Post # 61
Some of you say the difference is in the genetic connection (not your words). The born-son is valued more highly than the married-in (or not-so-in) daughter-in-law. So would you be okay with grandparents giving a genetically-related grandchild six presents to open in front of an adopted grandchild who received one or two gifts?
That’s a massive reach of an example to try make your point. It doesn’t even make any sense because adoption is a legal process whereby the child becomes your child in every sense of the word. An in-law relationship isn’t an actual legal relationship and the ‘in law’ part actually refers to your relationship between you and your spouse and not between you and your in-laws and vice versa. 🤦♀️ Your point is also offensive to people involved in the process of adoption.
I think at this point you are purposely being obtuse and digging your heels in because nobody can be that blind to the fact that a parent in the majority of circumstances will always hold their child that they have known and raised for a lifetime to a higher esteem than any in-law that comes into their life. The nature of that type of relationship for the majority will always pull harder than one with an in-law. I love my in-laws. They are good people and they’ve been great towards me but my parents are my parents and they are good people too. They’ve made me who I am and I love them dearly and no other semblance of a parental type relationship in my life comes close to the love and feelings I have for them. My mum is my mum. My dad is my dad. My Mother-In-Law is my Mother-In-Law and my Father-In-Law is my Father-In-Law. They all play an important but different role in my life but their role isn’t interchangeable. Expecting people to have equal relationships and feelings with their inlaws as to with their child, just seems ridiculous to me.
Post # 62
OP, I am with you. I think the disparity you describe is a slap in the face and totally disrespectful. Yes, your husband is your in-law’s biological child. But you are that child’s spouse, a part of their child. It is massively disrespectful to you that you get one gift and he gets six. My parents treat me and my husband equally in the gift-giving department. My husband’s parents do the same. We are one family. We are in this life together. We are a unit and both sets of our parents respect that.
Post # 63
I don’t think the number of gifts says anything about the relationship.
I don’t see how even or uneven gifts say anything about how they view or respect you. I can dislike someone and still buy them a present… while thinking I hope they get divorced and she isn’t my “family” anymore lol!
I can also love two people and not buy them “equal” presents.
Things do not have to be equal. We aren’t elementary school kids, we are adults. If my Mother-In-Law wants to give her son that she raised from a little burritos-sized baby to a grown man more presents than me, or not buy me a present at all I wouldn’t even notice. She is welcome to give him whatever she wants. We are adults!
If she passed on his inheritance would be his, not mine. The law does not split it between us because we are married… we are not the same person. So yes, the “we are all family” thing is a nice sentiment but at the end of the day, that’s not entirely true. Take this from a second marriage bee, if you divorced tomorrow you’d never hear from or see those “in-laws” ever again, even if they “loved you” and considered you “family”.
Post # 64
Wow. I’m sorry, but living as if divorce is around the corner is a shitty way to exist. To me, while I am in a marriage it is forever and my in laws are my family. I plan to help support them in their old age. How sad to think of your husband and in-laws as not family because of the possibility of divorce. Ugh. I refuse to live so cynically. Might as well just stay single then.
Post # 65
I never said anything about living as if divorce was imminent. You seem to have skipped my entire post aside from the last sentence.
I consider my in-law’s family. And would also help take care of them if they needed it. But I am not my in-law’s actual child. And if our relationship ended I would no longer be their family. That’s just a fact.
Post # 66
I just wanted to respond to where you said if you divorce you would never see or hear from your in laws again. That’s definitely not always true. I know plenty of people in real life who have gotten divorced and still keep in touch with their in laws. Especially people that have children, the in laws still want to see the grandchildren.
Believe it or not but some adults aren’t do shortsighted that they can actually realise that their precious child isn’t always the 100% innocent party either. My parents are a prime example my parents separated and my dad’s mother told my mom no matter what happens she will always be a daughter to her.
While I certainly agree that it isn’t about the amount of gifts as I have changed my tune on that I can see where people can misinterpret your post as if to say you should treat your in laws as if a divorce may happen.
Post # 67
so, your grandparents still got their ex-DIL Christmas gifts every year after the divorce from their son? And, equal gifts as they gave to their son? That is odd, but could definitely color your expectations for your in-laws.
Post # 68
I’ve been divorced twice. And no matter how much I was loved during my marriages by my inlaws, they’re not still getting me gifts. And even though both of my ex-spouses were “at fault” for our divorces, their parents still get them gifts every year & not me. I assume that they also get their new spouses gifts. I’m not gifting to them at Christmas, either.
Post # 69
I wasn’t just talking about gifts when I replied to that PP. I was referencing how the PP said no one continues a relationship with their in laws after a divorce. I was making a statement that that isn’t always true.
Yes my grandmom stated out loud that my mom no matter what would always be a daughter to her. You can’t just drop someone after 20+ years of having a relationship with them and loving them and being close to them..I am shocked that so many people thing it’s that easy to just suddenly stop talking to an in law like that. That’s not how life works. Feelings of friendship and love just don’t magically disappear.
