Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Wife tasked with bringing in-laws closer

Q: My husband is not close with his sisters, who do not live locally. They text sometimes, but donít see one another more than once a year, and almost always when we travel to them.

We had a baby this summer whom his sisters and their families have never met. My mother-in-law, who lives much closer to us, keeps asking and telling me ó and sometimes also my husband óthat I need to help her coordinate a meeting. So far I have just ignored her.

I resent being told that coordinating with his family is my responsibility.

My husband says to keep ignoring her. Next time she brings it up, I would like to tell her it isnít my job to manage my husbandís relationships with his sisters and ask her to stop asking me to interfere. Is that making a mountain out of a molehill?

I do think it is sad my husband isnít closer with his sisters, but he isnít, and my overtures to connect with them over the years have been rejected.

Maryland

A: Youíve "ignored her"; he says "keep ignoring her"; you propose saying "it isnít my job" to "interfere" ó why all the dancing instead of just communicating?

"Milly, I understand. You want the sisters to be included. You want the family to be close. I do too!"

[Pause for her to say her piece. To which you listen carefully.]

If she resumes her push to have you be the agent of family unity, then remind her, warmly and with empathy, that you have made efforts over the years that were rebuffed.

Her knowing you want the same thing she does, and your knowing her pain in not being able to make it happen, may not do anything to bring these siblings closer. It does have the power, though, to redefine how you and your mother-in-law interact. Less stiff-arm, more respect.

Once youíve heard each other out, then you can go back to deflecting any continuing, unwelcome pressure.

Comments
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 14

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 14

Meet the sandsculpting masters or catch Andrew Dice Clay’s standup
Published: 11/13/18

Tell Me About It: Romance seems to be budding with roommate

Q: Four months ago I moved into a new place, and have fallen for one of my roommates. I want to ask her out, but given our yearlong lease I donít know if this is a good idea. We hang out and really get along and I do not want to jeopardize our friend...
Published: 11/13/18
A key volunteer helps bring life to the operations behind Brandon’s Novemberfest

A key volunteer helps bring life to the operations behind Brandon’s Novemberfest

Greg Harrell relishes his role as operations manager at Nativity Catholic Church’s annual festival
Published: 11/12/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 13

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 13

Tuesday’s events include Christina Aguilera in concert and $10 admission at the James Museum.
Published: 11/12/18

Tell Me About It: Mom wants the best for daughterís best friend

Q: My daughter is a freshman at an expensive private high school. She has become best friends with a wonderful girl who is at the school on a scholarship. My daughterís friend is passing her classes but not getting great grades and is losing her scho...
Published: 11/12/18

Tell Me About It: Sister acts like a third parent in their pregnancy

Q: Iím expecting our first child. Since we announced my pregnancy, my husbandís twin sister has treated all baby decisions as joint decisions between her, my husband, and me ó everything from the brand of prenatal vitamins I use to circumcision to ba...
Published: 11/11/18

Tell Me About It: Request to bring dessert ruffles wifeís feathers

Q: My husbandís family is really academic, most are in school until their late 20s at least. My husband has a bachelorís degree and I have some college but never finished. His family has always been welcoming and they arenít snobby or anything ó with...
Published: 11/09/18
Cuteness alert: Litter of African painted dogs born at ZooTampa

Cuteness alert: Litter of African painted dogs born at ZooTampa

Need a stress reliever? ZooTampa at Lowry Park is celebrating the births of seven rare African painted dogs, and they are awfully cute.The multi-colored pups are the first of this endangered African species to be born at the Tampa zoo. They also are ...
Published: 11/08/18
Updated: 11/09/18

Tell Me About It: Change in family tradition makes siblings feel left out

Q: Our extended family ó siblings and kids ó have always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she and her family would be going away for the holiday and would no longer host Christmas Eve at their home....
Published: 11/08/18
Top things to do this weekend: Ribfest, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and fancy cars in Odessa

Top things to do this weekend: Ribfest, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and fancy cars in Odessa

The inaugural Concours d’Elegance brings a luxury car competition and Ribfest brings Josh Turner and Barenaked Ladies.
Published: 11/07/18