Post # 1
Before DH was married, his sister always planned his (and other family members’) birthdays. They make a big deal of it, and usually suprise the birthday person with a family trip lasting several days. In the past, I simpy did some other type of party or celebration for him, and let his family continue their tradition without my interference. Last year, when we were engaged, DH told his sister to include me in the planning, but she did not. My attempts to get in touch with her to plan together were ignored, I did not find out what the b-day plan was until the very last minute and barely had enough warning to get time off from work to participate, and I did feel hurt by it. Fast forward to this year, and DH would like me to get in touch with her to plan with her . . . I told him I would rather let his family plan his birthday and then just do something else as a couple to celebrate and told him last year I was a bit hurt b/c my attempts to plan were ignored. DH is very defensive when it comes to his family, so he is having trouble seeing my side and can’t believe that his sister wouldn’t include me. He’s frustrated with me over this at the moment and I feel torn up inside. I probably will go ahead and get in touch with his family to attempt to help plan DH’s day . . . but I am not counting on really being included as I know DH’s mother and sister want things to continue as though DH weren’t married and DH doesn’t see this. Does anyone else have a similar situation dealing with inlaws?
Post # 3
He may need some proof to pull the wool from his eyes, so to speak. Keep a record of FB posts or emails with you trying to get in touch with his sister if she pulls that crap again.
Also, your SIL might not have seen you as “part of the family” last year, since you were not married then. I’ve known some people who were pretty odd about distinctions like that. It might be different this time around (though I wouldn’t count on it).
Post # 4
@Miss Mochaccino: I would probably reach out to her and say something like
“I know in the past you have planned DH’s birthdays and I know he has always enjoyed and appreciated them. I would like us to share this responsibility this year since I am now also part of your family and I am very excited to be part of the celebration planning officially. Also, I am also planning a weekend/event for us to celebrate and I would hate for this to coincide with the family celebration”
And as @yumiyumi: said, I would be sure to save your communication so that you can show DH that she didnt respond to your emails etc. I would also be sure to call her because you dont want her to say “Oh I never got your email etc”.
If she doesnt respond I would also call your MIL and ask her ‘When you see SIL next, can you let her know I have been trying to get a hold of her. I would like to us to plan DH’s birthday together this year. I know she has been busy, but I would like to chat with her soon”
Post # 5
How do you and FSIL get along otherwise? She could feel like you’re stepping on her toes with the birthday planning (which is silly, I know.) Is there someway you could plan something independently that ties in with hers? For example, ask her if you can plan the dinner where the trip is given.
Post # 6
Ah, family drama. I feel your pain. FI’s family is very strange. I recommend keeping a record too. Sorry they’re being so weird to you. :/
Post # 7
@Miss Mochaccino: That whole scenario seems a little odd, tbh. I don’t know any family that makes a big deal about adults’ birthday parties, especially big family trips. If it works for everyone, that’s awesome. Like a PP said, maybe this year will be different since you’re married now. I’m sure there will be a transition period, just like other family holidays, and hope you work it out peaceably.
Post # 8
HonestlyHonestly if DH wants his blood family to plan the party and they can by their own I wouldn’t bother putting forth any effort.
Post # 9
Like a PP, I also do not understand the big deal abotu adult’s brithdays, unless someone reaches a milestone or something. I would jsut let the siter paln what she wants and then make plans with your DH separately.
Post # 10
Your DH sounds a bit (or a lot) enmeshed with his family. It sounds like he hasn’t really cut the cord and realized that his immediate family is now you and any kiddos/furbabies you have. His parents and siblings are now his extended family, and things like planning birthdays are now your job. It’s also a little weird and kind of infantilizing that a grown adult would still be having big parties planned by his parents/siblings. I could see a big party, thrown by you, for those milestone birthdays, but when you become an adult those occasions are usually reserved for your immediate family, again spouse and kids.
I’d probably have a serious conversation with your DH about your new roles in each others lives and what that means. This thing with the birthday planning and his defensiveness about his family is probably a sign that he’s not putting you and your marriage first, and is essentially putting his parents and sister’s feelings above yours. Some families are just super gung ho about birthdays and like to make a big deal out of them, which is fine and to each their own, but in those cases it would still be your job to plan whatever you do as his wife. His sister is shutting you out, essentially disrespecting your place as his partner and the most important person in his life now, and literally marking your DH as her territory. By not saying anything to her and standing up for you, he is agreeing with her and showing you that her feelings come first and a big birthday party is apparently more important to him than his wife being respected.
