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Awkward MIL situation - Page 3

post #41 of 59
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post

You may not know him well but your son will.  This guy IS your sons family (if not yours) and he has been a big part of your sons family since your son was born.  This is really not your choice.  You are making a big deal out of something that really isn't.  My kids call my moms husband "Grandpa W" and sometimes use his first name but it is THEIR choice because it is THEIR relationship.  Not mine. and they were  in elementary school when my mom married him (and she had two husbands before him, both grandpa).  They are not confused, no one is devalued.  There is enough love for everyone.   It sounds to me like you are trying to create space or maintain control.  I say just let it go.  Clearly your husband does not have a problem with "Pop".  and if anyone has a right to have a problem with it is him.

I totally agree with lilyka - don't expend any more mental energy on this, just let it go.


post #42 of 59


Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

Has anyone here been in a similar situation, or can see my perspective on this?

YES! If your MIL is reacting like this about a "name" she is lucky she in not my MIL because I simply WON"T allow my dc to be at all involved in MIL dh life. Very similar situation, MIL remarried a few years ago and was/is insistent about her dh being included in any time she spends w/ my dc. And both dh and I don't really like her dh. So we stated the situation in black and white terms for her. If MIL wants to spend time w/ our dc, her dh is not welcome to join in. We are not horrible people. We are very pleasant and include him in any group gathering, because he is after all extended family via marriage, just like I am to MIL.  So unfortunately MIL rarely visits w/ our dc even though we live in the same town.

post #43 of 59

This is hard.  I think if your son was older it would make more sense it fight it.... but really from your DS's perspective, he is a grandpa figure.... And just might earn that title...



post #44 of 59
Thread Starter 

yeah, I think it is really about my discomfort with the guy.

post #45 of 59
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

yeah, I think it is really about my discomfort with the guy.

I agree that you should not tune this out and not allow your son to be alone with anyone who makes you feel so uncomfortable-- that is the mama instinct. 

post #46 of 59

MIL's husband gets called by his name (by me). As a matter of principle. He's not my children's grandad. He's been married to MIL nearly as long as i've been married to DH. It doesn't make a difference to me. He can have a good relationship with my children if he wants, he would still be called by his name.


It's not my choice that we don't get to see their grandad (my dh's choice). I would find it dis-respectful to the grand-dad, even though he's been divorced for more than 20 years, if I told my children to call MIL's husband "Grandpa".


I' m sorry my MIL doesn't like it. But that's life, .... she cannot always get what she wants. I don't always get what I want either.

I've just kept on addressing him by his name (even when MIL was sort of lecturing me on the subject, years ago)


Now that my children are older, they've given in to the pression and call/write "Granpa" ....

I don't like it. I 've stated to my children that I don't like it. But I've stopped mentionning the fact quite a while ago.

Mind you, if the conversation comes up again about it, I still will give the same explanation.


The thing that upsets me a lot about MIL is her attitude & what she once said = "You shouldn't feel that way, because I didn' mean this or that when I said....."

=> I tried explaining to her at the time that it's not possible for her to tell me/dictate what I should feel.

I don't think she's understood what I was talking about ...


Well, I don't feel it's right to call that person "grandad", so I don't .... (and was/still am modelling "first name" to my children when talking about him ....)

but I cannot decide for them now that they are older what they "should" call him ...

post #47 of 59
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

Has anyone here been in a similar situation, or can see my perspective on this?

We have a similar situation. My mother married when DS was 3 and a few months before DD was born. She calls her husband "Papa [name]" to my children. It's...annoying. I like him fine. He's nice to the kids, and they enjoy seeing him. At the same time, though, my mom has a bad track record with marriages. I don't want to set my kids up for thinking that they have some special relationship with someone, and then he could just be gone one day. Plus, it's awkward (and I think this may be some of what you're feeling) to have your child use a term of endearment - which then means that you have to use that name to refer to him - when it's someone you've met a handful of times. It's just incredibly awkward, so I do understand what's going on. IMO, people who remarry shouldn't expect everyone to accept the new spouse as if s/he's simply a replacement for the last one. Other people are allowed to have their own opinions and relationships, and since your son's so little, it's your job to guide him through these issues.

post #48 of 59

I agree with this, especially if you feel uncomfortable with him and he gives you a  bad vibe. To me it would be communicating to MIL that someone can overstep your personal boundaries relating to your son and if he is creepy, that's not a good message to send. If he's not a creep and just a regular guy, then he should understand and so should MIL. For the life of me I've never understood why people want to force intimacies on other people (special names, hugs etc). If someone doesn't want to hug me, it's not worth it to me if they're forced. Same with a name, if I know someone (parent or child) loathes calling me "miss" so and so or "Aunt" so and so... why in the world would I expect it? A hug or name is meaningless to me unless it's authentic.  It's really kind of a control-freak thing in my humble opinion. It's not about the name, it's about being controlled.


