Feeling uncomfortable with future in-laws

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 61
1217 posts
Bumble bee

OP~ it really comes across to me that you haven’t quite accepted your disability yourself; you are projecting what other people think of you based on the fact that you use a wheelchair…. but we both know that doesn’t make you (or anyone else that uses a wheelchair, crutches, etc) any less competent than anyone else.

RE: the counseling…. we all take our cars in for a tune up, we all go to the dentist for preventative care… why not speak to someone about your thoughts? You don’t have to sign up for a decades worth of appointments, but a few sessions really couldn’t hurt anyone! It’s been helpful for me, and I think I have more insight now than I would have had I not gone.

FWIW… my college roomate had a spinal cord injury and used a wheelchair,…. but it didn’t stop her from living her life.  She did triathalons, skiied, you name it.  So what if you need help in getting things from the top shelf in the grocery store? I often accept help unloading groceries in my car for no reason other than it makes it go faster.  It’s certainly no sign of weakness. My roomate was hilarious and would buy these killer shoes with amazingly high heels and would make these crazy comments about how she didn’t actually have to walk in them and she didn’t know if they pinched her feet!

Re: your in laws. I am betting that they just want to help out and it has nothing to do with your disability,  you or your dh’s earnign potential, your relationship… nada. I have 2 kids myself and of course I want them to be independent, self sufficient adults with a good work ethic. But that said…. if I had the means to buy them a car or take them on vacation, I would! why not? Also…. there are enough stories here on the bee about horrrible MIL’s.  If your FI’s mom wants to buy you a dress, you can be sure she wants to do it because she cares for you.  My son is only 10 but if he finds a wonderful woman who loves him, is good to him and makes him happy…. I would be so relieved! that’s what I want in a daughter in law. I would be happy to buy her a dress if I had the means to do it. I bet they really want you to feel accepted by their family and I would hate to think that their efforts to try and include you and make you feel part of their family are being interpreted as anything other than that.

Post # 62
28 posts

Damn bees, way to jump down OPs throat. Obviously this is a class difference issue. Anyone who comes from a home where they were taught to not throw money around, or just didn’t have a lot of money, will always be uncomfortable around those who do seeming spend a lot. OP you could have a sit down with Fiance and his parents to explain why the excessive gifts make you uncomfortable and come to a solution.

Post # 63
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

OP, you have every right to decide what people give you or do for you. You are within your rights to politely decline their generosity based on your personal beliefs.


With that said, it doesn’t seem fair that you wish to dictate what your FI’s parents can and cannot give their only child. How would you feel if you have a future kid and his/her future partner was going to dictate that your kid could no longer spend time with you, or accept your minimal gifts? Hardly seems fair doesn’t it? In all fairness, make the decisions for yourself, but do not impose limitations on your Fiance. He hasn’t done anything wrong nor have his parents. They’ve been a part of his entire life and you just entered the picture and want to make these major changes that are somewhat illogical and unnecessary. Think about it.

Post # 64
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

This is just me; if I were you I would be feeling super comfortable with future inlaws. They offer i say let’s gooooo 😃✋️

Post # 65
828 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

OP, I so feel you on this. My FI’s family is very generous with him as he’s the only son, and the only nephew for an entire side of the family. They think nothing of sending a check, picking up the dinner bill, giving lavish gifts for birthdays. Christmas is like borderline uncomfortable because they just basically sit there and watch us open a small mountain of presents. I am one of approximately 347 cousins so it’s really unusual for me to have so much generosity and attention slathered on. It made me so uneasy to have so much given that we couldn’t possibly repay. 

My Fiance is constantly reminding me that if they didn’t feel thanked, the gifts would stop. If they felt we were unappreciative, they wouldn’t continue helping us. They don’t, so just slowly remind yourself each time you get a heaping of generosity that you are grateful, and will continue to be so. This is how they help and tell you they love you and care. Send your thank you notes, tell them you love them, and when you’re able to be generous back, be generous back. The thing that’s impossible, and I’m still learning to accept, is that things will never “even out.” Metaphorically speaking, the scoreboard will never match up, because you’re playing completely different games. Continue to love them and be gracious, but telling them no is rejecting how they express their love and affection for you.  


Post # 66
6738 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

hevnm :  “No I have never considered therapy and I won’t ever go because I don’t like to be seen as a weak woman in a wheelchair.”

I think this post really says it all. You’re projecting your thoughts/fears onto your in-laws. Therapy does not equal weak. In fact, I think it signals strength. Strength to better yourself and become a better/stronger person. It’s a shame that you’re so against therapy because I think it would be monumentally beneficial to you. 

Post # 68
63 posts
Worker bee

My grandmother was in a wheelchair (MS) and it never stopped her from doing what was important to her. For example, she drove (with a leadfoot, and cops were not afraid to give a disabled old lady tickets!) with handbrakes and took me on a roadtrip to see my extended family when I was 8. This was before electronic scooters and special vans fitted for them. We needed help–pumping gas, getting her into her wheelchair at hotels and restaurants. One of things I admire most about my grandma, and I am in tears writing this because she’s been gone for over a decade, is that she always saw the best in people. She talked about every person that helped us as a “saint,” and there were saints everywhere. She had the strength of character to not just to ask for help and accept it, but to celebrate it as a blessing. I try every day to be more like her.

A therapist can help you work through your feelings about people staring or needing to ask for help. I know you want to be able to do it on your own, but isn’t your happiness more important? Right now it seems like you’re thinking “I need to do X/be like X to be happy” but really you just need to be happy. Use all the tools at your disposal. It is possible to live joyously with a disability–and that is a sign of strength, not weakness. A therapist can help you get there much more quickly.

