17 Toxic In-Laws Who Completely Tore Their Family's Marriages Apart

    "My now-husband sat his dad and mom down and told them he wanted to marry me. My mother-in-law screamed, wailed, and cried, stating that this was going to be the biggest mistake of his life."

    We recently asked people of the BuzzFeed Community whose in-laws ruined their marriage to tell us their stories. Here are the unbelievable — and heartbreaking — results:

    1. "My first mother-in-law. This story was relayed to me by my mother about a month after the wedding. This was truly a family-only affair. We had the ceremony at MIL's house, my sister-in-law was the officiant, and only family was invited. While he and I were exchanging our vows, this...woman...says to my own mother, 'I certainly never thought he would settle for THAT ONE.'"

    "Sadly, this was not the first time she treated us like I led him around by the nose and was the source of every bad decision. Nor the last. But I did ban her from my house before we got divorced, at least."


    Woman in a patterned dress wipes a tear during a wedding while bride looks on

    2. "My MIL called me one day and proceeded to tell me how to satisfy my husband sexually. LITERALLY. TOLD. ME. HOW. TO. SATISFY. MY. HUSBAND. HER BIOLOGICAL SON. She then proclaimed that 'blood is thicker than water, and he will ALWAYS come back to MY BED!!!!!' When I told my husband what she said, he got very silent and left the room. I followed and asked him if it were true."

    "He walked into the garage...to do an oil change on the car. I immediately left him."

    —70, USA

    3. "My marriage was ruined starting on the wedding day. Along with all the other drama she caused, my MIL stole our gifts and left. She made plans for us for the next day (we already had plans), and my new husband told me just to do what she wanted. For the rest of the marriage, I was expected to go with whatever his mom wanted. Thankfully, it's not my problem anymore, and I've offered sympathy to whatever woman he dates."

    —Anonymous, USA

    Woman smiling with a stack of gifts, expressing contentment

    4. "My ex-fiancé had a toxic narcissist for a sister who convinced him to cheat on me with his book editor, which ruined our engagement. The sister was my ex’s landlord and did not want him to move out to live with me (so she wouldn’t lose the income or have to fix up her property to attract a new renter). She ruined his friendships, too, via manipulation to isolate him and keep him dependent on her."

    "Her own marriage is terrible, and she just married her husband because his mom was a realtor and bought them a house. But on the bright side, he’s balding now from all the stress he allowed her to cause him."

    —36, USA

    5. "My husband and I's relationship moved quickly from the start and had a short time between dating and getting married. Throughout our dating relationship, I always felt out of place and uncomfortable anytime we were with his family. I quickly realized that being around his mom was the hardest part. She is a very 'bold' person and made it very clear that our relationship was not up to her 'standards.' There was one night specifically when my now-husband had sat down his dad and mom and told them he wanted to marry me. She screamed, wailed, and cried, stating that this was going to be the biggest mistake of his life, that we were too young for this, and his whole life was about to be ruined."

    "ON THE DAY OF OUR ENGAGEMENT, she openly said to my husband's dad that she couldn't celebrate the day because my husband was about to screw up his whole life. Following our engagement, she sent many nasty texts to my husband about me and how I was going to make his life miserable. The funny thing is, I literally never did anything to make her feel this way. Now, being married, we still receive so many unkind things from her, yet she puts on a facade whenever we are around other people about how she's so glad we had gotten married when we did and that we are perfect together. My husband told his parents that he would no longer tolerate this behavior, which made everything messier. I appreciate him sticking up for me, but it's still so exhausting. We have openly spoken with them about taking a break from seeing them, and they were not happy about it, but it's what had to be done. We honestly have so many fears as we are trying to have children, and we know it will only get worse when children are in the picture. I don't know what I did to make her hate me so much."

    —Anonymous, USA

    Woman comforting a distressed man sitting on a couch, both appear contemplative or worried

    6. "My ex-MIL ruined the marriage between me and my ex-husband. She constantly told me that I wasn't good enough for her son. She later emailed him while he was on deployment about how I didn't keep house. I worked 14-hour shifts while in port. He later got after me for standing up for myself, by kicking his mother out of the apartment. Cut to when I was at sea, he posted on Facebook that he was going to divorce me. Of course, his mother defended him."

    "I was a complete train-wreck. It has taken me at least two years to finally heal from all the damages that were done."

    —42, Texas

    7. "My ex-wife let her parents run our entire lives, including the bank account. They chose everything for her/us, even when I said no. She would never defend me and went so far as to suggest to them that I was autistic."


