Kids and relatives - advice question.. (long, sorry) — The Bump

Kids and relatives - advice question.. (long, sorry)

DH's parents have always been a mess.. anyway his mom has been in and out of his life and 2.5 years ago they had a "final falling out".  It was a culmination of her not approving of our wedding in Mexico (we had an AHR planned, but she didn't care), and then while she wasn't talking to us my mom passed away and she never even acknowledged that either.  Not to get too into the story but she has been nasty to the entire family, people just don't like her, she is manipulative/nasty/etc.

But DH's aunt is my MIL's friend.  She never stands up to her or anything, so she takes my MILs side, even though she "can't stand her".  We used to visit my DH's aunt all the time, but now we don't, because the aunt invites the MIL over and so then we can't go (again, we haven't seen/spoken to MIL in 2+ years).

Now DH is really worried that we don't see the aunt enough.  The thing is, we invite them to parties and invite them over and they can't come for whatever reason, and now the aunt is having a Halloween party tomorrow night, and DH wants to cancel our plans for some local Halloween events and drive an hour to his aunt's (I don't really want to drag the kids out).

I feel conflicted - I mean, his aunt excludes us from holidays/gtg's because she is always with my MIL (who she says she can't stand), so then we have to go the extra mile to see them.  I don't know what a good solution is, but any thoughts?  I just told DH we could have a dinner party here if he wants.  I'm not digging the thought of dropping our plans last minute just to hang out, when it doesn't seem they make an effort at all.

BTW my only relatives are my aunt/uncle - they came here 3x last year and they drove 4 hours to get here each time.  DH's aunt/uncle live 45m away and never even acknowledged my DD born last October, they don't even know how to spell her name (it is a super popular name).

Re: Kids and relatives - advice question.. (long, sorry)

  • I really feel for you because we have similar drama in my family.

    Honestly, if it were me, I wouldn't change your plans to go to the aunt's house. After many years of bending over backwards for a family member, I really came to realize that if they're not willing to do the same for me, then they're not worth the extra effort.

    I'm sure you have very valid reasons for cutting MIL out of your lives and when other family members are not willing to speak out about it, it makes things really complicated for the few people brave enough to stand up to her.

    And :( sorry, it's hard to be in a position like this.

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  • I kind of agree with brightning on this.  I feel like DH's aunt has demonstrated that she doesn't have his back.  It seems like he's making all the effort in this relationship, probably out of a sense that he's already cut his mom off and that he doesn't want to go through that with any other relatives.  

    Anyway, I would probably not do anything to antagonize the aunt, but nor would I inconvenience myself to attend her Halloween party. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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  • My general feeling is not to cancel on someone. If you have made commitments to keep them, which works out to your benefit in this situation. I would however then say something to the aunt like you really miss her and look forward to introducing her to your child and when would be a good time to do that. There are some people who make the effort and those who don't mean not to but time/etc slips away from them. It doesn't hurt to extend the offer. (esp for dh who is the one lossing out here)
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  • All of the previous posters have excellent points.  I think the best answer is blending all of the ideas and coming up with an in-between perspective. I think your husband is seeking to have some sort of relationship with his aunt and because that's important to him, it's only right and fair that you work with him in helping him achieve that.  However, I don't think it's right to cancel or change plans you've previously made to accommodate someone else--whether it's your husband's aunt or not.  

    Have a calm discussion with him about the importance of keeping your plans with your guests and then have him call his aunt and set up a time that works for her (not mom) and you, DH and the kids.  Maybe a quick lunch at a restaurant or ice cream at the mall.  I know this is a tough spot to be in--I've been in it a time or two myself.  Just stay positive and stay focused on creating a solution where everyone benefits!  GL! 

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