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Pulling a sickie on family events

(37 Posts)
Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 20:49:13

NC as i use my nickname everywhere...

We had DS christening at the weekend and my brother in law didn't turn up (no pre warning), his wife - DH's sister - did. Apparently he had a sore throat and was "really ill". Now, this wouldn't bother me in the slightest, except that this is a running theme.

Around 50% of the time he doesn't turn up at all to family events because he is 'ill', or has some work he has to catch up on and around 40% of the time he turns up but but excuses himself and sits upstairs in their room. Think - Christmas, Easter etc.

We know that when he excuses himself upstairs that he's playing computer games because we are "friends" with him online and can see that he's playing them! I could list a bunch of times this has happened but you get the idea.

The weirdest thing is that when he does turn up and is present, he seems like a really nice guy. I do worry about SIL as she has been much more withdrawn and we hardly speak any more since they got married around 2.5 years ago - before that we were really close. They didn't live together before getting married for religious reasons.

AIBU that this is really starting to get to me - why cant he put in the slightest bit of effort into getting to know his family. Or am i being insensitive and he is just really introverted or something...

Those statistics (40, 50, 10) are NOT exaggerations. It's getting to the point now that when we go to my in laws for a weekend we will drive there on the Friday night and they will arrive Saturday lunchtime, he will stay upstairs "ill" or "working" while SIL socialises and then on Sunday morning they will leave immediately after breakfast. They don't have children, and it takes them less than 2 hours to drive home.

I got a lot of stick from MIL (who just wants everyone to get along) for not having him as a godfather, but he has shown absolutely no interest in our children... I'm pretty glad I stuck to my guns now.

GreenTureen Mon 09-Jan-17 20:51:06

Just leave him to it.

It might be an anxiety/depression thing and being unable to cope with a lot of people at once.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 09-Jan-17 20:51:40

A lot of people find family gatherings stressful when it's their own family, never mind the in laws! Maybe he just finds it all overwhelming so avoids socialising?


Gazelda Mon 09-Jan-17 20:56:36

How frequent are the get togethers? Do they always involve overnight stays?

I'd guess that he is an introvert and feels very uncomfortable spending a large amount of time with others he doesn't know very well.

GlitteryFluff Mon 09-Jan-17 20:59:15

This is me with every family gathering on DH's side (except if it's just PIL and BIL) and tbh most of my extended family too.
I hate being around people, im nervous and shy, I'm anti social. If I can I will get out of a wedding or a Christening or a party or a large meal in a restaurant. I hate it. I don't mind, iyswim, but don't know how others feel.
If i can't get out of it then I do stay with everyone rather than hide away however I would leave as early as I could.
I don't mean to be rude!**

Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 20:59:28

About 4-5 times a year including weddings, christenings, funerals. Events that are not those 3 almost always involve staying at in-laws house - where everyone gets a bedroom and ensuite to themselves.

Sandsnake Mon 09-Jan-17 21:04:37

I think YANBU, provided that he's not ill in a way that you're unaware of.

There are times when we all have to do things that take us out of our comfort zone and that we'd rather not. It's part of being an adult and respecting the person that you love. How is BIL going to feel more comfortable with your family if he isolates himself? I'd be slightly worried about your SIL distancing herself as well. Isolating people from their family can be the start of abusive behaviour.

Mindtrope Mon 09-Jan-17 21:07:05

I pull a sickie if I can.

I am a happy sociophobe.

I am not nervous or shy, in fact I am very chatty , and have done lots of jobs where I am paid for communicating with others.
I find gatherings tedious and exhausting and do what I can to avoid them.

MissVictoria Mon 09-Jan-17 21:17:32

Maybe you could approach your sister in law, and as supportively as possible, ask if he finds social gatherings stressful/upsetting, because you're worried about him.
I hate family get togethers, i don't know if my family is typical but everyone gets drunk as possible, is very loud, can get quite abrupt/rude, want to turn it into a karaoke session and pressure you to take part, and get really showy offy and braggy. I can't be doing with it, even as a teenager i'd be the one in the front room where it's quiet or even upstairs with my cousins daughter who was a couple years younger than me and usually brought a friend. I have anxiety and depression and after the death of my mum i got almost completely ignored like i didn't exist, i'd get occasional invites to family get togethers but most i didn't know about til after the fact. Maybe he's not feeling particularly welcome, and as you didn't seem to consider it might be MH problems but jumped straight to thinking he's just rude he may well not be comfortable around you. I certainly find online gaming a release, and much easier to socialise and talk despite the fact i'd never talk to someone in the street etc.