If you were divorced, I wonder how people would feel about your husband remarrying and expecting your child to call the woman "mommy". I know people will cry "IT'S DIFFERENT!" and yeah, it is to a point but the core is the same: someone trying to force intimacy on you that you're not comfortable with -- whether it be with a name or a touch or whatever. I get it OP. I really, really do.


Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

Its not about whether or not you are letting your kid call his grandmas husband "Pop". Its about the fact that your MIL is controlling the situation and forcing something on you and your kid. That would drive me up the wall, but your MIL sounds a lot like mine. I'm sorry, but if someone YELLED at me about what I needed to do or not do-- it is no longer my DH's decision. This woman treats you like crap, and you are supposed to tolerate her unleashing on you, yelling at you, AND telling you what your less than two year old "must" call her husband? Nope. Sorry. Not in my family. No freakin' way. My 19 month old calls people what she wants, when she wants and if someone started pushing the issue of what to/what to not be called, I would tell them to stop. Because she is a child, not a puppy in training class. If and when he decides a pet name for this man, he can call him that. Sorry, you dont get to be "Pop" just because you married a lady with a grandkid.
But, Im not really too interested in making nice with my MIL as you can tell, so you might not want to take my advice. Pop is a grandpa name to me, and if this guy barely knows your kid, why should your kid be calling him a grandpa name?


post #49 of 59

I agree about the fact that it's all about "control"


to me that means it is un-healthy psychologically that you objection to what has been requested .... are not being respected


post #50 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! The whole situation is still pretty weird. It is sort of more than the name thing but just the relationship in general. We live really close to them but I haven't been over there since our blow out. DS goes over there with dh sometimes, and MIL and I have somewhat friendly email and occasional phone exchanges- we had this big talk where she said ( I think I already siad this here) she prefers just to move on and keep it light- I am okay with that I guess ut at the same time I actually like confrontation and to hash things out to resolution- but I do repect that she doesbn't like confrontation and would rather just play nice. DS goes over there occasionally to be babysat but sadly way less than I woudl hope we thought by being so close they would want to watch ds more- but I dunnio I guess they are busy with work. sigh. I was talking to my mom about it - who was visiting but lives in another state- my mom adores my ds- and she said if we lived around the corner from her she would watch ds all the time! oh well. Anyway- soon after this original post I sent ds over therer to be babysat (ironically MIL is still the only babysitter we have for him- whole other story but basically I am attached very much to my little one and don't feel comfortable yet leaving him with someone not family or close friend)--- anyway- when he came back he was saying pop in regards to mil's dh- whatever- anyway- I mean he was saying it and also dh told me that when he went there they were STILL having him call him pop. I actually don't really think about it at all much anymore really- but I do think abuot how I don't go over there becase I feel uncomfortable wirth MIL and her husband- who never once has tried to talk to me about any of this. I wish he and I could just have an honest talk- so he is not even willing to have a conversation to find a sens of mutual respect- yet he wants to be my only child's third grandpa. I would like it better if everyone could just step off their drama and be nice and easy and we could all hang out more! Before this whole incident we were actually haning out ther regularly and starting to have some good times. But since MIL told me she hates confrontation and doesn't want to talk about the bad stuff- I just feel stuck. I can just go ahead and play nice and I am decent to them- I guess I should just get over it and go over there. whatever! I am rambling on and on.

