Long time listener, first time caller. . .
I am marrying a wonderful, amazing man in a few months. We've been together 5+ years and are super happy. We are both involved in the others family interactions - my parents live a few states away but make a good effort to be supportive and a part of our lives, and his parents live in the town we do. His parents have a track record of child-like behavorial issues and over the last five years, it seems apparent that they are not as emotionally stable as you would imagine two 60 year old WASPs to be!
As confirmed by my fiance, they have a largely unhappy marriage, although they function within it well. There is a lot of talking poorly about the other and small pettiness, but it's normally contained to just their relationship. However, when something larger and more exciting comes around, they seem to finally get along - and direct their now-joint pettiness towards the new event. Last year, for their other son's wedding, my future mother in law was calling both myself and my future sister in law and saying horrible, nasty things about the other. After a year of not speaking, my future sister in law and I discussed it and found out we were both being egged on to dislike the other. The same thing happened with the groom and my fiance. Unfortunately, my future mother in law fails to see her role in this and has been complaining to quite a few people that we don't like her and never spend time with her.
We are just a few short months away from our wedding, and our goal was to simplify it like crazy! We are buying out an entire restaurant and taking care of all the details without having to bother anyone close to us for extreme manual labor. We are spending much, much more than planned - but we were guilt-tripped by his parents to have a big wedding, and now here we are! His father offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner, and then took it back - citing "calling it even" for a five year old college loan. We planned a small, manageable rehearsal dinner with the wedding party, parents, and a small set of close family friends on each side. Now, his parents are upset that we aren't inviting the entire extended family (76 people!) to the rehearsal dinner. We politely declined, and then were told that they would pay for it. I got a polite email with the request, while my fiance got a phone call saying that if we didn't do it their way, they would un-invite his side of the family to the wedding itself. We declined again.
I am bumming because I try to be a good member of the family - we spend time with his dad at his business a few days a week, I often treat us all to lunch and truly do enjoy my time with him. I do not see his mother as often (fiance works across the county for big chunks of time) - she and I both work nights as a nurse and a restauranteur, respectively. We spent a week in the mid-west with his family for thanksgiving, even though it is a big no-no for me to take off during our restaurants busiest season. Just two weeks ago, I coordinated a 75 person surprise birthday party for her and had her whole family fly in from across the country to celebrate 60 because she was feeling down about it!
I am super stressed! My fiance's coping mechanism with his difficult parents has been to keep his head down and let them do their thing. I, unfortunately, am not so willing to give up anything and everything because someone demanded it. I sent the Save the Dates out and am confused as to how future father in law thinks he will un-invite 50 of his family members?
How do you deal with difficult in laws? I am trying to be polite and do my thing and maintain sanity, but you can't reason with the unreasonable. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place!