14 Reasons Why Mothers-In-Law Don’t Like Daughters-In-Law

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

conflict between mother and wife

If you think you are the only daughter-in-law in the world with a flaky relationship with the mother-in-law, think again! As it turns out, there’s a community of daughter-in-laws the world over scrambling for a better relationship with their mother-in-law and seemingly getting nowhere. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering why? Why doesn’t your mother-in-law like you and want to get along with you? You might not like all of the possible underlying reasons, but there are a few very good reasons why she hasn’t taken to the new woman in her son’s life.

It’s a natural feeling for a mother to be curious about the woman her son has chosen to spend his life with. In her mind, her approval of the chosen woman should be important. One aspect that mothers don’t particularly think about is that they don’t know every facet of their sons anymore, and as much as it irks them, now is the time for a new woman to step in.

Below are 14 reasons why mothers-in-law tend to push daughters-in-law – hopefully, they shine a bit of light onto an otherwise confusing situation. Let’s jump right in.

14 reasons why mothers-in-law don’t usually get along with daughters-in-law:

1. You’re not what she had in mind for her son.

You know how you grew up dreaming of meeting the perfect man with the perfect features who said and did all the right things? Well, mothers have similar dreams about their sons finding women that fit into their idea of the perfect woman. The problem is that that woman doesn’t exist. She is a dream. What her son got was you, and she is going to sulk about it regardless. If you don’t fit into that dream for her son, she is going to be somewhat a tad off. Ignore it. 

2. You’re not stroking her ego enough.

Some mothers-in-law like a kiss-ass. Yes, it’s true. They want a woman that dotes on her just as much as they dote on her son. If you aren’t fawning all over and bidding to her every whim and call, she won’t like you. You could ignore it completely, or play the game and earn her affections that way. 

3. They might think you are too attractive.

This might seem a little weird and may even be something she thinks and does subconsciously, but women view other attractive women as possible flight risks. If you are too pretty, she might think you’re going to leave her son in search of someone else, which would hurt and upset him. She doesn’t want him hurt and upset, so she is wary and distant towards you. 

4. The idea of competing for time and attention.

When you flit into your partner’s life, you are essentially bashing another very important woman off of her podium: the mom. A man’s mother believes that she is deserving of a large portion of his time and attention, but that naturally changes when you get into a relationship. Now, mom gets less attention, and you get far more. A mother-in-law is acutely aware of this and may feel as if she has to compete with you for time and attention. This can cause her to view you with distaste. 

5. Differences in religious beliefs.

This one can be quite a tricky one to work with, but if you have different religious views and beliefs, she will most likely going to dislike you immediately. A mother-in-law has to have an open mind about that sort of thing in order for it to work. You cannot ditch your religious beliefs because of your mother-in-law, and she may fear that her son starts to follow a new faith. This can often lead to upset feelings. 

6. The daughter-in-law replaces the leading woman in the man’s life (the mother).

When the daughter-in-law comes along, the mother is in a way dethroned. She is no longer the woman that advises him on what curtains to buy, how to make a certain meal, and what sort of garden design he should go with. Now there is another woman in this particular role, and that can feel very threatening. This can drive quite a wedge between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.

mother-in-law looking at son hugging wife

7. She fears you might not treat her son right.

If you have the type of relationship with your partner where you share household responsibilities and neither panders to the other, she may see this as you not doing your womanly duties. This could be an old-school way of thinking. Don’t change your relationship agreement and roles to suit hers, but try to show her that you do treat her son right on all levels, not just in terms of household chores.

8. Mothers are used to being the ones in control and who have the last word.

A visiting mother is usually the one that gets to choose the occasion, the restaurant, the food, and so on. Now that there is a daughter-in-law, those choices are made together. She may not like having to consult with another woman on these things, especially if she has been in control for so long. This can lead her to give the impression that she doesn’t like you, but in reality, it is probably just a control thing.

9. She may be jealous watching you do things for her son that she once used to do.

If you are suddenly whipping up your partner’s favorite meal of Mac & Cheese, you might be unpleasantly surprised to learn that mum always used to cook that dish for him. Yours may never quite be the same as mums, yet your partner absolutely loves it. This is tricky territory for you as mum will undoubtedly have her nose out of joint at learning this. Now, mum has a reason to feel both threatened and jealous when it comes to the kitchen and whipping up a storm for her son.

10. She sees her son far less than before you were around.

Before you came into her son’s life, your mother-in-law undoubtedly saw a lot more of her son. She values the time spent with him, and so when the time is divided now that you are in the picture, she may be a bit resentful. 

11. She may judge you on your past or on your family situation. 

If you have a past that is common knowledge to the family, she may judge you on it and fear that you will tarnish the family name in the end. 

12. You might just cook better than her.

Mums love to cook up a storm for the family, but what if you both cook something for the gathering and everyone fawns over your dish? You’re in trouble with mum! No daughter-in-law should cook better than the mother-in-law – at least that’s what they think. 

13. You could make her feel old and obsolete.

family and mother-in-law in family issues

There’s a younger, fitter, and sharper young lady in the house and family. This can lead any matriarch feeling old, obsolete, and left out. This, unfortunately, can make her experience bad feelings towards to.

14. She just doesn’t understand you.

If your mother-in-law just doesn’t click with you, it doesn’t have to be for a very dramatic reason. There are millions of very different people out there in the world, and sometimes 2 people just don’t click. If you are very different from your mother-in-law, she may just not understand you and vice-versa. 

Last Word

Even though it might seem as if the odds are stacked against you when it comes to getting along with your mother-in-law, you really should put in the effort to try. Consider these reasons for her behavior and see if there is anything that you can do to ease these feelings for her and you. Good luck!

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.