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I’m wondering if anyone could give me advice about this delicate DIL situation?  My son and and DIL are both 33 years old and have been married a couple years now.  They dated about 6 years before they got married so I would say I know my DIL really well.  My DIL is truly a nice person and obviously loves and cares about my son very much but she comes across as very insecure and I’m not sure how to handle it so I’m looking for any helpful advice.

For instance if my son and DIL are visiting with my other son and daughter and my long term SO and I mentioned something we talked about in a group chat between all of us (just random pics of old vacays we took or funny FB memes) that my DIL wasn’t in because I have a group chat for my children and my SO my DIL will make a snarky comment such as, “oh I wouldn’t know I am never included in those things.”  Then she turned to my son and asked him why she isn’t included in these group chats even though it is just immediate family none of my other kid’s SO’s are in them.  It just comes across as very petty and it makes everyone in the room visibly uncomfortable.

If I ever make a reference about a family vacation that we went on when my son and DIL were just dating she will say something again snarky like, “it sounds like a lot of fun but of course I wasn’t invited to go.”  Just to be clear I realize it comes across like we talk about things in front of her all the time that don’t include her but that’s really not the case.  It is just quick comments regarding these things in passing to make conversation that is relevant I don’t go on forever and I do make an effort to include my DIL in conversation and ask questions about her life as well.

Also, whenever I call my son my DIL is always in the background throwing her 2 cents in and answering questions that I am asking my son or asking to say hi and talk to me too and then she just monopolizes the conversation.  I don’t mind her popping onto the phone call to say hi but I am calling to speak mostly to my son I don’t want the whole conversation to be monopolized by my DIL and I want to feel like I can talk to my son without other people listening or around all the time.

It just seems like I can’t bring up any topic around my own son and my own family without my DIL getting her panties in a wad if it wasn’t something she was included in at the time.  Almost like I can’t have my own relationship with my son unless she is included and around at ALL times.

 

So I guess my question to all of you is how do I handle the snarky remarks from my DIL moving forward? How about the phone convos?

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Talk to your son. He married her and understands why she might feel excluded or snubbed. In the meantime keep the peace and even if she seems "snarky", ignore it. 

They are a unit now, you and your son are not.

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I've been a DIL for a very long time! 

If I were the MIL (mother-in-law) and I had a DIL such as the one you've described, I'd tell your son that you do not mean any harm whenever there's a group chat with your grown adult children and that you would appreciate a private, non-interrupted phone conversation with your son. 

Perhaps there also can be workarounds such as having phone call appointments with your son whenever he can speak to you privately without his wife hovering over his shoulder and hopefully your phone conversations with him are never on speaker. 

Since your DIL will not change for you, I agree with Wiseman, you are the one who has to develop thicker skin and learn to ignore your DIL's snarky, intrusive comments. 

Don't handle her snarky comments.  Ignore and bypass her completely in your group chats.

Whenever you're with your DIL in person, remain kind, act natural and don't be aloof towards her.  Even though you've known her for several years, sometimes it takes decades for everyone to mellow as it did for me and my MIL. 

Also, be mindful.  There is competition and attention for your son's time and as a MIL, you'll have to yield a lot, not call frequently and know that you're no longer #1 in your son's life.  If and when they have children, unfortunately, you'll have even less status.  I'm sorry but this is how it goes. 

You can still participate in your son's life.  However, tread lightly and keep the peace for an enduring relationship with your son, DIL and everyone else. 

Don't get offended.  Your DIL's reactions are part of her youth.  Hopefully as she ages and matures, she'll lose some fire in her eventually.  In the meantime, remain patient, fair and also have a life of your own with all due respect, outside your family.  Healthy distractions help so family life is not your sole focus 24 / 7.

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Don’t talk about this stuff in front of her. My mom’s last marriage his sister and nieces etc all they did was talk about his dead first wife for 28 years . My mom would sit there an inwardly roll her eyes and think they were rude considering she was his wife for longer than his first wife. 

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Your DIL is your family too -she's not just an SO (you seem to differentiate between "just dating" and then "married").  I think it's ok if you want to do a group chat with just your kids.  Try to avoid referencing what was talked about in front of DIL because I can see where she feels excluded - it's a regular group chat, not an event where she happened not to be for whatever reason.  

