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In-Laws and Ex Wife

Ciarano31's picture

Hi there, 

I'm not really sure where to begin with this but I will try to keep it simple. Looking for advice on how to become indifferent / forget / not care about the inappropriate relationship between my in-laws and BM. I've completely accepted they will not be part of my life but their efforts to support BM passive aggressive behaviour toward my husband and their clear preference for her over their son is something I'm having difficulty accepting.  

My husband and I were married this year. He was with his ex for only 3 years but this resulted in two children. We started dating just as he had his divorce finalized (2015) so the kids were quite young when I met them. They've known me for most of their lives and I've treated them as my own when they're with me. 

They were pleasant in the beginning (maybe too much so) which surprised me since I felt they may have affection for his ex. I facilitated a lot of visits and in fact his mom complained on several occasions they never saw the kids while he was married to BM. BM and my husband don't like each other and she has shown over the years that even though she didn't like him in the marriage, she's resentful that the marriage broke down when two young babies were in the picture and he never begged for her back. This has resulted in years of passive aggressive actions from BM (ie saying he's not a real father since all he does is work, refusing to have the kids call or saying he's busy working when they ask for him, frustrating phone calls, playing victim etc).

Over the years I explained my husband's POV to my in-laws to ensure they had any questions answered. My mistake in retrospect but at the time I felt it was important they understood how their son was feeling since this is their child and well, I thought parents care about their children. During this time, his mom would take cheap shots at him and compliment his ex and her family. This annoyed me but I figured maybe this was a rare part of her personality because she otherwise seemed great as did his father.

Fast forward to summer 2018 - present. We move into a house that my husband's brother says he will help renovate. By way of background, husband's bro has been babied by my in-laws for most of his life ; never holding steady job. They pay for his credit cards and all other needs. My husband wanted to give him this opportunity since he felt he was turning his life around and running a reno business. My husband also sent him $1M job from one of his clients to help him build his portfolio. 

Well as one would suspect, this didn't go well. The work performed resulted in two fire hazards (one electrical and one dryer related) and caused a significant amount of cosmetic damage which we are still repairing. The house was in disrepair for several months and the kids couldn't sleepover or visit which caused more friction between BM and my husband not to mention stress for the kids. 

After this, my in-laws expressly sided with his brother and we're non existent in our lives. They did nothing to help us with the wedding and gave us a very pathetic gift. In addition, they allowed his brother's not so classy gf to trash us at the wedding and later defended her by saying she said nothing (her behaviour was observed by several people including my father and the photographer took photos of her turning her back to the podium as we were making our speech). I'm leaving out a lot here but I think you get the general idea. 

I did tell his parents straight after the wedding given how hurt and disgusted I was by how they treated us. Not my finest moment but what I haven't mentioned is that his mother said terrible things to me shortly after we stopped working with his brother and I didn't react. It was very hurtful. One of these things was "I can't believe you will be my daughter in law". I took the high road and invited her to my shower, and did everything possible to normalize things at a distance. We even put his brother in the wedding party and allowed him to bring a guest (who turned out to be this classless on again off again gf). 

After the behaviour at the wedding, I was done. I decided they were not part of my life. My husband also decided he couldn't have a relationship with them if they were to behave in this way, 

With that said, they know my husband is not comfortable with any relationship between his parents and BM particularly because BM tends to manipulate and passive aggressively attack him without considering the children's best intetests. He has no relationship with her parents even tho her mother disagreed with how she treated him during the marriage. He understands this as they are her parents and should support her just as his should support him. 

Well, recently the kids told us his parents not only go to her family events but apparently they are temporarily residing there to "care" for the kids. Wtf? She had a nanny she let go and now it makes sense. Funny since my husband said she never made an effort during their marriage.

I believe they always had a relationship with her post-divorce and they were lying to my husband. They've now taken it further to ensure my husband feels betrayed. They never called him on his bday, they don't even check to see if he's alive.

I cannot comprehend parents that do this to their children,  and to make matters worse, they are now trying to manipulate his children saying "we don't know why your father is mad at us etc". He confronted BM about this extremely inappropriate relationship and she won't acknowledge it. In fact, she's loving it. He had to clarify things for the kids last weekend since they're confused and know, it's strange to have my in-laws living in their house. 

