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Venting - Maybe someone can offer advice?

Me and my SO live 9hrs away from my inlaws, we make trips to see them at least 3 times a year. As you can imagine the amount of money we spend between gas, food, etc has begun to really add up and i am starting to resent them for this. I understand that my SO needs to see his family, i love them and i enjoy seeing them as well but it's a two way street and we're the only ones that ever make the effort. We have been living here for 2 1/2 years now and they have yet to visit..

On top of that whenever we do visit we're stuck sleeping on an air matress in the living room. This really irks me because i dont see the big deal in both of his brothers sharing one room for a couple of days so we can have the other. I feel like that's common courtesy. I would never do that to a guest of mine, much less my inlaws. Besides being uncomfortable we aren't able to go to sleep until the living room is cleared out and then we're awoken at 4 when his step dad goes to work and 7 when his nephew is up and running around. 

Sleeping arrangements are horrible and daily plans are worse. His family never wants to do anything. We offer to pay so money isn't an issue, they just refuse to leave the house and lets face it.. NO ONE drives 9 hours to just stay home all day. Maybe if we did something, watched movies, played games, talk, it wouldn't be as bad but they all go to their separate rooms and do their own things which i find incredibly rude.

Point blank visiting my in laws is practically hell. It causes a strain in my relationship and i'm dreading the holidays coming up. This thanksgiving we will be spending it here, it seems my SO is starting to get frustrated too which makes me a little happy that it's not just me seeing this but at the same time i just wish there were a way we could fix this. i don't want him resenting his family either. Does anyone have any advice on what we could do? 

Re: Venting - Maybe someone can offer advice?

  • Have you ever invited them to visit you? Why visit when everyone is working? Maybe plan a separate meeting inbetween.
  • Yes, we've invited them but i guess financially they're not able to. His two brothers which are both of age and are not in college don't pay a dime in bills so i can see where his mother/step father can be a little stretched but thats because she hasn't put her foot down.. We always go during holidays or weekends but his step dad has odd work hours/shifts. 

    The one time it seemed like they were somewhat putting in effort was for 4th of July when they invited us to spend the weekend with them at a resort/amusment parks but that was 3 hours further away from where they live so it was an even bigger drive for us and we just made a trip to their house 3 weeks prior to that. 

  • you say 'it SEEMS like SO is getting fed up'. But is he? Have you asked him? have you told him how you feel about this? if so what is his response?

    my advice is to talk to your SO about it and see what the 2 of you come up with. perhaps instead of 3 times a year you go twice and stay in a hotel when you go instead of the floor. make plans to do things iwth them while you're there BEFORE you get there. get tickets to a show, dinner reservations etc...

    and would it be cheaper to fly for a long weekend instead of drive?

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  • I was also going to mention the possibility of flying. Sometimes it's less expensive then driving. 

    Staying in a hotel would solve the air mattress problem. Just splerged because you will be happier with sleep. They ask why your not staying at their place and you tell them the air mattress in the living isn't cutting it anymore. You're done not sleeping well.

    I can sympathize with no one doing anything as a group and going seperate ways. Both my parents n siblings and Hs parents do this. Visiting gets boring really quick if we don't go for a specific event ( birthday, holiday, special event, etc). We found bringing a game or two to play, renting a movie were interested in, making dinner plans,etc help. 

    My family has visited a few times. In the 4 years we've lived here Hs parents have visited only once. But his parents also help pay for our gas when we go visit them. Maybe offer to help pay for gas if they visit. 

  • For the fact that you've invited them to visit and they haven't, I DO understand your frustration at it not being a 2 way street.

    However, past that, I see a few other things going on.

    First, you have to change your expectations.  You mention "I'd never do that!". Well... that may be, but clearly they do.  Also, to them, they probably just see this as "son is coming to visit and things will be the way they always were", so they don't see a need to "entertain".  They just do their thing and you all happen to be there.

    I know when BIL goes to see his parents, he goes specifically because it's a "do nothing" trip and he can rest, relax, catch up on laundry and sleep.  It really wouldn't occur to my IL's that they have to entertain him or his SO (when she used to go w/ him).  They go there specifically to chill and just hang out.

    This is what your visits to them are going to be like, so.... stop comparing and start dealing w/ what the reality is. 

    Second, you all have some say in how you spend your time.  Why don't you all stay in a hotel?  Or instead of sitting around the house all day, why don't the two of you get up and go do something?  They may not want to go, but nothing is stopping the two of you from going.

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  • Thanks for the advice ladies.. 

    To clear a couple things up, i said it seems like he is getting fed up because although i expressed how i felt and he felt the same way he always seemed to make an excuse for them. Where as this time he said we're going to stay here because he is tired of being the only one who makes effort. 

