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Topic : Getting Along With Your In-Laws

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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:13:41 am
Author : dataimport
Love them, tolerate them, or despise them? Dealing with the in-laws can be stressful to a marriage. Share your stories and coping strategies.

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January 9, 2009, 10:17 am CST

Very Helpful

Quote From: fourlilmonkeys

If it were me, I would be concerned bringing out your list after he posts his, it would seem reactive.  Actually, would you normally make a list for yourself?  I understand a list for club's activities, but I think you having a personal list posted might still come across as reactive...it seems a little contrived (sorry!). 

 

Personally, I would just (at some inoxious time), make a casual statement like "I'm planning some new activities this summer.  I can't wait!"    If it's classes your signing up for (or something that has set dates you attend), you could even say it while you're marking dates on your calendar.  If he wants to discuss it, you might want to make sure to let him know he's welcome to do the stuff w/ you.  You also might want to think about how you're going to answer if he asks "are you still coming to club activities?"

You're changing the normal routine a bit, it's nice to give a head's up to let your husband know "this bit of change is coming".  But I think the trick is to not make a big deal out of it, either. 

And keep in your heart what your own motives are, to get out and do some new activities you are interested in, to revive yourself....not to influence your husband....that way your tone & nonverbal communication will convey that, too.

Hope this input helps in some way.

 

Ok, I can see what you mean.  I just want to make sure he is aware of what I have planned too this summer.  I already have three things, and they all two of them specific dates.  So do I just write these on the calendar and then tell him?  I don't want to come across as contrived, but I do want to make sure he understands that these are things that I intend to do, with or without him.  Of course, I don't really want to say it in those terms, but it must be clear.  I'm hoping that we can sit down and talk over what club activities we intend to take part in, as well as the other things I would like to try as well.  but it never seems to happen that way.  I guess I just need to be assertive and ask for him to do that.  The one big function they have (and attend every year), is on the same day that I have a scheduled activity.  Do I just simply let him know that he has a choice to make, or that he can do his thing, and I will do mine?  This is where I know that I need to walk softly, and I where I tend to feel.......... that I do not want to compromise or be flexible, but it comes across as rigid and demanding.  And that is where I need help, and the area I need most work on.  I can feel myself detaching with love, but sometimes it seems as if I am being cold.  Does that make any sense?
 
January 9, 2009, 10:41 am CST

?

Quote From: fourlilmonkeys

If it were me, I would be concerned bringing out your list after he posts his, it would seem reactive.  Actually, would you normally make a list for yourself?  I understand a list for club's activities, but I think you having a personal list posted might still come across as reactive...it seems a little contrived (sorry!). 

 

Personally, I would just (at some inoxious time), make a casual statement like "I'm planning some new activities this summer.  I can't wait!"    If it's classes your signing up for (or something that has set dates you attend), you could even say it while you're marking dates on your calendar.  If he wants to discuss it, you might want to make sure to let him know he's welcome to do the stuff w/ you.  You also might want to think about how you're going to answer if he asks "are you still coming to club activities?"

You're changing the normal routine a bit, it's nice to give a head's up to let your husband know "this bit of change is coming".  But I think the trick is to not make a big deal out of it, either. 

And keep in your heart what your own motives are, to get out and do some new activities you are interested in, to revive yourself....not to influence your husband....that way your tone & nonverbal communication will convey that, too.

Hope this input helps in some way.

 

Any helpful tips on what types of responses I could have to his question regarding me attending club activies?  I've already advised him that I will not be around his family, unless it be a special occasion.  I meant this to include club functions. as well.  They are not special occasions in my mind, and up until now, I've allowed him to monopolize our summertime with the club activities. 

 

Thanks

A

 
January 9, 2009, 1:06 pm CST

Nice!

Quote From: jaimie1974

It is understandable that this is very difficult for you. You want & need to take care of yourself, but you dont want to come across as an overly demanding person. Isnt that the way it always works for us women!?! When we say what we need & want, we are accused of being a b*tch. You arent being a b*tch, you are protecting yourself from his toxic family. Youve begun to take care of yourself and you should NOT feel badly about that!

