Crazy New In-Laws Rant

This is just me venting about the new in laws. It’s very long…SORRY!!

I have been married for almost two weeks now and love it. We didn’t go on a “real” honeymoon because we don’t want to charge anything. We paid for the wedding with cash as well as all of the things we needed for our new home. We both have the entire month of June off with pay (one of the perks of teaching) so we will save up for a great trip then. I want Europe; he wants a cruise to a tropical place. We have time to plan all of that, and the flexibility to be a little spontaneous. Life has been 99.5% fabulous. The other .5% is going to make me explode if I don’t get it all out here!!!!

Married life, with all of its joy, comes with some new found troubles. Troubles in the way of in-laws. My husband’s family is a bit…troubled. He group up in a broken home with parents who were addicts (drugs and alcohol) and his mother (who I love now) abandoned him and his sister for the majority of their early life. With that came a lot of guilt from the dad. He told the children he gave up his entire life for them, that they were all each other ever had, etc.

And his Dad also financially supports his sister and nephew 100% and pays off all of my husbands bills. I think it is a way to control the kids, they think it is him helping. As an example of control…his sister is married (and pregnant) with a child and her husband is not allowed to live with them in the house her dad owns. He visits them on weekends but has to live across town with his own parents, or Daddy will kick out the sis and child and stop paying for the child’s expensive education and classes such as tumbling and karate.

I am currently on the families bad side. They live in a small town 20 minutes north-east of the city. I was given a fantastic job offer last summer that has me working in an even smaller town 30 minutes south of the city. We refused the many many many offers to live rent free in one of the family homes because I would be spending 3 hours a day or more commuting. So now I am a controlling (bad word) who hates there family. Whatever I can live with that.

The thing that is really making me upset is the actions of his sister and my husbands reaction the past few weeks.

Pre wedding:
My husband has his sister be his best man. Cute I know. She, however, created many many jobs for herself. She invited 25 people to our wedding (limit 30 on the boat) then uninvited some of the guests my husband wanted so that she could cut the list. She went flower shopping and told me who to call to pay for it. When I suggested we all go shopping to find outfits to match my bridesmaids she said “no I think I should look special, I’ll get my own outfit, and I’ll pick out the grooms tux too.” She picked out TOP HATS AND TAILS!!!!! I can stick up for myself, unlike my husband, and took care of all of these with some grace. It was just annoying to have to constantly tell someone no. I let her pick out her own outfit though because it was not too important to me.

The day before the wedding:
She drove my husband to Berkeley (about 2 hours away). She convinced my guy to turn off his phone so that she could “take care” of everything for him so he didn’t have to stress. He and I planned for all of the family to get together for dinner at a specific restaurant that night, plus I had to go over some stuff with the wedding party so they knew what to do. There was no formal rehearsal due to the location.

His sister decided to make other plans. Not just for her, but for the entire grooms side. So I called to see what time we met (her phone because I could not call him) and was told by her they made other plans and there wasn’t room for my entire family, but I could join them if I wanted. I was pissed. I told her to at least make sure we all met up to go over the wedding stuff. Instead they went drinking and all came home drunk as a clam. I was livid.

The wedding day:
The next day she of course knew nothing of the logistics regarding the wedding. The yacht was small so I had my two bridesmaids (my sisters) stand up front instead of walking down before me. SHE ACTUALLY TOLD THEM THEY WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO STAND UP THERE. She said only she and the groomsman was supposed to be up there with the groom and the pastor. Luckily my side knew what they were supposed to do and also can stick up for themselves.

At the reception (up on deck) she didn’t like where my family was sitting because she wanted some of her family to sit there. So she began talking loudly about them one table over. I also found out the night before she announced she was pregnant to the entire family. Ok this is my one bridezilla moment. MY DAY. MY DAY! You don’t trump a bride like that. What the heck!

Then, after I told everyone we were taking pictures after we disembarked, she took all of his side of the family to her room. We had to send someone to get them, and it hurt my husbands feelings. Not to mention embarrassed him a little that his family left him.

Then I sat with my family waiting for their group to go to dinner after the wedding (I wasn’t allowed in our room because of a surprise) because she wanted to wait. Then they reservations she told my husband she would get taken care of didn’t include my family. So they all went to dinner and I sat in my grandmas room alone while my husband and his family hung out in her room. I didn’t know where that was, and My 10 calls to her cell were left un answered. My hubby was to blame for this too, but he swears his family said we were supposed to be separated till dinner.