    Also, i have thought about staying at a hotel before. I'm just nervous they'll get upset about it. They always make jokes about us being "too good for them" which is far from the truth. I don't want them to feel that this is our way of saying "we're too good to sleep on an air mattress".

    We don't ever just stay in, once we see that its the same old thing we make our own plans it just defeats the purpose of us going to visit them because we want to spend time with them.. i think that is good advice though, i will make sure to make plans ahead of time. Hopefully that will work! 

  • oh and also, erollis, we have offered to pay for gas. It's always one thing or another. Don't want to put too many miles on the car, cant lose work, we want to bring my SO nephew but his mom wont let us. Something.. 
  • You have my sympathies.

    image AxSuarez:

    On top of that whenever we do visit we're stuck sleeping on an air matress in the living room. This really irks me because i dont see the big deal in both of his brothers sharing one room for a couple of days so we can have the other. I feel like that's common courtesy.

    Could your H ask his brothers to do this next time?

     

    image AxSuarez:

    As you can imagine the amount of money we spend between gas, food, etc has begun to really add up and i am starting to resent them for this. 

     

    image AxSuarez:

    We offer to pay so money isn't an issue, they just refuse to leave the house and lets face it.. NO ONE drives 9 hours to just stay home all day. 

    Just to clarify - can you afford these trips?  The above statements almost contradict.  If so, you're just going to have to get over your resentment and stop keeping score with expenses. 

    My H's parents are the exact same way.  There's no reason they couldn't travel to see their son, they just choose not to leave their little world.  It'd actually be easier for them to travel than it is for us now that they're both retired.

    Do you have to go with him every time?  Honestly, the best thing I ever did was send the H to see his family all by himself.  It's wonderful!

    Before you and your H make a big deal about visiting, really think if it's actually so horrid that you can't keep quiet anymore.  Once you and your H voice your complaints, you can not take them back.  Their comments about you and H being "too good for them" says to me that they're insecure about something, like maybe they think you and your H have a more expensive lifestyle than they do?

    Also, don't think that you're so special that his family goes out of their way to think of ways to make your trips uncomfortable.  ANY guest in their house probably gets the air mattress in the livingroom and no special plans are made for them either.

  • you start the post by complaining about money...and later down say that you're offering to pay for activities...I mean you spend your money how you want but if you can afford taking the family out, you can afford, gas, tolls, and what not. If you have money, consider staying in a hotel

    I honestly don't think the brothers should have to bunk up while you visit, but that is my opinion.

    My advice, try to visit while there are things to do or center it around events. That make the visits less frequent and more useful.

    Maybe try and plan some events half way into between your houses

  • @beckyoff The money isn't a problem, were okay with putting money aside to afford the trips and everything that comes along with it but spending all this money to be bored and uncomfortable is what makes me resent it. I just think about all the things we could do with that money instead.. but your absolutely right and that what makes me contemplate whether i should say something or not. I don't believe they are going out of their way to make things uncomfortable, i think they would be like that with everyone so thats what makes me feel like i cant complain if i haven't given them the chance to know and try to make things better. I just don't know whether its worth it to risk getting them upset..  Yes, and i think that is part of the problem. I think they assume we have more money than we actually do. When in reality were just in different phases of our lives with different priorities. Were young and we don't have children. We work hard and chose to enjoy this phase in our life but that doesn't in any way make us too good for them so i don't understand where those comments come from.
  • travel now before kids! then make them come to you
  • Let me ask you this, though - why do your visits to his parents have to be about getting "out and about"?  I realize just sitting around the house isn't terribly "fun" - but why can't you all focus on just spending TIME w/ his parents?  Why does this need to be about events and meals, etc? 

    Take a good book to read while you're there.  To get out of the house a little, yo uand SO go to the movies, or out to dinner- just the two of you.

    But really think about it- where is this expectation coming from that you have to be "entertained" while there?  Especially when you're visiting people who you know don't have a lot of $$?

    I know you've said you all would pay, but clearly his parents attach soemthing to that and they probably aren't comfortable w/ you footing the bill when you go to visit them.

    What can YOU do to make your time at their house more comfortable? 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • image AxSuarez:

    Thanks for the advice ladies.. 

    To clear a couple things up, i said it seems like he is getting fed up because although i expressed how i felt and he felt the same way he always seemed to make an excuse for them. Where as this time he said we're going to stay here because he is tired of being the only one who makes effort. 

    Also, i have thought about staying at a hotel before. I'm just nervous they'll get upset about it. They always make jokes about us being "too good for them" which is far from the truth. I don't want them to feel that this is our way of saying "we're too good to sleep on an air mattress".

    We don't ever just stay in, once we see that its the same old thing we make our own plans it just defeats the purpose of us going to visit them because we want to spend time with them.. i think that is good advice though, i will make sure to make plans ahead of time. Hopefully that will work! 

