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AIBU to bang there heads together

(23 Posts)
EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 12:32:46

DH and FIL haven't spoken since DHs birthday.
We usually make quite a big deal out of birthdays, for DH's significant birthday a few months ago FIL declined an invite to attend (no reason given) and sent a card late with a message enclosed saying that he hadn't bothered to get a present but would buy him a pint next time they saw each other. After phoning him to thank him DH had a look through his phone and basically saw that every contact made between the pair was by him.
DH decided to hold off contacting FIL and said he was going to wait to see how long it would take for him to get in touch. It's now been six months and two significant family events and they've yet to say a word to each other.

FIL does have form for this type of behaviour but since I've known DH they've had a loving (if a bit distant) relationship and genuinely get along really well.

AIBU to say enough is enough and intervene, DH is gutted by the fact his dad doesn't seem to be bothered by the contact, but all I keep thinking is that maybe FIL thinks DH is the one is ignoring him and now they're stuck in a situation where both are too stubborn to act.

Should I contact MIL and ask her to try and give FIL a bit of a push to pick up the phone.

Demand DH bites the bullet and phone himself.


Leave it all and risk DH eventually ending up NC with his dad.

EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 12:35:37

I'm obviously VVU since I have typed 'there' instead of 'their' oops.

Haggisfish Fri 25-Nov-16 12:36:46

I would speak to mil.

DidILeaveTheGasOn Fri 25-Nov-16 12:38:28

Does your dh want to go back to initiating contact with his own father? Do you think that's better for him than this situation?

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 25-Nov-16 12:39:22

No, do not meddle in this besides which still waters run deep. Doing so could well backfire on you. Your FIL has form for this type of behaviour and it would not surprise me if he has done this with other family members.

There's reasons why their relationship is distant and it probably predates you meeting your DH by many years as well.

Does your DH communicate with his mother?.

You likely come from an emotionally healthy family of origin but the "normal" rules of familial relations and interactions do not apply to dysfunctional families. Your DH has not been so lucky.

Does DH have any siblings; if so how are they treated by their dad?.

ChipIn Fri 25-Nov-16 12:41:02

I would speak to MIL. After all, as you say, your DH's dad may be thinking the same thing, or have another reason for not getting in touch. It doesn't sound like either of them are great communicators, at least with each other, so MIL might be better placed to help you.

And thank goodness you corrected the title! I winced when I saw 'there'.

ElizabethHoney Fri 25-Nov-16 12:41:22

I definitely wouldn't leave it. Try MIL first. Feeling your frustration :/

Freesialala Fri 25-Nov-16 12:41:48

Sorry no useful advice but I'd really advise not putting pressure on your DH to get in touch first, speaking as someone who has recently found themselves in a very similar situation, the revelation that contact is always initiated one sided is very painful. Bet you can do is support him and show your care for how rejecting it feels. If there's a loving relationship there then I hope FIL can take the onus to reach out but it won't make DH feel any better to continue to always be the one to start contact. Sorry not terribly helpful but this struck a chord, your poor husband.

Farmmummy Fri 25-Nov-16 12:42:08

I would see if MIL could give him a gentle kick up the arse to pick up the phone I can see Dhs point but maybe FIL is just not the phone type but would like to see/hear his son so a prod from MIL would make the difference?

EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 12:46:56

The situation atm is awful, DH says that this is how his childhood was spent, he contacted FIL who replied as and when it suited him and his wife at the time.
DH feels that he thinks he's been propping up the relationship and he's fed up of it, so if FIL responds he's happy to go back to how they were, but if not that's it.

There's a lot of unresolved issues from DH and BIL who basically felt second best to FILs old wife when they were kids, this is mainly resolved but I feel that this situation has got out of hand due to that.

PenguinsandPebbles Fri 25-Nov-16 12:50:59

I was going to say speak to your MIL, but is it the case that your dads father is no longer married to his mum?

Need to understand a bit more about the history to make an informed decision.

I decided to no longer bother with my biological father when I turned 21, and my father yet again forgot my birthday. Was the final straw for me, i had spent my entire life chasing him for a relationship.

EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 12:57:36

DH's parents split when he was very young, both remarried numerous times and DH and BIL were left to pick up the pieces and care for each other. It's quite amazing that both turned out to be emotionally stable.

