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The Second DIL (and Third, Etc.)

(33 Posts)
Starlady Tue 21-May-19 12:01:21

Don't want to hijack BabyLayla's thread about missing her DIL ,, but it raised some questions in my mind, so I'm starting a new thread. Her conversation made me wonder, is a MIL expected to get along equally well with each DIL if DS marries more than once? What happens if she loved his first wife, but isn't so crazy about his second, for example? And what if she's able to keep a good relationship with XDIL, but new DIL resents it? Is it "safe" to ignore new DIL's concerns? Or does she need to back away from XDIL and focus on cementing her relationship with new DIL? What if DS marries several times? How many times does his mom need to try to get to know/develop a relationship with a new DIL? Or does it depend on certain factors?

Smileless2012 Tue 21-May-19 13:58:49

An interesting thread Starlady.

We thought we had an excellent relationship with ES's wife which was why she was able for so long to manipulate him until we were eventually cut out of his life. We had no idea what was going on until it was too late.

We had an OK relationship with DS's ex, we were never close but enjoyed one another's company. There were faults on both sides which resulted in their divorce so we wished her well and hope that she and our DS may eventually find the happiness they couldn't achieve with one another, with someone new.

If DS were to re marry or just have a committed relationship in the future I wouldn't be worried about trying to cement a relationship with her, just take things as they come and always be prepared to meet her half way.

I just think that family dynamics have changed and that for many of our AC and their partners the importance of getting on with and having a good relationship with their in laws isn't as important as it used to be.

Ilovecheese Tue 21-May-19 14:06:09

A mother in law can't help liking one daughter in law more than another, but if she shows her preference for an ex she may well see less of her son as a consequence.
Her son will want his mother to get on with his new partner, because she is his choice. If his mother makes his current partner feel unwanted, she will not want to visit which is bound to affect the number of times that the son visits.

Anniebach Tue 21-May-19 14:11:30

I have no daughter in law , two daughters, two son in law’s and my son in law who isn’t . My younger daughters first husband . Nothing could change my affection for my son in law who isn’t, his second wife accepts this as does my daughter.

Smileless2012 Tue 21-May-19 14:19:21

A preference can exist but that doesn't mean it has to be obvious. There's a big difference between having a preference and making a future or new d.i.l. feel unwanted.

If there are GC involved then it would make sense for the GP's to want to maintain a good relationship with their AC's ex.

The maturity of the new d.i.l. is important here. Her predecessor may have had a good relationship with her parents in law for some time and no longer being married doesn't mean an automatic exclusion from the family she's been a part of, and to a certain extent remains a part of.

Ilovecheese Tue 21-May-19 14:32:21

I agree with what Smileless2012 says about a preference not having to be made obvious.
It is a mother's own interest to make the new daughter or son in law feel welcome, and not second or third best.

paddyann Tue 21-May-19 15:38:32

We loved our first SIL like one of our own an dwe were gutted to discover he had been cheating almost continually since the wedding.We still see him and are civil to him in fact when he has a problem its my OH he calls .My daughter stayed friends despite his treatment of her for the sake of the chidren .It works fine for them ,he visits with his wife ,Stepchildren and new baby and the kids accept its just an extended family.My 2nd SIL took a while to get used to ,in his own words hes "an arrogant wee sod" ,an only child used to getting his own way .Not the most sociable of men but he makes her happy and the kids love him.He has improved over the years though and we've grown to maybe not love him but like him a lot.Now my sons ex is a whole different kettle of fish!

agnurse Tue 21-May-19 15:39:58

I think it all depends on how it's presented and handled.

I don't think it's a requirement that a parent like an AC's partner. I do think it's a requirement to at least be civil toward them.

I have no issue with a parent continuing to have a relationship with an AC's former partner - as long as that is kept separate. For example, it would not be appropriate to say to AC in front of their current partner, "Oh, did you know what xD/SIL is up to lately?" or to invite the AC's ex to a function that will be attended by the AC and the current partner.

