Navigating a relationship with in-laws can often be more challenging than navigating an actual marriage. Some marriages are fortunate enough to have in-laws that respect boundaries and others have in-laws that try to impose their will on every aspect of their family member's relationship. Oftentimes, the family member will not have the nerve to stand up to their family but their fed-up significant other certainly does.
Let's take a look at some satisfying stories from fed-up significant others.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"After my husband and I had been married a little over ten years, his brother-in-law, wife, and their sons came down to visit us in South Carolina. I prepared for their visit several weeks in advance. I had sent them pamphlets for places we liked to visit so they could plan what they wanted to do. I bought groceries based upon conversations with her about her likes and dislikes and those of her sons and husband, and if there were any allergies or food sensitivities I needed to know about.
The food sensitivities thing was a big one, because several years before when we were at their house, we were going to go out for dinner. She mentioned several places to go and one of them was Chili’s. I told her we could go anywhere other than Chili’s because something in their food did not agree with me and I had gotten sick from eating at Chili’s on multiple occasions. I figured it was just a coincidence and maybe I was sick already, but after two bad experiences, I tried to avoid it.
So, she decided where to go eat and of course, it was Chili’s. I was a little surprised, but have since figured out that’s how she is. Very determined to have her way. I tried to find something on the menu that would be okay. I can’t even remember what I got, but I barely made it to the front door of their house after dinner before I projectile vomited all over her bushes. Since they had only one bathroom in their house, my husband and I ended up leaving and getting a hotel room.
So, the time came for their visit. My husband was off work on the day they arrived, and I got off work a couple of hours after they arrived. When I got home, almost all of the food I bought was in the trash can. She went out and restocked my refrigerator, saying she wasn’t familiar with the brands of food in my refrigerator and she needed to know her family would have quality food. She demanded I pay her for half of the groceries right then. I was pretty taken aback, but I told her I would be happy to reimburse her for any of the food we ate that she purchased.
They stayed for several days. Over the course of the next few days, I made some breakfast and lunches with foods I had. Things that were local special brands and things I wanted them to have. I would cook her stuff too, just in case the kids were picky. Almost every day the kids ate my stuff and just kind of moved hers around on the plate. When we went out to eat, she found something wrong with everywhere we went.
She must have thought that my duties as hostess included babysitting her kids because I witnessed her give zero effort in supervising or disciplining her kids while they were in my house. Things took an even worse turn when her kids started destroying my house."
"The kids went into the upstairs bedroom to watch TV one night and they were swinging on the post at the end of the bed and broke it. The bed was a gift from my grandmother who had it in her home for many years. It was the bed I always slept in at her house when I was growing up.
The kids were playing on my stairs and threw some things down the stairs that hit the wall and knocked some pictures off the walls. Of course, the glass shattered and I had to vacuum it up so they wouldn’t get hurt. I wasn’t thrilled that she didn’t offer to help, but it was my home. I was the hostess. So, I took care of my guests.
On the day they left, she didn’t say thank you, goodbye, or anything other than telling me what I owed her from the itemized list of everything eaten that she had bought. Right down to four slices of bread from her loaf of bread and two tablespoons of mayonnaise. She divided it all up and gave me a list. Not wanting to cause a scene, I gave her the money. She didn’t offer to pay me for anything her sons had destroyed in my house. I gave her the money and they departed.
Six months later, we were celebrating Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house and the subject of the visit came up. She just sat there and rolled her eyes. I told everyone I couldn’t wait until the rest of the family would come to visit whenever they could.
My nephew piped up and said, 'Mommy said we are never coming back to your house until the underworld freezes over because you were a bad hostess.'
She couldn’t reach over fast enough to try to put her hand over his mouth to shush him and tried so hard to backpedal and say she never said that. The whole family started laughing because they know how dramatic she can be and she always has to be the center of attention. I told her I was just dying to hear her account of the visit and then I could give my version. She was so mad she started shaking. She finally got up and left the table.
