Family

5 Signs Your Husband Is Sabotaging Your Relationship With Your Mother-In-Law

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husband with mother in law

The delicate tango between a wife and her mother-in-law has been the subject of countless jokes, stories, and even research. However, a more nuanced truth lies amidst the often humorous anecdotes and sage advice.

It's time to acknowledge a crucial factor in this dynamic: your husband.

While it's easy to blame yourself or your mother-in-law for your strained relationships with your mother-in-law (and sometimes it is true!), it's essential to recognize how your husband may be silently sabotaging this crucial familial bond.

So, what happens when your husband — unknowingly or not — exacerbates this situation by being trapped in 'little boy mode' as Therapist Dr. Alexandra Soloman discussed on the podcast Open Relationships: Transforming Together

RELATED: 12 Signs You Have A Jealous Mother-In-Law & What To Do About It

Five signs the problem with your mother-in-law starts with your husband 

1. He is hanging onto childhood boundaries and expectations 

One common scenario is when your husband fails to establish clear boundaries between his relationship with his mother and his role as your partner. He may still seek validation or approval from his mother in ways that undermine your position within the family unit.

This can breed resentment and insecurity, both for you and your mother-in-law.

2. He's stuck in old, unhealthy communication patterns (& wants you to be, too)

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, yet it's often overlooked or mishandled. Your husband might struggle to communicate openly and confidently with his mother, leading to misunderstandings or unresolved issues. He may even tell you not to clarify or speak directly with her due to his bad habits. 

This can create a breeding ground for tension and conflict, with you caught in the crossfire.

3. He's avoiding her

To maintain peace, your husband may choose to avoid confrontations or difficult conversations with his mother altogether. While this might temporarily diffuse tensions, it only serves to perpetuate underlying issues and prevent genuine resolution. This may lead her to believe you are "keeping her from him".

Meanwhile, you may feel sidelined or unsupported in navigating these challenges.

RELATED: 6 Things You Can Learn From A Man's Relationship With His Mother

4. He prioritizes her needs over yours consistently 

Whether out of habit, guilt, or a genuine desire to please, your husband might prioritize his mother's needs and desires over yours. Which is not okay.

This can manifest in various ways, from spending excessive time with her to making decisions disregarding your preferences or boundaries. Over time, this pattern can erode the foundation of your relationship and breed resentment. She may come to expect to be the priority, and may even believe it's what you want, as well.

5. He's afraid of change or clings to 'this is how we've always done it'

Change is inevitable in any family dynamic, yet some individuals struggle to adapt to shifting roles and expectations. Your husband might resist the idea of you becoming his primary source of support and companionship, clinging instead to the familiar comfort of his relationship with his mother.

This reluctance to embrace change can hinder the growth of your relationship and perpetuate feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. Which is devastating to a healthy relationship.

So why is there tension in Mother-In-Law relationships? It mostly has to do with the grief of the partner. Dr. Soloman explains, "We bring our unfinished maternal wound to our mother-in-law, 'Can you please be the mama I didn't have?'"

But beyond that, there is also a grief of the Mother-In-Law. She has to deal with and adapt to her son moving his loyalties to his partner. There is a lot to this relationship, it's complex with many layers. 

But it's crucial to acknowledge the role that your husband plays in shaping these dynamics in the relationship. By recognizing how he may be inadvertently sabotaging your relationship with his mother, you can begin to address underlying issues and work towards a more harmonious family dynamic.

If you want a harmonious relationship with the MIL, of course.

RELATED: Whatever You Do, Don't Make These 5 Mistakes With Your Mother-In-Law

Deauna Roane is a writer and the Editorial Project Manager for YourTango. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.