Controlling wives, and other things that keep me up at night. - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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Yes, which is why I think the solution is to raise strong, self-sufficient, and well-rounded sons. Not only will they marry women who want to balance family demands, but they will want that balance themselves.

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#32 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes!!!!
 

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Yes, which is why I think the solution is to raise strong, self-sufficient, and well-rounded sons. Not only will they marry women who want to balance family demands, but they will want that balance themselves.



, mama to DS(7/)22/02) DS (8/14/04) , and an angel (3/10/10)nursing a broken heart...loving my boys.
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#33 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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I'm not trying to be argumentative (really!), but was your dh raised significantly differently than his brothers? Also, it hasn't been my experience that coddled men are the ones that leave it up to their wives. My brother in law couldn't care less about hanging out with his family or his in-law family, so my sil handles it all. However, they don't really have traditional gender roles. She doesn't make his lunch or take care of his clothes or anything like that. It's just his personality. He's less sentimental, less extroverted and just less family-oriented than my dh.

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Yes, which is why I think the solution is to raise strong, self-sufficient, and well-rounded sons. Not only will they marry women who want to balance family demands, but they will want that balance themselves.



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#34 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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If SIL is controlling the family's social life it is because BIL is letting her. If he wanted to speak up more often and express his opinion then I'm sure he could. shrug.gif It does seem that this often happens, and yes, I've seen it more often with the wife being more invested in planning family events than the husband. If it is bothering your DH that he doesn't get to spend enough time with his brother then he should talk it over with him.


Yep, after several years of pushing my DH to make plans with his family, remember birthdays, etc I've stopped.  I have a pretty good relationship with my in-laws, but they make it clear that its DH and the kids they are interested in (not me) so I'm done going out of my way to make plans with his family.  Thus we see my parents a lot more often and have set plans with them more often.  I'm happy to go do stuff with his family as often as he plans it, but if he can't bother to plan it I'm not going out of my way to go hang out with people who don't particularly care about me.


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#35 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I don't think this is always the case.  Men/boys are socialize not to be "ma ma boys".  Often times if they talk to their parents about issues after being married it is wrong.  Many women get upset if their husband talks about family or child rearing issues with their parents.  There is a double standard and issues of this parent-child connection.

 

It is often seen as something wrong if a boy has a strong connection with his mom (therefor family).  I have seen women upset because their husband wants to spend Mothers/Father's day with their parents and put more of a focus on that. 

 

I also think there is a lot of pressure for men to do what ever that makes their wife happy.  This is how they are socialized.  This is what they see on TV.  


 

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But this is still a choice your dh's brothers make, right? I don't see it so much as one spouse dominating, as the other spouse doesn't care.
 


 


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#36 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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Is it controlling or is it simply filling a vacuum?

Indeed. :p DH and I are both Aspie, but I'm a bit more socially cluey than he is (although you might not know it to look at me!). He's terrible about communicating information... stuff like "Mum invited us over for Mother's Day" or "My grandfather has cancer". He always tries to make me buy presents for his family - I say "She's YOUR mother!", and he says "Yes, but you're better at this stuff". He goes over there for dinner once a week, with DD and without me, but only out of habit, not out of any particular filial devotion.

 

I have noticed a pattern in my friends and family that women tend to be closer to their families of origin than men. I'm MUCH closer to my family than DH is to his. My mother was much closer to her mother than Dad was to his, so we saw one set of grandparents much more often. I don't think it's some kind of inexorable doomy rule that means mothers of sons will be left alone and unloved, but I think there may be a tendency for sons to "let go" more completely.

 

I don't think I'm that controlling - I remind DH to get presents for his family, but that seems a fairly basic "duh" obligation. :p One thing I do unashamedly insist upon, though, are family outings - and by "family" I mean me, DH and DD. If it were left up to him, DH would spend all of Christmas on the computer. If I make him join us for a trip to the park, or a Christmas shopping expedition, or something, he'll grumble a bit, but he usually has a good time. And the reason I insist on it is that it's not all about him. We're making memories for DD. I don't want her growing up with the vague impression DH is glued to his computer chair! So, honestly, I tend to be the driving force behind getting us out of the house. I wish DH would take the initiative more - and occasionally he does - but I'm not willing to sit around home for months at a time waiting for him to spontaneously turn into an acitivities person. (And no-one who knows me would describe me as an extroverted gadabout... I'm an introverted homebody, like DH. The difference is I think I should compensate for that, for DD's sake.)