Fishcakey Mon 09-Jan-17 21:21:28

I make excuses to get out of all OH's family events. I am nice. I just don't do family occasions. Nothing sinister.

MadisonAvenue Mon 09-Jan-17 21:24:58

I'm guilty of doing that on occasions, especially with my sister in law and her family. I'm introverted and they're very full-on, loud and all talk at the same time, and I just find it too much and stressful.

northernmonkey1010 Mon 09-Jan-17 21:26:43

He either doesn't like you or he's a complete arsehole

Cherryskypie Mon 09-Jan-17 21:27:08

He doesn't want to see you. Does it matter?

HermioneJeanGranger Mon 09-Jan-17 21:28:43

Maybe he's not into huge social gatherings. I don't see the problem. it's better than going and being rude and ignoring evryone!

CommunionHelp Mon 09-Jan-17 21:30:59

Sounds like he could have social anxiety and/or is a real introvert who doesn't cope with big/small talk-type gatherings. You say he is a really nice guy. Just let him be.

ShelaghTurner Mon 09-Jan-17 21:31:46

Yep, this is me. I simply reach a point where I can't cope any more, especially a times like Christmas when there's a gathering every other day. And if I do turn up then I will excuse myself and go somewhere quiet. Doesn't mean I don't like the people I'm with, simply that I find gatherings stressful and need to get away before I start to panic. Maybe he's the same.

Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 21:32:07

I would say that DH's family gathering are very low intensity. Usually were all watching a film, playing a multiplayer video game together (all on our own laptops), having a family meal together etc

I feel bad for SIL constantly making excuses for him, it's obviously embarrassing. We had FILs 60th birthday a few months ago and BIL didn't turn up but his parents and his sister did for a Sunday lunch.

OytheBumbler Mon 09-Jan-17 21:33:10

What kind of computer games is he playing? Could he be addicted to World of Warcraft or similar and want to play instead?

thefourgp Mon 09-Jan-17 21:34:28

I totally agree with sandsnake. Yanbu. My dh's a bit like your bil. Often leaves early, makes excuses not to attend, goes to bed early etc. It's nothing to do with being shy or insecure. He's just pretty anti social and a bit selfish at times and a lot of his immediate family are the same. They make minimal amount of effort with each other and so he's the same with my family. It's his normal and he doesn't think it's a big deal. Everyone gets along when we're all together (either at his family occasions or mine) but I find his lack of effort embarrassing at times. Is your bil the same with his own family? I think you just have to accept this is who he is. I agree that family members should suck it up and make the effort to take more of an interest in each others lives but you aren't going to change him. If you raise this as an issue he'll probably just end up getting defensive and you'll see even less of them both. You made the right decision about not having him as a godparent. That's a privilege he doesn't deserve. X

dovesong Mon 09-Jan-17 21:38:06

I've pulled sickies for family events because of depression/anxiety that made me wake up in the middle of the night feeling sick about them for weeks in advance. No explanation why, my family is lovely and low stress. Could be a similar issue for him. (Not making excuses btw, I know I should have just got it together and showed up. But my brain was not obeying any sense of rationality.)

Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 21:39:41

He's not addicted to a particular game, it's just random Steam games, sometimes we can be playing the same game but he's upstairs and not interested in joining our game... Very often we play borderlands, where we all work together in the game, so it's all quite nice and not killing each other.

I'm not really sure how he is with his own family, but they do go to his family a lot more, maybe twice as often. SIL is lovely and social with them as far as I can tell. His parents are very lovely and even send christmas & birthday gifts for our children!

Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 21:40:27

I know that he is in trouble at working for using up all of his sick days so it is possible that there is something underlying going on.

Sparkletastic Mon 09-Jan-17 21:40:36

Sounds like he doesn't like the family he's married into.

Rhayader Mon 09-Jan-17 21:40:55

Sorry! 'Work', not working

Mindtrope Mon 09-Jan-17 21:41:24

Why would you want someone there under sufferage?

I hate gatherings and parties, I avoid as many as I can and endure those I really can''t get out of.

OHs family are nice people, but I don't much enjoy socialising.
If I knew a family member felt the same as me then I would be fine if they excused themselves.
It's no big deal. I would rather they didn't come than forcing themselves to come and counting the minutes until it was over.

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