My advice for you is to approach your husband in a calm, rational manner to talk about the upcoming summer & the plans that you usually have. Check yourself; make sure that you have an even voice, that you are being calm, and that you are listening to him as well as being heard. Otherwise, this will become an argument, and you will get no results. That isnt what you want, you want to have this conversation, and have both of you go away with an understanding. I suggest writing down ideas of what you will say/how you will say it to him. Something that works well with my husband is the validation method. This method is when you use a compliment sandwich when stating your needs/wants. For example, something like this: Honey, I love you very much and want for us to have a great summer. This year things will be a little different because as I told you, Im not participating in events with your family. Ive got a couple of plans that I want to tell you about, and Id like for you to tell me what you think. I want for us to have a long, healthy & happy marriage, so lets work together. See how I sandwiched in that important information? I use this method on a daily basis! When I first learned about it, I thought, how exhausting! but actually it makes my life so much easier. I hope that you give it a try and that it works for you, too.

Thank you Jaimie...that advice is very helpful, and I will give the compliment sandwich a try.

 

Although, I may have already screwed up.  During the day my husband and I text each other often, since we're both at work.  So I decided to text him and ask him if he like to go with me to the Lipizzaner Stallion Show on May 1st and the the Strawberry Festival in a nearby town on July 18th.  These are both things that I have mentioned in the past that I would really love to go to.  He responds by saying that he would love to go to the horse show, but that the festival is the same weekend as his annual club weekend (that we always attend, but is not necessarily always on the same date each year).  I then tell him that that was too bad since I was hoping he could go with me.  He then asks if that means that I'm not going to the club get together?  I say...probably not.  He then responds by saying...."Wow...there is a big difference between setting boundaries and building walls".  I didn't respond for quite awhile, thinking about what to say and how to say it without being a b*tch.  So finally I respond, and this is what I said......please tell me what you think, and if I really did screw up here.

 

"This has nothing to do with boundaries.  A wall would be if were to say that I was not ever going again, or participate in anything that had to do with the club.  it is simply me wanting to do something that obviously conflicts with your schedule.  But instead of suggesting compromise, you become angry at the fact that I'm not doing what you want.  And that seems a bit selfish".

 

It may sound a little harsh, but I am upset at his total and complete lack of regard for me and the things that I've been asking for, for years now.  Everything always has to be the same, and he acts out when he doesn't get his way!

 

Am I crazy? 

 
January 10, 2009, 7:08 am CST

Some ideas

Quote From: anarchya

Thank you Jaimie...that advice is very helpful, and I will give the compliment sandwich a try.

 

Although, I may have already screwed up.  During the day my husband and I text each other often, since we're both at work.  So I decided to text him and ask him if he like to go with me to the Lipizzaner Stallion Show on May 1st and the the Strawberry Festival in a nearby town on July 18th.  These are both things that I have mentioned in the past that I would really love to go to.  He responds by saying that he would love to go to the horse show, but that the festival is the same weekend as his annual club weekend (that we always attend, but is not necessarily always on the same date each year).  I then tell him that that was too bad since I was hoping he could go with me.  He then asks if that means that I'm not going to the club get together?  I say...probably not.  He then responds by saying...."Wow...there is a big difference between setting boundaries and building walls".  I didn't respond for quite awhile, thinking about what to say and how to say it without being a b*tch.  So finally I respond, and this is what I said......please tell me what you think, and if I really did screw up here.

 

"This has nothing to do with boundaries.  A wall would be if were to say that I was not ever going again, or participate in anything that had to do with the club.  it is simply me wanting to do something that obviously conflicts with your schedule.  But instead of suggesting compromise, you become angry at the fact that I'm not doing what you want.  And that seems a bit selfish".

 

It may sound a little harsh, but I am upset at his total and complete lack of regard for me and the things that I've been asking for, for years now.  Everything always has to be the same, and he acts out when he doesn't get his way!

 

Am I crazy? 

