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In-laws relationship soured (sorry long)

(7 Posts)
sandfish Tue 14-Jul-15 17:48:02

DH and I have been married 16 years. I first met his parents when i was a teenager. Initially we had an amicable relationship but we did not see them often as lived far away.

They tended to announce their visits to stay with us, and decide when they were going to leave rather than asking but we usually managed to accommodate them. Since we have had children they always put me under a lot of pressure to make sure we spend equal time with them as we do with my parents. This irritates me because I have always been very careful to be very fair with visits.

The relationship with the IL’s started to sour about 3 years ago I told them they couldn’t come and visit when they had planned because of my exams and my husband's business trips so it wasn't a good time. They didn't take that well. Then there was an incident when my child got hurt when his Grandad was looking after him very briefly - it was not serious although it could have been. I did tell them that I did not hold it against them as it was an accident but they were very defensive about it.

A few years back we stayed with them for Christmas. In retrospect they must have got themselves really worked up about it and it took them effort reorganising their house to fit us in, and then perhaps the visit didn’t live up to expectations. We asked them if we could hold a very small family party for my youngest at their house whilst we were there as his birthday is near Xmas They agreed but this turned out to be a mistake and seems to have really stressed them out. I ended up having a raised voices row with MIL a few days later as she wanted to make the point to me that hosting us was so difficult for them and that she felt we were taking them for granted. I said I thought they wanted to see their Grandchildren at Xmas time?! Since we didn’t live nearby my husband and I had very rarely ever asked them for anything - unlike their other children and grandchildren whom live closer and they regularly babysit for etc. I have never been made to feel more unwelcome staying somewhere in all my life… My husband upset me as he told me I should apologise to her for shouting. I did apologise. But i was pretty upset with my husband about that as I felt i was made to feel unwelcome in a passive aggressive way.

I agreed to go on a family holiday with them the next Summer - which went OK but the whole time there was an underlying tension between myself and MIL. She had a go at me one evening in front of the whole family over a misunderstanding to do with money in a way that shocked everyone. Afterward she claimed she ‘couldn’t remember’ what she had said. A few days later she criticised my younger child 18 months old for not sharing with his older cousin and implied this was because I hadn’t taught him properly. I was defensive of my son in my reply and she went off in a huge strop and sulked waiting for an apology from me. I refused, and said I thought she was being childish, then ignored her behaviour for the rest of the holiday. Even FIL got involved trying to pressure my husband to get me to ‘apologise’.

Since then we have seen them plenty of times but have not stayed at each others houses. We haven’t had any other further fallings out and seem to be able to get on for short periods, but I feel as though they are not so close to our children any more and don’t really know the younger one. I accept that for whatever reason MIL has gone off me and doesn't seem to like me at all, but they are not bad people or grandparents otherwise so it seems a shame for my children.

Our next child is due soon and my parents have offered to come up and look after the other children for us and help us in the first week. In the interests of fairness I emailed PIL and invited them to come and stay with us a few weeks later to meet their new grandchild. They seem uninterested and have not mentioned this invite having spoken to us several times since.

Im not sure what, if anything I can do going forward. I feel if I had not invited them to visit for a stay I would be painted as the bad guy for hosting my parents but not them. But they do not seem to want to which i suppose is fair enough. Should I just accept the inevitable drifting apart that seems to be occurring? My husband will not do anything proactive about this I know, but I fear that both they and him and maybe my children will blame me if their Grandchildren don’t have much of a relationship with them in the future.

DoreenLethal Tue 14-Jul-15 17:59:23

Im not sure what, if anything I can do going forward.

Leave them to it. You made a move to engage them. Their loss if they are being knobheads about it.

ToodleooAndPeekaboo Tue 14-Jul-15 18:02:54

Let it drift. When it comes down to it they are your husband's parents and he could (but sounds like he won't) try to build bridges. I don't think you should take the responsibility on yourself. Your children are young and will come to accept that this set of GPs are distant and difficult. I had the same growing up and at a young age could read the relationship quite well. I certainly never blamed my mum for how things were.

I recognise a lot of what you are saying in my own MIL relationship. She appears to dislike me and all that I stand for, and now makes little effort with the kids. I've decided that's her choice and she is the one losing out. I've just let her drift.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 14-Jul-15 18:06:42

Why will your dc blame you if they don't have much of relationship with their paternal grandparents when your dh can take them to visit if he can be arsed to do so and give you a break in the process?

Regarding their lack of response to your invitation to host them shortly after the birth of your next dc (are you mad??!!), you're best advised to let sleeping dogs lie and hope they stay asleep as they're probably miffed that your dps will be on hand during the first week and will no doubt make their feelings clear if they do deign to stay.

As far as I recall, there's no eleventh commandment to the effect that thou shalt tell thine inlaws whenever you see your own parents and I suggest you stop pandering to this unreasonable pair and let your dh make the running with them.

AreYouSupposedToBeInIowa Tue 14-Jul-15 18:06:59

I would leave well alone. They are adults too. It's not for you to do all the running out of a misplaced feeling of guilt . They sound like a pair of total knobheads but you did not make them so and cannot change them. Smile sweetly, go quiet, you have offered. Do no more. Allow the drift. You will feel better for it!

FadedRed Tue 14-Jul-15 18:09:25

I don't see you can do much more than you are doing, OP. If they are capable of visiting you and choose not to, then that's their loss. Stick to short visits when you can, but with a new baby that's not likely to be very often.

ROARmeow Tue 14-Jul-15 20:52:53

This OP reminded me a bit of my own relationship with my in-laws.

OP, does your DH acknowledge any fault your MIL or FIL has? Or does he back them totally and tell you that it's you that has the problem?

Your answer to those questions will help you work out what you're dealing with.

You're pregnant and have other DC. My advice is to focus on them and on yourself as you get ready for labour.

Your PIL are adults, you (sadly) can't force them to behave the way you think they should.

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