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Feels like my in-laws organise half my life

(56 Posts)
WhyNotSmile Thu 01-Jan-15 18:01:30

My DH is from a family who do a LOT of stuff together, and always expects me to go along with it. I'm getting fed up of every holiday being pre-organised for me, as they have a "thing they do" for basically every day off.

For example, New Year's Day is a drive to a seaside town (an hour away). It was so wet and windy that we couldn't take DS out of the car, so for me it was an hour's drive, then sitting in a cold car for an hour, and then home. I got very little sleep last night (DS teething), and would much rather have been at home being some rest. I did tell DH that I didn't want to go, but he basically laughed and said "It'll be fun, and you can sleep in the car".

As a one-off I wouldn't mind - I know DH wants to see his family - but it's EVERY holiday! NYE, Pancake Day, May Day, you name it, there's a pre-organised activity that is the same every year! sometimes it's an outing, sometimes it's just going to someone's house or whatever.

It's also not as if they don't see each other in between. DH is at his mum's for dinner twice a week (I go on one of the nights with DS), and all the family are there. When we got married at first, he was going 3 nights a week (going from work, staying till 9), and all day Sunday too! I objected to the Sunday, as we never got the chance to do anything (Saturday usually consisted of housework, shipping etc), so now he doesn't go on Sunday (unless it's a special event, like a birthday or something).

They all go on holiday together too, although again I have said no to this, as I have severe anxiety issues which stop me from traveling, and in any case the holidays are always to the same place each time, and it's not somewhere I want to go.

I don't mind doing some things with them, but I don't like that I basically have no say in what I do half the time! the only way I can ever get out of the event (other than refusing and causing a row) is to plan something else (I could maybe get away with this one or twice a year)... but mostly I don't really want to do something else, I just want to sit in, or take DS to the park or something.

I have depression and also need a lot of unwinding time - I find people exhausting, and these events are always tiring. There are none of the individual events that I especially dislike; it just feels like I spend a lot of time doing stuff that I don't especially enjoy.


FafferTime Thu 01-Jan-15 18:07:28

It does sound extremely frustrating. Was it like this before you got married too?

CleanLinesSharpEdges Thu 01-Jan-15 18:09:45

As usual with these type of threads, you don't have in-law problems, it's not them organising your life, it's your DH.

The correct response to him telling you that you could sleep in the car today would have been "no, that doesn't work for me. You take DS, I'll stay here and get some rest", end of discussion.

LadyintheRadiator Thu 01-Jan-15 18:12:16

Of course you can say no.

Is your problem your in-laws, or your DH?

My DP often takes the DC out with his parents while I - sleep, watch films, read. Then, when I do join in, I tend to enjoy it without too much teeth-gritting (I like some of them more than others, basically...)

seaweedhead Thu 01-Jan-15 18:14:43

YANBU. It sounds like they still think of themselves as the same family unit they were when your DH was a child. They need to get used to the idea that you, DH and DS are a seperate family unit now. As usual with these in-laws threads its your DH who needs to see that there is a problem and do something about it.
Do you never make plans to spend time with your family on bank holidays etc?

lem73 Thu 01-Jan-15 18:19:40

YANBU. That sounds extremely tiring. However it is a problem with your dh I'm afraid. Doesn't he want some time to unwind? When I first knew my ils I found them very demanding of our time. However when we got married dh got fed up with being expected to see them after work and at weekends so we gradually withdrew. He wanted to relax on his own sofa. It gets harder as kids get involved too. Their needs come first. Put your foot down. Establish some traditions for your little family.

slowdownyourneighbours Thu 01-Jan-15 18:20:56

YADNBU - it sounds really annoying

But have you ever tried just saying no?

BingBongMerrilyOnHigh Thu 01-Jan-15 18:21:46

YANBU. Do you see your own family much (if they are around/local?) It doesn't sound like you get a lot of time just for you, DH & your child. I would find this very tiring & a bit controlling, TBH, there seems very little recognition that you might actually not want to take part or might have plans/preferences of your own.

Have you told your DH how you feel about this, not just as an individual instance but the general trend of constantly being 'organised' by them?

LIZS Thu 01-Jan-15 18:23:18

Time to start planning your own celebrations for each holiday.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Thu 01-Jan-15 18:23:40

Just say no. No way would I go an hours drive away with a baby for the two of use to just sit in thecar. Fuck that.

Start. Saying. No.

LIZS Thu 01-Jan-15 18:26:49

Sorry posted too soon. Your dh needs to step up and support you so that you can enjoy yourselves as a family unit , not just an extension of his childhood. Think you do need help about travelling though, to the family it may seem as if you are unfairly restricting dh and consider you weaker and more easily manipulated than you might be otherwise.

intlmanofmystery Thu 01-Jan-15 18:27:05

Been there, its not easy. My exW wanted her parents involved in everything we did (as a new family, 2 young kids) and they were always involved in holidays with us as well. Every summer holiday plus Easter and some half-terms...(aargh!). Despite multiple "discussions" about how I wanted time for us as a family she never conceded so I just stopped going. I would never stop her from seeing her parents or the kids seeing their grandparents however it was too much for me so I made my excuses...