She returned and started telling everyone they knew how picky she was and she had just tried to help me out by buying things she knew she would like so I wouldn’t have to worry about pleasing her.
My sister-in-law said, 'Oh yeah, like that time you were a good hostess and took Jen to Chili’s after she told you it would make her sick and she puked all over your bushes.'
I had finally had enough and said, 'I don’t worry about pleasing you. That’s an impossible task and the only way to be sure you don’t have a bad time at my house again is for you not to come back.'
Needless to say, in the past fifteen years, she has never come back.
She will never be invited back to my home."
"I am married to a man whose son was seven months old when we got involved. When his son was three years old, we got married. My mother-in-law refused to allow my husband's son to be involved with me, claiming to anyone and everyone that I would not be a suitable mother to him.
When my stepson was nine years old, he was finally allowed to live with us. He was given a call collect card to use to call his grandmother if I were to ever physically discipline him. When my parents-in-law came to visit, he would always be expected to take time off of school as compensation because of some grievances I had done against him before they arrived.
My stepson made sure everyone knew I was not his biological mother, did a bad job of raising him, and looked for pity because of my treatment of him. Neighbors who told him they did not believe him would be harassed and bullied when he was under the influence at a later age.
My mother-in-law was always rude to me in front of the child. All of my in-laws felt sorry for my stepson by giving in and allowing him to get away with whatever he decided to do, despite my husband and my sister-in-law's husband trying to interject and point out flaws in this logic.
All of my in-laws always took my stepson's side, and considered his anti-social behavior a direct result of my mistreatment of him. My husband, my sister-in-law's husband, and eventually my father-in-law tried to discipline my stepson, but that did not help. My mother-in-law and other in-laws continued to blame the delinquent behavior on my treatment of my stepson despite my husband, my sister-in-law's husband, and father-in-law's protests that this was not true.
The boy stole from so many places and people, was involved in break-ins, abused various substances, threatened people with knives, lied like no one's business, and was expelled from every school he went to always with his grandmother always taking his side. It was always someone else's fault and that someone else mostly was me.
He told the police sob stories every time he got arrested about the stress I caused him, causing him to take it out that way. I was told many times by the police and by my in-laws that all he needed was to tell me what was on his mind. They all said my husband needed to properly listen to my stepson's side of the story and take his side and not mine."
"I finally made my stand when my daughter graduated from University with a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering and had also won two awards in the process. My husband joyously shared the news with his parents and other family members.
A couple of weeks later at a family gathering, my mother-in-law made a statement after she heard a family member congratulate my husband and me on our daughter's achievements. She loudly declared that my stepson was just as capable of achieving what our daughter had achieved and more if only he was given the opportunity to get the proper education I had denied him because of how I treated him.
I just lost it and told her in front of everyone who always judged and backstabbed me and took his side that I was never allowed to discipline or treat my stepson as any of my own children, because they always thought he needed to be treated as special. I, therefore, took a hands-off approach because that is what she wanted, no rules, no discipline, just giving in to what he wanted just as she wanted.
Now that he was older and had squandered all of his opportunities at a proper education, was it now my fault for not directing and advising him? How could I even direct and advise him considering how they always had a good gossip session about me and my supposed mistreatment of my stepson? Those gossip sessions made him have absolutely no respect for any rules I set in my home or anything to do with me.
I told them I had enough. All the stories of my supposed mistreatment had all come back to me either directly from my stepson or from others who were party to these sessions. My own children thought my favorite was my stepson because I was never as strict on him as I was on them. I also asked if my parenting skills were so bad, why didn't they retrieve him that many years ago?
I told her for once I wanted to enjoy the achievements of children I had raised and enjoy my capabilities as someone who was able to raise her children to my daughter's standards without making this moment about a stepson who constantly reminded me that I was not his mother and taunt me with all the things he would tell his grandmother about me.
I am sure they continue to discuss my incapabilities as always, and I continue to ignore it but I would never in a million years go back and apologize for what I said."
