Post # 1
Hello Bees! I’m going to need your words on wisdom on a delicate family situation. I’ll try to be brief but it’s going to be a long one so bare with me.
My husband’s parents have been seriously neglecting their relationship with their son and it’s taking a tole on him (and me to a certain extent).
They live about 3.5 hours from us in a small town and unless we visit them, they never ever come to see us and never call. They have 3 other children, two of them live right next to them and the third one is in Europe. To give you an idea, they paid more visits to that sibling who’s an 8 hour flight away than to us in the past year. They both recently retired, are in great shape, enjoy driving and have plenty of time (and lots of money) on their hands. My husband and I work long hours and we can’t afford to go see them often, but we still go every couple of months. They have an open invitation to visit us whenever they want but never ever do, and yet they keep guilt tripping us for not visiting them enough.
The sibling living in Europe is getting married this summer and they will have two receptions, both here and back home. My in-laws are going to both, but they never bothered coming to the small second reception we organized for our civil wedding because they claimed to be busy. I recently tried to invite them to celebrate our wedding anniversary and the answer was a straight no because they were “busy” again.
These things are happening more and more frequently. I tried to organize a holiday party last December with some other relatives who live closer to us, but everybody found a lame excuse not to come (I asked months in advance) and I later found out that my mother in law sabotaged the whole thing and told everyone to say no because she wanted every holiday event to be at their house.
We paid them a surprise visit a few weeks ago for just one night. It was the first time we were seeing them in months and his mom said “since you came here we don’t need to go and see you anytime soon.”
At this point I don’t know what to do. My husband used to have a good relationship with them and I always thought that we were getting along pretty well but this situation is getting worse and worse and he’s very depressed about it, which I understand. I feel hurt too because I see how sad it makes him. He’s questioning his entire relationship with his parents and whether they ever loved him. He doesn’t understand why they never want to make time for him (and when they do we are literally squeezed between a funeral and picking up his sibling at the airport). I try to make efforts and keep inviting them but I’m getting fed up with all the fake excuses.
It’s hard to be supportive of my husband while I’m also feeling offended by my in laws behavior towards me (I feel that his mother somehow resents me for not being her ideal daughter in law who wants the small town life). I try to never criticize them in front of him unless there is a valid reason to do so, but I’m very close to giving up on them and officially giving them the crappy in laws title. What would you do?
Post # 2
theweddingunplanner : if they were *my* parents I would point all this out directly. Sometimes people even our own family are oblivious. See if they remedy things once they’re made aware.
Post # 3
This is sad, but ultimately , unless you are willing to tell them to their faces or an email what you have told us, l don’t see what you can do.
I mean, yes, you could simply stop trying and l think l would . But then your husband might feel worse, however, in the end, it is his problem primarily and unless he is willing to tell them how he feels, it is not going to just improve.
The sad fact may be that they simply do not love him like their other children . Whoever he married would thus never have been the favourite dil
ps I think it’s not necessarily useful never to criticise them when you have a genuine grievance . Also, does your husband try and organise stuff too, or is it all your efforts ? .
Post # 4
elderbee : he does, all the time. They always come up with some crappy reason but flew across the ocean several times to be with their other child.
He went on a different path and his life is not what they wanted for him, and although he’s doing great (and never gives himself enough credit) I think they feel very disapointed and are trying to show it that way. And it’s starting to seriously make me angry because I feel like if we ever anounced that we are moving to their town and are having kids (not gonna happen), they would suddenly act very different.
Post # 5
Are you in the states bee? Near an airport? It could just possibly be that your location isn’t ideal to them?
I know, it shouldn’t matter etc etc. I only say that because my brother used to live in FL, our mother and myself would visit often. (We live in NJ) He moved a few years ago to NC, in the mountains. My mom has not visited since they moved. Or myself, I’m a horrible sister. Anyway, we live in the mnts of NJ, which are not the same as NC but comparing mnts to beaches well, you get the idea. I believe they are about 2 hours away from the closest airport. So to book a flight, rent a car to drive 2 hrs away, possibly a hotel for a few nights probably isn’t appealing as visiting them once was. I know my mom loves her son, her daughter-in-law and granddaughter but it could be a bit much especially traveling alone. It maybe just it’s too much for them. My brother and fam visit us prob 1-2 a year.
I think if I were in your situation, I would just tell them how the both of you are feeling. Especially your husband. Has he ever just asked them why?
Post # 6
Is your husband a middle child? I feel like this a lot as I’m very different to my siblings. They all go to church, married people within the church young and had kids young. Im the opposite and im way more career driven. Unfortunately parents are more drawn to the kids like them. It’s very sad
Post # 7
Soon2BMrsFredericks : We’re in a major city (would rather not say which one) and they are in a remote area but it’s a 3.5 hour drive on the highway and they will gladly make the trip to pick people up from our city’s airport. The lack of visits doesn’t excuse the lack of communication.
I’m trying to convince him to have a long conversation with them but so far he hasn’t found the courage to say everything that’s on his mind.
Post # 8
missviolet92 : yes! lol he’s the second of 4 kids. And he’s definitely the most career driven one. I’m an only child so those family dynamics are unknown territory for me.
How do you deal with this?
Post # 9
My husband is a middle child too. And there’s definitely some obvious favoritism that goes on. For example, in the three years since we moved away from their town for my husband to get his PHD they haven’t visited us one time. But while his sister was away in college they visited her multiple times. They also pretty much completely financially support his older brother as he still lives with them, rent free. That’s the biggest, most obvious thing but there are lots of smaller things. Even my family comments on it.
