Post # 1
I have always wanted to be more family oriented but growing up I just never was. I think in part it has to do with being an only child. I always put my friends first because naturally that was more fun than hanging out with my parents (who are traditional people with traditional/outdated views) . I don’t have a large extended family either so I guess naturally I just leaned on friends for support, good times, you name it they pretty much filled a huge emotional gap in my life (still do to some extent even though fiance has taught me to be more family oriented and now I have a large new family I get to be a part of).
Since meeting my fiance I have realized he is kind of the opposite. Very family oriented and doesn’t really care if he has friends. Going into such a family oriented and larger family fiance has 2 brothers (so three boys total) I almost feel like they think there’s something wrong with me.?? I guess being an only child is still not as popular as the commom 1.2 /children per household statistic suggests. I just hope to have lots of kids with fiance… and someday become that family oriented person I’ve always wanted to be but never had the opportunity to fulfill. I guess when focusing on weddings and planning a lot of these suppresed emotions surface, forcing you to deal with not just the planning but all the memories good and bad that go along with it.
Any other only children on WB with same/different views on family and friends?
Post # 3
I can totally relate. FI is one of 5(!). It was just me, my mom and twin sister growing up. All my extended family lived away and are MUCH older than I. I had some cousins I saw regularly, and I have a step-sister and neice, but again, not very constant. Add to that my family is the epitome of dysfunctional, and well, you get the idea. I am presently at the point where I want to invite my best friends and none of my family, but we’ll see. My friends and I have consciously chosen to remain so, whereas I know for sure that if not for the nagging obligation of family, I would no longer speak to my mom or sister.
It can be a challenge. Once, when I was upset that it seemed he was putting his family before me, he said that he wished I had a family I was close with so that I could understand. I think we both had valid points that day, but what can you do. I am fortunate that despite some differences and the usual family disagreements, FI’s has been very welcoming and I do feel like a part of their family. I also want to have a few kids and give them the best family ever. I hope that you also can become the family person you want to be!
Post # 4
Yes! My family is very weird, disjointed – not close at all. The immediate family can’t get along, much less the extended family and it’s always just been like that. So I never grew up with a bunch of family members around. My husbands family is HUGE and they’re all tight and always together. I think the weirdest thing for me is getting used to his mom – she’s so sweet and wonderful, but I’m not used to random phone calls asking if I’m ok b/c she heard that there was a wreck near my house or anything like that. Seriously, my family just doesn’t care about each other like that. It’s nice, but I’ll admit, it’s difficult to get used to the closeness of his family, when I’m just not used to and really don’t like it.
Post # 5
I so see where your coming from. FI only has one brother, but his family is SO close, and that is probably because everyone lives in one small town. Our holidays are consumed by his family functions. The biggest problem I had was balancing my side of the family into it.
Post # 6
@Laylabelle: Yes, this, too! I forgot. My FI’s family is not very openly affectionate, like they don’t say I love you as much as my mom did (though I have come to realize it came from deep seated insecurity and less from an actual feeling of, you know, love, but I digress). But they do things so differently. I mowed the grass on the riding mower for the first time a few weeks ago and while playing with the deck I gave their lawn a 3 foot long bald spot, essentially. In the span of about two seconds I almost burst into tears then started laughing. My first thought was that I’m going to get yelled at so bad because that’s how my family was, but then I remembered the time we were baking cookies together and FMIL dropped an entire sheet of cookies back into the oven and started laughing and I realized they wouldn’t care and would probably think it’s hilarious and tease me about it. That would never happen in my family. It’s so refreshing.
Post # 7
This can be a good thing though. It’s not just the wedding you are planning, but a marriage. Expectations of both of you are very important to vocalize, along with if there’s anything that makes you uncomfortable, etc.
