Sorry, this is long. It’s not a super-serious issue, but I don’t know how to condense it down without losing some important details….
Okay, so a long time ago, I posted about an issue I was having with my IL’s here: http://forums.thenest.com/discussion/7909760/does-anyone-else-have-an-fil-like-this-long The summary is: my retired FIL really wanted to get together for lunch with me on a semi-regular basis, and when I wasn’t enthusiastic or quick enough in accepting his invitations.,MIL made a point of telling me that I had hurt his feelings. She really made it seem like I’d been rudely ignoring him, and she said several times that no matter how busy I was, I could have made time for FIL if I’d wanted to (which was honestly true). Personally, I felt like I was under no obligation to have lunch with FIL, but I ended up apologizing to him and inviting him out. Shortly after that, my son was born, and I now try to have FIL once or twice a summer when I’m off from work. I don’t really mind hanging out with now that my son is in the mix, so even though FIL and I will never be best buds, I’d say all’s well that ends well on that one. Now, please keep all of that in mind, as it will be important later…. Now, onto the real subject at hand…
My parents and my IL’s have always been welcoming to each other, and both usually try to include the other in holiday and family celebrations. Over the past few years, my parents have decided that they’d really like to spend more time with my IL’s, one-on-one, maybe have them over or meet them at a restaurant, just the four of them. But every time my parents mention this to the IL’s, MIL usually responds with, “We’re really busy over the next weeks, but I’ll check our calendar and get back to you.” And they never do get back to them, so the date never materializes.
As this has gone on for a while, my parents have begun to feel a little ignored and hurt. I’ve been aware of it, and I’ve always just told them not worry about it because my IL’s are usually pretty busy (my MIL likes to stay on the go, so she’s always planning things). But as I saw more and more invitations get ignored, I started to wonder if something was up. Honestly, I don’t think my IL’s have a serious problem with my parents; I just think my mom talks a little too much for their taste, and they just aren’t dying to hang out with them without us “kids” there. That’s my theory, anyway.
This past weekend, DH and I were going to be out of town for four days, and both sets of parents were going to be watching our LO (my parents for two days, DH’s parents for the next two days.) A while ago, my dad suggested to my MIL that the four of them meet for the big hand off somewhere in the middle and have brunch together. I was in the room at the time, so I saw this conversation. Both my dad and I thought that my MIL didn’t seem thrilled by the invitation; she seemed surprised and a little put off, although she quickly collected herself and said sure, why not.
In the days leading up to the meet up, my parents were looking forward to the brunch, and my dad made sure to look up some diners in the area so they’d have a good place to go. Unfortunately, when my parents called my IL’s the night before to confirm, my IL’s said that they couldn’t do brunch because MIL had a dress fitting that same morning (her younger son is getting married in about three weeks).
So again, my parents were a little hurt. It wasn’t just that MIL and FIL couldn’t make the brunch (she has a lot on her plate right now, between her work schedule and her son’s wedding). But the thing is, the IL’s never even bothered to tell my parents they couldn’t do it until the night before, when MY parents called THEM. Basically, it made my parents feel like they just aren’t a big priority to my IL’s, which I guess is the case….
Anyway, I realize that my IL’s have no obligation to actually visit with my parents, but here’s the thing. After my MIL came at me and told me how wrong I was to “ignore FIL’s lunch invitations,” I can’t believe she and he would turn around and do the exact same thing to my parents. I feel like they’re really being hypocrites here. I have no idea whether they are intentionally avoiding my parents or whether they just don’t think to follow up on the invites, but either way, it’s kind of sucky of them….
I told my DH about this situation; he was disappointed in his parents’ behavior and offered to say something to them. Honestly, I’m not sure if he should or not. On one hand, I’d love for my IL’s to know that they’ve caused some hurt feelings (they aren’t the most self aware people, and I would personally enjoy seeing them called on that for once). Plus, I’m afraid if we don’t say anything, I’ll just stew about it and be very passive-aggressive; we generally have a nice relationship, and I’d rather keep it that way and be honest with them.
On the other hand though, I’m guessing the right thing to do is not to get involved at all. My parents aren’t exactly freaking out about this; they’re a little hurt, but are handling it well. They’ve basically just decided that they’ll just have a polite, friendly relationship with my IL’s in large settings, but they probably aren’t meant to be best friends. They don’t want anyone to say anything to the IL’s and they certainly don’t want a “mercy invitation” from them. FWIW, I’m sure if DH talked to his parents, they’d feel bad and they would call my parents up invite them out, but my parents would probably figure out that we had said something, and they’d be embarrassed. And like I said, they don’t want anyone’s pity.
So, we definitely shouldn’t say anything, right? Please go ahead and talk me out of it because boy, is it tempting…