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feeling cut off and getting cut up about it

(8 Posts)
TeeEm Tue 16-Aug-05 07:34:51

I need some outside perspectives on this situation, please.

We live in London, but we are hoping to move to Devon in the next year or two. This is where my husband's parents live. He is very keen to move back there, and I am generally happy about it, too. Our children are also looking forward to the move, so no problem there. My parents are both dead and I have no family on my side to consider. My husband's parents live in Devon, and being closer to them is a main reason for moving down. They have not been hands on grandparents at all, but say they want to see more of us.

My problem is that I am feeling very cut off from the decision making process and also cut off generally from dh's parents. We haven't seen them since February and may not see them again till next Easter. They are busy renovating the property they have just moved into and plan to be away for christmas. Although they have the health, finances and leisure to make short trips to see us, this is not their style. They have never come up for a son's birthday or school event, for instance. My husband talks to his parents on the phone two or three times a week - long chats. I think dh is quite posessive about his relationship with his parents, and in a way, doesn't want me to get too close to them. He wants me to filter everthing through him. I know he talks to them about me, and not always in complimentary ways, as I have overheard him. Although his parents are very nice to me, I think they would feeel akward having a heart to heart chat with me about anything, to my face or on the phone. They hate interferring and seem to want a quiet life. They are very loyal to their son, would hate me to criticise or question anything and just want to hear that everything is hunkydory.

At the moment, this is making me feel very powerless. I really have no idea how my inlaws really feel about us moving down. They are in a position to help us with the move and let us stay with them, but I have no idea really what is a possible or a definite scenario.

Yesterday, my dh told me they were disappointed we had not moved down this summer. This is total news to me. They would never tell me this, I could never ask them about this more. This makes me feel very isolated.

I realise that as these are my husband's parents, I will be one step removed from things, and I can't treat them as my own. It's a tricky one.

NotActuallyAMum Tue 16-Aug-05 09:56:39

Yes this is a tricky one. You say you're "generally happy" about the move but are you sure? I have to say that's not the impression I get from reading your post and it does sound as if you have very good reason to feel apprehensive about this. Are you worried that once he has his family around him it will be "me against them?" Is he an only child?

It doesn't sound as if you know his parents very well at the moment. This of course will change if you move nearer to them and you may well find that after a while you become much closer to them than you think. I do think it would be good for your children - I grew up without any grandparents and do feel that I missed out on something

This is a big, life-changing decision you are making and you all need to make sure it's the right one - that includes you because your opinions and feelings count as much as anyones. It sounds as if your husband almost "leaves you out" of any contact with his parents and I wonder why this is. I really think you need to talk to your husband and tell him exactly how you feel

Lizzylou Tue 16-Aug-05 10:00:58

TeeEm, this must be hard for you. Have you talked to your husband about your feelings? I agree with NAAM, that when you move you will certainly feel more a "part of things" but it would be nice for you and your children to start that process before your move.
Could you visit them before hand? What about a visit without your Dh and just you and your children? Is that viable?

tatler Tue 16-Aug-05 10:24:16

TeeEm-having just read your post I could have written it myself.
My situation is so similar to yours.
My in laws live and like yours they are not hands on and we have only seen them a few times since our children were born.We visit them more often than not.
They too have their health and fianances but as you say it is not their style ethier to visit more often even on special occasions ie birthdays.
I too have lost my parents and they never got to see my children which i find really dificult.
I don't have a close relationship with the in laws and could never talk to mil about personnel issues etc.For me I think i wish i could as not having my mum around i suspose i yearn for that in her but i know that will never happen.

My dh always talks to his mother on the phone frequently as wel and i always feel left out when we visit them like i have never really belonged to their family.
We did consider once moving near them but would not be realistic and i don't think they would want that they have their life and i think they are happy with the odd visit.

My dh is very protective towards his parents also and we have countless agruements about this and i now i will never win any of them as far as they are concerned.

Do you think they want you to move nearer to see more of the children?
Have they told your dh the reason they woud like you nearer?

It is a big decision to make and you and dh need to make it together without his parents influence.
Hope you can come to some agreement and think of yourself and your children first,what's best for you and them should be the most important thing.

tatler Tue 16-Aug-05 10:25:44

Should have been my in laws live away like yours

steffee Tue 16-Aug-05 11:28:57

Yes, agree with NAAM, do you really want to move down there? Or are you just going along with it because you know your dh, the children, your pil etc want you to?

I don't know dh's parents very well either, but I am very close to his sister, so I can sympathise. Every time we row he feels the need to tell his sister all about it, which I hate because I would never slag him off to either his sister or to any of my own family, but also because I consider my sil and I to be friends, and it feels like he's saying to her "look, she's a bitch, you don't really want to be friends with her". We have fallen out (sil and I) once over something my dh has said/done and now she says she won't get involved but I find it hard to forgive my dh when he tells his sister about our rows.

tatler Tue 16-Aug-05 14:16:28

just thought i would bump this for you TeeEm

TeeEm Tue 16-Aug-05 19:19:40

Thanks for the thoughts on my situation. It's not as if I am massively depressed about it, just melancholy, apprehensive for the future and puzzled at the lack of communication I perceive between dh, his parents and me. Tatler, your messages are very reassuring. I thought I was alone in feeling this isolation. I am a regular poster and can't ever remember reading of any family set up quite like this (not that I read huge numbers of threads).

I knew there'd be an irreplaceable gap in my life when my parents died. I realise inlaws would never replicate that bond. I could talk in such an unguarded way with my parents, I really knew where I stood practically and emotionally. I could chew over plans with them whenever an idea popped into my head.

I do want to move to Devon. I have taken years to get to this point, but yes, hand on heart, I want to go. But the devil is in the detail isn't it?

I do not know what my inlaws really mean by 'wanting to see the chileren more' for instance. Are they envisiging that we meet up for nice pub lunches every sunday, staying on our best behaviour for a few hours and wave goodbye, while they return to their calm, orderly existance... or are they hoping to muck in, do school pick ups, babysit, be emergency contacts etc

And when it comes to finances, I am totally floundering. I am expecting any job I get in Devon will mean a wage cut. Dh should fare better, but we will hardly be rich. We'll have a good-ish deposit for a home, but I just don't know how our future wages and mortgage will balance out.What if they don't. Will dh's parents help us at all? They are in a position to do something. As daughter in law, it is simply not a topic I can raise with them. They don't seem to have communicated anything to my dh - or if they have, dh hasn't told me. Yet I am meant to be the one who sorts out our family finances, as dh won't do it.

I know you'll say the answer it to talk to my dh, and I do, but it's difficult to get answers. Dh gets defensive and I don't think my inlaws have given him many answers either.

I do feel lost and passed over tbh. As you say, this move is such an important life decision.

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