- 5 years ago
- Wedding: August 2012
Hi all, I start very few posts myself, but Darling Husband and I are at a total impasse here and bet I can get some good relationship advice from the bees. This is so long, I’m sorry.
My (new) husband and I have always fought, hard, about holidays. I feel like we not have mental blocks against each other and for our own agenda whenever anything about the holidays come up at this point. We’ve been together for 5 holiday seasons so far. I’ll keep this specific to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- We love his parents and brothers. His mom is fairly laid back about the holidays, but would definitely be hurt if we weren’t there for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
- My sisters (and niece) are the closest people to me in the world, other than Darling Husband. DH gets along with them and their husbands.
- My mother: I do not get along with her at all. She is toxic, manipulative, and to the extent possible, I’ve cut her out of my life. HOWEVER, she is a widow and very much alone, and I feel that it would be very, very wrong of me not to make sure that I saw her or gave her a place to go on the holidays.
- Our parents live about 30 minutes from each other.
- My one sister lives 1.5 hours away (her in-laws are a flight away, so she’s either totally with the in-laws, or totally with our side of the family). She has a daughter who I’m in love with.
- My other sister lives near my mom (her in-laws are 2 hours away, and they generally do both homes on the holidays).
The Past/Other factors:
- We’ve done an extended dinner (from late morning to mid-afternoon) at my Mom’s with my sisters and their husbands, then headed to his parents for another huge dinner. Sometimes we’ve even gone to another one of his aunt’s houses.
- My sisters and I agreed that to the extent possible at least two of us will be together with my mom each holiday. It’s very hard to handle my mom alone.
His perspective: Holidays have been ridiculously and unnecessarily stressful for us, when before we got together it was something we both loved. Going from one place to another and feeling obligated to eat major meals and bring / cook food everywhere sucks the life out of the holidays for us as a couple. It will only get worse when we have kids. Holidays should now be about us as a new family. We shouldn’t have to do anything we don’t want to do. If I don’t want to see my mom, I shouldn’t have to. I’m pushing my agenda on him, without him getting a say in what he wants. Why take the fun/excitement/love out of our holiday when we can avoid it? It’s important to him that we enjoy the holidays. But I’m not sure what his ideal situation is; he’s never articulated it.
My perspective: As I said above, I feel a sense of needing to do “the right thing” and make sure I see my mom. I also would be super sad to not see my sisters, but if that would somehow make it work better, I’d be open to it – and celebrating on a different day with them. These particular holidays are only two days out of a year, and if we have to suck it up and be stressed for two days, then so be it. Yes, he’s the most important person to me in the world, but there are other obligations, too. Being part of a family creates obligations, and we need to deal with it, together.
What we have ruled out:
- Inviting my mom to DH’s family’s house to celebrate. We’ve done that before and it takes all the joy out of the holiday with his family and everyone walks on eggshells. Not something I feel I can subject my in-laws to.
- Spending Christmas Eve at one family’s and Christmas Day at another. Can’t leave my mom alone on Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve has never been a “thing” for either family. It wouldn’t be fair to push that as a “thing” for my in-laws when we aren’t the only kids involved on that side.
Does anyone have a similar experience / helpful insight? I just want this to stop being such an issue with us. And I want to get through the holidays each year without feeling like my husband is bitter at me, or being bitter at him.
We’re having a talk tonight with ground rules, haha (like open mind, being fair to each other, etc.) and he’s agreed that if this doesn’t work, we’ll set up a session with our pre-marital counselor, who we loved, to help mediate. We have a great relationship otherwise, this is just turning out to be such a sticking point for us.