The “honeymoon”:
We knew our wedding was right before Christmas, so we expected to spend time with family Christmas eve and Christmas and then OUR plan was to spend time alone in our new place for a week. His family needed him. His uncle was in town (saw him Christmas and the wedding) and they had to go to dinner this day, and he needed to help his dad move something this day. He called his sister and told him I was mad. She explained to him on the phone ( I was right next to him) that because we didn’t go out of town we didn’t get a honeymoon. Then because we were having trouble this soon after the wedding (I just told him I didn’t want him to go to his families anymore that week) she explained how to get an annulment. I was livid. After that we really did have a fight. I left for a bit, and when I got home my husband swore he would start sticking up for me and putting me first. He’s been doing a great job. Although she has called about 2 times a day everyday we’ve been married.

I have tried to be her friend. Even after my guys ex and my guy told me the things she had said about me. Most after she had only met me once. She also has told my husband to leave me several times. She is used to being the only woman in a family of men who dote on her every breath. Then there is the dad’s girlfriend who knows enough to suck up to her and treat her like royalty. I don’t. I am pleasant, and friendly. I invite her to things I think she would enjoy. I treat her son well…he adores me. I am not one of those women who treat other women as a threat, or acts catty. I think of women as equals, as friends; not as the enemy. I understand that some women see all women as a threat. I don’t know if that is it. My family and friends can’t understand her dislike. My husband says it is my fault. That I act too polite when I am at his dad’s house and they see it as fake. He said she also thinks that since I don’t drink and go to church I judge her, which I don’t I married her brother and they act very similar.

Whatever!!! I think my husband is learning what it means to be married. To “forsake all others”. I want to have a good relationship with my new family. I’m going to let all of this go now that I let it out. I guess, you don’t have to be friends with the in-laws. It would be nice, but it isn’t necessary, is it?




Had to give it a second read too. 

It's like you've gained a few monster-in-laws.

I have a childhood friend (male) who has had a controlling mother-in-law problem for a few years now.  And yeah, it all began on their wedding day, they had the wedding day blues boat issues with her as well.  To the point where she made her daughter cry (not the good kind of cry on your wedding day) right before she walked the aisle.  She's constantly in her daughter's ear about how to live their lives, when to have children, where to raise them, how to raise them(these kids are not even born yet).  It got out of hand a few months ago when her mother suggested they move to a different country with her.  They both have told me what gets them through is not only picking and choosing their battles (with the in-laws) but also sticking together.  It is NOT your fault and if the family misreads your politeness for something else, they automatically lose out. 

But yeah, if I was a newlywed with in-law troubles I'd take Stevie's advice too lol

Also what you wrote,

I am not one of those women who treat other women as a threat, or acts catty. I think of women as equals, as friends; not as the enemy. I understand that some women see all women as a threat.

Don't ever change :) Not too many women can understand that.  It only takes us steps back as a whole when that happens.  It seems like there is a lot of jealously going on, sister and his dad.  Maybe it's not just a woman thing but just a family thing they have going on.  An insecurity they have within themselves.  That is out of your control.  What is in your control is your new life and decisions you make with your new husband. 


Not to mention the fact that she is having another one, but I don't respect her much anyway, and on this issue neither does my hubby. All I know is it WILL NOT happen with my kids. I am the parent, just because you messed up the first time around doesn't mean you get a new shot with your childrens kids.

i just have to say that i think its messed up for that little boy. borders on emotional abuse imo. its bad enough there are fathers who cant and dont want anything to do with their kids but to be put in that kind of chokehold is ridiculas. your BIL needs to step up too before it gets any worse for his son. i dont care whos father it was and who should be the bad guy (your BIL vs. your SIL) but no one could keep me from spending much needed quality time with my kid let alone my spouse.

~No pressure, no diamonds.~

That is a great story Stevie. We HAVE to have this issue solved before I agree to pop out a kid. One reason is the nephew and sister. Like I said my brother in law is not allowed to live with his sister because the dad doesn't like him to be around his own son! His dad gets very jealous and controlling of the little boy, and that is not happening with my kids.

At least I know my husband disapproves of all of that, and has decided never to live in the same city as his father for that reason. He also loves my family and likes our views on caring for children etc. Still I don't want to have my kids have to deal with the problems I have with his family. They shouldn't have to take Mommy's side or Grandpa and Aunties.

I want a big happy family, and will work on getting that.

