Your Husband's Family...

Updated on November 03, 2010
L.P. asks from Uniontown, PA
15 answers

How well did you know your husband's family prior to marrying him? (Immediate and extended family...)

What is your relationship like with them now? And how long have you been married?

I'm just wondering because I was thinking about how I don't know my fiance's family very well. We see his parents relatively often, the extended family members that live close on occasion, but I don't really know them well. I've been with my fiance for only about 1.5 years now, although I knew him prior to dating him. Also, bear in mind that my basis for comparison is the 16 year relationship I had with my son's father. I knew his family very well. I felt (and still kind of feel) like one of them. Weird? His mother and I became very close, and still maintain a friendship. Like, I'll call her just to catch up. We might go shopping together with my son. I don't know. It's just weird. I wouldn't feel at all comfortable calling my fiance's mother just to chat, or to go shopping with her. Don't get me wrong, she is a really nice woman, and we seem to be developing a nice relationship, but it's just nowhere near the relationship I have with my ex's mom. I know it takes time (like 16 years!) to develop the kind of relationships I have with my son's father's family, but I feel weird that I am nowhere near as close to my future in-laws as I am with my ex's family. I guess it's important to note that I became far closer to my ex's mother after I had my son. Our relationship prior to that was much more casual. But since him, we've gotten really close, and enjoy spending time together. I think that could happen with my fiance's mother too, if the time comes when we share a child with her. Kids seem to up the ante on bonding, I guess. In a way, I guess I kind of long for the closeness and comfort level I have with my ex's mother, and wish I had that with my future mother-in-law, although cognitively, I know that level of comfort in relationships takes time.

Is any of this weird?

I suspect this is probably a somewhat common issue. Just wondering what it's like for those of you in similar situations. Can you share your stories about your relationships with your husband's family, and/or your ex's family?

Thanks for any thoughts...

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't have that much in common with my in laws be it hobbies, political views, or just general life philosophy so that relationship has just never developed. I don't know if they hate me per say but it's clear they wish their son had married someone more like them. I have more in common with my brothers in law but because they live far away and travel a lot I rarely see them and can't say I know them that well. In fact two of them are identical twins and I still can't tell them apart because I've only seen them together a handful of times. Talk about embarrassing....

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answers from Miami on

Common issue? I don't know about that! My husband's family (mother and father) hated me so no relationship could ever get established~ they vowed to ruin our wedding day. To this day, my husband and I have been married for 18 years, we have 3 children, with another on the way. His mother died two years ago. She never saw any of my children, except in pictures. My father in law has a desire to see the children...if my husband leaves me home. Since I will not allow my children to see my husband's father without me, he wont' be seeing my children anytime soon, that's his loss, not mine. My husband's sister lives in the same area as we do but does not see my children either. She has made numerous excuses for not stopping by. One Christmas she left the gifts for my children outside our front door! She called after she put them there to let us know the gifts were "dropped by." That's when I told my husband I didn't care to exchange Christmas gifts with his sister any longer. We get no Christmas cards, no phone calls.

You have a long history with your ex's family and it sounds like a wonderful and positive history. Give it more time with your fiance's family. Sometimes these unions work out great, unlike the relationship I have (or don't have) with my husband's family, sometimes they don't work at all.

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answers from Dallas on

HAHA I knew my hubs family for bout 6 months before I married him and believe me I had no idea what I was gettin myself into. At first everything is all Peachy for a few months now Ive been married to my husband for 2 years and his mom is the majority of our fights we had to move in with them when we were finishin up with our house they decided to breed English Mastiff's which are HUGE dogs and then the puppys started peeing in the carpet so they rippped up all the carpet out of there house and left a bare concret floor for my 11month old (learning how to walk) crawl around on,she doesnt clean house so unless I kept up on the dishes they was always stacked up a mile high it was not how I was raised at all!!! I walked into the house one afternoon when I had got off work went to turn on my light in our room the electricity had been cut off due to someone not payin the bill so guess who had to fork out 350.00 for the electric to get turned on..yea I wasnt happy! Needless to say my relationship with my mother inlaw isnt the best but my father inlaw is awsome hes a hard worker great dad and a great grandpa!!! Always give it time and there true colors will come out :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I made a huge mistake of not getting to know my husband's family before I married him, I can tell you my mother in law is a NIGHTMARE, very overbearing controlling and when she does not get his way, stops coming over. My husband's family is incapable of truly loving and embracing anyone who is not their blood relative. They love my child and my husband but to those who are "in laws" like me, they co exists with us but the love, the sincere love is not there. If you are looking for a family you will join whom you want to really love you, does not even have to be like their own but just to appreciate you as a person related to their blood, then you better get to know this one. In laws relationships are weird for some reason. I would have loved for this family of my husband to just be genuinely be nice to me but like I said the mil and fil are overbearing, more so the mil and thinks all those who married their children are beneath their children. Now I am stuck with these people. Good luck and listen to your instict.