AIL kicked up a fuss because she learned that Hubby was talking to her XH. Hubby still considers him an uncle. Well, according to AIL, that was tantamount to betrayal - the fact that they weren't even talking about her notwithstanding. This is one reason why she is Aunt Who We Don't See. (She is a sister to FIL. Go figure.)

Wobbles Tue 21-May-19 17:55:10

I felt sorry for my MIL. I was the 3rd DIL that her DS provided her with.

She had close relationship with no.1 which only ended when she died.
No.2 she tolerated due to the only GC.
Then me, she was friendly but not overly impressed. grin

Alima Tue 21-May-19 19:06:47

Not having sons I cannot understand why so many MiLs find DiLs so difficult. We have the reverse situation. A DDs soon-to-be ex partner who we have tried to like for the last 11 years. He is the most selfish person I have ever had to associate with. DD obviously saw him differently at first. She has started dating a new partner now and wants us to meet him. We don’t feel ready to meet anyone new, what if he is an awful knob like the last one?

Sara65 Tue 21-May-19 20:16:02

You are right to be wary Alina
We were so relieved when one of our daughters left her vile partner, he was a work shy liar, a bully, a drinker, I could go on
We said, at least there’s only one way to go, no one could be worse!
We were wrong!

Coconut Wed 22-May-19 10:39:50

A difficult one which cannot be generalised as every scenario is of course different. I loved my ex DIL as my own and when she split with DS I was distraught. My GC became low down on her list of priorities, her new social life became more important. DS and I babysat all the time for the sake of my 2GD’s. Fast forward a few years, all are now settled with new families and my new DIL is so lovely and just accepts that I maintain contact with no:1 as she is the mother of my 2GD’s. All is harmonious but of course I accept that others are not quite so lucky.

oldmom Wed 22-May-19 11:11:50

I think it can be important to stay friends with a former DIL, if she has any kind of primary custody of grandchildren. It often depends on the reasons for the split, and the characters of those involved.

My father's only brother was married 3 times. My parents were close to his 1st wife, and they did get to know the last one, but the 2nd wife they never really knew well. I don't even know all their names.

Someone can make one mistake, but if your adult child is engaged in a life of serial monogamy, there is a limit to how much adjustment they can expect of everyone else.

My BIL was divorced years ago, and married again. My son and I have only known the second wife. If my BIL got divorced again and wanted to marry a third time, I wouldn't be teaching my son to call the next one "auntie". You can't force people to replace other people in their lives.

Be polite and courteous to whatever partners you are introduced to, but you don't have to feel the same about all of them.

Jaycee5 Wed 22-May-19 11:21:09

Your daughter in law knows that you prefer the previous daughter in law to her. I am not really sure how you expect her to feel about this. How does she know that you prefer the previous one? Most people will favour one person over another, even among their own children, but I don't understand why they think that it is ok to show it and why they justify it. Unless you live with them, why would she know when you speak the XDIL or meet her or whatever unless you tell her and what would be your motives for doing that? I find it much easier to see things from DIL's point of view than from yours frankly.

crazyH Wed 22-May-19 11:24:04

I have two, who on the surface get along well with each other - but one of them who exudes sweetness and light, is not all what she seems to be. There are little things I am picking up's a work in progress and one day I will find out who she really is.......though I will have to carry on as normal, for sake of family .

ReadyMeals Wed 22-May-19 11:36:59

Depends whose expectations you're thinking about. The son probably prefers the mother to like the current DIL best. But in fact what usually happens is the women decide for themselves who they get on with best.

Starlady Wed 22-May-19 12:04:01

Interesting responses, everyone! And a lot of good points, IMO!

Paddyann, sorry about your first, personable SIL turning out to be a cheat. Hopefully the "arrogant wee sod" is more faithful!

