In-Laws Treating Me Like I'm My Husband's Secretary

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
1108 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I wouldn’t even tell my DH that his parents called/texted my phone for him.  By doing so, you’re still acting as their secretary.

Ignore it all, say nothing, and eventually they will contact only your husband. 


Post # 4
2649 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@marie_antoinette:  I think you’re doing the right thing by not responding. If it were me, I think I would reply after work and say something pointed about sorry for not responding sooner because *I* was at work.

alternately, you could ask your husband to gently tell them that unless it’s an emergency to please contact him directly if they want to talk to HIM and that you BOTH work and that it’s no more appropriate for them to call YOU at work Than him. 

Post # 5
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@marie_antoinette:  I think you should tell your DH to tell his parents to text him and not you.  He could say something like, “mom if you want to talk to me can you just text or call me please? I hate hearing through someone else that you’d like to speak to me.”  

Post # 6
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - The Fox Hill Inn

@marie_antoinette:  My mom actually did this to my SIL to get in touch with my bro. She has a habit of calling every number she has for you 2 or 3x in a row (cell, home, work). She’s not very patient.

I’m not 100% sure how SIL got her to stop, but I think it was mainly by not responding at all. While it annoyed my mom for a bit she got over it and stopped using SIL to get in touch with my bro. Instead she just got used to my bro calling her back when she left him a voicemail instead of nagging SIL. Both my bro and SIL have told my mom they don’t text (of course they do!) but they 100% will not respond if my mom texts them because they don’t want her to think she can always get in touch with them. Mom doesn’t believe they don’t text, but she doesn’t text them because she’s been trained not to.

My mom also once called DH when we were just dating becaue she called me and I hadn’t responded yet (it had been a few hours). DH was so shocked he responded, “I don’t know where she is! I’m not her keeper!” And since then, mom has not used DH to get in touch with me (he would be so pissed if she did that).

Long story short, my mom is like your MIL. You can either outright tell her to stop, or just ignore her and stop responding and relaying messages and hope she gets the point.

Post # 7
3787 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Your DH needs to address this. I agree with a PP about the fact you’re still acting like his secretary. Tell him, “Babe, I can’t let this go on. I’d love to talk to them, but from here out if they call text me just to talk to you, I’m not going to respond or pass on the message. They need to learn that they need to talk to you directly. Calling or texting me is not ok unless it’s a severe medical emergency or a fire.”

Then it’s up to DH to reinforce this with his parents directly.

Post # 8
579 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@marie_antoinette:  this is weird for me because im encouraging my in-laws to ask me if they need us to help with something rather than phoning my dh. He always ends up asking me anyway because im the one who remembers our plans.. i get random calls when he is away to make sure im ok and to find out how he is because he is out of contact and/or doesnt tell them the true severity of things. Id just ask them next time you see them to please call him instead. Thats all i have done and it works wonders. 

Post # 9
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@marie_antoinette:  hmmmmmm is there something more going on here that you don’t see?  Do they think this is a way to get closer to you….in some deranged way?

We don’t have a land line anymore because we didn’t use it AT ALL and it seemed silly to pay for it.

If my phone is off, my mom will my husband’s phone looking for me.  On the same token, sometimes when she’s calling my husband’s phone- she’s actually looking to talk to him.  She doesn’t do it constantly, but often enough.  It doesn’t really bother either one of us.

In your case….why they’d say “we dont’ want to bother him while he’s at work”– and then think it’s OK to bother you– is your line of work more “allowing” to personal phone calls?  LOL  Just trying to think of reasons where they might think this is acceptable.

Personally, because they are family- I don’t think just ignoring them is a good way to break a habit.  Maybe they truly think this is OK, and they don’t realize it’s not.  Just because someone might not be on the same page– doesn’t mean you should just ignore them.  If you don’t want to talk to them about something, then have your husband ask them why they think it’s ok to “bother” you at work, but not him.

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s not hard to talk to them yourself- and politely tell them that they can just call your husband’s phone and he will get back to them as soon as he can.  Yes, they are your husband’s parents- but you still have a relationship with them.  

Post # 10
992 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

Ugh! Yes, my DHs whole family does this to me! It’s because he always has his phone forwarded to work and he instructs his secretary not to pass along non-business call during the workday. So in their mind that means call me! They also have gotten in the habit of it so they Call me on the weekend as well. Not only that but his parents only call me or email to make plans. As if I’m the only one that can watch things and on our calendar.! Its so bad that even his grandma and aunts and uncles call me to ask how we’re doing instead of him. I never speak to any of my aunts and uncles on the phone so it’s super awkward. I think it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with in order to have a good relationship with his family though. it’s a small price to pay for having in like that actually care about our lives and we want to be involved. It also makes my husband’s life easier so I’ll take the bullet on that one too.

Post # 11
992 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

 sorry about the random words, Ugh phone!

Post # 12
6048 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

My MIL calls my phone, so do both my SIL’s.  I think it’s sort of trying to reach out to me.  I mean since he has to check with me to make sure we don’t have plans, I’m alot more on top of what is going on, they just go to me.  It’s fine because that’s how my family works too, I have four brother’s and I talk to them via email but if we need to set up plans, I just call their wives.  


Post # 13
413 posts
Helper bee

“No idea. I’ll let him know you called when I see him tonight”. And then tell him sometimes, forget for a few days sometimes.. if it’s urgent they’ll call him anyway.

Post # 14
728 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My MIL does the same thing. She always texts me to have DH call her or emails me asking about DH. In her defense, DH is terrible at responding on his own phone or email whereas I am on my email all day long at work and I always check my phone before leaving work. It really doesn’t bother me at all. 


Post # 15
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

My ILs don’t contact him through me, BUT: MIL has sorta-kinda assumed that I assumed her “secretorial” duties she did for DH.  She used to make doctor/car appointments for DH all through college AND grad school, time them for when he was home, and just tell him when the appointment was and take him/his car.  IMO, its annoying and kind of butting in to his adult life and he can decide for himself when to go to the dentist or get his oil changed, but whatever.  Apparently she does the same for SIL too, who finshed school over 5 years ago and is living out of state.  Now I get emails like “[DH] needs a dentist appointment” as though its my job to call his doctor and make an appointment.  Nope, that’s his business.

On the other end, my parents are the total opposite.  I’ve told them that sometimes my cell phone (which is mega old & needs to be replaced) isn’t reliable, and if its important and they’re not getting through, call DH’s cell.  They NEVER do, even in emergencies.  They’d rather email me “GRANDPA’S IN THE HOSPITAL I CALLED YOU BUT IT DIDN’T GO THROUGH” ugh!

Post # 16
93 posts
Worker bee

@marie_antoinette:  My FI’s mother texts me if she needs to get in touch with her son. She usually tries him first, but more often than not his phone is dead or he doesn’t hear it. I don’t really consider it an issue nor does it bother me.

I guess if I were a mom trying to reach my son or daughter, I would feel terrible if his/her significant other thought I was only using them for secretarial services. Have you talked to her directly? Even jokingly comment that maybe her son should hire an actual secretary or something, just to let her know that it’s bothering you. Chances are she doesn’t realize how much it bugs you.

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