Advanced search

in my expectations of how often DH sees my parents?

(30 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 14:40:08

Or rather, I suppose, is he being unreasonable in his expectations of how often he should see my parents?!

Since the start of the year, he has seen them: once for a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning in Feb; a day trip up for lunch at Easter; a concert one evening in June. He is now saying he feels 'claustrophobic' because we have been asked to have dinner with them this coming w/e for my dad's bday AND are going to their 40th anniversary celebration in Oct.

I should say that my parents ARE, no denying it, not the easiest of people to spend time with, hence the fact (I feel) that I limit the amount of time we see them as much as poss. I tend to see more of them without DH, eg the occasional w/e when he's away or busy (or can't face coming!) etc. It's a drag for me too, I hate to say, because though of course I love my parents they can be extremely demanding and judgemental and - yes - claustrophobic. However, they never actually behave that way in front of DH so it's not like he has to put up with snidey comments over the table etc.

I will admit too that I have been disingenuous in the past with DH - promising him we won't have to go to a family b'day event or something and then at the last minute feeling guilty and insisting that we drop everything and go. So I do accept that there is 'background' to this.

Re his parents, I am a saint of course wink. Actually, seriously, it's a different situation with them, they are divorced (un-amicably) and so there are never any big family events, that said we do see a lot of his dad and though we see less of his mum I have only once in all the years we've been together complained and said I didn't want to go and do something with her. (I still went, just a bit unwillingly). My point is that I accept that you just do things with your in-laws without a huge amount of fuss, assuming you're not otherwise engaged or anything. And I don't think I am asking my DH for a massive amount of attendance!

But am I being unreasonable? How often do other people see their parents/in-laws? DH keeps doing 'straw polls' of his friends who all - surprise surprise - think he's being maligned. My friends tend to see their parents as much or more. Is it a female thing?

Ephiny Mon 22-Aug-11 14:43:03

DP has met my parents 3 times. We've been together about 10 years .I see his parents a lot more often as they live closer, maybe every few months.

What you're asking doesn't sound unreasonable though.

EuphemiaMcGonagall Mon 22-Aug-11 14:43:40

DH hasn't seen my parents since last November. My dad drives him round the bend and up the wall, so I don't see any point in putting anyone through that! I find my dad hard to cope with too, but he's my dad and I just get on with it.

DH also can't stand his mum, which is a whole other thread!

YANBU, but I don't see the point in forcing DH to spend time with your parents just for the sake of it.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 14:44:24

Ephiny - thank you - my DH would love to be in your DP's position!!! Is it a distance thing or just the way your family works? Tell me to bugger off it's that's too personal a question!

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 14:47:29

Euphemia thank you - I do know what it's like to have parents that drive you (and DH) around the bend - sorry!! Trouble I have is that my mum is a very unreasonable person (she could have a whole thread of being unreasonable devoted to her alone) and tends to take quite severe offence if she feels people (her kids and their partners) are not seeing enough of them.

I have a million issues with my mum that also need a whole thread of their own but basically she's not the kind of person you want to risk offending if the occasional cheery lunch will keep her at bay.

pozzled Mon 22-Aug-11 14:49:07

My DH sees an awful lot more of his MIL than yours does. My mum lives reasonably close and helps us out with childcare occasionally, so she is always welcome at our house. DH probably sees her at least once a month, either for an organised meal/ get-together or she'll pop over at the weekend.

We see DH's parents less, as they live further away, but at least 3 or 4 times a year, and when we do see them it's usually for a whole weekend.

I think what you're asking is not at all unreasonable.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 22-Aug-11 14:50:05

I don't think the number of visits you've stated in your post are too many. It seems to be once every couple of months. I see my mil once a week and I see my own parents several times a week (dh is usually at work though, when I see mine). My parents live in the same town and will often just pop in.

I think there are some visits that you just have to suck up - your dad's birthday being one of them. Your dh might not enjoy these visits, but they are your parents and he owes them (and you) courtesy, if nothing else.

