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How can I feel more comfortable / welcomed with my in-laws?
Family & Parenting / 1:20 PM - Thursday August 05, 2010

How can I feel more comfortable / welcomed with my in-laws?

I always feel like the outcast in my husband's tight family.

He has all sisters, so it's tough being the "daughter-in-law" compared to all the sisters. They all do everything just like their mother (in other words, "correctly") and anything I do differently is scowled upon.

My husband was a bachelor until he was almost 40 years old, so he always had plenty of time to help out the family with anything they needed. The entire extended family called upon him to help them move, paint, fix cars, etc.

Well now that we're married with two kids (and a third on the way) AND running a business, my husband has less time to do all that stuff for everyone - and the family blames ME. They think I hold him back when in reality it's simply a matter of not having enough hours in the day.

My husband defends me to his family (which I love him for) but it's like I'm NEVER going to be good enough. Plus a lot of this is done subtly, for instance not inviting me along when all the ladies get together. Many times I've invited his mother and sisters shopping, out to lunch, for pedicures, etc. They are pleasant toward me but standoffish and then afterward it's straight back to the same old cold shoulder. They NEVER invite me to do anything in return, even though they get together all the time, and it hurts.

I just want to feel welcomed and accepted in the family, especially because I have no family of my own and came from a horribly abused childhood (alcoholic father/bipolar mother). I don't want my in-laws' pity but simply their understanding and affection.


- Asked by Female, 36-45

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Listen I know this from experience..You stay who you are and don't let anyone effect you and your husband's relationship..Some people are just not capable of being nice without involving control..in most cases like this unless you choose to loose yourself and become a mold of them you will always feel like the independent outsider..My X Mother in law actually looked at me and said you are one of Us act like us..lol..I chose me..Smile!

- Response by cjs1991, A Creative, Female, 36-45, Teaching

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You don't need their acceptance or validation. Only YOU can give YOU that. Screw them. When the kids are older, get a job and meet real people who respect you. Join a gym or go walking. Go to a church for Mommy's Day Out. Join a church study group. You need to branch out outside this family. They sound like bitches.

- Response by clueless37, An Alternative Girl, Female, 36-45, Celebrity

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Your husband defends you to them but they still act like this? He must be doing a bang up job there. I think maybe you should tell him that when it comes to the family events that you would like to not go to them as much and the kids will stay home with you. If you are not welcome in 'his' relatives house then neither are his children. You will have to limit the amount of contact his family has with YOUR children because you really do not like the influence and the example they set.

But I digress one second though, because you need to have hard evidence of your second-hand treatment that you can provide for him. He needs to concretely demonstrate how they treat you and only then do you have a case. If you are just going to go with the "I get a bad feeling from them" argument then you have no case. If he has this talk then he needs real evidence or else you just look really crazy and insecure.

- Response by 7zebras, A Career Man, Male, 36-45, New York, Financial / Banking

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Just let it go. This is one battle you're never going to win, so accept it and keep going. Just do what you feel is necessary.

Remember one thing about all of this, in the end THEY ARE THE LOSERS.

My mother also moved into a very hostile family; the daughters-in-law would go to the mother-in-law and "make trouble." In the end, she was told by her mother-in-law that "she was the best daughter-in-law she had."

- Response by pushkins, A Thinker, Female, 66 or older, Miami, Who Cares?

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if i were you, i would tell them just what you typed here. be honest. maybe they don't know how deeply thfis affects YOU. let them know you always wanted a close family and you thought you were getting sisters and someone just like a mother and it hurts that it feels like you are just being tolerated. if you spill your heart out to them and they still treat you cold, i am sorry.

- Response by whitishflower, A Thinker, Female, 29-35

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Stop wishing for things you aren't going to get. It's just counter-productive, and as you've said, you don't really have time for extra things.

Stop trying to be one of them. They are them.

You ARE the sister-in-law. Next time you want to do a spa day or lunch, call your friends.

Besides, you should be too busy raising your children within the scope of their needs and personalities to be dwelling on your own so much.

- Response by trawna, A Career Woman, Female, 46-55, Toronto, Consulting

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