How to Deal if Your Mother-in-Law is Jealous of You

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Mom can get in the way of the marriage with her jealousy if you're not careful. © Photo by nPine/Creative Images/Getty Images. nPine/Creative Images/Getty Images

Jealous mother-in-laws are an epidemic. Many a woman - probably from the beginning of time - has griped about her MIL clinging to her son, not wanting to release her grip even a little. It's almost as if you were both pulling the groom by opposite arms on the wedding day, and it hasn't stopped. You can almost understand her desire to stay close to her baby (especially if you're a mom yourself). But why does she have to treat you so badly? Well, because you're the one taking away her baby. C'est la vie. Things can get better, but it depends on you. Here are some ways to deal with your jealous mother-in-law and make your life a little easier

1. Give her time with her son. 

Moms fear that they will completely lose their children when they get married. Many of them don't expect as much as you think. A weekly phone call or visit can go a long way to quelling such fears. You don't have to join them either. You can just give your spouse carte blanche to spend time with his mom. You might even come up with a standing monthly date, which will certainly give your MIL more security about this new phase in their relationship. 

2. Make an effort.

Relationships really are two-way streets. Sometimes, we get what we give. Granted, the last two sentences are cliches, but they are true. So, if you want a better relationship with your MIL, start to change your own behavior. For instance, if you don't want her to be jealous of time you spend with your husband, try not to be threatened when she is spending time with him. Extend the hand of friendship by starting a conversation with her. It could be something as simple as saying, "Hey, I noticed you like to knit, and I'm working on my first scarf. Do you have any pointers?" Or tell her about a book you're reading or a movie you've seen. Moms spend most of their time giving their attention to others. It's always a breath of fresh air when someone pays attention to them. 

3. Say the words. 

Ok, you don't have to love your MIL or even like her. But you should try to create a civil relationship for the sake of your husband - and therefore marriage. If there is tension, you can ease it by trying to communicate better. Say, "I want us to have a better relationship. Please let me know what I can do, for my part, to make you feel more comfortable." Swallowing your pride and asking such a question might be seen as a white flag, which could get your MIL to ask the same of you. This doesn't mean you should let your MIL walk all over you. But you should be open to at least hearing her side You'd be surprised how much we misunderstand each other when we assume what the other person is thinking, which is something of which we are all guilty. 

4. Be thoughtful. 

Having an open dialogue is great. But you should still be mindful of what and how you are speaking to your mother-in-law. No matter what, she is the person who raised your spouse. She is almost certainly your elder, and she warrants respect. Never bad mouth her or talk down to her regardless of what she has said or done to you. If you carry yourself with grace and sophistication, no one can bring you down. And you might have to repeat that to yourself when she puts you down publicly for the millionth time. Although you can never control another person's attitude, you can control your own. Hold your head up high and be a supportive spouse and you should be rewarded.