Post # 1
After combing the boards for advice on this issue, I thought I should just post myself 🙂 Bees always seems to have good advice.
My fiance’s bother’s wife, let’s call her Susan, is a very cold woman. She had a tough childhood, so she has a hard time trusting people and in general is vey stand-offish. I have come to accept that my relationship with her will never be close, but it is cordial. She is a good mother and cook, so I have centered my time with her around her (wonderful) children that I love, and cooking with her. She can be demanding (having everything revolve around her schedule, everything is at her house and on her timeline) but my fiance is good about setting boundaries. My relationship with Susan works. I know what to expect out of it.
I have a good relationship with my future mother in law. She is warm, funny, and very caring. But lately I (and everyone else in the family) have felt forgotten and ignored. My FMIL is NOT okay with her relationship with Susan. Susan is even colder towards her than she is towards me. She snaps at my FMIL all the time, talks down to her, and seems resentful of her presence when she is around. Instead of distancing herself from Susan, my FMIL works HARDER for her approval. She spends more time with her than anyone else in the family. When we are together as a whole family, she cowtows to Susan’s every wish, running around cleaning up for her, helping with the children, and generally altering her personality so it isn’t offensive towards Susan. (Susan is very conservative while my FMIL is a loud, old hippie). No one else exists when Susan is around. This is true for my fiance, my fiance’s sister, even my future father in law!
This is a pattern with her, trying hard to win over those that don’t like her. Her mom was also cold, so my FMIL has been this way her whole life. It has gotten to the point where I feel that she is prioritizing improving her relationship with Susan so much that she and I don’t spend any time together. It sounds crazy and I know many women don’t feel this way, but I miss my FMIL! I know other people in the family feel the same way, but I don’t feel it is my place to speak with her about others. I want to address MY feelings with her, but I don’t want to sound like a diva. Anyone have ideas about how to talk with her about my feelings? Should this be something my fiance handles? Or should I speak for myself in this situation? I don’t want to overstep my bounds but I also don’t want to have my fiance always “fight my battles.” Thanks in advance.
Post # 2
- Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley
I think you’re right not to speak with FMIL about FSIL. The best you can probably do is to continue to try getting together with FMIL. Make plans & whatnot. I hope you start getting more quality time with her!
Post # 3
No. There is nothing you can say along these lines that will come off well (to either party concerned). Also, I don’t think you should get your FI involved since this is your deal. I understand your feelings are real, but they’re just that…your feelings. You just do your part and let the other adults do theirs. Good luck!
Post # 4
Wow, I am in a VERY similar situation. FMIL has finally just kind of given up on my FI’s brother’s wife, they have had issues for so long. I get along ok with FSIL, but we have only been around each other a few times. For years my FMIL would try and get so caught up in attempting to appease my FSIL. If you have a good relationship with your FMIL, talk to her about your feelings, not so much her relationship with FSIL. I spoke to my FMIL about it. I also get compared to FSIL, A LOT, it is always “you’re the sweet one” or “We are happy you aren’t like (FSIL’s name),” etc. It makes me uncomfortable, I don’t want to be compared to her, even if they are nice things being said, I just want to be known for myself. After speaking to my FMIL she understood where I was coming from, and things aren’t brought up as much. Maybe you could plan on a lunch together, or coffee, so just you and FMIL can chat. Hope it gets better! It took my FMIL like 7 years to finally just let go of trying to have a good relationship with FSIL and focus on everyone else.
ADD: I didn’t speak to her about her relationship with FSIL, I just spoke to her about how I would like us to spend more time together and I don’t feel comfortable being compared to FSIL. Their relationship is between them, so I left that part alone.
Post # 5
Their relationship is their relationship and there’s really nothing you could say that would change anything if that’s just her personality.
I would just start inviting her to do more things with you alone or with you and your FI. Maybe once she realizes how much easier it is to hang out with you, she’ll distance herself in her own time.
But don’t get involved by saying anything or having your FI say anything
Post # 6
I think you should speak to your FMIL. Don’t mention anybody else including FSIL and just tell her you miss her and want to talk and hang out more when you are together with everybody. Don’t point out she runs after FSIL or anything like that. Just keep it simple. Just say when you guys are all together you have been noticing lately you don’t get to talk to her that much anymore.
Post # 7
I absolutely agree with you all that I shouldn’t talk about my FSIL in this conversation. If the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t want her getting in the middle of our relationship. I think I will be more proactive about setting up alone time, letting my FMIL know how important it is to me, and see how that goes. Her interactions with my FSIL will be off limits. Thanks everyone!
Post # 8
MrsClumsy: That’s amazing how close it is to my situation. I too have been called the “fun” one, the “nice” one. I addressed that a while ago because it did make me feel very uncomfortable. The fact that your MIL was able to focus on her positive relationships gives me hope!
Post # 9
SFBride2015: I’m glad it gives you some hope. It was really difficult when all of the things you are going through were going on. It has been within the last year that she threw in the towel. She and my FSIL don’t really interact with each other anymore, when they do it is just cordial greetings and then stay away from each other. My FMIL still wants a relationship with her, but I am semi-friendly with FSIL (now the only person in the family who is) as well and she wants nothing to do with FMIL anymore. It is sad, but a lot better than watching my FMIL (who I love) get upset and hurt time and time again by the way FSIL treated her. Granted, there are always two sides to every story and my FMIL had some fault in their issues, I’m just happy it isn’t going on anymore.