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15 Proven Signs Your Daughter-In-Law Doesn’t Like You

Relationships with our in-laws can be complicated. And how your daughter-in-law feels about you can impact your relationship with your son and even your grandchildren. And while sometimes it’s overt many times it’s more subtle. So what are the signs your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you?

Here’s what I know from being married for several years:

A daughter-in-law who doesn’t like her mother-in-law may not be overtly rude, but she may not initiate contact with you, may make excuses to not visit as often as you like, and may even seem distant or cold. 

But these aren’t the only signs that can indicate that your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the signs that indicate your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have no doubt about how your daughter feels about you.

You’ll also have strategies to handle her feelings and ideas on how to get in her good graces.

Just keep reading!

daughter in law doesn't like you lg

Let’s look at the . . .

15 proven signs your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you

1. You rarely, if ever, hear from her unless she is responding to your call or text

She could simply be busy. Or she may not be one of those people that like to initiate contact.

Does she return calls quickly? Does she answer texts as soon as she can? If she’s doing these things and is pleasant when you reach out, there isn’t much to worry about.

Does she prefer to communicate with you through her husband? Is she rude when she communicates with you? If either of these are the case, don’t ignore your gut just yet.

2. She makes excuses as to why they can’t come to visit as often as you’d like

If your daughter-in-law seems to be looking for ways to avoid you, she probably doesn’t like you. She seemingly never comes to visit, even though you live very close.

Or if you live far away, and you only want her to visit once or twice a year, and she can never seem to find the time to visit.

It doesn’t matter how much time she’s been given to make plans to visit. She just won’t compromise her time to be with you. 

If she only shows up for family gatherings, she is doing so because she feels obligated to go, not because she wants to visit with you.

3. You sense that she is limiting the amount of contact you have with your son

Your son is a big part of your life and the one thing that links the two of you together. If she doesn’t like you, your daughter-in-law will find reasons to limit his interaction with you.

She may try to paint you in a bad light or manipulate him into paying attention to her instead of reaching out to you. She may complain about you and the amount of time he spends with you, even if it’s an insignificant amount of time.

Every chance she gets to keep him away from you, she will do it.

So, if you find that the amount of contact you have with your son has drastically decreased, it could be because of your daughter-in-law.

4. She is polite around you but not warm, friendly, or loving

Your daughter-in-law may be polite to you, but polite doesn’t mean warm.

If she doesn’t like you, she’ll do what she can to maintain her distance. If she is in the same space as you, she will either make polite small talk or even talk to other people around.

If you try to converse with her, she may be polite enough to just finish talking to you. She’s not going to ask follow-up questions.

She is going to do her best to avoid having a lengthy conversation with you about anything.

5. Your son makes excuses for his wife’s behavior

A good indicator that your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you is that your son is constantly making excuses for her.

He’ll tell you that she can’t come to visit because she’s busy. Or she doesn’t answer calls because her phone was on silent. If she doesn’t talk to you, it’ll be because she didn’t feel well or some other reason.

His excuses will sound vague and generic.

6. She never seeks your advice on problems or issues

Your daughter-in-law may have other people in her life to turn to for advice. She has her own mother figure, friends, and family to seek advice from.

But you are one of her people, now, too.

Especially when it comes to advice regarding her husband. No one knows your son as well as you do. So, if she has problems or issues regarding your son, she should turn to you for advice.

If she’s talking to anyone but you about her husband, that could be a red flag.

7. She gets defensive quickly

If she seems to get irritated quickly and always second guesses you, she doesn’t trust you and probably doesn’t like you.

Does she doubt your actions and ideas, no matter how good they are?

If you ask her questions that come from a good place, and she immediately gets defensive, she’s really not interested in what you have to say.

Remember, though, this will be based on how you usually treat her. If you typically are kind and not judgmental or rude yourself, she shouldn’t get defensive towards you.

But if you are constantly criticizing her, she may just assume that you are criticizing her, which will cause her to be defensive.

8. She and your son spend more holidays with her family than with you

This one may be a little tricky.

If she and your son just live closer to her family, then logistically, it’s going to be easier to spend holidays with her family.

But if you are equal distance, or if it’s equally convenient to visit you as it is her family, then you should get visits just as often as her family.

While special, holidays can also be very stressful for everyone involved.

It could be that she doesn’t like you, but it could also be that she is under more pressure to visit with her family than with you.

9. You don’t see gifts you have sent when you visit their house

When you visit their house and don’t see gifts you’ve sent, it’s not a good sign.

She may make up excuses as to why you don’t see the gifts. Even gifts that would typically be out in the open, like a picture frame or kid’s toy.

They are “broken” or “lost.” This can be really hurtful, and she knows it. Especially if the gift is something you know she wanted and thought she would like.

Even gifts that aren’t particularly liked should be appreciated.

If you don’t come around very often, those gifts should be out in the open. If you’ve sent gifts to the grandchildren, they should be used and noticed by you.

10. She’ll make passive-aggressive comments towards you disguised as jokes

This type of behavior is blatantly obvious.

Your daughter-in-law will say hurtful things and then laugh at it, like it’s a joke. Playful banter back and forth and joking around is normal and fun.

Families do things differently, and many engage in poking fun at one another and making little jabs. But if this isn’t normal for your family, make it clear that you don’t find her “jokes” funny.

Let’s be very clear. She may be laughing, but she knows what she is saying is rude and hurtful. If she’s doing this, she most definitely does not like you.

11. She is nicer to you in front of your son than when it’s just the 2 of you

It could be that she is just more comfortable when your son is around. Maybe she is more talkative when he’s around, and that’s okay.

She may be more relaxed when he’s around, which will help her be warmer, more friendly, and more open. Especially if it’s a new marriage, she may just be getting used to you and enjoy seeing you and your son interacting.

But if she seems to shut down completely when it’s just the two of you, she is probably itching to get away from you.

12. She doesn’t visit every time your son does

She may just be busy and unable to visit every time your son visits.

Or she could be actively avoiding you. If she always seems to be cleaning the house or finding excuses to not visit when her son does, she is actively avoiding you.

Think about how often your son visits in relation to how many times she visits. If it’s more than half the time, don’t take it personally.

She’s probably just working or visiting with her friends. If it’s less than half the time, especially if his visits are infrequent, it’s safe to assume she is finding reasons not to visit.

13. She is friendlier to others in the family than with you

This one is a big one. If your daughter-in-law is noticeably friendlier to other family members of yours, that’s a good sign she is not a fan of you.

Watch how she interacts with other family members. Think about how much she laughs with them and how she hangs out with them one on one.

Is it just that she has more in common with those family members? Maybe they are closer in age or have similar interests.

Or maybe she genuinely likes them more than she likes you.

14. She limits the number of interactions you have with your grandchildren

If your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you or trust you, she’s not going to want you around her children.

Mothers are very protective of their children. If she thinks you are going to disregard her rules or be disrespectful towards her or her kids, she’s not going to want them to be around you.

If your parenting styles are wildly different from hers, she may not trust that you are going to follow her wishes.

If she has any reason to think you would be abusive, neglectful, or disrespectful, she’s not going to want you to be around her kids.

How she feels about you, not only as a person but as a parent, will greatly impact how much time you get to spend with your grandchildren.

15. She doesn’t call or text on your birthday or big milestones

Does she let birthdays, anniversaries, or other big dates go unnoticed?

If she lets dates go by that other people would generally notice, that’s an indicator that she doesn’t like you.

It’s completely normal for people to forget a birthday or anniversary occasionally. 

Typically when that happens, we call the loved one and apologize and make a big thing about it. And then we remember next year!

But if she lets an important date go by completely unnoticed, especially multiple times, then she’s not remorseful. If she’s not remorseful, there’s a good chance she didn’t forget at all.

She just didn’t care enough to acknowledge the date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do daughters-in-law dislike their mother-in-law? 

Daughters-in-law may dislike their mother-in-law if they are made to feel not good enough for their husband by the mother-in-law, or if the mother-in-law frequently criticizes her or tries to tell her how to be a better wife or mother.