You're not crazy.  But maybe you did get roped into defending yourself, which you needn't do over this.  (of course, it's easy for me to give advice being an armchair quarterback and also it's easier AFTER the fact to think of good responses!)  I don't think you were harsh AT ALL, only that next time don't even let him rope you into explaining yourself like that. 

He says:  "Wow, there is a big difference between setting boundaries and building walls."

Wife's response:  "I understand this is a change.  I want to be clear that I would love for us to be able to do as much of these things together as we can, but realize that may not always be possible."

As far as directly addressing going to the club activities...I THINK if it were me, I would directly discuss any pre-known conflicting dates...

He says something like "So you aren't attending the club activities?"

Wife's response:  "It looks like XYZ Club Party on June 3 is the same as the Strawberry Festival.  [here you might want to discuss activity times to see if you guys could compromise in some way to attend both]" 

He says "So you're going the stupid Stawberry Festival instead of the Club event!?!"

Wife says  "I've never been to it [haven't been in years, whatever], and really do not want to miss it this year."

If he presses, wife's response might be "I'll be at the other club activities / I'll be at the one before & after that one / I'll be at the big fundraiser / whatever."

It's kinda like not letting him take the conversation into how you aren't meeting his needs or whatever..not letting him turn it into you defending yourself or you taking care of him over it.  Keep the conversation focused.  Does that make sense?

 

Ultimately you have to pick what you think will work for you guys.  But I think it helps to get ideas from others,so you have more ideas to pick from than what one can usually come up with by themselves. 

So there's my ideas!  LOL

 

 
January 11, 2009, 5:16 pm CST

You Are NOT Crazy!

Quote From: anarchya

Thank you Jaimie...that advice is very helpful, and I will give the compliment sandwich a try.

 

Although, I may have already screwed up.  During the day my husband and I text each other often, since we're both at work.  So I decided to text him and ask him if he like to go with me to the Lipizzaner Stallion Show on May 1st and the the Strawberry Festival in a nearby town on July 18th.  These are both things that I have mentioned in the past that I would really love to go to.  He responds by saying that he would love to go to the horse show, but that the festival is the same weekend as his annual club weekend (that we always attend, but is not necessarily always on the same date each year).  I then tell him that that was too bad since I was hoping he could go with me.  He then asks if that means that I'm not going to the club get together?  I say...probably not.  He then responds by saying...."Wow...there is a big difference between setting boundaries and building walls".  I didn't respond for quite awhile, thinking about what to say and how to say it without being a b*tch.  So finally I respond, and this is what I said......please tell me what you think, and if I really did screw up here.

 

"This has nothing to do with boundaries.  A wall would be if were to say that I was not ever going again, or participate in anything that had to do with the club.  it is simply me wanting to do something that obviously conflicts with your schedule.  But instead of suggesting compromise, you become angry at the fact that I'm not doing what you want.  And that seems a bit selfish".

 

It may sound a little harsh, but I am upset at his total and complete lack of regard for me and the things that I've been asking for, for years now.  Everything always has to be the same, and he acts out when he doesn't get his way!

 

Am I crazy? 

 

 

I'm sorry I couldn't get here sooner. I've had to catch up to get up-to-date.

 

I go through this same thing with my husband. He is so used to me going along with things, especially what he wants to do. I am usually a laid back person and just go with the flow. When I started doing things for me, it's been like a war when he wants me to do something, and I am doing something else. He does get angry and upset when I do something else, yet when I want us to do something, he can't. Everything else is always more important.

 

Your response, in my opinion, was not harsh. You responded to his statement simply and directly and let him know what you thought. In dealing with my husband, I have found that just saying what I need to say, without anger and staying calm, is best for me. It may not change anything, but I have been honest, and calm, and put things as simply as I can, and I don't feel that intense anger at being let-down and misunderstood, etc. I've had to change the way I respond to all this chaos for me. To state or ask simply and honestly in a calm manner works great for me. My husband has this sense of expectation (as do all his family members), and gets angry (as does his mother) when things don't go as he expected. And I mean even over the smallest things he can be a jerk. I have seen this over and over in his family. His mother doesn't get her way, and she is awful. It's like they take it personally and feel like you have rejected them and they don't know how to handle it. I do know that my husband and his siblings were not taught that it is ok to be wrong. That no one is perfect and everyone is going to be wrong about something sometime or another. He has to be right, even if he is not correct about something. He gets real defensive about being wrong, and it could be just something little. Something that is no big deal, but to him it is.

