14 Signs Your Mother-In-Law Doesn’t Like You

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

When you started dating your partner, their mom seemed nice. She was polite, asked you questions about yourself, and didn’t openly object to the relationship.

But gradually, you started noticing little comments and weird looks that made you wonder if she actually likes you.

And now that you’re married, those little signs have turned into big flashing billboards that indicate your mother-in-law isn’t your biggest fan.

You’ve noticed it in her eyes when you walk into the room—that flash of annoyance she tries to hide. And when you talk, she sort of smiles and nods, but you can tell she’s just waiting for you to stop.

She criticizes your cooking, your cleaning, and even your parenting skills. You try to shrug it off and get along with her, but the truth is undeniable—your mother-in-law just doesn’t like you.

You see the signs, even if your spouse doesn’t. But what can you do? How do you handle a mother-in-law who wishes her child had married someone else?

It can be frustrating to maintain a relationship with a difficult mother-in-law, especially when you’re trying your best to love her but she’s not making things easy.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle with difficult in-law relationships. Your top priority should be to find ways to love your partner and make your marriage work.

Keep reading to discover some signs your mother-in-law doesn’t like you and what you can do about it. While you may never become besties, there are things you can do to get along better.

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you


Do you have a gut feeling that your spouse’s mother doesn’t like you?

You may have tried to ignore her behavior for the sake of peace but deep down, you know she doesn’t approve of your marriage to her child.

Here are some obvious signs to watch out for and how to deal with the situation:

1. She’s passive-aggressive toward you

When someone doesn’t like you, they often use passive-aggressive behaviors as a way of expressing dislike without openly confronting you.

For example, they may frequently make sarcastic comments cloaked as compliments. If your mother-in-law makes snide remarks about you or gives you backhanded compliments, that’s a sign she may not approve of you.

Saying something like “That dress is so brave of you” or “Your cooking has improved” are subtle ways of putting you down while pretending to praise you.

Does your spouse’s mom make fun of your cooking or cleaning skills? Does she often “forget” to invite you to family events or conveniently be too busy to return your calls and texts?

A big sign your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is that when you see her in person, she’s all smiles but her actions or lack thereof speak louder than her words.

She may act nice when she comes around, but you notice something odd about the way she treats you.

Passive aggression is a sneaky tactic used to make you feel unwelcome without an obvious confrontation.

If this sounds familiar, your mother-in-law may not openly admit her dislike, but her behavior says it all.

The only way to handle passive aggression is by confronting the issue directly in a calm, composed manner.

It’s not an easy conversation, but clearing the air and setting clear boundaries is the healthiest approach for your relationship in the long run.

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

2. She constantly criticizes you

Another sign your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is that she’s always pointing out your flaws and shortcomings, even small things like how you load the dishwasher or fold the laundry.

When you cook dinner for the family, she’ll find something wrong with it too. Nothing you do seems to please her.

If your spouse’s mom criticizes you frequently, whether it’s about your career, your cooking, your parenting style, or your appearance, it’s clear she dislikes you.

Don’t let her constant criticism get you down or make you doubt yourself. Her hurtful comments say more about her than they do about you.

Stand up for yourself in a polite yet firm way by saying something like “Please don’t speak to me that way.” If she continues to belittle you, spend less time around her.

You deserve to be in a healthy environment where you’re respected and supported. Don’t engage or argue with your spouse’s mom—that will only make things worse. Set clear boundaries and don’t be afraid to enforce them.

Your mental health and happiness should be the priority here, not pleasing someone who is determined to find fault in everything you do.

Stay confident in who you are; her words can only hurt you if you give them power.

3. She refuses to respect your boundaries

It’s never a good sign if your mother-in-law ignores your requests for privacy or doesn’t respect the rules you’ve set for your home.

For example, if you’ve asked her to call before dropping by unannounced but she shows up whenever she pleases, that’s a red flag.

Or if you’ve told her that your child’s bedtime is 8 pm but she keeps them up late when babysitting, she’s overstepping her boundaries.

If she can’t honor simple requests or adhere to straightforward ground rules you’ve established, it likely indicates a lack of respect for you, your role as a parent, or your authority in your own home.

Don’t be afraid to prioritize your needs, but you may also need to limit the time she spends alone with your child or in your home if she continues to disregard your wishes.

Her behavior is unacceptable and will only damage your relationship further if left unaddressed.

4. She often excludes you from family events

Another sign your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is that she intentionally forgets to invite you to family gatherings and makes plans without considering you.

