Family Matters
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Best advice about dealing with future in-laws

I've only met my fiancee's parents a few times so I really don't know them all that well except for what my fiancee tells me about them. However I know they are wary of any partners that my fiancee and his brother bring home. So they have been polite but not overly warm to me on the few occasions we have met. We aren't going to be spending the holidays with them because of my work schedule but get-togethers and family functions are inevitable. And now with a wedding to plan I have no idea how much I should involve my future MIL, how I should even broach the subject on if she wants to help/be a part of it, and how to start building a relationship with both of them. 

Any suggestions/tips??

Re: Best advice about dealing with future in-laws

  • Hmmm...this is tricky because I don't think you've given enough information here. Do you know why they are 'wary' of anyone that your FI and his brother have brought home? I'm curious about this. Either way, if they are not treating you respectfully, that's not really right. And your FI needs to address that with them....

    Me personally, I would not involve them too much on the wedding planning with the exception of who they want to invite from their family. But that also depends on if they are contributing financially because as the saying goes 'he who pays gets a say'. My H and I paid for our wedding ourselves and a big reason why we did was to avoid the bullshit of my MIL trying to control things and turn the wedding into a 3 ring circus. (which she still tried to do anyway, but it was easier to shut her down since she was not paying)

  • One other thing I would like to add as far as having a relationship with your IL's. I say just be yourself and not stress too much over being some 'perfect person'. Be cordial, be civil - you don't have to be BFF with them, but at least be respectful towards them. Again, this is just general advice since I don't know you or have more information regarding your IL's to give anything more detailed.
  • One other thing I would like to add as far as having a relationship with your IL's. I say just be yourself and not stress too much over being some 'perfect person'. Be cordial, be civil - you don't have to be BFF with them, but at least be respectful towards them. Again, this is just general advice since I don't know you or have more information regarding your IL's to give anything more detailed.
    100% this.  Just be yourself and see how things naturally progress.  You might get past this wall they have up, or you might not.  But that's more about THEM than it is YOU.  Don't try to force a "relationship" if it doesn't seem to come naturally.  You may never have anything more than a "they are my ILs" relationship with them.  There isn't anything wrong with that.  You're marrying your FI, NOT them.  Be polite to them, but it doesn't have to be more than that.

    As for the wedding, honestly, I think your FI needs to play a role here.  If his parents are wary, and they tend to stand back - then HE needs to talk to them about what involvement they want.  This shouldn't fall to you to navigate on your own.  And if it does... that makes me question your FI and how much of a support he will be going forward!

    HE should want to make things as smooth as possible, and as such, he needs to step up and help navigate all of this.
  • I agree with what R.Wilsonny said.  Don't have high expectations of being very close.  What is important is that you all are polite and civil to each other.  It is also nice for the new DIL/SIL to show appreciation for raising a good son/ daughter.


    Hmm let me think what else.

    1. In general, I think it is a good idea for your H to handle his family and you handle yours.  Especially when delivering bad news ( like we won't be down for Christmas).

    2. In general, don't ok anything pending your H's approval.  For example, don't say "Yeah, I'm ok with you guys visiting for a week, but I have to talk to H first."   This will only make your H look bad in those cases when he doesn't want to do it.  Instead say "I don't know, I will have to check our schedule."

    3. Decide ahead of time how you will want to handle the holidays and think of it as splitting your time between three families not two.  You and your husband are a family too and the most important one.  You decide what you both want to do first and then fit each family's trandtions into your own, but remember the little family you created comes first.   

    4. Touching upon what was said in another post, all families are different.  Just because his family has a different way of doing things, that doesn't mean their way is bad or weird or wrong.  They are simply different.

  • I like the advice you've already gotten, especially about being yourself. And remember that it's a two-way street, so if they really want to be involved in the wedding, they can also make an effort and contact you! You shouldn't have to be responsible for the whole relationship. My ILs are also "wary" and have never made an effort to get to know me or my family. At first, I tried really hard to make them like me. Then I realized they never would, so I started being myself. So I think that's great advice. If you're respectful but also true to yourself, and the relationship doesn't go any deeper, that's totally fine. They have responsibility for nurturing (or ignoring) your relationship too. Good luck, sometimes it's a blessing to have distant inlaws! ;)
  • My IL's are wonderful to me and very loving. That being said, when I was planning my wedding it was like pulling teeth to get a guest list from MIL. Now that I know the family dynamics a little better, she just didn't want to be pushy (we paid for our wedding) and H had to get her address book for me. 

    I would put a little something out there (like asking for a guest list) and go from there. Maybe ask if she wants to go dress shopping, if not, ok. See how the relationship goes from there.
  • As far as wedding planning, the best advice I can give you is to pay for it yourselves. I cannot stress enough the benefits of having one's wedding in one's own hands!

  • As far as the wedding planning, I included my MIL in on the guest list, informed her of colors, offered to go dress shopping with her, asked her if she wanted a pin or wrist corsage. I also included them in the plannin of the RD because they insisted on paying for it. I also asked her if she wanted me to book a stylist at my salon for the day off because my mom, sisters & BM were all going. To be honest, the only thing that my mom got included on that my MIL didn't get included on was picking out my dress. I had limited everyones input on my planning to help limit my stress. Everyone was pretty much told when & where & I did everything else.


  • How much would you want her involved?  Start with grabbing a cup of coffee with her to talk about the wedding.  Find out what her traditions are and see how she responds to your visions.  She'll feel heard and you'll know VERY quickly how you feel about her involvement in your wedding.  

    Consider bringing a small gift for her.  There are some very cute ideas for simple Mother of the Bride gifts. 'Thank you for creating the man of my dreams' type things.  This way no matter how things play out you were thoughtful and made a genuine attempt to include her.  If it goes poorly all that was ruined was a cup of coffee and not your cake testing, venue check-ins, or dress shopping.  You might even pick up some cute detail you could add to the event.  If they had a specific song you could make sure it plays- that type of thing.  After the cup of coffee you really do have the option of not including her in any other event planning.  Good luck!
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