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to not buy in-laws presents?

(37 Posts)
FullaDoll Tue 07-Dec-10 17:14:38

OK, so a bit of background… DH and I have been married for a few years and have a child. His parents have always been a bit lukewarm towards me and have done a couple of mean things over the years, eg threatening not to come to our wedding as they 'couldn't afford the fare' (which is rubbish), but on the whole they are OK. His sister, on the other hand, was very open about her hatred of me from day 1 and has made our lives a misery throughout our whole relationship. She has done some pretty despicable things in an effort to split us up. We expected things to change after we got married and had a child, unfortunately they haven't. However, they are DH's family, so in spite of their behaviour towards me, I always make the effort.

When it is one of their birthdays or Christmas, or Fathers/Mothers Day, I always buy really nice, thoughtful, expensive presents and if they are around, we will take them out to dinner. We also generally send flowers and we always, always call. I usually get something in return, nothing flash, usual tat (sorry!) but I don't mind. It's the thought that counts.

Anyway, we are currently doing IVF and had some unexpected charges related to my treatment. As we were a bit short, we asked DH's parents to lend us some money to cover the shortfall. They are loaded, so it wasn't really a problem, and they transferred the money from their current account to us the same day. We made arrangements to pay it back over the next few months.

Anyway, a couple of weeks after they loaned us the money, it was my birthday. They didn't send a present or card, or call, they just sent a very cold 1-line email. To say I was hurt is an understatement. It's not that I need a present, I can buy my own stuff, I just felt very hurt that they had snubbed me on my birthday. My DH asked the MIL about it, and she said that the FIL was not happy about lending us the money, and that is why they didn't send me a card or a present for my birthday. DH asked the MIL why she didn't just call anyway to wish me happy birthday, and she said that the FIL was around all day so she couldn't. I find it odd that they loaned us the money if they didn't want to. It certainly didn't seem to be a problem when we asked them.

So here we are, coming up to Christmas. Due to his parents snubbing me on my birthday and his evil, messed-up sister just being, well, evil and messed-up, I have told DH that I am not going to bother with them this year. No nice, expensive presents, no dinner in a nice restaurant, nothing.

The thing is, AIBU???

Your thoughts please. Thank you.

scurryfunge Tue 07-Dec-10 17:18:48

If you want the rift to develop even further then do not send them anything.

I would rise above it and send them something. It sounds like FIL is a bully if MIL is not allowed to think for herself.

taintedsnow Tue 07-Dec-10 17:19:32

YANBU, but what does DH think? How he feels should come into it quite a lot since they are his family.

NewbeeMummy Tue 07-Dec-10 17:19:35

Just my 2p on the matter - but if they have loaned you money, surely they would be more interested in having it paid back rather than being bought gifts with money, which they may view as theirs?

Depending on how old your dc is, can you not get them to do something hand made, which won't cost a fortune, but at least shows teh effort?

I know when I was broke and had to borrow money from my mum, I baked her and the family all biscuits and embroidered some cheap towels as their presents, and they went down well.

anniepanniepears Tue 07-Dec-10 17:20:05

nope you are not bu in my opinion send a card wishing them a merry christmas and if they mention a present say that you thought that they had stopped giving presents

TheMeow Tue 07-Dec-10 17:22:16

YANBU...firstly because obvoiusly you have to save up to repay them so can't possibly afford the luxury of presents wink

donteatthat Tue 07-Dec-10 17:24:08

I can totally see where you're coming from and you sound very unlucky with your in-laws, however... if it were me I think I would take the upper hand and just send them a nice card and gift - nothing over the top and no fancy dinner, who needs to spend an evening with them?!

Then your conscience will be clear, they'll have nothing to hold against you. Family!

Good luck with the IVF!

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Tue 07-Dec-10 17:31:40

I think that they are your husband's parents so he should be the one going to all this trouble - buying gifts, arranging dinner etc. Take a back seat and let him do as much or as little as he feels he wants to.