If grandma’s 80th birthday party is coming up but you only find out about it after the event, that’s a major red flag.

When your mother-in-law neglects to include you in important family occasions, it signifies she doesn’t view you as part of the family. She’s blatantly disregarding your role in her child’s life and acting as though you don’t exist.

Rather than directly confronting her about it, have your spouse talk to their mother and express how her actions make you both feel.

Let your mother-in-law know in a kind, compassionate way that as life partners you come as a package deal.

Failing to embrace you as family is hurtful and needs to change. If she’s unwilling to accept you, you may need to distance yourself from her to avoid further distress. No one should have to feel like an outcast in their own family.

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

5. She ignores you when you try to interact with her

An obvious sign your spouse’s mom doesn’t like you is that she often ignores you during conversations, dismisses your opinions, or changes the topic when you speak.

Does your mother-in-law barely acknowledge you when you try talking to her or asking her a question?

If she frequently disregards you or pretends she didn’t hear you speak, it’s a sign she may have an issue with you. Here are some examples to watch out:

When you say “Good morning”, she doesn’t respond or just gives a quick nod without making eye contact.

If you ask her an open-ended question at dinner to make a friendly conversation, she gives a short one-word answer or changes the subject.

She never initiates any interaction or asks you how you’re doing. She only speaks to you when absolutely necessary.

When your mother-in-law consistently turns down your offer to make small talk, read the handwriting on the wall, and stop trying to connect with her.

She has already made up her mind about you and no matter what you do or say, you’ll never be enough for her. Stop begging for her love and attention.

Focus on building fulfilling relationships with other people and just ignore her. You don’t need her to thrive so learn to be happy without her.

6. She undermines your relationship

If your mother-in-law frequently criticizes your partner’s choices and decisions regarding your relationship, that’s a sign she may not fully approve.

She may make snide comments about how you’re not “good enough” for her son or that you’re taking him away from her.

She may also go out of her way to point out your flaws and shortcomings, highlighting reasons why the relationship won’t last.

Instead of being supportive, she stirs up drama and creates tension. Her hurtful actions and words can drive a wedge between you two and cause arguments.

When a mother-in-law meddles where she’s not wanted and oversteps boundaries to assert control over her child’s life, it’s not a good sign.

Rather than embracing you as a new member of the family, she makes you feel like an outsider who’s not truly welcome. Her behavior shows she cares more about her own interests than her child’s happiness.

Talk to your significant other about what’s happening and find healthy ways to deal with your mother-in-law. 

7. She often compares you to others

Does your mother-in-law frequently compare you to other women, whether it’s your spouse’s ex, her friends’ daughter-in-law, or some imaginary ideal woman?

Does she say things like “Why can’t you keep the house as clean as Mary?” or “Jenny always brings over homemade cookies, why don’t you?”

Comparisons are a sign she wishes her son had married someone else. She’s implying you don’t measure up to her standards and you’ll never be good enough in her eyes.

Don’t let her toxic behavior make you feel inadequate or unworthy. You are not in a competition and you don’t need her approval.

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

8. She talks negatively about you to friends and family

If your mother-in-law makes negative comments about you to other relatives and friends, that’s a clear sign she doesn’t like you. Pay attention next time you’re around her and others.

Does she frequently criticize things you say and do, put you down with belittling comments, or complain about you to anyone who will listen?

Sadly, this behavior is common with toxic in-laws. The desire to make you look bad comes from a place of jealousy, control issues, or narcissism.

Don’t engage or argue with her directly, as this will likely only cause more drama. Instead, set clear boundaries by telling her privately and calmly that her comments are hurtful and unacceptable.

Be prepared for her to deny it or blame you for the problem. You may need to limit contact with her as much as possible to protect yourself.

The healthiest approach is accepting you cannot control her actions and can only control your reactions.

9. She acts cold and distant toward you

If your mother-in-law seems standoffish, aloof, or just plain ignores you, that’s not a good sign.

When you try to engage her in conversation, does she give you the cold shoulder or only provide brief answers?

Does she avoid making eye contact or even acknowledging you? These types of behaviors demonstrate that she’d rather keep you at arm’s length.

Instead of being warm and welcoming, an unfriendly mother-in-law will act cold and detached. She may come across as uninterested in getting to know you at all.

Rather than embrace you as the new member of the family that you are, she’d prefer you weren’t in the picture at all.

What you can do in this situation is to accept her for who she is instead of trying to change her and limit contact with her. You don’t need that toxic energy around you!