Mostly I just wish they would offer to watch her grandson once in a while-- I just sent her an email asking if she would be willing to babysit him more often- she only watched him for an hour total at a time, and it is usually every other weekend and only if we call a few days in advance and ask. I asked her if she owuld be willing to do it more often but no response yet. I also mentioned to her thta I am still uncomfotablr with her husbadn and that is why I don't come buy lately- so now she is probably all in a huff again. I know I need to be the "better" person and not get all stupid about it and just go over and hang out. sigh. I just want more loving peoplpe in my son's life- I want his grandma on dh's saide to want to see him as often as she can! It isn't even about her dh so much anymore as it is that I feel like she should be wanting to see my precious son- her only grandson- who loves less than 5 minutes walkign distance- as often as she can! yet she neveer call and asks to see him. I know she loves him- for sure- and she has toys at hwer house for him, and is lvoign to him when he is there. But she never seeks out his company.

post #51 of 59
Thread Starter 

okay- after writing the last post I just sent what I hope was a friendly email to MIL tellling her that I really want her to be in ds's life more and I feel hurt that she doesn;t seek hm out- and that if I am making her uncomfortable, if there is anything I can to to make her feel more welcomed so she will seek ds out more. Hopefully this will work!!

post #52 of 59

dizzy.gif so basically you backed off your stance of your child calling this stranger pop? What was the point of causing the fuss if you were going to cave?

post #53 of 59
Originally Posted by minnowmomma View Post

dizzy.gif  so basically you backed off your stance of your child calling this stranger pop? What was the point of causing the fuss if you were going to cave?

I agree.
post #54 of 59

because that's life. ebb and flow.

post #55 of 59
Thread Starter 

I didn't back off and say okay he can call him pop- I just moved on to thinking about other things for the time being. I haven't even really seen the guy since the whole fuss came up but I want my son to go over there and if they are not going to back down about it after all this I am not gonna waste energy arguing about it with them more for now, that is what I meant.

post #56 of 59

well, a parent can still decide what they will call the "new" husband of MIL

it is more difficult to make other people use the term a parent would prefer ...


I do think that it's all about control

= people who say they are not confrontational etc (as it seems in this situation) ... in my experience do so SO THAT they can get their way and don't have to compromise or respect other people's wishes ....


yes, I've got a similar situation

and my conclusion is that, in the end, when I think that lack of respect has been too extreme (in my case there's been quite a few tiffs, besides the choice of what to call MIL's new husband .....), my only solution has been to back down from the situation

which means actually, that it's unlikely that DH will make the effort to get our children to see his mom

if i'm not around to make it happen ....


basically, not my prefered choice(still grieving about the "ideal family picture " of grand parents that are close etc ....)

and I suppose not MIL's prefered choice either (however, sometimes, I wonder too, why don't they want to see their grand children more ....

is it partially because they don't get on with me so that prevents them from being comfortable ????)


conclusion = I haven't seen much goodwill on their side, there's a limit to my goodwill

my limit has not been respected (repeatedly) so in the end, I decided to move on ...

it's a pity really, opportunities for connexion have been lost

that's life ....

post #57 of 59

This is just my take on it - take it or leave it.


I see you pushing them away while at the same time feeling upset that they are withdrawing. I see you being upset and miffed about the relationship but not understanding why they are upset and miffed about the relationship.


Earlier in the thread you said there was nothing wrong with him, you are just picky who you are close with, but later you say you are uncomfortable with him. I think this is a very key issue. If you feel uncomfortable with him, then you need to figure this out - and the whole Pop issue is not really the point. If you are just picky, then I honestly think you should just let that go. They are MARRIED. He is part of the family. I think it's petty to exclude people from the family just because you're "picky" about who you're close with.


I also think that you don't have to be close with him to let him be a grandfather. I realize that your situation is different from mine, but we all automatically picture our own situations when reading about others. DH's mother married her third husband 2 years before DH and I were married. He is obviously not DH's father figure in any way. I don't feel particularly close to him. I don't even know when his birthday is. I don't ask to speak to him when we call MIL. But. BUT! He is absolutely a full-fledged grandfather to DD. Every bit as much as my dad, every single bit. And DD loves him. When there is a visit, he takes her out on walks, takes her sledding. That's what he does - the outdoor, active stuff. MIL is called the Italian word for grandmother, and he is called the Italian word for grandfather. They picked those for themselves (long story, but they aren't even Italian, lol).