If my dh was kicking off about such infrequent visits I'd tell him to wind his neck in. It would be different if they were rude to him or nasty about him.

DoMeDon Mon 22-Aug-11 14:54:33

YANBU to want him to spend time with your family, especially if it's only 5 times in a year. YABU to agree not to then changing your mind.

This all sounds really petty and pathetic though. Claustrophobic!?!? <snurk>

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 14:54:37

thanks pozzled and karma - yes I agree karma that there are some visits you just have to suck up. Like I try to point out to DH, does he thinks I REALLY want to see his dad as much as we do? I mean, I love my FIL but DH seems to think that just because admittedly we have a better time with him than we do with my parents - he is nicer, more considerate, better conversationalist! - then I am wrong to point out that I don't complain about such events.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 14:56:56

DoMeDon - you're right, absolutely, I am unreasonable to change mind sometimes on this - totally right. This is the stupid mistake I have made so that now whenever I say to DH that something is coming up and I'd like him to come with me, he can start a whinge about how I've lied to him before etc etc...

It sounds as though we have a terrible rel/ship but honestly we don't. Been happily together 16 years!! This is - literally - the ONLY thing we row about.

DoMeDon Mon 22-Aug-11 14:59:34

Tell him you will happily discuss the time/s you lied until he is satisfied by your response then you would like it dropped permanently. You promise not to lie, he promises not to drag it up. Then you tell him to get a grip about 5 outings over 365 days!

Ephiny Mon 22-Aug-11 15:03:25

It's partly a distance thing emeraldgirl, though also the fact that I don't have a very close relationship with my parents anyway. And we don't tend to have any big family events for birthdays, anniversaries etc on my side of the family.

I do think your DH is being a bit unreasonable with 'claustrophobic' etc, some people have obligatory visits with the ILs every weekend, have them dropping in unannounced all the time etc, now that would be claustrophobic for me! It really could be a lot worse, and just it's part of being married or in a partnership that you have some family obligations on the in-law side as well.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 15:04:14

DoMeDon - are you a counsellor or something?? That is a great suggestion, thank you! Trouble i think will have is that DH is one of those elephant types who can bring up a row from decades ago as if it were y'day... Have seen him do this endlessly with his brother etc. But worth a try smile

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 15:07:40

Ephiny - yes the word claustrophobic really effed me off, I have to say. And I too know plenty of people who see their ILs/parents on a practically daily basis! We have no kids (yet...) so I suppose you probably end up seeing more of your parents in that case. But I honestly don't think it is 'claustrophobic' to see them as infrequently as he does. They've only been to our actual home twice in 3 years - we go there or meet out - so aware am I of DH's complaints and wanting to keep them at a distance!

DoMeDon Mon 22-Aug-11 15:08:33

It's a deflection technique isn;t it? If he drags up all your shit and everyone elses, he doesn;t have to admit to/face up to his own. Call him on it. Say you are happy to discuss the past problem and move onto the current once he is happy. he has nowhere to go with it then.

notcitrus Mon 22-Aug-11 15:08:59

I'd find every couple months claustrophobic, and I love my ILs dearly! If both sets of parents were visited equally often that's a quarter of your weekends taken up with family!
With a tense relationship I think twice a year would be more than reasonable - you could always see them more often.

In fact this is what we do with my parents - MrNC sees them 2-3 times a year usually when they visit, but ds and I visit them at least every month, as they've improved a lot since ds was born.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 15:14:14

Thanks notcitrus! I do see my parents quite a lot more without DH - probably once a month on average - the trouble is that my siblings almost never see them without their partners so I think it can sometimes look a little odd and as if my DH is avoiding them - which of course he is...

girlywhirly Mon 22-Aug-11 15:24:05

I think DH is making this out to be worse than it is. If he had to spend a week or more with your parents each visit, that would be different.

