I Don’t Get My MIL

Question: My mother-in-law is a great person but I feel like she is too sweet and it bothers me.  One day she had asked me to either call her by her name or call her mom, not both.  I feel like if I call her by her name she will become upset, but I have a hard time calling her mom and I don’t know why. I’ve been trying to talk to her more, but honestly there isn’t that much to talk about.  I say “I love you” and she ignores or when I write emails to her I end it with “I love you” and she writes back ending with hugs and kisses.  I don’t get it.  What do I do? N.

Answer: Dear N.: There is sometimes a level is discomfort to getting “instant relatives.” And there is a generation gap as well. Your MIL has asked for one name and “mom” doesn’t feel real to you, so call her by her first name. She asked you do decide. And if you feel like saying “I love you” do it. You may not be a “hugs and kisses” type and she may not be an “I love you” type.

You don’t have to be similar to get along. There is often little to talk about when starting out a new, extended family relationship. You sort of got tossed together by circumstances, not choice. She may well be “too sweet” but she is how she is, so as soon as you can get past letting it bother you, the sooner you will be more comfortable.

If you think you might like to, come on over to my Web-forum for those of us struggling with extended family issues: www.WiseWomenUnit.com . Blessings, Luise

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