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Demanding In-laws

Currently I am engaged, over the past 2 years I have gotten quiet fimilar with my fiance' parents. Whom have a tendancy to plan events and demand my fiance' attendance, these small events such as 30th birthdays and boys only camping trips, and restraunt dinners on holidays (which is completely out of my confort zone for spending the big holiday's) have become extreamly stressful, In a few instances I have explained to my mother in-law why we wouldn't be able to make it to these gatherings, due to plans we have had for a great deal of time, she will respond to me with a simple I understand maybe next time, followed by invinting her son to lunch and crying about how essential it was to her that he was there... thus he becomes frustraited that we are not attending and has a terrible attitude when we are out doing our "previously planned activitied" on the day we should have been at his family gathering. I can't help but feel bad that I may seem like I am keeping him from his family, however I just want us to not give up our camping trips and holiday traditions because his family demands his attendance, I do not feel that it is fair that his mother (pirtculary) is not understanding that he cannot be at all these events, we try to make it when we can and I have cancled and missed many of my own planned outings due to her guilt trips, I have also suggested that we go to events seperatly but he refuses and "gives me what I want" (as he calls it) what is the proper etiquette for my demanding soon-to-be-in-laws

Re: Demanding In-laws

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    edited July 2013

    I feel like it is more on the end of his family, it has just reached the point where the cross planning has caused so many missed events on his, and it seems like he is becoming super frustraited cause he loves his mother and wants her to feel like she is recieving his time as well. We are both in school Full time and work 40 hpw, it is currently our summer vacation and we have missed oppourtunities to leave town for the weekend because we have to be at a 9am breakfast in the middle of our weekend, he has a hard time saying no.

    I just needed to be certain that I was not overstepping my boundries.

     

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    TheRaeB said:

    I feel like it is more on the end of his family, it has just reached the point where the cross planning has caused so many missed events on his, and it seems like he is becoming super frustraited cause he loves his mother and wants her to feel like she is recieving his time as well. We are both in school Full time and work 40 hpw, it is currently our summer vacation and we have missed oppourtunities to leave town for the weekend because we have to be at a 9am breakfast in the middle of our weekend, he has a hard time saying no.

    I just needed to be certain that I was not overstepping my boundries.

     

    Again, this is an issue with your FI. You just said here he "has a hard time saying no" and that he is frustrated because he wants his mom to "feel like she is receiving his time as well." Your future ILs are going to keep extending 9am breakfast invites if your FI keeps agreeing to them. You both need to set a game plan for how you will handle family events and personal plans. His mother may certainly be demanding, but your problem lies with your FI.

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    That is actually the problem, my mom and father are not around and I am the oldest of 5 kids so it is my responsibility to host the events for my younger siblings proving them a place to celebrate the holidays and yes we always go to his familys I have tried to host a christmas or thanksgiving with his family but his mother will tell me that I can go ahead and host the holiday and then she will let me know later (by having her son tell me) that she needs to do it this year and that it took her 5 years to get the holidays from her mother, there for I have to cancle my holiday with my family because she is not willing to share the hosting.
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    Thank you that is really helpful, we have discussed him not responding with a ya or nay until we have discussed it, but for some reason he looses all back bone to her, I really appericate your post, I will try to come at things a little differently.
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    TheRaeB said:

    I feel like it is more on the end of his family, it has just reached the point where the cross planning has caused so many missed events on his, and it seems like he is becoming super frustraited cause he loves his mother and wants her to feel like she is recieving his time as well. We are both in school Full time and work 40 hpw, it is currently our summer vacation and we have missed oppourtunities to leave town for the weekend because we have to be at a 9am breakfast in the middle of our weekend, he has a hard time saying no.

    I just needed to be certain that I was not overstepping my boundries.

     

    I undestand it mifht feel that way, but it doesn't look that way. It honestly seems 100% that your fiance wants to spend these times with his family.
    Why is it obvious? Because he's letting you be the "bad guy" by turning down invites. Because he's putting the decisions all onto you. He's letting you bear the brunt of HIS family.

    You could both benefit from a sitdown with each other. An objective third party might be helpful, too. You need to decide ehich of his family traditions you want to follow and which of your family traditions you want to follow. More importantly, you both get to decide what new traditions you'll be doing!

    Relationships are full of compromise. What's out of your comfort zone is in his. So there needs to be some compromising, from the both of you.

    Also, HE should be desling with his mother, not you.
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    TheRaeB said:

    That is actually the problem, my mom and father are not around and I am the oldest of 5 kids so it is my responsibility to host the events for my younger siblings proving them a place to celebrate the holidays and yes we always go to his familys I have tried to host a christmas or thanksgiving with his family but his mother will tell me that I can go ahead and host the holiday and then she will let me know later (by having her son tell me) that she needs to do it this year and that it took her 5 years to get the holidays from her mother, there for I have to cancle my holiday with my family because she is not willing to share the hosting.

    I think it is terribly sad that your FI allowed this to happen. It truly does not sound like you are a team here.

