AIBU to expect him to make a bit more effort?(105 Posts)
We have recently returned from a 4-day visit to my parents' house over Christmas. My DH is not particularly sociable and my parents irritate him. He therefore tends to disappear off to our room for a bit of time on his own at fairly regular intervals whenever we stay with them. He also spends a lot of time fiddling with his phone or ipad and doesn't join in much with general chit chat or stuff like games (this applies at Christmas only!)
I think he comes over as quite rude and also that he effectively leaves me with all the responsibility for making sure our children are OK and generally helping out with stuff. However, over the years I have tried very hard to put my feelings about it to one side and just let him do what he needs to to get through the time there.
Apparently that is not good enough though. He became very cold towards me while we were away and when I asked why he complained that I was disapproving of him. I spent the rest of the time walking on eggshells while around him and feeling very uncomfortable about the probably very obvious tension between us.
We talked about it last night and I feel we are stuck. He thinks I spend the whole time 'mentally tutting' at him. I admit his behaviour annoys me but I try very hard to just ignore it and not to give him a hard time as I know all too well that it only makes matters worse if I criticise him at all. I have already cut back the amount of time we spend with my parents and he doesn't always come with me and the DCs when we do visit but it would be plain weird for him not to come at Christmas. They also live a long way away from us so shorter visits or daytrips (which would be my ideal) are not feasible.
In the end though I really just think, would it kill him to make a bit more of an effort while we are there and so make it a pleasanter experience for everyone else? AIBU???
I think I am going to be in the minority here but I do empathise with your DH. I am like him. Visiting is MASSIVELY hard for me.
I am introverted and can't bear being out of my comfort zone for long. A day is enough....4 days is excessive. How far are they from you exactly?
How long have you been spending Christmas with your parents? How often do you to his parents and stay there for several days?
I opdot necessarily think YABU but imagine being forced to be in a place where you're not comfortable and with people you don't get on with for several days? It becomes exhausting just "trying" ime, so if you've been doing similar for years he might feel all "tried" out.
Opdot? Wtf is opdot? That should say don't, I don't necessarily think YABU
Part of being a grown up ( & a parent) is that sometimes we have to do things that we would rather not do but we have to suck it up and do it with good grace.
I think your dh is plain rude and selfish.
As an introvert with extrovert in laws I feel for him. Could you work together? He takes kids for a walk at intervals to get some space? Discuss timings so he gets some time alone at various points? If you know he isn't doing it to be rude it seems harsh to tut at him, I'd hate it if DH did
Especially if you are staying there so there is no 'escape'.
I think four days is quite a long time really, for him to be 'on' if he finds it hard. It would be different if he were in his house rather that theirs. He might feel more able to muck in more and he would be more in a host position.
Maybe have Christmas at your house from now on and your parents can come if they want and then you can go and see them without him during the year. Dh can do half the work and make decisions about what is going to be eaten and what activities are going to happen and your parents can take a back seat.
If this has been going on 'for years' then he may feel like you don't consider his feelings by insisting him going there continues.
We alternate between spending Christmas at my parents and them visiting here. We visit his dad every Christmas too but only a brief visit - they are not close (in fact I am the one who persuaded him we should keep going there too) and we stay a couple of nights with others on his side of the family. I think it's fair to say that family generally is more important to me but I have tried very hard to see things from his point of view and let him have the space he needs.
See you - we live about 5 hours' drive away from them.
5 hours or not I still think 4 days is excessive. 2 days and nights might be better.
If he finds your parents irritating he should feel thankful that they do live some distance away and aren't constantly "popping in".
Spending time with them at Christmas is the trade-off for that and he would be better off just accepting it and behaving like an adult. Maybe cut the trip by a day or two too.
Maybe cut back on the time. But, introvert or not, he is bloody rude and behaving like a teenager.
Sorry I'm in the he s totally unreasonable camp. 4 day is not long and since you visit already with out him also visit his side of the family he should make more of an effort.
If my dh was so blatantly rude to my parents I wouldn't just be mentally tutting and I dont think being left with the responsibility of the children is fair either.
I sympathise with your DH. Making an effort in uncomfortable social situations is exhausting. I'm off my my in-laws' today and I know that being "switched on" even for a few hours will leave me completely drained. Four days would be enough for me to want to end my marriage!
I sympathise with him too, there is no way on earth I could stay with my in laws for 4 days
I am also like your DH and four days would be hell. Over the years I'd be likely to make less effort not more as I know who I am and who they are and that there's really no point in faking it. Family is important to you, fine. You can't make him feel the same, about your family or his. As long as he does his bit with and loves your family unit (you and DC) then I'd let him off with the minimum with the extended family. A day visit would be more than enough for me!
Yanbu as far as sulking on his own. I hate being at my in laws so I take dd out as much as possible when we're there.
Is there a compromise?
Could you christmas at home and visit your folks during the Christmas period without him? You could say he had to work?
It is his christmas too.
I agree with pink and feel that those saying he's not making any effort really don't understand introverts. He GOES...that's his effort! I would no way go for 4 days.
It depends how he really feels about it- is he being lazy or is he really finding it hard to cope? His treatment of you is unfair, but he may be dong it through guilt. What would an acceptable length of visit for him be?
I was at my PIL's over Christmas, they are wonderful people but even I struggled to be out of my comfort zone for all the time I was there and so I sympathise with your DH. At one point I wanted to be by myself for a few hours to get some peace and quiet.
I feel for you dh. My he feels over loaded by your family.
I wouldn't spend 4 days I Someone else's house, and then be moaned at when I tried to get a bit of space
Ehhhrmm...I dunno. Is he an introvert? You say he's not especially sociable anyway. I don't know if he's an ignorant git or an introvert in an overwhelming scenario.
My dh would disappear off to another room for some much needed solitude given the same circumstances.
Four days is a protracted period to be 'on' for. I'm outgoing and I would struggle with it too.
Not sure iybu or not.
Sorry OP, but this is a rod you have made for your own back... and are now beating your DH with.
You like family get togethers, he does not.
You think it is important he has contact with his dad, he does not.
You think he is being unreasonable that he disappears, he thinks he is protecting his sanity and removing himself and his moodiness from your family situation.
He has told you that you make him feel 'disapproved of', you maintain he is being unfair/lazy.
You both need to discuss this calmly. He needs to try a little harder and you need to see that your way is not the only way. Compromise it's a good word, even better when neither of you feels they have given up too much.
Personally I think he needs to man up and stop attacking like a teenager.
Does he spend anytime being a charming guest? My sil s an introvert which we respect and she will go to her room at intervals but when she is with us she engages in her own way and she is the first to help out with chores.
when people act like this I always ask myself what would they do at work if they had a boss or client that irritated them. For most the answer is that they would act appropriately and not risk their job.
P.s My dh has social anxiety disorder and definitely tends towards introversion.
If I were your OH op I'm afraid I'd be far more rude that he is being.
I'm a very introverted person, making small talk with anyone for more than a couple hours is hellish. I'd end up with headaches and feeling very irritable. In fact it gets to the point where in my head I'm screaming at people to just shut up and fuck off and though there's a dim smile on my face in my head there would be uproar of "fight or flight" and I'd be looking for the exits.
If he's anything like that then every Christmas, from what you've described, for him would be absolutely horrible, painful and a period of discomfort. BUT if he feel like I do, he is putting that to one side for you, his fight or fight kicks in and instead of allowing his natural reactions take over, he nothing them up for you, so you can be with your parents. He could be causing himself significant emotional and physical pain just so you can be with your parents, of he's anything like me, he my not be though.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.