Honestly, I was a little surprised on the day I realized he was truly a grandfather to DD. I didn't realize it right away. But one time we were visiting and FIL was outside with DD. I realized at some point they'd been out for more than a few minutes, and told MIL I'd better go relieve FIL of DD - I was assuming he was burdened with her and would appreciate if I went and fetched her so he didn't have to watch her anymore (she can be kind of intense). But MIL assured me FIL loved children (I didn't realize - he's kind of a grump, actually, so I never really saw him as a loves-kids kind of a guy - no he's not a grump to DD at all but just in general and I just kind of made a weird assumption) and wanted to spend some time with her. I looked out the window and saw him actively engaged with her and both of them having a great time. After that I noticed that he did like to spend time with her in his way (again, outdoorsy stuff) and it wasn't just MIL pressuring him or DD latching on to him.


So I don't feel like I have to be close to him or see him like a dad or anything like that for him to have a very special relationship with DD. I definitely feel like if I had pushed him away or told him he wasn't really family, that DD would have missed out.


However, I do trust him with DD. If that wasn't the case, that would be a whole different story. But talking about just liking the guy myself or feeling close or familial with him - it just isn't necessary. I think it's great that FIL wants to be a grandfather and I will surely not stand in his way.

post #58 of 59
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
 I just know something about him makes me want to keep my distance. 

Originally Posted by Runnerbean View Post

Another more important issue I am picking up which you have mentioned in a number of your posts is that your gut instinct is telling you that you don't trust this man. I am a firm believer in trusting one's gut instinct even if that alone is all you have to go on. 


Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

yeah, I think it is really about my discomfort with the guy.


Originally Posted by Tumble Bumbles View Post

I agree with this, especially if you feel uncomfortable with him and he gives you a  bad vibe. To me it would be communicating to MIL that someone can overstep your personal boundaries relating to your son and if he is creepy, that's not a good message to send.




Don't cave when your gut's telling you not to. 


NAK, sry..  We have a sort-of-similar situation.  DH has very little family--just his sis and his stepdad.  His mother passed away the year we met, and his stepdad kinda disowned him after that, and his sis moved away.  So for the next four-ish years, he had very little contact with sis, and none at all with stepdad.  Okay, stepdad was grieving, made some mistakes, whatever.  it happens.  Nobody's holding a grudge.  But now he's wanting to rebuild a relationship with DH.  I was just the girlfriend when they had their falling-out, and now we're married with three more kids.  I'm open to that--I'm very big on acceptance and forgiveness--but call it what it is, not what it "ought to be".  None of our kids are going to be encouraged to call dh's stepdad anything but his first name.  If, as time unfolds, he earns another title, ok cool--the kids can choose to call him whatever they like.  But nobody gets to just show up in my kids' lives and assume an intimate relationship with them.  I for one do NOT think marriage automatically means family.  Eventually, sure--but not automatically.

post #59 of 59
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
I see you pushing them away while at the same time feeling upset that they are withdrawing. I see you being upset and miffed about the relationship but not understanding why they are upset and miffed about the relationship.



Oh, just to clarify this part. You probably see it as pushing him away but not her. But you cannot push my husband away without pushing me away. If my mother told me my husband was nothing to her, that would put a lot of distance between me and her. I'm not talking about punishing her, that's just a natural consequence. We are married, we are a spousal unit, we are "we" not "me" and "him."


I don't think that it's always wrong to push someone away, and if you have a good reason to push him away, then pushing her away is just the price you'll have to pay. But just to give you perspective, that is the reality - they are married, even if you don't take it very seriously, and her withdrawal is a natural response to your actions.


I also wanted to bring up the difference between pushing someone away versus not opening up to someone quickly or easily. What you've done is to push them away. You've assigned a lot of meaning to "Pop" that doesn't have to be there. Calling a guy Pop doesn't have to mean anything in a relationship. You could have not made a big issue out of it without it meaning that you or your son were suddenly very close to the guy. So I'm not chastising you here but pointing out something you might think about - what do you want to achieve? If you are slow to warm up to people, that's cool, you can just let things unfold naturally. But this is not the case here; you are shutting them down. It will be hard to repair the damage if this is done often or in big ways. You might not care about this, but it's something to think about. People will withdraw from you if you push them away, and you won't be able to just get them to come back on your terms when and if you decide you change your mind. It will be a lot more complicated than that.

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