Wobbles, I think it's lovely that you sympathize with your MIL and have a sense of humor about her reaction to you. I wonder though if she really was "not overly impressed" or just not ready and willing to embrace another DIL. Regardless, I'm certain you turned out to be the right one for your DH!

Alima and Sara, if the first DIL or SIL is difficult in any way, I think there's a tendency to hope that the second DIL or SIL will be a wonderful improvement. And, no doubt, sometimes they are, but not always. Some people, Iv noticed, just seem to like a difficult type or a type whose personality just doesn't mesh w/ those of their parents.

Coconut,, glad all worked out so well!

Jaycee5, I get your points, but it's not clear who you're referring to.

Personally, I agree w/ those posters who say that there's a difference between having a favorite DIL/SIL and showing it. And that it's important to be polite and courteous to each one, even if you secretly preferred another.

ReadyMeals, I think you may be right about the difference between DS' POV and what the women actually feel.

Craftycat Wed 22-May-19 12:23:49

I have 2 DiLs- very different characters but I get on fine with them both. Easier with one as I have known her since she was 16 but the other is lovely too
You do have to work at it as they have their own Mums but I get on well with them too - which helps.
It's the same with any relationship- you have to compromise & accept differences. You can't like anyone all of the time but as long as you know when to button it & when to be supportive it is not so difficult.
I must say though that both my DiLs are really nice people & great mothers. I know I am very lucky. It also means we get to see the children a lot & they come to stay very often.
Win/win situation.

Hm999 Wed 22-May-19 12:39:00

One elderly MiL said 'You'll always be the mother of my grandchildren and part of my family'

janeayressister Wed 22-May-19 13:36:06

It’s not easy being a MIL and there are some arrogant posts on Mumsnet from young wives who have no idea. They post so knowledgeably about the dynamics, when they have never been a MIl themselves.
As a MIL you are in a cleft stick really, especially if some of the bunch of inherited in-laws are insecure and have lack of self esteem themselves.
It’s horrible to have to creep about disguising your relationships because of others....but there is no choice as if you have a large brood of in-laws, that you want to get on with, it has to be done.
When my brood were young, home came various-males and females.....we were expected to make them welcome...then if they disappeared and they MUST not be mentioned again. Bad luck if you grew to love them. Lol

Riggie Wed 22-May-19 15:05:56

My mil doesn't have a good word to say about her other son's first wife. Of course she's nice as pie to her face!!

I know where I'll stand if dh and I ever split up!!

Jayelld Wed 22-May-19 15:36:58

I never had a Mil but am to my SiL. When they started dating I didn't like him since I knew he has a volatile temper. However they have been married for nearly 19 years and he's proven to be a fantastic husband and father. As a SiL, he's thoughtful and generous so I'd like to think we'd remain on good terms if anything split them.
I think it would be incredibly difficult for a SiL or DiL once a separation/divorce takes place, to suddenly lose a part of their family
I can't see anything wrong with a Mil keeping in contact with the ex if they've had a close friendship. After all, it's the son or daughter who separated, not the parents. Obviously the relationship changes but shouldn't mean ending all contact.
As has already been stated, each situation is unique and can't be jumbled together in a box.

Saggi Wed 22-May-19 19:00:03

My daughter and her husband are soon to part after 11 years and two kids. I’m very upset as I love my SIL and promised his mum ( just before she died) that I would love him and try to treat him as my own...which I do. I want to stay in touch and friends with him, not sure how my daughter will react. Hopefully in a positive way as she will want the best for the kids , and I believe keeping friendly with the ‘ex’ is the best way to show that we are all still s family

agnurse Wed 22-May-19 21:18:07


As long as you don't try to bring her into it, I can't see that she would have a problem with it. She's not a gatekeeper for your relationships. She doesn't really even need to know that you have an ongoing relationship with him.

agnurse Wed 22-May-19 21:18:53

If she throws a fit because you are still talking to him, the problem is with her.