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Disinterested inlaws - when do you actually give up?

(17 Posts)
KERALA1 Mon 30-Nov-15 12:14:42

DH parents always been ahem "hands off". Initially we were quite hurt that they rarely visited our PFB baby or particularly encouraged us to visit them. It has got worse over the years. They have never offered any help or support, or even said anything nice. They were crap when the kids were born, came to stay for days and brought no food, expected business as usual etc. Now they live abroad, but when they come back to England they won't see us then either, despite my offering to host them/go to theirs etc (4 hour drive).

Admittedly its not easy spending time with them they are so so different to us (extremely negative, slightly chippy about DH success, lots of little digs referring to my job as "pocket money" etc). They obviously have some sort of issue with us.

Anyway they are back in the UK for 6 weeks inc over Christmas. Have not invited us to theirs and refused our invite here. Should we just get the message and give up? They have suggested meeting in a pub for 90 minutes (so they see their granddaughters for 90 minutes of a 6 week stay)!

DH doesn't find them easy and we don't enjoy their company but they are his parents. But they are giving us the definite message that they don't want to see us. Our dds are 7 and 9 now and not daft - dd1 asked the other day if MIL was still her granny! Anyway waffling on. When do you give up with family? Is blood thicker than water or not?

miaowroar Mon 30-Nov-15 12:20:58

I would be inclined to give up - they are the losers in the end. Only go to the pub if it suits you to do so. If it involves a long journey or you just aren't keen, refuse - they seem to have no problem doing this so why should you?

That is of course unless your DH really wants to see them.

For the record I just don't understand grandparents like this. They don't deserve grandchildren. I don't have any and it looks like I never will but if I did, I would be completely too much the other way.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 30-Nov-15 12:48:27

They're giving you the message very strongly. I think you should listen to what they're so clearly and rather unkindly saying.

It takes two sides to really have a relationship, and one side in this case isn't interested.

the old phrase "you can choose your friends but not your family" comes to mind. Maybe leave the door open by sending cards at anniversaries but other than that leave the ball in their court.

KERALA1 Mon 30-Nov-15 12:55:33

Yes miaowroar everyone thinks their dc are lovely but my girls are well liked by other adults and are good company. Feels sad that they are being rejected by their own gps when other random adults in their lives have real affection for them. DD2 has the starring role in a school play I invited ILs to come and watch which she would have loved, they replied to say "they look forward to seeing the photos" i.e. were not coming to watch.

They are able bodied, relatively young and retired btw not doddery or super busy. Right. Will think no more of them. Have lovely extended family of my own who adore DH and he them. Just abit sad for DH that his side are so uninterested. Its been a year now since they saw dds.

Needaninsight Mon 30-Nov-15 12:59:33

My inlaws have never even met our son (18months old now) and haven't seen DD since she was a baby. They rather bother with DH.

Their loss. Totally. I think it's sad, and actually I'm more sad that they're depriving DCs of family history etc.

The lady at the postoffice knows them better than inlaws do!

Whatevva Mon 30-Nov-15 13:05:23

Send them cards at the appropriate times and polite photos of the children etc and let them come and see you if they want, but I would quit running around trying to get to see them if they aren't making the effort.

As for the pub - does it work for you - if it is a long drive for a 90 minute interview, I would think it probably isn't, expecially if the dgds haven't seen them for a long time.

Once they get into their teens, it is difficult because you don't want to be sending photos out to people who don't see them, like you do with babies. They have to start being people in their own right and get on with their own lives which is necessary for them, and if the grandparents do not get to know them, it is hard. If you don't have many formal family get-togethers like weddings etc, it is even harder.

CMOTDibbler Mon 30-Nov-15 13:10:53

My PIL can't be bothered with us or ds either. They don't live far from us but spend half the year away and will not phone/contact us for months when away. When here they won't go to anything for ds, never invite us over, and pay no attention.

Our cleaner has spent more 1 on 1 time with ds than they have, and could tell you far more about his life.

We decided that if thats what they want, then fair enough, but we aren't going to run after them either.

Sadly, ds doesn't have an extended loving family to make up for it.

KERALA1 Mon 30-Nov-15 13:15:38

I just find it hard to relate - fine they don't like DH and I but I cannot imagine not being bothered about seeing my grandchildren. My family are shocked. Eg this year my sisters are seeing their respective ILs for Christmas, both sets normal friendly and loving yet ours don't want to see us or our kids except for some strange snatched catch up in a pub like we were casual uni friends or something. Just so so weird.

