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In law visits - how often is too often?

(58 Posts)
BigDaddy2017 Wed 19-Apr-17 13:56:02

A chap writing in....interested in the perspective of others.

My wife and I are in our 40s both on second marriages, her kids are young (10 and 12) mine are older (18 and 24) and we have my wife's kids (who are great) with us one week on/one week off. Everything is tickety boo apart from my in-laws who live close (2 miles) and want to visit EVERY day when we have their grandchildren with us and every other day when we don't.

Appreciate they want to see them but in my view every day is just way too much and when they visit they tend to take over and my wife and I don't get time with the children on our own.

At our previous house (10 miles away it dropped to 1-2 times a week but is now getting progressively worse - on the rare occasion we do get time alone as a couple they will call asking if they can 'pop round'.

We have politely but firmly tried to curtail the visits but they take no notice - not helped by the fact that my father in law is, frankly, a domineering, opinionated know-all. They very reluctantly stayed away for a couple of days last time it was mentioned (by me...politely but firmly) but now ask if they can come when I'm not there instead as they think that I am 'the problem'.

I'm a pretty amiable guy but it is causing real issues in my otherwise excellent marriage and I feel like a pressure cooker about to explode - it has now reached the point where I stay late at work ( run my own business) rather than go home but I am approaching the point where I feel I've had enough. My wife is also exasperated with them and has been very direct in asking them to leave us alone but nothing seems to work. The situation is also exacerbated by the fact that the in-laws do not get on (with each other) and I think coming to us is 'go to' alternative than having to spend time rattling around in their house together.

Interested in how often everyone else sees their in laws.......


Justmadeperfectflapjacks Wed 19-Apr-17 13:58:20

Becoming naturists might work? grin
No better ideas sorry as we are nc with both sets of ils. .
Def bloody recommend it op!!

Livingondaisland24 Wed 19-Apr-17 14:00:45

Shut the curtains , lock the door and hide? Till they get the hint. Seriously!

BigDaddy2017 Wed 19-Apr-17 14:05:04


Boooooom Wed 19-Apr-17 14:13:54

Lucky for me my MIL doesn't drive...I'm sure she would be over more frequently than every few months if she did. My parents are pretty respectful of our space and come over every few weeks and in between I usually go to them.
Sounds both seem on the same page though which is good. Good luck!

NurseButtercup Wed 19-Apr-17 14:15:36

I don't have the in-law problem, but as far back as I can remember up until I became a snotty 15yr old teenager I saw my grandparents everyday after school and all day Saturday. I used to go with my two sisters and we took ourselves there (walking distance so less than 2miles). I have fond memories of my grandparents and both had passed away by the time I was 21.

Grandchildren are great company for grandparents - keep them young and current. Why not suggest they have a dedicated day with your (step)kids and they all go off and do something. I'm pretty sure that will wipe them out so they won't come over every day, give you some quality time with your wife and then for the rest of the week you'll have family time.

noego Wed 19-Apr-17 14:43:51

Take the kids to them. Let them have a sleepover or two. That will give you some alone time with DW.

2014newme Wed 19-Apr-17 14:45:09

We meet up 3x per year. It's plenty.

BarbarianMum Wed 19-Apr-17 14:50:41

Wow, respect! I see my (lovely) inlaws once every couple of weeks and my mum comes over once a week and I thought we were a close family.

That frequency would totally do my head in.

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 19-Apr-17 14:52:29

Move house - don't give them the new address shock

That is waaaaaay too often. What do they even talk about?

Does the 12 year old not have homework?

ohfourfoxache Wed 19-Apr-17 14:53:21

If your dw is exasperated then I suspect that she needs your support.

And I don't mean she needs your support in maintaining the status quo.

She's probably been subjected to this shit her whole life.

You both need to stand up to them. If they call, let them leave a message. If they turn up unannounced then they don't come in.

Susan Forward has written some very useful books re toxic people (I can recommend Toxic Inlaws!) - you might find these helpful.

You're not alone, and please don't be put off that most of us posting on here with IL problems are female. An IL problem is an IL problem!

