Post # 1
My FI and I are both pretty good at compromising. But there is one point of contention which we can’t seem to agree on, and that is splitting time between our families.
My parents divorced when I was quite young and both remarried. I am equally close with all four of them and consider myself to have two sets of parents. Through my childhood I split my time between them (i.e. Christmas Eve at mom’s one year, dad’s at the next, etc) and it was never a problem for anymore. My FI’s parents are still together.
Both of us are close with our parents, and want to see them on a fairly regular basis (they all live within a 45 minute drive from our house). My FI believes that of our total “family/parents time” we should spend 50% with his family and 50% with mine (i.e. 25% with each of my sets of parents), while I believe that we should spend a third of the time with each.
Right now it isn’t a huge deal except at the holidays, but I am more concerned with when we have kids. I don’t think it would be fair for one set of grandparents to see the kids double the amount that the other two would. However I understand that my FI doesn’t want to spend more time with my family than with his own.
I know the idea of actually being able to stick to those percentages is not realistic, but on principle, what are your thoughts? Obviously one way is more fair to me, and the other to him, but I’m curious to get an outside perspective.
Post # 3
Well what does ‘spending time’ mean to you guys? See them every weekend? Have dinner once a week? Or see them a couple times a year? I would just do what feels best, in the end it will all work out. I doubt there will come a time, except holidays, when they will all want to hang out at the exact same time. Don’t worry about the future right now, figure it out when it comes. For now, enjoy today.
Post # 4
I am a true believer in 50/50. Even if your parents are divorced and remarried.
I dont know how you would do it though. Because really it does not seem fair… but then from your FIs perspective 50/50 is fair. Because 50% of the time you guys would be with your family, even if its with 2 sets of parents.
My FBIL and FSIL are not fair when they do it. Her dad gets Christmas eve, every year. Her mom gets Christmas day every year, and then FI parents get whatevers left. So dont do that lol
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
We just see our parents (I have the same situation- my parents are divorced and FI’s are not) when we have the time and are invited. I think that when you have children, you will figure it out, but both of you are being a little silly keeping score like that. At Christmas, we do Christmas Eve morning with FI’s nuclear family, Christmas Eve afternoon with my Dad, Christmas Eve night with my dad’s extended family, Christmas morning with my mom, and the day after christmas with FI’s mom’s extended family.
If your mom invites you for dinner twice in one month and you also see a movie with her, are you going to force the same thing with your dad, and then double that with FI’s parents because that’s “fair”? I think that you will be so busy that you’re just going to see them when you get the chance.
ETA: to answer your question, if I have to pick one, I say 1/3-1/3-1/3. But I also think that you can spend time with your parents and he can spend time with his without the other, so he can spend 50% of his time with his parents, and 50% with yours, while you only spend 1/3 of your time with his and 1/3 with each of yours
Post # 6
I think it should be 50/50: 50% of the time is spent with your family (not just set of parents) and 50% of the time is spent with his. I don’t think it’s fair to split it up by number of households. I also don’t think it’s fair to essentially “punish” him and his family just because it’s smaller.
Post # 7
Hold holidays at your house and invite *everyone* 🙂
Post # 8
Family is hard in our household. My mom lives in the same city, my Dad and step-mom live thousands of miles away and his family live about 4 hours away. Most of the time our ‘family’ time is with us at home (we have kids). But he always wants to go see his family because they are very ‘family oriented’. However, sometimes I get frustrated because #1 I feel very out of place with his family (I am not included very often and his parents don’t speak English so its hard to communicate) #2 I miss my Dad who I haven’t seen in 2 years and sometimes I get envious because I want to be able to see my family.
Family will most likely always be an issue but maybe you could tell him to split it all evenly (in thirds) and if any family member wants extra time then they can come see you.
Post # 9
i voted for the second option, but i can see how it could seem unfair.
my husband and i are still trying to get the hang of splitting time too. we live in southern california and both our families live in central cal (where we’re from). we haven’t run into any real problems yet, but when we go visit i feel like we’re going back and forth the entire time trying to visit everyone. it’s exhausting and at the end of our visit i feel like we really didn’t spend a whole lot of time with anyone 🙁
@Saloria83: i feel you on the language barrier. my husband’s parents are mainly spanish speaking. i understand it very well, but speaking it is a little difficult for me. i do make an effort to talk with them, but sometimes it can be awkward.
