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Need to tell parents to leave us alone but so awkward and horrible

(128 Posts)
SallyHandsom Mon 10-Apr-17 10:41:49

NC but long-time MN users.

Me and DH moved back to the city where we grew up last year after nearly 10 years living far away. We didn't know each other growing up and our parents didn't know each other. Massive co-incidence when we met at university.

Over the last 10 years me and DH have developed a lovely life together. We're very insular and we've both distanced ourselves from our parents and been much happier for it. We haven't fallen out but we called less often and would call them out if they were being out of order when we did speak.

Anyway, me and DH both got new jobs in/near the city we grew up. So we moved back. But parents have been gradually increasing contact and sort of piercing the lovely bubble that me and DH have built around us for the last 10 years. We're arguing much more because there are other people involved in the relationship.

But, parents coming over more regularly isn't the problem per se. The issue is that we're now finding ourselves much more involved in wider family things. In 2017, we've lost loads of weekends to family stuff we've not wanted to do but have gone along with to be polite.

Basically, we want to distance ourselves, get our old life back but it's awkward and we're not sure how. I don't want to lie ("we're busy this weekend") because that isn't addressing the issue but it's rude to just tell people we don't want to hang out with them. But, we're in this area for the long-haul and we want to establish the sort of life we want to live here for the next 20 years.

So, how can we establish a bit of distance without coming across like rude buggers?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 10-Apr-17 10:44:06

Why can't you just say you're just at the weekend? You are - with each other and things you want to do. That's not a lie

I don't really think that telling them you want to distance yourself etc is the way to go. It's a bit hurtful. Just pick and chose what you want to attend

SmurfPants Mon 10-Apr-17 10:49:21

You don't want to lie but you don't want to tell the truth either - you can't have it both ways. What exactly is it that you want to achieve here?

I would make myself less available and hope they take a hint. I don't think there's anything wrong with establishing boundaries that you're comfortable with and I do think that you shouldn't have to spend a lot of time doing thing you don't want to do.

But if you want to keep some kind of relationship with your extended family you may have to compromise somewhere.

SallyHandsom Mon 10-Apr-17 10:53:45

We went along to lots of family stuff because of our sets of parents were glad to have us back in the area. We thought it'd all wear off after a month or so but it didn't and hasn't. You're right, we shouldn't have gone along to things we didn't really want to but we didn't assume it'd still be happening months down the line.

What I want to achieve is to have the relationship we had with parents when we lived away. Except we're closer. I don't mind seeing them a bit more regularly but we don't want to be involved with the family beyond our parents.

SallyHandsom Mon 10-Apr-17 10:55:18

I get what you mean about making yourself less available but it's difficult to do. If we said "Oh we're not available this weekend", parents would ask what we're up to. It's kind of awkward to say "Sitting around the house in our pants not being with you" "nothing" because then you kind of are available aren't you.

RebornSlippy Mon 10-Apr-17 11:00:48

It sounds a really unhealthy thing to be so dependant on eachother as to neither want or need others in your life. That is really all that struck me from your post. I really don't know how you go about telling your family you don't want them. Well, I do, but not in any sort of way that would prevent them being very hurt. I really don't mean to be offensive, just telling it as i see it, but your relationship sounds a little strange and a lot selfish. Maybe this is no bad thing to some folk, but it's not the sort of thing I would personally do or want my daughter to do to me in the future.

BiddyPop Mon 10-Apr-17 11:04:51

"We hadn't planned on doing anything this weekend because we've had a pretty hectic time the past while and just need to have a few days to ourselves. What about doing X on Y date, would that work for you?"

It's not lying, it's saying you have plans even though they are "no plans". But you are allowed to do things at home yourselves ("we'd planned on tackling the garden before the spring really takes hold - we had intended doing it a few weeks ago but came to A event you were having instead so we really need to crack on") or do nothing or have other plans with other friends etc.

LegoStarWars Mon 10-Apr-17 11:05:45

Could you say something like "Oh we're both really knackered from work so we have a really relaxing weekend planned, not going anywhere or seeing anyone"?

Try and do it that way – less about not seeing them, more saying it's exhausting getting out and about all the time and you need to schedule in downtime.

EdenX Mon 10-Apr-17 11:06:53

We're having a weekend at home.
I've had a busy week, I'm going to relax at home this weekend.
We have stuff round the house to catch up with.
We're going to spend this weekend just the two of us.

esk1mo Mon 10-Apr-17 11:09:47

why do both of you want to distance yourselves? did you both have crappy childhoods?

shineon Mon 10-Apr-17 11:12:51

Is there any particular reason you dont want anything to do with your family? How sad for your parents. You may not want to hear it but I think we all owe our parents a relationship at the very least. Unless of course there is a reason you are better off away from them. Agree also with other poster you both sound like you are relying on eachother too much. What if you break up? Who will you have?

HerOtherHalf Mon 10-Apr-17 11:13:09

Has anyone actually done anything to offend or upset you or is there some behavioural issue on your respective parents/families side? It doesn't appear so from your OP and I'm left feeling that you're just a bit on the weird side. Be who you want to be but ffs just be honest about it. If you don't want to socialise with your families just tell them and explain you're not interested instead of spending god knows how many years concocting excuses and lies.

I seriously hope your husband is on the same page as you though. Of course you will swear he is, but that doesn't make it the truth.

