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Should we say something?

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…

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Re: Should we say something?

  • I wouldn't.  This seems like a case of "he's just not that into you".  Your MIL for whatever reason doesn't want to spend one on one time with your parents just for fun.  As long as everyone is civil and friendly at family get togethers, I'd just leave it at that.

    From MIL's point of view, I'd be afraid she'd see you or YH saying something as retaliation for when she guilted you into hanging out with FIL more.  It'll either start an argument or your parents will get a pity invite once and then the whole scenario will play out again.

    I'd personally be fine with just having my parents and my inlaws be friendly enough to share holidays.  My mom wants to punch my MIL in the face lol
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  • What is this w/ everyone trying to force close relationships!?! 

    Yes, it's hypocritical, but... no, don't say anything.

    while your parents intentions are nice, the fact is that you and DH married each other - that doesn't require your parents to all be best buddies.  And your parents seem to be realizing this.

    BUT I have to say that you're kind of being hypocritical too.  Now that it's your parents doing what your FIL did, you're taking on your MIL's role.  You were annoyed by all of that, right?  So - channel those feelings and talk to your parents about it from that perspective.  Don't become your MIL and try to fix this "problem"
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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    catmiss9
  • Kimbus22 said:
    I wouldn't.  This seems like a case of "he's just not that into you".  Your MIL for whatever reason doesn't want to spend one on one time with your parents just for fun.  As long as everyone is civil and friendly at family get togethers, I'd just leave it at that.

    From MIL's point of view, I'd be afraid she'd see you or YH saying something as retaliation for when she guilted you into hanging out with FIL more.  It'll either start an argument or your parents will get a pity invite once and then the whole scenario will play out again.

    I'd personally be fine with just having my parents and my inlaws be friendly enough to share holidays.  My mom wants to punch my MIL in the face lol
    I don't think my MIL would start a fight with us over this, but you are right--best case scenario, she'll give my parents a pity invite, and none of us wants that. Looks like we'll all just have to grin and bear it for now...as you said, there are much worse things that could be happening...
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  • What is this w/ everyone trying to force close relationships!?! 

    Yes, it's hypocritical, but... no, don't say anything.

    while your parents intentions are nice, the fact is that you and DH married each other - that doesn't require your parents to all be best buddies.  And your parents seem to be realizing this.

    BUT I have to say that you're kind of being hypocritical too.  Now that it's your parents doing what your FIL did, you're taking on your MIL's role.  You were annoyed by all of that, right?  So - channel those feelings and talk to your parents about it from that perspective.  Don't become your MIL and try to fix this "problem"
    I agree that it's silly to force close relationships...that's how I felt the whole time my IL's were on MY case. Honestly, the only reason I would even consider saying anything is that I was annoyed when MIL pulled this on me, and this would be my chance to turn it around on her and make her realize she isn't so perfect after all. So it was really more about revenge than wanting to "fix" anything. ANd of course, now that I typed that, I realize that would be very childish of me. I guess the answer is to let this go, and simply refuse to allow myself to be guilted into anything similar in the future.

    I'm glad I took the time to think this over and post here before I confronted anyone. Getting some outside perspective really does help...
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  • Greco1014 said:

    Honestly, the only reason I would even consider saying anything is that I was annoyed when MIL pulled this on me, and this would be my chance to turn it around on her and make her realize she isn't so perfect after all. So it was really more about revenge than wanting to "fix" anything.
    I don't fault you for feeling like this.  Trust me.

    My advice, though, is if you do want to "fix" it, just talk to MIL about it one on one.  Specifically if the FIL thing comes up again.  Tell her that she can't force a close relationship, you feel that it's unfair for her to come to you and tell you this, AND then say "Especially since you've been put in the same position by MY parents.".
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I would stay out of it.
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  • I find it easier to stay out of other people's relationships with other people. Otherwise its just drama and a time suck, and I don't have time for it.

    Now on the subject of your MIL being a hypocrite, maybe she thinks there is a different relationship between her husband and you than them and your parents?  I hate when IL's feelings get hurt over stupid things.  I wouldn't want to have lunch out with my FIL all the time either.
  • Greco1014Greco1014 member
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited August 2013
    ClaryPax said:
    Now on the subject of your MIL being a hypocrite, maybe she thinks there is a different relationship between her husband and you than them and your parents?  

    Sure, but my MIL constantly falls all over herself to call my parents family. In fact, she said they were family just this past weekend, right around the same time she was blowing them off. You'd think she'd treat family with a little more consideration. At the very least, she could have declined their invitation properly, rather than wait until the last minute.

