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What Happens When a Husband Confides in His Mom Before His Wife?

What Happens When a Husband Confides in His Mom Before His Wife?

A story shared by a Circle of Moms member named Diana illustrates the enormous impact a mother-in-law's presence can have on a family: “My mother-in-law lives in our home in her own separate apartment. She constantly meddles in everything that goes on. She's highly opinionated and talks behind my back. My husband sides with his mother. I feel like I am losing my kids and my place in my own home."

Diana is far from alone. Many Circle of Moms members find that dealing with a strong and opinionated mother-in-law, particularly one who has a tight bond with their partner, is incredibly complicated. The question at the heart of this discussion is whether a man's closeness to his mother become inappropriate once he marries. Here, Circle of Moms members weigh in on both sides of the debate.

Yes; It damages the husband-wife bond

On the 'it’s not acceptable' front, Emma S. offers this advice for women whose husbands sideline behind the scenes with their moms. “You seriously need to tell your husband to get some guts and tell your mother-in-law to butt out."


Sarah K. agrees, stressing that a tight relationship between a husband and his mom is discomfiting to his wife for good reason. “The other night my husband went to see his mom. They had a big talk and he talked about a few things that he could not talk to me about. I was not happy about that."


This kind of secrecy strikes a nerve for Circle of Moms member Keli as well, but she points out that it's good when "a husband is not bottling up his feelings," even if his confidante is his mom rather than his wife. She suggests urging him to share with you and making it clear that you are "all ears.”

No: Both husband and wife benefit

On the other side, several Circle of Moms members say there is nothing at all wrong or scandalous about a grown-up son sharing his feelings with his mother. “It's his mother and we all probably talk to our mother (or someone else that's neutral) about things you can't talk to our spouse about,” points out Erica O. “If you want to vent or just have other human contact other than your husband, you go to someone else."

Other members agree that a "third-party" ear can be a good thing in a husband-wife relationship, as some conversations have better outcomes if you give them a test run with someone else, first. As Megan R. shares, this works to everyone's benefit: “I have conversations with my mom that I can't have with my husband and I have conversations about my mom that I obviously can't have with her. There are things that my husband will only talk to his dad about (he and his mom aren't close) that he doesn't feel he can discuss with me.”

Several Circle of Moms members, including Marybelle K., feel that a close bond between a husband and his mother is fine as long as the husband still treats his wife as his primary confidante. “He should communicate with you, but I don't think that he should not be able to talk to anyone else about things either. If he has one other person whom he feels he can be honest with and maybe get some outside feedback on things, I don't see a problem with it."


She's one of several moms who urge their peers to learn to live with their husbands' closeness to the very first women who loved them. “This is a difficult situation,” says Susanne Y. "But I think making him choose between his mom and you will not do you any good.”

Kathy S. is another. She reminds moms in this situation that "A mother is always a mother. It would be great if couples could talk to each other about everything, but this is the real world. Be thankful it was his mother and not some other woman."

Does your husband check in with his mom before you?

