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Finally having it out with FIL(78 Posts)
I've had a moan on here before about FIL, but know it appears to be finally coming to a head. Sorry for long post, but don't want to drip feed.
I've been with DH 5 years, married for 18 months, and have almost 8mo DD.
DH has never had a real relationship with FIL. FIL left MIL when DH was 3, and never made an ounce of effort to have a proper relationship with DH. He swanned off and got remarried (wife number 3, was married before he married MIL), had another son. As you can probably guess, that marriage also went down the shitter.
FIL and DH reconnected just before I met him, and have more of a "mates down the pub" relationship, than a real father-son relationship. In recent years, FIL met a woman who had recently become wife number 4. They live in the middle of nowhere, a few hours away from us, and have a little miniature farm.
DH's new DSM is, to put it bluntly, the most self-centred person I have ever met. She's the least maternal person on this planet. She literally recoiled away from DD in the few times she's seen her. All she ever talks about is herself, or that fucking farm. It takes every ounce of my effort to not scream out loud "no one cares about your barstarding pigs other than you!"
Safe to say, our idea of a real family, is very different from FIL+WifeNo4's.
My parents live quite a distance away from us as well, but regardless, value the time they spend with DD, and make the effort to come over to ours or we go over there a few times a month, and both my mum and dad ring a few times a week just for a chat and to see how DD is doing.
FIL however, does not call, has only been to our house twice in 5 years, and has seen DD 4 times in her life - 3 of those times has meant us driving the 2 hours there, for me to stand in knee deep mud out in the cold/wind/sun at the fucking farm while holding newborn DD. The other occasion, was DD's Christening. We were expecting FIL, WifeNo4 and DH's step brother to be coming. The day before, FIL calls and says he will be coming alone. Ok, whatever. I'm always ok with avoiding conversation with WifeNo4. He came to the church service, along with all of my extended family. DD fell asleep just as the service ended, so I was just about to pop her in her pram to walk down to the community centre where we were having a buffet and the like. DH comes over, and says "Can Grandad have a cuddle?", so I said, can he not wait until we get to the community centre and have a cuddle when she wakes up. Apparently not. As FIL was leaving there and then. Is it just me, or is that just fucking unbelievable? That he couldn't stay for an extra hour or so in order to spend some time with his granddaughter on her christening day?!
Since the christening, we have heard hide nor hair from FIL. Not even a phonecall. And when DH has tried to ring, he's got the anserphone every time. DH got a text the other day, asking what DD would want for Christmas. A minute for her grandad to actually seem to want to see her maybe?!
After that DH decided it was time to ring FIL, and confront him about his behaviour. He made it quite clear that it seems FIL does not seem remotely bothered about spending time with his granddaughter, and that I am beyond furious about it. FIL seems oblivious that he has done anything out of the ordinary
He's now decided that he will make a visit
even though he needed to be prompted by DH to do so, and I have requested that he come alone, without the heartless cow WifeNo4. Which is all ok with her apparently (yay! ).
Now my question is, after all this crap, how do we handle this visit? DD is a very clingy baby. She freaks out if I hand her to anyone other than DH or my mum, and cries if I leave the room. I'm worried how she will react to FIL, as she has only seen him a handful of times, and most of those she was a newborn.
Also, I'm pretty sure FIL will be very stand-offish with me, as clearly this is all my fault, as he has done nothing wrong in his opinion.
I'm dreading it.
I'm sorry, I think you're being very unfair in your expectations of these people.
I've had the same situation with inlaws and it caused a fall out when we raised it but equally it needed to be said. In our case the people were maternal but just not interested in our dc whereas here its sounds like neither fil or his wife are remotely bothered about children in general.
I think you should say something but you may need to accept they are just crap GPs- I know that's disappointing it breaks your heart for your dc but sometime people are shitty and selfish and nothing you can do/say will change that.
I've always said in my situation the inlaws are the ones missing out my dd is fabulous and a gorgeous, loving little girl but they wouldn't know that because they don't give her the time she deserves- they are the losers in this situation.
Wishful sorry to hear that one set of your DC's GPs are just as crap.
I just find it completely unfathomable that someone doesn't want to spend time with his only grandchild!
Makes me so sad that DD is missing out on precious time with her Grandad. Really couldn't care less about the wife tbh. But then again, I'm getting to the point where I'm realising its them missing out on her, not the other way round because if this continues as she grows, she won't even know who they are.
This visit is going to be hard work...I can feel it in my bones.
I don't understand why you're forcing this? They don't sound overly interested, you don't sound like you like them very much, so just leave it and save all the angst
How does your DH feel about this forthcoming visit that his dad has deigned to make?.
He was a crap parent to his son and is frankly an awful example of a grandparent to your child. Such people never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.
What you can do as parents going forward is to protect her from such rubbish influences like his dad. Does your DD really need some figure like this in her life at all?. Family are really not binding. Presumably your DH has kept up the pretence of a relationship because he still wants approval from his dad and hopes against hope that one day he will actually change and become a better father and grandfather to him/his child respectively.
I am wondering if his dad will bother to make the visit anyway given how his wife is behaving as well. Your child will likely wonder who this strange man actually is; it is not as if she is going to see him at all regularly from now on either. It would not unduly worry me if your FIL did decide not to visit you at all; infact he would do you a huge favour by not visiting.