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answers from Phoenix on

my hubby and I have been together 3 years, married 1. My ex and I were together 10, married 9. His family for those 10 years really were not involved with us at all and even with their own grandkids we only saw them on major bdays and holidays and never talked to them on the phone. and they lived about 10 minutes away. my husbands family now is all out of state. When we got together, I chatted with his mom on the phone and then would email back and forth about once a month. the first time I met her was this summer when she came out for 4 days. My husband and his family are not really "close" so its not really a factor for us. I'm an only child and only have my mom, who lives close by. So we really do things with her. It doesn't bother me at all, I feel like my hubby and kids are my "family" that are there consistantly. My 2 SIL's both live in different states and we email and/or chat thru facebook on occasion. None of it bothers me, it is what it is. Good luck to you!

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answers from Atlanta on

My husband's mother lives near us, so I met her and saw her fairly frequently before we married. His father lives in Oklahoma and his two half-sisters in the San Francisco area. Before we all had kids we used to meet in Colorado or Tahoe to ski every March, so I met them on one of those trips and spent almost a week with them, then saw them again the next year on that trip a few months before our wedding. His Dad also visited us twice before we married, so I felt like I had a pretty good knowledge of them. Two weeks before we were married, his cousin in Dallas married, so we flew out for that and I met his grandmother, aunt, cousins, etc. Most of them then came to our wedding, so I saw them all again there. I feel like I got really lucky with my in-laws. My MIL is very nice and generous and she loves our children but she's not in our business all the time. She's also very religious, but she doesn't push it off on us. My FIL and sisters-in-law are awesome and lots of fun to be around! I wish we all saw more of each other! We all see eye to eye for the most part politically, socially, etc., so our gatherings aren't tense. We all have two younger kids per family now, so it's not so easy to go skiing or visit. We've been to San Francisco a few times, but we haven't gotten to see each other in a few years at this point. We do go out and spend Thanksgiving with the Oklahoma/Texas relatives now and then, so we're hoping that maybe next year we can all "meet in the middle" for that.

I think in your case time is the main issue. Of course some people are just easier to get along with than others and people have a lot of different ideas about what "family" and "relative" relationships entail. Good luck with your new inlaws! I think it's great that you and your ex-MIL are still close and can enjoy your son/her grandson together. I'm pretty sure that if I divorced my husband, I would still have a relationship with his mother and father.

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answers from New York on

i didn't know my husband's family very well. met them all once prior to getting married.
i have been with my husband for 9 years now. we don't have much of a relationship with his side of the family. we just don't mix well. i would have still married my husband had i known the issues prior to getting married but i think i would have prepared myself better mentally to what was about to come. i didn't, and it was shocking to see how those people interact, and how they are.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

it was interesting reading the previous responses, i'm surprised by how many didn't meet each others families until right before or right after being married. doing something like that never would have occurred to me. i know that a military relationship makes something like this more common, but i would feel weird having things work out that way.

my DH and i have been together for 9 years, married for 5, and our son is 7. he met my mom about a month after we started dating when she came in to PGH for work, met my sister and our now BIL and my stepdad about a month after that, then the whole family, and i mean the WHOLE 35 plus person immediate-extended family, at Christmas that year.

