Repairing my relationship with FMIL

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 3
7630 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

That’s really big of you to want to mend the relationship. It may not work unless your FMIL wants the same thing. Perhaps you should extend a hand though? Why not have your FI call FMIL and say “MKWeddingbee was just talking about how she’d love to get to know you more. Why don’t we all go out to dinner?” A small gesture like that may show her you’re willing to get along. However, don’t compromise yourself to make the relationship work. I wouldn’t agree to separate on holidays to make her happy, for example. 

Post # 4
3195 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

It is great that your fiance stands up for you. Some husband have a hard time doing that.

Is his mom jealous that you are the main woman in his life now? Maybe she can’t let go.

Your FMIL’s behavior is unacceptable. While it is wonderful of you to want to mend the relationship, you will have to manage your expectations when it comes to her.

Post # 5
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

I think that it’s a good idea to make yourself open to the idea of repairing the relationship HOWEVER–I would not force the issue.  

There could be a # of reasons she is acting like this, as a PP said, maybe you are the main woman in his life, she thinks you are both too young, she’s afraid that you are the first serious relationship that her son has had and it will not work out, etc, etc. 

If I were you, I’d stay focused on graduating, getting a job, and supporting your FH emotionally as much as you can.  

When FMIL is ready, she will come to you.  I think if you crowd her/try to hard, it could have the reverse effect that you are looking for.  If you go around her, smile and be nice, and if she talks to you then you can talk back..but I wouldn’t rattle her with unnecessary chatter (like about the wedding or kids she’s not ready for you two to have yet).

Good Luck!  Things get better with time!

Post # 7
115 posts
Blushing bee

First off, congratulations on your engagement and working to complete your education.  When I read posts like yours, I am so sad.  These past two years, I have come to these posts trying to understand how I can make my relationship with my future DIL, who is now my DIL, a good one.  My son married a lovely woman this past July, and I would greatly appreciate a more comfortable relationship with her.  She is reserved and it has been very difficult getting to know her.  I’ve tried on many occasions inviting her to special activities I thought she would enjoy—just the two of us, including her in our family activities and in our designated part of the wedding planning so she would have the wedding of her dreams, but there has been no reciprocity and it seems her attitude is that my son is the one to keep communication going. “It’s your family, you keep and make the connections.”  I have no daughter, and I was sincerely looking to create a positive and inclusive relationship with this young woman who my son loves so much. 

Some parents are clueless or perhaps unwilling to change their way of thinking about their child who is now an adult.  As your fiancé has not completed his college, maybe they are afraid he will drop out before completing?  As I have come to realize, I can’t change another person’s personality or temperament, and I must do what I need to do and what is right in my heart.  In my own case, I will keep trying to make the connection and keep the lines of communication open because I love my son and his wife, but I will tell you, my heart is hurting.  If my DIL doesn’t return that interest, I know I’ve done my best.

Your wedding is 1-1/2 years out, so you have some time to nurture this relationship.  Is there another family member who would be willing to be the bridge to a connection?  Maybe an aunt or uncle who would host a dinner where the family is invited?  Ultimately, your relationship with your fiance comes first, and if his mother isn’t willing to meet you part way (and I’m not saying even half way) then know you’ve done what you can and let it go. 

I truly wish you the best.

Post # 9
428 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 1984

@MKWeddingBee:  I’m a little late to respond but I thought my experiences may be helpful. I’m a long time married bee (29 years.) When I got engaged, my father disliked my husband and barely made any attempt to hide it, even going so far as not speaking in English when my husband was present (we are from Spain.) I tried to reason with my dad many times. Everyone else loved my husband and welcomed him warmly. My father’s attitude really put a downer on the year I was engaged and my wedding day. Like your in-laws, my dad did not tell anyone outside of our immediate family circle that I was engaged and he forbade my mother from saying anything – they found out when they received the invitations! His attitude negatively affected my relationship with him for years. Yes, he had valid concerns (we were young, had no money, had barely graduated college and started working, our wedding was going to be small and simple – we were paying for it ourselves.) My father went so far as to ask me to go on a “family vacation” without my husband – we had been married three years at that time! 

My husband is a very generous and loving man. Despite the fact that my dad was rude to him, he never once responded in kind and always tried to keep the lines of communication open. He shovelled their driveway in winter, cut their grass in summer (my parents were older and my dad worked long hours) and we always attended Sunday dinner at their house (my husband had to convince me to go!) They are both jokers and my husband always used humour to try and break the ice. My dad’s older brother even took him aside and tried to reason with him (and he knew whereof he spoke – he had disaproved of my cousin’s marriage and, for a long time, barely had any contact with her – he didn’t meet his grandkids until they were 6 and 8 years old.) 

Eventually, over the course of five or six years, my dad started to open up and actually talk to my husband and get to know him. I think my dad “defrosted” because he could see that we were happy and successful and his fears about us did not come to pass LOL Laughing! My own relationship with my father is OK now but it took a long time for me to find forgiveness in my heart. It took a while for me to understand that he is not perfect and he was scared for me and my future. I hope your FI understands that, though they are showing it inappropriately, his parents love him and are trying to protect him.

Your FIL’s will likely come around as they see you and their son build a successful life together. Accept the fact that it may not happen before your wedding, and they may not be as supportive as you and your FI would like. Hard as it may be, try not to let their attitude ruin this special time in your life. Include them as much as they want to be included and lean on other family members to share in your joy and help with the planning.

We have three sons now and my husband and I use our experience with my father as a guide for how not to treat our potential future DILs. Our boys have had every advantage, they are smart, kind, caring and hardworking individuals. We trust their judgement and ability to pick someone that they love and loves them back. The future is not written, they have the ability to make it for themselves. In the end, there are no guarantees in life – you can start with every advantage and still end up in shambles. Our job is not to pass judgement but to love, accept and respect. Our oldest has met a terrific girl and they are likely getting engaged next year (the ring is in the house and it’s spectacular soo excited for her to receive it!!) Our middle son’s GF is not exactly our cup of tea but, again, it’s our job to find the good in her, accept her and support them as best we can.

Hang in there – their attitude will likely change as time passes. Continue to be yourself and don’t lower your standards of behaviour to theirs. Keep the lines open as best you can, even if they keep “slamming the door shut,” keep trying to open it. Present a united front at all times and support each other because their attitude is hurtful to both of you. It’s very important that your FI set boundaries with his parents, as I did with mine. There are certain behaviours that are not acceptable and that needs to be made clear by him – it doesn’t matter if they think it’s you talking! Good luck, let us know how you get on.


Post # 10
362 posts
Helper bee

I think the only thing that will really help is time.  She needs to see both you and your SO as husband and wife, working good jobs, out of school and financially stable and together for a longer amount of time before she will accept that this situation will not change and will come around

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