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You Asked: My In-Laws Hate Me

Dear Sugar,

I would like to be closer to my in-laws, but it's difficult since my in-laws don't seem to like me. They will give my husband a birthday check for $1,000 while my birthday gift will be $20 worth of scratch off lottery tickets. Whatever food I bring to parties, my Mother-in-Law makes a sour face when she tastes it. One time, she invited my husband and son to France and didn't invite me! I have to do something. My sister refuses to even visit her in-laws and this seems to work for her but what other options do I have?

—Tired of Being Left Out Tiffany

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Tired of Being Left Out Tiffany,

Keeping your feelings inside is the worst thing you can do. Things are just going to build and build until one day you'll explode, and your in-laws won't know where it's coming from.

The best thing to do is invite them over for dinner and have a talk with them about how you feel. Make sure your husband knows about your side of the situation so he can be there to back you up. Tell them you're upset by how they treat you so coldly, and that you think of them as family and wish you were closer. Ask them why they act this way, and if there's anything you've done to make them not like you. Give your in-laws examples of their behavior or things they've said so they can better understand where you're coming from. Who knows, they may not have any idea that you're feeling this way or even be aware of how their actions are coming across so remember that things can only improve from there.

If they get defensive and aren't willing to try to become closer, than there's really nothing else you can do. Show them you are the bigger person, try to reach a common ground, and if things don't improve, I wouldn't want to spend time with them either! Good luck.


