Raised Differently

posted 2 weeks ago in The Lounge
Post # 17
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2020

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@obviousanonymous:  No she’s not but you don’t need to be someone’s child to be treated with respect. She is married therefore a member of the family and I think weddingmaven has a point where she started that it needs to be made clear by her husband that if the OP can’t be treated as a member of the family then he wants nothing from them either. I mean really how hard is it if you are already at the store getting souvenirs while you’re away on vacay to pick up a t-shirt for your DIL or to send a birthday card or take her out to dinner. These aren’t extravagant things here she isn’t asking for exactly the same treatment as her husband just a little acknowledgement that she is valued as a member of the family and it wouldn’t hurt for her husband to remind his parents of that fact not OP but her husband.

Post # 18
2734 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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@reginaphilange569:  My in-laws always go lower key for my birthday. This year, both my birthday and my husband’s birthday was during the pandemic. For my birthday, nothing. For his birthday, which was about 2 months later, there was a cake and gifts. I don’t care. They’re not my parents, they didn’t birth or raise me, and my birthday has less meaning to them. That’s fine with me. I think it’s best to not need to expect things like that from others to avoid disappointment. 

As for the texting, I would be annoyed with that and wouldn’t respond, respond in one word answers, or tell your husband to call or text them to respond. My in laws will call my husband, and if he doesn’t answer, they’ll call me to ask to speak to him. I don’t answer their calls anymore because of this. My cell is not my husband’s second phone line. It’s my cell. People should call it to speak to me. When they call me, I tell my husband that his parents called and he should call them back. 

Post # 19
545 posts
Busy bee

I actually do not find this to be desireable. It’s like wanting your Inlaws to be in the driver’s seat. You two are married and this is your own family you’ve created, whether you have children or not. It’s up to you what you do for your husband’s birthday, and up to your husband what goes on for your birthday. Not your parents or the inlaws. An acknowledgement is nice but not necessary. Wanting it to be made into a big deal sounds like wanting them in control. It’s not up to anyone else and not their business. I get there’s people like this who want everyone to be basically entangled. Thats not really the norm and not something most people want. So I would just understand that, that it’s just not something to be upset if it isn’t going on. A lot of people (myself included) would actually really dislike the very thing you are missing. My in-laws do not even know when my birthday is, even though we invited my Mother-In-Law one of the times. I’m not a child anymore, it’s between my husband and I what we do. I mean of course! She could text me or call me and say happy birthday, but I’m an adult. I don’t need an “all about me” day. She’s kind to me when I see her, her kindness and inclusiveness otherwise is enough. 

Post # 20
1503 posts
Bumble bee

Let me address the phone issue first.  That one you can entirely control. Just stop answering the phone and responding to text messages about your husband. I would find that really really irritating as well.  But the more you try to be a “nice girl” and keep responding, they’ll keep asking. They’re getting what they want and you’re giving it to them, so why would your Mother-In-Law stop? 

Second, you can’t make people “care” about you. My family is like yours in that they celebrate everyone in the family’s birthday, including spouses. So I get the disappointment that your in-laws seemingly doesn’t care about you or your special day while your DH is celebrated from all sides. But you need to accept that that’s not the family you married into.  So focus on the people who do care about and celebrate you.

Finally, you need to have a talk with your DH and he needs to stand up for you and take a much more active role. When your in-laws only get him souvenirs and leave you out, have your DH vocalize “you know my wife would enjoy this so this is perfect for her” and get you more front and center. Or if they tell him they’re getting him something, have your DH mention “oh you know my wife really likes (fill in blank) could you get that for us while you’re there?”  Have him make specific requests and ask them to buy stuff for both of you.  Even if it’s something only you would like, have your DH refer to it as something you BOTH would love.

My own husband does this with his family all the time. It’s like “training” your DH’s family to include you in their thought process otherwise it doesn’t occur to them. But if your DH is consistent, over time it’ll get better.

Finally for your birthday, the best advice I can give you is to have your DH take the lead with his family. When we moved closer to my husband’s family, he took the lead in making my Bdays a big deal with them. Like one year he asked me what I wanted to eat on my Bday and I told him seafood. So he told his family “You know, Shina’s birthday is next week and she loves seafood. So I’m planning on a big seafood dinner for her. You guys should all come over too and eat with us. So mom, could you bring this dish cause Shina loves it? Oh and sis, could  you pick this up on your way, I know how much Shina would appreciate it if she had it on her Bday. Thanks so much!”

Your DH needs to teach his family that your Bday is important. Esp to him. Instead of waiting for them to do things for you on their own (you’ll be waiting forever) have your DH be the leader and plan it. And then actively engage his family in helping him out in executing it. This only works if it comes from your DH (this is key).  Because ultimately he’s the one who has to teach his family how to incorporate you into his family.

Post # 21
157 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 1996

Wow, ladies, this has been a very interesting thread for me.  I’m an oldster, and I guess I just had no idea how different things are now.

Back in the day when I was little, I remember my parents, aunts, uncles, etc calling their mother-in-law and father-in-law “Mom” and “Dad”.  And it seemed like when someone got married, they became almost like another son or daughter to their mother-in-law and father-in-law, and were treated accordingly.

I guess I need to get with the program!






Post # 22
123 posts
Blushing bee

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@msuttman8:  Sad to say, but divorce is so common and normalised now it’s understandable in laws aren’t at the Mom and Dad level of closeness – after all their child’s spouse isn’t really like a second child for life as used to be thought, reality is they could be gone from their life at any time.