 

I, too, get upset and disappointed at my husband's lack of regard and respect for the things that I want to do, and there are some things that I have wanted to do, and that he has promised me, for years! So, I am planning to do those long-awaited things with friends of mine.

 

It is ashame that it has to be that way, but why can't they see what they have contributed that made it this way?

 

I'll be back here Monday in the afternnon and evening,

 

Keep smiling, be neutral, stay strong, and love yourself!!

 

 
January 12, 2009, 8:30 am CST

Thanks guys!

I appreciate the feedback, and I am trying really hard to stay focused, neutral, and not allow him to guilt me into doing what he wants.

 

With this being said, we ended up "having it out" friday afternoon.  I admit that I did get a bit animated and upset.  He was very upset at the fact that he thought I knew how important this paticular club get together was, since his father is stepping down (but not out) as club president, and my husband is stepping up.  He did mention this was going to happen, but never really said how big of a deal it was to him for me to be there.  So this is the point that I feel bad, and inevitably give in.  But I feel as if I do this all the time, and told him that.  The things he wants to do are alwasy important, and just because I may not be there, does not mean that I dont love or support him.  He not only gets his identity from his father, but now from me!  I don't even think that anything was really resolved after our two hour "discussion", but I never said I was changing my mind and going either.  It almosts boils down to the fact that I view and feel one way about things, and he disagrees.  He says that he has never stopped me from doing the things that I've wanted and he is tired of being the whipping post.  I admitted that I am resposible for always doing what he wants, and not taking care of my needs, and that is part of why I am unhappy, and I am trying to make a change.  But it seems as if as soon as I do, he gets angry and tries to guilt me into changing my mind.  We went round and round, and honestly so much was said that it's hard to even remember...I told him that I thought it was really sad that I had to try and trick him into going to counseling, but admitted that that was wrong, and he has to go for himself, and I have to learn to let go of that.  He thinks that he has doen a lot to change things, but I never give him any credit.  Although I did say that he has done a lot in regards to the little things, he doesn't know how to handle the big things that come up and the manipulation his father hands out.  He says that he know she makes poor decisions, but that he is "trying".  I told him that it is serious enough for me to think about leaving, yet I don't feel that he either takes me seriously or just doesn't care...He says he knows that I am???

 

At this point, I dont feel much differnt about things.  I know that I have to proceed with the things that I want to do, even if ihe might feel that I've hurt him (this is what he said about the club weekend).  We also hashed out the birthday thing, and he could not come up with a good explanation for that whole thing.  It was almost as if he was trying to say that my friend was lying...but I can't trust him and dont know what to believe anymore.  I know that she would not lie about something so stupid, and would gain nothing by making such an attempt.  She wants us to work things out more than anything, since the alternative means that I would be leaving her too.

 

I'm so confused right now...but thanks for the insight.

 

A

 
January 12, 2009, 9:47 am CST

Thank you Jaimie

Quote From: jaimie1974

This must be so frustrating for you! As I said in an earlier post, it sounds like your husband has problems with change. Making changes in our lives makes us uncomfortable; it isnt only him. Making these changes, sticking up for yourself- it is very difficult- but you are doing it because you know that you can not continue going on in the pattern that you were going on in.
You are making these uncomfortable changes because you are ready to live a satisfying, fulfilling life, and you have decided that the manipulation his family lays out is something you dont want or need to deal with. This is your choice, and hopefully with time and patience, your husband will realize he can make these healthy choices for himself as well. It has nothing to do with HIM; this is about preserving yourself, protecting yourself from being hurt, and it is a healthy thing to do! I know how difficult it is to put yourself outside of your comfort zone and begin doing things that are good and healthy for yourself, and I congratulate you for doing that!
As for your husbands complaints that you dont give him praise for the changes that he has made- try using that compliment sandwich that I mentioned earlier in your daily life. If he hears positive statement/reinforcement daily, perhaps he will come to believe he is worthy of making these healthy changes for himself. Right now, his own self value is far too wrapped up in his father. I wish you the best.