i met his brother and our now SIL about a week after we started dating. his parents and younger brothers were on vacation, so i met them about 2 weeks later. the way it was done was unexpected, but it didn't have a negative effect. i LOVED my MIL, she was an amazing women. unfortunately, she passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2003, so our relationship was not a long one, but it was great. my DH is so similar to her in the way he treats those he cares deeply about. i'm still not as close to my FIL, but that's just because he is very quiet and reserved, and reminds me tons of my own dad, whom i'm also not overly close with.

i am pretty close to my BIL and SIL. they live down the street from us, and their oldest and our son are only a year a part, attend the same school, and their girls and our son go the same daycare. it has taken some time to get this close for me, but my DH and BIL were always close, they are only 368 days apart in age (DH is the older one). my SIL and I actually just trained for and ran a half marathon together, so that really brought us closer.

i am also pretty close to my 3 younger BILs (nearly 16, nearly 17, and recently 18). they kind of grew up with me, and they are our defacto babysitters. they spend the night with us frequently (we live in the same school district they do), come over to help around the house or just to hang out. i live 3 hours from 99% of my family, so i'm so glad that i have the relationships i do with my husband's family. my DH is as close as he can be with my family, given the distance and his work schedule that doesn't really allow for weekend visits. however, he gets along great with all of them.

now, he also has an enormous extended family, and they all live not too far away either, so we spend a decent amount of time with them. i'm pretty close to a number of them, particularly those who are the same age range we are, and don't have any problems getting along with anyone else. i'm definently lucky in that aspect.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I never got to meet my husbands family before we got married (We never had a wedding. We got married at the courthouse and have been together for a little over a year) and he only got to meet my dad and my grandparents before we got married. My relationship with everyone but his mother is pretty good. I talk to his aunt on a regular basis, and his one brother and sister I talk to pretty frequently as well. We all don't know each other all that well because we all live in different places.
However, his mother tries to control our family and butt in. She wasn't like this when we were dating, in fact she never even talked to us without my husband initiating it first.
Before I got married, I was in a serious relationship with one of my ex's (for about 3 years, we were talking about getting engaged) and his family included me as much as they could and called me part of their family. I don't talk to them anymore but after we had broken up, I did occasionally.
It's no surprise that you feel closer to your ex's family than your fiance's family. Like you mentioned, 16 years compared to 1 1/2 is a big difference. I think with time you'll be able to feel closer to your fiance's family. Try to spend time with them by inviting them to get-togethers.

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answers from Dallas on

I've always told my friends and sisters to be sure to meet your partner's family and get to know them before you commit yourself to marriage because you aren't just marrying the man but his entire family in a sense. I love my husband very much but I wish I would have known his family better. Although I really don't know if it would have changed anything because of my love for him. I think all it would have done was prepare me for what was to come. To avoid going into a long story, we've been put through He** and back because of his grown kids. One more than the other, whom we no longer have contact with due to the severity of the situation. I could write a book about all that I've been through, but the problem would be people would think it's fiction when in fact it's a true story - that's how bizarre it is! Get to know your fiance's family well before you do so you can get a sense of what is to come. Every family has it's "crazies", some have more than it's share but it'll be good for you to find out ahead of time so you'll know how to handle them. Good luck.

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answers from Phoenix on

Truth be told, I met his 6 sisters and mom (had seen her before but not with the awareness that she'd be my MIL!) at my bridal shower the week before my wedding! His dad I met the night before our wedding day. I LOVE his mom! She's a great MIL- because she knows how to mind her own business and not pry. She's a great listener & very supportive and never pries, never pushes her opinion on anyone (the total opposite of my mom).

I think the reason to observe family relationships is important because it shows you how he treats his family members with respect (or lack of) and how their dynamics could come to play in your own. ie, does his family scold by yelling, do they fight by withdrawing and giving each other the silent treatment, do they blow up and call each other names, or do they argue privately and respectfully? It is highly likely that those interaction patterns will arise in his marriage to you and in his/your family. (same to be said for YOUR upbringing.)

