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Momofgirls

Why do MIL and DIL seem to have more problems??

74 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Layla said:

Although I have heard this, I haven't seen it IRL.  I am the opposite in many ways to my MIL.  My MIL wanted DH to marry someone from their culture, she even took him on a holiday to match him up with someone.  He was against the idea of marrying into his culture.  My MIL comes from a culture where the husband makes all the decisions and the woman follows.  DH once told me that he wanted someone independent, who had opinions and could take care of themselves.  My MIL acts helpless and calls DH to help her with everything.  Even when MIL and FIL needed to buy a new refrigerator she called DH to come and help them.  I really think that DH saw from a young age that he couldn't cope with doing everything for his mother and a wife. 

There seems to be more competition between a MIL and DIL relationship than between a SIL and MIL.  In my case I felt like MIL was putting DH in the middle of certain situations and forcing him to choose sides.  There seems to be an unhealthy dynamic sometimes with mothers and sons where they can't seem to let go. I have seen this with mothers and daughters too although not as much.  Especially if the mother relies on the son rather than her husband.  My MIL relies a lot on her son to get by, he is always fixing things for them.  If he wasn't around I feel like she would struggle.  In the early days she made comments about sons of friends of hers that had moved away and it was one of her fears.  I believe that if the MIL relies more on her son to do things for her, then a new DIL can be viewed as a threat, mainly because of the changes that a new DIL may bring.  My MIL was overly concerned about the change in her relationship with her son when we got married.  She struggled with the fact that he had made all of his decisions regarding life with her and now he was making them with me.  She acted out on this and tried to undermine me so that he continued to go to her for help and guidance.  There were so many situations in our early days where she wanted to be included in our decision making where it wasn't appropriate.  She wanted to decorate our new house with just her and her son.  She cried when we bought a new washing machine without her. I was really treated as a non entity. 

Also my MIL was going through menopause around this time as well.  I'm not sure how big of an influence this was but I do wonder if she would have been different if she wasn't struggling with the shift in hormones.

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ?

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction ..

 

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38 minutes ago, Mame925 said:

That would make me think he's reasonably well balanced with clear boundaries in his life...If the wife is that warm embrace of the autumn afternoon, but mama is a relentless July day in the desert you might have something

 

What do I have? :)

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2 hours ago, Komorebi said:

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ?

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction ..

 

I think menopause is a cop out, personally. When you have a health issue, it's your responsibility to manage it, and not turn into a screaming banshee that destroys relationships w/the ppl they care about.

I've been dealing w/severe chronic pain for almost 10 yrs now. I guess I've missed the crazy aspect of it.

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5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

Say a husband sees his wife as a warm embrace of a golden Autumn afternoon and his mother the coolness of a moonless October evening- How likely is it thatt he doesn't see that they share twilight and dawn?

Very poetic! But "afternoon" isn't quite close enough to "dawn" to make any sense here, IMO. :)

Edited by RoseRed135

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5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ? Also, there are the ones where mom tries to keep the son tied to those apron strings, even as he's trying to break free.

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction .. Agreed. But, IMO, a mature woman should realize it and "catch herself" when her hormones are driving her behavior or see it later and apologize. I've never known anyone who was plagued by her hormones every minute during menopause. Perhaps some are. But most are sane enough or have enough calm moments, I think, to see where they're making mistakes, if any.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Komorebi said:

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ?

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction ..

 

Agreed for the most part.  It's the strangest thing with DH though - i get the impression from both DH and MIL that while he was growing up, they were not exceptionally close.  MIL often talks about how miserable DH  was to be around as a teenager and she'll say that when he left for university, they were tears of joy not sadness.  He quite passively disobeyed or disagreed with his mother as a teen...he was quiet...he just did what he wanted to do.

Fast forward to the past 13 years - MIL leans on him for everything or a lot of things.  He's good with computers so she calls him every single time she has a problem with her computer (which is several times a week) and he has a PhD in Chemistry..he's not a doctor or pharmacist, but she will call him to discuss every medication she's on.

And interestingly enough, MIL is in chronic pain...has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (as a SW i chuckle at this sometimes) and generally speaking she's just miserable because she never feels well.  i've often wondered how chronic pain and hormones impact her behavior.