"My mother-in-law traveled to New Zealand to spend her holidays with us. The initial few days passed very well. However, she kept on praising her son's qualities and not even a single nice word for me.
Whenever a sound came while washing dishes, she would immediately say, 'Be cautious, it's hard-earned money of my beloved son, don't break the dishes.’
Another day, I cooked dinner a little late. She said, ‘Why are you cooking late today? My son will be tired; he has to go to bed soon. So don't be late from tomorrow onwards.’
She kept on irritating me. I felt like a maid in my own house.
A few days later, she asked me, ‘Do you have any complications getting pregnant?’
I asked, ‘No, why, what happened?’
She responded, ‘It's been two years since your marriage, and you haven’t planned for the baby yet! This month, make sure you should miss your periods and get ready for pregnancy.'
I looked at her with wide-open eyes and said, ‘I am not mentally prepared for a baby now. I will wait for another time, and then we will plan.’
While raising her voice, she said, ‘I am telling you this is an excellent time. I have already spoken to my son. He doesn't have any problem. You should get ready for that. I don't want any excuses.’
I tried to keep myself calm but couldn't and burst out, ‘Why are you making decisions on our behalf? Who’s permitted you this? I know what is right for my family so, please mind your own business.’
I felt bad talking to her like this, but I did not have control over my anger. I retreated to my room and cried a lot.
In the evening, when my husband came back from the office, my mother-in-law started crying in front of him like I was the only culprit and she was wronged. She complained about what happened that afternoon by adding some extra points to make herself guilt-free in front of her son.
My husband immediately asked me to say sorry to her without listening to me. I did not say sorry and said she had started the conversation and was forcing her decisions on me.
She started to cry and said, ‘I do not want to stay here any longer. Book my tickets; I am going home.’
My husband felt so bad and requested her to stay and solve the conflict collectively. But she was creating so much of a scene there.
After a long argument, I said, ‘I am leaving home. You guys stay peacefully.’
I packed my bag and informed my sister that I would be coming to her house in an hour.
After two days, my husband called me and said sorry to me, and begged me to return. I told him frankly if his mother was there, I was not coming back.
After a week, my mother-in-law went back, and I returned to my home."
"Years back, my husband had a severe and negative change in his health. He was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused horrible side effects and severely skewed his mental health.
He was scared he was going to die, paranoid, depressed, and nervous on a daily basis. He would think the TV would talk to him or see people and things that weren't there. He was contacting women of the night and became angry, aggressive, and over-reactive. He was having fifteen or more seizures a day and not able to remember people, places, or times some days. But I was his constant, even when he couldn't remember my name or what I was to him, he knew he was safe and trusted my lead.
His family was aware of his condition but took no interest, asked no questions, rarely called, and never visited. The day before he was hospitalized for weeks for testing and treatment, my sister-in-law and niece were supposed to come to visit. They stood him up without so much as a call.
In the hospital, he shut down mentally. He was not rational, refused to speak with anyone but me, refused calls from family members, and did not respond to texts clearly. He tried to remove his wires and walk out of the hospital in his gown to take a bus home. It escalated to him telling hospital staff to arrest anyone who tried to approach his room.
I was with him, holding his hand, and keeping him as calm as possible through the entire hospitalization. For two weeks, I slept in the chair beside the bed because I was the only one he recognized and felt safe with. I called his family several times throughout the day, each day with updates.
On his worst day, I was helping to restrain him and work with the doctors, in and out of meetings in the hospital, and wasn't able to answer my phone.
I got a text from my sister-in-law saying, 'Well if you guys aren't going to pick up when I call I'm just going to come up there.'
"I called and explained what was happening and that maybe another day would be better because he was very aggressive and she was part of his anger. I explained that it would be better to wait until he's under a little more control and he tells her to come up himself.
My sister-in-law started crying, agreed, and hung up.