My FI’s family is “closer” than my family but has no extended family, where as I have a big family. My parents were “parents” where as his were his “friend.” i.e. We had a lot of talking and laying of expectations to do! Everything from size to discipline and education of our own family. 😉
First step is accomplished, you see where you want to be. Now you just have to open yourself up. Just as how you share your life with your FI, work on becoming friends with his brothers and even parents. Family relationships are in a way based in friendship, so since you’re great at that, now you just have to apply that to people you’ll know the rest of your life 😉
Post # 8
Remember that those family members of his will become your friends if you let them, and you love your friends! 🙂
However, I’m in a similar situation. My FI has a LARGE extended family and they all live in the same town. It’s completely overwhelming knowing people randomly will be driving by our house just to see what we are doing, etc. And obviously gossiping is a problem. I’m not talking about 2 or 3 other siblings, he alone is one of 13… and has like 14 aunts/uncles with lots of kids each too. I’m an only child from a small secluded town where I’m used to having lots of me time. Now I’m constantly looking over my back thinking everyone is spying on me. They are generally great people but I have anxiety to begin with so it’s not an easy adjustment. They are so close that if anyone saw this online I would probably get in deep trouble just for “bashing them online” which I’m not doing but you know what I mean.
The only thing to do is really give it time and try not to put up resistance. Just always be aware of it.
I’m a huge family oriented person because I didnt have a large family. I want lots of kids and we just got a house so I can’t wait to entertain everyone for holidays; however that’s immediate family and a bit different. So yeah…
Best of luck to you sweetie!
Post # 9
I think its good to experience a different family dynamic. FI and I come from very different familial backgrounds. His extended family is much larger, but he doesnt interact with them as much as I do. I think his mom had a slight case of Munchausend’s (sp?) because it was him, his sister and his mom for most of their lives and they took care of her (drove her places, cooked for her, and were paying 50% of her mortgage as teenagers) and they would be close, but only in proximity, he could never talk to his mom and more feared her than anything. With my parents and sister, we are close, but more affectionate with each other.
Post # 10
Yep we’re like that. My family is all over the U.S. and I only see them occassionally. I see my parents when I see them–if we don’t come down for Christmas, they’re not heartbroken. They just say,, “well come down the week after or before!” whereas DH’s family does EVERY SINGLE FREAKING HOLIDAY TOGETHER. Mothers’ Day? Ginormous bbq that eats up your afternoon. Labor Day? A full day party. It’s really quite a pain because I don’t want to waste my entire holiday weekend not doing things at my OWN house. Or relaxing. Cuz let’s face it–family BBQs aren’t exactly stress free. But DH thinks it’s scandalous if we don’t go to stuff. So i go, but I get to give “the look” when it’s time to go home. They ALL live in St Louis. So these family bbqs have like, oh, 24 people at them. Maybe 30. I find them overwhelming.
It’s just strange. Like, i want to go on a cruise during Christmas. Oh no, the horror of missing Christmas!!!! And my parents are like, “have a great time!”. To me, family time doesn’t have to be ON a specific holiday. it just happens. And DH is like, “i have to see my family every week, once a week”. And I personally think that’s excessive. It’s just a different mindset.
Just because I like DH’s family and I like spending time with them doesn’t mean I’m ecastatic to go over there every single month for a big get togehter. Sometimes I just don’t FEEL like doing it, ya know? Plus i’m kinda bored–everybody has the babies they pay attention to and I’m not at that stage so I sorta space off anyways. plus my husband’s best friend married into the family, so he loves family get togethers so he can see his best buddy. And uh, i sometimes get left to fend for myself. So i’m not always jumping at the bit to go over there.
Post # 11
I understand where you’re coming from as my FI comes from a large hispanic family who are very “we are family!” like and I have more of a family that we see each other but more like make plans to do so rather than drop everything to do so. We’ve had a few discussions over it and we both realize that family IS very important and just like you would be with your friends he will be with his family.
The ways I’ve had to deal with this are my FI family are the kind to call the day of something ie. younger nephews baseball game and be like “well are you coming?!” When we may already have plans.
I don’t know if you’ve had to deal with this one but my FI understands that new boundaries have to be implimented with a new family component.
One thing that does have to be remembered is when ya’ll are married his family dynamics have to change b/c well now you’re his family.