However its your DH you have to convince that your new family is of equal importance and he needs to dedicate time to you and DS. Otherwise just say no! As for his family's "traditions", pick the ones you like and avoid those you don't.

HamperNoShow Thu 01-Jan-15 18:28:40

Why not tell him that you can see how much the traditions bring his family joy and love the closeness but now it is time to make some if your own traditions with your new child so they will experience the same joy and closeness as they get older?

WipsGlitter Thu 01-Jan-15 18:35:09

On the flip side. I envy families who do this sort of thing - outings together etc. Big family meals etc. as long as you get time to yourselves as well.

Isetan Thu 01-Jan-15 18:37:07

As mentioned above, this is a H and not an in law problem. Him or his parents can not organise your life without you giving them permission and the correct response to him telling you to sleep in the car was, no.

It's time to identify your boundaries and to see if there are compromises that can be made. This is who he is and has always been, the onus is therefore on you to initiate the change in dynamics.

It appears he has shown no desire to change the dynamics of his relationship with his family, which begs the question, why did you hitch your wagon to someone like this?

DinnaeKnowShitFromClay Thu 01-Jan-15 18:42:59

What you describe is my idea of hell OP. You are going to have to start gradually cutting down and cutting down until it is at a manageable level by whatever means. Nightmare!

DixieNormas Thu 01-Jan-15 18:49:40

No way would I drive an hour to a seaside town at this time of year! Just say no if its something that doesn't work for you

hasle157 Thu 01-Jan-15 19:07:00

I posted a similar thread not long ago and the large overall consensus was that it is time for our family to become a unit and create some traditions of our own.
I had a huge meltdown to the point I told DP that I would leave him if things didnt change. Things are a LOT better.
We even moved Christmas Day to our house (the first time he's spent Christmas Day away from his parents house in 35 years!) His parents came to ours and it was a success. Overbearing MIL was even pleased to be given a year off.

The change largely came from DP but I really had to make him realise how serious it would be if things didn't change.

I feel a lot better and PND is improving because I'm taking some control back. You have your own family and your DP and his family need to realise this. DP needs to cut those apron strings...

WhyNotSmile Thu 01-Jan-15 19:13:25

I do sometimes say no, but then DH looks and acts all disappointed and I feel bad! I don't back down, but I just wish I could say no without him then being dramatic. sometimes he acts all hurt, or gets into a huff. I've already said no to him going all day on Sunday; I've said no to the joint holidays, and he now comes back from dinner earlier. it kind of feels like he's thinking he's compromised enough.

DS is 5 months, and breastfed, so he can't really go unless I do at the moment.

We do things with my family too... The difference is that someone comes up with something we might want to go to, and we check whether everyone who fancies it is free at the appropriate time, and we come up with an alternative date/time in case of bad weather, and that's that. Of someone doesn't fancy it, they don't go, and that's ok. For a birthday or something which will involve everyone, we chat about what we fancy doing, take account of various needs (eg small children etc) and go from there. My dad generally works bank holidays, so we tend to avoid them anyway.

In terms of whether it was like this before we got married, I guess it was, but I didn't know the full extent! Like when he said he went to his mum's for dinner, I assumed he meant "just for dinner" - i didn't realise he meant the entire evening! And I kind of assumed that we would renegotiate something that site the two of us.

I just sometimes wonder whether I'm being unreasonable by not wanting to do all this stuff - he clearly thinks I am!

WhyNotSmile Thu 01-Jan-15 19:32:09

Thanks, hasle - good to know I'm not the only one! I just feel like he wants his life to carry on as it had always been, but with me tagging along - he doesn't seem interested in really making a new life. Partly I think it's that his family don't encourage each other to do anything different - it's all about doing the same stuff together. I'm so tired of it, though.

PND is a big risk for me, but DH doesn't seem to really take it seriously. I did try to talk to him about it, but he just said "Oh, I know how hard it is for you". So either he thinks he understands, when he doesn't, or he does understand but doesn't want to do anything to help.

hamptoncourt Thu 01-Jan-15 19:57:42

YANBU but you have to get over all this "DH will be disappointed" malarky.

So what?

Life is too short to have to run around doing all this crap you don't want to do and it sounds hellish to me so just say no.

GlitteryLipgloss Thu 01-Jan-15 20:00:36

Stick to your guns and ignore his immature bottom lip wobbles.

say no and if needed say no again.

PunkrockerGirl Thu 01-Jan-15 20:05:37

It sounds exhausting.

Say no. Repeat as necessary.

Horsemad Thu 01-Jan-15 20:14:31

Oh God OP, definitely stand your ground or you'll be participating for the next 30+ years.

My inlaws are a bit like this and I've had more rows than I care to think about with DH and his 'need' to spend so much time with his family.

GlitteryLipgloss Thu 01-Jan-15 20:21:01

My DH went over his families the other night for a few hours. There was no debate or argument. I didn't fancy it and he went on his own. end of.

If he sulks again ask what the big deal is. He won't be able to answer that as there is none.

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