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Letter to MIL

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#1 sne

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:16 AM

My husband and I haven't had contact with his mother in a year in a half because she was very nasty about us getting married with 6 days notice so none of our parents were there.  We moved to Australia in January 2012 (she lives here) and haven't seen her.  She has never met our daughter and met our son once.  We talked about giving her another chance and both decided we're open to it.  But we feel we need to set some stipulations in place before hand so have decided to write her a letter.  What does everyone think??


  DW and I have been talking.  We have decided we want to try again in our relationship with you.  You are the only living grandmother our children have and we feel sad that they don’t know you.  We still feel hurt and upset with the way you reacted to our marriage, but are willing to put that behind us for the sake of our children.  

  There will have to be stipulations regarding our contact.  Its up to you whether you choose to accept them and have contact with us and our children.  Or not and things stay as they are.

  ·         No drama, bullsh*t, crying etc.

  ·         Leave the past in the past

  ·         Mutual respect

  ·         No name calling or commenting on other family members

  ·         We don’t want to see DH's sister

  ·         It stays off facebook

#2 EsmeLennox

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

If I received a letter like that I'd tell you to **** off.

I can't imagine why she would have been upset about you getting married with 6 days notice and being unable to be there...

#3 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

Wow.  Yeah I'd be telling you to eff off as well.

#4 Nora.

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

That would p*ss me off if I was your MIL. I would be hurt if my children got married without me being there too. I think we forget that they love us and want to be included in the important events.

Dear Mum,

we have decided to leave things in the past and would like to invite you to meet your grandchildren and have a relationship with you.

Look forward to hearing from you


I think this is a much better way to reach out. Don't treat her like a child, even if she has behaved like one in the past. It's patronising.

#5 sne

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:24 AM

We don't have her phone numbers.  She has debt collectors after her (we've had them calling us looking for her).  To be honest she acts like a child and we feel she will continue to do so if we don't put our foot down at the beginning.

#6 niggles

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

I think he should call, or send a much shorter letter. Tellling her there will be rules without saying what they are is not going to invite a fresh start that lets go of past hurts.

Personally I think if you want to give her a chance you have to be prepared to trust that she will behave decently. Hard to say without knowing what your stipulations are but it suggests you don't expect her to know how to behave.

Instead of rules or stipulations (which are pointless for an adult, it's not like you can enforce them) how about communicating your wants and expectations? Then she can decide if that sounds like something she can give.

#7 HRH Countrymel

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

That is a pretty harsh letter.

I'm sure she is a right royal pain in the backside but those things don't need to be laid out on paper in the first communication in 18+ months.

I think PP is right in suggesting your husband just calls her.

Get the lay of the land first, I really don't think that letter isn't going to build any bridges, only set fire to the ones that are already broken!

#8 emnut

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

That letter is the height of rudeness & disrespect.  It sounds to me like you are both being childish and unreasonable in response to her probably inappropriate response to being hurt at not getting to attend her son's wedding.  Then to add the part about not having contact with the sister (that is likely to be construed as making a parent choose between children) - no words really

#9 Shooz

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:30 AM

From your post OP I think it's obvious there has been more going on than just her reaction to your surprise wedding which I think most parents would feel hurt at being excluded from. You make no concession to her feelings in your letter and you may not feel she deserves this but I think if you want to try to build a relationship again then sending a letter which basically states all her wrongdoing whilst not suggesting that anything you did may have contributed will likely just get her back up. Why not offer a genuine olive branch let bygones be bygones and try to move forward without apportioning blame.

#10 EsmeLennox

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

Even if she does act like a child it is unlikely that treating her like one will achieve your desired result.

#11 happening

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

Wow  -  are you trying to set your MIL up?

It's a rude, arrogant and incredibly entitled manoeuvre on your part.

#12 Procrastinator5000

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:40 AM

I know a couple who wrote a letter very much like this to her mother.

She was really offended but in the end, after much water under the bridge, they all have an excellent relationship.

The problem is, she couldn't see things from their side, even after the letter. She thought they were being selfish and excluding her. They couldn't see things from her side. They thought she was being immature and dramatic.

Her feelings and pain were very real though. I think a PP is right that you need to acknowledge and respect that.

It's hard when none of us really understand the extent of her personality and drama though, you're the ones that have to live with it!

#13 PattiODoors

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 02/02/2013, 12:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If I received a letter like that I'd tell you to **** off.

I can't imagine why she would have been upset about you getting married with 6 days notice and being unable to be there...

Absolutely this.

As for not attending your wedding with 6 days notice. I presume you were still living overseas by the wording of your post. Maybe she couldn't afford the airfare, hotel, new outfit, arrange time off work etc at the drop of a hat.

If you don't have a number for her then for goodness sake reword your letter to something along the lines of what pp has written.

#14 I'm Batman

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

I think its a bit rough the way you have treated her allround.

Its very hard to build back up trust. Nothing you've written in that letter would suggest that you want have a working relationship or have forgiven her.

