The difference between in-laws and outlaws is that outlaws are always ‘Wanted’. Being a teacher gave me the privilege to have my own gossip room, the staff room. Everything from fashion to relationships was discussed there. One of the favourite topics of discussion was the ‘in-laws’.
One thing that I could easily conclude listening to the continuous banter is that at the end of it, a majority of wives would go out of their way to please their in-laws. Their husbands, on the other hand, did try to impress their in-laws, but only until they got married. After marriage, one common complaint the wives had was that “My husband resents my family”. If your spouse hates your parents it’s not unnatural it happens from both sides.
The in-laws resentment in India
Around 88.4% of marriages in India are arranged and these arranged marriages have the least divorce rate. Divorce rate in arranged marriages hovers around 1.2% compared to the 6.3% arranged marriage divorces globally, says a report.
In a traditional arranged marriage setup, the families have to like each other prior to any meeting between the couple. The respective families then coax their children to be on their best behaviour and woo the in-laws. This finally leads to the wedding.
However, after the wedding, things change. The wife, having left her paternal home, tries her best to fit into this new matrimonial home and her quest to please her in-laws continues. Quite contrary to the husband, who already has his mission accomplished, the mission where he had to impress his in-laws and marry their daughter. This is one main reason why you hear wives complain, saying, “My husband doesn’t like my family”.
Related reading: Mother in law doesn’t want me and husband can’t leave her
Reasons why a husband is hostile towards his in-laws
While before marriage a man tries to impress his in-laws and be nice to him, after the marriage he may seem detached and distant towards the wife’s parents. The change is not sudden, but gradual and there are certain factors responsible for the same. Through his resentment, his partner might be causing harm to your family relationship. But there are reasons for this negativity.
Related reading: 15 Signs Your Mother-In-Law Hates You
We tell you the reasons for your spouse’s resentment
The wife criticised her own family too much
A husband sees his wife’s family first through her eyes. Most of the time a husband is already prejudiced regarding the wife’s parents and siblings. In the wife’s quest of pouring her heart out to her husband, unknowingly, she sows the seeds of hatred for her own family in his mind. As a daughter, she would have forgiven her family for hurting her in some way, as that incident could have occurred long back.
But for her husband it’s a fresh memory because he just heard of it. As a result, when the wife’s family is showing genuine love to his wife and himself, he doubts the motive. While the wife thinks, “My husband hates my family, what do I do?”
Cultural, social and economic differences
No two families are identical with regard to their social, cultural and economic differences. The everyday matters which a wife’s family may consider routine could be a huge topic of concern on the husband’s side of the family and vice versa. Over a period of time, both the sides think that the other is weird or lacking something. This leads to the husband taking up the challenge to prove his in-laws are wrong and so he is out there judging them whenever he meets them. In the meantime, “My husband says mean things about my family” is the only thing playing on the wife’s mind.
Especially in case of arranged marriages, there are umpteen promises made by the girl’s family regarding some ritual or dowry. When the girl’s family does not keep any of those promises, the husband may keep this grudge against them forever. Sometimes it could be the other way round too.
Times when the husband had promised a certain lifestyle for his wife and could not match up and every time he meets his in-laws, they taunt him about it.
This is usually why most husbands resent their in-laws. But resentment of in-laws can be there for both spouses.
A good husband will always be protective of his wife and kids. If there has been any negative incident in the wife’s family, due to an alcoholic father or an aggressive sibling or any other relative, the husband will prefer keeping a distance. He feels the best way to protect his marital life from any negative influence of his in-laws is by keeping them at a distance. He is also ready for his wife’s accusation of “My husband doesn’t like my parents” jibe.
Related reading: In-laws falsely accusing me of having a disease
15 signs your husband is disrespectful towards you and your family
You often hear wives say “My husband acts aloof or openly hostile towards my parents”. The reason why most wives feel this way is because they are picking up the signs that show that their husbands are disrespectful towards them.
1. Shows detachment towards your family
When your husband is totally disinterested in your plans to visit your family or to invite them home, he surely won’t do the things that he would otherwise do when his parents are involved. This bias is totally disrespectful.