After she hung up, my niece called immediately saying I shouldn't be keeping the sister-in-law away from my husband, her uncle like that. So, I re-explained to the niece the excitement that we were dealing with, and she hung up and proceeded to begin texting my husband about what a bad person he is and he should treat his sister better. To the point, he snapped the phone in half and threw it at me in a bout of rage at me for asking him to disengage from fighting through text and shut the phone off. Then my mother-in-law called.
She began talking about how the sister-in-law and niece called her sobbing to say that I was keeping my husband away from his family. This escalated to him being disowned by his family and the mother-in-law refusing to step foot in our house ever again while he was with me. After my husband bounced back and was on a new treatment plan, he was still very resentful of how his family behaved during his hospitalization and refused to answer calls or make effort to reconnect.
After a few years, my husband's condition had stabilized. I had my husband back sweet, gentle, and non-violent, but still affected by his condition and would be for the rest of his life. He has reconnected with his family with the help of another relative playing mediator. His family has apologized to me for not understanding the severity of the situation. He has had a few hospitalizations but his family is now nothing but supportive. I will never apologize for putting my husband's health needs over his family's need for drama or attention any day!"
"I refused to hand over the gold my parents bought for me to my in-laws. Although I do wish the whole situation had been a little more dignified.
So the morning after my marriage, I handed over all the gold that my ex-husband got to my mother-in-law because I thought that was the appropriate thing to do, and that what didn't belong to me didn't stay with me. I decided I would keep the gold that my parents had given me, and what I got in the marriage, in a joint account with my husband.
So my father-in-law and my husband asked me to get in the car in the morning, and we were supposed to go and meet my parents in the hotel they are staying in.
Then without any prior discussion whatsoever, my father-in-law asked my husband to stop the car at the bank which fell on the way. I was a bit surprised since we were supposed to go to the bank together with my parents. But I stayed silent and asked no questions. My father-in-law got out at the bank, went inside, then came back ten minutes later.
He opened the door of the car where I was sitting and asked me to sign a few papers, 'Necessary to open the account for the gold.'
I was surprised because we had talked absolutely nothing about that, nor had my husband informed me of it. I refused to sign anything.
I said, 'Sorry, but I will sign nothing without my parents being there.'
My husband gave me a perplexed look and said something to my father-in-law in Malayalee and we drive off to the hotel.
At the hotel, I got into a furious argument with my parents. The incident had shaken me. I told my father that there was no way that I was going to give away my gold like that. It was my security and my children's security. There was screaming and yelling and name-calling. I was deemed greedy and small-minded.
My dad tried to make me see reason and said, 'It's just gold, don't behave like this, give it away, it's not a big deal, it's nothing compared to marriage. You are going to a new home, give away the gold, and they will accept and love you, marriage is all about compromises.'
I chose to remain stubborn, put my foot down, and refused to yield.
I told my father in a flat tone, 'Give away the gold, and I take a flight back home right now. I shouldn't have to fight for my own gold, you can call me greedy but I am not giving my gold to anyone. That's final.'
After I refused to budge from the hotel room, my father agreed while my father-in-law and husband waited downstairs. He went down, had a talk with my father-in-law, and I'm not sure exactly what ensued between them, but he came upstairs with a completely changed mind. He told me that I was correct, what belonged to me should absolutely stay in my name, and there should be no debate about it.
We went to the bank, and I found out that the papers I was supposed to sign, were to transfer the gold to my father-in-law's account. I was shocked beyond imagination because never in my life had I been subjected to such bullying. I was sad because it felt like a betrayal since my husband had told me nothing about it.
We finally opened a new account in my name and registered my husband as my nominee. The matter was closed, and no one mentioned it again.
All of this was very unpleasant for me to recall because I felt guilty about how I behaved. My in-laws apart from their little flaws were good people. I was conditioned to adjusting and I had prepared myself to let go of things in order to fit into my marriage. I was prepared to give it my all to make it work.
