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How Close is Too Close?

Lately I've been struggling with my relationship with my MIL and in-laws in general. My husband's family is very close. They all work for the family business (except me) and my husband and I live next door to his parents on the business property. I've always done my part and have attended every birthday, holiday and much more with his family. We even do "family lunch" on Wednesdays and my mother in law usually guilts us all into going to a movie with her almost every Tuesday. I know my MIL means well, and it's probably only because she does truly like me, but she constantly wants to spend time with me. The feeling is not reciprocated. Although she is a good person at heart, she and I have had our issues, and more often than not, she has something negative to say to me or compares me to her "perfect" daughter. I often leave our meetings feeling down in myself. I don't mind being close to my husband's family...to an extent. I've found that since we moved in next door (about 5 years ago) my relationship started to change with his family. I feel like I'm in a fishbowl for their viewing. Nothing is private. I feel trapped. If my MIL sees my car outside, she constantly calls or stops by wanting me to do things with her. The thing is, I don't want to be that close to her. I don't want to be good friends with her. I don't want to see her every single day. I don't mind having a friendly relationship with her, but I don't want to be her best friend. IMO, she has 2 daughters to take on that job but none of her 3 children will spend time her, her husband is always working or wants to sit on the couch all day, and she doesn't have any friends. For some reason, it seems like I'M the one who is expected to entertain her at these times. I've tried to express my frustrations about this with my husband but all he says is that "she just likes you and wants to spend more time with you". Call me selfish, but I feel like I've given her plenty of my time and I don't want to give any more. What I'm trying to express is that I am fully willing to put my time in for family events such as birthdays, holidays, and even the Wednesday "family lunch". But how much more of my time am I expected to give to my in-laws? Right now I see them at least 3 times a week which is much much more than I ever even see my own family who live in the same town. Am I being unreasonable for not wanting to be closer to my MIL? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Re: How Close is Too Close?

  • I don't think her daughters should have to take on this job, either.  You're going to have to move.  Until then, be busy if she asks you to do stuff, don't answer the door when you don't want to, don't answer the phone when you don't want to.

    Have you told your husband that YOU don't want to spend more time with HER, and been firm about it?

    I have to tell you, three times a week would make me want to kill someone.  Hell, once a week would be way too much for me.

    image
  • You live too close. I think that is the question you ask. I would very clearly tell her your boundaries. It may help to be busy or away from home for more time until he show you some respect for your time and personal space. This will only get worse if you have a family of your own. She will want to be around all the time. She will likely give you her opinion about your parenting and her feelings about your inadequacies.perhaps you should advise her to call her own children when she is pestering you. Only you can change the future of this, since it is you he is bothering. Good luck. 
  • It's not anybody's responsibility to be her best friend, and certainly not yours.

    I don't think she actually means well.  If she did, she would understand your need for you to have your own life.

    Your husband is actually the bigger problem here, in that he expects you to dedicate all of your time to his mother when he has no desire to hang out with her, and he's completely unconcerned with your feelings.  I think you need to tell him that you are seriously unhappy with the way your lives are going right now, and tell him you want to move further away from his parents.  You can also feel free to skip any family get-togethers- you are not obligated to attend every single thing that someone else plans.

  • Ditto PPs you have to move. Today. 

    This is way too close and involved and I would go crazy even if it was my own family.  

  • Hopefully I can give a little bit of advise.  We live within 1 mile of both MIL and FIL & SMIL. Along with 1 block from H's uncle and cousin, all in a town of 600.  This was a huge problem for us when we first bought our home, and will occasionally resurface.

    So here's what worked for us.  Whenever MIL would drop in to see what I was up to, I would tell her I needed to do laundry and clean the house. But she's more than welcome to help. Or I would tell her that I was getting ready to go for a 6 mile run on the treadmill, if she wants to watch or join me. Then she started coming over when she would notice that both of us were home together. We started off by locking the door the minute we got into the house. She would usually stop by and knock, then call both of our phones. We would wait until she left, then return her call and ask if she needed anything. Normally she would tell us that she noticed we were home and was seeing what we were up to. We began responding with, "we didn't hear you and our phones were in the other room."  When she didn't get the hint, it turned into "you know, the typical newlywed thing. Practicing making babies." 

    After all of those, she began getting the hint.  But usually once a week we will notice her driving by our house 3-4 times. We just call her on her cell phone and ask if she needs anything, because she keeps driving by. But we also do make plans with her at least once a week to either have her and BIL over for dinner, or to go to a movie or something. So we do not ignore her completely, but some ground rules had to be put into place.

    FIL and SMIL aren't too bad, and they're good about letting us know when they're coming over or asking us if we're up for house guests. H's uncle and cousin were a whole other story, and stopped even more often than MIL (they walk their dogs by our house 3-4 times a day).  What helped for them, was having FIL mention in front of them on how he respects our privacy and lets us know before he's coming over. I think it really put it into perspective for H's uncle that he's the only one who just walks into our house.

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  • I agree with pp's. You need to move and if you don't want to attend a certain outting, then don't. It's as simple as that and tell your husband how you feel.

     

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
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  • I'd rather have a lobotomy than see my ILs three times a week. 

    Are you in a postition to move?  If not, just stop going to events.  Let me ask you a question - does your husband spend much, or any, personal time with your Mom or Dad, one on one?  I'm guessing no.  So I don't see why there's that expectation on you.

    I don't like that your husband doesn't understand your frustrations.  It's very dismissive. 

  • Thank you to everyone for your feedback. Your comments have definitely put me more at ease. Unfortunately, at this time we are not in a position to move. We're saving up to buy a house and expect to do so in the next year or two, so I just have to make it through until then. Every once in a while my husband will go skiing with my step dad and little brother (maybe 2-3 times a year) but he doesn't really spend more one on one time with anyone else in my family which is why I totally see his point of view as a double standard.
  • srgwsrgw member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    imagealecia_kasher:
    Thank you to everyone for your feedback. Your comments have definitely put me more at ease. Unfortunately, at this time we are not in a position to move. We're saving up to buy a house and expect to do so in the next year or two, so I just have to make it through until then. Every once in a while my husband will go skiing with my step dad and little brother (maybe 2-3 times a year) but he doesn't really spend more one on one time with anyone else in my family which is why I totally see his point of view as a double standard.

    Tell your H the bolded. I would be pissed off if my H was telling me I should hang out with his parents, yet he never did. Pissed. Angry

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