But your daughter-in-law may have preconceived notions about mothers-in-law too.

She may have friends that don’t get along with their mother-in-law. This will give her a preconceived idea about what mothers-in-law are like.

Mothers-in-law are also given a bad rap from social media, TV shows, and movies. 

They are often associated with being hostile, manipulative, or difficult. While this is an unfair depiction, it is something you may have to deal with.

If your daughter-in-law comes into the relationship with a certain level of skepticism about mothers-in-law, the way you treat her will either reinforce those ideas or help dispel them.

She will be watching how you interact with other people, how you treat them, and the comments you make towards them.

She may also be getting some feedback from her husband. If her husband doesn’t speak positively about you, she is going to come into the marriage struggling to trust you.

It could simply be that you aren’t very friendly to her. She has come into your family. Are you treating her like a family member?

Or are you treating her like an intruder?

How do I deal with an unfriendly daughter-in-law?

First, look at yourself. Do everything you can to be kind and welcome her into the family. If she feels like an outsider, she’s going to be more withdrawn. Avoid talking down to her or telling her how to run her household unless asked, even if you believe you know better.

It’s hard coming into a family.

Especially if you’ve never met them. Ideally, your daughter-in-law has met you before and has plenty of interaction with you. After all, when you get married, you marry the whole family.

Unfortunately, problems with in-laws are common. You have different beliefs, different views, and backgrounds. Blending families is inherently fraught with pitfalls.

Having a difficult relationship with your daughter-in-law can make life particularly challenging. They are the gateway to your son and your grandchildren.

If you find that you seem to be in a difficult situation, there are several things you can do to encourage a good relationship with your daughter-in-law.

First, make sure to recognize her role in your family.

She is the co-leader of her household. She is the mother of your grandchildren (or future grandchildren). She may parent differently than you, but she is doing the best she can do. Accept her unconditionally.

Next, never compare her to your daughter or other daughters-in-law. 

Remember, she is doing the best she can do. She doesn’t need to worry about how she stacks up. Avoid criticizing her lifestyle or her parenting styles.

Accept her unconditionally and be a positive force in her life. Help her out in any way you can. Remember that your son loves her for a reason. You can do the same.

Now you know why daughters-in-law may dislike their mothers-in-law and how to handle a difficult daughter-in-law. If your daughter-in-law does one or more of these things, she probably doesn’t like you very much.

How do I improve my relationship with my daughter-in-law?

Improve a relationship with a daughter-in-law by being open and honest about the issues between you, apologizing for any overstepping you may have done, and completely welcoming her into the family without judgment or expectation.

It’s important to remember that your daughter-in-law comes from a different family with different beliefs.

Be open-minded and disregard any initial judgments you may have about her. This is especially important if it’s the first time meeting her.

While you may be seeing her as being standoffish or rude, she could just be shy and uncomfortable.

She may be reserved or holding back. These feelings should eventually improve. Just continue to be welcoming and approach the possibility of spending time together one on one.

Be involved, trustworthy, and approachable.

Offer support and advice when needed and without reservation. This will show your daughter-in-law that you are someone she can rely on.

Don’t rush her.

Understand that relationships take time to build. You don’t know her family situation. If she isn’t close to her mother or has never had a mother figure, it may be harder to build a relationship with her. If you’ve had a previous conflict, show her that you are willing to put any difficult feelings behind you.

Finally, ask your son.

Ask him what you can do to strengthen your relationship with his wife. Involving him may make you more relaxed around her and proves that you really want to have a happy, healthy relationship with your daughter-in-law.

Final Thoughts

If you suspect that your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you, trust your gut. You’re probably right.

Having a difficult relationship with your daughter-in-law can make life particularly challenging. Try your best to repair or improve the relationship.

Be kind and compliment her as much as you can. I think you’ll find that if your daughter-in-law doesn’t like you, she’ll come around. If she doesn’t, her dislike of you probably comes from within.

Keep the door open. Hopefully, she’ll come around.

Jeff Campbell