Post # 1
When I met my husband’s family it was a pretty smooth experience. He has a big family and I was accepted very well. They took our relationship very seriously
However, over the years I noticed that we mostly meet on holidays, just a few times a year. Our realtionship never grew. I was waiting for that time when I could think of them as my family but it never happened. My husband and I have been together for over 6 years at this point.
They are still like strangers to me
We never text or call each other, I don’t even have their #s (just his mother and I got it not from her – it was a weird situation) I know that the other SIL is much closer to my SO’s family because she has been in the family for 20+ years and has 3 kids. My husband and I don’t have kids yet. My husband also has another brother who has a fiance and this girl has been making a lot of effort (taking everyone’s #, calling everyone on their birthday etc). I don’t do that, because it just never felt right…but she she not close with them because they live in Europe and visit us once every few years.
We went on a small vacation last year and I noticed how often Mother-In-Law talks to the other SIL. Non stop! She also talks about her and her kids to me all the time, about the years before I was in my husband’s life. I don’t feel any jealousy, I am just confused on how to proceed. I have no interest in having a close relationship with either my SIL or Mother-In-Law. We have very different lifestyles and nothing in common. They are not bad people but I don’t really care if I saw them only once a year. i think that Mother-In-Law wants us to have kids and this is her only interest..(same with SIL) I don’t feel close to her at all. It could be that Mother-In-Law is satisfied with having one close relationship with the other SIL. However, I was told by a few family members that she does want a closer relationship with me and apparently she was emotional about it. I just never see her make any effort really. Quite the opposite.
Everyone else in the family communicates more with each other but mostly because they have known each other for over 20 years. Compared to them I am the new girl.
Last time I spoke to my Mother-In-Law was by short text (and it was about my husband / work related), many many months ago. Just to give you an idea. PS I am an extrovert and generally find it easy to deal with other people, meet new people etc.
I wonder if I have to make the effort or just leave it? What would you suggest?
PS. My own family lives in Europe
Post # 2
Well I personally think there is nothing wrong with having a relationship where you are not close but friendly when you see each other. That is what it sounds to me like you have with your Mother-In-Law. That is okay as long as everyone treats each other with respect and kindness. You can make more effort but only if you want to or want to change change relationship. It would take work on both sides so if you want to be close Mother-In-Law would have to make an effort too. Which might involve you feeling hurt if you try and she pushing you away. Are you willing to put yourself out there?
Some families are just that way. My husband’s is I met them over 5 years ago and our relationship is about that same except they aren’t nice. I basically am just there when we see them. You would think I was some random friend my DH just met that they will never see again by the way they treat me. It could just be your DHs family is like that who knows. some inlaws are super welcoming and inviting and some like mine suck. Yours sound kind.of in between.
I will give you a bit of advice though do not expect that because you have a baby with your DH that it will change. Most of the time that’s when inlaw behavior rears its ugly head. It’s great she wants you to have children bit be prepared for her to act entitled to a great relationship with her grands but still keeping you at arms length while giving you all the obnoxious advice in the world. Just letting you know that could happen and it sucks because then you just feel like an incubator. If that happens you will need to set some real boundaries.
Post # 3
I’m confused – you say you don’t care if you have a close relationship but then you list all the ways you notice Mother-In-Law has a closer relationship with your SIL. You say you thought you’d be closer or be more like family but then seem to contradict that too.
If you are fine with things being as they are, I’d say just continue doing what you’ve been doing. See them at holidays, be friendly and cordial and keep things somewhat aloof. If you want to be closer to them, make more effort to reach out (even if just to MIL).
Can you clarify if you actually want to be closer to them or you simply feel like you should be closer because of who they are?
Post # 4
I have no interest in having a close relationship with either my SIL or Mother-In-Law. We have very different lifestyles and nothing in common. They are not bad people but I don’t really care if I saw them only once a year.
….so I don’t see the problem here? It sounds like you have exactly the kind of relationship you want to have.
Post # 5
If Mother-In-Law was emotional on the subject, it sounds like both of you are standing on ceremony in terms of communication. Couldn’t you just pick up the phone and call her every once in awhile? And where is your H in this? Does he speak to her more often?
If you feel this way I’m not sure why you don’t make at least as much effort as your SIL in Europe. Also, since you point out they have a different lifestyle, it’s possible she has the feeling that more frequent overtures wouldn’t be welcome. Maybe she’s intimidated? As the younger couple without children, it might also be not that she doesn’t care but that she doesn’t want to intrude on your busy lives.
