Family Matters
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Family frustrations

Background:  DH's family and my family are extremely different; both are very nice.  We live in the same little town as DH's family and are ~1.25 hours from my family.  I get along with H's family but we'll never be really close, there are just too many differences in interests and how we handle situations--that's fine.  I have however shown interest in everyone by inviting various ppl in for lunch, going shopping with them, giving pony lessons, attending many functions, etc. showing that I care.  

DH comes to any functions my family hosts with me, but he hasn't spent any time 1:1 with my dad or brother.  Between the distance and how crazy life has been for everyone the past few years there hadn't been many opportunities to, but now that things are calming down they're coming up and H doesn't seem interested.  

IE- My brother stopped in to visit a week or so ago.  H hadn't seen him for months and rather than sitting down to visit he went outside and mowed the lawn.  Not a huge issue since it was after work and my brother's visit wasn't planned but it came off unfriendly since it'd been so long. 

I have a reunion saturday night that is being hosted right around the corner from my dad's house.  Dad asked if H wanted to hang out and have a margarita for cinco de mayo/fish in the pond while I'm at the reunion and H was completely uninterested.  He's staying home instead catching up with a friend or visiting his family and I'm leaving earlier to visit dad before I go to the reunion.

It bothers me that I've put myself out there to form relationships with the important women in H's family yet he doesn't want to do the same.  I know some of this is differences in personalities; I'm bubbly and love being around new people while H is reserved and more serious.  He does suggest doing things with my family like going out with my brother and his gf, having people up for dinner, etc. but he seems so closed off about doing anything on his own, without me around.  I can't figure it out!  Am I being ridiculous?  How can I bring this up with H without being offensive?

Re: Family frustrations

  • Your brother was rude to drop-in unannounced and expecting you guys to host. DH did nothing wrong by simply finishing the lawn as planned. If you are picking-up on the vibe that he used the lawn mowing as an excuse not to socialize, then ask him about it. Its fine if he says he didn't like being put on the spot, and ducked-out to clear his head. Again, its not a problem, just clear the air.

    Your dad made a nice offer. It's fine for your DH to decline. Lots of ILs do better in groups and he's not required to be "friends". As long as he continues to be supportive to interacting and particiapting in the family on holidays and GTGs its not fair for you to require this new level of 1:1 relationship.

    You can tell him what you've gotten out of forming relationships with his family, the benefits and tell him a margarita by the pond may actually be fun. Focus on YOU and what you've gained. And then let him live his life. It's your dad. He doesn't have to buddies with your DH. Sometimes its better that way.

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  • you and DH are not the same person. you cannot and should not expect him to do something just because you do. while it was nice of your dad to invite him to go fishing your dh doens't have to accept.

     

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  • image livinitup:

    Your brother was rude to drop-in unannounced and expecting you guys to host. DH did nothing wrong by simply finishing the lawn as planned. If you are picking-up on the vibe that he used the lawn mowing as an excuse not to socialize, then ask him about it. Its fine if he says he didn't like being put on the spot, and ducked-out to clear his head. Again, its not a problem, just clear the air.

    Your dad made a nice offer. It's fine for your DH to decline. Lots of ILs do better in groups and he's not required to be "friends". As long as he continues to be supportive to interacting and particiapting in the family on holidays and GTGs its not fair for you to require this new level of 1:1 relationship.

    You can tell him what you've gotten out of forming relationships with his family, the benefits and tell him a margarita by the pond may actually be fun. Focus on YOU and what you've gained. And then let him live his life. It's your dad. He doesn't have to buddies with your DH. Sometimes its better that way.

    My brother wasn't unannounced, he and I had been visiting for a few hours when DH got home but it was last minute so I can understand if H was tired/had previous plans to mow the lawn when he got home.  I don't expect H to have a 1:1 relationship per se, I just sometimes wish he showed more interest; my brother and dad were always important people in my life so it's nice to know the person I love/married can spend a couple hours with them talking about whatever.  I realize that's not always realistic though.   

  • If you feel like he's being flat-out rude to your family (never says hello, always leaves when they're around, rudely declined your dad's offer to hang out, etc.), then talk to him about it. "I don't expect you to be friends with my family, but you need to make more of an effort to be polite."

    If the issue here is that you wish he'd be friends with them, then you're going to have to let it go. You can't force friendships. If they get along and if they're polite to each other, that's all you can ask for. Some families don't even get THAT far.

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  • I would just tell him that it would mean a lot to you if he'd spend some more time getting to know you family a little better.

    at the same time, I would never expect my H to spend one on one time with my family, so far in our marriage I am always around as well, unless it's for a short time like when we go to visit and I go help mom with dinner while he hangs out with the boys. But a date for just him and dad, I would not expect him to do. 