However saying he won't have to go to an event and then changing your mind at the last minute doesn't help the situation, because every time you are invited, he will be automatically on his guard. TBH, he should be a grown-up about it and just go.

carabos Mon 22-Aug-11 15:42:44

Interesting thread. It had never occurred to me that this might be an issue. My Dh sees my parents two or three times a year, usually once or twice when they come to visit us and once when we go to them (ish - there are no set visits). I haven't seen MiL since she moved away 18 months ago after FiL died and DH has only seen her once himself (she's 300 miles away). None of us have any issues with these admittedly rather rare visits as we're all very busy.

InfinityButNotBeyond Mon 22-Aug-11 15:49:10

Well my situation sounds similar to yours. My parents (well mother) is a very hard person to be around, she is openly rude to DH. So we have an unspoken rule that I will see them without him as much as possible, but he will come along and be polite if the occasion really requires it. So in most years we normally see them at Christmas and possibly one or two other times (maybe DC birthday) . I can see that having 2 "events" so close together is problematic (DH has to pysch himself up to meet up parents and would also find this hard).

Also think if you realise DH finds it awkward then you should not expect too much - e.g. the big birthday and anniversary coming up are perhaps unavoidable, but not to expect any other "meetings" until Christmas. I also think you need to stop the saying you won't go and then changing your mind - that really is unfair on him.

Spuddybean Mon 22-Aug-11 16:06:20

I remember coming onto MN a year ago and saying i had visited my PiL's for 1 long weekend per month over a 6 month period (and spent xmas there), before they banned me from their house and being told by MNers hadn't visited them enough!

My DP and i have now been together 2 years and he has seen my parents about 5 times. (they have dogs and he is allergic - they are also very different)

I suppose it's a how long is a peice of string type question. I would expect DP to go to family occasions and meet up occasionally and i never would tolerate him saying you don't see mine so why should i see yours (as that was his parents choice and my parents for all their difficult ways have been nothing but lovely to him).

My DP has never met sister though and she has never shown any interest in meeting him. (well, it's not about her or her chhildren is it so why should she care!)

giveitago Mon 22-Aug-11 16:17:39

Suppose what it means to you OP. My dh has seen alot less of my dps than your's and they financed us for a year. However, my dh does not see the need for family time (i'm talking about 3 days per year for us) but expects me to take take time off to see his dfamily abroad and pay absolute homage to all of his lot.And he's spent less than 3 hours with my family in the last 2 years.

It think aiming for parity is the key

minipie Mon 22-Aug-11 16:26:55

Hmmm - if you liked your parents and enjoyed spending time with them then I would definitely say that your DH should just deal with it and keep you company a lot of the time - it's polite.

However, it sounds like you don't really want to see that much of them yourself, and you only do so to keep your mum "at bay" ? Maybe your DH thinks you should see less of her rather than placating her ? Has he ever said this?

emeraldgirl1 Mon 22-Aug-11 16:27:21

spuddybean and giveitago thank you. You're right it is a how long's a piece of string question. What's normal for one person isn't normal for another. Sorry btw to hear about your PiLs Spuddy - though maybe you are happier not seeing them!!

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 22-Aug-11 16:27:42

I'd echo notcitrus.

We've got three pairs of GPs (his parents, my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother) plus four brothers between us, who all want to see their granddaughter/neice. He thinks his parents should be able to visit every 6-8 weeks and they ask to come on about 6 week intervals; I feel that allowing equal access would mean that we hardly have free weekends for ourselves and enjoying our local social group (it's not an afternoon coffee, it's a full weekend when we can't do other things). I'm constantly trying to delay or defer his parents next visit-request which doesn't make me feel very good about myself but I too am getting claustraphobic!

I think you've got a good compromise to be honest; it'd be nice if he wanted to see your parents more, but if he finds them difficult and there's no clear advantage to him being there otherwise, a few duty-chats per year is probably for the best!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: