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Rejection from OH's family.(7 Posts)
I'll try not to make this long winded and any suggestions are welcome. My parents, me, my husband and 2 children emigrated to Germany last year, nearly a year ago now. My in-laws are divorced and both have new partners. When we announced our plans we had the expected tears and upset, but also reassurances that they would come visit and we would go over to England.
Unfortunately money is tight and we aren't really established financially yet, and only managed to get over to the UK for a surprise Christmas. My mother in law has been over to us 3 times which I'm so grateful for. My father in law and his wife have been saying since before we moved they are coming over, first it was October, then before Christmas, then in the new year. Since then it has been waiting on a date for an operation. The 'plan' all along has been to come for a long weekend. Since the reason has been waiting on the Op, almost in the same sentence they tell us of plans to take their other grandchildren (who they see a lot) on a long weekend. That trip is going ahead from the latest update.
My husband is extremely upset, he feels sidelined, forgotten, lied to, that his children don't mean as much. He also suffers with Bipolar disorder and this amount of emotional stress acts as a massive trigger. He hates confrontation. His step mum messaged us at the weekend to ask if my parents, are going over, or anyone coming to us, as she bought birthday presents for our daughter (birthday was in April) that can't be posted. It only really went to confirm they have no plans to come over.
Also as a side note if we do to the UK, our only option is to stay with my father in law, and by proxy they get to see more of us then anyone else, which all considered feels a little unfair.
What on earth can I do? I don't want to start an argument by any means, as before we left we were all quite close. The children have no noticed that Nanny and Grandad haven't followed through.
I think you're being a bit unreasonable. You made the decision to move abroad and regardless of what your in-laws might have hoped to do, the consequences of your decision are for you to accept. In moving away, you were doing what was best for you, despite the upset caused to other members of the family. That was fine but you must expect everyone else to do what's best for them too - and it's only fair to take the burden of keeping in touch upon your own shoulders. There could be many different reasons why a long weekend with your family doesn't feel like something that your in-laws can cope with just at the moment. It may have nothing to do with how they feel about you or your children although I can understand it might feel like rejection. Not feeling like/being up to visiting you doesn't mean they are unable to do something that seems more manageable. If you take your children to a different country, you have really made it impossible for grandparents to treat everyone 'fairly'; to expect them not to take other grandchildren away because there is a visit still owing to you is pretty unfair. I expect you made all sorts of promises to visit lots as well! I really would try to accept that this is a necessary evil that comes with living abroad - not everyone ends up visiting as often as they said they would. Presumably you saw your FIL when you were staying with him at Christmas time? Perhaps he feels that took the urgency off his visit to you? I would also suggest that it is a little unfair on him to stay with him every time you visit. It's very nice of him to offer so much hospitality and I wouldn't start feeling like he doesn't 'deserve' to have you now!
Maybe Christmas did take the urgency off their visit. I just wish they wouldn't tell the children they're coming, and I have to see their faces when I try and explain I don't know when.
I think I do have a habit of taking people at their word, and have been so careful not to inflict false hope on anyone else. We said that while we're in this setting up period, which should come to an end soon, we have no idea how often we can get over, that we can look for other places to stay when we do, to be told it's fine, we understand, of course you'll stay with us, and don't worry we will come over. How do I tell them, just be honest with us, without it sounding like an argument?
Tbh OP I think you're not bring that fair as they're only doing what you have - had good intentions to visit but life has got in the way. Your fil could write almost the same post about you (Ds and dil emigrated with their kids and her parents and promised lots of visits but have only come once...)
Is you DPs bipolar being managed ok? I just ask as this seems pretty predicable and par for the course when you emigrate but has hit him hard.
I think when you move abroad the onus is really in you to visit and you can't expect parity anymore.
And tbh I only ever saw my gps once a year and we were in the same country! It's not like you've been completely shuned.
I understand you're upset but I think you're blowing it into something it isn't.
I don't think you can really, but then every relationship is different and I'm looking at this situation as if it was my family. I also take people too much at their word and get hurt when expectations aren't met. What I think you could do is ask them not to talk about visiting in front of the children. In your situation, I'd explain that the children were disappointed when the expected visit didn't come off, so now you are being careful not to raise their expectations until tickets are actually booked.
Don't get me wrong, we really miss FIL and his wife (there's no short way of writing that, where it doesn't sound insulting) and we would see them once a week/every other week. And we really did pull out all the stops for Christmas because we felt it was that important.
What gets me, and possibly makes it worse, is that DH, MIL and BIL are all quite taken aback by FIL'S flakiness, BIL and MIL will often speak about the lack of information or commitment to his offer without prompting from us.
If it were my family I could read between the lines, my brothers wife came up with a whole of dates where they would visit, and just from my brothers face I could tell which dates were actually possible.
I think if we speak to FIL and just be honest about how it does upset the children, we might be able to have a conversation based on reality, where no-one feels let down, and I'm totally OK with that. FIL did ask us if we could make it over for a special date later in the year, and I made sure hubby told him it was unlikely as DS would be at school and we physically wouldn't be able to get over in time to make it.
I can imagine that hearing other people's reactions to your FIL's flakiness does make it worse - I'm always much crosser and more hurt if someone assures me I have reason to be! I would close down gossip like that for your own sanity. Who knows, if your FIL realises he has disappointed the children, it might be the motivation he needs to actually visit. I would just be very clear that you still want him to come.
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