If you want to move, want to have boundaries try talking her like a normal person and move from there. If she does something that is not right remove yourself from the situation.

#15 Lifesgood

Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:49 AM

No way would I write a letter like that. You can't have a conditional relationship with her - you either accept her into your lives as she is or leave her out of it. From the sound of her I know which I would choose, but she is your family member so it is up to you and DH how badly you want her in your children's lives.

#16 Roobear

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

Don't send it.

When we gave my MIL another chance. We sent around a bunch of flowers with a note saying "Let's put everything behind us and start again. Here's to a new beginning!" It went down well, we thought it would be the start of a better relationship but it only lasted 2 weeks before she started to meddle again, manipulate, be attention seeking and dramatic blah blah blah

Whatever. She is never going to change, at least I know I have tried and then tried again with her. We do still see her but only at 'big' events like we had them over on xmas eve and they came around to see DD for her birthday.

#17 *lightning

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:11 PM

Dear MIL

We would like to invite you to meet your grandchildren. We would like to start fresh and forget about what has happened in the past.

Give us a call and we can arrange a time to catch up.

From ......

If she calls you can talk to her about setting boundaries and how great it would be for her have a relationship with her grandchildren.

#18 Tree Sage

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

I think this is an incredibly rude and selfish letter.
it doesnt matter what you did, or what she did, or any real or imagined slights from either side.
bottom line, your children deserve the right to have a relationship with their grandmother and for the adults in their lives to act like adults and put differences aside for the sake of the children.

So you MIL in immature. so what?
You know what she is. Accept it and move on.
people are not perfect and everyone has their faults. So long as there is no detreiment to your husband and yourself's relationship or the relationship with your children then really what is the problem with putting up with a pain in the bum MIL with a personality you dont like for the sake of your kids?

I will never understand how people can stop children knowing their family because of personality clashes. the only stipulations you need to make are that you all be respectful of each other and be happy and nice for the children's benefit.

#19 riva99

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

Putting things like this in writing can be a really bad idea. If you must open the lines of communication this way keep it very, very brief. Any rules or stipulations can come after contact is renewed, not by a list of demands but by your actions.

Only you know your history. If she is an immature, irresponsible, drama queen do you really think she will change. Are you just setting yourselves, your kids and you MIL up for heart brake? You can't force her to be someone she isn't. You have to decide what kind of relationship to accept. Full contact, limited contact? Having a terrible parent/grandparent isn't always better than none at all.

Sometimes, it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.

p.s. My husband and I eloped. His parents were sad but relieved we weren't "living in sin" anymore. My parents were delighted for me. I am their only daughter. So even if people are upset or disappointed by you choices doesn't give them the right to behave badly.

#20 Peppery

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

Since you are the one initiating contact I think it is rude to set conditions. If I received that letter it would go straight in the bin.

If you are genuine about rebuilding a relationship leave out the conditions.

From a basic outsiders perspective, sounds like you are all better off not in each others lives.

#21 Yomumma

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (happening @ 02/02/2013, 12:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's a rude, arrogant and incredibly entitled manoeuvre on your part.

Have to agree with this. There is quite a patronising, entitled tone to your letter. You won't get a healthy relationship with her starting like that!

#22 TheWanderer

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:25 PM

edited... maybe a little harsh given the extra detail but still don't think it will result in a constructive outcome

Edited by TheWanderer, 02 February 2013 - 12:50 PM.

#23 sne

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

Hmm I see everyone's points regarding the wording of the letter.  I wasn't happy with what hubby and I came up with so thats why i came here for advice.

There is much more to this story than I previously stated.  A lot of water under the bridge so to speak.  Much of it many years ago when my husband was a child.  We both feel if we don't state our expectations at the beginning it will start again where it left off.  Which is obviously not what we want.

Regarding the sister.  When hubby and sister were both teenagers MIL took the sister to the police to make a complaint that DH had hit sister.  Hubby was at a friends house when the alleged assault took place so it was all made up.  So hubby doesn't want anything to do with sister for obvious reasons.  Everyone else in the family respects that but MIL doesn't.

Regarding our marriage.  We decided to get married at a registray office.  It was something we'd be talking about for years and something happened shortly after our daughter was born that made it more important.  So we just did it.  All our parents live in Oz whilst we were living in NZ.  It would be impossible to make everyone happy with a wedding (which we couldn't afford anyway) so we decided to do it this way.  My Dad and hubby's Dad were obviously sad that they weren't there.  But they spoke about how they were feeling to us as opposed to posting lots of swear words and threats on our lives and that of our children on facebook.

#24 Dresden

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:35 PM

How old was the sister at time of alleged assault? It's a bit unfair to continue to punish the sister if she was a child herself at the time and compelled to lodge a complaint by her mother.

#25 sne

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

She was about 14, I guess.  She is 21 now.  Shes the same as her mother with regards to slagging people off on facebook.  Hubby is very adamant that she does not ever get to see his children.

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