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Anyone else have Asian in-laws?..........

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm white, and my dh is Korean. He and his family moved here when he was 12, in the 1970's.

Do any other mixed-marriage Mamas here have Asian in-laws? If so, how do you get along with them? How do they treat you? What do you call your MIL and FIL? How do you get along with your SILs and BILs?

post #2 of 35
I don't have Asian Inlaws, but my mother is Korean! I don't really know family from her side though because they are in Korea.

I don't know what your inlaws are like, or what exactly you are wanting to hear from others, but my general concensus on Koreans (we know many others) are they are very nice, but they also ALWAYS have to tell you what to do.

Neither DH or I call each others parents mom or dad, we just go by their name, but that's a different situation! lol

But overall Koreans have very good intentions and are very generous and always want you to eat more! And if they say something that one could take as an insult, don't take it that way because even as long as they may have been in this country, it's just a language barrier thing/not knowing how to word things.

Does that help?

Oh and if any Koreans read this, please don't take this the wrong way - remember, I'm half Korean myself!!!
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi there RGsMom. Nice to meetcha.

This subject is near and dear to my heart, because I am a white daughter-in-law in a Korean family, which is a unique experience. I'm always curious about how others like me experience this role. I've spoken to many non-Korean women married to Korean men over the internet, over the past 12 years, but I've never met any in person.

What I have found in speaking with others in my situation, is that in a large percentage of the cases, the white DIL was accepted much better if the language issue wasn't there. For instance, white women who were teaching English in Korea and married their husbands there. The ones I've spoken to have generally good relationships with their in-laws. Especially if they speak Korean to their in-laws. Also, I have found that white DILs who were married to a Korean man who is not the only son, or not the oldest son, fare better with their in-laws. The eggs are not all in one basket, so to speak. White men who married Korean men who are the only son tend to have fared the worst in terms of being accepted by their in-laws. I know this is because of the Korean cultural norm of Filial Piety, and the Confucian Laws in general, about the heirarchy of parents over children, men over women, elders over younger, MIL over DIL, and also the expectation in more traditional Korean families that the MIL and FIL would move in with their oldest son or only son, and that the DIL would take care of them in a traditional Korean way.

Anyway, I also know that these issues ring true for Korean women who marry Korean men!!!! : ) However, having a cultural difference with your in-laws adds a different dimension to the whole process. Believe me. : )

I'm glad that you love your Korean side and are proud and protective of it. I have 2 Hapa children who are little, and I hope they will feel proud of their Korean side, too.
post #4 of 35
MIL and I are no longer on speaking terms. However, this probably is mostly b/c she is a .

DH sometimes claims rude things MIL does are cultural, but I don't buy it. She is constanly pissing off Asian friends she makes. Her SIL(who is also Chinese) also isn't on speaking terms with her. Though MIL claims this is b/c SIL is mean since she grew up in communist China instead of HK like the rest of the family .

I don't really get along with BIL either, mostly b/c he bosses everyone around including DH. (DH is actually older, it's just BIL's personality.)

I get along fine with the rest of the family. However, since MIL and BIL try to control them I don't get to see them much anymore. FIL's family went to lots of trouble to make me feel included when I went along to a wedding with DH several years before we got married.
post #5 of 35
I'm white and my husband is from Fujian, China. In the beginning it was very rough. Before we married my in-laws did everything they could to try to break us up. My husband is the only child and his parents had a lot of preconceived notions about white people. They thought things like white people were more likely to divorce and didn't cook. They were also afraid that our children would lose their ethnic culture and not be raised in the Chinese way.

What made it more difficult was the fact that they didn't speak English and my Chinese was very limited.

Things are much better now. My Chinese has gotten much better. I call them yi ma and yi ba. I grew up without any cultural identity myself so I have adopted my husbands culture as my own and that is how we are raising our son. I definitely believe that my in-laws are very proud. It's a good feeling.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
eepster -- my situation is similar, and as a result I don't see MIL much, or SIL, who were very rude, condescending, underhanded, and sneering toward me for the first 3/4 of our marriage. We've been together about 12 years. I started standing up to them in a more direct way when my oldest child was young, because they were trying to undermine me as a parent, and doing things to get to me thru my child whenever we visited them. They backed down a little once I started being more direct and firm with them. They don't like it at all and think I'm very rude and crazy. : ) So, the way that I deal with them now is to only see them rarely -- we see MIL every couple of months, only for the day, and we see SIL maybe once or twice per year, for a few hours. My husband, however, pretends that nothing's really wrong, and he doesn't admit that this is the reason we don't see them much. He just says he's "busy", or we're busy, and comes up with reasons that we can't stay with them when we visit. MIL lives 2.5 hours from us, in a senior apartment. FIL passed away 9 or 10 years ago. She doesn't live with us or stay with us for extended periods because our marriage couldn't take the chronic stress and tension of having her here. SIL lives a plane ride away, but when we "visit", we do not stay with her. I stopped staying with her about 6 years ago when I put my food down with my husband. We stay at a hotel and my husband gives the excuse that we're vacationing, and we do the beach and such. We see SIL maybe once or twice during the week that we're in her town. I find that she doesn't get super rude unless we're with her for more than like 3 hours straight, or more than 1 or 2x that week. So we'll have dinner with them or something & visit a little and that's it. She starts to get rude toward the end and then it's time to skate outta there. She is upset that we don't stay with her, but doesn't seem to see it as a result of her tx of me. And dh doesn't tell her directly. I think she does realize, though, because she doesn't ask him. I think she knows that if she asked him, he would have to defend me and he would have to be more direct with her about why we don't see her much.

