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AIBU?

To stop making an effort with the in-laws

29 replies

Rochyella84 · 02/09/2022 16:54

My in-laws are pretty cold people who aren't easy company, though I have always tried very hard to get along with them and make a lot of effort. But it is entirely one-sided - they make absolutely no effort in return. They live 3 hours away. DH and I have been together for 18 years and we have two children. They have never once picked up the phone to speak to the kids, they never text to check in, they never invite us to visit and they never suggest coming to us to spend time with the family.

My husband facetimes once every couple of weeks with the kids and they always seem pleased to see them. He is rubbish at organising social arrangements though, so for the last 18 years it has always been me nudging him that we've not seen them for a while/suggesting we go to them/invite them to us - even though I don't enjoy their company. I have suggested many times that they call us to chat to the kids or suggest meeting up and they say they don't want to disturb our busy lives - I find this ridiculous though, I am asking them to reach out to us more so I wouldn't see them making an effort as being disruptive in any way.

After a thoroughly miserable Christmas at theirs last year, I decided to see what would happen if I stopped nudging DH - sure enough, we have only seen them once in the last 9 months (and that was at our nephew's birthday).

Frankly, I haven't missed them at all, but I am a people pleaser and now I feel guilty that our children aren't seeing their grandparents. I am really torn. Should I keep on nudging DH to maintain the relationship with them for the sake of the kids, or should I just wash my hands of it and say I've tried for 18 years to make an effort but it isn't reciprocated so why bother? DH has an amiable relationship with them but they aren't close - to be fair, they packed him off to boarding school abroad at a young age and have never made much effort with him.

OP posts:
underneaththeash · 02/09/2022 16:56

Sounds as if no-one is bothered to have a close relationships, so I wouldn't bother facilitating one!

FeliciteFaff · 02/09/2022 16:59

I wouldn’t bother to be honest. Seems v one sided.

Getoff · 02/09/2022 17:37

I'm always bemused by women who think one should make an effort to maintain relationships. (It is always women, I don't recall ever encountering a man who thinks like this. )

I contact someone when I want to speak to them. If I have no particular reason to speak to my siblings or parents, I'm quite happy to let five years go by without speaking to them.

I find it really odd that people think contacting someone is a job that needs doing, out of duty, on some sort of schedule. I don't need to remember to contact anyone, because if in a particular moment I'm not experiencing any desire or need to do it, it doesn't need doing.

I recently contacted an old school-friend I thought of, because of something going on in my life. When I checked, it had been ten years since we'd previously emailed each other. Neither he nor I think we need to contact each other just for the sake of it.

Rochyella84 · 02/09/2022 18:51

Getoff · 02/09/2022 17:37

I'm always bemused by women who think one should make an effort to maintain relationships. (It is always women, I don't recall ever encountering a man who thinks like this. )

I contact someone when I want to speak to them. If I have no particular reason to speak to my siblings or parents, I'm quite happy to let five years go by without speaking to them.

I find it really odd that people think contacting someone is a job that needs doing, out of duty, on some sort of schedule. I don't need to remember to contact anyone, because if in a particular moment I'm not experiencing any desire or need to do it, it doesn't need doing.

I recently contacted an old school-friend I thought of, because of something going on in my life. When I checked, it had been ten years since we'd previously emailed each other. Neither he nor I think we need to contact each other just for the sake of it.

I do see your point. And if there were not children involved then I certainly wouldn't bother. My effort to maintain the relationship is for the sake of the children although quite frankly I'm not sure that their grandparents add much to their lives when we do see them. The children do ask about them though, or might comment 'we haven't seen Granny and Grandpa for ages' so I don't want to look back and regret a decision not to keep the relationship going. Having said that I don't feel it should be totally my responsibility and that is where my dilemma lies.

OP posts:
sunshineandshowers40 · 02/09/2022 18:58

I wouldn't bother. In fact I have stopped making the effort and we haven't seen MIL since Christmas. I feel guilty but it isn't our job to facilitate a relationship. I have always encouraged my DH to ring MIL but it turned me into a nag. It's up to him. I know plenty of men that see their family and organise it themselves. DH wouldn't arrange things with my side of the family and I wouldn't expect him to.

CookieDoughKid · 02/09/2022 19:04

Are you me, because I am a people pleaser as well. I'm Chinese and duty is a huge thing in our culture. I think its odd families don't see each other more often, to me it's an opportunity to have a nice meal, bring a gift, that we value each other. Time is so short and if I don't see my parents regularly I would feel extremely guilty.

My husband side is white, English. His family are the complete opposite. Last time we say his parents was 18 months ago. Only last week I said is it a good idea we visit. Now we are making a short trip but it wouldn't have happened if I didn't mention it. His parents aren't bothered about seeing their son or grand children and my husband isn't bothered either. It doesn't mean they love them any less. But they aren't the kind of people to host, make a home cooked meal, shower kids with gifts and money and take family photos group like my Chinese side. If my mother in law boils the kettle and cracks open a pack of Bourbons then I consider that generous. Lol.

In all seriousness, I've made peace with it. When my kids leave home, I forsee seeing his parents EVEN less (unless they start needing care) . It's just different no more than that.

Sparklybutold · 02/09/2022 19:05

@Rochyella84

I completely empathise. My in laws are pretty emotionless and my FIL is an abusive arrogant twat. For the past few months I have really backed off making an effort as I don't enjoy there company particularly (especially FIL) and I have come to realise the negative impact being with them has on my husbands mental and physical health. I make a concerted effort nowadays just to focus on my own. I have also taken the leap of letting the in laws know we won't be spending Christmas Day with them. It's always so stiff and awkward and like you I know I can go into people pleaser mode. Now I think fuck it - I'm a grown ass woman and I'll spend time with those I actually enjoy the company off!