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    TheRaeB said:

    Currently I am engaged, over the past 2 years I have gotten quiet fimilar with my fiance' parents. Whom have a tendancy to plan events and demand my fiance' attendance, these small events such as 30th birthdays and boys only camping trips, and restraunt dinners on holidays (which is completely out of my confort zone for spending the big holiday's) have become extreamly stressful, In a few instances I have explained to my mother in-law why we wouldn't be able to make it to these gatherings, due to plans we have had for a great deal of time, she will respond to me with a simple I understand maybe next time, followed by invinting her son to lunch and crying about how essential it was to her that he was there... thus he becomes frustraited that we are not attending and has a terrible attitude when we are out doing our "previously planned activitied" on the day we should have been at his family gathering. I can't help but feel bad that I may seem like I am keeping him from his family, however I just want us to not give up our camping trips and holiday traditions because his family demands his attendance, I do not feel that it is fair that his mother (pirtculary) is not understanding that he cannot be at all these events, we try to make it when we can and I have cancled and missed many of my own planned outings due to her guilt trips, I have also suggested that we go to events seperatly but he refuses and "gives me what I want" (as he calls it) what is the proper etiquette for my demanding soon-to-be-in-l

    That is actually the problem, my mom and father are not around and I am the oldest of 5 kids so it is my responsibility to host the events for my younger siblings proving them a place to celebrate the holidays and yes we always go to his familys I have tried to host a christmas or thanksgiving with his family but his mother will tell me that I can go ahead and host the holiday and then she will let me know later (by having her son tell me) that she needs to do it this year and that it took her 5 years to get the holidays from her mother, there for I have to cancle my holiday with my family because she is not willing to share the hosting.
    I think it is terribly sad that your FI allowed this to happen. It truly does not sound like you are a team here.
    Is he an only child? I agree that you guys don't sound on the same page.
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    TheRaeB said:
    Thank you that is really helpful, we have discussed him not responding with a ya or nay until we have discussed it, but for some reason he looses all back bone to her, I really appericate your post, I will try to come at things a little differently.
    This is something the two of you need to discuss.  His behavior isn't going to automatically change when you get married.  If he always puts his family over you now, he will continue to do so after you get married.  

    I would suggest sitting down and having a conversation with your FI about these things, perhaps with a neutral third party.

    It doesn't sound like you are at all on the same page as far as what roles your families will play in your lives.  You should have a conversation about how much time you will spend with them, how you will handle holidays and try to come up with solutions that work for you as a couple.  This is something to figure out now.  It will only get harder after your married, and if and when you have children this will turn into an even bigger issue.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
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    Thank you all for your helpful advice, I really feel like I was in the wrong so its relieving to hear some honest opnions.
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    He is not an only child but he is the youngest with a sister that is 7 years older.
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    You don't have in-law issues. You have FI issues. Yes, your FMIL is being unreasonably demanding and the guilt trips are unnecessary, petty, and childish. But your FMIL is doing this because she knows your FI will let her get away with it. He needs to grow a backbone and stand up to her, and he needs to do it soon, or this woman will dominate your life for as long as you are married.

    FI and I have a similar issue, only with his grandmother (who raised him and is essentially his mother). He and I have arrived at this solution: He will see his grandmother without me, but only on his own time -- i.e., when I'm at work and he's not. Any time that I am not at work and he is not at work is considered "our time" and it's not available to her, no matter what.

    This means also that family holidays with his family are off-limits until she apologises for her behaviour (the latest of which, see here <-- clicky). So far, she thinks she's winning because she gets to see him, doesn't have to see me, and she can pretend he's not getting married and "leaving her." 

    But she asked him yesterday about Labour Day weekend, and whether he would be attending the family picnic.
    FI: 'Granny, I've told you repeatedly that HisGirl and I have plans to attend a wedding and we'll be out of town."
    Her: 'But it's the family picnic! You always come to the family picnic! Ex-FI always came with you, why won't HisGirl?'
    FI: 'HisGirl and I have made plans as a couple. If you don't like not seeing me at family events, you need to apologise to her for your behaviour.'
    Her: 'Why can't HisGirl attend the wedding alone and you come to the picnic?'
    FI: 'We are a social unit. We're a couple. It's both of us or neither of us, and you won't be nice to her, so it's neither of us.'

    She's pissed, and she's raising hell and playing the pity card (much like your FMIL), but FI is standing firmly behind me and our relationship and not letting her play him. That's what your FI needs to do, too.
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
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    I don't get why people use emotional drama to get their way. Once you are married you are family to eachother.

    Once you are married, you are a family to eachother. Not your sibilings, not his mom. Each other. You need to have a serious sit down and counseling about boundries. Otherwise this will be your life.

    It's almost like emotional kidnapping. His mom won't love him if he doesn't show up. He dances this 'dance' with her and she knows how to manipulate the situation.

    And just because you are the oldest doesn't mean you have to host every event for your siblings, I'm assuming they are all adults.

    I am 1 of 4 sibilings. My siblings want me to host every holiday because I cook and have a nice house. I do one holiday a year, both sides of the family are invited. I told them this several years ago, they don't like it but over time they realized I was serious and I stood my ground.

