The only advice I can give you is to stop worrying about it. I know that sounds daft but really this is nothing to do with you, it's to do with your mother in law. It is nearly impossible for you to influence the situation one way or the other. You can't make your mother in law want less of a relationship with your family, and you can't make your family suddendly want to get to know her.
I think you should just let it all work itself out and not take it personally, but always be warm etc to her yourself so that she can never make it personal against you.
About the wedding again . . . .don't worry. She may understand that those people don't actually know her and therefore will not invite her. If she just wants the relationship she's always free to send people as many cards etc as she likes if it makes her feel better.
These are things between your MIL and your family to work out themselves. If things get really difficult perhaps you could ask your folks to make a small gesture like a Sunday lunch with her every 6 months or drop in for a cup of tea etc . .. they may not want to but if things get really difficult it may be a small price to pay. Of course then they run the risk of getting sucked into feeling they have to repay her hospitality and invite her to their place etc etc. Best just leave it.
I had read this earlier and not replied as I certainly don't have experience of it but seeing there are still no replies I thought I'd add my tuppence worth...
It's quite a strange one really... You say she's not lonely but it sounds like she is... She might have kids at home but if one is still at school and the other not much older they probably don't spend that much time with her.
Maybe she's just excited at the thought of extending her family with her son getting married- is he the first in the family?
While I can understand her wanting to make an effort with your parents in law I do find the card to the cousin a tad strange and for that reason I do think you (or rather your husband) will have to speak to her. She's having unreasonable expectations of being a part of your family so that does need to be spelt out to her. I'm sure it will be hard to broach the subject but perhaps she will let you know why she's being like this...
MIL's can go quiet funny before and after weddings, I've had my fair share of MIL problems. I don't think they mean anything bad by it. My own MIL had a very bad relationship with her MIL and she tries to make our relationship a good one, even though sometimes she does the stupidest of things.
I'm just wondering if your husband is the first one to get married from his family? Maybe she doesn't know what to do now that she has a daughter in law and she is just trying to show your family that you are all close and just because she lives so far away doesn't mean she's not a part of your lives. Why don't you invite her out for lunch and talk about different things, then try to lead the conversation towards your family and see what she is trying to do. Keep it all simple, things like my cousin got your card, it was a lovely thing to do but really theres no need for it..... Or, that it's nice to know her sisters door is always open for your family but you know with people so busy in their lives these days they don't always have time to pop in to see her....
I would be the first to say MIL's can be very annoying but I also think they are misunderstood.
I agree there is nothing you can do so stay out of it.
My parents are not too cliquey and so did not want to have this big relationship with my in-laws but it did piss me off a lot that they IL'S made such a show of being friends with BIL wife's folks ringing and inviting over for weekends etc and not for my parents IYKWIM,
But neither them or my folks actually had an issue, just me, so I just had to let it go and get on with my own life as its really not my problem anyway.
Many thanks for all your responses. I do agree with you all that this is not our issue and we should stay out of it, unfortunately the MIL blames us when my family, parents, aunts & uncles etc. don't call in on her if they are in the area and won't speak to us if she finds out. It has got so bad that we have to warn people not to mention if they where down on in that part of the country as the MIL would be upset if she heard. Visiting her is now a real chore as we have to be so careful what we say in front of her. Also just to add she has called my maid of honour a couple of times since the wedding asking her out to the house (bridemaid lives 50 miles away from her). It really is getting umcomfortable, to me it's not loneliness driving this but dare I say it attention seeking, but how to deal with it I am not sure. If we mentioned it to her, she probably would have a huff and wouldn't speak to hubby for weeks because of it.
I think nea dude has made a very good suggestion with the lunch idea - sound her out. I'm going to PM you.
It's really unfair of her to blame you and your husband about not getting the attention she wants from the rest of the family. I wouldn't broach it with her directly but I think that having a general chat with her and gradually getting her to talk about what is going on behind all of this might help.
Moet for me
Yes I have heard of people like that before, Inlaws of a friends used to come over and stay with his parents from the UK every chance they got the friends family hated it and certainly none of the other inlaws in the family were like that people just have very different ideas. My advice is never tell her if your family will be near her, don't make any of your family drop into to her and eventually she will get the picture.
I think maybe leaving her to figure it out herself may not be the best idea.
It sounds like she just genuinely doesn't get the fact that other people aren't interested in having that kind of relationship with her. It's a bit cruel not to tell her that they aren't interested, because she will genuinely think you're being mean and keeping them away. Some people really are that oblivious. MIL sounds like a lovely woman who is particularly blinkered in this respect.
How to tell her?
I'd sit her down and say "MIL, we really appreciate all that you're doing for my family, but I don't want to see you hurt. They're (your family) just not as close as we are and they don't understand why you would want them to drop in all the time. You're very warm and inviting, but I don't want you to be upset if they're not interested because a) they're not immediate family, even to me and b) if even we're not that close, you can imagine how it is to them to have a virtual total stranger telling them to call over all the time. Don't be offended when you hear that they've come through without stopping, they're just like that."
Obv this makes it out a little bit to be your family's problem, not hers, but if this is what she sees as her reality, it will help her get the point a bit more.