Post # 1
This is a bit involved here.
So DH’s divorced parents have the worst relationship ever. I mean EVER. It’s almost 15 years later and the topic of “the divorce” comes up ritually, complete with blame, insults and really inappropriate details that no daughter-in-law ever wants to hear about. It’s toxic. So when we were planning to renew our vows in May, we knew it was going to be a sticky situation when it came to invitations. We’re really close to DH’s mom and see her and her husband often, while we don’t see much of my FIL and his wife. We didn’t have to deal with them coming together to our wedding since FIL had a health emergency come up a couple days before and honestly couldn’t attend. DH picked the location for our vow renewal, someplace he’s been a dozen times and LOVES. It also happens to be the country MIL’s husband is from. So when we called to talk to FIL and his wife about attending before we surprised them with the invitation, we got an earful. He actually yelled at DH for inviting him! He said that basically he would never be in the same room as MIL’s husband and he couldn’t believe how disrespectful we were being to him, and that maybe this was us trying to cut all ties with him by choosing to renew our vows in this particular country. We both tried to reason with him, saying it was just a place we loved and thought was perfect for this event, and that since he wasn’t able to be at our wedding, we really wanted him to be a part of these memories, and how it would mean a lot to us if they didn’t make this about the divorce and just come and be happy with us. He refused to come, said some really nasty things and we didn’t hear from him for months afterwards. All of a sudden yesterday, he calls and pretends like nothing happened!! Was fine and cheery and asked how everything was going and wanted to catch up and joke? Didn’t talk about the elephant in the room at all. I guess he just expects us to forget and forgive? DH just wants to let it go, since he initially had expected this reaction from his Dad and got exactly what he thought. I however, don’t accept this behavior and am livid. He didn’t apologize or resolve anything?! Just expects us to sweep in under the carpet. What do you bees think? Let it go, or bring the matter to FIL and tell him it’s not fine?
Post # 3
@RipleyC: I can appreciate your frustration, however, its not like after 15 years of your FIL nursing this level of resentment and anger you’re suddenly going to say something that gives him an epiphany and he suddenly gets that not everything is about him and “the divorce.”
So, my advise would be to just let it go because to do otherwise isn’t going to be productive – you’re not going to get the result you want (unless you just want drama and a huge blowout argument).
If he gets upset about your vowel renewal again, I’d just tell him calmly that you’re sorry he won’t be there and that he will be missed but you respect his decision.
Post # 4
I would bring it up in a neutral, non-accusatory way (IOW, not by saying “We’re still pissed at the shitty stuff you said to us”), because I think it’s better not to let stuff like this fester. It just builds resentment and ends up blowing up later. But ultimately this is your husband’s father, and your husband should handle the relationship as he sees fit, within reason. If he wants to let it go, then it’s kind of his call.
Post # 5
i would suggest saying something along the lines of ‘we’re so glad to hear from you – the last conversation we had with you was very shocking and upsetting to us – i hope that from this point forward we can focus on having a good relationship and leave the animosity you have for MIL and her husband out of our conversations.’
im my opinion allowing his behaviour to go unanswered is condoning it and telling him that you will put up with that garbage in the future – that won’t improve your relationship any. so i’d calmly let him know how hurt you were that he chose to make your vow renewal about him and let him know that from now on his hatred for his ex wife is not a topic for discussion.
Post # 6
Thanks for the responses, good advice! It’s a crappy situation and usually I do take my husband’s lead but as this behavior has gotten progressively worse I think maybe it’s important to calmly let FIL know that we’re sorry he won’t be coming, but we really want to be left out of the drama in the future and leave it at that.
Post # 7
A whole COUNTRY is off-limits because of some bad feelings your FIL has about there?
That is utterly preposterous and juvenile and so self-aggrandizing. I think your DH is right, shrug it off and write it off. You’re not going to cure that level of self involvement.
Post # 8
@RipleyC: If this was your own family, I would definitely say something but since its your husbands’ I would let him deal with it. I can definitely relate to the feelings of anger and frustration though because my own father did horrible things to me and pretends nothing happened, denies it and then tells people I’m crazy. I haven’t spoken him in 12 years and he still tells friends and family that he sees me and everything is fine. It makes me livid, but in reality he knows what he did and he knows nothing will ever be okay again so his charade is just stupid. Your FIL probably knows too so I would subtlety keep my distance from him and just walk away or give the phone to your husband if he ever does something like that again. That way you’re still respecting your husband’s wishes but not letting him abuse you.
Post # 9
Families deal with conflict in different ways. Yes, it can be frustrating. In your case, his dad has already moved on and isn’t going to want to talk about it or apologize. (My family is like this too, we all get mad at each other, but eventually we all forgive, but never have long convrsations about it). We just move on.
FH’s family, on the other hand, beats issues to death and seemingly endlessly talks about their feelings. This usually stirs uo more bad feelings, though.
Neither aporoach is really correct or right, just different. I’d let FH handle this one. Perhaps his dad’s way of apologizing is calling and acting like nothing happened.