Join The Conversation
DaddysDarlin DaddysDarlin 9 years
OK here's my 2 cents, I think you should talk to them face to face. Now I don't mean to confront, that isn't necessary, tell them that when they invited your husband and son to France and not you, that it hurt you and you would like to know why you were left out. This puts the ball in their court, they have to answer. Also the next time she has a dinner, ask her what she would like you to bring, that way she has no reason to downplay your offering. I was in the same situation as you years ago, I found that being upfront and honest with them was the best thing for me.
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
I sympathize for you... my grandma never did like my mom for no reason at all & my mom has been biting her tongue and holding it in for 28 years until now. It's better to address this problem now then years from now, when soon your mother-in-law can make the excuse that she doesn't remember anything like that happening or that she didn't know(BOLOGNA!). Besides the chances are if this doesn't get addressed now, it will just continue to go on. It won't work until your hubby puts his foot down and confronts his parents. I can tell you that without a doubt.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
In my opinion, this is your husband's ultimate responsibility. He needs to be the one to confront her, he needs to be the one to state how things go. Talk to him first, make sure he understands the situation and how vital his support is to finding a solution. If he isn't willing to step up to the bat, then I'd seriously reconsider my respect level for him, but I don't assume from the start that he knows what's happening and is ignoring it. I will say the gift/money-giving situation wouldn't bother me at all. I don't expect equal gifts from my in-laws, I'm not their child. My husband should and does received much bigger/more significant gifts than I do.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
I can understand the bash the husband trend, however this guy might not realize how bad the situation is. We all think he should completely know and put his foot down...but there are people out there who are cluless about this sort of thing. I am not giving him an out, I just don't want blame him when I don't know the whole situation. My hubby sometimes doesn't realize how rude or mean a person's actions are. To him they are normal and it takes a lot of effort on my part to get him to understand the lack of respect. Maybe this guy needs the wife to have a lengthy discussion with him. I do agree that this is a battle the husband needs to fight. He needs to scope things out and see if there is a reason for this cruel behavior. He also needs to tell the family he will no longer stand for it. But, the wife needs to be willing to hear the "Really? We've done that?" responses because the in-laws may not realize the full effect of their behavior. Maybe it is normal in their circle to not invite spouses on trips. It doesn't make it any less weird, but that could be the case. Hopefully things can be mended. For the sake of the son and her sanity I think she should at least try. But, by no means she should be a pushover. She should stand up for herself in a respectful way if she needs to. Sorry for another long post. I am dealing with a weird FSIL so I have a thing or two to say. :)
rubialala rubialala 9 years
Wow, that's crazy. I can't believe they treat you like that. I'm surprised your husband stands for it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
My In-laws were terrible parents, and they still are. My husband and i eventually just decided to quite trying to make them something they arent, and focus our energy to something that can be fruitful. My mother in law can be very manipulative and immature and i used to let it bother me, not anymore.
geohiker geohiker 9 years
I agree with the other comments - this is your husband's family and he needs to be taking the lead in dealing with them. My in-laws are not really people I enjoy dealing with too much, but they are HIS family, not mine, so he can work with them. I just hang back and do my own thing and ignore any drama going on around them. (I have to deal with my own family and that is usually enough work!)
davisdavis davisdavis 9 years
Your husband needs to be clear that you and he are a package deal. Period. My mom didn't treat my husband like a permanent fixture until I made it clear that she had to do so. I made it clear that he was the most important person in my life, and if I had to see less (or none) of her due to her treatment of him, that was her choice. She fell in line (slowly, eventually), and now she's actually really sweet to him. This is something for your husband to handle, not you.
sofi sofi 9 years
What is your husband doing while this is all happening? Did he actually go on the trip or not get OFFENDED that they forgot you (on purpose). He needs to put his foot down and confront them about the disrespect they are showing you. Yes, that is his mother, but he chose you to marry and have a family with and that comes first no matter what! Don't worry about appearing jealous or anything because this is outright rude and disrespectful and it will be apparent to your child soon as well. I do feel strongly about this and think he needs to put them in his place. They don't accept you, they don't get to have him and your son around either. You are a family and a selfish MIL doesn't get to break that up. She needs to let go of her baby or whatever and let someone else be important in his life. She probably resents the fact that you have taken the place of being the most important woman in his life. It is his responsibility to put his foot down- you should not be put in that position. Good luck and I really feel for you.
onesong onesong 9 years
yowsa. i'm so sorry that you're going through this. i agree with dear about what needs to be said, but i TOTALLY disagree that you should be the one to say it-it needs to be your hubby. it will seem less confrontational if he does it, especially if he says something like "Tiffany would never say this, but she's REALLY upset about how you guys treat her. She's trying to be a good DIL, and when you guys do things like leave her out of family trips, or, mom, when you make faces about the things she cooks, it really hurts her feeligns. Has she ever done anything to you to make you feel this way?" We're all behind you and that MIL sounds like a witch. Good for you for being a bigger person and really wanting to work things out.
Daddisgrl Daddisgrl 9 years