    An older adult is holding a credit card and paper, looking confused, with a laptop and documents on the table

    8. "My husband and I met in 2010; we had dated for two years and rarely visited his parents who lived an hour away. On our wedding day, his mom commented on how men on his dad’s side of the family never stayed married to their first wife — my husband had never been married before. If my husband did something wrong or was selfish, his mother would enable his behavior by saying that he worked a lot and deserved things we couldn’t afford or [encouraged him] to do things out of our price range."

    "$23,000 in credit card debt and 13 years later, he can safely move on to his 'forever' wife that his mother constantly reminds me is not his first wife, me."

    —40, Texas

    9. "I have a sister-in-law who has always acted like a very possessive, jealous, and meddlesome mother-in-law. She is still single at 72 and was never interested in finding a partner. In fact, she avoided men and dating completely. She followed us to different cities and made our lives very stressful. She has always been very childish, complaining about things like being left out, no matter what we did. She pouts like a spoiled child if she thinks anyone has offended her, which is impossible not to do because of her very immature behavior. When we had children, she became even more meddlesome — to the point of saying the name we had chosen was 'stupid,' and she would call our daughter by another name. She is impossible to get along with. Her other brother was unfortunate enough to have to share a residence for quite a while recently. He stayed in his bedroom most of the morning to avoid her."

    "The brothers laugh about her constantly when they are together, but there is an underlying disbelief at how annoying and ridiculous she is. ... We had to leave the city we lived in a couple of years after she arrived due to her constant troublemaking. ... I almost left my husband to get away from her, but luckily, we have moved across the country, and she has stayed near the city she followed us to. I tolerated her twice-yearly visits for decades because she is my husband’s sister, but it wasn’t easy. ... She has many problems outside of our relationship. I have never met a more fearful and paranoid person. Extremely scared of the most everyday things. Imaginary allergies as well. A true case study with no self-awareness at all!"

    —70, Canada 

    Two people in close conversation, one looks visibly annoyed

    10. "My cousins were married for 15 years, had two children, and were very happy and in love. They owned a farm where they all lived and worked. The couple had a house on the property, and the MIL had a house adjoining but separate. The MIL treated her son like a teenager. She would come over if we were all having dinner past 10 p.m. and tell him it was late, and he should sleep. She would come over to clean their house, rearrange furniture, etc., without permission. She constantly criticized the wife’s cleanliness and parenting decisions, and she stepped over her boundaries in various things, like what food to give the kids."

    "The wife again and again told the husband that she couldn’t live like this and begged to move to a house off the farm so they could have some privacy. He refused and was totally blindsided when she left him one day after 15 years. Now, the ex-wife says to this day that the only reason the marriage ended was the MIL; she loved her husband but couldn't live like this. None of us blamed her."


    11. "Money was tight for my first husband and me, and since I was the more fiscally responsible person in our marriage, we had agreed that I would manage our finances. We also agreed to make no purchases over $100 without consulting the other person. That only applied until my then-husband wanted something to which I said 'no.' The first instance was when his father purchased a new truck but decided six months later he didn’t like it. He convinced my husband to swap his four-year-old sports car for the truck, pay him $3,000, and re-landscape his backyard (another $3,000–$4,000). All without consulting me."

    "The last straw was when my husband wanted to start his own business (purchasing a franchise). The in-laws wanted to be 'silent partners' and front the $20k down payment. I was against this because A) my husband had no experience running a business (he couldn’t even balance a checkbook), B) I did not want to go into business with family, and C) I knew they would not help with the operation and management, and I already had a full-time job, toddler, and house to take care of. After many lengthy discussions, I believed my husband agreed, until I came home from work a few weeks later and learned that they had purchased the franchise. I had already started going to a counselor, who at this point informed me I would always be doing battle with mommy and daddy. That’s when I kicked him back to mommy and daddy."

    —60, Maryland

    Father and son, one older and one middle-aged, smiling and embracing in a loving and friendly gesture

    12. "My ex-MIL created chaos throughout my entire engagement, wedding, and marriage. She made a scene about anything she could think of, going to the extent of hitting me in the face the morning of my wedding after I had asked her to step outside and take a breather after she berated my mom on a mix-up in seating. It was a totally innocent mistake, and my mom was very understanding and accommodating, but Barb was even angrier that my mom wasn't giving her the reaction she was trying to dig out of her. Ugh, that's just the tip of the iceberg..."

    "And she pried her way in tagging along to my dress fitting, and literally, on the way out in the parking lot after trying my dress on for alterations, she said, 'Hey, I have some clothes in the back of my car that are WAYYY too big for me, and I thought you'd want to take a look to see if you want any.'"