I would think that you’re best bet is just to be complete upfront and open with your communication with your FI. Don’t bring it up when you’re bothered with it but rather after or even better NOW.. before it flares.
Hope this helps some sweetie!
Post # 12
Its good to know I’m not alone in this. I guess in-laws can be quite the complex and touchy subject! I’m not really bothered by this…well ok, maybe bothered is the right word. On the one hand, I sometimes feel strange having to learn with interacting in a sibling dynamic (something I’ve never had experience in) on the other hand, I feel so lucky to have a new big family!
I guess what bugs me the most is when FMIL uses phrases like “we go through groceries at my house in one day because we are sooo many people …where as at your house there’s only 3 people so it takes you longer go through food.” Yes, I realize this is a true statement based on pure fact. Its just the way she says it…she uses this tone like she feels pity for my that I’m an only child and ALL alone… she just makes me feel so bad about being an only child. Almost like its a crime. Meanwhile, she doesn’t have one single friend and I take pity on that!
Post # 13
My SO & I are the other way around, and while I see where you’re coming from, it’s also hard being the other way around too. I come from a very large portuguese family and was brought up under the value set that family alwys comes first. now i also have a lot of friends, but my family is very tight knit and attend birthdays, softball games, etc for eachother. My SO is an only child and the only family member in his entire life is his mom. No dad, no grandparents, no cousins, etc.
As a result SO doesn’t understand things I do sometime for my family, he thinks I let them pressure me into doing things or going places, when that is not the case. He doesnt understand why i drive 3 hours to go to a birthday party for my cousin. He thinks its obligation, but its not, its just what we do. Holidays are impossible because he wants to split time 50/50 with his family and mine, only problem is on holidays before him i spent time traveilng around seeing family and celebrated with approx 30-40 family members, and sometimes more, now we have to split 50/50 between my family and his….. im not saying we should split holiday time 40:1, but it becomes very complicated because he always feel like my family “outweighs” his, and they dont, but its a different dynamic.
we’ve definitely struggled but at the same time i think its nice for both of us. He enjoys my big family and they have adopted him right in, and i enjoy the peace and quiet of a 3 person (me + him + his mom) dinner on christmas eve. We want our own family to be a blend of peace and chaos and a combination of all the values present in each family.
some of this was my own personal rant, but bottom line is everyone is brought up differently and in my opnion the most important thing in a marriage is not necessarily the families you come from but the family you create together.
Post # 14
@july… I guess how I can see it being a burden on each side. Thanks for sharing your story, its shed some light onto my situation and helped me see my fiance’s perspective
Post # 15
I wanted to thank you for starting this thread. I am family oriented, however, mine is a bit dysfunctional. I’m a product of a divorce. Mom is in NY, Dad in FL. I have a half sister who is 20 years my senior and she’s crazy..not a nice person. She has distanced herself. I can go on and on.
I understand that there are times that you don’t want to do stuff with his family, I’m totally the same way! FH wanted me to go to party that his sister was throwing today, and I told him that yesterday that I was going shopping and I wasn’t sure when or where. He threw a mini fit. I was like I told you so, before you committed “us” to this party (without asking me). I’m always the one that’s doing things with his family, whether I want to or not. I am my own woman and there are some things that I’d like to do on my day off..espeically 2 weeks before the wedding.
He had an attack when I told him that I wouldn’t mind going on vacation around the holidays and not spend it with his family. He’s like I’ve got to spend time with them(however, he sees his parents maybe once a month..sure you’re family oriented) We try to call his parents on their home phone and they don’t even freakin pick up the phone, much less listen to their messages! Weirdos! I just needed to rant and rave for a second.
We shall overcome ladies!
Post # 16
@AliveinJuly…ya I just feel like sometimes these guys don’t get our predicament. Family vs. friends, OR sometimes I just don’t want to hang out with your family and would rather be alone. If I ever don’t want to go to this house…b/c sometimes I just can’t stomach these people for more than once a month it always turns into a big deal!