Friday, October 31, 2008


For those of you out there who have a touchy or rough relationship with a Father-in-Law you will appreciate my predicament.

I like my in-laws and enjoy time with them. We are living in their home at present while we help them out with some family stuff and they in turn provide us a place to stay. On the surface this seems like a good deal for both parties. On the surface....

Beneath the surface are the very different and divergent personalities, traits, habits and every day actions of the two generationally divided couples. It takes some getting used to for all parties, let me tell ya.

My Father -in- Law is retired law enforcement and has kept his cop mentality all his life. He is also losing his hearing and is at an age when he is not able to physically do what he is accustomed to doing. The combination of these traits and my own have brought some tension to the household.

My answer to this was to avoid him, not engage in too much conversation and generally just stay out of the way. I think I've been unsuccessful in my attempts. He has found fault in the way Vicki and I interact, in spite of his own marriage's dysfunction and he made sure to tell my wife. We both thought it slightly funny, since she has no compunctions about telling me to shut up or go away if I get on her nerves.

There may be a bit of projection on his part, of which I am sure, he is unaware.

Anyway, I had totally forgotten the role of son-in-law till this recent visit with my wife's parents. Now that I am reminded of it, I remember how much I dislike the position it puts you in and the family dynamics that must be dealt with in order to make a go of it.

Because I am much like my Father-in-Law in all the wrong ways, it makes it doubly difficult. That said, I wouldn't want to be any place else right now. Vicki needs to spend this time with her folks and I need to support her in that. In addition I am enjoying the experience to the best of my ability and loving the interaction with Vic's Mom and between Vic and her Mom.

The fact that two old grumpy, ex-marines have some friction in their relationship is minimal in comparison to the good being accomplished on other fronts.

How's your relationship with your In-laws?

The Daily Husband


Dianne said...

I share a house with my son and his wife. Although I have separate space we share a kitchen and the basement and they yard.

My DIL and I have very different kitchen habits. She is a slob. I am OCD clean to the point of being so annoying.

It causes a lot of tension. I become passive aggressive and she becomes agitated.

We talk - always at my becking. It gets better. It goes back to the same.

If we could financially I would get a place of my own right now this very second.

There's a lot more to the story than kitchen duty. Her family has treated my son terribly so when they're around I make myself scarce. I am not one to not speak my mind when it's important. They are bigots. My son is black.

Mama don't put up with that!!

Oh Rich I could go on and on. I admire you wanting Vicki to have this time. And for you to see that you're part of the issue.

I will take a cue from you.

Any advice for me?

Betty said...

I have the world's greatest mother-in-law. Even though her son and I were divorced many years ago, she remains my friend. We are so in tune with one another, you'd think we were related by blood. I have a son-in-law who probably doesn't feel the same way about

Richard said...

Dianne: Well first off, I admire you living with your kids. That usually takes some patience. When and if the economy gets better, maybe you'll be able to get out on your own or vice versa.

Are you saying that when your daughter-in-law's folks are around you hide in your own house? If you are, then stop it!

If they're married and happy, then both sets of parents need to butt out. If they aren't, well it will resolve itself in the usual way, with divorce.

Bigots are a pain in the ass. I have no advice there.

As to your daughter-in-law's slovenlyness; that speaks directly to her upbringing and her mother. Tell you anything?

Our girls are neat freaks like their Mom, so I know this from experience.

If this girl loves your son and is good for him, then you need to work at that relationship, cause we all know how much you love him.

If you feel like they are taking advantage of your cleanliness and basically allowing you to mother them, then you must stop mothering them. (I don't know this is the case, but it makes me think you feel responsible for the hygiene and cleanliness issue.)

When you heal up and can walk, get the hell out of the house more often. Friends, boyfriends, etc would be very helpful now. You could vent, get instantaneous feedback and have more fun.

Remember Fun?

Hang in there lady, you're too damn smart, funny and too brilliant a writer to let this keep you down.

Betty: I've heard tales of ex-in-laws staying friends. Kind of weirds me out a little, but I understand. If there are grandkids involved then one must at least be civil. For my part, you take the family that comes with your mate and make the best of it. That's what I'm doing right now.