Horrible Mother in law to be, cultural differences and feeling alone :(

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
3643 posts
Sugar bee

My mother in law is the same way. I wrote her out of my life, after 30 years of marriage – 7 years ago. I found that distance was the only cure. 

Post # 3
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Bump. Wow. That’s crazy. I’m dealing with FMIL issues right now and have been since the beginning. The only solution I ever had was I decided to just stay away from her. Even on holidays. Birthdays. Everything I avoid her and she can’t attack me with hurtful words anymore this way. I honestly don’t know what your going to do 🙁

Post # 5
1201 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: A very pretty church.

With the timing it sounds like this started when you moved in together, which for some cultures is a huge taboo and really shameful, that may explain (not excuse) her sudden 180? Alternatively she could be unhappy about your upcoming marriage and be trying to put you off? Are there any other intercultural marriages in the family?

In the end though whatever the culture if your fiancé can’t see your side and isn’t supportive of you then this sounds like a bad idea. No woman marries her partner so she can come second to ‘mother dearest’ 

Post # 6
47 posts

Is this the same FI as you talked about in your prior thread whom you werent sure you wanted to be with because of several issues between you? It sounds like this hasnt been a healthy relationship for a LONG time, and MIL issues are only making it worse.


I would think long and hard before marrying him and make sure you arent just doing so to gain a family- albeit one that doesnt treat you great. You deserve to find happiness… Your posts worry me that you may be settling.

Post # 7
123 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

lovestoned_x:  Ah, Asian parents. I have a pair, and it will soon be two pairs after getting married. A lot of what your FMIL is saying sounds pretty extreme, but here are some possible interpretations on her behavior– which is not to say she should be excused for being a royal b*tch, but perhaps might help you see things from her view. 

  • She says that she will come round and stay whenever she wants because she helped pay for the flat and therefore it’s hers.

Traditionally in Asia, children are responsible for caring for their parents in old age due to a lack of social security, pensions, and other retirement related social services. She may feel that her son might abandon her after you get married.

  • I am 5″8 and a size 6-8 and she said to me I looked “chubby” on some recent photographs and fat (“but I’m sure it’s just the angle”)

I’m a size 0, and when I travel to Asia, I’m considered a ‘medium’ or ‘large’. A lot of Asians perpetually see Westerners as fat, regardless of height:weight ratio. It’s also a somewhat of a compliment (less so nowadays) because if you look “chubby”, it means you are healthy and able to feed yourself =\

  • Almost every wedding idea I’ve shown her she says looks “ugly” and tacky.

It is “different” from what she knows. Thinking outside of the circle is definitely harder in Asian cultures.

  • That I should give up my work and get a regular 9-5 job to support my husband’s creative dream.

She’s worried that you two won’t be able to support yourselves and herself/FFIL later down the line.

  • That boys are more important than girls and how everyone dreams of having a son (“that’s all every parent wants”).

Yup, boys are traditionally preferred because they carry on the family name. Ignore her. If your firstborn is a girl, tell her it’s hubby’s sperm that made the decision. That should shut her up.

  • That there was no way in Hell her son was ever having a baby out of wedlock with me.

Asian parents have this weird notion that if you are living together, then omg-you-will-have-babies. And if you have babies out of wedlock, then omg-shame-upon-the-family-honor. Tell her that you sleep in separate rooms or some other ridiculous lie that she knows not to be true, if it eases her mind about unwarranted babies. I had a pair of friends who lived together for a year before getting married, and every time their parents came to visit, they would sleep in separate bedrooms and make a fuss about “his” room vs “her” room even though it was blatantly obvious that all their things were in the same room. Shrug.


Best of luck to you.

Post # 8
24 posts

I’ve worked with a lot of people of Asian and Indian backgrounds and they tend to frown upon marrying outside the culture and living together before marriage. You mentioned she and his dad were very much period of there culture. So this is probably a huge issue to them. She also may be one of those over bearing mom’s who believe no one is good enough for their baby. 

Post # 10
5808 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

lovestoned_x:  the issue isn’t your FMIL, it’a your FI. He isn’t standing up for you and making it clear to her that he is 100% behind you. She is treating you like this because he allows her to. I told my DH that I will always back him up in regards to my family even if I disagree with him. We can work out the disagreement behind closed doors between the 2 of us, but in front of them, I always choose him. 