 

That probably sounds rather bitter. I'm not (usually!); I love DH, and knew he was like this when I married him. He doesn't mind me taking the reins for social stuff, and agrees that it's important we do things with DD... in theory, at least! So when he grumbles at actually doing it, I don't feel like a terrible wife. :p


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#37 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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Didn't read all the posts but wanted to comment. I've always heard the saying, "Boys leave, girls come back." in regards to having sons or daughters. I have a brother and two sisters. I hate to say it...it's kinda true in my case, as well as my DH's.

 

I think it's a socialized gender thing. IME women usually are the ones to maintain family connections and do all the social planning for the families. Speaking for myself, I have a way stronger attachment to my family than to DHs (although I do love my ILs). DH, growing up in a family of boys, is more '...meh.." ie. he could take it or leave it to plan things with his parents outside of birthdays or Xmas. It's just not on his radar, rather than having any active dislike of his parents.

 

To be honest, as a wife and DIL, I do spend way more time with my own family than DHs. It's not a malicious thing. Even though my ILs are wonderful people, it's way more relaxing and stress-free for me to be with my own birth family. I always feel like I'm playing the DIL role there, going overboard with the politeness and cleanup and parenting, etc. etc. So while I don't avoid them, I don't go out of my way to balance the scales - that's DH's job, it's his family and he knows it.

 

(Reading some of the thread to comment: DH was hardly coddled and is pretty emotionally balanced. Traditional gender roles in our household? Where's the hysterics smile :)  He just doesn't invest as much time or energy into balancing social events, but not because he's emotionaly wounded/inept/immature.)

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#38 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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To be honest maybe it boils down to what kind of MIL/FIL the DIL has?  Or vice versa.  To be honest I love my MIL very much.  My FIL drives me and everyone else up a wall LOL.  But we tolerate him to be with her.  Shes wonderful.  And she truely likes me and enjoys my company.  If she was a difficult person I wouldn't want to spend time with her.  If I treated her disrepectively I wouldn't expect her to want to spend time with me either.  I am thankful that I have a wonderful husband who was raised by an amazing mother (and an ok dad LOL).  Which is why things work so well with the DIL/MIL relationship in our family.  Holidays wouldn't be the same without her.

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#39 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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For those of who have brothers who don't spend time with you -- are you/your parters calling up said brothers and saying "We want to spend time with you, how can we make this happen?" It's one thing if you say that and they still spend all their time with their in-laws. I'd be royally ticked. It's another thing if you never come out and say it. You'd better believe I'm going to call up my son and my daughter and say "Hey, I want to see you."

 

I also think there's a lot to socialization, but also I think that spouses/partners do have an obligation to take the other family into consideration, assuming that the relatives aren't toxic. My SIL made it a point to establish a tradition of coming over to my parents house on a regular basis so she and my brother (and eventually my nephew) could spend time with my folks. That wasn't a tradition in our family -- it was her family tradition and she strongly encouraged my brother to see his family more often. Without her, my brother probably wouldn't see my parents all that often. My sister spent a lot of time with her MIL. We live 1500 miles away, but I encourage dh to see his mom, and support him when he wants to go see her or when he wants to travel with his sister. He does the same for me. Thus, we're modeling for all the children in our family that both sides of the family matter.


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#40 of 52 Old 12-31-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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I've been enjoying reading this thread! Not because I like hearing about all those men who think family doesn't matter, but because where we live, it is the opposite. I am wondering how much cultural norms affect things like that. One poster mentions that "a daughter is a daughter for life, a son runs off and gets married and then you never see him" thing. We live in Eastern Europe, and over here sons are traditionally raised to take over the family household and stick around. Daughters go off and get married, and their family of origin traditionally doesn't see all that much of them after that. They essentially stop being a part of their family of origin, and become part of their husband's family. In modern times, while "taking over the family farm" is no longer relevant in urban areas, I very much get the impression that the husband's family is generally much more involved than the wife's. The wife still organizes everything, but with a focus on the husband's family. There are exceptions of course, but this definitely appears to be the norm.

 

In addition, families tend to want to take care of their son's future, and may build them a house or pay for their mortgage. Daughters are expected to get married (or co-habit with long term partners) and their partner is expected to take care of them.

