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to wish normal birthdays could be a thing in our extended families?

(23 Posts)
magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 11:33:58

Just feeling a bit fed up. DH and I are both turning 40. Our familes have really excelled themselves in weirdness this year.

My family are completely transactional about giving anything: if they give you a birthday present and you then disagree with any of them about anything, ever, or disappoint them in any way, they will throw back in your face just how much they have spent on you, how much they've bought, etc.
So I now completely downplay birthdays with them, ask them not to give me anything, don't celebrate my birthday at all, etc. They waver between being happy to not have to bother, petulantly saying "oh all right, I won't give you anything then", and insisting on giving things (and then being all transactional/ controlling about it). They do the same to DH. This year they've decided to petulantly ignore it all.

Dh's family completely ignore my birthday, always have. Never really worked out why. I don't advertise it, but also don't downplay it deliberately in front of them. They know when it is, DH reminds them every year when it happens. They still ignore it.

DH's family go fairly overboard for his birthdays though - and this year are planning to fly him back to their home town (international flights) so that they can throw a 40th birthday party for him with all his old friends from university. I'm not invited, and have no great desire to go anyway. He's a bit embarrassed.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have normal low-key birthdays???? sad

Miloarmadillo1 Sun 15-May-16 11:38:00

Sod the lot of them and plan a celebration together or a party with your friends. Is your DH going along with being flown off without you for a party you are not invited to?? He needs to tell them that is not on!

magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 11:41:11

We're going to go away for a few days after he gets back from all the silliness with the inlaws.

He's mired in FOG with his parents (who love him as long as he achieves at the highest level in his career/ sport/ music/ etc) and i can no longer really be bothered pointing out the silliness of the situation.

FeckinCrutches Sun 15-May-16 11:41:53

Is he going without you??

Ludwaysl Sun 15-May-16 11:42:13

Surely everyone in your family buys and receives gifts, so any dragging up of gifts can be reciprocated and therefore shut down pretty quick?

I'm pretty laid back about dh doing things on his own, but even if put my foot down at me not being invited to his birthday party, bullocks to that!

AnthonyPandy Sun 15-May-16 11:44:25

You're not invited? Why is he going along with that?

magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 11:46:12

Dragging up of gifts/ costs/ obligations would be yet another thing to be criticised for as graceless behaviour... no point doing it, the rules only work one way with my family.

Dh just thinks his family are being nice. They are just being nice, to him. Just a bit thoughtless to me. Oh well. What-effing-ever...

magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 11:48:20

I'm not invited because the flights for him are his birthday present (along with the party - which they arranged without actually asking him about - so can't now un-arrange without it all being a massive faff).

We don't have a spare few thousand for me to pop over to parental home country just for a party... so i'm not going.

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Sun 15-May-16 11:51:36

Your not invited to your husbands birthday party? shock That's awful, why hasn't your DH pointed out how rude and dismissive this is? Are you not considered an important enough part of his life to attend?

It's not just your in laws that need talking to its your DH.

FannyFifer Sun 15-May-16 11:53:06

Wtf there's no way your husband should go without you, that's mental behaviour from him never mind his parents.

CantSleepClownsWillEatMe Sun 15-May-16 11:56:17

Leaving aside your own family and their shenanigans, your in laws are completely odd! Will DH not be mortified at his party when people ask where you are? No way either DH or I would ever go along with this. I think he should tell them thanks but no thanks!

magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 11:57:15

I know it's a DH problem.

He thinks that us going away by ourselves cancels it out. To some degree it does. I do wish he could confront his parents about it all, but it's just wishful thinking to think he might actually ever confront his parents about anything.

FeckinCrutches Sun 15-May-16 11:57:30

Honestly my husband would never dream of attending a party that I wasn't invited to.

FeckinCrutches Sun 15-May-16 11:58:07

He's just enabling their shitty behaviour towards you, I couldn't accept that.

Chickpeachick0 Sun 15-May-16 12:02:51

He abolutely should not go . Going reinforces to his family that you are not important.

CantSleepClownsWillEatMe Sun 15-May-16 12:03:13

Maybe it's time to sit down with DH and have chat? Along the lines of we're both 40 years of age now, it's time we stopped jumping to our families tune. Point out that it's disrespectful to both of you, his parents doing this is actually suggesting they don't take his choice of partner, his marriage, seriously.

I think I'd feel very disappointed in DH if he went along with this.

magnificatAnimaMea Sun 15-May-16 12:21:40

It's patently obvious that PIL don't take DH's choice of partner or his marriage seriously...

the question is what you do about it.

He doesn't think confronting them will achieve anything - and to be honest FIL could eat anyone for breakfast in an argument (corporate lawyer quite used to arguing in court) even if the opponent were not his son, desperate for approval...

My take is that he could at least try, once, to talk to them. He sees this as me trying to damage his relationship with his parents (which is certainly how his parents would frame it). So he won't.

Other than our families, our life and marriage is fine, DH is thoughtful, caring, sensible, helpful, genuinely lovely. His family are his blind spot. But then, he can't understand why I care so much about my family when they're consistently horrible and dysfunctional. TBH I don't fully understand either - it's not like they've ever been nice or functional.

FeckinCrutches Sun 15-May-16 12:25:59

Does he not see how wrong it is to go without you?

FeckinCrutches Sun 15-May-16 12:27:00

Or maybe he does see but doesn't care. I don't know which is worse.

FinallyHere Sun 15-May-16 13:13:01

I would not expect DH to fund tickets for me.

I would not expect him to go without me.

If he refuses this event, it really would send them a message to not do that again. How would he feel about that?

mmgirish Sun 15-May-16 13:26:03

OP, your in laws sound a bit crazy. I can't believe they only want your husband to go home to visit them for a party! Very unusual behaviour. I would be very hurt if my husband agreed to that.

Miloarmadillo1 Sun 15-May-16 16:05:18

Maybe being 40 is a landmark year to say you are both grown ups, you can stop dancing to the ridiculous tunes your parents on both sides are playing.

FamousSeamus Sun 15-May-16 16:10:16

Your husband at 40 should have long grown out of being desperate for parental approval. Who cares what his father does for a living? I've eaten corporate lawyers for breakfast - and I'm a writer who sits on my own all day making shit up - not because I'm in a John Grisham novel shouting 'You can't handle the truth!', but because they're human beings like anyone else.

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