Again, this would warrant a serious conversation with your DH, something like “DH, you are a grown adult with a wife. It is not your sister’s place to plan your, a married adult’s, birthday celebrations anymore. That is my job as your wife and it’s something I’ve really been looking forward to. I need you to address this with your sister/parents and make it clear that I will be taking over from now on. Not only are you/they not allowing me to plan your celebration, they are actively shutting me out of the process and disrespecting me as your wife. A child has their birthday parties planned by their parents/siblings, not a married adult”
DWIL would be a really good board for you to check out. They specializing in in-law and family issues and while the ladies there are tough, their advice is invaluable. Even if you just lurk and read through some of the posts, learning from other people’s experiences can be really helpful.
Post # 11
@saraja87: I agree with this advice. I think you need to stand up for yourself and let your husband know that you want to take charge in the birthday planning. There is no reason for a wife to sit on the sidelines when you don’t want to be there.
Post # 12
Personally, I’d be like “eh, whatever”. I think Once you’re an adult birthdays are really not that important. We don’t consider birthdays to be a big deal, in fact, DH travels a lot and usually isn’t even in town for either of our birthdays. We might do a nice dinner, but we don’t even do gifts. *shrug* The thought of spending money on a birthday trip every year seems silly to me, so I would be more than happy to let someone else do it.
If it’s that important to you then you need to CALL your SIL and say, “DH has expressed that he really wants me to participate in planning his birthday this year. Please let me know what you’re thinking, so we can come up with an idea he’ll love.” If she ignores you, then you need to flat out tell your DH.
Post # 13
Hello ladies, thank you so much for your posts . . . . I’ve really had a lot of helpful information to think about here and I am taking it on board. I fully agree with all the points about how it’s strange DH’s family to have a tradition of spending so much money, time, and effort on a birthday “trip” for each family member every year when each family member is in their 30s or older. I see it as taking a huge toll on our available vacation days and resources and general flexibility. Prior to our marriage, DH said he also thought it was too much and said he would tell his family that (after marriage) he was married now and wouldn’t be able to do birthday trips. however, now that the birthdays are coming up, DH is showing that he doesn’t actually want to change and is also afraid of hurting his family members’ feelings (and like PP said, he is putting their feelings ahead of mine).
@saraja87: What you’ve said here is painfully true. while I was aware of DH’s enmeshment prior to marriage, I also saw proof (through premarriage counselling and other things DH did) that DH was willing to work on the enmeshment. Last year (for example) DH spoke to his sister in front of me and said, “Next year when Miss Mochaccino is my wife, she’ll plan my birthday” — but he’s clearly forgotten about that and is highly defensive about the entire thing. His sister sulks and mopes because she misses the relationship she used to have with him, and then he feels guilty and tells me “I see you 24 hours per day — all the time — so I need to make an effort for family”. I will check out the message board you are talking about. Thanks.
Thanks again to everyone . . . DH has proven that he’s willing to work on things in the past, but there’s clearly been some regression here and it feels like I have a long road ahead of me. I generally feel less secure in my relationship with DH because of the fact that he does put me/our marriage second to the wishes/demands of his family.
Post # 14
The other thing that made me really sad the other day was the fact that when DH and I were reviewing his calendar to discuss upcoming vacation days, I saw that all of his family’s birthday dates were on the calendar, with provisional dates booked for when a good “trip” would be, including a sketch of ideas for his sister’s birthday coming up next month. HOWEVER, my brithday was not even marked on his calendar, and neither was our anniversary. I realize my b-day is a few months down the line (and so is our anniversary), BUT . . .. his sister’s graduation was on the calendar and that is even further away. I pointed it out to him and he made a joke about it and brushed it off. But it really made me sad.
Post # 15
Your updates just make me really sad for you. Your husband not only needs to stand up for you two as your own family (he can’t just be their son/brother anymore) but for your place as his wife in his family. I don’t know what to tell you. We went through something similar when we were dating and it was extremely tense. I hope you can talk to him without him getting to defensive.
Post # 16
Wow. what a crazy relationship he has with his fam esp the sister…Not sure what is the best to do but your DH seems that this is no big deal when it obviously is. He brushed you off after you told him you were sad about the calender thing? Then sit him down and get some answers and DON’T let him brush you off.
Tell him that he should tell his sis to include you, not the other way around. She’s the one planing she’s the one needing to do the including.
Plan a trip to where you wanna go, dosn’t need to be a celebratory trip but something for you guys so you don’t end up with no vacation days casue they were all spent on the fam.
Also seems like you’re making excuses for him that he had really wanted to work on this issue in the past. Seems like this is the classic example of actions not words where he tells you what you want to hear but dosn’t follow through with it, so you need to revisit this and tell him that you don’t want him to tell you what he’s going to do about it but to actually do it.
Sorry about your situation, seems quite crappy.