 

I'm a single mom by choice - no husband or kids' father here - so for me this is currently not relevant. I do wonder about both my kids when they are adults, though. Of course, I hope they will both keep in touch.


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#41 of 52 Old 12-31-2010, 03:01 AM
 
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Gosh, sometimes I feel like women can't win.  Sons don't come see you?  Must be the wives fault.  Kids acting up? Mom's fault. (Not that anyone in this thread is saying that, but I'm just saying...)


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#42 of 52 Old 12-31-2010, 05:14 AM
 
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We're definitely closer to my family than my husband's.  Heck, we've seen my first cousins more frequently than my husband's siblings.

 

I think a big part of that we share more values (religious and otherwise) with my family ( we are pretty opposite to some of dh's family) and my family is very accepting, and non-petty and easy to get along with.  Everyone is free to say what they feel and no one gets offended.

 

My dh's family is not.  MIL can be very passive-aggressive and petty at times, his family holds grudges, he has siblings who refuse to speak to use because we have different religious views (we are very religious and they are athiest).

 

So, we spend more time with my family, because my family is easier to be with and we have a lot more in common with them.


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#43 of 52 Old 01-01-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mooshersmama View Post

Gosh, sometimes I feel like women can't win.  Sons don't come see you?  Must be the wives fault.  Kids acting up? Mom's fault. (Not that anyone in this thread is saying that, but I'm just saying...)


Yeah, there does seem to be some of that. Many women make plans with their own families and so they see them often. In many families, the women also make plans with their husband's families and so they see them often too. In other families, the women decide that if her husband wants to make plans with his family, he's capable of doing so, so she doesn't, and he doesn't, and so they don't see them very often. I hope that if my DS grows up and doesn't see me often, I'll take it up with him directly instead of blaming his wife. 


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#44 of 52 Old 01-01-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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Gosh, sometimes I feel like women can't win.  Sons don't come see you?  Must be the wives fault.  Kids acting up? Mom's fault.



I know, right?

 

My MIL has three sons. She got the first son divorced and now seems to working on breaking up the younger son's marriage, too. They live in the same town as her. Thank goodness we live across the country from her. She's very controlling and angry all the time. But yeah, her biggest lament is that she never had any daughters. But I'm not close to my mom. My daughter and I get along but we aren't hip to hip or anything... she's more of a daddy's girl. My kids are teens now and it will be interesting to see how having one daughter and one son plays out as I reach the empty nest stage.

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#45 of 52 Old 01-03-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Ugh I despise that old saying " A son is a son until he takes a wife"  I remember a friend of mine with a daughter told me she was stopping at one because she got her daughter and would have her forever.  I didn't understand what she meant and then someone told me that old saying.  It was the first time I heard it.  It always makes me mad as if those of us who only had boys lose out in the end.


 

I'm sure there are lots of exceptions, but that saying is accurate when I look a the men I know.  For example, my dad never calls his siblings (even his twin!).  My mom is the one who does it and hands him the phone.  He couldn't care less.  My brother probably would rarely visit my parents if he didn't need them to babysit or if his wife didn't make him (and we grew up in a very close-knit, small family).  SIL complains that her brother's family has never even invited anyone from the family over for dinner (only her side receives invitations).  it goes on and on with most men that I know, from co-workers to cousins.  Heck, I have to nag my DH to PLEASE call his dad once in a while. or to call his mom on mother's day.  I know he cares about them, but he really doesn't care at all about spending time with them.  shrug.gif  I do not get it at all.   As for me, I call my mom several times a week and actually really enjoy spending time with my parents.

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#46 of 52 Old 01-04-2011, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh I despise that old saying " A son is a son until he takes a wife"  I remember a friend of mine with a daughter told me she was stopping at one because she got her daughter and would have her forever.  I didn't understand what she meant and then someone told me that old saying.  It was the first time I heard it.  It always makes me mad as if those of us who only had boys lose out in the end.


 

I'm sure there are lots of exceptions, but that saying is accurate when I look a the men I know.  For example, my dad never calls his siblings (even his twin!).  My mom is the one who does it and hands him the phone.  He couldn't care less.  My brother probably would rarely visit my parents if he didn't need them to babysit or if his wife didn't make him (and we grew up in a very close-knit, small family).  SIL complains that her brother's family has never even invited anyone from the family over for dinner (only her side receives invitations).  it goes on and on with most men that I know, from co-workers to cousins.  Heck, I have to nag my DH to PLEASE call his dad once in a while. or to call his mom on mother's day.  I know he cares about them, but he really doesn't care at all about spending time with them.  shrug.gif  I do not get it at all.   As for me, I call my mom several times a week and actually really enjoy spending time with my parents.