    This is only my opinion and advice. Good luck and take care of yourself.

     

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    edited August 2013
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    I have a question for you - do you ever plan to do a holiday his mom's way, or do you pretty much always plan them your way and then tell her that she can come, too?

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    Do not expect this to get anything but worse once you are married. Your FI either needs to nut up and say no to his mom or nut up and admit that he really WANTS to be at his family's events and just hasn't been telling you. Definitely read everything pps have said because you have a big issue and it isn't your FMIL.
    This, plus it will get a million times worse if you two plan to have children, because lord knows his mother is NOT going to give up Christmas morning with her grandbaby.

    We have a calendar system like @Harry87, and it works perfectly. Nobody feels left out, and everyone knows when to expect us.
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    @TheRaeB -  This is what Fi and I do and what works for us and our families as our siblings are separated.   We split holidays.  Take for example the two main holidays people are usually discussing: Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

    We switch when we spend it with each family.  Last year we did Thanksgiving with my family the weekend before and Thanksgiving with his family on Thanksgiving.

    Likewise with Christmas - we did Christmas with my family Christmas Eve and his Family on Christmas, getting up early on Christmas day to do 'our' Christmas together.   Doing it this way is fair and allows equal time with each family.  If his family or your family can't handle that they're not getting 'their time' ON the holiday, well then tough cookies!!! 

    You sound like you all live in a close enough area that this might work, best of luck!
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    hordolhordol member
    First Answer 5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I would discuss with your FI about not discussing these things with his mother behind your back. The whole "taking him to lunch to cry to him about how he needed to be there" thing rubs me the wrong way. My in-laws did this with my husband once, and I let him know exactly how I felt about it. Of course, you can't control what your in-laws say or do, but your FI needs to understand how it's disrespectful to give in to these conversations with his mom behind your back and make you the bad guy.

    Also, I agree with PPs that it sounds like your husband wants to do these things with his family, so you need to get on the same page with that. It really isn't fair of him to be disrespecting prior plans you two have made so that he can do family stuff. However, if you don't have prior plans and just don't feel like hanging out with his family, then I can see why he might not be very cooperative.

    I would just sit down with him and discuss what boundaries you want to have with both of your families.
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    Grabows14Grabows14 member
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    edited July 2013
    TheRaeB said:

     I have also suggested that we go to events seperatly but he refuses and "gives me what I want" (as he calls it) what is the proper etiquette for my demanding soon-to-be-in-laws

    Just don't go next time there is a conflict and make him go by himself. I honestly doubt your FMIL will be in tears if YOU don't show up. If it means so much to your FI, then you should let him go to the party. And don't let him talk to you like that, that is an incredibly selfish response (unless you were being sarcastic about him going by himself). He is a grown up, he can survive an afternoon with his family without you, mainly because he did before he met you.

    EDIT: I understand that holidays are really tricky, and I have had to separate a few times for the holidays because both our families really want us to be there. However, my parents get this, and now always ask in advance what my FPIL are doing and at what time for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc... Maybe that is something you can try.
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    I was with a guy for a long time and I faced the same thing with him and sometimes it put a strain on our relationship. Like pps have said, this is not about your FMIL. Although it may be frustrating for her to to run back to him after telling you she understands, he is the one bending to her. And he probably always will. I mean this is the nicest, most honest way possible: It's just something you're going to have to deal with and compromise on. Sharing time with your immediate families is something most husbands and wives have to learn to do. There will be times where your toes get stepped on, and vice versa for him. Do your best to be considerate of him wanting to spend time with his family and the guilt his mom puts on him to do so. My FI and I deal with that from both sides, but we do what we can to respect each others want and needs to make it to certain gatherings.

    I'm surprised he is opposed to going to some things solo. If we have conflicting plans, I always encourage FI to go alone so he doesn't get heat for it. You guys will figure it out. It's all about respect for each other and compromise when it comes to this stuff.
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    I agree that you need to address this with you fiance, and that he should be the one who speaks with his mother.  Or you both could if he doesn't feel he can stand strong against her on his own.  

    I just had a thought, that if you are receiving all these last minute invites and you then have to decline, maybe head it off and make them less random.  Offer to set it up so that it becomes a standing appointment that you have breakfast with his parents every first Saturday of the month.  That way you will not be taking her baby away, which I'm guessing is how she views it.  You're actually making time with them and assuring time spent with his family.  How could they be upset with that?  And then you don't have to be the bad guy and don't end up canceling your plans.   Even if she calls and asks for another breakfast or something, you can say "I'm sorry we won't be able to make it to (event) but we can't wait to see you at our next breakfast together!''

    It won't cut out all the unnecessary nonsense, but hopefully it will cut down on it.

    As for the holiday stuff - I get it.  For me, we are both only children and it's hard.  If she is insistent that she hosts then maybe you could tell her "I understand that hosting the holidays means a lot to you, but I would really like to be with my family as well.  Would it possible to include them in our celebration?  I would be more than happy to help with the responsibilities of cooking and clean up!"

    Just my gut reaction.
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