Post # 1
On another thread, a friendly bee posted that they felt their in-laws hated them before she got married, but that all changed on her wedding day and that now she gets phonecalls and nice emails.
This got me thinking – what do you feel is the bare minimum of kindness/attention/care/interest you would expect from your in-laws, particularly the female ones? I’m sure many lucky bees have great relationships with your Mother-In-Law or SIL (or future ones), but for those that have lukewarm relationships – what is the minimum you feel your can expect or deserve? Is receiveing an email once a day, week, month, or year enough to make you feel you aren’t being ignored?
If your in-laws stopped visiting or wanting to visit, would that be the straw that broke the camel’s back for you? Or would it be lack of phonecalls or gifts at the holidays?
See, I guess I’m trying to figure out whether my Mother-In-Law and SIL’s level of interest is normal and whether their actions are reasonable or just too little too late.
Post # 3
I don’t think there is a normal, it is whatever works best in your situation and what you are most comfortable with.
At the very least, I would just like respect when I am around them. I’m fine with being invited to family gatherings but not having too much contact otherwise. I love his mom and she is very sweet but we are completely opposite so I don’t think I would want to converse or hang out with her on a regular basis. His younger sister has a lot of growing up to do so my contact with her is mostly because she has a son who I would like to keep in our lives.
Post # 4
Same as babyboo. I don’t expect, and would probably not be comfortable with, being invited to tea every week or anything but I do expect them to be civil when I am around them – a feature that, sadly, they are lacking.
Post # 5
My FH has a weird structure as far as family goes because of his parents divorcing. FH was raised by his Aunt (Dad’s sis) till he was 9 or 10 yrs old when his Dad re-married. I think he cares for his Bio Mom but finds her at times needy and burden some. His Aunt on the other hand, he adores and treats like a real Mom. I am also very close to her, she has us over for dinner often and we do the same with her. We call each other several times a week. And she is actually helping me plan our wedding since my mom is 8 hrs away. I too adore her.
As far as his Bio Mom, She also tries to keep in touch with us. I kept an open mind with her until last christmas. Up to that point, I have tried to include her on most things. She was out shopping with me for FH’s stocking stuffers and told me I should buy FH a certain tool because he mentioned he doesn’t have it. It wasn’t that expensive so I went ahead and bought it. X-mas AM comes and we’re opening presents…..FH opens his stocking stuffer (the tool) and says…..”Oooh! hey Mom, Look…i can fix your car now!”
Boy oh boy! was i pissed off! That totally turned me off about her and since then I haven’t had the urge to develop that relationship much.
Post # 6
@MrsCunningham2B: Oh my gosh, she sounds really sneaky!
Describing some family members with which you have a distant relationship as “needy” is very helpful. I know exactly what you mean.
Post # 7
Well my Mother-In-Law and I are VERY close. We talk often, go shopping together, etc. If she suddenly stopped doing those things I would be very upset and hurt. However, SIL and I are not close at all (we’re working on our relationship), so I don’t really have a minimum expectation of her. At this point, she will often say nothing to me at family functions (yet, was very nice and fun at my bachelorette party and fairly nice and helpful as a bridesmaid in our wedding). It’s so interesting to me that I can have such dramatically different relationships with the two women in my husband’s family.
Post # 8
I donno, I don’t really know what you mean by deserve but unless they said something to or about me or flat out ignored me in person I don’t think I’d think much of it. My Mother-In-Law and my husband talk sporadically, sometimes they won’t talk for months and then other times they’ll talk several times in one week. I really don’t field phone calls from her though she’ll call if she can’t get a hold of him and sometimes email. But even though we really only receive info about each other through my husband when we’re not together we get along well when we are together. And both them and us make time for visits on occasion. My mom and dad don’t really ever call up my husband to just chat either, even though they will call me up, but I know they love him and they all get along well when they are together.
Post # 9
I am very close with my in-laws, especially my BIL’s Fiance. We go to in-law’s just about every weekend (DH works PT on family farm). We usually talk and have family meals together each weekend. BIL’s Fiance and I text and email 1-2 times a week. We are invited to all family events and just have lots of contact over all. Now that we are expecting, I imagine that we will continue the same level of contact, and Darling Husband plans to continue to work PT on the farm.
If we wern’t invited to family events, I’d be upset and concerned, but I don’t think that’ll be an issue. FI’s family is very close.
Post # 10
@troubled:I guess what I’m looking for is the amount of interaction/attention you feel is the minimum you can personally expect from your in-laws.
Some people might say that being invited to family events would be the minimum nod-of-the-head they should receive from their in-laws, some would disagree. Some might feel that their in-laws calling once a month to see how they are is proper and if they didn’t they would be upset – some would say once a year instead.
