets of grandparents equally. no other way of saying it. Don't feel bad if he gets into a strop he's being unreasonable you have a right as a muslim to see your parents does he know that? Besides who came first your parents or him that's the way I see it,my parents sacrificed many more years of their life to me than any man .

justanuthermanicmumsday Fri 30-Aug-13 14:22:41

20* mins

justanuthermanicmumsday Fri 30-Aug-13 14:26:55

Waltzing this is not a muslim thing at all its cultural. it's basically indian culture and customs. This is all our parents followed pre Islamic times. I don't think cultures are bad but backward elements need to be discarded. Like all this nonsense with in laws controlling their daughter in laws and the husband sitting silently doing as mummy says.

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