Related reading: How my in-laws are trying to mould me into an ideal bahu
2. Never calls or visits your parents
If you are living with them, you are already looking after their welfare, if not you may call or visit them for this purpose. But if your husband never calls or visit your parents to enquire about their well being then he is surely being hostile. And this might lead to him causing harm to your relationship with your family.
Related reading: Overcoming in-laws’ interference
3. Avoids family functions
Be it family festive dinners or casual outings, if your husband is constantly making excuses for avoiding them, then it’s time you have a word with him about how mean it looks.
4. Never mentions them
During casual conversations with neighbours or friends or at home with your kids, if you realise that you husband never ever mentions any of your family members, than that’s a sure sign of him resenting them.
Related reading: My in-laws have instigated my husband against me. What should I do?
5. Being argumentative
If you start dreading any occasion where your husband will be left alone with your parent or sibling assuming there will be an argument that will be blown out of proportion, then that just shows how disrespectful your husband can get.
6. Never wishes your family on important days
Families are bound together by wishing them on important days like birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and festivals. If your husband refrains from doing this basic courtesy gesture then he is just being mean and disrespectful to you and your family.
Related reading: How living with invalid in-laws can test a marriage
7. Belittles his in-laws
If during your get-togethers you find your parents or sibling being ridiculed for any trivial matter, you have to confront your husband to know why he likes to belittle you by belittling your family every time.
Related reading: Daughter-in-law resents my closeness to my son. What to do?
8. Refuses their hospitality
Your husband is certainly rude to your parents if he refuses to eat anything from your paternal home or anything cooked by your family without any valid reason. Anyone is bound to be hurt if their hospitality is rejected.
9. Not addressing them properly
Wives who are the only daughters to their parents feel more responsible towards them after getting married, to the extent where they feel the need to constantly defend her family. So when the husband addresses his father-in-law by calling him this fellow instead of papa or daddy or any other respectful name the wife has all the reason to be mad.
Related reading: How lethal is the Indian mother-in-law?
10. The act of disappearing
If, on a regular basis, your husband leaves the moment any member of your family arrives or if he just drops you off at your parents’ house and does not go in with you, then he is being boldly disrespectful towards them.
11. Not engaging with them on social media
Considering the generation gap between your husband and your parents, their social media interactions will be awkward. But if after sending continuous friend requests your husband does not even include them on his list, he is just showing complete disregard. Just a casual ‘hello’ or ‘like’ never hurt anyone.
Related reading: My in-laws asked us to get out of their house
12. Refuses to accept any gifts
If your husband himself does not take or he stops you or your kids from taking any small gift or memento from any of your parents or siblings or relative only with the idea of hurting them, then that should not be acceptable at all.
13. Blatantly ignores your family
It’s ok if your husband disapproves of your side of the family, but completely ignoring them when they at your home by not even saying a courtesy hello is being blatantly rude.
14. Cuts off ties
If your husband insists on severing all ties with your parents or any other relative without a valid point, then that is one extreme measure of showing disrespect to your feelings and those related to you.
15. Harasses your family members
This is another extreme way of being disrespectful. If your husband starts verbally or physically harassing your parents or siblings by demanding certain favours, then it’s time for legal intervention.
Related reading: 7 Things I Felt When I Met My In-Laws For The First Time
What can be done?
The only solution to this problem is a frank heart-to-heart conversation with your husband about your feelings. Make him realise that you may have a difference of opinion, but the fact remains that they are and will remain your parents. Unless they are an immediate violent threat, he must learn to brush aside little differences for all to be civil together. Whether he agrees or not, they are a part of your family now. Make him understand how you get crushed between these issues between him and your parents and how it is affecting your lives together. Let your husband know that you are not picking sides, but just trying to rationalise the whole situation.
Once he is convinced that you understand his situation, he will be more receptive in accepting the solutions offered. You can make your parents and siblings aware of the things that are acceptable and those that are not. They must understand that after marriage your proprieties have changed too. As long as no one means any harm, there will always be a way out to settle issues together.