Post # 69
2533 posts
Sugar bee

OP, you are coming across as incredibly self-centered and judgemental.

People who go to therapists are weak?

Everyone has to conform to the way YOU were raised?

Sounds like you are really hard on yourself and everyone around you. 

And I’m sorry, but your problem is a non-problem. Your parents help out by giving you and your SO cars and trips and costly gifts? Boohoo….?

Your harsh outlook is the problem here, not your inlaws. 

Post # 70
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

While I assume (haven’t read every single page) that some PPs have probably been harsh with you, I’m going to have to agree with the majority consensus. 

Bear in mind: you’re allowed to feel uncomfortable with things. That’s a natural reaction. But a better way to handle that discomfort for gifts that seem–based on what you’ve told us–to be gifts of love and generosity, would be to graciously say thank you and move on. I highly doubt your future ILs are giving you things while keeping a mental list of how much you’ve gifted back in kind.

The car was a bit much, yes…so maybe you guys can save up (at a rate that’s comfortable for you) and write them a check in 6-7 months for part of it if that would make you feel better. Other gifts, I would say you need to practice being a gracious recipient. There’s nothing about it that’s weak or needy or whatever other adjective you’re associating with getting gifts. Also, when y’all have kids: they’re going to give those kids gifts. You’re not going to be able to stop them…so practice now.

My ILs are like this–they just enjoy giving. We just finished remodeling our house and over the course of renovations they bought us a $300 table saw to finish our floors, paid for our entire kitchen appliance suite (which, we just wrote them a check for half of that, and are writing the second half back to them next month), and showed up with a huge housewarming basket even though this is our 3rd residence together. First house though. They were excited.

My mom is like this; she is retired and loves shopping, so when she’s out she might pick up 5-7 items for my husband, my sister, or me just because she enjoys being able to do for her kids (and our dogs, she buys for them, lol). 

I’d say the only thing you need to watch out for is taking advantage of them. Like, if my hubby and I legit need something, but it’s something we’re going to pay for, we don’t mention it around our parents because we know they’ll go get it for us or hand us cash to go towards it etc. So that might be a tactic for things like the car, with you guys.

As far as the trip, I don’t think it’s crazy at all that your Father-In-Law is asking your Fiance to pay for his own meals on a trip. Shoot if someone was paying for my trip, I’d definitely be able to cover meals and go! 

It sounds like you’re equating their gifts in a two-fold way: one, you think that they pity you or don’t trust you to do it yourself, so you’re thinking they are trying to do it for you or give you excessive items to show off. (Wrong)

Two, it sounds like you think gift giving is wrong unless the recipient is able to give back to the giver in kind? The problem with THAT thinking is like…okay your Fiance (I assume) gave you an engagement ring. Did you get him a gift of equal or greater value? Like, gifts are meant to be taken and enjoyed, not for you to stress over and keep a mental list so you can keep it equal. That’s way too stressful and takes the fun out of it for everyone involved.

I’d consider talking to a therapist. I know you said you’re not a weak woman but there’s nothing weak about asking for help or guidance. I’m sorry if you were raised to believe otherwise, but there’s a difference between strength and stubbornness. Also, you gave us a lot of backstory about your disability but, forgive me if I’m wrong, it doesn’t seem like that’s a root of any of the things you’re upset about with your ILs. It sounds like that’s what you think of in your mind as being the root, but based on what you’ve told us, you’ve just got 2 great in-laws who like to be generous and you’re not used to it. That’s a blessing girl not a curse.

I hope you find some peace with all this and are able to enjoy your relationship with them!

Post # 71
4260 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

You can’t tell people what gifts are “acceptable” to give your kids and what are not.  That s rude.  I think this is your issue, not everyone elses.  You cannot expect everyone to it your way only.  It doesn’t work like that.  And you Darling Husband is clearly happy to accept the generous gifts from his family.  

Post # 72
865 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

hevnm :  I believe in graciously accepting gifts that are lovingly given.  May this be the worst in-law problem you ever have.

Post # 74
6738 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

hevnm :  Therapy helps give you the tools to help yourself. A therapist cannot fix you if you are not willing to do the work. Therapy is tough. It takes hard work and determination. I think you have a horrible misunderstanding of what therapy is. 

Post # 75
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

hevnm :  I know you wouldn’t take advantage, that’s not what I was saying (and I’m sorry if it came off that way). I was saying be careful if you mention needs around them, because they will probably take that as a green light to go do/buy/gift that thing to you. So it could be easy to come off as “taking advantage” if you were talking about needs (or even wants) around them.

So next time something breaks, or if you need to replace something, or save money, don’t mention it to them (and ask your Fiance to do the same). I can assure you they’re not saying they don’t trust you to do it–they’re saying, “we are in the position to help and we remember when we were your age, let us take some of the burden off.”

I think it would be wise for you to stop being so hard on yourself. You have repeated many times that you don’t want to come off as asking for help, or as weak, or as a burden. But you’re not any of these things (and it doesn’t sound like your Fiance or your Future In-Laws see you this way either). It sounds like you think this of yourself.

You can be strong, and competent, and self sufficient and still ask for a hand! If a police officer calls in backup, it’s not because he’s not good at being a cop, it’s because sometimes the situation needs more hands on deck. 

Not to mention: with the gifts, if this is something they’ve always done for your Fiance through his life, then it’s just their norm. I’d take it as a compliment that they include you. It means you’re legitimately accepted as family. I’d be more worried if they didn’t include you in their generosity, or if the only time they gave you guys anything was if you asked for help. But that’s not the case.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors