In-law relationships are very easy to be pretty fraught; you’re entering a new historical relationship of your spouse’s. Add your own children to the mix and things can get pretty heated pretty quick. So what’s the best way to navigate a relationship like this?
u/Beneficial_Gas2232 took a big swing — big enough that he went to AITA on Reddit to wonder if he was wrong “for giving my MIL the wrong address so she could no longer send her granddaughter gifts?”
Here’s what he said:
I [42m] have been married to my wife [39f] for 15 years. We have a wonderful 14-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.
OP has two kids — a 14-year-old girl and an 8-year-old son.
My wife’s mother has some views that I don’t agree with. Two years ago, for our daughter’s 12th birthday, she sent her a book about crash dieting that promised something like 10 pounds of weight loss in three days. Our daughter was devastated because the underlying message was clear as day. It was a month until she started eating a whole plate of food for dinner again.
His mother-in-law has some really terrible views that have injured his daughter’s self-esteem; for the girl’s 12th birthday, grandma bought her a book on dieting. How crushing that must have been!
Our daughter is a healthy girl. She is highly active, studious, and most importantly, happy. Her grandmother believes that she’s not reaching her “full potential,” whatever that means, and thinks that she’ll be on the front covers of magazines if she can just shed some weight. Since she made these views clear to me, I have made it my mission to block any unsupervised contact, and this includes gifts.
The MIL has made it clear that this girl should be losing weight; OP wants to block unsupervised contact and gifts to protect his daughter.
About a month ago, with my daughter’s upcoming 14th birthday, Grandma texted me asking for our new address. Normally she would ask my wife, but since she didn’t answer within 10 minutes, she texted me instead. My wife would have given her our real address, but I was able to respond first with a fake one and tell my wife no response was necessary. I couldn’t guarantee that I’d be home to intercept any gifts, and my daughter would open something addressed to her. It gave her some numbers/a street somewhere that I wasn’t even sure existed.
When Grandma asked for their new address to send a birthday gift, OP made up an address. A few weeks later, the package was returned to the Grandmother and she got the right address.
A couple of weeks later, after my daughter’s birthday, I realized that it did not in fact exist as her package was returned to her. Both she and my wife were furious, and my wife amended the address I gave her before. Grandma insisted it was a completely innocent package. Well, the day it was scheduled for delivery, I decided to work from home.
OP managed to intercept the gift; a uniform that was two sizes too small.
When it arrived I opened it up and found a baton twirling uniform (my daughter’s hobby). Sound innocent enough? It was at least two sizes too small.
OP’s wife insists it was a mistake and is angry with her husband. So he’s left to wonder: was he wrong?
I sat my wife down with the stupid thing in front of us and said it was clearly intentional, which my wife refuses to acknowledge. Now she and her mother are even madder at me for throwing the uniform into the neighbor’s garbage (with the neighbor’s permission).
Did I handle this correctly?
Reddit saw this husband as NTA but did advise him to really talk to his wife.
“NTA. your MIL is trying to get your daughter to have an eating disorder. You need to protect her from that However, the way you went about it was wrong. It was always only going to work once. What you need is something that is the equivalent of a post office box or a parcel locker that you can give your MIL (might be a bit late now though). That way you can be sure to intercept any presents and vet them for safety,” chimed in a reader.
One person wrote, “I would be scared that if your wife isn’t backing you up on this is she also telling your daughter these things when you’re not there???”