 I just don't understand how loving little boys can grow into men who don't want to hang out with their family of origin just because they are male.  It makes no sense and must not be about gender but about something else. 


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#47 of 52 Old 01-04-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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We come from a similar culture (South Asian)-- but *still*, I see a strong bond formed from the mothers side of the family. I feel like women tend to tear each other down if there is a man involved, (the son/DH) but strenthen each other in a relationship that is just female (like the one between a mom and daughter). Mostly though, I do think it has to do with what you see growing up.
 

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I've been enjoying reading this thread! Not because I like hearing about all those men who think family doesn't matter, but because where we live, it is the opposite. I am wondering how much cultural norms affect things like that. One poster mentions that "a daughter is a daughter for life, a son runs off and gets married and then you never see him" thing. We live in Eastern Europe, and over here sons are traditionally raised to take over the family household and stick around. Daughters go off and get married, and their family of origin traditionally doesn't see all that much of them after that. They essentially stop being a part of their family of origin, and become part of their husband's family. In modern times, while "taking over the family farm" is no longer relevant in urban areas, I very much get the impression that the husband's family is generally much more involved than the wife's. The wife still organizes everything, but with a focus on the husband's family. There are exceptions of course, but this definitely appears to be the norm.

 

In addition, families tend to want to take care of their son's future, and may build them a house or pay for their mortgage. Daughters are expected to get married (or co-habit with long term partners) and their partner is expected to take care of them.

 

I'm a single mom by choice - no husband or kids' father here - so for me this is currently not relevant. I do wonder about both my kids when they are adults, though. Of course, I hope they will both keep in touch.




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#48 of 52 Old 01-04-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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 I just don't understand how loving little boys can grow into men who don't want to hang out with their family of origin just because they are male.  It makes no sense and must not be about gender but about something else. 


I wonder the same thing.   


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#49 of 52 Old 01-04-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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I just don't understand how loving little boys can grow into men who don't want to hang out with their family of origin just because they are male.  It makes no sense and must not be about gender but about something else. 



I don't understand it either.  I was thinking maybe it had to do with testosterone or something??  headscratch.gif  I mean, there are obvious differences in the male and female brain (very generally speaking...I know there are always exceptions).  As a rule, most men seem less emotional.  Maybe as they grow up the testosterone makes them less likely to want to spend time with their family of origin??  smile.gif  I really have no idea...just grasping at straws.  All I know is that I would say about 80% of the men I know act this way. 

 

As for my brother....we grew up in a small family (2 kids).  We lived in a rural setting, so my family spent a lot of time together.  We were close, especially me, my mom and my brother.  She nurtured us and spent a lot of time doing things with us.  She wasn't overbearing or anything and let him have some space as he was growing up.  So yeah, it is pretty shocking to me that he got married and kind of floated away, even though he only lives 20 minutes away.  If contact is made, it is usually my mom or dad doing the calling/inviting.  I talk to them all the time, so it seems so weird to me that he wouldn't miss them or want to just chat.  And my DH grew up in a similar setting, yet if I didn't arrange for visits to his parents they would probably only happen once a year.  Just strange.

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#50 of 52 Old 01-07-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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I haven't time to read all the posts, but my 2 cents are that although my relationship is what you describe (we do all things with my family and none with DH's) it is purely in our case becasue DH doesn't like his family.  He moved far away as to not have to be near any of them.

 

In my brother's case it is just the opposite.  My sister in law comes with him to our family gatherings and their family is very much involved with our entire family.

 

Also, with my sister, who has 2 boys... it is the same.  They bring their wives along to events and holidays with our family.  And they also spend time with the wives' families.

 

I think the leading dynamic in the case where sons go to only the wives' family events is becasue the sons tend to be ambivilent.  They have no voice, nor care to have one. I hope you can find some good advice on how to instill 'caring' to your boys... I would also be afraid of this happening to my sons.  (if I had any).

 

Also, I think boys who have controlling mothers, tend to marry controlling women and then end up like you have mentioned.  I would say that if you aren't overly controlling that you have something on your side already...