I like Cherlyn's suggestion of finding a time to talk to your son when she is not around.  I think when my inlaws were alive my husband spoke to one or both on his commute so that when he came home he could be there for us (me and our baby/young son -my in-laws passed away when our son was 4 and then 7 - I miss them!). 

My husband will interject sometimes when I am speaking to my mom but just to be friendly/funny -once in awhile it is irritating for logistic reasons -my mom is in her late 80s and she speaks beautifully but with too much background noise it's so easy to get distracted.  But I actually call from a different room usually when I'm folding laundry so we can speak privately and have one on one time.  

Also are you calling him when he is having family time? Or your DIL needs help in the kitchen or whatever? As Cherylyn suggested timing is important.

Good luck!

 

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Posted (edited)

Glad to see you calling this delicate, because it is.

I'd be patient and avoid positioning myself as DIL's rival for son's attention--you can't.come back from that, and it could harm your future relationship with the couple along with otherwise 'easy' access to future grandchildren.

For the sake of peacekeeping, I would overlook the snark as though I didn't hear it. I'd also consider myself put on notice that DIL is likely to interpret certain contexts as exclusionary. This doesn't demand that I form hard rules with myself, but rather, on a case-by-case basis, I'd use discretion. Sometimes I can reconsider raising those contexts, and other times it might be worth going deaf to some snark. I'd certainly hold off for the time being to avoid coming off as though you're being deliberate.

I'd make room for the fact that people mature over time, and my goal is to remain included in my son's life without creating a power-struggle. Be patient, and allow these minor difficulties to evolve, and potentially resolve themselves, over t.i.m.e.

Play the LONG game, and you will thank yourself later.

 

 

 

Edited by catfeeder
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Posted (edited)

I've been a DIL and I have a DIL.  I would chance to guess that her insecurity might be source of tension for your son and his marriage.  Shining a light on it could risk putting him in a position to defend her and putting him the middle. 

I wouldn't say anything.  Her insecurities are hers to deal with.  Continue doing what you are doing and at the same time being sensitive to the situation and refrain from doing anything to aggravate it.  

IMO speaking up about it is too risky.  If she's that insecure, if it gets back to her she's likely to have an insecure reaction to it.

Hopefully, time will take care of it.

Edited by reinventmyself
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One, it's super rude of you to constantly bring up memories in front of her that she wasn't a part of.  

It's like if she constantly brought up memories about you and your ex-husband.  It's unnecessary drama.

Two, start a new chat feed that includes her.  She is not an outsider.  She has a child that is a blood relative and out of respect for your son, you need to include her like a daughter.  

Three, you excluding her from texts and conversations is a passive aggressive form of trying to isolate your children from the families they made, and she can see right past your BS.  She expresses that it bothers her, and you keep doing it.

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How about you add your DIL to the group chat thing so then she is included?  Is it really that big of a deal to do that?    In the interest of peace keeping it might help.

She sounds bristly to me so good luck dealing with her.

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1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

One, it's super rude of you to constantly bring up memories in front of her that she wasn't a part of.  

It's like if she constantly brought up memories about you and your ex-husband.  It's unnecessary drama.

Two, start a new chat feed that includes her.  She is not an outsider.  She has a child that is a blood relative and out of respect for your son, you need to include her like a daughter.  

Three, you excluding her from texts and conversations is a passive aggressive form of trying to isolate your children from the families they made, and she can see right past your BS.  She expresses that it bothers her, and you keep doing it.

Exactly , like my step dad’s family constantly bringing up his first wife who died 35 years ago at all the family events and talking about all the vacations they went on together and leaving my mom sitting there like a door knob. Yet my mom had been with him for 30 years already this point. It is on purpose rudeness. 

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I would try to have tougher skin. Or when she says subverting snarky call her out but in a kill you with kindness way... for example she says,  

22 hours ago, onthego988 said:

oh I wouldn’t know I am never included in those things.”

lol... Sally, you can't deny a mother a chat with her children. 

 

22 hours ago, onthego988 said:

“it sounds like a lot of fun but of course I wasn’t invited to go.”