DH & BIL have a good relationship with his mum who has come into her own since they've grown up but was particularly useless when they were children. We see her and her partner often and she calls almost daily.
DH & BIL have always had a one sided relationship with dad, who was a lot better when he was single at contacting them but seems to forget his children until they phone him when he is in a relationship. It was contact maybe once or twice a month but always DH & BIL doing the chasing.

In comparison I have a large but very close and open family and a very normal childhood with no upsets and I find it difficult to imagine either of my parents not phoning me in 6 months.

I just want to do the right thing for him and support him, if that means getting involved or taking a step back.

EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 12:59:00

FIL is remarried, it's this MIL I intend to have a chat to.

MLGs Fri 25-Nov-16 13:02:42

Don't meddle. Don't involve MIL. There is no need for the women folk to intervene to sort out the men's problems for them. Let them sort it out.

user1471950254 Fri 25-Nov-16 13:03:37

You may damage your relationship with your partner if you intervene despite your best intentions. For this reason I would discuss with your partner that you considered intervening as you really want to help and see if this changes how he feels

PenguinsandPebbles Fri 25-Nov-16 13:04:37

I think you should just leave your husband to make his own decision in this case, but support him through it.

My father was an arse, constantly didn't turn up for visits - the worse being me seeing his car at the bottom of the road and he calling from the phone box, I guess he just changed his mind. When he remarried and got his dogs he stopped seeing me all together because it was unfair to leave the dogs alone for the four hours once a month to come and see me.

It's a hard decision after years and years of hoping your biological parent will step up and accepting that they never will. I had decided not to bother many times before I my 21st birthday, years of letters written to him about what I was doing (pre mobile phones and Skype) and I think had he not have died quite suddenly a year after my 21st birthday I likely would have tried again and again, my heart being broken over and over again.

They don't change, it hurts and I think all you can do is support him through it.

PenguinsandPebbles Fri 25-Nov-16 13:05:47

Sorry for all the missed words, that was actually quite hard for me to write.

EverdeRose Fri 25-Nov-16 13:09:33

flowers Penguins,

thank you for sharing that, even though it was hard, it makes it easier to understand how he feels.

MamaMoose1 Fri 25-Nov-16 13:13:00

I would let your husband deal with it, how he chooses, as others have said, it could backfire on you.
My mum left the house when I was 9 years old and left us in our fathers care, very little contact throughout my entire life. She never calls me, I have only seen her twice this year, she comes from a dysfunctional family, so this is normal to her.

PenguinsandPebbles Fri 25-Nov-16 13:17:13

Your welcome, if it helps you and him then it is worth it.

It still makes me feel very sad, but I don't feel bad for my decision, and I do think a great deal of it is because I wanted him to be the father I wanted, not the father I ended up with.

I tried so hard and actually it wasn't really ever my place to do that, as I was the little human in it all. It's never the child's fault even if they are a grown man smile

ZippyNeedsFeeding Fri 25-Nov-16 13:22:13

My family has always made excuses for my father and sort of excused him from any sort of emotional "work". We all contacted him and he allowed us to. We remembered him at birthdays and Christmas and Father's Day and he allowed us to.

For lots of reasons I now realise that people make an effort for relationships that matter to them. I haven't contacted my father this year and he has done what he usually does- nothing. I find that I don't actually have anything to say to him any more, so it's fine.

I would back right off and let them sort it out between themselves. If a relationship needs third parties to keep it going then it's going to fail eventually anyway.

SharkBaitOohHaha Fri 25-Nov-16 13:27:35

My DP's dad is like this. I've been with him for 7 years and have met his dad probably 5 times? He and DP haven't met up without me more than a handful of times outside of that.

I think the last time they spoke was close to 6 months ago - and even then it was a short, one-sided (on DP's side) conversation.

There's no particular animosity, that's just how his dad has always been. We've been together since we were 15 and even back then, his dad would arrange to meet up with him and cancel at the last minute and give no reason. I used to push DP to make the effort but I've since realise that, for my DP, it was just easier to cut down contact to avoid disappointment.

It's a shame because his dad blatantly favours his brother, would do anything for him and they see each other at least once a week. But that's just how it is.

SharkBaitOohHaha Fri 25-Nov-16 13:28:54

Forgot to add - DP's dad does always share Facebook posts along the lines of 'Share this if your sons mean everything to you and you'd to anything for your children'. With no irony..

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