With the dynamic between DH and his mother, it almost seems like they are both trying to go back in time.  MIL seems to be seeking the closeness that she should have had with DH as a child and I think DH feels guilty for largely "ignoring" his mother as a teen...who knows

Aside from that though and possibly a different topic - i sometimes think one reason why MIL is so overbearing with my children, is that she's trying to correct mistakes that she made as a parent...or perceived mistakes.  i don't think she'd ever call them mistakes because i believe that she did the best she could do with parenting, but it seems like she's trying to have a "do over" with my children.

Edited by AndreaMSW

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45 minutes ago, AndreaMSW said:

Agreed for the most part.  It's the strangest thing with DH though - i get the impression from both DH and MIL that while he was growing up, they were not exceptionally close.  MIL often talks about how miserable DH  was to be around as a teenager and she'll say that when he left for university, they were tears of joy not sadness.  He quite passively disobeyed or disagreed with his mother as a teen...he was quiet...he just did what he wanted to do.

Fast forward to the past 13 years - MIL leans on him for everything or a lot of things.  He's good with computers so she calls him every single time she has a problem with her computer (which is several times a week) and he has a PhD in Chemistry..he's not a doctor or pharmacist, but she will call him to discuss every medication she's on.

And interestingly enough, MIL is in chronic pain...has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (as a SW i chuckle at this sometimes) and generally speaking she's just miserable because she never feels well.  i've often wondered how chronic pain and hormones impact her behavior.

With the dynamic between DH and his mother, it almost seems like they are both trying to go back in time.  MIL seems to be seeking the closeness that she should have had with DH as a child and I think DH feels guilty for largely "ignoring" his mother as a teen...who knows

Aside from that though and possibly a different topic - i sometimes think one reason why MIL is so overbearing with my children, is that she's trying to correct mistakes that she made as a parent...or perceived mistakes.  i don't think she'd ever call them mistakes because i believe that she did the best she could do with parenting, but it seems like she's trying to have a "do over" with my children.

When this subject is discussed (entanglement) it seems to me that more often than not the red bold above ^ is what keeps arising -- from one thread to the next-  The part in blue, denial- When I personally enter into what I think are moments of or periods of denial I've already recognized the fact that something went awry due to a mistake I made which is on me to initiate fixing- I've noticed that my response time can be quick and that sometimes it isn't- But once fixing is initiated begin to see results, and as a rule unexpected changes take place in ways that I doubt could have imagined -- while striving for exacting, desired results could result in disaster!

It's kind of odd, and kind of not, that the mother in-law daughter in-law relationship is labeled as such especially when sons and husbands actively partake in the entanglement and are not separate from it- Perhaps the compulsion to label it as such is dependent upon the intense inclination to assign fault on one instead of all involved-    

Chronic pain has probably already been discussed in other threads and maybe already had its own several times over- I don't know that anyone could navigate ongoing pain without succumbing to making mistakes while in the clutches of it- And while one might be vigilant in regard to the fixing of those mistakes, it doesn't erase the occurrence of the mistakes- Sometimes pain and suffering outweigh ones efforts to manage it-

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4 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Very poetic! But "afternoon" isn't quite close enough to "dawn" to make any sense here, IMO. :)

What time of night or day would make sense? :) My grandma religiously watched The Edge of Night- Totally appropriate title for a soap!  

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4 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ? Also, there are the ones where mom tries to keep the son tied to those apron strings, even as he's trying to break free.

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction .. Agreed. But, IMO, a mature woman should realize it and "catch herself" when her hormones are driving her behavior or see it later and apologize. I've never known anyone who was plagued by her hormones every minute during menopause. Perhaps some are. But most are sane enough or have enough calm moments, I think, to see where they're making mistakes, if any.

How often do women not recognize the fact that they're suffering from postpartum depression? How often do they recognize that they are but refuse to seek assistance? How often does their refusal impact relationships? Wouldn't a mature woman catch herself in the act of experiencing such a disorder and apologize for it? Or do they view themselves as young adult "children" therefore cut themselves slack?

