Post # 1
This is an issue that has been plaguing us for our entire relationship, but especially the last 5 years, since we moved away from MA (where my family lives) to WI. My DH has lived away from his family in CA for almost ten years.
My mom’s been bugging me to visit them sometime this summer. I’m hesitant to agree to this next visit because:
– we JUST saw them at our wedding at the beginning of the month
– I can’t actually afford a trip (though they say they’ll pay for the flight)
– visited them 3 times already this year
– DH has more limited vacation days, so he won’t be going
– we haven’t seen DH’s grandma since August of last year, so if we’re visiting any family, I think it should be her!
DH’s parents never pressure us to visit. Unlike my parents, they are retired so if they want to see us, they travel out to see us. We have good relationships with both of our parents, but mine just seem to be more demanding about us coming to see them.
DH is supportive of me making solo trips to appease my parents because we don’t have to pay a pet-sitter to care for our dogs if he stays home. And he doesn’t necessarily love staying with my parents in their boring suburban town. But I don’t enjoy it either, especially since all of my old friends have moved away. :/ I feel that if we’re going to spending vacation time with family, we should at least try to make it more fun, but my parents are such homebodies! They just want us to sit around at their house, help with chores, make the rounds to visit extended family – like we’re teenagers.
When we visit with FH’s family (it sounds terrible to point out) but we do more “fun” vacation-type stuff like explore new areas, go to the movies, visit museums, host friends at their house for dinners. Now that we are officially married, I feel this could be a good time to draw up some boundaries.
How do you handle visits? Do you make it “fair” across the families?
Post # 3
@remijp: Our families are opposites. My family is more fun that DH’s. We play games, eat together as a family and with DH’s parents we sit around and do nothing or we have to help with chores.
However, my family is close (20 mins) and his family is an hour and a half. So to make it fair is very difficult becuase we do see my parents more.
With YOUR situation I think you are correct by not going. You just saw them, and I know I wouldn’t want to fly out by myself even if it was a better setup. I would talk to you parents and tell them that while you love coming to visit, you would like to have some time together and will come see them later on in the fall/winter or whatever you feel like going. I think in your case it would be good to set expectations of how many times you will travel out there.
I am finding with marriage, parents like yours (and my DH’s), don’t really understand that maybe you want to spend time with your husband now that you are married. You are a family now, and even though you live together, sleep together, and eat together, you will want to spend time with him.
Post # 4
@remijp: Posts like this make me sad. We only get one set of parents and I just helped my friend get through the death of her father. You bet your ass she would love to get some time back to see him. I think we need to make the most of the time we have with our parents, especially given they are aging. I’m not sure how close you are to them, but in my case, my parents have done so much for me that I can’t imagine not making time to see them…let alone because my friends moved away.
I guess the answer to your question is whatever you’re comfortable with.
Post # 5
why dont you suggest your parents come to visit you?
Post # 6
Well DH’s parents are 30 minutes away so we see them a couple times a month.
My parents are 11+ hours away. I go back to IN once or twice a year to see them and they come an visit us a couple times a year too. You and your DH definitely shouldn’t have to be the only ones travelling.
Post # 7
@newname_99: They were just out here for our wedding at the begining of the month, though I suggested it and they don’t want to make the trip. The main reason my mom said she wants me to visit is for me to see the new renovations on their house and go furniture shopping with her. :/ She hasn’t said, “Oh we miss you so much, we’d love to have you visit us.”
@MrsPanda99: Of course, knowing that I’ll lose my parents someday is on my mind. I talk to them on the phone at least twice a week, so I’d say we’re close, but there are some things that make me feel emotionally distant from them. I guess I am not comfortable with this apparent expectation/obligation for me to travel alone (they didn’t offer to pay for a ticket for DH) to see them whenever they ask. In the five years since I’ve lived out of state, I can think of only 1 time when I said, “Hey I really miss my family” and went out to see them. Otherwise, I never really get the opportunity to miss them!
There are other issues too, including their expectations about where DH and I will live when I complete my PhD and my relationship with my extended family is complicated. My mom has 5 brothers who she insists I am “very close” too and am required to see when I visit MA, yet only 1 of the 5 attended my wedding. That’s just one example, but basically, I do not feel close to them. I actually didn’t acknowledge the emotional distance until I developed great relationships with my ILs and DH’s extended family over the last seven years of our relationship. This stuff just feels a lot easier to figure out and our relationships feel free of obligations with DH’s family! I feel my mom does not acknowledge that these issues should be up for discussion and that with time, my role in the family has changed and will continue to change.
Post # 8
@Mrs.KMM: I think I’d be a lot more comfortable with visiting twice a year. I have said repeatedly that they can visit us anytime as many times as they want! This visit would put me at 4 visits for the year and we’re not at the holiday season yet…
Post # 9
Yeah, I think it’s important to set boundaries so that they don’t expect you to travel for every holiday or visit x days a year. Your details all together make it sound like they still think of you as a child that they can summon “home”… you need to be clear that you have your own home now.
I live about the same distance as you and personally, I wouldn’t be able to spend the time or money to visit more than twice a year. Even that’s a lot, if you want vacation time for yourself too, and if you’re going to spend enough time there to justify the cost and time of flying.
