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To not take DC to visit widowed FIL

(32 Posts)
Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:04:27

Name-changed for this as fear am being really horrible! But can't seem to be able to do the right thing.

Twenty years ago DH's father (of four teenagers) left his mother for OW, who he later married. Type of stuff often seen on the relationships board. His DC were upset but wanted to maintain a relationship with their father and in due course met OW.

All superficially cordial over the years, but none of them liked OW, because of her role in it all and because tbh she's not very likeable.

I have known DH since school (when it all happened) and his parents and OW almost as long. IMO FiL and OW behaved very badly and selfishly from then right through til now. Both became alcoholics, which made matters worse.

FiL lives an hour and a half away. Saw less and less of his DC (and now grandchildren). In the last few years has been maybe twice a year, unless there have been events like christenings, weddings etc.

IMO OW resented him spending time with the family and he chose her over them (we were never invited to theirs; she was always invited but rarely wanted to come, and it caused rows between them if he came alone). DH has said to Fil several times that he would like to see more of him, but no change. (they have always been friendly to me and other partners, and nice but distant with the GC).

Last weekend OW sadly died after a illness lasting a couple of months (she has been in hospital throughout). DH and siblings visited her a few times and FIL more often, and two of them are with FIL now supporting him and helping with the stuff that needs doing.

We have two Dc (2 and 5) and both have demanding jobs, so have been struggling in the last year or so, me more so. Usual small children, relationship difficulties, work/life balance stuff.

Since OW got sick DH and I have had a few rows over his spending time with them (with me looking after the DC) and because I wouldn't take DC to visit more than every four or five weeks (DC1 in first year of school, both in childcare all week, I am exhausted and have mild depression I think).

DH is V worried about his dad and wants to help etc, has provided lots of phone support and tried to comfort etc.

This week has been tricky with snow, DC2 been ill, work, DC, DH away. He phoned just now to say that he would be back tomorrow (my request) and had told his dad we would all be down to visit him next weekend ( in addition to DH and me attending the funeral).

I am pissed off!

we have loads of stuff organised (by DH) for February, guests, work deadlines, visiting friends 5 hours away during half-term etc. Next weekend is the only free one. I feel v sorry for FIL but am also angry with him for his general crapness, and worried he will go off the rails even more due to this. And want to limit his time with our DC - is not their job to cheer him up!

Would be happy for DH to go, but if we all go want to cancel some other stuff. I said this (not the being angry with fil bit!) and dh went silent, obviously pissed off. Think his view is that I should be able to manage better and that I am weak and selfish.

I feel like am really horrible. Know that I should go along with stuff and be nice about it. But can't seem to do this. So turning to MN for help! (scary aibu may not be right place......)

Sorry so long.

EldritchCleavage Fri 25-Jan-13 13:18:39

After all this time keeping him at arm's length, your DH's father now wants and needs him. Leaving aside the unfairness and hypocrisy of that, it must be so intoxicating for your DH to get the proximity and perhaps emotional intimacy that he was denied before.

I'd probably react like you inside (my FIL is spectacularly crap, though in our case much more since MIL died rather than less) but let this one go. Bide your time until the initial upset of the bereavement is over, maybe? Except to ask your DH not to present you with a fait accompli but discuss arrangements with you first before making promises to FIL.

I would be wary of a situation where FIL was making unfair demands of your DH and your DH was so worried about contact being dropped again that he wouldn't say no.

blackeyedsusan Fri 25-Jan-13 13:20:27

you make your 2 and 5 year olds go out to work? shock

if dh wants to go to fil he has to arrange to cancel something else.

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:21:16

Thank you eldritch, yes, I am worried about the things you mention sad

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 13:21:47

Send DH on his own. I don't think you're really horrible. A leopard doesn't change its spots.

CrazyCatLady13 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:24:10

I feel for you - you're obviously feeling very overwhelmed.

So is your DH, and it sounds as though you're not communicating very well with each other at the moment. Maybe he feels better visiting his DF with you and the children there? Especially as there was awkwardness when his DF split from his DM.

I don't think either of you are being unreasonable. Maybe try clearing a few minutes when you can sit calmly down & discuss what's happening?

GirlOutNumbered Fri 25-Jan-13 13:26:07

I would stand by what my husband wanted. My DH has a strange relationship with his parents, but I have just always stood by what he feels is the right thing. It's not my place to tell him how to deal with them.

Whocansay Fri 25-Jan-13 13:29:35

I wouldn't want my children trying to make a relationship with him either. He doesn't exactly sounds dependable. If he wants the privilege, he has to earn it first.

iusedtobefun2 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:30:37

Your poor FIL and DH. Doesn't matter how crap FIL has been he is still the father of your DH and it's normal that he wants to be there to support him during this difficult time. You never know, it may even help heal some of the hurt from over the years. It takes years to get over the loss of a loved one and so far it's been only a few days.