From your earlier post I get the feeling that you are so focused on ‘being married’ (to anyone, just to have a family and social network) that you haven’t really analyzed the situtaion for the way it really is (not how you hope it can be).

If nothing changed- FMIL is still mean to you, FI keeps siding with her and all the other problems you mentioned in your other post- would you marry him? Imagine 5 years from now–still the same. 10 years…20 years… 

Most of the problems you have today, you will have for the rest of your marriage. Only marry him if you can accept (not just put up with) this situation (and him) 100% exactly the way it is now. 

Post # 11
905 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

lovestoned_x:  I would never put up with it, especially the comment about having a female child.  I’ve studied anthropology in college, I understand ethnocentrism and how different cultures are – but no, this wouldn’t fly for me, and that would literally be the end of it and “us.”  I refuse to raise a daughter in any way, shape, or form where I even get a HUNCH she will be treated differently, or loved differently, than a son would.

It also sounds like your FI needs to cut the cord with his mother, too, sorry to say.  It sounds like your opinion/feelings will always come second to hers and his family.  Do you think you can put up with that for years and years to come… ?

Post # 12
5208 posts
Bee Keeper

lovestoned_x:  Honestly, my approach with the MIL would be to just nod and smile and keep things as superficial as possible. You aren’t going to change her or her personality. There is no point in beding over backwards for someone who will never appreciate it. This isn’t a refelection on you, it’s a reflection on her.

I believe that a wedding should be a joyous occassion for the couple, not something full of stressful family drama that puts people in the poor house. Have the wedding you and your FI want, that will make you the most happy. If that means eloping and having a reception party later, do that. If it means having a huge formal wedding that MIL thinks is tacky, oh well. She is just gonna have to suck it up.

Post # 13
1201 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: A very pretty church.

lovestoned_x: Just to clarify because even though we’re already talking around big issues, big cultures with big generalisations… Your FI is a British man of ‘Asian’ heritage (Desi/Subcontinental as opposed to South East Asian)? Hindu? Muslim? Christian? The wedding ideas issue may be a straight up clash of cultural expectations/aesthetic. Small consolation though.

Post # 14
12865 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

nikkiibee:  studied anthropology in college, I understand ethnocentrism and how different cultures are

I’m sorry, but studying anthropolgy and having an knowledge of other cultures and concept of ethonocentrism  is hardly the same as have a true understanding and being open to people of that culture and how to deal with differences.  Understanding people from other cultures with different mind sets involves more than just writing them off and just ending a relationship to get away from it.  Should every Asian child cut the cord and disown their parents for having that belief? 

nuggetsoflove:  I’m Asian too and you hit the nail on the head with all of that.

My older relatives are very blunt, as is just about every Asian I know.  My mothers aunt told me I was getting fat cause my face was getting chubby.  Yeah, I’m 5’4, and had gained a few pounds putting me at 129… hardly fat.  A sales lady in China sent my friend into tears because she told her to buy a blue shirt instead of the red one cause she was fat and blue would be more slimming.  My grandmother told my cousin to eat less cause she was kinda big and unhealthy.   Don’t ever take “fat” comments from an Asian too seriously.

I’m kind of lost on this one, but if your mother made SIL a gift, why would you expect MIL to thank her for it.  Shouldn’t SIL thank her for it??  If my mother gave SIL a present for her baby, I wouldn’t expect MIL to say thank you, she’s not the one receiving the gift.

Post # 15
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014


So sorry you are going through this.  I am going to assume that your definition of “Asian” means East Asians, just because I’m Korean and I am more familiar with that culture.

Asian culture, as PP mentioned, can be very strict, close-minded, and behind the new generation thoughts.  I went through a whole lot with my in-laws during my relationship with my DH (as can be seen in my previous posts).  

Try not to take it by heart what your FMIL says/does, and try to understand where she is coming from (e.g. her culture, her lifestyle, etc).   It’s hard, I know, especially when things seem personal – but you cannot control how your FMIl thinks/acts/behaves, so all you can do is adjust yourself accordingly.  I could be as simple as that you are misunderstanding her (e.g. she behaves the same way with everyone she feels comfortable with, and you are feeling offended because you have your own personal rules/comfort zone).

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