Post # 10
You know….. my mom wants my time 90% of the time, so in my case I do not even bother. I go with what is natural and take things as they come. My MIL invites us over for dinner once a week, my mom never invites us yet gets mad that I am spending so much time with his family and not her. If she invited us over, then we would come over!! I already have to “take turns” with the holidays based on her whim and there is already drama about who is going to have time with the LO. Mind you, she is due in January and this drama has been going on a year, on her end alone. After awhile, I just stopped caring and have stopped trying to please her.
Post # 11
Thats a really hard one… we live in the same town as my parents and FI’s are 11 hrs away, so we definitely spend more time with my side. But I have a holiday problem like yours. Everyone thinks since I see my parents once every couple weeks, we should always do holiday’s with FI’s family. The flip side of this is, just because I do see my parents more often, I don’t think I should have to give up every holiday with them!
Our solution is this. We don’t set a plan, except for the upcoming holidays. So, instead of saying “50-50,” or “1/3 each set,” I would recommend just deciding as they come, and realize that nobody is intentionally trying to take you from your family!
Post # 12
Story of my life, especially around the holidays. We see my FI’s two set of parents more during the year as it is, they live closer to us and invite us to dinner and family events often. My parents live a bit further and never make formal plans for anything. This is not something I can control though it makes my mom mad.
When it comes to the holidays, however, we do our very best to split time between each of the three families evenly. It’s kind of a pain, and that will have to change once we start a family, but for now that’s what we do. I feel for you though, it’s difficult.
Post # 13
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
Whatever you do, DO NOT see what happens naturally! One side of the family will get more attention than the other, and then it’s just going to create a lot of stress, drama, and hurt feelings for everyone.
Instead of only seeing one side of the family at a time, try inviting everyone to a single location. That’s what we do. My fiance’s family loves hosting and always wants to host holidays. So, we just all go over there. That way we get to see both our parents for all the days we have off, as opposed to seeing my mom for half the time and his parents for the other half the time. If you share time, everyone gets to spend more time together.
My parents are also divorced, but I’m not as close to my dad as I am to my mom. And quite frankly, my dad doesn’t invite me to spend many holidays with him. So, he kind of gets left out of the picture. In your situation, if people don’t get along and having everyone come to one place doesn’t work, then I’d suggest doing the thirds thing. However, I’d refer to it as “rotating” and not “thirds.” It sounds more fair. Otherwise, you’re getting 2/3. Of course he doesn’t like the sound of that! 😉
Once you start a family, definitely start inviting everyone to your home at least sometimes.
Post # 14
Thanks everyone for your input… it’s nice to get some fresh perspectives. It sounds like this is a pretty common issue to come up when you are starting out as a couple. I think I’ll just take it as it comes.
Post # 15
My situation is similar to yours except my mom and step-dad are also divorced now, but he is still my dad. So now I have 3 places to go, instead of 2. My bio-dad and step-dad both do Christmas Eve, so I split that night between the 2 places. Luckily, SO’s family celebrates on Christmas day, so we’ll spend most of that day with his family.
This year, though, my mom wanted me to drive about an hour away on the evening of Christmas day to see her and her cousins (my second cousins). I basically said that that was wayy too much and if we could do something the weekend before. She threw a fit, but eventually she came around because this is a new “tradition” for her and we already had 3 other places to be in 2 days. Soo, we’re celebrating with her the Sunday before Christmas.
We didn’t decide based on percentage of total time spent with either family, I have a much larger family than his (obviously lol) and we just arranged the time as best we could that was a natural fit. I did skip Thanksgiving with my bio-dad’s side of the family this year though because it was over an hour away and we already had 2 places to go. I imagine this process might be more difficult when we have kids, but SO already said he’d like to host a holiday so who knows how that’ll turn out.