"I'm not a chicken. I'm just really hesitant." -Frasier Crane
Question #89905 posted on 06/18/2017 11:55 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My question is regarding the relationship between me, my wife, and my in-laws. We have been married for 3 years and have a 1 year old boy. Let me first say that my in-laws are terrific people with many praise-worthy qualities. But for the entirety of our marriage, and especially recently, I have felt that my wife is still very much dependent on her parents, and her parents feel like they are responsible for her and now our son also, which I feel is very intrusive. I understand that there are two-sides to every pancake, and that maybe things that I feel are a serious intrusion into our lives may just be me getting mad at petty things. But let me give you some examples of what I am talking about.

-In 2015 my MIL really wanted me to do a summer internship in their hometown. I applied to a couple jobs there but never heard anything back. I applied to one summer internship near where my parents live and was offered the 8-week internship. When my MIL found out she cried all through the night. My wife didn't want to upset her mom, but I really wanted to do the internship. We ended up doing it on the condition that I promise that we would never permanently live near my parents.

-My in-laws, who live out of state, bought a house down the street from where we live right now without consulting us, shortly after the birth of our son. My wife loves it because now she can go there and hang out with them when they are here (on most weekends). I don't like it because I feel like we should have been consulted. Also it makes me mad that they moved so close considering the fact that I promised my wife we would never live close to my parents. Also I think that when they retire and move here my wife will spend every day there and they will be super intrusive in our lives.

-My wife is still financially dependent on her parents. For example she will often use her parents CC to make purchases. Her parents still give her money each month, which started when we were first married and both students and really needed it. But now I am no longer a student and have a full time job with a good salary. Her parents also often buy diapers and baby food for us.

-My MIL has a very strong personality and often tells us what to do, especially in issues concerning our baby, like she has parental responsibility over him. I am very passive and have never confronted her. I have talked to my wife about it multiple times and she has acted severely offended every time because she is very loyal to her mother.

Is this normal? I am just being jealous of them? Or are they crossing some serious boundaries? Either way, how do I fix it? I thought this would be a good place to get an objective point of view.

-Marriage is good otherwise


Dear otherwise,

Preface: I will note here that this is NOT a subject with which I have any personal experience.  I'm lucky enough that my parents and my in-laws respect my and my wife's independence and autonomy.

The only thing you can do is talk to your wife about it.  She has to be the one to confront her parents and set and enforce boundaries with them.  If you try to do it you'll just be cast as the villain.  The only play you could make would be forcing your wife to choose either you or her parents which won't end well no matter which choice she makes (unless you are desperate to be done with the situation no matter the outcome).

You may find helpful advice over at Reddit on the raised-by-narcissists subreddit.  Perhaps her mother isn't a narcissist, but the advice may resonate regardless.  A lot of it is about setting and enforcing boundaries.  Most likely, any initial attempt at setting and enforcing boundaries is going to result in serious blowback: anger, guilt-tripping, martyr-mentality, etc.  Unfortunately, attempting to set and enforce boundaries can require you go nuclear (cut all contact) to get the point across before slowly relaxing the boundaries to see if they'll be respected.

-Curious Physics Minor

posted on 06/19/2017 10:03 a.m.
I read a book called "Meeting Amazing Grace" by Gary & Joy Lundberg. It is incredibly cheesy, but also so good, and I would definitely recommend it for someone in your situation. Among other things, it talks about setting boundaries with in-laws. Good luck!