BertrandRussell Mon 10-Apr-17 11:13:13

I honestly think living in a bubble is not healthy- why don't you want to be involved with your families? Unless they're horrible of course.

shovetheholly Mon 10-Apr-17 11:17:41

If you don't mind my saying, it's very silly to ruin a lovely marriage and to allow resentment to build up with family, just because you're too much of a wuss to set boundaries. I say this as someone who is a bit of a wuss themselves, and who has to practice constantly at setting those limits and feeling comfortable doing so! smile

Decide where you want to draw the line, and just say the honest truth, which is "I'm sorry, I can't make X - I need to spend some time with my husband. We agreed we'd have a couples weekend because work has been mad, and we need a bit of bonding time together. I can make Sunday lunch in a couple of weeks, however."

Reading between the lines, it's not time with your parents you're resenting, but time spent at your second cousin's twice removed (and all the politics that tend to go with a wider family circle). If that is the case, focus on quality time with your folks, not events you don't really want to attend.

0live Mon 10-Apr-17 11:21:58

Social lying is perfectly acceptable to most people most of the time.

How do you think everyone else manages when invited to an event they don't want to go to ? I know that there are the bold few who say

" sorry I don't really want to see my nieces first dancing show "

But 99% of the rest of us just say " oh what a shame but unfortunately I'm working / taking the kids to brownies / have plans / are away that weekend. Hope it goes well and do post the photos on Facebook "

This is how we all get along together. There didn't really want you there but asked you to be polite. You didn't want to go and so made polite excuse.

Faces saved and problem solved.

This rule also applies to similar questions such as

Doesn't Aunt Betty look great for her age ?
Do you like my new hair colour / style ?
Wasn't that a lovely wedding / christening / funeral ?

Truth is a good thing but sometimes love and taking care of other people's feeling is more important.

SallyHandsom Mon 10-Apr-17 11:22:40

Those are great suggestions, thanks.

Yes, we're insular and selfish, it works for us. We're both natural loners but now we're loners together.

I've distanced myself from my mum because she used to ring me three times a day. She never had anything to say, she's just give me a list of everything she'd eaten/done/thought/watched that day. I couldn't cope with it. It was distracting me from my work. So I told her she couldn't ring as much and she did cut down.

But when she rings or we see each other she still gives me a running commentary on her entire life. She never asks a single thing about me unless it's to ask something which she can then boast about. She doesn't listen to me and treats me like a 10 year old child.

She's a very nasty person. She deliberately says things to people that they'll be hurt by. Then she tells me about it expecting m to tell her well done. I've distanced myself in the sense that I've stopped saying exactly what she wants me to and I'll call her out when she's being a nasty bitch.

DH's family is a whole other ballgame. The main distancing is from his sister who's a royal fuck-up, very manipulative, enormously selfish and just toxic. DH's parents are fine but we don't want to be involved with his sister. Unfortunately because she's basically palmed off her daughter to living with DH's parents, its very hard not to be involved with her.

youarenotkiddingme Mon 10-Apr-17 11:23:15

Different situation bit same here!! Bare with me!

My mum is one of lots of siblings. Growing up we spent lots of time with them and their children (my cousins). Teenage years/ early 20's this continued for most.

As we have all got married/got partners/ jobs and had children it's become more and more common for us not to be able to attend family events. At first it seemed weird saying 'no' but it's just become the norm and many do it. It's also not strange anymore when someone doesn't come to the big events like family xmas meal (in Dec not xmas day!)

I think you just have to say "we are busy that weekend". After a few times you can attend one and then become busy again. Set this as the norm iyswim?

redexpat Mon 10-Apr-17 11:25:50

I think if you are less available then people come to accept that more and less is expected. Dh and I have agreed which invitations we say yes to. The others we take as they come.

SallyHandsom Mon 10-Apr-17 11:27:58

youarenotkiddingme "We're busy that weekend" would definitely lead to "Oh, what are you doing nice?" so it's a bit awkward.

I think suggestions of "We need time to just chill out at home" are good. But DH's family especially are very into faaaaamly (Eastenders accent!) so just wanting to chill at home would not be an acceptable excuse for missing a cousins BBQ or a niece's sports day!

AnnieAnoniMouse Mon 10-Apr-17 11:29:18

I totally understand where you're coming from.

TBH, I'd move away again. There are other places you can get jobs & settle down. While your families are on your doorstep you'll continually have this issue.

There is nothing wrong with loving your life together, away from all of that.

shovetheholly Mon 10-Apr-17 11:29:33

I don't think you sound selfish at all. It sounds like there are some problematic characters in both families, and you're wanting to maintain some healthy boundaries to protect yourselves from their antics. There is nothing wrong with that - sometimes it's the only way, in fact, to keep a challenging relationship going. Given what you say about phonecalls 3 times a day, I suspect that the levels of guilt you feel are disproportionate and that what you are seeking is an eminently reasonable compromise between time for yourselves and family time.

redexpat Mon 10-Apr-17 11:37:12

X post with your update. I think you are both introverts rather than loners. Do you feel drained by social contact with others? Do you need time to recover after a party?

redexpat Mon 10-Apr-17 11:38:20

Posted too soon. So being introverted and having a difficult family dynmaic is a double whammy.

GabsAlot Mon 10-Apr-17 11:41:48

maybe should have reconsideerd moving back then

some families as you say arejust like that-u have to see them all the time or youre being rude

either tell the truth or keep lieing

SquinkiesRule Mon 10-Apr-17 11:43:51

Start perfecting, "Aww no thanks, but thank you for asking us. Maybe next time" Then quickly change the subject, or have to dash off with a "see you soon".

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