 

Also, I think bonding with your daughter in law and allowing her to be who she is is of great importance.  Mostly, controlling mothers won't do this and try and change their daughters in law to see things their way.... this won't work if you want to see your son.  You have to have an open mind and be willing to go with what your daughter in law wants....


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#51 of 52 Old 01-07-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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My dh's mother died before he and I met, so I've never had a mother in law. I've been watching this dynamic for years and I think that moms of boys can impact how it plays out. many women can't stand their mil. They always feel like they aren't heard or respected.

If I had a son, I'd try to make my home a nice place for him to hang out with friends and girl friends while he was growing up, and I'd make friends with his serious girl friends. When he married I'd figure out how to have a great relationship with his wife, and I'd invite them over.

Women do run the social calendar, so be nice to the person setting the calendar. Most men will chose their wife over their mother, so make it easy for them to have both.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#52 of 52 Old 01-10-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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As a mother of only a son and as a DIL with ambivalent feelings toward her MIL...this issue is on my mind a lot.

 

Do you think your SILs "control" and "dictate" what happens at the holidays or is it possible that they simply "manage" or "arrange" social engagements at the holidays and most of the time?

 

Has your husband been straightforward with his brother(s) and told them/him that he specifically wants to spend time with him on the holidays?

 

Is your last paragraph really a fair representation of what is happening? Do the brothers actually only do what their wives "allow" them to do? Are they really being "controlled"?? I think that men largely don't care and don't mind if this aspect of their lives is managed by their wives. Your husband cares what goes on during the holidays, has he tried actively managing? Has he planned a time and place for a holiday gathering and called his brothers directly? If so, what did the brothers say? How do they explain the current situation when asked?

 

My husband cares less than I do, but is extremely close to his family. They go out of their way to make it fun and easy to be at their house. They, for the most part, keep the mood light and cater to us. Also, if MIL doesn't feel like she is getting enough time, she makes it known! We spend equal time with both families in part because we combine events. We do one dinner that includes both families and often non-family members on most major holidays. This is despite some issues we have with both families.

 

It is absolutely something I worry about a lot. The best thing is to be a supportive MIL. I am already imagining my DIL doing things differently than me and not being judgmental. I have found the best way to practice is to not be judgmental or critical when anyone I come in to contact with does something differently or even something I find detrimental. It is difficult for me, but I have gotten really good at it. Right now my MIL is really struggling with the thought that we MAY not home school. She has been making little comments since BEFORE my son was born.  Her constant comments and opinions sometimes make me not want to be around her. If other circumstances where different I can see myself not wanting to spend holidays with her and -get this- my husband would agree completely. She thinks she is the best MIL and mother in the whole world. Nothing could make her question that. If we stopped spending time with them you bet her perception would be that I was controlling. There are so many posts here about toxic MILs  (I have come to believe that otherwise non-toxic people can be toxic in-laws) and the poster is often advised to limit contact. You bet that woman is going to be called "controlling" even if her husband totally supports her in having less contact. I think about this stuff a lot. I hope that I am learning what to do and what not to do by observing my situation and that of my friends. I still may end up getting less time than my future DIL family. It probably won't be simply because she is "controlling."
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamapajama View Post

Let me start by saying I have no good role models for this in my own life. will someone please tell me that the stereotype of the women controlling where everyone spends the holidays, and social life in general, is not true.  Because I have sons and no daughters, and I just watched my three sisters in law completely dictate how the holidays went while their husbands just did whatever they said.  The result, all the girls had the holidays with their families.  All the boys went with their wives' families, and me and dh stayed home. (:

 

Dh brother is lovely and married a lovely woman.  They live locally and we all adore them.  However, she contols all their social engagements, and spends an incredible amount of time with her family.  As a result dh often feels hurt because his brother is so busy with his wife's family that he has no time to hang out with him.  So, the holidays were another example of this for dh but I think they hurt more because they went and stayed with sister in laws family for a week (they live locally) and couldn't see us at all.  My SIL is a lovely person.  She is in no way being mean. She just is very close to her family. 

 

So I look at my two sons, and I think, is this really true that they will grow up and get married and I will only see them when their wife allows?  And how do I raise my boys to not do this?  How do I raise my boys to undertand that relationships are about give and take not one person controlling everything?  I know there are a lot of grown men and women out there who spend equal time with both families, or more even with the sons family, but like I said I have no role models for it.  Just because my children are boys should not have to mean that I only get them in my life until they are married.

Phew, feels nice to vent that. smile.gif



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