Wedding Woes

You don't need to stop, he needs to actually listen to you.

Dear Prudence, 

How do I stop complaining about my in-laws to my husband? Don’t get me wrong: They’re amazing people. On one hand, they’re generous, fun, loving, and adventurous. But they can also be demanding, infantilizing, and overly confident. They tend to make remarks about our decor, cooking, or habits, which are said in an all-knowing manner. I know they mean well, but the “We know best” attitude really grates on my nerves. I will usually brush off their comments in the moment, which backfires when, hours, days, or weeks later, I mention it to my husband.

I tend to harp on him about it, then he’s hurt that I am critical of their behavior. (He is sympathetic to me but usually brushes it off as them trying to be helpful.) Recently, he’s been upset when I bring up their behavior because it hurts him when I talk about them in a critical manner. I can’t seem to stop … I do love these people; they just annoy me! How do I spare my husband’s feelings without losing it? I also know it’s not a great idea to vent to friends because I feel as if I am sending the wrong impression about my in-laws. It’s almost like a disease that I can’t seem to shake. I feel terrible for casting judgment on them but also quite lonely in my frustration because I have to cope with it.

—Troubles in Paradise

Re: You don't need to stop, he needs to actually listen to you.

  • ei34ei34 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Find a friend to vent to.  It’s possible to love someone but find certain things annoying, the right friend wouldn’t judge you for that. Your H isn’t the person to unload on about this. 
  • They should find some anonymous forums they like.  Vent some frustration there.  I'm sure they can even find some that are all about complaining about ILs.

    Or, as long as it's not all the time, talk to one of their friends.  They can mention the good things also, just like they did in this letter.

    I can understand complaining to their husband "hours" later.  Especially if it is egregious enough it should be brought up to the ILs.  But I can also understand the H's frustration when some minor transgression is mentioned "days or weeks" later.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Is there a specific behavior or things they’re saying you want addressed? If so talk to your husband. Talk not rant. Tell him what you need and have him address it. 

    But general complaining? Find a friend or go to Reddit. Every family has quirks and if you need to vent find anyone but your husband to vent to. 
  • I agree that LW needs another outlet to vent to about the petty stuff, but if they're critical or harping on stuff every time they're around (especially about how LW and their H move in the world), they sound exhausting to be around after a period of time and LW should be able to debrief/decompress to their H about it.  

    I don't think LW should expect their H to change his parents, but it would be nice if he could at least recognize how grating, annoying, tiring, and stressful it can be to have people like that around.  Intent vs. impact and all of that.  

    And FFS, LW, that IS what your friends are for.   It's OK to be all, "I like MIL most of the time, but she does x all the time and it drives me batty!!"  

    I do wonder how long they've been married.  DH and I can both be critical of each other's families without it turning into a whole thing between us.  We both have a pretty good idea of the bright red lines to not cross. 
  • I feel this LW. But luckily my H is not defensive or oblivious. When his mom does the obnoxious but not address them worthy things, he's right there venting with me after she leaves. In the same token, when my mom starts her BS, H and I vent about it together. 

    But also, this is what friends are there for!
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