FullaDoll Tue 07-Dec-10 17:31:55

Thanks for your replies! I guess I just want to make a point by not sending them anything. It isn't about the presents, it's about me not wanting to be treated like a mug anymore.

By the way, the IVF did not work, unfortunately, after all that.

whatdoiknowanyway Tue 07-Dec-10 17:46:44

Been through this a bit with my brother who was loaned money by my dad and hasn't paid it back yet.

Dad resents having lent the money although never says this directly to my brother. However he always, always does a double take when my brother does something expensive for him. Sub text is money should be used to pay back loan. So presents, meant to show appreciation, actually exascerbate the situation. Even postcards from holiday come into question as why are they taking holidays when they still owe money...

I'm with donteatthat and newbeemummy - take the moral high ground here. Small, thoughtful, handmade gift to show appreciation and subtly stress progress that is being made on loan repayment.

So sorry that IVF didn't work for you.

immortalbeloved Tue 07-Dec-10 17:53:39

So sorry about the IVF sad

I think YANBU, not least because as Hec says, they are your DH's family. If he wants to shop for and send gifts and arrange dinner then great, if not then I don't see why that's your problem smile

abenstille Tue 07-Dec-10 17:54:01

Agree with others, get something small, shows youre not splashing money around, but that you'care' about their happinness at xmas!
Sorry too about your IVF not working, hope youve got some happier times coming.

immortalbeloved Tue 07-Dec-10 17:56:28

Oh and on another note, I think they are BU to now resent lending you the money if it's what they agreed to. It's a bit of a bugbear of mine...I think you should either agree to do something with good grace or politely decline, what you should not do is agree to do something then whinge about it afterwards (a lesson I'm currently trying to teach my stroppy teen grin)

SantasENormaSnob Tue 07-Dec-10 17:56:29


And they shouldn't have lent the money if they didn't want to.

ShoppingDays Tue 07-Dec-10 18:03:38

Sorry to hear about the in-laws and the IVF not working. I am surprised they are not being supportive of your IVF. Most in-laws would like grandchildren.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 07-Dec-10 18:07:57

I would send a card and small gift from your DC, and would then bust my arse to pay them back. Once that was done, I would never again borrow or take anything from them. Presents/cards would only be from my child and I would stop making such an effort. I think you are banging your head against a brick wall and it's long past time to stop. Be polite, but nothing else. If they want to build bridges in the future then be receptive, but the first move should come from them.

Just because someone is 'family' it doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with shitty behaviour indefinitely.

My mum has a SIL like yours. My parents have been married for 39 years and she is still a toxic bitch, despite my mums very best efforts.

Very sorry about your IVF

fannybaws Tue 07-Dec-10 18:17:35

Hi Op what does your DP think aout it all?

theevildead2 Tue 07-Dec-10 18:18:36

I don't think YABU, but mostly I just wanted to post and say how sorry I am your IVF didn't work.

bigchris Tue 07-Dec-10 18:22:50

I'm sorry too sad
I'd get dh to ring and suggest instead of presents this year he starts paying them back

SeaTrek Tue 07-Dec-10 18:28:53

They sound awful sad
YANBU - I would just keep out of the whole present buying thing and put that decision squarely with your DH.

RJRabbit Tue 07-Dec-10 18:39:06

If you can't pay them back now, can you get a bank loan? I would rather pay that back that feel indebted to resentful people.

I wouldn't want to bother with them anymore either, but realise I am not of high moral fibre and you'd probably be better taking the advice of people who suggest taking the high ground. But for God's sake, don't get anything for the nasty SIL unless its a packet of those sour snakes sweets.

CrazyChristmasLady Tue 07-Dec-10 18:49:49

Sorry to hear the IVF didn't work. sad

YANBU, they chose to lend you the money, they can't turn around and say after that they didn't really want to, they could have refused at the time.

I wouldn't have been making the effort that you do make given how unwelcome into the family you have been made to feel.