Post # 23
1483 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@reginaphilange569:  I don’t know how you get over the hurt but if it makes you feel any better, I can say I think your family is the exception. I have a fantastic relationship with my in-laws, mil in particular, but I still only get a text on my birthday (for which I’m grateful and think is sweet!). I don’t know anyone whose in-laws make a big deal of their birthday. Also if I’m sick or anything my husband always keeps his family updated, they don’t text me directly about that stuff despite my mil considering me a daughter. When we visit mil and I chat for hours, go shopping together, drink together haha, etc., but husband still manages the relationships remotely. Just as I manage my family.

If after 8 years your mil isn’t making an effort to get to know you, it’s doubtful she ever will for whatever reasons — which may have nothing to do with you. Since the texts about your husband annoy you, I simply wouldn’t answer and get your husband to contact her. No need to cause drama! Also I’d stop making an effort to contact her unless you are happy with it not being reciprocated. Otherwise don’t involve your husband, aside from having him plan birthday stuff with them. Even if he asks them to get you souvenirs, is that what you want? I’m guessing your desire for souvenirs isn’t about the gift itself, but about feeling like your in-laws thought of you? So I’d just let it go and accept they will likely never regard you the same way they do their own children. But know this isn’t necessarily a reflection on you, and is also normal and standard so really nothing to be hurt over. If not having a close relationship with your in-laws is one of the concerns in your life, you are lucky indeed!

Post # 24
13655 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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@reginaphilange569:  Going forward, all of them. What you’re describing isn’t normal in any family I know unless there’s a separation or divorce. I’m surprised at how many posters think this is normal or acceptable. 

What’s even more important than their rudeness is how it makes you feel and how your husband chooses to react to those feelings. Marriage, to me, is about family and my husband and I are a team. I can’t imagine my husband accepting lavish birthday presents, dinners in his honor etc. under these circumstances any more than if they chose to recognize just one of our children.

It’s his job to tell them that their behavior is no longer OK with him. The fact that it upsets you should be enough of a reason. 

Post # 25
419 posts
Helper bee

I agree with your plan re the birthday thing, having your husband initiate a family celebration is the best way to resolve your exclusion.

I don’t think there really is a good fix for her disinterest in you. Your husband confronting about that just isn’t going to make things better.

Personally, if I was being treated as a messanger by my Mother-In-Law, i would just politely redirect her to your husband and put less effort into the relationship. It sounds like you are frustrated that you put more work into your relationship than her, so fix that by meeting her on her level. It will help to reduce your feeings of rejection if you aren’t constantly the one extending a branch.

 In my family in-laws are not quite sons and daughters to my parents, but they are special members of the family that are recognized as individuals. 

Post # 26
1499 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Some posters have mentioned that you aren’t being treated like family… but are you?  How do they treat cousins, adult nephews/ nieces, aunts, etc?  It’s possible that you’re witnessing how your in-laws treat the birthdays of their children/ spouses/ siblings vs family that is one step removed.

 For instance, does your husband go all out for aunts he has a good relationship with? Does he bring back souvenirs for cousins that were like siblings to him? Or is that pretty much reserved for his actual sister and parents? Do his parents celebrate their siblings’ and godchildren’s birthdays or is that only for their children?  

Being treated ” like Family” isn’t a binary thing like a switch. 

Post # 27
13655 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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@coffeecakez:  I don’t consider OP to be in the same category as extended family. To me, the comparison is to parents who celebrate one child or grandchild and not the others. 

No one can force them to treat OP like a beloved daughter in law, but to say she’s not immediate family is untrue and would be offensive to hear in OP’s place. The H doesn’t have to accept the status quo. 

Post # 28
852 posts
Busy bee

I find the birthday part to be meh. I think birthdays vary greatly between people in general with some people going all out to celebrate and others not acknowledging it at all so I wouldn’t read too much into that. The souvenir thing is rude I think if it’s always explicitly for him only. The texting you about your husband part would be the most annoying to me probably because I’ve experienced this myself. In the past if my husband doesn’t answer his phone or is on a work trip and not as available my Mother-In-Law with text or call me about him and it makes me feel secretary ish too. If he doesn’t answer maybe he doesn’t want to talk right now, unless it’s an emergency stop lady. What I would do is not respond myself but tell my husband so he can respond in his own phone. I feel like she got the point because this hasn’t happened in awhile.

Post # 29
10113 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

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lt would get to me a bit too, especially the being treated like a secretary thing. I think l’d have to say something like ‘it went ok l think but you will have to ask him’ re the dr appointments, or even, ‘well mil that’s his business really so you better ask him l think’  Then l’d add some question about her, ‘  like how’s your lockdown going, here is loosening up,’ or whatever.

Idk you can do much about the presents and marking birthdays thing, they obviously just aren’t as welcoming and friendly as your family. All you can do is be as generous with them as if they actually were like your family. Then you can feel a bit righteous and that’s always a good thing lol. 

Ps had to have a little smile at the posts where ‘segue’ got changed to ‘Segway’ I imagined people wheeling into family chats on them lol. 

Post # 31
2024 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Here is the truth, the I laws have exactly the relationship with you that they want to have. She doesn’t ask you about yourself because they don’t care, they dont call or text you about you becuase they don’t want to. It sucks becusee you want something different but you need to accept it and make peace with it. If the roles were reversed and mil was trying to be all up in your business we would be telling you that you have the right to have whatever level of friendship with her that you wanted and that you weren’t obligated to have more of a friendship than you wanted to. Aka stop chasing mil. Stop calling her to chat, she doesn’t care. When she texts you asking about husbands business you can do 2 things. Respond and always say, I’ll let him know you asked. And then tell him his mom texted him. Or you can say, You will have to ask him for an update. 

see the birthday thing is what it is, I think what you described is normal for some people. But what’s more concerning is mil contacting you to ask questions she should be asking her son directly. That behavior is indicative of a controlling mil and a red flag. 

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