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

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#1 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 02:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

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#2 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 03:12 AM
 
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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!!!

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#3 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 03:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#4 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 04:02 AM
 
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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.

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#5 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 04:26 AM
 
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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.
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#6 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#7 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 11:49 AM
 
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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?

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#8 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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Mine are Asian, but from a totally different part of Asia. I call MIL "Mother" and FIL "Father".

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#10 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 35 Old 12-02-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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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

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#12 of 35 Old 12-03-2008, 03:42 PM
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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.

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#13 of 35 Old 12-03-2008, 04:20 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 35 Old 12-03-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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South Asian... does that count? subbing to write more later.

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#15 of 35 Old 12-03-2008, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#16 of 35 Old 12-03-2008, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To those of you who have great in-laws -- that is such a blessing!
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#17 of 35 Old 12-04-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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Autumn,

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.
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#18 of 35 Old 12-04-2008, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#19 of 35 Old 12-04-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 35 Old 12-05-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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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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#21 of 35 Old 12-05-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I'm not sure if what you mean by, "mixed" marriage. Caucasian and Asian? However, both DH and I are Asian American. I'm Taiwanese American, DH is Korean American. I do not get along with my mil at all, she is just one of those ppl who doesn't seem to get along with anyone (I don't even think other Koreans like her) and in the past five yrs I've pretty much stopped putting a big effort into my relationship with mil, b/c it seems totally impossible for us to have a, "normal" relationship and I always ended up feeling frustrated and angry. She always thinks that she is right, she basically expects everyone to kiss her butt and she is often insensitive to other ppl, but she herself is EXTREMELY sensitive, it is so easy to offend or upset her and if you do so, she will hold a massive grudge against you. She is EXTREMELY superficial, very judgemental, all she cares about is $, ppl's looks and status, what kinds of things they have, she's basically just an all around toxic, bitter, unhappy person who drags everyone down with her. FIL is a nice person, but basically is dominated over by MIL, and will take her abuse and enable her nasty behavior. The only ppl she is nice to are her two children (sons), they can do no wrong. I tell my DH, "Your mom acts like you and your brother sh*t gold." She also adores her grandkids. FWIW, I used to think my mil treated me poorly, b/c I was not Korean (she hates other Asians too btw, she is one of the biggest racists I have ever met). I often think that had my DH married white, my mil would have been happier, she has said rude things like, "At least if my son married a white girl, their children would have beautiful colored skin and big eyes." I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I think there is a lot of self-hate among Koreans about their looks. Koreans have THE highest % of plastic surgery in the WORLD, and they basically get the surgeries in order to look less Asian/Korean. Anyway, mil also has a KOREAN dil (not Korean American, but born and raised Korean who didn't come to the US until she was in her late 20's). They get along horribly. My Korean sil and I get along pretty well. She told me that our Korean mil is one of the worst that she has ever encountered and not to judge all Koreans from my exp, b/c we just got stuck with a really rotten one.

I can assure you that there are plenty of Korean dils who have problems with their Korean mils. Haven't you seen any of the K-dramas? I sometimes think my mil tries to hard to emulate the evil Korean mil stereotype...
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#22 of 35 Old 12-05-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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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?
I'm Irish/German American, and my husband is Kazakh and Tatar. (So my in-laws are Central Asian). They moved here in the 1980s, but my in-laws just moved away to Europe last year. Culturally, my in-laws seem to identify more as Russian/European than Kazakh or Asian.

I get along pretty well with my in-laws. Our families have similar values (health, family togetherness, etc.) so culturally our families don't seem to feel "foreign" to each other. I think that my in-laws treat me exactly like one of their kids--always giving me advice, and telling me what they think I should do. That REALLY gets on my nerves, but it's coming from a very loving place.

I call my MIL and FIL by their names. I call my DH's grandparents Apashka and Atashka (Kazakh for Grandma and Grandpa). My SIL and I get along wonderfully. She's the only other family member we have nearby, and she's one of my best friends.

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#23 of 35 Old 12-05-2008, 09:32 PM
 
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I'm in a weird position. I have Asian-American in-laws, but my mother is of the same culture and generation as my in-laws. My father is Caucasian.

