Wedding Woes

What happens when you annoy him?

Dear Prudence,

I think I lucked out with my mother-in-law. She can be a bit exasperating, but she’s independent, sweet, and kind. What I can’t work out why my husband has cut her out of his life. He has never been close to his family, but over the past two years, he has refused to speak to his mother, and I don’t get it. When I’ve asked him to explain, and he just says “she annoys me.”

I want to trust and respect my husband’s decisions about his family. Maybe there’s more going on that he’s not comfortable sharing with me (although I doubt it … my husband is not always very tolerant, and he gets irritated easily. I think she just annoys him.) I try to play Switzerland; I call her for important occasions, but avoid telling her anything about him that he wouldn’t want me sharing. She loves hearing from me, and has got the hint and doesn’t ask me about her son; but of course I can tell she’s hurt by the whole situation.

Am I doing the right thing by trying to be a bridge between them both? Do I need to be more loyal to my husband and reduce contact with her? Or should I do more to try and help mend their rift? More importantly, what does this say about my husband and how he deals with conflict, and how can I get ahead of this in my own relationship with him?

— Miss My MIL

Re: What happens when you annoy him?

  • Personally, LW could have a relationship with their MIL without spouse.
    But tell spouse you enjoy MIL, and find out what his boundaries are -plus "if she asks about you, what can I say?" or "what's the answer if she asks why you don't call" 
  • LW needs to stay out of the relationship between MIL and DH.  LW is allowed to have their own relationship with their MIL, with input from DH re: his boundaries re: information.

    exH wasn't close to his family either.  I never did understand, because I'm close to my very small family and he seemed to have the big family of my dreams.  I learned pretty quickly that I needed to mind my own business about it, b/c my meddling didn't help the situation and probably made some things worse.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm thinking LW needs to back off a bit from this relationship with MIL, but the husband also needs to offer a bit more.

    I'm thinking about when I first asked my H why he wasn't close to his dad. It was always a short 'we're just not close' thing, rather than some major incident or drama. As time wore on, I've learned that he's a shitty person. He's done a bunch of shitty things, but mostly little things that don't individually seem like reasons for distance. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    If your H can't open up with what's going on something is amiss here. 

    This is where I am. 
  • Run for the hills
  • I want to trust and respect my husband’s decisions about his family.

    But you're...not? I mean I understand he's not giving you good reason, but he's told you and you're forging ahead anyway.  

    Furthermore, why do you just accept general intolerance and irritability in your partner?  I don't think happiness all the time is an achievable goal, but living in a state of general contentment at least in your home/relationship should be a goal.  He sounds like a nightmare to share a life with. 
  • I think the LW needs to accept the relationship, her relationship with the MIL, as it is.  The LW can't help that the H has chosen to be estranged from his mother.  Since the LW doesn't mind staying in touch with the MIL occasionally and the MIL appreciates it, just leave it at that.
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