There are some people, no matter how hard you try, that just don't like you. Their reason may not even be something you said or did, but something out of your control completely. In most situations, you can let it go and move on, but when it's your mother-in-law, it's a different story. Here are four reasons why she may not like you, and what you can do about it.
1. You do things differently than she does
Mothers spend years teaching, training and educating their children on how to clean, cook, budget and treat other people. It can be hard to accept that someone their child barely knows (in comparison to them) changes everything they spent years perfecting. Perhaps you don't clean as deeply as she does, or you cook different foods on holidays. Maybe you like living in a high-rise in the city instead of a 4-bedroom home in the suburbs.
Whatever your differences are, it can have a negative effect on your relationship with your mother-in-law. She may feel that you think you are better than her because of these differences. Of course, this is most likely not true. Instead of presenting these differences all at once, easing her into them may be the best approach.
2. You are replacing her
When a child gets married, their spouse is now their number one priority. At times, mothers can't help but feel they have been replaced. You are who their child turns to for comfort, love and support. You are now their confidant and best friend. Even if your mother-in-law is happy for her child, it can still be painful and may come across as not liking you very much.
Make sure your mother-in-law knows how loved she is, and try to include her ever so often as a valued advisor. It doesn't mean you have to accept her advice, but knowing you considered it goes a long way in her book.
3. You're not who she imagined for her child
There are certain things beyond your control that may affect how your mother-in-law feels about you. It can be anything from not being the right age, not having the right personality or being raised in a different situation than her child. It's not necessarily your appearance she has a hard time accepting, but rather your differences. If you were raised in a different culture, there are tons of things that are different about you - from how you celebrate holidays, to how you treat your elders. One culture is not better or "more correct" then another, but when a mother's child is suddenly changing traditions and doing things completely foreign to her, it can be hard to accept.
As small-minded as this may seem, it's probably (and hopefully) not a conscious prejudice. Try to explain your differences and include your mother-in-law in your activities rather than shutting her out.
Your life choices can greatly affect your relationship with your mother-in-law, especially if she does not agree with them. Perhaps she always imagined her son marrying a stay-at-home mom, but you are a pediatrician. Even though you have a respectable profession, it doesn't matter if it's not what she wanted for her son and grandkids. Just because your mother-in-law doesn't approve, does not mean you need to change who you are. When you are together, perhaps choose to focus on life choices you both agree on.
As hard as you may try to please your mother-in-law, there are some things that are out of your control. What you can control is how you react to her. Always be kind, considerate and as understanding as possible. Don't talk bad about her to your spouse (that never goes over well) and be grateful that she raised such an amazing person that you were lucky enough to marry. If her dislike is bad enough to cause problems between you and your spouse, it is worth talking about with everyone involved. Otherwise, just love your spouse unconditionally, that in itself speaks volumes about your true character to your mother-in-law.