It is very frustrating, and I almost feel as if we'd be better off seperating so that we can work on our individual issues...and then maybe be able to determine whether we can or want to continue being married.  But that is easier said than done...

 

I admit that I now do feel guilty as if I should go because it is important to him, but am I giving in then?  And then tell him that the rest of the summer I am doing other things outside of the club?  This club really serves no purpose for me personally, but I have been there for him to support his interests. 

 

I will try the compliment sandwich idea...but at the moment I just feel so drained and tired of the whole thing.  I agreed not to give up on him/us, but it is hard not to.

 

A

 
January 12, 2009, 9:49 am CST

I think you should spend an hour on the internet

Quote From: anarchya

I appreciate the feedback, and I am trying really hard to stay focused, neutral, and not allow him to guilt me into doing what he wants.

 

With this being said, we ended up "having it out" friday afternoon.  I admit that I did get a bit animated and upset.  He was very upset at the fact that he thought I knew how important this paticular club get together was, since his father is stepping down (but not out) as club president, and my husband is stepping up.  He did mention this was going to happen, but never really said how big of a deal it was to him for me to be there.  So this is the point that I feel bad, and inevitably give in.  But I feel as if I do this all the time, and told him that.  The things he wants to do are alwasy important, and just because I may not be there, does not mean that I dont love or support him.  He not only gets his identity from his father, but now from me!  I don't even think that anything was really resolved after our two hour "discussion", but I never said I was changing my mind and going either.  It almosts boils down to the fact that I view and feel one way about things, and he disagrees.  He says that he has never stopped me from doing the things that I've wanted and he is tired of being the whipping post.  I admitted that I am resposible for always doing what he wants, and not taking care of my needs, and that is part of why I am unhappy, and I am trying to make a change.  But it seems as if as soon as I do, he gets angry and tries to guilt me into changing my mind.  We went round and round, and honestly so much was said that it's hard to even remember...I told him that I thought it was really sad that I had to try and trick him into going to counseling, but admitted that that was wrong, and he has to go for himself, and I have to learn to let go of that.  He thinks that he has doen a lot to change things, but I never give him any credit.  Although I did say that he has done a lot in regards to the little things, he doesn't know how to handle the big things that come up and the manipulation his father hands out.  He says that he know she makes poor decisions, but that he is "trying".  I told him that it is serious enough for me to think about leaving, yet I don't feel that he either takes me seriously or just doesn't care...He says he knows that I am???

 

At this point, I dont feel much differnt about things.  I know that I have to proceed with the things that I want to do, even if ihe might feel that I've hurt him (this is what he said about the club weekend).  We also hashed out the birthday thing, and he could not come up with a good explanation for that whole thing.  It was almost as if he was trying to say that my friend was lying...but I can't trust him and dont know what to believe anymore.  I know that she would not lie about something so stupid, and would gain nothing by making such an attempt.  She wants us to work things out more than anything, since the alternative means that I would be leaving her too.

 

I'm so confused right now...but thanks for the insight.

 

A

Becoming President of a club is like getting a promotion at work or a medal if you are in the military.  Being seen to be supportive of a spouse on these occasions is part of marriage.  I think you should insist on the Strawberry Festival but have a look for another Horse Festival or an alternative and attend the change of President motor bike meeting.

 

If the replacement horse festival is a few hundred miles away perhaps you could go on the motorbike for the weekend.  This way he gets the public support from you at an event that matters to him, you get a weekend away - insist FIL/MIL don't come with you - and get the Strawberry festival as well.  You can attend the local horse festival next year if you are still with your husband and as he is President he will be ideally placed to make sure the date doesn't clash.

