Question: Dear Luise: My question is that I am having an issue with my mother-in-law and need to know if I am out of line. OK, well my mother-in-law has insisted on taking my daughter every 2nd Sunday for visits and every second Friday she has lunch with my husband. I am not happy about it. I tried to talk to her but when I did I was treated as an outsider. They would not speak to me or even greet me if they saw me. These are just a few issues I have with her. She has even told me she wants to go away with him just the 2 of them. I’m frustrated and am looking at divorce because I don’t want to cause any more friction in this family. I don’t even want to go into everything. I feel like I am in a battle for my husband. Am I in the wrong? Am I being unreasonable? Thanks. M.
Answer: Dear M.: I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a grandmother to want to spend time with a grandchild on a regular basis. However, the schedule should be decided by you and your husband first and then worked out with her. As the parents, you are in charge no matter what others “insist” on.
One-on-one time for a grown son and his mother can be pretty nice, (at least it is for me), and it seems to me that lunch once a week would be something you could learn to live with. Trips alone seem a little excessive. Trips alone for the two of you with your daughter visiting your mother-in-law while you’re gone is more supportive for your developing partnership.
Basically, this is about your marriage. You and your husband need to be in charge, not your husband and his mother. You are an outsider to his family, but in your family unit, you are an equal partner with your husband and your mother-in-law is the outsider. The lack of that healthy pattern is causing the friction, you aren’t, but you are reacting in a defensive way. Understandable but not helpful.
Divorce is a radical solution. He picked you for his wife and for the mother of his children and at the time it was what you wanted, too. Now he has to learn how to be the man of the house, (instead of mama’s little boy), and learn to partner with the woman of his choice. Try to work it out with him before you throw in the towel. What you have described is never going to work but divorce is no fun, either. Blessings, Luise