Post # 6
I wonder if this will be worth it in the long run – developing a stronger bond with Mother-In-Law
or if in the future I will regret not having a closer relationship with her
So yeah I am not sure if I should just leave it as it is or make an effort
Post # 7
My husband is close with his family but we both visit them very rarely – a few times a year, he does call his mom but they talk about work most of the time – they work in the same industry. I called his mom once or twice during our 6 year relationship, she texted me maybe 3-4 times, that’s it
Yes, I agree she might just be too intimated and not wanting to intrude or something…I doubt she dislikes me, more so she doesn’t get me or doesn’t know me that well
Post # 8
I am just worried that this relationship will be a problem in the future espcially since others SILs are closer to Mother-In-Law than I am, don’t want to make it weird in the long run…
Post # 9
I think the only way it would become weird is if you make it weird – and I mean that with love. I have a perfectly cordial relationship with my Mother-In-Law but I made it clear from the beginning that a) I have a mom (she realllllyyy seemed to want me to come to her for advice and all of that, but no….) and b) we wouldn’t be best friends. That’s just not the kind of person I am. I think that fostering a relationship that works for you is perfectly ok, and I wouldn’t worry too much about your Mother-In-Law wanting it to be different unless you have clear signs of that. It sounds like everything is honestly ok.
Post # 10
thank you! Maybe I am overthinking this…
thank you for your insight
Post # 11
My husband and I have been married for 9 years and together for 15 years and I’m not close to my in-laws. We used to live in the same town and had Sunday night dinners together but even then I wouldn’t say we were close. My BIL’s Girlfriend of several years is much closer to my Mother-In-Law and I’m OK with it because they now live close to each other and are more alike. I actually get along better with my Father-In-Law, but he’s an introvert and doesn’t initiate much contact either. My Mother-In-Law is the social director of the family and organizes calls and visits, but she and I don’t text much even though we have each other’s numbers. We don’t have kids either, but I also know my in-laws aren’t ones to revolve their lives around grandkids. I think wen you are forced together through marriage but have very different interests and wouldn’t be close otherwise, it’s fine to have distance. That said, I have no animosity towards my Mother-In-Law and I know she likes and respects me. We just aren’t close and we’re both OK with it (at least there’s never been any indication she wishes we were closer).
My only advice would be to make sure you are opening yourself up to more of a relationship now that you know she wants one if it’s something you’d be OK with. Maybe start with getting her number and texting her about something relevant, like your husband’s birthday gift, just so she feels included. Or just start by exchanging numbers and leaving the ball in her court since she wants a relationship. But there’s nothing wrong with leaving things the way they are as long as neither of you feels like there’s animosity. Sometimes you just don’t click with someone and I personally don’t believe in having relationships with people out of guilt or necessity.
Post # 12
Hmm I’m a bit confused. You say you have no interest in having a closer relationship with them? Do you feel like you’re wondering out if “obligation” or something whether you should though? If they’re good people then it could be worth a try. I know it’s hard especially when you’re really different people as you say but it can be worth finding some points of commonality. Texts are easy and can be more light hearted if you want to ease into it that way xo
Post # 13
About the “So and so said”… Grown ass adults communicate directly to the person or it should be ignored. I live by this. If someone comes and tells me that x family member is hurt or feels some way about something or wants something from me? I completely ignore that becuase that person didn’t say it directly to me. I don’t tolerate people managing their relationshp with me through other people. That’s the sign of a deeply immature person. It also only leads to drama. Don’t engage with it at all.
If your mother in law wanted a closer relationship with you she would reach out, or ask your husband. If she really is telling people that, but isn’t talking to you than she is playing games. You have no idea if she is saying that to people in response to a question they asked and she wanted to look good in their eyes and wants it to look like she cares more than she does. Or any other many reasons none of which have to do with you. I don’t play games with grown adults and neither should you.
It’s up to you if you want to chase her for a relationship or not. But don’t fall into the trap of responding to comments from family members about other family members.
Post # 14
I agree with everyone else who isn’t quite sure what you are asking, since you seem to say you are OK with the status quo, but then you also hint that you’d like a closer relationship. If you genuinely are fine with things the way they are, great! Keep doing the same thing you are doing. If you’d like to be closer, you will have to put in some effort.
Relationships need fairly equal amounts of effort on both sides to grow, and you don’t know (and can’t control, of course) how much effort she will put in, but you can easily up your game. Nothing may come of it, or you may find yourself growing closer. Either way, you know what you need to do.
I have a bunch of brothers-, sisters-, and parents-in-law, and I have different relationships with each, all depending on our own personalities, how much we see each other, and how much effort is put in on both sides to stay in touch even if we aren’t in regular contact.
Two examples are my oldest brothers’ wives. One has made it clear she isn’t interested in relationships with anyone else in the family, so that’s what she has: nothing. She has also managed to cut my brother off from the rest of us (yes, I realize he is responsible for this as well). He and I used to be very close and that is over, thanks to that marriage.
The other sister-in-law has made a deliberate effort to get to know all of us and become friends. She is so warm and genuine and we all love her. She has actually made my relationship with my brother better (and we were already close).
Post # 15
I don’t see the problem. You aren’t interested in a closer relationship with your Mother-In-Law, and she doesn’t seem to desire one either. You both seem to get along fine, and respect each other enough, and are polite to each other when you do interact.
What’s wrong with that?
I like my Mother-In-Law just fine but she wishes that we were incredibly close. There is clearly a cultural issue in play (I’m originally from America, she is not originally from the country) and so what she wants is really a degree of active signs of intimacy that I don’t even have with my own parents, whom I also greatly value. I wish my Mother-In-Law was fine with us just meeting at holidays!