Ever since FIL passed away, MIL has had more of a presence in our lives. We see her nearly every week (is that a lot?). Sometimes DH leaves work early to visit her during the week. Every Saturday morning, DH is eager to call his Mom and see what she has going on. If we don't get together on Saturday, then we meet on Sunday. MIL calls DH several times a week. She asks questions about stuff she doesn't know or understand regardless of whether DH is at his workplace or working from home.
I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. Yes, I am a big girl and yes I am responsible for my own well-being. But, I don't feel married anymore. I feel like I just exist. Yes, I have my own things going on but I miss hanging out with my husband...because his Mom is always on his mind. He worries about her all the time. He talks about her all the time. When we get together, MIL and DH only speak Chinese. In fact, MIL doesn't even acknowledge my existence anymore. She never says hello to me (even though, I do) or welcome when go to her house. She says hi to our kids though... If I talk to her, she looks to DH for translation. It's an act. I know. She's lived in the US for 50 years. She appears to never understand ANYTHING I SAY. If other Chinese family members or friends accompany us out to lunch or dinner, they speak English so that I and our kids can be part of the conversation at the table. It makes me feel good and accepted.
I have talked with DH about this. He thinks I need to keep talking to his Mom in English. *sigh* About what?! Our conversations are limited to the weather and our dog. I asked DH if he could break up his conversations with her into English and Chinese. It didn't work. I even asked him if we could see MIL less and actually have some family time of our own. Meeting with her every week seems like a lot to me. He insists that it isn't and that his Mom is bored and needs something to do. I suggested Tai Chi or joining clubs and he just thought it would be too overwhelming for her. She has no close friends.
I don't know what to do anymore. I am getting to the point where I think I am just going to stop going with DH and the kids to hang out with MIL. It's boring. And I always feel left out. I don't have time to feel bad for myself. And, I don't want to anymore. The only reason I go is because it is family time with my DH and kids...because during the week we are all in different directions. But if it lacks meaning to me anymore, then it is probably best that I back out and find something else to do. DO you have any suggestions as to how else I can handle this situation? I understand that I cannot change my husband...but I miss him. Thanks for reading.
My husband also often talks to his mom (who is also a widow & visits w/ her. But, that's one of the the things I love about him. My DH is also the eldest son of a Chinese family & feels the responsibilities that come w/ that position as well. One thing that has developed over the years as we've married is that Saturday morning is often "parent talk time". I call my mom and dad and chat w/ them a lot & that's often a time he uses to chat w/ his mom.
My m-i-l doesn't speak much English and my Cantonese is only a little better. So, when she is over & they have their own conversations (or at family gatherings when it's all in Cantonese), I get part of the gist - but other times just do my own thing (w/ our kids, or by myself, read a book, go for a walk, etc.). Sometimes reading this forum, I think that not being able to speak to one another helps to keep peace :)
If she is a recent widow, it may take time for her to adjust. It took my own mom a couple of years to adjust to being a widow when my step-dad died. Try to be patient . Try to see the bright side (your husband is modeling being an involved adult to *your* kids).
Wishing you the best.