How Do I Deal with a Jealous Daughter-in-law

Question: Dear Luise: I love my daughter-in-law, but she is jealous of me. What can I do to let her know that I will always be my son’s mother and there is a big difference in a mother and a wife to a son? Kathryn

Answer: Dear Kathryn: This is a very tough situation because there really isn’t much you can do about it.

Jealousy isn’t something that can be dispelled by presenting logic to the jealous person. Jealousy is often a deep-seated, serious psychological issue that can require treatment by a professional. There can even be a degree of delusion involved. Your daughter-in-law may be misinterpreting the things you do and say and the chances of her getting that she’s off base may be slim indeed. Consequently, if she doesn’t see it as her problem or want to enter into treatment, your hands are pretty much tied.

It may be a very touchy subject with your son, as well. Is that true? If he didn’t see this coming before marriage, he may not want to see it now. From his viewpoint, he may see the “difference between a wife and a mother” to your disadvantage. For many men, marriage entails 100% loyalty to the spouse and there’s good reasoning behind that when a new family unit is established. I suggest that you don’t put him in the awkward position of having to make a choice.

If there’s any way to do it, tactfully, ask your daughter-in-law how you can fit in. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be her call unless your son sees the problem clearly and attempts to help her, or better yet, finds help for her. Even if that happens, it could be a long, hard road ahead for everyone involved.

I’d also suggest that you see a counselor, yourself, to help you through the issues that may be coming your way. What happens when there are grandchildren, for instance? You may need professional support and guidance to help you learn to live with this very difficult situation as it unfolds. Blessings, Luise

75 Responses to How Do I Deal with a Jealous Daughter-in-law

  1. L. February 25, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    My son and his wife are in their 60,s. I don’t have the slightest clue what my husband and I or any of our side of the relatives did, but she has picked at everything we have said or done and won’t tell us what it is so we can make it right. I barely know my grand-children who are in their 30’s and have two great grandchildren whom I don’t see or know at all. I am so frustrated over the whole mess. My younger son is not much better. If I hear once a year that is something. Please help me, either to let go or have some sort of peace. L.

    • Luise February 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      Please come over to my Web-forum at where issues with adult children and extended families are shared. You may find comfort there. Many of us have. Blessings, Luise