Bereavements are always fraught times, especially when there is a difficult relationship. However I don't think your DH is unreasonable in wanting you all to visit FIL and to maybe cancel some social arrangements.

5Foot5 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:31:01

blackeyedsusan Glad it's not just me who had a giggle at that

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:31:18

I understand that is not for me to tell DH what to do, I just don't want DC dragged into it, and (selfishly) worried that I can't carry on unless get some "normal" quiet weekends as a family soon.

Also think fil will hurt DH yet again, he has long-running history of it.

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 13:31:59

'It's not my place to tell him how to deal with them.'

She's not. She's not wanting to rearrange her life and her childrens' lives around a person who's been toxic.

HeathRobinson Fri 25-Jan-13 13:32:02

I think the main thing to do would be to not to organise yourselves into only having one free weekend in the month. (That would drive me crazy.) I think your idea of cancelling other stuff is valid and reasonable.

Would dh be ok with going next weekend and taking the kids by himself?

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:32:55

Iusedtobefun, I would visit fil, but DH will not want to cancel other stuff, he thinks we should be able to do it all.

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:35:58

Heath, if the DC go I would want to be there to help, eg if FIL was upset DH could support him and I could occupy DC. and would feel v rude remaining behind. Seems like best thing could be to go and cancel other stuff.

MerylStrop Fri 25-Jan-13 13:38:22

This weekend, I'd put up with it (just go over for half a day), especially as it sounds like you can't go again for another month.

It's not that far away, it's not forever, your FIL needs his son, regardless of the history, the man has lost his life partner and is left - admittedly through his own choices - avery alone.

This will sound harsh (and I do sympathise because I am sometimes there myself) but if your mental state is so fragile you probably need to think about some of the other plans and whether they are flexible.

3rdnparty Fri 25-Jan-13 13:41:30

I would cancel some stuff anyway I think...just to give yourself a breather, Easter hols are v close behind - could you postpone some of your visits/guests until then...we both bad/colds etc at xmas so couldn't do have the things we'd planned and it did us all the world of good having a real break - esp for the dc- my ds was always knackered in his first year by the time we got to holidays..

whether you go or not this weekend -compromise how about 1 day -even though longish journey at least leaves you one day are right its not their job to cheer up everyone but probably really help your dh...

unfortunately think you're right and fil will be crap again...but probably better to keep that to yourself for now...sad

GladbagsGold Fri 25-Jan-13 13:42:05

I would go, it will be easier for your DH if you are all there. And if FIL does hurt DH, you will be in a better place to support him. As for the other social stuff, maybe DH doesn't want to be the family spoilsport, or feels like he needs a bit of normality too.

I feel for you because I know it is hard watching a parent let your partner down repeatedly over the years. I do think you need some support as you sound stressed and worn out. Do you have family to lean on a bit? Can you take any time off work?

HeathRobinson Fri 25-Jan-13 13:42:42

Yes, if you go this weekend and cancel some other stuff, that would help fil and you. It's all about a balance, isn't it.

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:45:50

Not harsh meryl, see what you're saying. would like to cancel other stuff, but DH generally wants to do much more going away/having guests than I do (source of disagreements) and tbh isn't great about understanding my desire for quieter times, he can't really handle it when am low, he is a "mind over matter", keep going whatever type.

I do feel sorry for FIL. DH is more generous than me and of course it's his dad who he loves, whatever he's like.

EldritchCleavage Fri 25-Jan-13 13:46:24

DH will not want to cancel other stuff, he thinks we should be able to do it all

Ah well, that strikes me as unreasonable.

MerylStrop Fri 25-Jan-13 13:50:38

Obv now is not the time for discussing the generally level of sociability (my DH similar, he's never knowingly declined an invitation)

Were it me, I'd go this weekend, for one day. Not staying over - it's not far enough to warrant it, and say that the give and take in this is that something else needs to be scaled back.

Graveyard Fri 25-Jan-13 13:50:49

DH will probably agree to cancelling other stuff, but be annoyed and think am pathetic sad

My own family are 300 miles away and would probably help, but their visiting would bring different issues!

EldritchCleavage Fri 25-Jan-13 13:53:08

We have two Dc (2 and 5) and both have demanding jobs, so have been struggling in the last year or so, me more so. Usual small children, relationship difficulties, work/life balance stuff

It does sound as though the FIL situation is not the problem, just the tipping point for you in what is a wider issue. Are you carrying a lot more of the domestic burden than your DH?

mrslaughan Fri 25-Jan-13 13:57:29

I would go, its a bereavement its family, it obviously means alot to your DH, BUT I would be saying something has to give - we need to cancel....... its fine to admit you are not superwoman, and DH is unreasonable to expect you to be.

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