    Thank you for saying you wouldn't want to have lunch out all the time with your FIL either. I remember thinking it was really strange and unfair for my IL's to expect that of me. Honestly, if it wasn't for that, I'd be willing to cut them a lot more slack on this situation.
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  • ClaryPax said:

    Now on the subject of your MIL being a hypocrite, maybe she thinks there is a different relationship between her husband and you than them and your parents?  I hate when IL's feelings get hurt over stupid things.  I wouldn't want to have lunch out with my FIL all the time either.
    This is actually a good point.  You married your DH and in turn made the choice to become a part of his family.  They may view you as a daughter figure.  She may feel that you should want to be closer to your FIL since he's your DHs father. 

    But your parents/ILs?  They didn't have a choice, they didn't marry into each others family.  There really is no "relation" there.

    Yes, it's nice when both sets of parents get along and perhaps are even friends, but it is so,so,so NOT a requirement.  Not at all. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • Sillygirl45Sillygirl45 member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited August 2013
    I would absolutely not say anything and stay out of it. I would urge your parents to stop feeling they need a friendship with your IL's and be happy everyone gets along well enough to share events and holidays. I would ask them to drop it. I understand your irritation with MIL guilt tripping you into lunch with FIL and turning around and doing this. You said they are not very self aware and this certainly reflects that. It appears she feels you should fall all over yourself because FIL wants to spend time with you, but if they don't feel that way about your parents, it shouldn't be a big deal. I would move on from this situation. No good can come from anything you could say.
  • Yeah, don't say anything to them because no good would come from that.  However, I also wouldn't put too much effort into seeing FIL if you don't want to.  I mean don't do it as a way to punish, but if you don't particularly enjoy his company and would rather spend your time doing something else, that is fine too. 
  • Here's an update...sort of...

    BIL (DH's younger brother) and future SIL are getting married in about 2.5 weeks. They had planned on, and ordered, tables of 8 for the reception. fSIL was venting to me yesterday that MIL (who, FWIW, is paying for about half of the wedding) had put her foot down and was insisting that her friends sit at a table for 12. BIL and fSIL tried to talk her out of this, but she wasn't budging. fSIL was very stressed about this, as it was messing up their entire plan. Please note: my parents are invited to the wedding, and were assigned to the table of 12.

    Anyway, fSIL called me a couple of days ago and said that her mom was upset because her table would have only 8, while MIL and FIL's table was going to have 12. fSIL asked me if they could move my parents from the table of 12 to fSIL's mom's table, thereby making two tables of 10. My mom and fSIL's mom see each other at family gatherings once or twice a year, and they get along very well. fSIL said that her mom would LOVE my parents to come join her table and sit with her family. I checked it out with my parents, and they said of course they'd be honored to sit there. fSIL was thrilled, but was nervous that MIL would throw a fit when she discovered the change.

    Well, last night, my MIL calls me. She was clearly upset over the seating arrangements, and she said she wanted to make sure that my parents wouldn't be offended that they got switched to the other table. I told her of course it was fine. Honestly, my parents couldn't care less where they sit (they're just happy to be included) and they will probably truly enjoy getting to know fSIL's mom's family. My MIL asked several times if I was sure this was okay, then finally seemed satisfied. 

    I just think it's ironic that she's so worried about offending my parents over this, but doesn't at all realize that she already hurt their feelings just a few days ago. Actually, I'm wondering if she's really worried about offending them, or if on some level she's more upset that she isn't getting her way with the seating arrangements. It's probably a little of both. And the whole time I was on the phone with her, I was very tempted to say, "Well, speaking of my parents' feelings, let me tell you what they ARE kind of upset about..." But I didn't. I'm taking all of your advice and staying out of it...
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  • Sounds to me like she is just worried about not getting her way more than if your parents would be unhappy with seating arrangements. Good job not saying anything. I really don't think there is any way it would do more good than not.
  • Good for you for holding your tongue, OP! And I feel bad for your future SIL. This sounds like a lot of drama over nothing! No wonder so many brides are stressed out. Whatever happened to just doing what the bride and groom ask and not making their lives hell? As an aside, your parents sound nice. I hope they have fun at the wedding with people who want to enjoy their company. :)
  • Leftie22 said:
    Good for you for holding your tongue, OP! And I feel bad for your future SIL. This sounds like a lot of drama over nothing! No wonder so many brides are stressed out. Whatever happened to just doing what the bride and groom ask and not making their lives hell? As an aside, your parents sound nice. I hope they have fun at the wedding with people who want to enjoy their company. :)
    Thank you! My parents have their faults, but they really are very sweet and thoughtful, and they certainly aren't the types to get worked up about where they are seated at a wedding. And anyway, who wouldn't be honored to sit with the mother of the bride? My MIL is a smart woman, but I honestly don't understand her reasoning sometimes... I have no idea why she's so worked up about this table of 12. She claims she's "caught in the middle" but I don't even know what that means...because it sure sounds to me like she's the one making things difficult....

    Anyway, all's well that ends well for my parents, I guess. Like you said, they'll get to sit with someone who actually wants their company :)
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