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Whenever my in-laws visit they speak to their son (my hubby) in their native language even though they all speak fluent English. Not only this, but when need be they also whisper to him in it.

I don’t understand their language, so the whispering is complete overkill!

I’ve discussed how I feel about all of this with my hubby for over a decade now, and of course he has tried occasionally to make them understand how isolated I feel when they do this- but he himself still speaks in their language to them when they start!

Unfortunately I’ve begun laughing uncontrollably when my hubby and his parents start whispering and my laughter is making everyone feel uncomfortable.

How does one become more tolerant of these sorts of situations? I mean it never impacts me in other settings, however, in my own home it just feels a bit suffocating.

They don’t want me to walk out of the room as that is disrespectful, yet my laughter is even more disruptive.

How does one maintain their composure during silly situations like these rather than actually laughing at people so obviously- please help before I setup a YouTube channel dedicated to my in-laws?


Posted by someonesmother, 24th September 2020


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  • Perhaps they like connecting with their culture by speaking their native language together which is completely fine. But if that’s the case it’s not reasonable or ok to speak another language in front of someone who doesn’t. Maybe they can organise some time together to use their language while you are out with your friends or family, but agree to only speak English when you are there. If they don’t do that then just leave the room guilt free. What’s the point of you being around for a conversation you can’t join? You’re not the ride one
    Here they are.


  • No, I don’t think you’re being racist. They are being rude by excluding you from conversations in your own home.


  • Not racist- they’re actually being incredibly rude and are obviously saying things they don’t want you to hear- I’d be pretty insulted in this situation.


  • You’re not racist, you just want to be heard and respected in your own home. I find it rude. Do they speak English at all? If so, it’s totally rude for them to speak in their language in front of you and your husband needs to be involved in fixing this.


  • They are so rude. If they can speak fluent English, talk to them about how it makes you feel. And I’m sorry, but your hubby is very selfish and extremely rude to you, his wife, as you have spoken to him about this for nearly a decade. This is your home and they shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable in your own place. Your hubby needs to grow a set, and stand by you and tell his parents they either speak English in your home or not come around. You are his No.1 priority and he needs to respect you. If they do it again, I would just get up and leave the room saying, ‘ how rude, after I have spoken to you about how it makes me feel, and you still continue to do it. So I am not going to sit here in my own place and be treated like this. You either do as I ask, or don’t come around’. And next time they come, dont cook for them.
    If your hubby can’t grow some, you grow a set and put them straight!!!!!! Stand up for yourself girl!!!


  • Your home ..your rules …speak English or when you visit (if you don’t abide by the rules …the visit will be in a park or similar.)
    Also I know it’s very difficult but you could also learn the language (that way you will be in the know.)
    Sending ALL my best wishes and prayers to you. xx


  • the laughing part makes no sense at all… that part’s kind of rude as there’s no pretext to doing so
    You could ask your partner to translate later as maybe your in-laws are more comfortable speaking in their native language and maybe they’re a little self conscious about speaking English, you won’t know unless you ask instead of assuming
    Don’t think this is racism but they maybe want to speak to your son only about an important matter, so if they don’t address you, you’ll have to just cop that on the chin and be done with it


  • You’re certainly not racist. I think it’s kind of funny that you have to laugh uncontrollably and don’t think it’s a wrong reaction. Personally I would feel tempted to walk away or start my own conversation with my kids whilst ignoring them.


  • I don’t think it is racist. I can see how you would feel uncomfortable being left out of a conversation, and even worse because you don’t even know what they are saying! .But I don’t think that making them speak English is the answer. Perhaps have some ‘rules’ about when it is spoken so you don’t feel so left out. I strongly think your hubby should be allowed to have his own language. If you ever have any kids wouldn’t you want them to learn it too?. Are you against learning his language? I would have thought that was a chance of a lifetime, and would bring you closer, but if you are really anti this then just find some way around it so you feel happy, but allow you husband to enjoy the gift of bilingualism his parents have given him.


  • My mother in law did this to me. She had 55 years in Australia when I met her. I am a English as a second language teacher so I approached her on my own and asked her to speak English when I am with her only son as it’s rude to exclude me or anyone present in the room. She pushed back with it’s her house and she can do anything in her house. I agreed and said it would be a shame that it would be her fault that her son’s relationship would have to end if this was her attitude towards me moving forward. We gave her time, I understand English was hard for her to pickup but she understands everything said to her she was making this all about her. As far as your in-laws go you must tell them it’s RUDE to EXCLUDE anyone in the room and disrespectful towards you and them must not show this behaviour to their grandchildren. Your husband is part of the problem he must ask hi parents to speak English when in your company. (My mother in law made more mistakes which led me to divorce myself from her.. NOT MY HUSBAND. I took myself out of her presence and she felt that. I left her to visit with her son and the kids who did not speak her language and never will no point as they were too small and when they grew up have no interest in her language. She was making life hard only when she was present as soon as she left our household was happy and content.) Sad really as grand parents need to be there to love and support a marriage and new family and especially the mother of their grandchildren. You are not Racist!


  • I think your reaction was better than mine. When my husband and his parents spoke in their native tongue, I would take my children, their grandchildren, and go outside and show my kids the garden and attempt to answer the questions of what was growing. They really disliked that I would take the kids out of their hearing but eventually they only spoke English when I and my children were there.


  • There’s a scene in the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona that this reminds me of. Penelope Cruz starts speaking Spanish and Javier Bardem insists that she speak English. She continues to speak in Spanish. He responds in English and then respectfully reminds her that in this house she must speak English.
    If your in-laws spoke no English I would say bad luck, but the fact that they are fluent means there is no reason for them to speak in their native tongue unless it’s something they don’t want you to know about. If this was me I would ask my husband to start responding in English and then occasionally remind them to switch to English so that you can understand.


  • I’m not sure why you would think that you are being racist. Are you able to explain that part further?


  • I don’t see any problems with it! My husband and his family speak different language but it doesn’t bother me. My mother in law and I have a great relationship although it took us some time to get to that point. May be you should address that with your in laws after all you all are part of a family… extended if not immediate.


  • Gosh, i’m sorry to hear this. It is disrespectful on your husband and in-laws side. I would ask them in English to speak English around you.


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