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  • image livinitup:

    Your dad made a nice offer. It's fine for your DH to decline. Lots of ILs do better in groups and he's not required to be "friends". As long as he continues to be supportive to interacting and particiapting in the family on holidays and GTGs its not fair for you to require this new level of 1:1 relationship.

    THis.  100% this.  Your DH isn't you.  He's not going to approach people and relationships the same way.

    And now you're contradicting yourself:

      I don't expect H to have a 1:1 relationship per se, I just sometimes wish he showed more interest; my brother and dad were always important people in my life so it's nice to know the person I love/married can spend a couple hours with them talking about whatever.

    That IS a 1:1 relationship!!!  And for the fact that he DOES want to spend time w/ your family - that IS showing an interest!  He just doesn't want to do it alone.  That's not "wrong".  It's just different from you.

    You married him knowing he's more reserved.  This is also about you respecting who he is and stop trying to make him be you. 

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  • If my MIL offered to have me over for a margarita just me and her I would politely decline too. The only time I am okay with being 1:1 with MIL is when I have my kids over at her house.

    If my dad offered the same to H he would probably decline. Again the only time he is 1:1 with my family without me there is when he is picking up/dropping off the kids.

    It's great that you have a good relationship with your ILs but you can't expect the same from your DH especially if in the past you have been okay with it. He is supporting you seeing your family, he goes with you to family functions, he is not causing any drama or fights, he is okay with being around your family and that is all good and how it should be.

    As far as your brother's visit goes maybe your DH thought that you would want to catch up with your brother alone since you hadn't seen him in a while. When my sisters come over I don't expect my husband to sit there with us he will say hi and maybe partake in the conversation but if he had something to do (such as mowing the lawn) he would just go do it.

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  • I get where you are coming from. I was so happy when we moved into our house last weekend and I couldn't find where my dad and husband went. It turned out that we needed more paint so they decided to Lowe's together. It was nice because my FIL and 2 of my husbands uncles were also there because they live close by, but DH chose to go with my father since we don't get to see him very often. I know that not every family gets to have those type of relationships with their in-laws, but I understand you wanting for everyone to feel like one big family and not my-family or your-family.
  • SueBearSueBear member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments Combo Breaker

    I'm wondering - do you spend time / invites on your ILS because you enjoy their company, or because you think it's what "a good daughter-in-law SHOULD do?" 

    If you enjoy their company, then by all means keep going, but your DH might not feel the same about your family.  Or he may just value his personal time more than you do.  I have a feeling that you (and your family) might be more extroverted than your DH is.  You need to realize that he is ok just the way he is!

    If you think it's what a good DIL SHOULD to, then stop doing it, and start hanging out with your own friends during lunch or shopping trips. 

    I get along with my ILS, but I can only think of ONE IL that I would phone and want to hang out with aside from DH.  I would go to a family party or graduation without him if he were travelling, but I would not SEEK their company.  That's ok! 

  • I like my ILs and everything, but I do not hang out with them one on one. I chat with them and hang out when H and I are with them, but I would not just call his mom to chat or hang out. We just don't have much in common.

    H has hung out with my dad on his own, doing something they both have an interest in. It isn't a common occurence though. It has maybe happened twice.

    I will also say that we "hang out" with my parents more than his, because his parents aren't interested in going and doing much. So there is that.

     If he is friendly when you both go places then I think that is all you can ask for. You don't have to be friends with your inlaws, and most people aren't. At least not the kind of friends who hang out together alone frequently.

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  • I do not think you should force this relationship, even though it would be nice.  My H and I are the opposite of you guys, where he will stop by my moms and hang out even if I am not there.  He hangs out with my brother 1:1 all the time and has even hung out with my sister 1:1 quite a few times.  I however, would never hang out with his mom 1:1.  Not in a million years.  And if he tried to force it on me, it would probably become a huge issue.
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  • Thank you for all the responses!  I definitely don't want to force any relationships and I haven't pressured H into anything for that reason.  I just know my dad would like to get to know H on a different level so I feel bad telling him "No, H is doing so-and-so and can't make it" when I know he'd just rather do something else, that's actually why I'm going down early before my thing now to visit.  Maybe I'm weird but it makes me feel sad for dad even though he has a ton of people in his life.

    To answer the question of whether I enjoy spending the time with my IL's or just do it to be a good DIL, it's a little bit of both.  We have very little in common but when MIL/SIL invites me to something and I'm free anyway, I figure it's just a nice thing to go and do--it maintains contact and H naturally enjoys seeing his mother/family and I getting along/doing things together (he's never pushed it and wouldn't mind if I didn't do these things).  

    I guess it's just the difference in our personalities that are showing.  I would just love for H to be able to break the "ice" so that he can feel casual/comfortable at events.  We will see how things go with time! 