Well, Sally we didn't invite any girlfriends back then.  but I'm glad you're with us now. 

My point is- address her comments in the moment in front of everyone in a light hearted way.  Just like a you do with a child. You calmly explain things in a nice way. This may make her re-think her passive aggressive bullcrap.

22 hours ago, onthego988 said:

It just seems like I can’t bring up any topic around my own son and my own family without my DIL getting her panties in a wad if it wasn’t something she was included in at the time.  Almost like I can’t have my own relationship with my son unless she is included and around at ALL times.

Do you think you might be the one being dramatic here? These are your feelings. You're giving your power away with them.  No one replaces one's own mother. 

The best thing you can do is find another outlet for these feelings and keep the peace.  She sounds annoying but harmless. keep it that way. 

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You have to tread lightly as a MIL.  My MIL said some random snide comments over the years and while there was never a confrontation with her, you have to be careful because if you are not, your DIL will take the passive aggressive route such as what I've done.  For example, despite my peaceful relationship with my MIL and despite residing locally, we do not frequently socialize in person with her.  I never have a phone conversation with her.  Granted, my in-laws saw their grandsons when they were younger.  However, keep in mind, your DIL controls her household and marriage in a way regarding frequency or non-frequency for in person socializing and even phone conversations with your son.  I'm sorry but it's the way it is. 

Everyone is clamoring for your son's time and attention.  The wife wins over her MIL.

Never risk alienating your DIL or son because even if they don't react, their reaction will be to withdraw, decline and not be part of your life as often as you'd like.  This type of reaction is universal. 

Remain peaceful and kind at all costs otherwise you won't have access to your son nor see him as often as you'd like despite being his mother.  Never alienate others.  Watch what you say or write otherwise it will come back to haunt you.  Often times, there's nothing you can do regarding regrets and remorse because people never forget how you made them feel.  Then there will be distrust issues from both parties.  It won't end well.  Exercise discretion and remain cautious. 

"A daughter is a daughter all your life,  a son is a son until he takes a wife."

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There is a way to maintain civility. 

I'm a mother of sons and  I'm a DIL.  Relationships need to be harmonious for both parties and if it isn't, then healthy boundaries will be enforced. 

Family or no family, dynamics are everything.  The choice is dependent upon either acceptable or unacceptable behaviors which will steer the relationship in a direction whether it's ideal or strained more than it already is. 

Keep the peace while knowing what goes around comes around. 

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I’m not a DIL nor I have a DIL but I think you both have mistakes on this situation. Your mistake is not seeing her as family which is wrong. Her mistake is that she complains a lot but she is young and maybe naive so you should try to be gentle with her.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Remain peaceful and kind at all costs otherwise you won't have access to your son nor see him as often as you'd like despite being his mother.  Never alienate others.  Watch what you say or write otherwise it will come back to haunt you...

"A daughter is a daughter all your life,  a son is a son until he takes a wife."

I haven't communicated or seen my MIL in over a decade by my choice, and she has never met her grandchildren by my husband and my choice.  Sure you want to be the top hen in the house, but if you keeping upsetting your DIL, she can also choose to have her family stop making as many plans with you.  There is a whole other family they can spend time with.  Her folks and siblings, and that includes her husband.  

Try being more inclusive.  The fact that it's so cumbersome for you to include her in the text chain says more about you being kind and welcoming than it does about her.

Edited by tattoobunnie
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About 45 years ago my uncle and also aunt by marriage and cousins were at my grandparents house for a holiday meal. My aunt bought my grandmother a fancy blender or cuisinart.  

My grandmother was just the sweetest woman and reacted impolitely. I didn’t see the exchange but apparently she declined the gift after saying thank you with the simple reason of she didn’t want such a fancy kitchen appliance (yes she was a cook and baker). She just didn’t want it and I know she felt uncomfortable with this expensive gift.

My aunt was extremely upset. We hadn’t even eaten yet. She stood up and said “I’m leaving. Which of my family is coming with me?”  They all left including my uncle and  it was his parents. He felt I guess he had to support his wife and pick wife over mom.  

We were all so sad. We didn’t see them that often. I remember not getting the whole “aunt is not the blood relative “ thing and being confused.  
But I’m not surprised my uncle chose his wife (and kids). Yes we saw them again and often. Thank goodness.  But in a different scenario is could have been the end. Very often the wife is chosen over mom. 