  2. K March 23, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 8 years but we still live with our parents.
    We do plan to move in together soon as we are better of financially now than we have
    been in the past. We also have a great relationship 99% of the time. We are both mid 20’s.
    The problem for me is that sometimes his mum does feel like the other woman and I know I sound like the typical jealous girlfriend now but just read on. I will take all comments made after this into consideration as I don’t enjoy feeling this way towards someone so close to him.
    When we first got together he wasn’t getting along with his mum and I did encourage him to try and be more understanding with her as I know it’s horrid when you fall out with your mum. However after we had been together for about 2 years and things were only marginally better between them a family holiday was booked which I wasn’t invited on as his mum said it should be a time for her and her son to work things out. This was the first time I felt put out by her actions. They did come back from this holiday closer than ever which I’m pleased about but I didn’t understand why she felt I needed to be kept out of the picture to make this happen. Now that’s where my feelings toward her started to change and now I find myself struggling to not just outright dislike her due to past events over the years. Once I was at my boyfriends house making something to eat while he and her were in the living room and she text me a message saying come look what my boyfriend was doing in the living room. I thought he’d be joking around or something but when I went to see he was massaging his mums feet. I didn’t see anything wrong with this at first so I asked her what did she want me to look at toe which she then replied ‘ I bet he doesn’t do this for you’ and started laughing. He did seem embarrassed by her actions and stopped messaging her feet but I was fuming, it wasn’t that he didnt do this for me as I can’t stand my feet being touched as I’m ticklish but I felt she was proving a point which didn’t need to be proven. Also they sometimes play fight on the floor right in front of me which makes me totally uncomfortable. My boyfriend and I play fight and he used to with his sister which I thought was entertaining at times but I can’t stand it when he does it with his mum. I did live with him at his parents for a time and during this time my boyfriend had to work away a lot only coming back on weekends. the strange thing was during the week his mum would hardly ever speak to me and any conversation i tried to make i didn’t get mug from her. I would sometimes walk into room where a conversation was taking place and it would stop dead in it’s tracks so in the end I spent a lot of my time in his room when not at work. But on weekends when he was back she
    would be lovely and to me a totally different person, at this time I wasn’t getting on with my own mum and felt very isolated at this as my boyfriend wouldn’t believe me when I said his mum didn’t like me much and she would complain to him about me when I wasn’t around which he would then pull me up about. I did finally move back in with my mum when one day while my boyfriend was working away I text his mum to tell her I knew it was my turn to cook dinner and told her what I’d be cooking. That night when I got home the dinner had already been cooked and eaten ( there was no dinner made for me ) I asked her why she didn’t wait for me to cook. She just said I forgot you text me.
    Little things since then just widen the void further between us like doing seating arrangements for parties and seating me away from boyfriend. Cooking Sunday lunches for a the family but not inviting me even though she knows it’s my day off. Making comments about council estate families which is me and use to be her too! Wanting me to move to the other side of the world as she didn’t want to leave her 20 odd year old son behind and said my family were selfish for not wanting me to go when really they just she just wanted me there to get her son there too. She also makes comments about how her son would probably never want children if the decision was left to him. Even though I’ve made it clear to him that’s the case he needs to tell me which causes arguments as he assurres me he does yet I get paranoid that he doesnt. it is sometimes a jealousy issue as it does annoy me when they go shopping together when he wants to buy something new, when they look at apartments that he and I would be moving into ( they don’t view them just drive to them and look at the buildings), or when they discuss and loom at what hairstyles he should have next. I feel these are things we should fo together during the little time we get together because of our work commitments. I have posted this today as I felt at the end of my tether with her and him as I know you can’t always blame her when he is a mummy’s boy. But last night I actually got the feeling she was flirting….and I know that doesn’t happen but I couldn’t help feeling this way as she was trying to get his attention by whispering things he could barely here to get his attention then giggling. He thought it was funny too and they kept laughing quietly. But I felt I was in the way like three is a crowd situation. Then this morning he left me in bed to go work as I stayed over and said see you later but he didn’t leave straight away he went into the kitchen and was chatting and laughing with his mum. I got up and went down stairs to leave just to see in time him giving her a kiss on the cheek and saying bye. Now I need some advice as I felt like she was taking my role and I should be the one he chats with and kisses before leaving for work all the while I knowing there is nothing wrong with him doing that with his mum. I know I’m being irrational but it seems all the little things have built up and I can’t help feel this way. I need to add that she has fleetingly shown kindness towards me that makes me think we’ll start to have the relationship I know we should have, the one my mum had with an ex if my brothers, but then she does something to make me realize we won’t ever be friends.
    Now I would like feedback and not about the shocking grammatical errors haha… Seriously I could do with the advice. K. ps sorry to ramble so much…

    • Luise March 23, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      Her patholigy, and I see it as that, will follow you and probably only increase. There’s no use in trying to make sense of it. Please come over to my Web-forum: where issues regarding extended families are discussed and support is available. Blessings, Luise

  3. C. May 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    My son &DIL married 10 yrs. ago. I love my DIL as she is pretty inside as well as outside. My son & DIL talked me into relocating close to them in which my son bought me a house. She and I got along wonderfully. My middle daughter passed away and my DIL took her place. We got along great. My son bought a second house in the beach area that I lived. He thought we should sell the house I was living in and then I could move into this house as they were going to use this as a second, vacation house. I had no idea that my DIL was against that until the house was sold and I had to move. She has become distant, not communicating with me and doesn’t return my calls. I am in a rental house until the vacation house is remodeled. What should I do. I really love her. C.

    • Luise June 11, 2011 at 7:28 am #

      Talk to your son about this to see what went wrong and how it can be resolved. And come on over to my forum for some support: http://www.Wise Blessings, Luise

  4. C. June 28, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I hate feeling this way and I don’t want to anymore. I feel that my mother-in-law doesn’t really like me. She has always been nice to me and says she loves me but it is what she does that makes me believe otherwise.

    One major thing that bothers me is that every single time my husband and her text back and forth they end their texts with “kisses, I love you”. This is very strange for me because I know him and I do not do this and I certainly do not do that with my parents. I feel like little things like that should be kept between husband and wife as they should have a more special relationship than a mother and son. I believe that God meant for the son to leave his mother and cleave to his wife and they become one. So no other relationship compares to what a husband and wife relationship should be.

    She is remarried and my husbands father doesn’t live in this country but she still calls my husband to do “little favors for mommy” as she calls it. I feel like some of those favors are things you ask of your husband not your son that already has his own family to worry about. Things like, look this up for me and print this out for me and bring it over and come to the store with me so I can purchase a camera. Her husband is younger than she is (he is in fact closer to my husbands age than to her age) and is completely capable of doing the things she asks of my husband.