My maternal grandparents were pretty hard on my dad for the first 25 years of my parents marriage. When they first found out my parents got married, they actually disowned my mother. Mom only "got back into the family" because one of her aunts intervened and because her sister maintained contact. Their beef with my dad was that he wasn't a college educated professional making a lot of money.

Despite being half Asian myself, I still run into "culture clashes" with my in-laws. My mother's family is a bit more, um, assimilated into American culture than DH's family.
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#24 of 35 Old 12-11-2008, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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WC_hapamama -- what happened to your mother actually happened to my Korean SIL!!!!!

SIL is the oldest child (of two. my dh is the youngest.) and she married a white man. Her parents pretty much disowned her. They only really came back around into her life when she had a sudden and serious health problem & almost died. Only then did they "let her back in" so to speak. Also, and I know this sounds terrible, eventually her white husband started making a lot of money, and SIL would buy her Korean parents a lot of things, and I think that helped. Anyway, to this day I feel that my SIL is insecure about her position with my MIL. (FIL is deceased). I think SIL feels threatened by me as far as her mom goes. She has no reason to -- my MIL can't stand me and thinks I'm a failure in every way. I have no interest in taking MIL away from SIL. I have a close relationship with my own family and we live near my family. So, SIL really has nothing to worry about. But she does. I think that when she got married, they really considered her initially to have "married out of the family", like in the old days. See, my ILs came here in the 1970's, and MIL and FIL remained sort of stuck in 1970's Korean culture, if that makes any sense. They rejected American culture, and they weren't still in Korea so they didn't experience the normal and vibrant changes that happen in Korea (or any country) that change the cultural norms & the country becomes more "modern".........they just held onto the norms and values of Korea circa 1970's.

Anyway, I just thought it was really something that your mom and my SIL experienced a similar thing.

Question -- how does your mom get along with your in-laws?
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#25 of 35 Old 12-12-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I am Bulgarian American and DH is Chinese American. My in-laws came here for college: FIL is from Hong Kong and a lovely person, MIL is from Vietnam but mostly ethnically Chinese. I do not get along with MIL--she has serious psychological issues. She tried to break DH and me when we first got together and still thinks of me as the woman who stole her only child away. She is disrespectful and plain rude to all of us. FIL and I have a great relationship but unfortunately he is under MIL's slipper and cannot do as he pleases.

DH is having a hard time with his parents. He is staying away from them (MIL is very bossy and hurts DH regularly with what one would call emotional abuse),so we do not see them more than once a year. We see my side weekly, and my kids are super close to my mother. I feel bad they do not have that relationship with their paternal side, but there is not much that can be done about it.

The rest of DH's relatives are wonderful and they always rave about how talented and beautiful our children are, and how great it is that DH and I found each other. So this helps!

I wish I had a good relationship with MIL--I would take any of DH's aunts for the job...
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#26 of 35 Old 12-13-2008, 03:25 AM
 
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Does it count if my DH is the one with Asian in-laws? I'm the one who's Asian (Chinese Canadian) and my late mother never really took a liking to the love of my life. My dad was reasonable and easy-going, but enabled my mom's less than healthy psychological issues and manipulative ways.

To this day, DH still hasn't found a suitable way to address my dad, but occasionally might mumble Mr. Dad's Lastname. Dad recently has a new girlfriend, and she is thoughtful and considerate. Even knit me a scarf for Christmas! ::

Thankfully, DH's family are close by, and helpful but by no means intrusive. We do not have MIL issues. Perhaps it might be because both my mother and DH's mom passed away?

Sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office at Princeton: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
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#27 of 35 Old 12-13-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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I do! I'm white and my DH is Chinese. He came here at 20 and his parents came with him. However, they never learned English. They live in an area in which there are a lot of Asians and get by without speaking it. They treat me very well. In fact, my DH says they love me more than him since I, as if he had no part in it, gave them their first grandson that will carry their last name. Since they do not speak English, we are not close. I cannot communicate with them except to tell them I'm hungary or tired since I know very little Chinese. I call them YeYe and NeNe, which mean Grandpa and Grandma in Chinese. My DH says I should call them Mom and Dad, which is common in Chinese culture, but I'm not really comfortable with calling anyone Mom and Dad except my parents, so Grandma and Grandpa works. I have two SILs. One lives in China and I have only met her once when we went to China. She doesn't speak English either, so we got along well, but couldn't communicate. My other SIL lives in New York and is a doctor. She came to our wedding and we got along fine. I talk to her occasionally on the phone, but not often. She has two children, my niece and nephew, but I have never met them.
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#28 of 35 Old 12-13-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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I wanted to add that I do think my in-laws were a bit disappointed that their only son married a white American girl. They definitely expected him to marry a Chinese girl. They have never treated me poorly though and adore their grandson.
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#29 of 35 Old 12-15-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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I'm Euro-American and my husband is HK-Chinese and we live in Hk. My m-i-l lives 3/4 of the time in Toronto & 1/4 here in HK. My f-i-l passed away about 8 years before I met DH. 1/2 my s-i-l's live in HK and 1/2 in No. Am, as does b-i-l.

We get along fine, my in-laws and me. We're all pretty easy-going people. When we all get together it's usually to eat and relax. The biggest problem is language - my Cantonese isn't very good and m-i-l doesn't speak English. But we manage to have basic conversations and now that DD is older, she sometimes can help act as my translator.

I really love and admire my m-i-l - she is strong and independent and also loves to have fun. She bore and raised 9 children while also running a family business w/ my f-i-l. She spent most of her life working really hard and living in rough circumstances (like many HK people of her generation).

Now that she's retired, she really enjoys life. She likes to get together w/ hers kids and grand-kids, but she also likes to spend a lot of time w/ her own friends - meeting for breakfast, playing mahjong, window shopping, etc.

One of the things I love about DH is his wonderful relationship w/ his mom. When she's in town they talk on the phone at least once a day and both laugh a lot. When she's in Toronto, they talk a couple of times a week.

Maybe it's also because there's something similar between us (my m-i-l and me) although she REALLY reminds me a lot of my own paternal grandma, who I loved and respected.
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#30 of 35 Old 12-17-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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South Asian in-laws here.

When DH and I decided that he would relocate to start our life together in the US, I made a trip to meet his parents as a gesture of respect. It was actually kind of humorous and sweet, because the two of them got in a squabble about what I should call them. He wanted me to say “Ma and Baba”, but she didn’t feel that was exactly appropriate until our Hindu wedding ceremony (not till May 2009) so I actually call them Auntie and Uncle.

They have always treated me well. DH is a little nutty about “protecting” me from them, he seems frightened all the time that if he doesn’t constantly mediate between us I’ll start hating them or they will start hating me. I know I’m not what they wanted as a DiL. They are not unkind people, but like many Indians of their generation, they hoped to arrange marriages for their children, just as marriages were arranged for them.

The effort to match is so minute that his father and mother are not only of the same ethnicity, language, religion, caste, sub-caste and career orientation, their two families come from the same area, have the same range of skin tone, and as a kicker, his mother was born with the same last name as his father. I’m a white American Neopagan, don’t speak Bengali, older than him (not done) OK, a lot older than him (never done!) and partially physically disabled (So why would he want ME?). And I’ve taken their son literally as far away as he could get on earth just when they are facing old age. I understand why the situation is hard for them, and I have compassion for them. I also think our relationship will grow closer after the babies come and DH feels more secure.

I exist pretty low on the drama meter, and I very much rely on a mindset of relaxed respect being a two way street. I let them have control of things that do me and my own little family no harm, like making all the decisions for our Hindu marriage celebrations, and keep personal control of things that could harm, like how to discipline my kids. They do offer far to much, and to strong of advice on personal issues like healthcare, religion, etc... but I keep in mind that it is only them treating me just as they would their own child in their own culture, so I give them gratitude and affection for caring so much about me, then tell them I've made the decision that works for me and won't change.

I would very much like to spend part of my kids childhood living in India to give them advantages in language, self-identity, and a sense of global community, so I remain motivated to build and maintain the best relationship possible with ILs.
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