However, this was something I just couldn't let go of because I was aware that a woman should always take care of her finances in case things go awry. I knew that life was not predictable and people, even though you know them for more than twelve years, can change.
That is exactly what happened. When I fought my divorce case and asked for the gold that I had given to my mother-in-law to be returned, I realized half of that gold had been sold off.
My father looked at me in court when he realized that and told me, 'I don't know what would have happened if you wouldn't have been so stubborn that day. We would have lost a lot of money, perhaps my entire life savings.'"
"I met my then-boyfriend at eighteen and we became quite serious quite quickly. However, he had quite pushy parents who wanted him to join the military. His whole family had been in the military but he was a lot more sensitive in nature and it wasn't something he was actively engaged in pursuing. After some discussion, we agreed we would move in together instead. This was quickly vetoed by his parents and before I knew it, I had a ring on my finger and we were three hundred miles away from home with my husband in the military.
My husband started to travel a lot and every time he came home, he became more and more withdrawn. We’d have conversations about possibly going home but his parents would not allow it and told my husband they would not support him if he left the military. I couldn't rely on my parents for support and as my husband wasn't connecting well to other members of his squadron, it became a pretty lonely life for us both.
We would often have discussions about buying a house back home and when it would be best to have kids so we would be around our families for support. However, any mention of coming home would be met with harsh remarks from his parents that asked us to stop living in a dream world and focus on the life in front of us. A life that neither I nor my husband had chosen. It caused a lot of arguments in our marriage, ones that my in-laws would sometimes get involved in and would on occasion tell me I wasn't right for their son.
I was also young, so when my husband was away on tasks for weeks on end, I decided I wanted to explore some world myself, just while he was away.
I told my in-laws of my plans and my mother-in-law glared at me and said, 'What on Earth would you want to do that for? You're his wife and you should be at home.'
For some stupid reason, I listened and I never went anywhere. It led to me feeling incredibly lonely when my husband wasn't around, something he couldn't understand when he came home because he would be busy the whole time.
I wanted to visit home at least once every two months. I had younger siblings who I adored and being away from them was hard and I needed to make sure they were okay and knew I was still around for them. As time passed, my in-laws would question why it was necessary that I was visiting home so often.
They thought I should simply forget about my life back home and focus on my husband's work. It was incredibly disheartening as we would stay at their home but we felt more and more unwelcome with each visit.
I persevered for as long as I could."
"Even after we had agreed to return home after a number of years, after a conversation with my husband it became clear he expected that to go on decades. He became colder and less loving because he was miserable, but I was not in it for the long haul and it became clear my husband was not going to stand up to his parents.
One night, after an argument, I decided I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to be back home with my friends and my younger siblings. I had nothing to my name and only a couple of good friends for support, but I told my husband I was going home and if he didn't want to come with me, I’d go on my own. It was heartbreaking when he decided to stay and I just felt like there was nothing I could do for him. I guess he felt like his family didn't want him back home.
It is a shame the marriage didn't work out but I learned I needed to put myself first and if my husband didn't have the courage to stand up to his parents, I couldn't do it for him.
I returned home and moved in with a friend and a few weeks later, I put a post on Facebook saying I was happy to be home. I then received a message from my father-in-law demanding to know where my husband was. I told him he was still where we had been and before I got a response, he and the whole family blocked and deleted me. I spoke to my husband about it and he said he didn't have the courage to tell his parents about the marriage breaking down so they found out via Facebook. Neither of them messaged me to ask if I was okay despite telling me I was a part of the family for four years. I can only imagine the way they reacted and I can't imagine it was with calm voices.
I received a message from my husband around seven months later explaining that he should have listened to me and he wanted us to try again. Unfortunately, I had found something new and created a new life for myself and I just could not go back to what it had been. I could not live with in-laws like that, so I wished him the best of luck but I don't think he has even returned home for a visit to this day. I hope he is happy and free from his parents' control now.
From that experience, I realized that I am incredibly independent and therefore that marriage would never have worked, despite our youth and desire for things to work out."