    13. "My ex-mother-in-law would come to my house while I was cooking dinner...to bring the dinner she'd cooked us. My husband would take it and tell me to 'stop cooking; we already had dinner ready.' Of course, he ruined the marriage himself with fun little comments about how 'that's not how my mom makes it' and 'that's not how my mom cleans it.' I told him if he wanted it the way his mom did it, he should move back into her house. We divorced after almost two years of marriage and six years together."

    —48, Montana

    Woman in apron cooking on stovetop, focused on stirring pot

    14. "They didn't ruin our marriage, but they tried their best. Now, we have zero contact with them because, through the process of trying to dodge their attacks, my spouse realized he was dealing with some serious trauma from them. My FIL and MIL are divorced. My FIL hated me from the start. He would try to pick fights with me, then 'tell' on me to my then-fiancé. Luckily, I was on the opposite side of the state, but when my husband and I decided to get married, he drove five hours to track down my wedding coordinator, then continued to harass her, trying to change my wedding plans...and that's just the beginning with him. I have years and years of stories of harassment, emails calling us names, accusing us of things we never did, throwing tantrums, the works."

    "We went no contact with my MIL. FIL was next a few years later when we told him 'no' to something he wanted so we could protect our children. He freaked out and acted like we were withholding custodial rights — something he doesn't have. Both of them are horrible, abusive people who believe everyone else is the problem. I am proud of my husband for healing, but those two gave me a run for my money. The sad part is, that their ugly behavior was normal for my husband because he grew up around them. It took him being in a healthy relationship to realize it wasn't okay. I played his shield until he could stand up to them, and I would do it again."

    —40, Nevada

    15. "MIL grew up poor and stayed low-income her entire life. She knew her son would be successful because we worked toward his dreams, which made her incredibly jealous. MIL was passive-aggressive when talking to my husband about me, said backhanded insults, made incorrect assumptions, and had biases. My husband set boundaries that MIL constantly crossed, so he went full no contact. MIL tried to ruin my marriage but ended up ruining her relationship with her son."

    —43, Arkansas

    Assorted old photographs spread out, showcasing various stages of family life and relationships

    16. "I was a transplant in the Deep South. My now ex-husband and I started dating. He failed to mention that he was already married (said he was divorced) and had kids with an ex. No problem; my husband had died a few years prior, and I was a single mom with kids. We dated, and he lived with me and my kids. We had his kid on the weekends and during the summer. This was a small town, and his ex still lived there, but no big deal. We got pregnant and found out it was a girl. My soon-to-be MIL was over the moon. She had only had boys, and they only had boys. This was the first girl in the family. We even gave the baby her name as a middle name. What I didn’t know was that she hated me. She hated that I ruined her perfectly southern bloodline (being a damn Yankee — you know Yankees who move to the south instead of visiting and leaving). She told everyone how rude I was, was downright mean to me, demanded I do things her way — including raising my children…and apparently, hers."

    "I was yelled at, spit on, chewed out, and called names, and my children from my previous relationship were treated like dirt. It got to the point where the kids wouldn’t play with mine. Birthday party invites were even returned because other kids' parents would tell their children they couldn’t be friends with mine because I was 'the wrong kind of people.' My ex-husband was a mama's boy and did whatever his mama said, including leaving me. She even fought us (her OWN son and me) for custody of our daughter. This was the turning point in our marriage. He took his mother's side in everything! I was no longer his wife — just an incubator for our daughter (and his only biological girl). I was turned down, shut down, and snubbed at every opportunity. I couldn’t take it anymore and returned home. We divorced, and she couldn’t have been happier. I was told she even threw a party. He and I have low contact and only speak because of the child we share. His mom ruined our marriage, and he allowed it."

    —32, Alabama

    And finally...

    17. "My in-laws never accepted me into the family. When I met my husband's parents, there were pics all over the house of his ex and kids, none with him. I joked about the ex getting HIS family in the divorce. They kept the ex over my husband, and then, they blamed the toxic dynamic on me and cut contact with my husband. Fifteen years later, the ex still attends all events, and we are mostly excluded. I am expected to attend weddings and funerals. His family hates me."

    "My anxiety gets triggered because I am either going to stand in a room of people who hate me, or my husband is just not going to stand up for me. My husband blamed me. I blamed myself. I blamed them. I blamed hubby. NO FUN. We divorced because I never needed a wife-in-law."

    —55, Michigan

    Close-up of a person with a tear rolling down their cheek, looking thoughtful or sad

    Wow. If you have an in-law who ruined your marriage, feel free to share your story in the comments below. Or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, feel free to use this Google form.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.