I realize now that after PPs put it more into perspective for me with the whole gifts scenario. I’m referring to how some posters are saying it’s unheard of or impossible to continue a relationship with your in laws after a divorce.
Post # 70
that’s really lovely of your grandma but I’d say that’s hardly the norm for how most in law relationships go after divorce, and it’s odd to hold all other in law relationships to that one standard. Also, while it’s one thing to keep in touch with your ex DIL/SIL after a divorce, it’s another to treat them exactly as your own child.
I still don’t understand why some pp are viewing gift giving as the be all end all of any relationship. Someone could treat you amazingly 365 days of the year but if they don’t give you “enough” gifts on Christmas all that goes out the window and it means they don’t actually care that much about you? That’s a really sad and frankly superficial outlook to have about relationships.
And please spare me the love language BS. Just because something is YOUR love language doesn’t mean it is someone else’s. And giving a bunch of gifts to one’s son on Christmas doesn’t automatically mean gift giving is your love language. My husband and I both got each other a ton of gifts for Christmas cause we like to go all out for that holiday, but my love language is acts of service and his is physical touch.
Post # 71
My mom sent my ex a Christmas card this year. I ended the marriage, and there was nothing dramatic about it, we just never should have married in the first place. But he and I are also still friends and share our dogs, so it’s maybe not the most common post-divorce scenario. I actually got him a gift this year (small though, just some candy he likes).
Post # 72
This thread has been an interesting read. Different people have some very different viewpoints! In our case, my parents always gift us the same amount. They’re very fair people and have always given equally to us three kids. They always get my husband a sweet birthday card that mentions they appreciate having him as a son-in-law and I love that. I don’t mind that it’s even and it makes me feel they accept and love him, which is important to me. But I also would not think too deeply on it if they gifted me more. On his side, it is not necessarily even but not a major difference either. His mother usually gets me some nice earrings or something small for my birthday, if we have an event. I always think it’s very sweet. This year I did not get anything, but my husband only invited friends and siblings to my birthday dinner this year, due to Covid. So I don’t think it was a slight. My husband was given $80 and immediately asked his brother how much he had gotten. The brother said $100 but their mother denied it. My SIL said it was $80 but it’s also possible Mother-In-Law did not remember and the amount was a little different. My husband felt a little slighted but thinks that brother is the “favorite”… it’s hard to say lol.
I also think that if my Mother-In-Law never gave me anything I personally would not feel upset or offended unless it seemed like she was purposely trying to hurt me. I don’t get very hung up on gifts or amounts but gift giving is the lowest for me in terms of love languages. I do appreciate receiving gifts, especially thoughtful ones, but also prefer quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch just as much (actually more, probably). I care more about birthday cards than gifts usually just because they are so sweet. So to me it’s about the thought and the relationship and I don’t put much weight into gifts when assessing my relationships. But everyone is different!
I do feel a little bad for people who put more thought into gifts because it is not always even. For example, one SIL got me some nice boots for my birthday and my other SIL did not get me anything. However I am close to both of them and merely see it as one SIL is more of a gift giver and the other is more like me and is not. Knowing this, I will likely make an effort to get my SIL who likes gifts a nice gift for her upcoming birthday, as I think she might be hurt to not receive anything. My other SIL has her birthday later on and I would probably get her something more generic or useful as that is just her personality type. I’m thinking a Starbucks gift card which she would definitely use. We will also be getting my gift liking SIL and my Brother-In-Law a wedding gift as they legally married this past month. They’re planning a reception later on but I think giving a gift for this event would be touching and appreciated and that is very important to me. I do tend to be better at giving gifts or cards for major life events than for birthdays or Christmas. For example, I enjoy attending bridal showers and baby showers and love picking out generous (to me) gifts from the registry. I am a lot more lax with birthday gifts unfortunately. I used to do a lot more for Christmas but these days both our families do Secret Santa, so it’s not much.
Bottom line for me is my parents are even and his mom is fairly even in gifting us. Giving and receiving gifts is not very important to me so I don’t care much either way, but I try to be aware that not everyone feels that way about it. I try to make an effort and often choose my gifts based on what their personality type is and what they would care about, so I do not treat all of my friends and family the same, but do try to ensure that what they give me is mostly reciprocated, or reciprocated in a different way. Gift giving is complicated and very cultural!
For anyone who likes anthropology, I recommend reading Too Many Bananas, Not Enough Pineapple, and No Watermelon At All. This is a short account of a family who joins another culture and struggles with understanding that culture’s rules of reciprocity and gift giving. I personally found it very interesting and funny!
Post # 73
I think the point about what would happen if a couple divorced is a total red herring. Hopefully, most couples and their families go into marriage or an in law relationship with a more positive and optimistic perspective and thankfully, many marriages do last. What would happen if there is a break up really has nothing to do with anything.
While many of you feel there is no right or wrong way to approach this situation, reading this thread makes me feel grateful and appreciative for the in laws I have and the kind I hope to be some day.
Post # 75
Funny that you returned to this thread OP. Well, almost. I recently came across this column and thought of this post.
“GENTLE READER: Nothing says “Welcome to the family” like telling the new member exactly how much less he is worth than the originals.”