 

On a much smaller scale what you are resolved upon could be equated to Michelle Obama not turning up to Barack's ceremony at the White House because she had a prior engagement.

 
January 12, 2009, 10:38 am CST

Thanks A N

Quote From: a_n_other

Becoming President of a club is like getting a promotion at work or a medal if you are in the military.  Being seen to be supportive of a spouse on these occasions is part of marriage.  I think you should insist on the Strawberry Festival but have a look for another Horse Festival or an alternative and attend the change of President motor bike meeting.

 

If the replacement horse festival is a few hundred miles away perhaps you could go on the motorbike for the weekend.  This way he gets the public support from you at an event that matters to him, you get a weekend away - insist FIL/MIL don't come with you - and get the Strawberry festival as well.  You can attend the local horse festival next year if you are still with your husband and as he is President he will be ideally placed to make sure the date doesn't clash.

 

On a much smaller scale what you are resolved upon could be equated to Michelle Obama not turning up to Barack's ceremony at the White House because she had a prior engagement.

I understand what you're saying...and I know how important it is for him.  I feel as if I should be there, but there has to be some sort of compromise from him at some point too.  Since the Strawberry Festival is also on this weekend, I will have to insist that we/I go next year.  The Horse Expo is on an entirely different weekend, so as far as I know there is no conflict there, but even if there is, I will be going to that.  I have been waiting for years for them to finally come to our city.  The inlaws being involved in the club weekend is inevitable, and I have no say or choice in that.  They are obviously not invited to the Strawberry Festival or Horse Expo, or anything else that I have planned.

 

My point in all of this is that everything he has planned with regard to the club is important, and I am always the one that compromises.  Since this is extremely important to him this time, I will go to show my support, but ask for him to be a bit more flexible if there is something that I want to do in the future that might be at the same time.

 

We will see...

 
January 12, 2009, 6:17 pm CST

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Quote From: anarchya

I understand what you're saying...and I know how important it is for him.  I feel as if I should be there, but there has to be some sort of compromise from him at some point too.  Since the Strawberry Festival is also on this weekend, I will have to insist that we/I go next year.  The Horse Expo is on an entirely different weekend, so as far as I know there is no conflict there, but even if there is, I will be going to that.  I have been waiting for years for them to finally come to our city.  The inlaws being involved in the club weekend is inevitable, and I have no say or choice in that.  They are obviously not invited to the Strawberry Festival or Horse Expo, or anything else that I have planned.

 

My point in all of this is that everything he has planned with regard to the club is important, and I am always the one that compromises.  Since this is extremely important to him this time, I will go to show my support, but ask for him to be a bit more flexible if there is something that I want to do in the future that might be at the same time.

 

We will see...

 

I can only imagine how you must feel, but you are handling it like a trooper! I know you must feel that he has gotten his way again, but it is still your choice. The fact that you chose to go with him to the bike meeting shows your willingness to compromise, even though you didn't really want to go. I give you a lot of credit (and hugs!) in doing this because you could have went to the festival instead. Is there any way for you to go to the meeting and still go to the festival, either before or after, or even go to the meeting one day and the festival the next day, or vice versa? It would be so nice for you if you could do both. I know it is an important event for your husband, and if you could do both, you might feel better about going to the meeting. If none of the above is possible, maybe you can get away the weekend before or after if there is an event that you would like, and maybe your husband can go with you, or make it something you both can do together.

 

In going to the meeting, if you can, try to have a good time. Enjoy yourself as much as you can for you. Make it a requirement to have some fun! LOL! Let him know that next time an important event for him comes up, and he doesn't let you know the details in ample time, that if you have made other plans, then that is what you will do. You sacrificed an event that was important to you to be there for him on his special day. I hope he realizes this and appreciates that you will be there for him.

 

I hope everything works out well for you that weekend. And Happy Birthday for tomorrow!! I wanted to tell you that as I won't be on here tomorrow. Hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable day, and have some fun!! LOL!

 

Keep smiling, be neutral, stay strong, and love yourself above all others!! :)

 

 

 

 
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