     

  • Jen0204Jen0204 member
    Third Anniversary
    The only thing H has done alone with my dad is see a movie they both wanted to see that neither my mom nor I wanted to see. If I were doing something with my mom and my dad said "hey, why doesn't H come over and we'll have some beers while you guys are out?" he would say "no thanks". They get along and like each other, but like you said about your husband, my H is more reserved and shy and doesn't like to be in situations with anyone where he is one on one and expected to chit chat, much less with his in-laws. H and his friends play video games or card games and hang out in a big group, which is more his style. He and my dad don't have much in common, so there is a good chance it could get awkward because he's not great at small talk. He never says no to going over with me or the girls and will go out with them of its all of us, so I can't complain.
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  • Does your DH spend a lot of one on one time with his own relatives?

    I've spent time alone with DH's relatives and it's been fine (although it took me 7 or 8 years to actually be totally comfortable and enjoy myself.) DH has never done this with any of my relatives. It doesn't bother me though because he doesn't spend a lot of one on one time with his own either.  He loves them all and is fine with getting together for special occasions and holidays.  They're just not people he has a lot in common with generally and wouldn't choose to spend his free time with them if they weren't related.

    If he's fine doing group outings and stuff, I'd leave it alone.  He's making an effort and he's being involved.

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  • image marriedlady25:

    Thank you for all the responses!  I definitely don't want to force any relationships and I haven't pressured H into anything for that reason.  I just know my dad would like to get to know H on a different level so I feel bad telling him "No, H is doing so-and-so and can't make it" when I know he'd just rather do something else, that's actually why I'm going down early before my thing now to visit.  Maybe I'm weird but it makes me feel sad for dad even though he has a ton of people in his life.

    To answer the question of whether I enjoy spending the time with my IL's or just do it to be a good DIL, it's a little bit of both.  We have very little in common but when MIL/SIL invites me to something and I'm free anyway, I figure it's just a nice thing to go and do--it maintains contact and H naturally enjoys seeing his mother/family and I getting along/doing things together (he's never pushed it and wouldn't mind if I didn't do these things).  

    I guess it's just the difference in our personalities that are showing.  I would just love for H to be able to break the "ice" so that he can feel casual/comfortable at events.  We will see how things go with time! 

     

    I've been in your DH's shoes here.  But, it was my FIL who I felt was pressuring me to have a close relationship with my MIL.  I am nothing like my MIL.  The only thing we have in common is my husband.  We get along very well, but her idea of a good time is to go shopping, get our nails done, and go out to lunch.  That sounds horrendous to me.  We're different.  My FIL kept telling my husband that I need to make more of an effort because my MIL is so happy to have a "daughter" now.  That is so not how I see our relationship.  I am not their daughter.  I have parents and I honestly resented the implication that I am supposed to fill this role for them.

    DH let my FIL know that it was not going to happen.  Be careful about your expectations.  They don't have to be close.  They don't have to spend time one on one.  They have to respect each other and they do.  Leave it at that.

  • Just put I FEEL before everything. He can't get mad about how your feeling. Don't approach it like " You're such a hermit and it comes off rude!" 

    Don't slam who he is and you should be good. 

  • I am your H in this situation. My H will willfully spend time with my dad because they both like tinkering in the garage, trying out new fancy beers and other stereotypical "guy" stuff that I'm not terribly into. They go to a car show- H, my dad and my FIL, the three of them, every year.  My H is also into horror movies- as is my kid sister (17 yo)-- probably at least 1x a month he and my sister have a "date" to go to a movie. He typically initiates this contact (unless she's forcing him to take her to see Twilight), and it's through no prompting of mine. Unless it's from him seeing a horror preview and being "Oh! Let's see that!" and I say "Call [sis] 'cuz there's not a chance I'm going."

    I, on the other hand, am much more introverted and I don't enjoy forging new relationships on my own. I like his family, but most of my contact with them is via H. I will go to family functions (graduation parties, showers, etc) without him if he's working or out of town, but I don't enjoy forging individual relationships with his family like he seems to do with mine. The exception to that is with his grandmother, who I take to doctor's appointments fairly frequently, as I'm the only one who has a very flexible work schedule, and his grandmother needs someone to go with her to make sure correct information is communicated. Therefore, I often talk to my ILs on the phone, just about appointments/information- but I don't spend a lot of time with them in person. It's not because I don't like them, and it's not me trying to be standoffish- it's just a different comfort level. If my H seriously tried to get me to spend more 1:1 time with them, I'd be annoyed. I'm friendly and approachable, I help when needed, and I spend time with them with H; just because he does more than that with my family, doesn't mean that it's fair to force me to do the same.

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