I feel betrayed once again by them and stupid for ever speaking to them as if were family. I feel terrible for my husband who is only telling me now that he felt his mother always hated him and he's accepted he doesn't have parents since his father enables this bad behaviour. He said his mother gravates to his ex because it bothers him and his ex clearly doesn't like him.  

I can see how he feels that way because his mom has never really supported him. In fact she constantly criticized his success and put his dead beat brother on a pedestal. When she verbally attacked me, I witnessed a tone like no other - it was cruel and mean...she was mad I was defending my husband and our situation.

All of this aside, I take care of his kids like they're my own and I feel it's really strange they are treating the woman that cares for their grandkids this way. 

How does one let this go? I don't want to feel weighed down by their relationship with his ex and their behaviour in general. 

Thanks xx 




Jay_Dead's picture

You let it go because it isn't a burden you need to carry.  Set the kids straight and keep moving forward.  They've made their bed; let them lay in it.  When and if you and your DH have children together, they will try singing a different tune.  Then the control will be in your hands.  Personally, I'd keep such toxic people away from my biokids because they cannot be trusted one iota.

Ciarano31's picture

Thank you, I think that is very good advice. Always easier said than done but ultimately this is the approach I need to  not only take but live by. There will not be a future relationship between me and them. My DH will need to make his own decisions since they are his parents but sounds like he is pretty done as well.

Steppedonnomore's picture

You get to decide the people with whom you wish to have a relationship.  You dont get to decide for your in-laws or for BM.  If I were in your shoes, I'd certainly keep my distance from the in-laws.  Consider yourself fortunate NOT to have a relationship with them.

Ciarano31's picture

Thank you - yes. I couldn't agree more. I'm sad I don't have in-laws that I can consider family. It's hard to deal with but I choose no in-laws over toxic ones. 

Siemprematahari's picture

How does one let this go?

Create boundaries and stick to them like your life depends on it because it does. Your H's parents (family) are extremely toxic and they need to stay away permanently. Unless significant changes have been made I would not place any mental energy on any of this. Just focus on your H and your family and the rest is irrelevant. If the kids come visit, it's business as usual but entertaining anything else is not an option. If you don't keep them out your lives they will taint everything you both are trying to build.

I imagine this is hard for H as these are his parents but toxic is toxic, family or not. 


Ciarano31's picture

Thank you - this is very real advice. I couldn't agree more. Toxic is damaging and dangerous. I feel the effects it has had on my health and I'm slowly recovering from it. I appreciate the advice. 

SecondGeneration's picture

If you are done then you are done. That means no contact and no care to whom they choose to have a relationship with.

If DH is holding onto so much resentment about his parents betraying him then maybe he would benefit from sitting down with a counsellor and working through it. Sounds like hes still hoping they will one day change their behaviour and be the parents he wants, which they wont. Remind your DH he isnt a child, ultimately his parents responsibility for him is over. And likewise he doesn't need to continue the childlike pattern of seeking their approval. 


BM will continue to use them whilst she needs free babysitting, or free anything and whilst she knows its bothering your DH. It's a power play, look, even your family chose me over you. 

As for the kids, keep it simple. If they ask have DH explain things are complicated but hes glad they get to see them via BM. They aren't even teenagers so theres no need to get into the nitty gritty. 

Your job is to continue building on the foundation of your marriage and create a positive family environment. That family is you, DH, the skids when they are present and any future children. 

Let the rest go. No one has the ability to influence your emotions unless you grant them that power. Take your power back and stop caring about the opinions of people so uninterested in you.

Rags's picture

I wouldn't let it go,  I would confront it every time any of the them pull any bullshit.  Get the facts ready and be ready to blast any of them with the facts.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Once they are thoroughly humiliated they will crawl back under the slime covered rock they live under and stay were they belong.


CLove's picture

Your Dh has horrible parents. Period. Get ready for battle against all the PAS that will happen, bot from BM and the GP's.

Be ready with facts, as stated and do cut them out, completely. When the kiddos come to your place, just create a happy and healthy environment. When they ask, tell the truth as a united couple. When they get older, more truths will come out.

Thats really sad, I hope that there is no additonal endangering renovations!

Family is such a complex organism.

My FIL is passed away, and MIL is 98 and has a little dementia. So no issues there. The rest of the inlaws hate the BM. So all good there.