In-laws treating their children unequally, husband feeling hurt

posted 5 months ago in Emotional
Post # 16
329 posts
Helper bee

Your in laws sound like they are very busy people and prioritize their own plans. It sounds like Mother-In-Law also likes to do a lot of hosting. It’s possible that these slights are not intentional and that she simply has no comprehension of what the sum of her inactions looks like.

Your husband needs to define the relationship he wants with his parents and then bite the billet and talk to them. It’s not easy, but they may not recognize their thoughtlessness.

Be careful not to put yourself in the middle – you should be a supportive partner, but this is not your family dynamic to sort out.

Post # 17
195 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2020 - Ireland

theweddingunplanner :  as a middle child who goes through some of this, I’m not sure it can be 100% attributed to being in the middle but that’s probably part of it. I’m the most successful of us 3 and I’ve always helped with very stressful family situations (dropped out of college at 19 and moved back in with parents to help take care of terminal father – sister was only 14, older bro was in Iraq), things like that. So, I think my family believes I need less attention maybe? But ultimately I feel like I only hear from people when they want something. It’s really hurtful. And now my younger sister is about to have a baby (an oops, she’s only 24 and the dad is already out of the picture) and she moved back in with my mom. It’s the first grandchild too, so at this point I feel like our relationship (my mom and I) will never really come back. My solution is, we’re planning to move to where my future in laws live – they’d be happy to give me/us all the attention we want. Is it a petty solution? I’m not sure. Probably a little bit. But I’m an adult and have to do what’s best for me, even if it means moving away from my own family to have support from another one. I just encourage your husband to ultimately do what’s best for him, and not be concerned with sparing the feelings of others, etc. 

Post # 18
1448 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I am in this EXACT situation. And, although I am the middle child, I refuse to blame my situation on that.

The fact is, my parents don’t owe me anything. It sucks. I CRAVE the same attention my siblings get, but I have realized my parents treat me differently. 

The issue was on my end. I had to realize that *this* is my relationship with my parents, and I could choose to let it hurt me on the daily OR I could choose to accept it for what it was. I chose the ladder and hope your husband can do the same.

Post # 19
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2005

theweddingunplanner :  I totally get where you are coming from with this issue, my mother and father in law are like this with my husband. 

My Darling Husband has two siblings that live up north and the in laws live in Texas. They will literally drive right by our house and not even stop for a visit on their way to visit their other two children. 

My husband chose a rather unorthodox career path that put him moving all over the world for about 10 years while my in laws and his siblings practically lived next door to each other for most of that time. They are a close knit group and in their home town no one really left. My husband and about 4 others are the exceptions. Anyways, now that the inlaws moved to Texas guess what my husband’s siblings are doing? Moving down there to be with them. They call each other every day, once or twice a month my in laws will drive thousands of miles to visit them and vice versa.

Most of the time we dont see them. So last year Darling Husband finally told his parents that he was feeling left out. They stop and visit more, but we still only see them about 3 times a year. 

You cant force people to change who they are. Lower your expectation and lean on each other. Dh and I have created our family unit and thats the most important unit for us. 

Post # 20
2395 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

It sounds as if your husband has made some decisions that have put distance between him & his parents. Moving away. Choosing not to stay in touch.  Perhaps even making some lifestyle choices that leads to maybe not having much in common with his parents…

Post # 21
425 posts
Helper bee

Is the sibling in Europe their daughter? If that’s the case, I know there are lots of parents who dote on their daughter but expect their son to be the one to reach out and take care of them 

Post # 22
2576 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Courthouse

I’m sorry Bee. I don’t have much advice. 

The only thing I can think of other than obvious favoritism is how often your husband reaches out to them? When did they start to not care as much? Does he ever reach out first? Relationships go both ways so it’s possible his parents feel he’s not as interested with them either? 

Again, it’s also possible they’re just being jerks. 

Post # 23
735 posts
Busy bee

theweddingunplanner :  

I have dealt with this to an extent, and I have really tried to compartmentalise it and put it behind me and not let it affect the quality of my life and the love I get. If your family won’t love you the way that you need, guess what? There are lots of other people in the world who wil.

I’m not trying to be cold, but I think it’s one of those things in life that you can’t really change, and I don’t think being “hurt” about it is helping your husband.

I personally learned a long time ago to turn away from people who were not treating me with the care and attention that I wanted – that goes for friends, family… anyone. I have absolutely no compunction about declining or excusing myself from family events if I feel that there is neglect or ignoring or disrespect going on, which I would definitely say is the case with your in-laws.

What I would do is stop going to visit them. Stop phoning them. Stop inviting them to things. Let them make the effort, however long it takes them. Let them chase you and your husband for a bit. If it means you see them/hear from them less often, so be it. It’s a very hard and sad place to come to, but when you make the decision to fill your life only with people who love you and treat you properly, you lose out on a lot of people (people who were expecting you to make all the effort), and sometimes that includes family.

Parents unfortunately do plenty of hurtful things. Try to get your husband to see that this is not about him and try to help him not to take it personally. This is about his parents and their issues.

Post # 24
9444 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I would drop the rope. They have shown you how much of a relationship they want. It’s unfortunate for your husband, but he’s going to have to accept the reality that his parents just aren’t that into him.

Or you could have a baby and they’ll probably be up your ass like you wouldn’t believe. lol. 

Post # 25
1718 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

They probably want to live in Europe one day and hence all the visits. I’m not condoning their shitty behavior, but my aunt and uncle have a similar situation with a child in Europe and they visit her whenever they get vacation time – not the other kids. this is because they want to move to Germany (where their ancestors are from) after retirement. 

Yes, the other kids are hurt, but they just plug on with their lives. Feeling like they’re not the favorite, but it is what it is. 

My fiance is in a similar situation too, though all the kids live close by. He’s not the favorite by any means – however, he is comforted by the fact that his parents are ASSHOLES and he wouldn’t want to be their favorite anyway. Ugly divorce, he is the spitting image of his father…need I say more?

Post # 27
1532 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

For what it’s worth – I could have written this. My parents love my husband, but his parents, particularly his mother clearly treats us like second class citizens compared to my Brother-In-Law and his fiancé. I suggested to my husband we go to couples counseling to work through how to best deal with this. Instead, he took his mom out to breakfast the last time she was in town and called her out for a lot of her BS. The end result isn’t perfect, and she is definitely struggling to do better, but she is doing better. 


Its hurtful to see my husband between a rock and a hard place because his mom has been putting him there. I hope you guys can both find a resolution that makes you happy 

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