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10 hours ago, tattoobunnie said:

I haven't communicated or seen my MIL in over a decade by my choice, and she has never met her grandchildren by my husband and my choice.  Sure you want to be the top hen in the house, but if you keeping upsetting your DIL, she can also choose to have her family stop making as many plans with you.  There is a whole other family they can spend time with.  Her folks and siblings, and that includes her husband.  

Try being more inclusive.  The fact that it's so cumbersome for you to include her in the text chain says more about you being kind and welcoming than it does about her.

My MIL said some random snide comments over the years.  Even though I've never had a confrontation  and always maintained a peaceful relationship with her, my husband, sons and I don't see her frequently despite all of us residing locally.  I never call her on the phone for a chat.  I'm polite, kind and well mannered whenever I'm with my MIL (same with other in-laws).  However, internally, I maintain a frosty distance.  Regarding MIL and other in-laws, we do the bare minimum for diplomacy's sake.  No more, no less.  They're lucky they get that.  I could be more severe.  However, I give them an ounce of courtesy and that's it. 

There are always harsh consequences in this life.  

I agree.  The message to MILs out there or future MILs is this:  Be kind and watch your mouth.  Watch what you write, too otherwise it will cost you.  You won't be able to see your son and grandchildren often and you won't have frequent access to your son including phone chats, electronic communication, etc.  Never alienate your DIL.  Tread lightly.  Be nice!  

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My MIL treated me like sh1t til the day she died.  I avoided her at all costs.  Now I am a MIL and I love my SIL and he calls me Mom which makes me happy.  I have zero reason to ever complain about him as he is a good person.  My son has a lovely gf and we get along well.  I've always made an effort to be a good person to these two people who have come into our lives after the BS I dealt with with my own MIL.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/31/2022 at 4:20 PM, Cherylyn said:

I've been a DIL for a very long time! 

If I were the MIL (mother-in-law) and I had a DIL such as the one you've described, I'd tell your son that you do not mean any harm whenever there's a group chat with your grown adult children and that you would appreciate a private, non-interrupted phone conversation with your son. 

Perhaps there also can be workarounds such as having phone call appointments with your son whenever he can speak to you privately without his wife hovering over his shoulder and hopefully your phone conversations with him are never on speaker. 

Since your DIL will not change for you, I agree with Wiseman, you are the one who has to develop thicker skin and learn to ignore your DIL's snarky, intrusive comments. 

Don't handle her snarky comments.  Ignore and bypass her completely in your group chats.

Whenever you're with your DIL in person, remain kind, act natural and don't be aloof towards her.  Even though you've known her for several years, sometimes it takes decades for everyone to mellow as it did for me and my MIL. 

Also, be mindful.  There is competition and attention for your son's time and as a MIL, you'll have to yield a lot, not call frequently and know that you're no longer #1 in your son's life.  If and when they have children, unfortunately, you'll have even less status.  I'm sorry but this is how it goes. 

You can still participate in your son's life.  However, tread lightly and keep the peace for an enduring relationship with your son, DIL and everyone else. 

Don't get offended.  Your DIL's reactions are part of her youth.  Hopefully as she ages and matures, she'll lose some fire in her eventually.  In the meantime, remain patient, fair and also have a life of your own with all due respect, outside your family.  Healthy distractions help so family life is not your sole focus 24 / 7.

I have spoken to my son and he says I may be your son but she is now also your DIL therefore also a member of this family so why can my unmarried SO who is not my dad be a part of the group chats but not your DIL who is actually your family?  My son also doesn't understand if he is married and his wife is also now my family why the phone calls have to be private he said what would I have to talk about that he has to keep secret from his wife.  Since she is the DIL she should be included as well.  What are your thoughts on a good explanation that is polite and doesn't cause drama or friction between me, my son, and my DIL.

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On 6/2/2022 at 11:25 PM, Cherylyn said:

Yes indeed.

Is that an issue?  I certainly expect one my son made his vows that he would put his wife first.  Also speaking as a DIL myself I definitely would expect my husband to put me before his mom in our everyday life.

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