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Gaining MIL's respect

edited April 2016 in Family Matters
How on Earth do you make your MIL respect you? My situation is all sorts of funky, but essentially I live in MIL's house with her cat, my BIL + wife, their 2 small dogs, and my husband. MIL lives with her boyfriend and we pay a more than decent rent each month, never late and never less than we owe, but for some reason i can FEEL that my MIL doesn't trust me or respect me, which has become more apparent as we are petitioning to get a dog of our own (since we live with 3 pets that belong to other people). She agreed we could get a dog, but she keeps adding addendums such as we have to wait until my husband is out of school for the summer and the house has to meet her expectations (even though there are 2 other ppl here and her expectations are above and beyond the condition to which she left us the house). And on top of that she has refused to have a decent conversation with me about it going so far as to verbally shut me down in front of the household, her boyfriend, and a non-family guest. None of those addendums by the way has she required of the other couple for their two dogs, despite the fact that their senior dog has left huge, dark piss stains all over the living room carpet. With the dog being the latest issue for us, I have in hindsight identified other moments of disrespect and bias towards me specifically in reference to how she wants her house kept and how I am the only member she feels is not keeping house well. This dog has come to represent her respect in so much that my husband and I have agreed to move out if after meeting her addendums she still does not approve. 

All in all I guess I am seeking validation of my opinion and am open to suggestions about how to gain her respect, get the dog, and not feel like I'm being bullied by MIL; to prevent further damage to our relationship with her and prevent the hassle of moving.
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Re: Gaining MIL's respect

  • I'm so sorry, but my opinion is to let the dog go.  This is her home and if she doesn't want 4 dogs living there, then that is her right and she also doesn't owe you an explanation as to why.  " No" is good enough.  As they say, if you want respect, then you need to give respect and if you truly want her to respect you in the future, then you graciously listen to what she is telling you about the dog.  Don't argue, just say " Ok, we respect what you are saying and will not ask again."

    However, I will say that getting your own home is an excellent idea.  Sometimes, you simply can't put a price on living in your own home.  
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    First, ditto Disney - you need to give respect to get respect.  If she doesnt' want another dog, RESPECT that.  This isn't about "being fair".  Thisi s about her house and her wishes.  Period.

    ANd really- you know the answer.  you need to move out.  Be adults.  Move out.
  • My guess is that she wants all of you and the pets out and just won't directly come out and say it.

    Like VOR said, you really do need to move out.

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  • Another vote to drop the dog issue. Best bet is to save the money on a dog, even if you get one from a rescue they still cost food & vet bill, and work on saving up to move out on your own, even if it means an apartment. Not having a dog when trying to move out on your own will make it easier in case you need to rent initially. Not all apartments, or even house rentals will allow for dogs.

    The other couple sounds like they don't necessarily take full responsibility for their dogs. Maybe she is afraid you will do the same. She has no evidence on what you will or won't be like as pet owners. So don't go changing things to meet her requirements for getting a dog. Just do your part or maintaining the home you live in and pay your rent. Once you are able to move out on your own, she can't control what you do or don't do.

    I wouldn't bring up the issue of pets or any house issues in front of other individuals. That is something private between you guys & her. If she brings it up, just say can we talk about this privately later on. I don't want to bore so and so with this.

    Respect, hard to say if she is giving it or not. I think it's more of being wishy washy about her decision to let you have a pet then being disrespectful.

    And if you are feeling you are doing more to take care of MIL house then the other couple, then this may sound childish, but time for a chores list. Make a list of who is responsible for mowing lawn, taking care of flower beds, putting trash out for pick up, who will take care of what in the house. Even if you have to, who cleans what part of the house each week or on alternating weeks. And if that system doesn't work, look into the cost of hiring a company to come weekly & mow the lawn & then a cleaning company to come in weekly or every 2 weeks to clean the common areas of the house & split the costs between both couples. Then the only space you are responsible for are your private areas.

    If MIL is seeing that both couples are being equally responsibility for maintaining her home, how she treats people, will change.

  • I think you need to move out and be fully independent of your MIL.  Then you don't have to worry about "getting her to" respect your wishes.  You'll be truly independent, and you won't need her respect.

    I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if I could give you one piece of advice it would be:  Don't get a dog until both of you are out of school and living independently, preferably with steady income.

    Having a pet is great, but a lot can change as you get out of school and look for jobs, etc.  Having a pet can really limit your options at a time when you need to be flexible.  
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