OnTheRise Wed 19-Apr-17 14:53:38

If you and your wife feel it's too much, then it's too much.

If you've asked them not to come round so much and they have ignored that, then they are being rude.

In your place I'd work out what was acceptable (not just you, you and your wife, obviously!) and then tell them that you're too busy for all these visits, and from now on you'd love to see them but only on Sunday afternoons from 2-4, and Wednesdays from 5-6. (For example.) And then stick to it. If they turn up at other times answer the door to them and tell them you're busy and it's not convenient right for them to visit right now, and shut the door. Set your boundaries and enforce them. Be consistent.

Yes, they'll probably kick off a bit but so long as you remain polite and don't engage with them when they argue it will be their problem, not yours.

Crapuccino Wed 19-Apr-17 14:58:01

Oh dear lord, even if you like them this would be way too much. I have ishoos with mine and see them maybe twenty times a year, with about 80% of those being them staying over with us, and 20% us visiting them for the day. You need to start house-hunting. Fast.

Seriously, though, it's a delicate one. Can you discuss with your DP about the incursion on your family time, and see if she can talk to her parents? As their child, she's likely to be able to say things that you can't (maybe) and the relationship they're trading on is hers.

MusicIsMedicine Wed 19-Apr-17 15:03:19

It's time to put your foot down here and put some boundaries in or your marriage is going to break down and believe me, these toxic selfish in laws won't give a damn.

Whrre is the consideration for your immediate nuclear family to have quality uninterrupted time together and bond and enjoy private time as a family unit?

Tell them that "popping round" when they feel like it isn't something that you can accommodate. Don't explain why, you owe them no explanation. People like this will think nothing of blatant boundary stomping and as soon as they realise that you won't stand up to them, it will get worse and worse and they will run riot over your needs. They haven't the pressures of work or busy family life or spending quality time with a partner and family while exhausted from day to day life, so they won't put your needs first, only their wants.

Just say each time, it is not convenient for us right at the minute. Don't do JADE - Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain. Just say it's not convenient then say you must get on, wish them a pleasant evening and say goodbye. This is called Medium Chill - you simply say no and disengage and keep to civil pleasantries - or they will start demanding explanations and your reasons will be up for debate and will never be accepted or seen as enough or that you and your family have needs too.

Deal with this promptly or it will seriously affect your family life.

Reow Wed 19-Apr-17 15:11:33

I would be direct once again and tell them they are welcome round Tuesday and Thursday. Full stop. You will not be answering the door to them at other times and they may not come round every day.

If they turn up don't answer the door.

happypoobum Wed 19-Apr-17 15:13:38

This is waaaaaaay too much.

Surely you know the deal before you married though? I wouldn't have married someone with this kind of relationship with their family. I totally understand it works for some people but I would find it suffocating.

Reow Wed 19-Apr-17 15:14:51

Catrina will appear on this thread in a minute grin

MusicIsMedicine Wed 19-Apr-17 15:16:12

If they try to push you out again by coming round in your absence and saying you are the problem, politely point out that both you and your wife have asked for private quality time together and they have insisted on ignoring this and that makes them the problem. Not you.

Your family is not there to act as an escape hatch for them and their troubled relationship whenever they fancy just turning up. If you are now actively avoiding your family home and not seeing your own wife and children because of them, they are already pushing you out of the picture and this needs addressing immediately.

What message will the children be getting out of them domineering everyone and their father not being able to be comfortable in his own home and the tension between the parents?

This has to be dealt with politely but very firmly and they will get the hump to start with, but it's the only way, otherwise they will wreck your marriage and home life. Calling round daily is utterly ridiculous and the fact that they think this is OK along with repeated popping round attempts, shows how little regard they have for other people's boundaries. You and your wife need quality alone time or the relationship will break down. I speak from experience. My in laws are pushy selfish people that my partner has problems standing up to and he let them be a huge factor in killing our relationship and now my child has two separated parents and the in laws don't give a damn. You bet your ass when they split you up if action isn't taken, they will poison the wife and kids against you and muscle in on the kids too and make child contact impossible and unpleasant for you.

