"The fight my MIL waited 14 years to have with me."

I couldn’t believe my ears. What did she just say?

My mother-in-law waited fourteen years to tell me she is upset that I didn’t name my daughter after her. I know, right? That’s a long time to be annoyed at someone. But such is the passive-aggressive relationship that commonly exists between a woman and her mother-in-law.

I wasn’t sure exactly how to react.

At first, I was quite shocked. I named my daughter after my mother. I love love love my mother. We are close. We are best friends. And I chose my daughter’s second name to honor my grandmother, who had passed away when my daughter was just a baby.

It wasn’t all sentimental. There was no obligation for me to choose these names. I just happened to really like them. Had the names been more unusual I might have made a different choice. It all worked out in this instance, and it never occurred to me for a second that my MIL would be upset by this.

I couldn't believe she was bringing up hurt feelings fourteen long years after the event.

I can't think of many instances where a daughter-in-law has named a child after her mother-in-law. It is more common to include their name as a middle name, but not always. Daughters tend to name their daughters after their mothers, if they choose to name them after anyone.

I didn't say any of this to my MIL that day. I just said, "Oh", and changed the subject.

Just a few weeks later she brought it up again. It clearly needed to be addressed.

The fact is that my mother-in-law & I have not been close for a long time. She was close to my husband's ex-wife for many years. She made little effort to make me feel welcome in those early days. She wasn't at our wedding or in our lives frequently for years. It's just recently that we've developed a closeness. I'm very fond of her now and I am so sad I did something that upset her or hurt her feelings.


And yet I still can't help but feel that it is pretty unfair for her to bring it up now. What purpose does it serve except to make things awkward between us? It's not like I can change it now, and if I could go back in time I would do exactly the same thing.

I thought my MIL and I were really close. I've realised we are not.

The entire episode just served to remind me that no matter how close I try to be to my mother-in-law, we'll never be really, really close. It is like we are different species. There is always hurt, caution, and we're always holding a bit back. In contrast, my mother and I discuss things immediately or as soon as possible to get them out of the way.

Now I'm not sure what to do.

I don't want to apologise. I didn't do anything wrong. I am tempted to ask her why she brought it up in the first place, but that might make things worse. I think I'm just going to write this off as a complexity in our relationship.

But I just can't quite shake it. Why did she bring it up so many years later?

I've given up trying to make sense of it.

Do you have any issues with your MIL? How do you move forward from them? Should I just forget it ever happened?

Want more? Try:

24 truths about growing up in a big family.

To my mother-in-law. I'm sorry. I had it all so wrong.

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