I can so relate to this. A few years ago I started sending cards and tried to have some sort of relationship, even if it was just a card. What really hurt was when I sent her a card, she then forgot my birthday a few days later. When my hubby's Bday came around, he had more cards then he ever did. It was then that I said I've had enough and could care less about a relationship with her. I ended up finding out that this is the way she is, so one never knows. From what you wrote, this is her problem not yours. Hopefully your hubby backs you up because if he doesn't it will be hard.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i don't understand why you want to be close to people who have been disrespectful to you over and over again. it isn't healthy to be continually subjected to this type of treatment; you aren't "beneath" them. for some women NO ONE will ever be good enough for their son, but guess what; your mil doesn't have anything you need! you have her son and her grandson and your dh needs to tell his mommy dearest that you are a family, a package deal. unless all of you are included none of you will be joining her little gatherings. you have more power than you know. stop accepting doormat treatment and start calling the shots. she may be your mil but she sounds like a mean bitch who enjoys putting you down. you are going to have trouble down the road if your son gets the message that momy isn't worth respecting.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Talk to your husband if it isn't already apparent to him, he needs to back you up. You're his wife now and they need to respect that.
MamaD MamaD 9 years
My mother in law hates me because I'm married to her son. She liked me when we were dating but as soon as the ring went on me finger she started hating me. The real reason is that she wants her son to live home with her and remain a bachelor the rest of his life. When I came into the picture, he was separated from his first wife and all his mother did was name call and say how much she hated her. Once the divorce was final, his mother began calling his ex and being all friendly toward her. I've learned that my mother in law is mentally unbalanced and my husband realizes this as well. He set her straight that I was here to stay and she would never get her wish. She said she'd never accept me and that was the last thing he heard as he left and never went back. Sometimes you get the great guy but he comes with so-so family.
Marci Marci 9 years
I agree with gwendals. That invitation to France was a huge snub. I'm not sure it has everything to do with you. A lot of parents don't do well letting go, and that might be the case here. At any rate, as others have said - your husband has to back you up on this. He has to stand behind you. If he doesn't, things won't ever change. If he does, it might take some time, but I think things will thaw over time. But get it resolved before you have kids or else you'll feel every slight from them about how you're raising them.
gwendals gwendals 9 years
tiffany - i cannot BELIEVE that they would have the GALL to invite your husband and son to France and deliberately leave you out! my mother went through something very similar and nothing she did ever changed her in-laws. some people are just very cold and bitter and unwilling to accept others into their family, whatever the reason. my advice to you is to just stay away from these people. hopefully, your husband sees how they treat you and is appalled. if he's not, then that is a very bad sign. if he has a good relationship with them, i would ask him to speak to them about this, if you really want contact with these people. (i wouldn't, but that's just me). perhaps they will take his point of view seriously, and start treating you with the respect you deserve. i would also limit the amount of time your son spends with them. not in a vengeful way, but if they do not respect you enough to treat you in a dignified manner, they do not deserve to spend time with YOUR son. what is that teaching him? if they want a healthy relationship with your son, they need to work on the relationship they have with you. no way in hell would i let my son see them, they sound like a-holes. i sincerely hope your husband is in your corner on this one. good luck and i hope it all works outs!
engchik engchik 9 years
It's time for your husband to step up. what does he do when your MIL is acting like such a b*tch? he married you...he is not still with her....he needs to make it clear that you are the one in his life...and if he does not, HE needs to hear it loud and clear...i had a friend who went thru this, scary, but you gotta tell the hubby to stand up for you or else. good luck!
Nitrobezene Nitrobezene 9 years
It's not your fault they don't like you so what more can you do? If they want to be nasty and bitter towards you, then so be it. You deserve way better than that. What comes around goes around.
ClassicsDiva ClassicsDiva 9 years
Make sure your husband backs you up on this! I think a lot of perceived snubs can be attributed to shyness and awkwardness, and it might not be realistic to expect to even be super-close to them, but inviting your husband and your son to France and not you is way way harsh, and deliberate exclusion. Your husband's first reaction to that invitation should have been, "Why isn't Tiffany invited?" If he thinks that this is normal behavior for in-laws, or knows that his parents hate you and is okay with it, then you won't be able to make any progress. He should be staunchly in your corner, backing you up, supporting you, and trying to include you with his parents whenever possible (and appropriate). It's not wrong for parents to want some alone time with their son every once in a while, but this is bordering on open hostility. I know this because my grandparents treated my mom this way for a long time, and they didn't see the error of their ways until my dad stood up for her. Your in-laws might not listen to you, but if they love their son as much as it seems, they should listen to him. Good luck.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Try to plan something sweet and special for you and his mom, like a spa treatment or something else that you know she is interested in that you could share with and invite just her, that way the two of you can catch up and try to bond. If you make an effort to personally get involved with just her, she may break that wall down that's causing the divide. Or if you want to bring a meal then try to say you'd really like to bring something and ask what she would appreciate. Some people are just very closed to the idea of bringing new people into their close knit of family, even if you are married in. But just be patient and if you have to, then go out of your way to make an effort. If it works, then it will totally be worth the stretch in the long run and you will be accepted, if not then you truly did do all that you can. Good Luck!
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