And no we won't go and meet them as it involves driving a 4 hour round trip for this strange brief meet up so the ILs can tell their friends that they have seen their grandchildren. Think it will just confuse the DDs anyway.

May09Bump Mon 30-Nov-15 13:23:38

Give it up now - don't confuse your daughters. Don't waste anymore time, no pub visit, no photos / card etc. Maybe they also need to get the message - treat people he way you would like to be treated.

You can't choose your family - I'm going to face the same crap when my second baby is born. Just focus on people you value in your life.

bonzo77 Mon 30-Nov-15 13:24:39

Sounds like they're a problem that has solved itself. They're not very nice and don't actually want to be in your lives. That's great: leaves lots of time for people with whom you can have a reciprocal relationship. Sounds best all round to leave things as they are. Regarding the interview, sounds like you've already made a sensible decision.

rainbowstardrops Mon 30-Nov-15 13:34:11

Turn away from them and don't look back! They don't deserve being grandparents.
My DH's dad & step mum have never bothered with my dc's and for a while it was upsetting especially because my DM died when DS was 5 and DD 9 weeks.
The absolute crunch came when FIL gave us as a family some money from his mother's inheritance (a couple of thousand pounds 😐). Not one single member of DH's family came to see the dc's on their birthdays, so I posted on FB thanking those who had bothered to visit and commented that it was a shame that none of DH's family had but that it was their loss.
Well they all took offence to that (don't know why because it was the truth) and FIL demanded the money back!!!! shock
Needless to say, dc's and I are now NC. Bliss smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 30-Nov-15 13:35:44

"Is blood thicker than water or not?"

You have likely wanted to think well of his parents because you likely come from a nice emotionally healthy family yourself. As you have all too clearly seen however, not all families are nice at all and the rule book gets thrown out. You write that they are his parents, so what is my response. You do not enjoy their company anyway so why at all entertain the idea of actually seeing them at all?. You would not have tolerated one ounce of this from a friend, family are no different.

Do not bother sending them cards etc either, its not warranted in this case or even wanted by them. It shows you as being weak.

In answer to your above question its no and family are not binding either. These people are telling you loud and clear that they are not interested. Take heed and do not meet them for 90 minutes either.

Concentrate your efforts on people who actually appreciate both you and your children. If the other set of grandparents are nice focus on them. Model to your children the attitude that you want them to adopt.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 30-Nov-15 13:37:27

If these people do not like you or their son then it will also do your children no favours at all to see their paternal grandparents continually disrespect you both.

Ohfourfoxache Mon 30-Nov-15 13:43:43

Leave them to it and don't give them another thought. They don't deserve the brain space.

ovenchips Mon 30-Nov-15 13:53:19

I gave up in a similar situation, after years and years of thoughtfulness and effort (on my part). Virtually nothing in return. I especially tried after having my first DC.

I remember I reached a wall when my husband's family came up for a visit around Christmastime (I flat refused to go to them for Christmas ever again, after doing it once with our one year old as it was so bad). They were staying self-catering locally but not with us and I'd made up hampers for each couple, specific to them with food and alcohol that was their favourite. I was rather excited about giving them when they arrived but they were so disinterested in us and our children, and so ungrateful about everything we'd laid on, that I physically couldn't go upstairs to get their hampers and give them to them. So the hampers stayed in corner of bedroom for a few weeks after (until we nibbled themgrin).

And I made a general rule after that about reciprocity - it has to be there or the effort/ giving stops. I'm much happier for it now.

So it sucks and it's so sad when there's no real grandparent/ grandchild relationship, but you really cannot change them and their behaviour.

Kintan Mon 30-Nov-15 14:11:50

I don't think it is all that sad for your DDs - after a while they will not even pay any thought to your DH's parents, and if your DH parents do eventually decide they want a relationship with their granddaughters it will be too late. Your DDs on the other hand, as you say, have an extended family who adore them. It is very sad for your DH however, hope he is coping ok with the rejection - I would be more worried about him than your DDs.

Socialaddict Wed 02-Dec-15 16:10:39

We have exactly the same relationship with DH parents. Our DD is 15 and they have seen her not more than 5 times in her life. I made the decision to cut them off and it has been the best one I made so far. We do not bother with them and they don't with us. At least it does not confuse DD. SHe has enough love from my parents, who behave like real GP. It is really sad but try and get your brain around it. They are not worth your time, effort or spending time thinking about them. I firmly believe that one day they will come knocking at our door but there will be no response.

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