Honestly, at this point we see it as a blessing. His parents can be overbearing and seeing how overly involved they are in his siblings lives we are happy to fly under the radar. theweddingunplanner :
Post # 10
Perhaps they have given up on him because he didn’t follow the script they wrote for his life. For whatever reason, they aren’t interested in the two of you. That’s got to hurt him, and counseling is needed to help him deal with not getting the parents he deserved. But chasing them is only going to get you both hurt; drop the rope.
Post # 11
Having siblings I think it just happens, you can’t treat everyone equally. My oldest sister has the grandkids and lives in an area they like so they get visited way more than the rest of us. Which makes sense the kids are growing up and need a relationship with their grandparents. My brother lives really close so sees them all the time. I moved to a climate they arn’t fond of and I didn’t see them for 3.5 years, I am considered by my sibling as the “favorite”. My other sister feels more like your husband “they never visit her”, cause she lives where extended family and my grandma live so trips there are always not just to see her, she is a stop by place while visiting my grandmas or other family. She doesnt have kids ect. She takes it personally, it’s not personal. To them they are visiting her.
Of course if you had kids they would visit more that’s just how it is. Or if you lived some where they liked. Neither of my parents are communicators. You can call them everyday and they will answer and talk to you but if you don’t call them expect a call maybe twice a year. I am sure it is different for only siblings.
Funerals and picking people up at the airport they have to do so it seems like they just don’t like driving to the city and prefer you visit them. The holiday party and not going to your anniversary party would bother me. But I would have him call and tell them when things like that arise. We want to have a holiday party it would mean a lot to me if you would come, when is convenient for you. Same with the anniversary celebration.
I in no way think they arn’t interested in his life or don’t love him. And if he is having those feelings he needs to voice them so they are aware and can fix it before the relationship sours. I am sure it is not intentional.
Edited to add: Families are different. FH’s parents visit us three times a year. They have substantially less money than my parents and it’s an 18 hour drive. We have the same number of siblings. So in three years we saw his nine times and mine once after 3.5. years. They visited my sister with kids way more which is also a plane ride and see my brother all the time. FH and I ‘s families are just different. I don’t feel any less loved or interested in. I talk to my mom all the time, but only because I call her. I’ve had to tell my sister, if you want to talk to mom, you have to call her. It’s not personal to you she never calls me either! My sister with kids doesnt notice cause she is busy with the kids and my brother well he is over at the house all the time so of course they call about dinner with him and weekend plans since they live in the same town.
Post # 12
What would I do? I would focus my energies on people who enjoy my company and want to spend time with me. Your husband will have to decide if he wants to confront them or if he wants to just let it go.
How do you think they would respond if you stopped trying so hard?
ETA: My middle child gets the most attention. He’s less self-sufficient and that’s just how it goes. I don’t know any families in real life where the middle child gets the short end of the stick. I’d guess it has more to do with your guy making choices your parents don’t agree with.
Post # 13
- Wedding: September 2019 - City, State
The sad thing is no matter what your husband say’s to her she will come up with an excuse for her behavior. She will justify everything. It will only make your husband feel worse. If she can’t see how she is treating him I would call her out on it definatly but it problary won’t change. It’s like the middle child syndrome. Less pictures, less attention etc. It seems it’s easier for them to get on a plane to travel than jumping in a car and driving 3.5 hours to see their son. It always baffle’s me how parent’s treat one child differantly from the other. I can only sugguest that your husband get the courage up to speak to his mom about this and let her know how hurt he is. Hopefully she will listen, but like I said it probulary won’t.
Post # 14
The truth is, sometimes parents really do favor a certain child or love one child less than the others. It’s an ugly thought and one that we don’t like to acknowledge, but I think it happens more than people want to admit. Some people are just more compatible than others. It’s weird that we’re comfortable talking about best friends and favorite siblings but we can’t acknowledge that lots of parents have favorite children, even though many people cheerfully acknowledge being closer to one parent than the other.
I’m my father’s favorite child, and he’s my favorite parent. It’s the same with my brother and our mother. And doesn’t mean that my mother doesn’t love me (she does) or that she wouldn’t be sad if something happened to me (she would). But if we were both trapped in a burning building and she could only save one of us, it would be my brother. I’ve known that all my life and we’ve actually discussed it and she agrees.
Your husband can ask his parents to TREAT him the same as his siblings, but not to feel the same way about him that they do about him. That’s just an unfortunate reality. They’ve shown him how they’re naturally inclined to treat him and I doubt he can forget that, even if they make an effort to improve the appearance of things. It’s better, imo, for you to focus your efforts on showing him that he’s YOUR favorite, and that you will always choose him, have time for him, and make an effort for him. That will help more than anything they do.
Post # 15
I can understand being hurt by your MIL’s actions regarding the holiday party, she showed her true colors and there really isn’t much you can do in the way of changing her ways. Your husband needs to tell them how he feels, because most likely they have no idea.
My ex husband’s family was the same way. He has a younger sister who we jokingly called the baby Jesus of their family. She could do no wrong in their eyes. They would fly out to Asia to see her, but couldn’t be bothered to travel two hours to visit him. He told them that he felt hurt by their actions. They swore up an down that they never intended to make him feel that way. Well, instead of continuing to feel hurt/disappointed, he adjusted his expectations of them and ultimately felt better in the long run.