    She also says things when we are visiting her that really get to me. She does it so subtly that when I mention it to my husband he just thinks I am crazy. She will talk about other peoples weight and say things like “she has a huge belly and I thinks she just gave up, she looks horrible”. I have gained 25 lbs. after having our second child and have not lost it. She is OBSESSED with weight and body image. She always talks about how she is soooo fat and how she needs to work out more. This lady is not fat at all and has a fit body. She makes me feel like if she thinks she is in such bad shape what does she think about me? She will say things about pregnant ladies she says she sees out at the store and says that they are so skinny and only have a baby bump and that she thinks that is SO cute. She never once mentioned anything about how cute I was as a pregnant woman. I was never overweight and I believe I looked really beautiful while pregnant.

    Whenever we are together which is about two or three times a month she continually interrupts me. We are all having a conversation but whenever I want to say something she interrupts me half sentence and I just find that extremely rude. I don’t want to talk over her and want to give her the respect she does deserve and I feel like she does it in such a “nice” way that everyone else would just say or think that is just the way she is.

    Another thing that really bothers me to the point of feeling extremely uncomfortable is that whenever we go to see her she says “hi” to me and my daughters and kisses us on the cheek as it is our custom but to my husband she gives him extremely long hugs and she will hang on his shoulders and squeeze him. I have seen a few times that she will go sit on his lap and hug his neck sometimes. Or she will sit next to him on the couch and turn her legs up and rests them on his. She has asked him a couple of times to take off his shirt so that she could see his progress (like I said she is obsessed with fitness)and she like touches his muscles. It is just super weird to me and I get so uncomfortable. My husband has a tattoo that says “mom” and one that says “dad” and he also has our daughters names tattooed. One of the times she asked him to take his shirt off she say the tattoo that says “mom”, which she had already seen multiple times and touched it and said “awwwww” and hugged him.

    She also always comments on how much our daughters only look like me and how she thinks they do not look like my husband. Everybody else notices how much they look like their dad. I mean, our youngest looks exactly like him but she insists she only looks like me.

    These are all the major things I am really hurt about but there are more little ones she does and says here and there. I do not want to be jealous of her or think that she doesn’t like me but that is all I feel. Please help me because it is beginning to affect my relationship with my husband. I just feel like I will never hold a candle to his mom. C.

  5. S.. November 5, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    My situation is very difficult. I’ve never had the mother-daughter bond. My mother left me and i was raised by my aunt (mother’s sister) and uncke (aunt’s husband). They love me dearly and have done the best job raising me as their own. They never had any kids so I was their only child and i never had any siblings from my mother or father (btw i never met my father). My aunt and i could never get along, in fact i get along more with her husband who is like my father. I am so jealous of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law’s relationship and compare everything my MIL does for her daughter and her kids to what she does for my husband and our kids. It’s just not fair the way she treats her daughter.Part of it is my lack of a relationship. I wish I could have a relationship like this.But the other part is my anger towards her because she makes it so obvious that she prefers her daughter to my husbnad. In her house she has about 8 pictures hung up of her daughter and husband and only 2 pictures hung up of her son. it’s not until i said something that she put up pictures of us. I really don’t know how to deal.I dont want to make my husband feel bad when i point these things out but it makes me so mad and ive told her before that she has two kids not just one. and if thats the what she wants is to only recognize one child than thats fine and we wont be in her life. She even cuts her daughter a bday cake every year and mind you her daughter is 8 years older than my husband and my husband doesn’t get anything for his birthday. I would love for her to treat my husband the same way she treats her daughter and while i do believe that i am also a little jealous of the relationship she has with her daughter i don’t think its fair to blatanly show a preference or show your kids that you have a favorite. Any advice? S.

    • Luise November 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      S. – Your MIL isn’t fair or even wise but there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t change her and she probably can’t change herself, even if she wanted to. She is the baggage you got when you married her son. And she isn’t going to be the mother-substitute you would have lifed. That’s all just fact. Not liking to be the way it is…is harmful. Be kind to yourself and focus on what works in your life, since you can’t change her. None of us have everything we want…what we do have is the choice to either let what we don’t like take us down or what we do like to bring us joy. You deserve so much better…give it to yourself by the choises you make.

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