Image Source: LarryJay99 via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
YellowRose60274 YellowRose60274 4 years
I believe there are certain things that a person may confide in to their parents about before their spouse. Usually with your parents, there is a bond there that you automatically know they are not going to judge you for something. There have been a few times where I talked to my parents about some of my issues before I went to my husband. It is not because I didn't respect my husband or that I did not trust him, but I just felt I wanted to talk to my parents about the situation first, that way they could give me advice how i could approach the situation with my husband, seeing that they were married for over 30 years and had a lot more experience than I had about handling certain situations. My husband does not have a relationship with his mother, by his own choice. She is the type that thinks her sons should always choose their mother over their own wife. Before, if my husband didn't get his way, she would baby him, coddle him and tell him what a horrible wife I was. He then realized what she was doing and it stopped immediately. He got tired of her disrespecting me. When I would confide in my parents, I was seeking advice and they would give it to me, in a non judging way. Her on the other hand, did not. I believe it certain situations it is okay to go to your parents to seek advice, guidance, etc... not just so you can hide things from your spouse, that is not right. My husband and I have a very open line of communication in our marriage, it has taken us time as it does most newlyweds. It has taken us time to learn our boundaries and how we can effectively communicate with the other, we have been together for 6 years now and we are still in a learning process. Yes, sometimes I still go to my parents for advice and guidance on certain things, but I still will discuss things with my husband.
KarinVanDalen KarinVanDalen 5 years
This is the exact problem I had with husband and his mother. I don't call her my mother in law anymore because we no longer have a relationship. He would tell his mother every time he and I had an argument and he confided things to her that he didn't to me. I found out at one point that he had been going to her for money when things were tight for us and she threw that in my face. It was the first time I'd heard about it. She is an awful woman. Talks about me behind my back to anyone who will listen. She even had the gall to call my parents to bad mouth me. It got to the point that she would tell him to come visit her without me and then she'd start bad mouthing me to him (he didn't defend me) and at one point she convinced him to leave me and our son. I think husbands need to LEAVE AND CLEAVE like it says in the Bible.
JenniferWiseman JenniferWiseman 5 years
A third party ear is one thing.... When that person is your mother in law, it's a different issue altogether....
LesliePartington15517 LesliePartington15517 5 years
My husband used to talk to Mommy all the time. So much so that she is part of the reason that there was a divorce. He would not trust my judgement on things. "You don't use logic" was a great conversation starter that of course turned nasty. "My mother is very logical" was another one. Well, I am remarried to a man who is gentle and respectful of me. The ex lives like a pig with no mommy to bail him out. Good riddance to good rubbish!!
TerralynPolege TerralynPolege 5 years
I was the daughter in law who always took second place to his mother and no i was not immature as suggested in some replies. He chose to go to him mother's house and shovel snow over going to get medication for our very sick baby. We had one car, i had no access to our money which he also gave freely to his parents, made sure their bill were paid before ours. So before suggesting a person is immature because they feel they are being forced out of their rightful palce in a marriage relationship i think you need the whole story. In my case i was being forced out, i was told i couldn';t cook as well as his mommy, coudln't clean as well as his mommy... you get the picture. I was forced out of my place in the home and when i got the chance i left and 14 years later i still think i made the best decision for me and my children. Men need to grow up too. I am not saying that all men are like my ex here either but i noticed that the women need to grow up comments come from mom's who are most likely close to their son's and see their daughters in law as a threat to their relationship with their son. Both relationships can exist and be healthy as long as both sides have respect for each other and mom doesn't expect to be put before the wife, like it or not he chose to marry the woman he is with and as a mom you have to respect that and show respect for his wife and maybe you can be close to your son without causing problems between him and his wife. I do know of many relationships where both sides have close relationships with their parents and no one feels threatened so it is possible.
CindyJackson72211 CindyJackson72211 5 years
it's ok 2 b close 2 ur mother but if she is wrong about what she is doin gor saying the son should stick up 4 his wife!! this is why sooooooooooooo many relationships fail coz they're afraid of their mothers, ur not married 2 ur mother ur wife comes 1st!! GET A BACK BONE PPL
DianneMcNeill DianneMcNeill 5 years
This article confuses two seperate issues. If a man is close to his Mom and sometimes confides in her, that should not be a cause for jealousy. Any woman with a decent relationship with her mother will sometimes do the same thing. If she is insecure about her husband loving and sometimes confiding in his own mother, some self-reflection is in order. However, a mother-in-law who puts down her son's wife, attempts to displace her in her own home, and generally disrespects her daughter-inlaw...well, that is another matter entirely. Boundaries need to be established in that case - ideally not by the daugher-in-law, but by the son. NO ONE should sit idly by while ANYONE tries to displace their spouse, even if it's their own parent. As the mother of 3 sons, my hope is that I will teach my son appropriate boundaries for all relationships, including the one with me! I also intend to treat their spouses with respect and care. If my sons ever come to me at inappropriate times, I hope I will be able to redirect them back to their spouses. From my point of view, that's still parenting - and in that case, being a good parent to one's adult child means not being possessive, competing, or disrepecting their choice of partners. It may not always be easy, but when has parenting ever been easy? My responsibility to do the right thing as their Mom doesn't end when they grow up.
law0621 law0621 5 years
Every woman knows there will be a mother-in-law. If you can't deal with it call the wedding off!!!!!!!!!
LisaRojas89637 LisaRojas89637 5 years
What about when he puts your mother first. My husband is constantly going behind my back to complain about me to my mom. He tells her I am lazy and do no housework. My mother lives with us due to financial reasons. He will then complain about her to me, or tell me she is angry at my lack of help. My mom and I get together to compare notes, and found all this out. I work 2 jobs, do the cooking, some of the laundry, grocery shoping and helpwith the dishes. I think that is a good share of the work, My mom works 50-60 hrs a week also and has health issues that limit her mobility. We had agreed on what each of us was responsble for, but now he wants to change the rules. I take care of my portion of the bills, and my mom takes care of hers.
