Need suggestions on how to proceed with MIL
01/13/2011 at 12:06 PM

A little background....we've had a rocky relationship with my MIL off and on for 10 years. She lives 10 hours away and has only seen our middle child twice and our youngest once. About 6 years ago we stopped talking altogether because of an argument with hurt feelings on both sides. DH had a lot of hurt from her recent divorce from FIL who was abusive in every way to him and his sister as children (step-dad who adopted DH and his sister). She had told him about the divorce literally as we sat down to his grandmother's funeral (when she had talked to him the night before on the phone). Her reason was because of the past and that she waited until all her kids were grown up and out of the house(they all had been out of the house for 8 years at that point). It brought up a LOT of past hurt, not to mention the way DH was told. Needless to say that the argument brought up a lot of raw feelings on both sides. DH and I (mostly me because I had a closer relationship with her) apologized numerous times over the years for our part of the argument through email. I still continued to send pictures of our kids and updates, only to be ignored and she never reciprocated an apology. About 4 years ago, we emailed her that our son was diagnosed with autism and that we would like to try to better our relationship. I said that DH could really, really use her support while we dealt with our son's diagnosis...again she said she wasn't interested in anything other than an email relationship (which consisted of me emailing updates and pictures that she would never respond to). We haven't talked at all since and DH told me to stop sending her pictures and updates.

About 2 years ago for unrelated reasons (being overwhelmed having a child with autism and anxiety issues on my part) DH and I sought out counseling (individual). We both ended up talking and working through our feelings about what had happened with MIL.

MIL joined Facebook a year ago and through family members we could see her comments, which admittedly hurt. It was only because of the counseling and lots of praying that in September DH and I again emailed saying that we felt that she was too important a person to let go, that we wanted our children to know her, we wanted to work on our relationship, and wanted to start fresh, leaving the past where it was. She agreed to friending us on Facebook (though she rarely posts and only plays the games) and said that she wanted to work on our relationship. She can see all the pictures of our boys and hears all my daily quirks about what is going on with us. Besides Facebook, DH and I have emailed her a couple of times which she will respond to with a couple of sentences. I've also sent just because cards with pictures of the boys, a Christmas card and a birthday card.

It's hard because I used to have a very close relationship with her when they were still living in our area. I really miss that and wish we had that again. I feel horrible for my DH because he really has no family that he talks to. He has us and my family, but I realize it's not the same and can't replace your own. It's hard for him to know that she still has relationships with his sister and brother, and doesn't try with him. I know it hurts him that she seems to not care that she doesn't know our children. And because of the hurt DH feels, it takes a LOT of praying for me to not de-friend her and get past the feelings that she gets a free window into our lives while she's not attempting in any way to make things better (if for no other reason than to get to know her grandkids). I know I have to suck it up and continue to have her as a friend because it's the right thing to do to hopefully have a better relationship *someday*. It just stinks. I'm just really at a loss as to where to proceed from here.