Please know that I'm far from the perfect husband.  I've screwed up plenty.  I do try to learn from where I screwed up and if there is a next wife, she will benefit greatly.  :)

My most well-known experience with parental interference is with my mom.  She lived in another state at the time but was up for a visit.  We had just started trying to train our baby boy to sleep on his own in his crib.  Previously he was sleeping with us or in a bassinet next to our bed.  I was tired of having "quiet sex" on the floor.  ;)

It was time for him to sleep in his own bed and we both agreed with the method that if he cried, he would learn to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own.  It was working like a dream - most nights we would kiss his head, lay him down, he would smile, lights out and fall asleep.  Except the night my mom was there, he cried in his room a little longer.  My mom was upset that we didn't pick him up and rock him to sleep.  She was more than upset.  She cut her visit short, and left suddenly the next day.

My mom had already caused trouble in my brother's family over the way she thought his kids should be raised.  She is compulsive and cannot control herself burning bridges in her path.  I always told myself that that crap wouldn't happen to me.  I'm pretty cut-and-dry especially when I know I'm right.

Well in two days, my wife got a long letter from my mom telling her in-effect that she was a bad mother and she was "damaging her grandchild".  My wife's feelings were hurt, and she was in tears.  I went into the other room and immediately called my mom and told her that she was not going to interefere in my life like she did my brother's, and I knew what's best for my son, and if she ever pulled anything like that again, she would not see her grandson again.

I had never talked to my mom like that before.  I made a point to tell her that this was me talking and not my wife.  Training my son to soothe himself to sleep was MY preference and not my wife's.  My decision to disallow her from visiting would be mine and not my wife's.  I told her all this very firmly, but not in an angry or mean manner.  But she knew I was mad and was dissappointed with her.  I told her to think hard about this next time she felt the impulse to interfere with a decision I've made regarding my son, then I said goodby and hung up.

We never spoke about it since but she does regard my family differently than my brother's.  That night I definitely got her attention.

And I didn't know it, but my wife had been listening to my conversation with my mom the whole time.  When I got off the phone, she ran up and hugged and kissed me, started crying, and told me that she never would have thought anyone could ever do anything that would make her as happy as what I just did.  She loves to tell that story to my brother's wife who still gets regular intrusions.  :)

Oooh the bad guy thing is a good point. I have taken the blame for a lot of things that weren't even my decision in the past, before we were married. Including our choice in neighborhoods.

You give great advice Stevie, and it feels so much better coming from a mans point of view. It makes me feel like less of a nagging wife.

I will have to check that book out. I knew other people must have similar problems with the in-laws. I'm learning all of the jokes about them have a lot of truth to them.

Here's my advice.

It's still early.  Give them all some slack and understanding right now.  From what you've said, you have them pegged pretty well - down to the parent-child-money control issue.  Good job.  Recognizing the problem is often the hardest thing to do.  You had to have seen this going in... did you and your fiancee discuss his family?  If not, now is the time to get this out with him and tell him your expecations before things cement themselves.

You're a new ripple in the family.  Realize that.  But also realize your happiness is a priority and should be high on your husband's priority list.

I read what you wrote twice.

From where I sit, you are not going to be happy unless your husband grows some balls and deals with the dysfunctional aspects of his family - especially how it's affecting you.  He can't change them but he CAN dictate how it affects you.  If he doesn't set some ground rules now with his family and be firm, you are going to have a married life filled with compromises and you will come out on the losing end.  So far in my opinion, he hasn't done so well.  But it's understandable because there's no instruction book that I am aware.  He's not going to know what to do.  You have to be his instruction book.

And remember:  He must not make you the bad guy.  HE must be the bad guy here.  They have to know this is coming from him.

Do you and your husband actually need his father's financial help?  If not, stop it now.  Immediately.  Today.  If you depend on his father's help, you will be a prisoner and you'll be screwed.

You are new to the family and your husband is the key to the solution.  He made some promises to you.  He has to put his foot down with his family even if that means disassociating himself with his selfish family.  You're his new family and should be his first priority.

Because of the situation as you described, I would not accept any further help from the father whatsoever.

here is the best advice i can give that i have seen work many many times:

  1. if you can't be them, join them.
  2. keep your friends close & enemies closer.

okay, i realize both appear as similar cliches. that is for a reason. #2 applies to #1. and #1 applies to #2. again, you do not have to "like" them, but it will more than appear as such once you develop your groove on how you will fit in and/or assimilate their habits.

lastly, this book has saved many a'marriage and i can't count the number of women i know who have read it the past few years. you can pick it up online at amazon, borders, ebay, and in many of the larger books stores. my last neighbor checked it out from the local library. it saved her marriage. her husband grew large enough balz to put her first. give it a try


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