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

10. She shows no interest in getting to know you

Does your mother-in-law seem completely uninterested in learning more about you, your background, interests, or accomplishments? If so, that’s a telltale sign she doesn’t like you.

Most mothers-in-law want to get to know the person their child is marrying.

But if your spouse’s mom asks you no questions, shows no curiosity about your life, and makes no effort to bond over shared interests, it’s obvious she dislikes you.

Instead of trying to win her over, focus on surrounding yourself with people who love and support you. Let your spouse deal with their difficult mom, while you live your best life.

11. She avoids spending time with you

When your spouse’s mom shows no interest in getting to know you better and doesn’t want to make an effort to build a relationship with you, it’s clear she doesn’t care about you.

If she frequently visits your spouse without including you or comes up with excuses not to attend events where you’ll be present, it could indicate she’s not your biggest fan.

Though it may be subtle, her lack of interest in bonding with you is evident through her conspicuous absence on occasions when the rest of the family comes together.

Rather than directly expressing her disapproval, she demonstrates it through avoidance and distancing herself whenever possible.

Don’t let her behavior get to you. Just accept the fact that you cannot force a relationship with her and it’s okay if you’re not close to each other.

12. Her kindness seems forced and insincere

A major sign your mother-in-law doesn’t like you is that you can tell her niceness is not genuine.

Her compliments feel hollow and her smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. She goes through the motions of being polite but there’s an icy chill behind her courtesy.

When she asks how you’re doing, she barely listens to your reply. Her offers to help out or bring you meals ring false and you get the sense these gestures are more for show to make her seem like a good mother-in-law.

In private or when she thinks you’re not listening, her negative comments and nasty remarks reveal her true feelings.

She puts on an act of niceness but fails to mask her dislike and disapproval. You feel her scorn seeping through the cracks of her fake friendliness.

Forced kindness indicates your mother-in-law can’t stand you. Her pretentious attitude only highlights her thinly veiled contempt.

Don’t fall for her pretentious character; you know who she really is so lower your expectations and don’t expect much from her.

signs your mother-in-law doesn't like you

13. She tries to turn your partner against you

A big sign your spouse’s mom doesn’t like you is that she’s constantly trying to create discord between you and your partner instead of helping you bond better.

Does your mother-in-law badmouth you to your partner when you’re not around? Does she point out your flaws and shortcomings in an attempt to make them see you in a negative light?

If so, it’s a sign she’s actively trying to cause trouble in your relationship and turn your partner against you. Here are some other signs she’s attempting to sway their opinion:

She expresses concern that you’re just using them for money or status.

She questions if they’re truly happy and suggests they’d be better off without you.

She brings up past partners or relationships and talks about how great they were.

She makes comparisons between you and people your spouse used to date to highlight your perceived faults.

The goal is to plant seeds of doubt and drive a wedge between you. Don’t give her power over your relationship.

Address her manipulative behavior together, set clear boundaries, and make sure to always present a united front.

14. She’s always competing with you

Does your mother-in-law frequently try to outdo you or compete for your spouse’s attention? This behavior is a sign she sees you as a rival rather than a partner.

Here are some examples of unhealthy competition:

She always has to host the big family holidays or events so she’s in control.

She gives your spouse lavish gifts as if she’s trying to buy their affection.

She calls your partner all the time to take his attention away from you.

She showers him with compliments to make you feel jealous.

She questions or criticizes your parenting decisions to make you seem incompetent.

This constant competitiveness and need to assert dominance over you reveals her insecurity and jealousy.

Don’t engage or argue with her about it, remain calm and confident in yourself and your relationship. Ultimately, she’s fighting a losing battle if your spouse’s loyalty lies with you.


Did you notice any of these signs in your relationship? Navigating relationships with in-laws can sometimes be challenging and trying to change them will only make you miserable.

If you discover that your spouse’s mom doesn’t like you, know that you’re not alone. At the end of the day, you just have to accept that you and your mother-in-law may never be best friends. And that’s okay.

As long as she’s good to your partner and polite to you, the relationship doesn’t need to be all rainbows and butterflies.

If she’s making an effort but you two just don’t click, meeting in the middle is the mature thing to do. Shower her with kindness, be the bigger person, and focus on the positive things in your life.

Don’t let it stress you out or ruin special occasions. This is your partner’s mom, after all.

If you keep an open mind, you may be surprised at how your relationship can slowly improve over time. And if it doesn’t, well, just be glad you don’t have to live with her!


Recommended reading:

7 Reasons Why A Man Won’t Introduce You To His Family

9 Obvious Signs His Family Doesn’t Like You

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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