It's sad because my kids see my family A LOT MORE. We live near my family. It's not stressful to live near my family because I know how to set limits with them, and they don't intrude. We have a good relationship with my side of the family. Except that my husband is jealous because my mom does things with my kids and his mom doesn't. Even when we visit his mother, she doesn't ever want to do any child-centered activities with us. She wants them to sit quietly or listen to her lecture or give advice. She wants us to sit and pay attention to her, and center activities around her, and prevail over the group. Since they are little, this is hard for them and they start to raise hell and get into things. Then she yells at them and then I get irritated and end up taking them to McD's playplace or someplace nearby while dh stays and visits with her. My dh does admit to me that it upsets him that his mom doesn't seem to want to play with them or go on outings with us to parks, arcades, chuck e cheese, or even shopping or out to dinner when we visit her. It's like she doesn't want to be seen with us or something, besides not wanting to do anything child-centered. He gets very hurt, but he doesn't tell her in so many words.

veggiemom -- my ILs had many of the same preconcieved notions about white people. My MIL (and my late FIL) speaks English, but she would much rather speak KOrean, understandably. My husband only speaks Korean to his mom (not his sister), and he feels that he doesn't speak very good Korean. He doesn't speak it to our children, ever, unfortunately. I know a few words and phrases and words for food in Korean but that's it. I admire you for speaking Chinese and I'm sure your ILs love that. My MIL and FIL told me to call them 'mother and father' in Korean from the beginning, which I do. It's been a very hard road with MIL, and it's strange to call her mother when she can't stand me, but i do it. My kids call her Harlmoni.
post #7 of 35
Originally Posted by veggiemomNYC View Post
I call them yi ma and yi ba.
Just curious .. I learned a little bit of Chinese, but does that mean first mother and first father?
post #8 of 35
My In law is Filipina. She loves me. I call her Mommee.. (stress on the second syllable). Dp's father died a LONG time ago, and I never met him. MIL is about 80, and is losing her memory, so even if I ever ticked her off, I doubt she would remember it.

My dp has a lot of brothers and sisters though, they all like me. Many of his brothers married outside of their race, though, so I was no big deal on that topic.
post #9 of 35
Mine are Asian, but from a totally different part of Asia. I call MIL "Mother" and FIL "Father".
post #10 of 35
dh & i grew up in the same town, we've known each other since 3rd grade, our siblings know one another....we were good friends, and then after college we realized we were totally into each other.

dh is Filipino, his parents came to the states in their mid 20s. they are very catholic and have strong conservative views that contrast us (and dh's brothers) in many ways....but they are so nonjudgemental and generous and forgiving and thoughtful, I feel very lucky. They have always been welcoming to me and treat me like a daughter. I've called them mom & dad for a while now. I know that many in-laws don't work out like this, I am verrrrrrry thankful.

I get a long with dh's 2 brothers very well, the 3rd not so much. No girls in the family, and all the brothers married white women. I am the only daughter in law who was raised Catholic which I think dh's parents were openly proud of and let everyone know my Catholic background before we were married....although nonpracticing, I think they thought it was just a phase.
post #11 of 35
I have only 'met' my in laws online, as they are in Korea, but I do know...

A) They know everything. I don't know anything. From holding to feeding the baby, cooking for hubby, and everything in between. They aren't mean about it, they just very matter of factly (apparently) think I'm a blithering idiot. Since we aren't on the same continent I take it with a grain of salt. Ok a pound.

B) Their children (specifically my hubby, the lost lamb of the family as he was adopted out and then reunited a few years ago) are gods. Simple as that. DH and his sibs are to be doted on and tended to.

C) I call them Abaji and Amani (father and mother) and we are formal but pleasant. His father jokes and plays around a lot more than his mother. She's either wound a bit tight or it's a culture thing, not sure which.

Oh. And they can't believe I know how to cook. Anything. Even rice. LOLOL To hear his mom you'd think I starve the man.

