Post # 1
Bees, I could use some unbiased advice on an uncomfortable situation with my Mother-In-Law.
My husband and I have always been very close with his parents. In December, his dad filed for divorce and the divorce was finalized last month by default, but she is trying to open it back up. My Father-In-Law has had a girlfriend apparently for a while, but we just found out about her a few weeks ago. He called me and told me first, then told my husband. He is moving in with her and wanted to let us know. My husband was very upset, but we tried thinking about how all that mattered was that his dad was happy. A couple weeks ago, his dad invited us and my Brother-In-Law out to dinner. On our way to meet them, my Brother-In-Law called my husband and said the girlfriend was going to be at dinner and he didn’t feel comfortable going. Darling Husband and I talked briefly if he felt okay to go and meet her, and we decided to go since we were almost at the restaurant. We met the new girlfriend and all was fine.
My Mother-In-Law just found out about the girlfriend yesterday and is very upset with Darling Husband and I for not telling her. She feels betrayed and feels like we lied by keeping it from her. I tried to explain that the situation is weird and difficult for us too (especially DH) but we’re trying to balance minding our business while maintaining relationships with his parents. She said it was a bullshit answer because we had a choice and we made it. My Mother-In-Law said she feels like she has to reevaluate who is looking out for her best interests and asked us to not contact her for a while while she considers what has happened. She noted how her other son (DH’s brother) chose not to go to dinner that night, yet we did.
My heart is breaking because Darling Husband is incredibly upset over the situation. I feel for what my Mother-In-Law is going through but can’t make a clear thought on if we made a mistake, or if we did the right thing by not saying anything. Both parents have divulged information to us about the divorce and we haven’t gone to the other parent about any information; we feel it isn’t our business. How should we have handled being told information that is uncomfortable, like a new girlfriend, when we have no interest in getting ourselves into the middle of their divorce? Should we have just told her when we found out? If we had, then I feel like his dad would have been upset for choosing sides.
I feel like there is no winning with a situation we never asked to be in, and I don’t know what to tell Darling Husband or my Mother-In-Law. Above all else, I feel badly for Darling Husband. He is wracked with guilt and hasn’t come out of bed. Did we do the wrong thing? Where do we go from here?
Post # 2
I don’t think you made a mistake. Your Mother-In-Law shouldn’t be putting you in the middle, using you for information, or telling you how to interact with your Father-In-Law. It sounds like she very much wanted you to take sides and I think her judgement is being clouded by her emotions.
The best you can do now is give her some space to cool down. But I wouldn’t apologize or back down. You are not her source of information about her ex-husband and how you choose to interact with him going forward isn’t truly her business. It’s a complicated situation for everyone and emotions are running high because it’s all so new. You are all learning how to navigate new waters here. And like I said before, I think the way you handled things was fine.
Post # 3
I don’t think you did the wrong thing. I completely agree with your reasoning: it’s an awkward situation all around, but your Darling Husband is allowed to maintain a relationship with both of his parents, and it’s not his place to convey information about one to the other.
It’s understandable that your Mother-In-Law is upset about the whole situation and wants some space, but that doesn’t mean that your husband has done anything wrong. I think Mother-In-Law will eventually come around and realize that she wants to have a relationship with her son even if that doesn’t mean he’ll always take her side against her ex-husband, his father. I also don’t think it’s fair for her to insist that her child choose sides, and her claim that interacting with one parent without reporting on them to the other is by default choosing sides is just wrong. Again, I wouldn’t blame her for her bad behaviour at this time—she still hasn’t come to terms with the breakup of her marriage—but your husband shouldn’t allow her to transfer her negative emotions onto him.
Post # 4
Same as PP’s said. Father-In-Law might have put you in an awkward position but Mother-In-Law doesn’t get to expect her kids to choose sides between her and their father. It’s a difficult situation and I can see why Mother-In-Law is hurt but she’s out of line.
Both of your husband’s parents sound like they’re pretty emotionally messy.
Post # 5
No, IMO you did nothing wrong. It is even understandable how your Mother-In-Law acted, coming from a place of pain. It is a sad situation, no winners here.
Some things you just have to slog through one day at a time. Eventually some of the muck clears away, hopefully almost all.