    1. Or he's tired of hearing your complain about his family.

    2. But you do feel that you are too good to sleep on an air mattress on the floor in the living room. If you feel like that, that's okay. That's fair. But don't pretend to be super easy going and chilled and then get upset when they meet those expectations. Stay in a hotel. Not a big deal. I have guests that I'll put out the air mattress for, and others that I'll suggest a hotel. It's fine. I'd be far more upset by displacing someone from their own bedroom (regardless of how old they are or whether or not they are paying rent - not your concern).

    I do sympathize, we only go home once a year because it costs us about $5000 each time, and when we're there everyone just goes about their daily life and we don't do anything spectacular. We're used to it, and use these trips as a chance to just chill out at "home", see some friends, etc.

    image

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  • Don't let these people make you feel bad. I understand where you are coming from. It's not about the money, or the air mattress, or any of that. Correct me if I'm wrong but OP is upset because they are always the one making an effort and shelling out the cash to get there to get little attention.

     And for those of you saying "why can't it just be about hanging out and spending time together?" She DID say that everyone just kind of goes to their own room and does their own thing. How is that spending time together? Why should she and SO go out to dinner or see a movie at his parents house? They don't have any kids yet, so I'm sure they do that stuff all the time IN THEIR OWN HOMETOWN. I wouldn't want to drive three hours to visit my own parents just to be ignored. 

     I'm not sure if you should force the issue, but I 100% get where you are coming from.

  • image KristiDouglas:
      And for those of you saying "why can't it just be about hanging out and spending time together?" She DID say that everyone just kind of goes to their own room and does their own thing. How is that spending time together? Why should she and SO go out to dinner or see a movie at his parents house? They don't have any kids yet, so I'm sure they do that stuff all the time IN THEIR OWN HOMETOWN. I wouldn't want to drive three hours to visit my own parents just to be ignored. 
    I get where she's coming from too - but at the same time, these are "who" his parents are and as they are her SO's parents and he wants to go see them, if she goes with him, some of this is about her adjusting her expectations. 

    I get really annoyed at my IL's too - but then I also realize that they are who they are, my DH wants to see them and spend time with them, so yes, actually I do have to suck it up and roll with it as best I can.  But we make our own adjustments around them so that we don't walk away from time w/ them totally annoyed.  We find ways to make our own fun and do things on OUR schedule, not theirs.

    Even spending time together- our idea of quality time seems to be quite different than my IL's idea, but my IL's seem to walk away satisfied.  

    So for her IL's, just having all their kids together under one roof might satisfy their concept of "time together".   

    Which is where my suggestions are coming from.  She's not going to change them.  So either she can not go, or if she does go - she needs to work w/ what reality is, not what she wants it to be. 

    And while this is all about her and SO making changes/ adjustments and not her IL's- here is another fact of life that I've learned in the past few years - age DOES affect people.  As such, it can often be a lot harder to get older people to change than it is younger.  So, she can try to change them.  She can get her SO to talk to them.  She can do all these things- but chances are it's not going to do anything other than increase her frustration and annoyance.

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • image KristiDouglas:

    Don't let these people make you feel bad. I understand where you are coming from. It's not about the money, or the air mattress, or any of that. Correct me if I'm wrong but OP is upset because they are always the one making an effort and shelling out the cash to get there to get little attention.

     And for those of you saying "why can't it just be about hanging out and spending time together?" She DID say that everyone just kind of goes to their own room and does their own thing. How is that spending time together? Why should she and SO go out to dinner or see a movie at his parents house? They don't have any kids yet, so I'm sure they do that stuff all the time IN THEIR OWN HOMETOWN. I wouldn't want to drive three hours to visit my own parents just to be ignored. 

     I'm not sure if you should force the issue, but I 100% get where you are coming from.

     

    I appreciate everyones advice but thanks Kristi especially for understanding exactly what i mean and where i am coming from. You took the words right out of my mouth.. This was mostly just a vent and i was hoping maybe someone would have advice as to what to do about it. Some of your ideas were very helpful, thank you! 

  • It's not always a two way street.  I'm assuming that your SO is the one who chose to move away, right?  So, the onus is more on him to do the traveling IMO.  It would be nice if they had the ability and desire to travel, but it's obvious that they don't, for whatever reason that's beyond your control. 

    To be honest, all of my friends that moved hours away from their families do the majority of the travel to see their familes.  I'm only 3 hours away from mine, and I still feel like it's more my problem to travel than theirs. 

    So you know the stakes.  If you don't like the travel, then don't do it 3 times a year.  If you don't like sleeping on the air mattress in the living room, book a hotel room for when you visit.  If you need to be entertained every second that you're visiting, then make your own plans for entertainment (I also don't get this.......I don't expect my family to have fun filled plans for every minute I'm there, because that's not really the purpose of my visits......I'm there to simply see and spend time with them). 

    Control what you can, and stop expecting them to change to suit you.

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