Post # 10
I can’t give you any advice but I’m in the same situation, reversed. DH’s family lives in a crappy little rural town 7 hours from where we live. My family lives 20 minutes away. There’s nothing to do in the town and his family is usually content to all sit around one TV all day. The rest of the time is made up with mandatory visits to grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. We’ve already been there four times this year. DH is going this weekend AND we’ll be there the next weekend. I hate it. It costs so much every time we go and I hate spending money to literally sit on a pleather sofa and watch netflix. My family is a lot more fun, if by no other means than because we live in a city with things that happen.
We’re also in a situation where his family would never, ever come to visit us. A handful came for our wedding but most of the invited family didn’t. We still have to see them every damn time we’re there. I would be delighted if we only had to go twice a year.
Post # 11
My DH’s paternal family is pretty demanding of our time (and they all live within a 20-mile radius). They expect us to be present for all holidays and each and every birthday celebration.
It can be pretty frustrating, I agree. There are times when I have to put my foot down and insist that we skip or shorten some of these events. DH is incredibly supportive of this and always backs me up. That having been said, I do realize that things will not ALWAYS be this way. His grandparents are quite old (80s) and are primarily responsible for organizing these things. It is just not THAT inconvenient to where I feel like I need to “draw lines” or make some kind of statement. I choose not to let it be a big deal.
DH’s mom lives in NH and can be somewhat demanding as well. She definitely believes we should visit more often than we do and that is quite frustrating. If there is a line that needs to be drawn here, it is with her expectations, not the amount of time we are actually willing to visit. I think that this is where you should focus too. Don’t get worked up about whether or not to make this one trip — that doesn’t matter. Rather, you need to address with your family that the expectations need to change so that you’re not visiting out of obligation but rahter because you truly want to.
Finally (I promise), my dad lives in a very small town in MI. When we visit we usually spend the majority of the time just “hanging out” and chatting, playing board games, etc. I wouldn’t give up that for anything. I make the trip up there (often… 3-5 times a year) because I want to see him… not because I’m looking for a vacation. Also, more than half the time I go up there it is just for a weekend and is without DH. Sure it’s not the most convenient thing but it works out just fine. Again, I just don’t let it be a big deal.
To make a long story longer… I would focus on drawing the RIGHT line with your family (the needy-ness… not the number of visits) and everything else will fall into place. Good luck.
Post # 12
I would tell them if it’s so important, they can come out to see you.
We live down the street from my parents (dad/stepmom) and see them several times a week.
DH’s parents are a 6.5 hr drive away. We see them usually at Christmas when we go up there. We used to see them for a week in the summer, but DH’s job keeps him traveling so much we haven’t been up there in the summer for years. His parents would love us to come up more (and I go visit his parents without him) but they don’t pressure us to. They understand we’re busy.
My mom lives 12 hours away, we don’t visit unless she comes to me. End of story. It’s an expensive trip for me to go down there and hang out by myself during the day while she works and then do nothing in the evenings.
Post # 13
My family: Parents married, live in resort area 2 hrs away. We do more fun things (even if it’s just grilling and eating lunch staring at the lake from their deck). Skiing to kayaking. Visit them every ~2 months, maybe a little less, for most of a day if not the full weekend. They also let us know when they pass through here (every ~4-6 months). We will sometimes see them at my sisters as well (but the every 2 months accounts for that). Saw them more when planning the wedding.
His mom: Lives 30 mins away. See for lunch/dinner out on Sundays about 3 times a month. She’s also invited to my family’s holiday gatherings and joins about 1/2 the time (but does not stay overnight).
His dad: Lives in random small town in Ohio. DH is not close to him. We see for dinner when he visits 2-3 times a year. He tends to schedule his friends first, and us last which is a pet peeve (he’ll tell us he’s visiting and what one night he and stepmom can see us at *best* a few weeks beforehand…which doesn’t always work out with our schedule). They just bought a home near us on the Cape that they’ll move into in 3 years full-time. We think we’ll see more of them then. I’ve offered but DH doesn’t really want to visit the random town in Ohio.
Grandparents: See both grandmothers ~1-2 times a year. His at Christmas, mine when my parents drive her up to their house for 1-2 weeks.
Post # 14
My mom is 15 minutes away and I see her 2-3 times a week and we talk everyday. Maybe it’s because I just moved out a couple of months ago but I can’t imagine a situation where I only saw her a few times a year.
Post # 15
@MrsPanda99: I don’t see why it would make you sad when they’ve already seen her 3x already this year, so that’s once every other month! Sure you only get one set of parents, but hoping on plane flights is expensive and time consuming. It gets to a point where you ask when is enough – do you need to fly out there every weekend and spend all your time with them in order to appreciate them? My parents certainly want me to have a life that isn’t just visiting them, that is my volunteer work, extra work hours, leisure time, travel and friends. (Granted, they also explicitly tell us they retired in a location sufficient to try to “bribe” us to visit, with a mountain and lake nearby for both winter and summer fun.) Also there are many ways to keep in touch with parents w/o visiting. DH and I call our parents several times each week. I just think it’d be different if OP never wanted to visit her parents, as opposed to trying to deal with balance. It’s hard to balance initially when married.
Post # 16
@BruinBeeMPH: I imagine you might also feel differently if it took half a day to travel each way to visit her, and cost $500+ for each trip for you & DH.