Don't let it come to this, I thought it couldn't happen to us and it did because of over involved in laws sticky beaking their noses into every element of our family lives and parenting.

ohfourfoxache Wed 19-Apr-17 15:23:20

Reow grin

Crapuccino Wed 19-Apr-17 15:26:04

Wait, I just re-read the OP and this time properly absorbed the bit about your DP trying to tell them to buzz off to no avail either. Okay, yes, you have a much bigger problem than I initially thought. The fact that they're seeing you as the bad guy suggests that (a) they're not getting the same clear messages from your DP, or (b) they are but are ignoring them. Only you can really judge that. If it's the former then supporting your DP in standing up to them would be my first step. Then if it carries on (or she's already been strident in her objections) then it's time to get the big guns out.

Maybe one solution would be to outline an actual schedule that they can follow. You're happy for them to come over on X and Y afternoons, during which time they can hog their DGCs to their fill, but for the rest of the time it's family time? <clutches at straws>

Alternatively, if you both feel it's time to go nuclear, how happy are you to be the bad guy? Does it bother you? I say this because my DM was an unbearable, domineering, manipulative shit, but any time I tried to renegotiate the relationship she fell back on the "I'm your mother, you're an ungrateful/spoiled/nasty child" argument. Reasoning with her when she was in that mode was utterly futile. When everything finally exploded, way back in the day, as soon as I gave him the green light, DH (who has absolute rhino-hide) had absolutely no problem telling her to fuck right off and leave us alone in a way that she couldn't twist into me being a bad/horrible/ungrateful child. It was utterly marvelous. But he didn't give a shiny shit about her opinion of him, so he was impervious to absolutely anything she could say to him. If you think you could do that, and your DP would support you in it, it's a big ole' a nuke button, but it's there.

For anyone horrified at the idea of the Big Man doing the fighting for his Little Woman, I would suggest this in either scenario. The reason it was so effective for us was because he wasn't her child and she therefore couldn't use any of her typical "I'm your mother" tactics. I did a much less impressive version of the same thing with DH's father - also a massive knob - who came round uninvited after being told to stay away, I was the one who opened the door, and realising who it was, I slammed it back shut in his face. He wouldn't have tolerated that from DH but being shut out of a house by - to him - a relative stranger is a different prospect altogether.

Anyway, there you go. Two very different though not equally batshit ideas to consider.

BigDaddy2017 Wed 19-Apr-17 15:37:14

Thanks to all above who posted ....(Crapuccino, the Nuke option is tempting !!!) grin It's a sanity check to know that others think the situation is as unreasonable as I think it us but also some useful suggestions too which are appreciated. Things are coming to a head so I will post a further update shortly.

We have only just recently moved house but moving again (and significantly further away) is now a very real option....

ohfourfoxache Wed 19-Apr-17 15:43:53

I hear Australia is nice this time of year grin

BigDaddy2017 Wed 19-Apr-17 15:46:50

I was thinking more ....... Pluto !

lorelairoryemily Wed 19-Apr-17 15:49:39

Oh god poor you and your poor wife! I'd just not answer the door. Let them knock, they'll have to go away eventually. Long term I'd definitely consider moving

Crapuccino Wed 19-Apr-17 15:57:53

The "not answering" thing is actually a pretty realistic one. It was something I never came across till I had a neighbour who'd say "Oh, pop over later this week sometime!" so I would, I'd knock, I could see her moving around back there, and she wouldn't answer. After a couple of times of that happening I eventually said, "Erm, I came round earlier buuut you didn't open the door...?" and he response was, "Of course not - the babies were asleep/I was on the phone/I'd decided to have a nap/I was burning dinner."

When I thought about it, it was like the sun dawning over my world. You mean, you don't actually have to answer the door?? Holy mother of god, stop the press, are you serious?? you can ^ignore^ it just like the phone??? And since then, I have adopted exactly the same policy. If answering the door is inconvenient right then, either because of the timing or the visitor, I just don't, and I take whatever consequences that come with it. Have to go fetch the parcel from the PO? Fine. My problem. Miss out on a visit I didn't agree on or want anyway? What a shame.

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