Post # 1
Hi bees! I’m in some serious need of advice. A little backstory: FI’s parents have been divorced for over 20 years and have both been with their respective partners for almost as long. There’s still a little animosity there, particularly on the part of FI’s stepmother towards FMIL. FMIL and I have always gotten along better, simply because we have more in common. FMIL and her husband also make more of an effort to get everyone together despite living much further away than FFIL and FI’s stepmother, but that’s beside the point. FI’s sister got married last year and there was always SOMETHING FMIL did that FSMIL just had to comment on as being rude or unacceptable. I didn’t grow up with a lot of divorce in my family so I try not to judge because I wasn’t around when they split and I don’t know what happened, but it makes me sad that the four of them can’t just tolerate each other and not trash-talk JUST ONCE.
Anyway, onto the situation at hand: FI’s parents and step-parents are all retired, my parents are not and they travel a lot for work and live 8 hours away from me and FI’s side of the family, so it’s VERY hard to get both sides together. FMIL offered to throw us an engagement party which is very nice, and she’s having to plan it the one weekend my parents are available to make the trip this summer. Trouble is, FFIL and FSMIL are going to be out of province that weekend! I didn’t know they were going away (they’ve been planning this trip for months) and FI didn’t think to ask them if they would be free that weekend. Well, out go the invitations and of course, FI gets an angry call from his father because “we didn’t even ask what date would be good for them” before deciding on one. Well, first of all, they’re retired and hardly go anywhere, so excuse me for planning around my working parents instead of making you the NUMBER 1 PRIORITY, second, I’m not even planning this – FMIL is, take it up with her and THIRD, you probably wouldn’t come anyway because you apparently can’t be an adult aroud your ex(OF 20 YEARS)wife! Sorry, that turned into an inappropriate rant. I’m just mad at myself because I know we should have asked them but it’s so hard to want to rearrange anything because they haven’t been the most supportive of FI and I. FI’s attitude is “You can’t always make everybody happy, so to hell with them.” and I’m having a hard time disagreeing with him. I usually defer all matters relating to his parents to him, but do you think we should try to rearrange everything for them? Even if my parents won’t be able to come up for another couple of months? Like my dad is literally planning an overseas business trip around this weekend. FWIW, FI agrees that they probably wouldn’t come, even if they were in town. There’s always some excuse relating to horses…
For anyone who actually read that novel…thank you or your patience. AND WHAT DO I DO?
Post # 3
Keep it the way it is, tell them that it was planned for the only weekend that your parents could make it, and that you meant to ask them about their plans, but also assumed they’d be able to make it. Don’t change things for them, when they are not as involved anyway.
Post # 4
@capitalbee: I’d carry on with the party as planned because it is when your parents are available. It is not your fault that your two sets of FIL don’t get along or that one set of FIL will be out of town. You did nothing wrong, so let this roll off of you.
Post # 5
I would keep it as planned.
Post # 6
@capitalbee: Go on without them. You shouldn’t have to forfeit your parents being able to attend for them. And on top of that sending out new invites to everyone. Just so you can listen to bickering. Why don’t they just throw you their own party on the date of their choosing?
Post # 7
The issue isn’t whether or not FFIL and FSMIL would have chosen to attend the engagement party hosted by FMIL and her husband (assuming they even would have been invited), even if they were in town. The issue is that, your parents live far away and can only make this pre-wedding, meet-the-FI’s-family trip once, and before you and your FI agreed that your parents would come that particular weekend, no one even bothered to check with FFIL and FSMIL to see if they would be in town. This is not a good way to begin connecting these families. No one should ever assume that someone else doesn’t have other plans or obligations, regardless of whether or not someone is (and especially because he or she is) retired.
If your FI’s mother and her husband are intending to include your FI’s father and his wife among the guests being invited to this event, and your FI’s father and his wife would be comfortable attending, then the event needs to be rescheduled. If those factors do not apply, perhaps your parents would be able to arrive in town a day early, or stay a day later, to get together with FFIL and FSMIL (if they would be in town one of those days) for dinner with you and your FI. If trying to hold a separate meeting on the edges of that weekend will not work, then I think you still need to choose another weekend for the engagement party — a weekend in which your FI’s dad and his wife will be in town and can still independently (along with you and your FI) meet your parents.
Post # 8
Thanks everyone for your responses! I’m feeling better about keeping the party when it is. We knew they were taking a trip sometime in the latter half of the year, but I had no idea when it was. My parents have met FMIL and her husband but not FI’s dad, so I know they’re going to be disappointed but we’re not changing everything just to avoid FSMIL’s wrath.
Post # 9
I think it’s very kind of your FMIL to host the party and it sucks that your FFIL & SMIL cannot attend. But it is very hard to find a time and date that works for everyone, especially when the one couple who live at a distance work. Maybe try to arrange a weekend getaway for him/wife, you/FI and your parents another time to meet up for lunch/dinner somewhere in the middle?
I feel for you! It is so hard trying to introduce families that are in different places, especially when there are divorces and ‘steps’. I have both my parents (divorced) in two different states than I live, and my s/o’s double divorced parents (mother, father and step/adopted-remarried dad – long story) in two other states. Everyone but my mother and her hubby has met since my dad traveled down here during a family event of s/o’s, but I have no clue about intro’ing my mother to his family because she doesn’t ever want to travel to see us where we live, and it’s unreasonable to ask all of them to travel to her state simply for a meet & greet.