T Nation

In Laws


Few questions for those that would like to engage.

  1. Have you ever chewed out your in laws?

  2. What is your current relationship with your in laws?

I ask these 2 questions for now since,

I want to chew them out.

And I doubt my I will ever be on speaking terms with them ever again.
I'm just about 3 years into this relationship, and to say I've tolerated them would be generous.

I didn't start off hating them, but my wife being retarded enough to not keep her mouth shut regarding something has spiraled into her relatives talking crap about my mother.

I saw my mother cry (which is a rare occurrence) because of this "gossip." I was too upset at the time to try to get to the bottom of this. But after a few days, I did try to investigate the situation. I had my wife call them up, and find out if this is true or where the root of the problem is, I and have narrowed it down to my wife's mother and/or aunts spreading false news.

I in a really bad place and trying to put it behind. This has put a strain on me and my wife's relationship. I know I will need time.

Other than the 2 questions asked at the start, if anybody has anything to share, please feel free.

Thanks for the read.


Which relationship is most important:

  1. The one with your wife?
  2. The one with your Mom?
  3. The one with your in-laws?


You are currently pissed off.

I suggest you think long term. Reacting is not good when it comes to things like this.


I'm so lucky, it's terrible to say, but if I wanted to argue with my in laws I'd need a shovel.


We're not engaged (yet), but...

  1. No, I have not chewed out my in-laws. However, I have put them in a position where they understood that certain things will happen as I see fit, rather than on their terms. (This was not relative to the engagement itself.)

  2. It's good, once we established certain boundaries. It's friendly, not tense, but not yet like we're "family". Mostly it's been about maintaining congeniality and friendliness, while also making it clear that while they may be able to just command their daughter to do whatever on their terms, that I'm not going to operate the same way. After that point (and really, even, up to that point), it's actually been quite friendly.

I would suggest thinking long term. Her in-laws are always going to have an influence on her, one way or another, so the sooner you find a way to appropriately deal with them, the better. There are lots of ways to get across "no, this wasn't appropriate", and still maintain a respectful relationship, without reaching the "never be on speaking terms again" thing.

This is one of those places where I think the "keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer" maxim might be worth applying. I don't think you should be enemies with them, but, I also don't think shunning communication is the right choice either.


my inlaws talked crap to me and about my sons
i let them know exactly where they stand with me
i dont invite them over
if they come over to see my wife i close the door gently and tell her thier here she lets them in
i have not talked to them in about three years
i think they get the message loud and clear


I've had a couple "moments" with my in-laws. Never with my wife's mother, a few times with her Aunt and a couple times with her father.

The times with her Aunt, it's never blown up into anything because of the way I've approached the situation. She tends to overstep her boundaries when it comes to my household functions (i.e. how my wife and I have decided to run our household). She's tried to insert her own ways and means into the fabric of our household to the point, a few times, where I've had to sternly tell her to cease. Generally, when I call her out on this, respectfully, she become contrite and obliges and everything is fine after that. Never anything past this.

The few times with my father-in-law: it's always just about his inconsistent political views. Never really anything malignant, he just gets very sensitive when our views differ to the point where he starts in with ad hominem attacks towards myself. I, then, tell him that we're getting off topic and change the conversation (nothing good will come of me retaliating in kind).

Like has been said, if there's a way to diplomatically resolve the situation, it will be your best bet long term. Especially if you can do so while maintaining the upper hand, yet not conceding to their bullshit. I wouldn't recommend approaching the situation emotionally. That tends to descend into a cluster fuck.

Good Luck .. this is shaky territory


I get along very well with my in-laws. We have a great relationship and there's never been a need to chew them out. However, I can somewhat sympathize with feeling the need to. Due to some health related issues my wife and I have been working towards moving into a house with her parents (in-law suite). To say it has been a nightmare is an understatement.

First we were going to buy a pre-existing house, which didn't work for her dad. Then we were going to build. We spent months looking for a lot (probably saw 30), did quite of bit of prep work with a builder, and even meet with county officials. That didn't work for her dad. We're back to looking for a pre-existing house (we actually just put an offer in on a house so there's light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it isn't a train...).

I've wanted to smacker her dad a handful of times and have had to walk away more than once. There was a particular incident that I luckily missed because it would of ended the process had I been there to react in real time. So, I get it, it can be difficult to deal with in-laws.

That said, calling your wife a retard to a bunch of strangers is probably not a good sign...


That's what I was thinking. I know it's easy for us to Monday-morning- quarterback, but you really need to rein in the emotions and deal with this situation as an adult. Absolutely let the in-laws know what the boundaries are, but not with name calling and/or threats.


"MIL & FIL, I have treated you with patience and respect out of love for [your wife's name]. Understanding that patience and respect has not been reciprocated upon my family upsets me greatly. I would appreciate an apology to my mother and your commitment to treat my family as I have treated yours. If this does not seem reasonable, [your wife's name] and I will have to make some hard decisions about our level of involvement in your lives. We resolve to have a loving relationship in our family, even when we disagree or upset one another, that is based on mutual love and respect. [Your wife's name] and I hope that you will want to be a part of it as well.

[You and your wife]"


I'm getting married in three weeks.

  1. No, I never had to or felt the need to. They are very reasonable, generous, hospitable, and peaceful people.

  2. Very good, like awesome. I love them! They have done a lot for me.


Thanks to everyone for the comments, really appreciate all the advice.

Regarding the wife being a retard, it was that one particular incident where even she says that she messed up, and should not have reacted the way she did.

Regarding the in laws and thinking long term, I just find them repulsive. I'm trying to get over it but just the fact that so much stuff has been fabricated and falsely said about my mother it is hard. Why my in laws are out to make my mother a villain is beyond me. Why they are fuming the flames is not within my understanding. They not only made my mother cry but my wife also, my wife is mad at them, but it seems to me like they don't understand that concept.

Me and my wife have had over differences to work over, but my in laws never seem to help the situation at hand. I will give it more time, but they are repulsive at this time to me.


I have a good relationship with my in-laws, but they are decent people that keep to themselves and don't try to stick their noses into my family's affairs, so it's easy.

To echo what others have said, the only thing you can really do is set clear boundaries and let them know with certainty when they've crossed them. IMHO, since they are your wife's parents, she should be the one setting the boundaries (that you've both agreed on) and pushing back on them when they overstep.

She should have a lot more leeway than you do to react emotionally without causing permanent damage to the relationship. In other words, she can have the same effect (or greater) as you without having to worry about being a perfect fucking diplomat the whole time.

In your situation though, it sounds like you and your wife also need to work on establishing some boundaries of your own within your marriage. If she is betraying your confidence somehow, then that is a pretty serious problem that needs to be addressed.


It's very important that your wife handle her parents. Not you.


I was married 30 years and got along well-enough with the in laws. Her mother was great, but somewhat of a door mat for the FIL, which I wasn't keen on. I tend to judge men by the way they treat their wives and this guy was lacking. She passed away in 2011, a huge blow to the family.

The FIL, I call him the cockroach, hard to kill. He's 87 and still going after a few close calls. I'm not close with him since he tends to be quite self-centered and he's the ultimate attention whore. And does not know when to STFU. But the both of them stayed out of our business, I'm grateful for that.


I'm curious if anyone here is a MIL or FIL:

How is your relationship with your kid and their spouse? Do you think you're a "good" in-law to have? How do you deal with conflicts between you and your son/daughter-in-law?

What makes a "good" in-law?

My kids are too young to be married (13 yo boy, 4.5 & 1.5 yo girls), but my hope is that, when the time comes, I respect their choice of partner enough that I don't feel it necessary to insert myself into their relationship.