But, they practically worship their grandkids, it's sweet in a 'yeay they are half a planet away' kinda thing lol
post #12 of 35
My ILs live in the USA and are from Taiwan. I call them by their first names, but I learned several years after our wedding that this is considered disrespectful! I love my ILs, we get along reasonably well. I always thank them for their many kindnesses. My MIL often tells me what a wonderful mother I am to her grandchildren. (I gave her 2 grandsons, which is a really big deal across Chinese culture.) But they drive DH over the edge. For me the toughest thing has been explaining DS1's disability...FIL says he just wants DS1 "to be normal." DH has a sister with whom he does not speak. I am always civil to her, but she says crappy things about us behind our backs...that's not a cultural issue, though, it's just her sparkling personality.
post #13 of 35
My husband is Vietnamese and I am Caucasian and we have been married about two years. My husband's mother will not speak to me and has never even said hello, so I don't call her anything. My FIL started out really rude, but has progressively become more pleasant and I call him Ohm, which means paternal grandpa in Vietnamese. I know he is not my grandpa, but apparently you are supposed to call the parent by the name that your children call them.

My sister in laws that grew up here are wonderful and the older siblings that grew up in Vietnam are pretty much horrible. They behave just like the MIL. Fortunately, the cousins and aunts and uncles are all very pleasant people and the siblings are starting to come around due to their isolation. People keep telling me that the MIL will too, but I am not holding my breath.
post #14 of 35
South Asian... does that count? subbing to write more later.
post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by heidi526 View Post
My husband is Vietnamese and I am Caucasian and we have been married about two years. My husband's mother will not speak to me and has never even said hello, so I don't call her anything. My FIL started out really rude, but has progressively become more pleasant and I call him Ohm, which means paternal grandpa in Vietnamese. I know he is not my grandpa, but apparently you are supposed to call the parent by the name that your children call them.

My sister in laws that grew up here are wonderful and the older siblings that grew up in Vietnam are pretty much horrible. They behave just like the MIL. Fortunately, the cousins and aunts and uncles are all very pleasant people and the siblings are starting to come around due to their isolation. People keep telling me that the MIL will too, but I am not holding my breath.
Heidi -- it sounds like you've had a rough go of it! Jeeeeesh. How often do you see your MIL, FIL, and your SILs and BILs?

Does your husband stick up for you with them? Just wondering. Mine gets better as the years go on. However, we don't see them much, which I think is part of his way of sticking up for me.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
To those of you who have great in-laws -- that is such a blessing!
post #17 of 35

We make a point of visiting his side of the family at least every two or three months, but we only visit those who behave appropriately. I am not willing to keep my husband or my children from those people on his side of the family that are decent because I don't believe that will be good for my marriage in the long term or for my children developing a sense of self. I want my husband to maintain his relationship with his siblings and his relatives as I believe that could lead to whole different set of marital problems down the road. My DH does his best to stick up for me and he respects my wishes when I refuse to allow our kids around certain people. So, we try to compromise by still visiting and frankly, I think it has been very effective in bringing around some of the rude people because they have become a bit envious of the fact that the social events in the family are now centered around other relatives because they want to see my DH and we won't go to his parents' or certain siblings' homes.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
Heidi -- WOW. You guys have handled the problems VERY EFFECTIVELY, in my opinion. The rude ones have learned that there are consequences to treating you badly & being rude, and now they are starting to change their behavior. I think that's awesome.

I agree that it would put a strain on your marriage if there was no visiting whatsoever. I encourage my husband, too, to visit his family without me, or with the children, more often than we go up together.
post #19 of 35
Hmmm. My experience has been quite nice really.

My ILs are from Shanghai and moved to the US in the late 1980's (with my DH). They are great. Despite being from the opposite side of the world, our familes are very similar. Families are important, respecting family, thriftiness, etc. We joke about it. Like our parents both drive Camrys. I don't know of DH getting any grief over me being white. We have visited China 3 times in the 8 years we have been together and will be making another trip next year for his grandfather's 90th birthday. I know his family appreciates this.

I call my ILs by their names, just as DH calls my parents by their names.

I do have a SIL who has cut off the family, so we don't talk to her by her choice. It has been very hard on my ILs and my husband. We haven't seen her since our 1st son was born despite living in the same area. I hope some day she reconsiders.

ETA - Really the main difference in our families is that my family is Christian (though I am not) and his family is Atheist. It hasn't caused too many issues.
post #20 of 35
My DH is Chinese-Canadian and I'm Russian-Jewish-Canadian. His dad is from Hong Kong and moved here before DH was born and DH's stepmom immigrated from Hong Kong 10 years ago. They have been very tolerant of the cultural difference and even participated in our Jewish wedding. To be honest though we are not close. Even though we live in the same city we only see them every month or two. They work 80 hours a week running their own business and DH does shiftwork so it's tough to coordinate. The language gap is a problem especially with his stepmom but I don't think that's why we're not very close. DH and his brother really takes no initiative in bringing the family together and since his dad has remarried it feels like we are now the "extended" family not the immediate family. DD just turned two and I'm dodging a lot of questions about her Chinese education. I feel like DH needs to be the one coordinating this, but I am generally the one who coordinates DD's life, so I'm not sure exactly how this will work.
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