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4 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

There does "sometimes" tend to be an unhealthy dynamic between mothers and sons- There's the mothers and sons who become one, the son doesnt marry-  There's the ones that cling to moms apron strings, tripping up and tangling up marriages and relationships- There's also the ones that love each other enough to let go and leave each other room to continue to grow- Maybe there's even combos of the above .. ? Also, there are the ones where mom tries to keep the son tied to those apron strings, even as he's trying to break free.

Hormones totally can make women act crazy, think crazy thoughts- So many things can though- Like chronic pain or PTS or a bit of all three, could make for a toxic concoction .. Agreed. But, IMO, a mature woman should realize it and "catch herself" when her hormones are driving her behavior or see it later and apologize. I've never known anyone who was plagued by her hormones every minute during menopause. Perhaps some are. But most are sane enough or have enough calm moments, I think, to see where they're making mistakes, if any.

Men, regardless of their age, have a fondness for the tools of their trades- It could be a pencil, it could be an iPad- Also included in "their" box of fondness are keepsakes and as well as things they truly don't need -- like purse straps and apron strings- Why? Because the guy with those last two things in his collection remains in the process of being "raised"- Sure as the day is long, he's got himself a flashlight and pen-knife- What's he using them for? Peeling apples out on the back 40 after midnight because he's missing his mom's pie? A mother cannot keep anything in a man's box of fondness that he doesn't want in it, but a man who thinks he's still in need of being raised doesn't see it that way- Somehow, in modern times, and the days of yore, it's the mother's fault that he sees it that way..

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10 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

I think menopause is a cop out, personally. When you have a health issue, it's your responsibility to manage it, and not turn into a screaming banshee that destroys relationships w/the ppl they care about.

I've been dealing w/severe chronic pain for almost 10 yrs now. I guess I've missed the crazy aspect of it.

Of course menopause is a cop out. Deal with it, be an adult, don't use it as a lame excuse.

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13 hours ago, Komorebi said:

I think people are less likely to see themselves in those they've a strong dislike for- 

 

I have a strong dislike for serial killers, pedophiles, and rapists.  Tell me again why I should see these people in myself? 

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1 hour ago, BSW said:

I have a strong dislike for serial killers, pedophiles, and rapists.  Tell me again why I should see these people in myself? 

I didn't tell you you should, and wouldn't tell you to again -- I didn't even suggest it- :) 

 

Call Me by My True Names

 

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing .. and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Edited by Komorebi

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5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

Men, regardless of their age, have a fondness for the tools of their trades- It could be a pencil, it could be an iPad- Also included in "their" box of fondness are keepsakes and as well as things they truly don't need -- like purse straps and apron strings- Why? Because the guy with those last two things in his collection remains in the process of being "raised"- Sure as the day is long, he's got himself a flashlight and pen-knife- What's he using them for? Peeling apples out on the back 40 after midnight because he's missing his mom's pie? A mother cannot keep anything in a man's box of fondness that he doesn't want in it, but a man who thinks he's still in need of being raised doesn't see it that way- Somehow, in modern times, and the days of yore, it's the mother's fault that he sees it that way..

Wow.

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5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

Men, regardless of their age, have a fondness for the tools of their trades- It could be a pencil, it could be an iPad- Also included in "their" box of fondness are keepsakes and as well as things they truly don't need -- like purse straps and apron strings- Why? Because the guy with those last two things in his collection remains in the process of being "raised"- Sure as the day is long, he's got himself a flashlight and pen-knife- What's he using them for? Peeling apples out on the back 40 after midnight because he's missing his mom's pie? A mother cannot keep anything in a man's box of fondness that he doesn't want in it, but a man who thinks he's still in need of being raised doesn't see it that way- Somehow, in modern times, and the days of yore, it's the mother's fault that he sees it that way..

Then again, some guys distance themselves from the mom  who is trying to hold on... at which point the mom often complains and/or redoubles her efforts (not saying this is what leads to all distancing).

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46 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Wow.

