Post # 1
My fiance’s parents live in the same city as us. He is their oldest child and the only one in a serious relationship. I feel like they don’t know how to let him go and let him live his own life. His parents have a lot of traditions that they want to keep alive. One tradition is the birthday breakfast and the birthday dinner. Last year on my fiance’s birthday, he went to birthday breakfast in the morning with his dad. I thought that would be the end of the celebrations with his parents, but then we had to go over to their house later that night for a birthday dinner. This consisted of them baking him a cake, opening gifts from the family, and singing happy birthday to him in Polish (this is because FI’s grandmother is Polish). His two brothers joined us via Skype, since they both live out of town currently. This is nice of them to try to make him feel special, but I can’t help feel annoyed by this. At the time we were only dating, but we were very serious. Didn’t his parents consider that maybe their son would like to spend his birthday with his girlfriend doing something romantic?
So this year we are engaged and just a few months from being married. I thought maybe now his parents will let go and let us do our own thing. My fiance’s birthday is Monday, and his father called last week to tell us the plan. They are doing their birthday breakfast tomorrow morning before work. Then after Fiance gets off from work, we are doing the same birthday dinner tradition as last year. I know that he and I had the weekend to celebrate, but why do his parents automatically assume they can have his actual birthday for themselves? What if we wanted to do something with just the two of us? My fiancé doesn’t seem bothered by this, but he goes with the flow as to not upset anyone. What concerns me is there are no boundaries. They assume their son is available and willing to spend every major holiday including birthdays with them. At what point do these traditions stop? Will he continue having birthday breakfast and birthday dinner when we are married, even when we have kids? I would like to hear what you guys think. Is this something I should be concerned about?
Post # 3
oh that can be tricky! i think your Fiance needs to cut the ties. its not as if you guys are cutting relationship ties per se, but he as well as his parents need to see that once you guys get married, you are eachothers priorities, and will be starting new traditions together! good luck!
Post # 4
@Bichon Frise: Its his birthday, I would let him pick what he wants to do. If that includes birthday dinner and breakfast then go with that. If he wants to do just one, he should be the one to decide. You might want to do something romantic for him, but there are other holidays (valentines day) to do that. If they were forcing you to do birthday dinner and breakfast for your birthday and you weren’t interested then that would be weird. If it is a tradition he wants to stop, I would do it slowly, by reducing it to one family birthday meal and then eventually none. I know my Fiance was upset this year that we didn’t celebrate his birthday the way he was used to his parents doing it. We come from different familys and view birthdays very differently. I work very hard to adapt to what he expects for his birthday because its his day so it should be the way he wants it. Not the way I want it.
Post # 5
I thought maybe now his parents will let go and let us do our own thing
why on earth would you assume this without discussion, they sound like a very close family (brothers skyped to sing happy birthday to him for god sake and they are polish)
….. My fiancé doesn’t seem bothered by this and says they are just trying to be nice, but what concerns me is there are no boundaries.
birthday meals and singing that your Fiance isnt against or bothered by are not breaking boundries and you cant expect a family to break a 20+yr habit without discussion.
do i think both breakfast and dinner a bit too much, yes i do (and i wouldnt attend breakfast if it was me) but if your Fiance wants to celebrate this way i think you need to accept it and be a bit less jealous. maybe a compromise is a different week day dinner for the family so they will learn that they need to change some of their behaviours as well so you both find a balance
Post # 6
@Bichon Frise: My Fiance is Polish (I am not)… I went through this exact same situation… PM me if you need to!!!
Post # 7
I completely understand why you are feeling a little upset but I guess if I were in this situation I would look at is as one of those battles that I just choose not to fight. I’m engaged and I know that my parents would be very hurt if my birthday plans didn’t include them. I mean they are the ones that raised me so I think birthdays are a big deal to them. I do think that two meals in one day is a little much but I really don’t know how you could even begin to do anything about the situation without hurting his family really bad. My advice is just to always celebrate his birthday a day early or a day late and then suck it up and spend his birthday with his family if that’s what he wants to do. Or maybe start by cutting out the breakfast thing and then just doing birthday dinner with the family.
Post # 8
I think that you should change something small in the equation like maybe they come to your house instead of going to there place or change the day have them celebrate the day before instead of the day of. I find this tradition is very nice especially if it is done for each member in the generational scale. It would be great to introduce this to your kids someday. I think it is a little selfish of either party to assume and really they have been doing this for so many years they never thought of asking. Just play with things a little and wiggle things loose.
quick addition: Does his mom cook him something special for breakfast? If so maybe you can ask her to teach you so you can do it for him next year?
Post # 9
I don’t get it.. you think since you’re engaged he doesn’t spend any of his birthday with the people that … um.. gave birth to him?
Can’t you do your thing with him on another night, like the weekend before his birthday and hang out with his parents for dinner? I mean they aren’t asking for too much, it’s the way it’s always been.
Post # 10
I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!!
Fi’s parents are divorced. The only person who is still possessive is his mom. Reading your post felt like something I would have written.
I feel like there’s a point where when you are married you have to create your own traditions as a family. I mean once there are children then what?!
I have been struggling with this too and I don’t have advice. Only empathy! Feel free to PM me for moral support!
Post # 11
I can understand that this may seem overwhelming, but I’d be careful, especially if this doesn’t bother Fiance. It’s not like they want to spend your anniversary with you…it’s his birthday! You can start your own traditions without eliminating other people’s!
Post # 12
The birthday breakfast is actually just he and his parents and they go out to a restaurant.
I don’t have a problem with him celebrating with his family, I just don’t know why it has to be on his actual birthday and why it needs to take up the whole day. I guess I’m just used to spending my birthday with friends or my significant other.
Post # 13
I think this is a little too much…I agree that now maybe you could invite them to your house, and explain to your man that you want to focus on creating your own traditions and memories. You can also invite them over the night after his BDay, and I’m sure if you hint to him that you want to have extra kinds of private fun, he’d choose to spend the BDay night with you.
Post # 14
Have you ever asked him to change to another time or lets say breakfast that morning but dinner another night?
Post # 15
I think the part I identify most with is the no boundaries. I mean families have traditions that start to trail off or change as the child moves on to college or when they have their own families. It’s the ebbs and flows of life. I know you have 0 problem with them celebrating and of course what they are doing is great..it’s the boundaries/expectations.
ETA: On Christmas morning FI’s mom expected us to come over at 8am to open gifts. This was after we had went through all of the other traditional family things. Finally, I said we will come over but it will be in the evening. All about compromises and picking your battles I guess!
Post # 16
As an adult, he makes the decisions and should not allow himself to be intimidated by them. He needs to put his foot down and cut the strings.