Post # 1
Of course we all have mildly annoying and perhaps judgy in-laws, but mine are really starting to get to me. I know my in-laws are disappointed that we don’t visit enough (they live semi-far away), and I know they’re really disappointed that we’re Atheists, but this judginess does not bother me. What bothers me is when they meddle (mainly FIL) in decisions that belong inside our marriage – mostly to do with finances. And what REALLY bugs me is that my husband won’t stand up for what we have decided.
The newest thing is that I just bought a brand new car. Mind you, I’m not one to just impulsively buy new cars left and right. I drove my last car for 9 years, and drove my car before that for 6 years. I drove both cars until repairs significantly outweighed their worth, and this is my first brand new car. My husband was apprehensive the whole time we were on the lot and kept trying to talk me out of it, which was kind of out of the blue as we had already talked about buying the car. Then, I finally dragged it out of him. “What is my dad going to say about this? I don’t really want to have to explain why you bought a new car instead of a used one.” That set me off. We’re not borrowing any money from either of our parents, and my car was legitimately in need of major repairs. So, how is it his place to tell me how I can and can’t spend my own money?
The whole thing just makes me resent everyone involved because: (A) I don’t feel like I made an irresponsible choice; and (B) even if I did; whose business is it aside from the people who are part of my household? And more importantly, why does DH have to worry so much about what his dad thinks? I feel like I have had this conversation a million times with DH too and he agrees with me, but it always seems to keep popping up.
Does anyone else have this problem? How did you get it to go away?
Post # 2
I obviously don’t have all the facts here, but your FIs behaviour reminds me of my partners in the first few years of our relationship. It bugged me that he cared way more about making his parents happy than making me (or us) happy. a third party (thankfully!) pointed out to him that of course he should always love and respect his parents, but eventually he would have to change the boundaries between them so that he and I could be a new family unit. He actually has changed over time and made me feel like I am #1. I also changed overtime to be more understanding that his parents were always going to be involved in our lives because they love us. It’s not easy though!!
Post # 3
I love my in-laws, but I totally feel you on this one. I also love my husband but he isn’t the greatest decision maker. He’s easily swayed. And his parents (especially his dad) have oppinions about everything and end up talking him into things. Luckily, they haven’t started in on money and they live too far away to butt into our house arrangements (like when they renovated his brother’s bathroom while he was away for the weekend). But it’s been difficult as my husband has been job hunting because he’ll talk to me and come to one decision and then talk to them and come to the opposite decision. And then it goes back and forth with each conversation. It’s super annoying, but I try tno to begrudge him because he respects his parent’s oppinion, but I know he respects mine as well.
In your case, I think your guy needs to learn to stand up to his parents. It’ll probably take awhile, but he’ll get over it. And as long as he isn’t actually preventing you from getting the car, it’s annoying but not the end of the world. But seriously, adults shouldn’t be concerns about “but what will so-and-so say” even if it is their parents!
Post # 4
raspberrymojito: Yeah; it definitely bugs me that he doesn’t think of our family unit as being number 1 sometimes. I think it is also a matter of inconvenience for him. His dad has a really strong personality and is unwilling to accept when he is wrong or when something is really none of his business. It’s just frustrating for me as I’m not really one of those people who backs down and lets other people control me when it’s not their place. In this case, I feel like my hands are tied and it is up to DH to stand up for me. Ugh.
Post # 5
JenGirl: LOL. I would never let anyone tell me not to buy a car for that reason! Unlike DH, I’m NOT easily swayed by others. Once I come to a decision, that’s it for me usually. I called DH out on that one and requested that next time he has reservations about something, he tell me beforehand instead of doing what he did.
Post # 6
frustratedbridetobe: My in-laws believe they should know every detail of our finances, and I often have to remind my husband that they don’t need to know any of it. I’m lucky, though, because he agrees – just has a terrible memory. You don’t need to defend your choice to anyone, and if your in-laws try to broach the subject, just shut it down with something neutral but short (“please don’t worry about this, our finances are our business”). I don’t think your guy needs to stand up to his parents in an aggressive or argumentative way – he just needs to learn not to let himself be engaged in these kinds of conversations. If they ask, change the subject. If they won’t stop asking, get off the phone or leave.