I don't think it's weird that you will visit your child's grandmother more easily than your new/future MIL because after all, you have had 16 years of time to nurture that relationship, and this new one is only beginning. Nurture this new one too and it can be great.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

I didn't know my inlaws at all before i married my husband. I litterally only knew my husband for 4 months before we married. We met on a dating website in October of 2008 and we met in person in Dec. 2008. He is in the army and was stationed in Ft. Bragg NC. His parents live in PA. We married Feb. 18th 2009 at the Cumberland County Court house. :). My husband didn't tell his parents we were married until after it was done and he did it through a text message. I met them for the first time that April and they loved me. They were all great. The only one I hated was my husband's sister who is a spoiled 21 year old brat now. His mom and dad are really nice down home people and we talk often, or at least we used to until my husband, our son and I moved to South Korea since my husband was stationed here for the next 3 years. And we've been married now for over a year and a half.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Great question. When I met my husbands family when we were in high school, I thought they were great and really liked his mom. As we came to know each other better, I noticed she was involved but before I was married didn't really comprehend how that would influence things. My parents and I laugh now as they even tried to talk to me or warn me but I was too young and excited to get married. We didn't marry until 6 yrs. after we met --I was 23(some yrs. of being broken up and having other relationships, doing school and travel in between). Now we have been married over 13 yrs. and she is quite difficult to deal with, possibly has a personality disorder. She is alway lying but we don't usually call her out as she will cry, call over and over, justify and talk about it for hours as to why and it isnt worth it b/c she wont take responsiblity... she just wants to explain why it was ok. I am generally kind and agreeable but it's almost like she still wants alone time with her son. We have 5 kids and if she comes to visit, may talk for a minute with them but really just wants to follow him around and talk with him.
You are lucky to have had the relationship you had with your ex-motherinlaw. I would love to have that and kind of thought I would if I went off the first 6 six yrs. of knowing her. As I got older and had kids, it has been more strained and difficult. I realize I can't change her and we still spend time with her but I don't confront her or ruffle her feathers as I know she isn't open to other ideas on anything. I am sad for her and the relationships she is missing out on with her daughters in law and her grandkids. I am just grateful for the great man she raised and so happy to be married to him that I will take her along with it and try not to complain to my husband as it makes his life harder. He is frustrated with her too but it really isn't possible to change her. I would just say love her and keep getting to know her but recognize personalities are different and even if you don't get close to her, you love this man and it will all be good.

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answers from New York on

It's not weird to want a relationship with someone who will be "family" in a blink of an eye!

My husband and I dated for about 18 months when we got engaged. He has a twin brother, a much older sister, parents, two nieces who are both married and one has children. He has two aunts and a ton of cousins (all of whom are married with children). Here's the break-down...
- My relationship with my brother-in-law.... very close, in fact more like natural siblings than "in laws". This is primarily because he lived with us for over a year when he went back to school & our son was a newborn. The four of us became a little family "unit" and have remaind close since he moved into his own place. LOTS of time spent together, many "difficult" discussions and disagreements, but worth it in the end.
- My sister-in-law... we get along well, but don't seek-out time together. She's closer in age to my mother and we are just at different points in our lives.
- My nieces... more like my little sisters. We talk all the time and they (and their spouses/children) are at my home all the time. This was NOT always the case. They were not close to my husband due to their ages (he was in college when they were at home). We made a concerted effort to invite them over monthly for take-out and to catch up. Five years later, they come to us with everything... good or bad.
- My in-laws... we are not close. Their marriage is not healthy and we have pretty strict parameters around the time we spend with them b/c I don't want my son around their craziness. I make a point of calling them once a week to check-in, but they have very little to do with us spontaneously. I've tried, but their own "issues" make that a challenge.

I am still close to my high school boyfriend's family and my husband talks regularly with his college girlfriend's family (she was killed in a car accident). Those relationships took time to build and effort to maintain, but I now focus my energy and time on building and maintaining relationships with my in-laws.

My husband was an "instant member" of my family... immediate and extended and speaks to them more than his own family. Strange dynamics, but you just continue to focus on remaining connected, at whatever level works at that time!

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answers from Washington DC on

I had not met anyone in my husband's family until our oldest was about 5 months. Granted, we got pregnant soon after we started dating and then his family lives 1500 miles away. My relationship has never been great with his mom, everyone else I get along with fabulously :).

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