Post # 6
Meglin : Your Father-In-Law introduced you to his secret longtime mistress by sneakily inviting you to dinner and not divulging ahead she would be present? By attending said dinner you did from your MIL’s perspective approve/support of some pretty immoral and shady behavior on FIL’s behalf. It’s understandable that your Mother-In-Law is upset if it’s only been a month after the divorce was finalized and she was unaware of the affair and/or identity of FIL’s mistress. This is also incredibly hard on your husband because he’s stuck in the middle of his parents. There isn’t a way to make everyone happy right now so I would recommend supporting whatever course of action gives your husband the most peace in his heart going forward.
Post # 7
I think it’s pretty crappy how that dinner came about, with your Father-In-Law surprising you with his girlfriend. But I also think it’s crappy that your Mother-In-Law doesn’t see how she is putting you guys in the middle.
I don’t know the right thing to do, other than explaining to both sides that you value your relationship with both of them and are not taking sides. That you want BOTH of them in your lives and at times that may feel uncomfortable to one of them, but it’s life after a divorce. They need to be the adults and suck it up. None of this is your guys fault. Shame on his parents.
Post # 8
litttlemisslamb : I don’t see anywhere where OP says the dad and girlfriend were together while he was still with her Mother-In-Law…
OP, I don’t think you did the wrong thing. This is between Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law and separate from your husband’s relationship with his dad.
Post # 9
Geez this situation is a tricky one. I understand that you are uncomfortable in the middle, but I suppose your Mother-In-Law may be in some ways justified in how she feels. This is the woman who potentially broke their marriage according to her eyes. It wasn’t just any new woman your Father-In-Law has met, but the cheater and homewrecker.
With that being said, maybe you should distance yourself from both parents for a while so you don’t get involved? Let things settle and then take cues from there.
Post # 10
Meglin : I’ve been in a very similar situation with my parents’ divorce.
But first, how on earth did your mother find out about this dinner? Because she shouldn’t have. I can only assume Brother-In-Law told her. If he did, that is very inappropriate; and I hope your Darling Husband has a word to him about keeping confidence – if he’s going to blab to his mother about his father, at least leave his brother out of it.
You did 100% the right thing by not taking sides. During my parents’ divorce I partly sided with my mother and I regret it. But I never passed on details about by father to my mother. You certainly shouldn’t have told your mother about the gf. They’re divorced, so FIL’s personal life is none of MIL’s business.
The policy we took, and you should take, is to never tell your mother about interactions with your father, and vice versa. If necessary, even refuse to answer if she presses: “Sorry, but we never tell Dad anything about you; so we’re also not going to tell you anything about Dad.”
Post # 11
Aww, your poor Darling Husband : (
Not nice of your Father-In-Law to ambush you with his girlfriend.
Your MIL’s behavior is understandable too, though I don’t think it’s super fair for her to hold a grudge for too long.
I agree with PPs that there are no winners in this situation. You & your Darling Husband did nothing wrong.
Post # 12
Yeah in my opinion you did choose a side. I wouldn’t have gone to the dinner or at least given Mother-In-Law a heads up. I’m betting she feels the last to know and embarrassed and is lashing out.
(I have been through a nearly identical situation. I refused to meet the other woman in an ambush situation, and my Dad wouldn’t talk to me for months but I felt that was the most impartial thing to do. If he wants to be so immature to do a surprise meeting, as in my and your case, then I won’t meet her. If he wants to be mature and tell me in advance them I will decide.)
Post # 13
litttlemisslamb : Innerdonught : agree my mom would be sooo hurt by the betrayal
Meglin : your dh and you had the chance to bail but you didn’t. Think how you would feel. Father-In-Law put you in the middle but the only blame rests with the choice you made-no sympathy here bee.
Why did Father-In-Law file for divorce a few months ago? Was he cheating? You said he had the gf for awhile.
Post # 14
The divorce was just finalized? In that case, I would think he was messing with her during his marriage. The divorce is too fresh, from my perpective, to be introducing the kids to the new flavor of the month. Personallly, I would have bailed. But I get it’s a messy situation no matter what you do.
Post # 15
Mother-In-Law is challenging the divorce, so I would not consider it a done deed from her POV. It would be one thing if they had been divorced for some time, but this just happened. So no, I would not have gone out to dinner with the Girlfriend. In H’s place, I would have told Father-In-Law that the dinner was premature and out of respect for his mother, it would have to wait.