JudyBortolotti JudyBortolotti 5 years
I think it is wonderful when a man is able to confide to his mother and ask her opinon, but his WIFE should be his main confidant. Also, her husband should NEVER cross the line and talk to his Mother about marital issues. That is setting up a breakdown in the relationship between his wife and his mother.
HannahMayhew HannahMayhew 5 years
It can be difficult at times if you feel like second fiddle but turn it around have your mpther in law as your confidante too. It can work both ways.
Courtney28578 Courtney28578 5 years
I found myself considerably bothered for some time after reading the responses posted following this topic. I believe that embedded within much of the text is the root of the universal mother-in-law/daughter-in-law issue. I believe that as mother's we often get wrapped up into touting the flag of 'labor, blood, sweat, and tears' as if it's our cross to bear. We parade the flag about in front of our friends, especially the young, non, or soon-to-be mothers, and expect all others to acknowldege that our cross is the largest and heaviest. The problem with this habit is that it's self-centered in nature. Using it as a 'one-up' to anyone, especially our child's significant other, is making all things about ourselves. It lacks the acknowledgement that our child did not ask us to bear that cross and, more importantly, it shames the honor we have as mothers in doing so. We should never do things for the ones we love if our intent will be to use it as a 'you-owe-me' in the future. Our job as wives and mothers within our family unit is to partner with our spouse to care for one another and to raise happy, healthy, productive adults that contribute to society. It is the difference between the belief that our children are of us rather than pass through us. We might also caution ourselves against assuming that issues with our daughter-in-laws revolve around immaturity. Ultimately, our judgement on anothers maturity level might be more a reflection of our lack of understanding about their insecurities. Becoming a wife and mother can be a very difficult thing and feeling confident and secure in the relationship she's building with her spouse is often the only signs she might have that she's succeeding. It's important to remember that the success of a marriage is based on healthy levels of trust and intimacy. For men, intimacy can quickly be encompassed in physical connections. These connections are really about more than just 'sex.' It's about sex, adequacy, love and trust. For women, intimacy is much more intricate and is based on communication. When a wife feels comfortable to confide in her partner and knows that he desires to come to her with his innermost dreams, aspirations, and concerns, she feels secure in her intimacy and bond to him. When her husband instead chooses to communicate these thoughts to his mother, it can be felt as a breach of trust. It breeds a level of insecurity and a violation of healthy marital intimacy. Almost like cheating, it can be felt as if he is choosing another women over his spouse. Our role as mothers is to love our sons and prepare them to be the best husbands and fathers possible. Letting them go and respecting the boundaries necessary to enter into the union of marriage is part of this process. This topic is not about forcing a choice. It's about acknowledging that we have served gallently as parents and it is time to encourage our sons to partner with their spouses to do the same for their own children. My advice is to include both spouses in the conversation. If, as a mother, you find your son asking to confide in you about concerns affecting his marriage, encourage him to bring his spouse to the conversation as well. Encourage them to utilize a counselor that can remain impartial while assisting them in developing the lasting tools necessary for a successful marriage. Acknowledge the need for this new young family to set their own boundaries and create their own traditions and try to see the honor in being invited into some of these new traditions. Support her need to find security in her relationship with the man you raised.
CoMMember13631069310646 CoMMember13631069310646 5 years
As a mother in law x2 I have an opinion on this and while I disagree wholeheartedly with any mother in law "meddling", I have witnessed firsthand how most young women are immature and feel threatened by their spouse's relationship with his mother. It should be taken as a good sign when a son has a good close relationship with his mother. Some younger more immature women feel as if their spouse has become their property and that his continued close relating as a son, brother to his mom and siblings is a threat as they have an issue with control. I say encourage a healthy relationship it can only be good for the grandchildren as long as the mother in law is coming from a good place in her heart and not meddling
NolaMarth NolaMarth 5 years
Our Adult son talks to both of his parents...we taught him that things need to be discussed and options explored... However.. we do...ONLY when asked... point out variables he might have missed but it stops there. We NEVER tell him what to do... that is between them and none of our business. The next suggestion is always... talk to your wife. Quite honestly, as a mom in law, I take her side more often than his because I have been in her shoes. I would say their relationship is probably easier because we are close to our son. Plus, my husband is a wonderful man and has modelled reasonable behavior to our kids. It helps that our Daughter in law is also an awesome person. She lets us love her too. As far as choosing? A husband and wife always come first, then kids, then friends, then parents. My parents took us hostage for 20 years because of Mom's health so I have been on the other side and it sucks. Wouldn't ever do that to our kids.
AyanAbdullahi AyanAbdullahi 5 years
any woman who makes her husband choose her against his mother is living with a looser who has no value in life. The woman who carried you, birth you, brought you up, cried for you and stayed up for you verses someone you met who gives you can any decent human compare the two relationship. One based on blood, sweat and mercy and the other one based on companionship
DustySowards DustySowards 5 years
My husband doesn't "check in" with his mom. But he does talk to her about things; they are very close. I would never want to take that bond away from them, after all, how would I feel once my sons marry, if their wives didn't want them having discussions with me? I would be pretty upset. However, a man should never have to "choose" between his wife & mother. There are some things that are better left between a wife & husband, that the in-laws (on both sides) need to stay out of, such as when it comes to parenting. Just ask yourself how you would feel if your husband didn't want you going to your best friend, or one of your parents about something that you truly felt was an issue you needed their opinion on.
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