Yes, wow- I know of another story, about a man who while breaking bread with extended family expressed that his own, nuclear family was all that would ever matter to him- No other would even come close -- he came just shy of saying he was the king of his castle, but it was implied- This out of the mouth of a man who meant more to himself than anyone else, a man who continually accepted financial assistance from anyone who would give it (enter his mother) -- including for the roof over his children's heads-

Edited by Komorebi

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On 2/12/2018 at 5:20 PM, BSW said:

Another source of friction and problems between MIL/DIL occurs when mom is overly emotionally invested in her child - often times because she is in a lonely or unhappy marriage or no marriage.  The child takes on the role of an emotional spouse or a best friend to mom.   When the AC marries, conflict begins between mom, AC and his/her spouse and often times you feel like your MIL is the "other woman" in the marriage, which is a super creepy and cringy thing to feel for anyone who has experienced this dynamic. 

I see this very much in my DH and MIL's relationship. He became her emotional spouse when things finally started to really fall apart with FIL. Then SO came along. And during his illness/death, she very much expected DH to resume that role. There was a lot of conflict for DH because now he had his own adult life and family, and couldn't take that on. There's a new SO in the picture now. 

MIL has to be dependent on someone. It's a dynamic that just completely escapes me and I can't wrap my head around it. I thought after SO passed maybe she'd finally learn to stand on her own two feet. Within weeks, she had new SO in the picture doing things for her. I doubt she'll ever change. 

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44 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Then again, some guys distance themselves from the mom  who is trying to hold on... at which point the mom often complains and/or redoubles her efforts (not saying this is what leads to all distancing).

Followed by his wife's complaints- At which point if he wants can put a stop to both -- although frequently they don't-

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I'm going to take a different approach since the beginning of time, until very recently,  men dominated the sphere.  A MIL/woman needed her sons, for status, for sustenance,  for protection etc.  Maybe somewhere in our DNA this need still exists because evolution has not "caught up " with modern life.  Until very recently,  men/sons felt responsible for their mothers and if their sister's remained unmarried,  them also.

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49 minutes ago, NewMama said:

I see this very much in my DH and MIL's relationship. He became her emotional spouse when things finally started to really fall apart with FIL. Then SO came along. And during his illness/death, she very much expected DH to resume that role. There was a lot of conflict for DH because now he had his own adult life and family, and couldn't take that on. There's a new SO in the picture now. 

MIL has to be dependent on someone. It's a dynamic that just completely escapes me and I can't wrap my head around it. I thought after SO passed maybe she'd finally learn to stand on her own two feet. Within weeks, she had new SO in the picture doing things for her. I doubt she'll ever change. 

Interestingly enough i see this to some degree with my MIL.  A couple years ago, FIL was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  At the time of the initial diagnosis, MIL set up a secret email acct (she currently shares one with FIL) so that she could talk about his diagnosis with other people without him knowing...then FIL found out about it was upset (rightfully so).  FIL rarely mentions his parkinson's and for the most part has gone with life as usual.    MIL also initially rejected any offers of help from SIL, DH or myself.  SIL's take on it was that MIL wants to be a martyr.  However recently, things have changed.  FIL is still doing well but he won't drive long distances and he kind of shuffles when he walks but otherwise is doing well - I've noticed that as FIL declines, even though it slight, MIL seems to become more dependent on DH (and to some degree me).  We have an elderly neighbor and when MIL was visiting last week, she asked how neighbor was doing - i mentioned that neighbor has her adult son and DIL living with her to take care of her because she refuses to go to a nursing home.  I never talk to the son but i often see neighbor's DIL and we chat and she says it's really tough - so in this conversation with my MIL, MIL responds "Well that's their job, she raised them and they owe her this."  MIL has been asking us for years to move closer to them (we live 2 hours away) and she made it clear to me anyway, that if things really decline, her expectation is that we move in with them or they move in with us.  Telling you right now...that's not going to happen.  I didn't respond back to her...just listened but after she and FIL left, i told DH that he and his sister may want to have a conversation with MIL about what her expectations are.  DH has no expectation of moving closer to them or them here...and he was like "But my parents know that we talked about this a few years ago."  I say they still need to revisit the issue because things have changed and MIL clearly has other ideas.  in any case, over the past year (at least) MIL is more and more dependent on DH as FIL declines  a bit.