Lunificent · 02/09/2022 19:10

I would continue as you are. These grandparents add nothing to your children’s lives because they’re not interested,

arethereanyleftatall · 02/09/2022 19:10

If you're a people pleaser - they are giving every impression that they have no desire to be in contact with any of you, for whatever reason - so, respect that, not contacting them is possibly exactly what they want and what they've been hoping for.

Mumspair1 · 02/09/2022 19:11

to be fair, they packed him off to boarding school abroad at a young age and have never made much effort with him.

So why on earth are you forcing everyone into a relationship that clearly no one is interested in? Oh just because you believe family Is family/children MUST have gp's? You know the history but clearly trying to push everyone into an ideal idea of family that you have. Leave it be, it is what it is.

Angelinflipflops · 02/09/2022 19:12

If they don't want to see their grand kids why make the effort? No great loss surely?

Catch21 · 02/09/2022 19:18

If I were you, as a compromise, I'd continue to "nudge" but infrequently.

Malariahilaria · 02/09/2022 19:26

Just stop bothering and enjoy your lives. Not all children have loving grandparents that teach them to bake or garden. Some don't even have living grandparents sadly. Far worse to keep shoving them at disinterested ones.

Hbh17 · 02/09/2022 19:29

They sound fairly normal to me, but then I have never understood these families who seem to live in each other's pockets. Friends are the people you see regularly, because you choose to have them.in your life - family, not so much.

Meeting once a year keeps you in touch but also allows everyone to get on with their own lives. Job done.

frazzledasarock · 02/09/2022 19:32

Why do women do this?

they don’t treat you well. You’re miserable when you spend time with them.

your DH does not have a close relationship with his parents.

no blood relative is unhappy with the low key relationship.

and yet you for some utterly unfathomable reason you push and push for more contact.

well more fool you. You’re forcibly putting yourself in a situation which then ends up with you being miserable.

You’re misery is entirely of your own making.

just let your husband lead on how he wants his relationship with his family to develop.

MargotChateau · 02/09/2022 19:52

my situation is slightly different, my in-laws are truly awful people. However before I knew that I used to tell dp to call/visit etc his parents and grandmother.

I now no longer bother, it’s emotional labour which is wasted. His parents don’t even like me and DP doesn’t like them either 😂

leave it up to your partner to initiate contact, if your children ask to see their grandparents tell them to speak to your husband. Explain not all granny and grandpas are affectionate and involved, it’s the grandparents not your children.

feckoffbrian · 02/09/2022 19:56

I don't make any effort anymore. They have a lot of GC and are not really bothered about my DC. They do call DH from time to time.

It's been 4 years of quiet bliss, although MIL has asked to see us in Dec. I can't say no.


The only thing that I will say is that I feel bad for DH. He sees the relationship DC have with my DP and it's hard that PIL don't have the same interest or bond

Whowhatwherewhenwhynow · 02/09/2022 20:15

You can’t facilitate a relationship for your children. Sooner or later your children will pick up that there grandparents don’t make any effort and aren’t bothered with seeing them.

Stop doing all the work when your DH and his parents are capable of sorting contact if they want it.

Rochyella84 · 02/09/2022 21:10

Thanks for the responses (some pretty harsh!!) but all with the same jist.
I’ve just sat down with DH and told him how I feel. I have said that I’m done making an effort for 18 years which hasn’t been reciprocated and told him the ball is in his court. If he arranges to have them down I will be polite and welcoming but I won’t be arranging any further meet ups.

OP posts:
TowerRavenSeven · 02/09/2022 21:17

I could have written your post! Due to Covid it’s been three glorious years for me since I’ve seen mine and I don’t miss it a bit! I do remind dh when it’s their birthdays or for mother’s & Father’s Day - yes I know but old habits die hard - but he’s in charge of buying a card and sending if he decides to. The less effort I make the happier I am. I don’t keep up with their FB, I don’t call, etc. nothing.
I used to keep hoping something would change before I started this; it’s been 22 years and nothing has/will change!

MonkeyPuddle · 02/09/2022 21:20

Fuck that for a bunch of bananas.
DP’s family can be like this and frankly if DP wants to arrange something then that’s fine. But am I fucked as doing it for him
I am strongly of the viewpoint that I have no desire to force people to spend time with my family. My family is fucking awesome and I’ll spend the time with them instead.

CookieDoughKid · 02/09/2022 21:41

Well done op! At the end of the day, the GPs are their own people. Not every one is into family. They like their own space and that's OK too. Don't get bought into any idealism. You know who is worth investing in so go there instead 😀😃

RayneDance · 02/09/2022 22:00

Covid was amazing in that's regard! Amazing! Kept in law's from our door.
Absolutely stop making the effort in that area.

RayneDance · 02/09/2022 22:01

Very very different if they're nice people who made a huge effort with you and the GC etc

lisavanderpumpscloset · 02/09/2022 22:04

Rochyella84 · 02/09/2022 21:10

Thanks for the responses (some pretty harsh!!) but all with the same jist.
I’ve just sat down with DH and told him how I feel. I have said that I’m done making an effort for 18 years which hasn’t been reciprocated and told him the ball is in his court. If he arranges to have them down I will be polite and welcoming but I won’t be arranging any further meet ups.

Struggling to see why you felt this was necessary?

I did the same thing a few years ago, backed right off to see what would happen ( although for different reasons). Sure enough, same thing happened. But I was quite clear in my mind that it isn't my responsibility to make sure DC have a relationship with the inlaws, that's up to them and DH. We're NC / LC with them now and I don't see that DC has even noticed.

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