Post # 7
anonybee0810: Seriously; that is my stance on the issue – it shouldn’t even be an issue. I know how much I can afford, and really…I didn’t buy anything extravagant. I just wish we could get through one hang out with his family without being interrogated. Last time we saw him, he asked me how much my job is contributing to my 401K and how much I’m contributing and told me I need to contribute more. I responded with my usual robotic, “I’ll take that into consideration.” That’s pretty much par for the course.
Post # 8
anonybee0810: + 1 on this.
Judgy in-laws suck. And anyway, the last couple years have been the best time to buy new cars because the price of used is such a small difference (at least it was for my car)! Anyways, that’s not the problem–DH needs to change the way he talks to his parents, but first and foremost, to YOU. His parents’ opinion should not factor into a decision that he is making with his wife. I would tell him, (A) you don’t have to explain a darned thing to your parents when you are a married adult, and (B) neither one of us should be discussing private financial decisions in our home without the other’s blessing.
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
Every time your in-laws start in with the judgy comments, say “It’s interesting you feel that way, Margie [or whatever MIL is] – thanks for the thoughts. By the way, did you see that Oprah is producing a new reality series?” Or whatever other topic comes to mind. If she’s on a rant, go to your mental happy place. I like to picture the biking I’ll be doing when the weather gets warm.
My FH is from a deeply Catholic very insular family who are none to pleased he’s marrying an atheist from a totally different culture; I’ve learned a thousand-yard stare and a blank smile will get you a lot more serenity than actually arguing with them when they’ve already made up their minds.
Post # 10
frustratedbridetobe: This is more a husband problem than an in-law problem. It’s none of his dad’s business what type of car you buy, or even that you bought a car at all. Your husband needs to stop letting his parents in on your lives as if they are part of the relationship when they are not.
Since this is ongoing and he has yet to grow a backbone and put his parents in their place, you guys should go to counseling and try to work it out there. He needs to learn how to set proper boundaries and most importantly, understand why those boundaries are healthy and useful. Make this a priority now as things will only get worse if he keeps letting them think they have a say in your lives.
Post # 11
frustratedbridetobe: The problem isn’t your in-laws (as they are entitled to their opinion whether you like it or not), the problem is your husband.
Post # 12
frustratedbridetobe: My FIL once suggested my dh sell my car (which has sentimental value) because it needed some repairs. My dh kindly informed him it was my car and that he would be divorced if he tried. Your dh needs to just ask them to tone down the advice and remind them that you are adults who have it covered.
Post # 13
frustratedbridetobe: Ugh, I feel your pain.
My FI majorly overshares with his parents, it drives me wild! Mainly about his finances…I keep telling him that as a 43 year old man, he should not be sharing personal financial information with them anymore, but it falls on deaf ears…he’s also extremely naive about what they are going to think…and it certainly doesn’t help that he’s an only child!
I know that they already judge me due to my upbringing, so I am 99% certain that they assume that if FI is low on funds it is because he’s helping me – which isn’t the case at all! Unfortunately I unexpectedly lost my job just over a month ago so no doubt their already low opinion of me has sunk further…
I wish I could offer you advice on how to deal with this, but I’m still trying to. I’ve told him that he needs to act more like an adult so many times but it just doesn’t seem to sink in…it does depress me.
Just know you aren’t alone with this problem!
Post # 14
My inlaws are good people, but very, um, we’ll say opinionated, and they wouldn’t dream of keeping said opinions to themselves. The smile and nod technique is great, and sometimes I tune out a rant after a while.
Post # 15
My FILs are very judgy about our financial situation as well. FMIL was pissed when we moved into our first apartment because it was “too nice” for a couple just starting out, and she thought we would be house poor. Now anytime we go out to dinner, buy something new, etc. she comments on how we spend money we don’t have even though she doesn’t know anything about our financial situation. I haven’t said anything about the comments yet, but I’m probably going to burst the next time she says something.