Ask Amy: New mother-in-law wants DIL to love her
I called her and left a message. She didn't return the call or text me.
I don't understand why she keeps me at arm's length.
She knows I hold them close to my heart. She is not close to her mother. They rarely speak, and she has said this is fine with both of them, but I am not that kind of mom! How can I bring her closer to me?
-- Heartbroken Mom
Dear Heartbroken: First, you need to figure out how to be less heartbroken, and more patient and understanding toward a young woman who might not know how to be intimate in the way that you are intimate.
It is inappropriate for you to share details of your separation from your husband with this new family member, and to ask for (or expect) her emotional support. Presumably, the husband you are separated from is her new father-in-law. Your emotional needs feel like a demand; this puts a lot of pressure on her.
She has no father and a distant relationship with her mother.
You should not tell her how to love you. Instead, you should show her how a patient, compassionate, loving and good-humored mother behaves.
You should not expect a call back from an anxious, pregnant daughter-in-law with a frightening diagnosis who has already admitted that she doesn't always know how to behave.
Approach her with the goal to build a friendship. Don't pressure her to be a daughter to you. She's not ready!