What is the minimum interaction that you would be satisfied to have with your in-laws and would not cross the line of being offensive/hurtful?
If there were a list of “standards” for in-laws, what are they? Call once a week? Visit once a year? None of these?
Post # 11
[Background: Prior to engagement, we would email, text, talk on the phone. Then we got engaged. Everything stopped dead in its track.]
You know, every time we see Mother-In-Law, my expectations go down. At first I was pissed when she would ignore me. She wouldn’t even say “Hi” to me much less look at me at all; she would answer questions I asked her though but it’s me always initiating everything and it’s not reciprocated (she never asks anything about me, never asks me how I am doing). Then I realized the benefits and got over it really quick. She wants to ignore me- fine, while it used to hurt, it doesn’t get me down, if that makes since. At our wedding, she would turn and face the opposite way and do a dramatic head flip whenever I was around her, sometime facing a wall.
Now after this past weekend, all I ask is that she doesn’t analyze every breath I take and try to go bitch at my husband about me. She can ignore me all she wants. We get to her house, unload several heavy boxes for her (she does not lift a finger and doesn’t thank me either, which is fine because I wasn’t doing this for her, I was doing it to help my husband) that she needed from our house. I walk over to where she is sitting, sit down, cross my legs and ask how she is doing, trying to act like nothing is wrong. She responds, turns to the TV and asks me how I am (which is a first) and I say “Oh, I’m good” because she twists everything you say so I don’t give her anything to twist.
What does she do? Attempts to bitch my husband out, telling him I had this attitude, purposely disrespected her by the way I turned and sat (in the chair with my right leg over my left [she was to my left]) and was rude, had the back of my head to her when we watched TV and on and on. Literally, could not breathe right to her. Needless to say, things did not end well with her and she insinuated that he needed to choose between the two of us. I told him exactly what I did because he was not there, which may have been a mistake of not doing it in front of him. However he was telling this to my Brother-In-Law who was in the room with me and he completely vouched for me.
In all honesty I think basic respect is the bare minimum; treat me like you would treat someone you didn’t know. But I take what I can get now.
Post # 12
Eh – Civility when we’re together is enough for me. Actually, I appreciate the fact that my ILs are very respectful of boundaries. They’re very nice, but we have very little in common and it means a lot that they don’t try to force intimacy or familiarity where none exists.
I do have a pretty close relationship with my SIL, though, and I’d be kinda miffed if she, say, didn’t respond to an e-mail or text.
Post # 13
Hmmm, I guess to keep up fairly regular contact with their son since they did that before, make time for visits every so often – I wouldn’t really think much of not visiting unless we tried to make plans and they avoided us but I doubt that would happen since she’s usually the initiator of visits and make at least somewhat pleasant conversation when we are together.
We’re not BFFs but we get along well, I just am kind of a go along with it kind of person so I’m fine with mainly whatever as long as we’re not being rude to each other or completely ignoring each other.
Post # 14
I had always hoped for that close relationship with my Mother-In-Law or Future Sister-In-Law. I never had any issues with past famlies, and always was I guess naive to the whole Mother-In-Law from hell. When my now hubby warned me of his mom, I again was being naive to think oh how bad can it be. The first meeting of her I knew we would never be super close but I at least thought she would treat me with respect and make me part of the family. I was wrong yet again. I feel like being treated as part of the family is huge, and the lack of is beyond disrepectful to me.
Post # 15
Just don’t disrespect me or my daughter in my hearing and respect my relationship with Fiance…that’s it. I don’t need a whole lot of interaction even though I have no issues with Future Father-In-Law (FMIL passed away earlier this year). Since I have a really large immediate family I am always on family interaction overload so if I wasn’t being given the “proper” amount of attention by FIs family, the chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t even notice
Post # 16
Teaandtost..do we have the same in-laws? I too have 0 in common with mine, don’t really care for their personalities, or holier than thou attitude. It’s like walking on egg shells around them and I still count the minutes until we leave. It’s just really forced, superficial convo you know. I have NO communication with either of them unless I HAVE to see them which is like once every few months. His mother, I never liked, we just never clicked and I deemed her a phony from pretty much our first encounter. She called me for my bday this past year and I see them for the holidays, family functions were are invited to but other then that, I really don’t expect emails, phone calls or any other communication. I forgot to call her for her bday this year, yes I know I’m a bad DIL lol oh well. Even if we were close, I wouldn’t expect phone calls to chat. To me, she’s a Mother-In-Law, not a friend and I would never trust her like I would a friend..but that’s me.