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2 hours ago, nonna23 said:

I'm going to take a different approach since the beginning of time, until very recently,  men dominated the sphere.  A MIL/woman needed her sons, for status, for sustenance,  for protection etc.  Maybe somewhere in our DNA this need still exists because evolution has not "caught up " with modern life.  Until very recently,  men/sons felt responsible for their mothers and if their sister's remained unmarried,  them also.

Perhaps. But they also had a responsibility to their wife - or wives, depending on the century and the culture - and children - hence the MIL/DIL issue, I suppose? :)

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2 hours ago, AndreaMSW said:

   MIL also initially rejected any offers of help from SIL, DH or myself.  SIL's take on it was that MIL wants to be a martyr.  However recently, things have changed.  FIL is still doing well but he won't drive long distances and he kind of shuffles when he walks but otherwise is doing well - I've noticed that as FIL declines, even though it slight, MIL seems to become more dependent on DH (and to some degree me).... and she made it clear to me anyway, that if things really decline, her expectation is that we move in with them or they move in with us.  Telling you right now...that's not going to happen.

Ok, I know your MIL is very difficult, and ITA that she should not move in w/ you or vice versa. But the bolded  shows why some MILs feel they are "darned if they do and darned if they don't." If MIL tries to cope on her own she "wants to be a martyr." If she shows signs of becoming dependent, "... that's not going to happen." (I realize the 2 comments were made by 2 different people, and again, I agree, she and FIL definitely should find other options.)

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3 hours ago, AndreaMSW said:

Interestingly enough i see this to some degree with my MIL.  A couple years ago, FIL was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  At the time of the initial diagnosis, MIL set up a secret email acct (she currently shares one with FIL) so that she could talk about his diagnosis with other people without him knowing...then FIL found out about it was upset (rightfully so).  FIL rarely mentions his parkinson's and for the most part has gone with life as usual.    MIL also initially rejected any offers of help from SIL, DH or myself.  SIL's take on it was that MIL wants to be a martyr.  However recently, things have changed.  FIL is still doing well but he won't drive long distances and he kind of shuffles when he walks but otherwise is doing well - I've noticed that as FIL declines, even though it slight, MIL seems to become more dependent on DH (and to some degree me).  We have an elderly neighbor and when MIL was visiting last week, she asked how neighbor was doing - i mentioned that neighbor has her adult son and DIL living with her to take care of her because she refuses to go to a nursing home.  I never talk to the son but i often see neighbor's DIL and we chat and she says it's really tough - so in this conversation with my MIL, MIL responds "Well that's their job, she raised them and they owe her this." No. She did not raise them - she raised him, not DIL. And she chose the role - and did what she's supposed to do as a mom, I trust - he doesn't owe her for it, IMO.  MIL has been asking us for years to move closer to them (we live 2 hours away) and she made it clear to me anyway, that if things really decline, her expectation is that we move in with them or they move in with us.  Telling you right now...that's not going to happen.  I didn't respond back to her...just listened but after she and FIL left, i told DH that he and his sister may want to have a conversation with MIL about what her expectations are.  DH has no expectation of moving closer to them or them here...and he was like "But my parents know that we talked about this a few years ago."  I say they still need to revisit the issue because things have changed and MIL clearly has other ideas.  in any case, over the past year (at least) MIL is more and more dependent on DH as FIL declines  a bit.

Sounds like DH said, "We;re not moving closer, etc." but MIL heard, "We're not moving closer unless your or dad became ill and need help." He definitely needs to remind them of what was said and let them know it hasn't changed - and that they're going to have to choose from other options (having a health aide move in or FIL's going to a nursing home, etc.) If they don't/won't, that's on them (but they probably will,eventually, of course, when it no longer can be put off.)

 

Edited by RoseRed135

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14 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Perhaps. But they also had a responsibility to their wife - or wives, depending on the century and the culture - and children - hence the MIL/DIL issue, I suppose? :)

If they were responsible, the MIL/DIL issue wouldn't exist-

You know .. I recall somewhere it being said, something like / paraphrased, ""Gee, you've really got a "thing" for cloth diapers..""

Hmm.. :) .. About that .. having a thing for a thing .. 

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Um, okay, people... getting back to MIL/DIL problems...

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