Why is it unfathomable? People are different, not everyone goes gooey over babies
So FIL has seen his granddaughter 4 times in 8 months? That's pretty good going given he seems crap at family relationships.
You need to massively lower your expectations of him and stop pressurizing him and your DH. Especially as if you see more of him, you'll see more of his wife which you don't actually want
Your DH doesn't have a traditional father son relationship so your DD isn't going to have a traditional granddaughter granddad relationship. Let your DH and FIL work it out themselves. If he's crap, he is the one missing out.
They're not interested in you and your baby , you don't like them can't really see the problem . I'm afraid you lost any sympathy I would have when you said that the wife goes on about her farm and you want to scream that no one cares , well that's probably the exact same way she feels about you going on about your baby ! She is your baby , yes he is her GF but if he wasn't interested in his own DC when they were small I don't see why you expect him to be interested in a GC and this woman is not related to you at all except by a piece of paper .
"I just find it completely unfathomable that someone doesn't want to spend time with his only grandchild!
Makes me so sad that DD is missing out on precious time with her Grandad"
The road to hell is full of such good intentions OP.
This comment also makes me think that you are reasonable at heart and have come from a nice emotionally healthy family. Unfortunately (and that is an understatement) your DH has not been so lucky at all. Therefore the normal rules of dealing with familial relations goes out the window because they do not play nice or by the rules. Not all families are nice and kind, some people really do act like this within families. You have just never seen it up close and personal before now.
She would not be missing out on having no paternal granddad in her life, your DD needs positive and life affirming role models. Not relatives who only really care about their own self and getting their own needs met (his wife is very much the same as he is). I would not want him to be handing over any present to her either, he's just trying to buy her affections and make you as her parents both feel obligated to him.
The best thing you can do is call his visit off; he is only visiting you under duress and you do not want him there anyway.
I would suggest you also read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the dynamics here.
You are beyond furious he hasn't seen her much? But you don't like him anyway? So actually best outcome is you have minimal contact and he stays away.
This whole mountain is being made out of a molehill. My sister has visited my children once in 8 years. That's fine, she doesn't like visiting no problem.
Angst over nothing seriously, as you say he is more like a mate down the pub than a father, let him get on with it. If he pops by occasionally fine, if not, also fine.
What exactly do you think your daughter is missing out on?
You seem to be setting everyone up to fail on this visit. Is there a little bit of you relishing this?
Also, you are dreading his visit, so why have you insists he come? Bizarre!
Sorry, but I really dont understand what your problem is. If he's not that interested, then why are you trying to force the issue?
Atilla I think you've hit the nail on the head there...FIL was a shitty father to DH, but DH still craves a relationship with him. And that's why he want FIL to have a relationship with DD. Guess he has the notion that because he was a crap dad, he might make up for it by being a decent grandad
There's a definite whiff of martyrdom about this. You don't like your FIL, he wasn't a good father so why you think he will turn into a good Grandfather is anyone's guess. You don't want to see his wife, they live in the middle of nowhere, yet you have seen him 4 times since your DD was born. Not everyone cares about children or grandchildren, even their own. I'm not surprised that he didn't stay for the buffet after the reception - from your description of events, I imagine he felt completely judged by you and as if you were just waiting for him to put a foot wrong.
Why does he think he'll suddenly change?
I'm sorry to say, but a man who wasn't interested in his own son isn't going to be interested in his son's child.
I would let go of the notion of grandfather where he is concerned. You are on a hiding to nothing.
You are very selective in which points you respond to OP.
I think that lowering your expectations massively would be a good plan. He was a terrible father and is never going to be grandpa of the year.
In fairness he did attend the christening and wanted to hold DD - although at the wrong moment.
Do not expect 'normal' levels of care/interaction.
I think YABU. They aren't mad about your baby. Some people just aren't as exercised by kids, it really isn't some massive 'wrong' for you to try and right.
Also what on earth is the beef about her little farm?! Just leave her to it, it's nothing to do with you. I really wouldn't force this relationship, you have no right and frankly you will do no good.
I think you sound like quite hard work! You want to see more of FIL but not his wife? You don't want to go to their farm.
Why are you expecting someone who's been a terrible dad to be a good grandfather? Doesn't make sense. Why not make the most of the nice family you have, and back off from FIL? And also, if you're not maternal, other people's kids just aren't that interesting. You sound as if you expect your new MIL to be besotted with your dd and not talk about anything else, but maybe she thinks you're being rude if you're not interested in the farm/her life!
I think the general jist is, I need to lower my expectations...and I'm going to have to do it.
I think during the visit, I will pop to town for a few hours and leave DD with DH.
People are right in saying I don't like my FIL. I don't. There's no denying that.
DH's father ( divorced from MiL and remarried) saw my sons once a year, just before Christmas each year. He gave them birthday and Christmas money. Just not very family orientated, no big problem.
They're obviously not comfortable or happy around children. Sad for your DD, but there is no point pushing the issue.
I do think you were rude to say that his wife wasn't welcome, but I can understand why you said it.
I think you need to accept that they won't have a close relationship with your DD. That doesn't make them bad people, just different to what you visualise grandparents to be.
And I think they are very aware of your disappointment in them.
Do you get on well with your DH's DM?
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