Let your DH sort out his parents from now on and have nothing to do with it.

I don't see to my ILs, that is DH's job, just like seeing to my family is my job. I suggested a very nice present for MIL last year, we got it. It couldn't be more obvious that it wasn't appreciated (and it wasn't something that she specifically asked for). I won't bother again.

wannaBe Tue 07-Dec-10 18:53:12

am going to go slightly against the grain here..

While on the one hand I can see that you're a bit upset at the resentment over the money, this line in your post struck me:

"we asked DH's parents to lend us some
money to cover the shortfall. They are loaded, so it wasn't really a problem," this to me implies a huge expectation - the fact that they are, in your words, loaded, that they should just be free and willing to lend you the money, and yet you've made it clear you don't particularly like them. And as parents they probably feel under a huge amount of pressure to lend the money to their son otherwise he may not be able to be a father, and then they would feel responsible for that. If they'd said no to lending you the money would you be posting here about that? You've already said they're loaded, so clearly you expect that it shouldn't be a problem for them, and yet it is their money and they should be free to do with it as they want.

My personal opinion is that it is totally out of order to ever ask anyone to lend you money - especially close family because close family feel under pressure to say yes even if they want to say no.

I think you need to buy them a token on the basis that you're not buying expensive presents because you're savng to repay your debt to them, and that you should repay the debt to them asap.

I also think that your sil's past conduct is not related to them and that the two are separate, and that you should not base how you treat your ILs on how your sil has behaved in the past.

FullaDoll Wed 08-Dec-10 02:42:10

Actually wannaBe, I mentioned that they were loaded to avoid the inevitable "maybe they couldn't afford to lend it" replies. There was no expectation there, in fact we were quite shocked at their readiness to lend it as they are not normally generous people.

Yes, maybe we shouldn't have asked them, but we had already spent 20,000 on this IVF cycle, and it would have been stupid to can it because we didn't have the extra. For the record, we didn't anticipate having to pay this extra money, I had to switch medications and they are very expensive. Plus you can't return the ones that you are no longer using.

I guess I am just using the present issue as an excuse to cut ties with them. My DH can do what he wants, and I wouldn't dream of stopping them seeing their grandchild, but I have had enough of their shit over the years. Ditto for the SIL.

I don't know why they are behaving like this. OK, it turns out that they were not happy about the money after all, but snubbing me on my birthday to punish me? Seems a bit nasty to me. Maybe I am oversensitive.

As for DH, he does think it is a bit shitty of them, and said recently that he wishes he had stood up for me all these years. We have had some fearsome rows and almost split up a few times, and apart from one argument a few years ago, EVERY SINGLE ONE has been about something the PIL or SIL have done.

At the end of the day, it's not about presents, it's about me wanting to eradicate these toxic people from my life.

Thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate the responses. If anybody else has any advice, it would be very welcome.

Thanks again.

bedubabe Wed 08-Dec-10 05:31:25

I come from a similar position with inlaws and a SIL that tried to split mine and DH's relationship up. DH's relationship with his sister is still frosty but I'm getting there with the inlaws now.

Honestly, the key thing is to rise above it. They're not worth your stress and anger. Don't think of it as a present from you. Presumably they got your DH something for his birthday? Remember, the present isn't just from you - it's from the family.

If it really irks then force DH to do all the present buying and card writing but not signing your name on the card as well is just going to result in full scale war that isn't worthwhile.

To be honest, it sounds like your problem is actually with your SIL.

Threatening not to come to your wedding if it was a long way away is hardly the most despicable action in the world if they did come in the end. My ILs didn't get us a wedding present because it was hubby's second wedding and so wasn't important. Still not worth starting a family row over it. At the end of the day these people are always going to be in your life in some form as your child's grandparents and you do have to be the bigger person.

As a (maybe irrelevant) aside - my parents don't actually get anything for my hubby for his birthday anyway. I don't think they know when it is! You have to remember that presents and cards are of different levels of importance in different families.

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