Do I Have to Travel with Husband to Visit In-laws?

Updated on August 10, 2014
K.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA
18 answers

My husband and I live across the country from his family. There is no one in his family who lives near us. That said, in order to see them, we either have to travel to see them or they have to travel to see us. I absolutely dread this. His parents are awful. Whenever we visit, we have to stay in their house, which is dirty and only has one working bathroom. Also, they have very little money, so we are goaded into footing the bill for most meals and entertainment when we are with them (see below about us paying for their vacation home when we cannot yet afford our own house). His mother is a classic narcissist and she has awful manners. Her behavior makes me feel uncomfortable. She actually started to cry at my husband's brother's wedding since she thought the bride wasn't paying enough attention to her.

Additionally, my husband is the primary on a mortgage for a 3,500 square foot vacation home that his parents "bought" (meaning my husband took out the mortgage in his name since they couldn't qualify for it and makes a substantial amount of the mortgage). HIs parents pay a portion of the mortgage, but are planning to take over the mortgage in the next year. In any case, this is an added point of contention that I have with them even though he did this prior to meeting me. We can't afford to buy our own house yet as a result of this added expense.

In any event, I don't want to go on the trip. I don't want to stay with them. I don't want to visit with them. Frankly, I wish I never have to see them again.

I'm also very concerned about their influence when we have our first child. We are trying to get pregnant and we live in a 2 bedroom condo. His parents always have to stay with us when they visit since they cannot afford a hotel. I'm very worried that I am gong to be stuck with them sleeping in a blow up mattress in the living room just after we come home with the baby. I can't stand having them in our home and I certainly don't want them there right after I come home with the baby.

My husband is very defensive of his family. He loves his parents very much, which is understandable since he is their son, but he just doesn't understand why I refuse to visit or want them staying with us. He has basically told me that I am going whenever we visit them and that there is no negotiation.

My parents live locally so we don't have to travel to visit them. They also are the type that would get a hotel if they were ever to visit since they realize it is an imposition otherwise.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Lincoln on

I'm sorry to say this, but your acting like a selfish brat. Stop it!

Those are your husbands parents and regardless of how you feel about them you have an obligation to no only visit them and allow their visits, but to act happy about it. You cannot hold a grudge against them for something your husband did (the mortgage), that's really not any of your business. And I would HOPE that your husband would pick up the tab for his parents no matter how much money they have, that's honor! But especially since they don't have much, you should GLADLY pay for their meals and entertainment during your visit.
Now that you are TTC you should think about how you would feel if your son married a woman who hated you, didn't want your son to visit you, didn't want to visit your son, and wouldn't allow you to see your grandchildren. Yikes!
Treat them like you want to be treated by your children and their spouses.
You should really go apologize to your husband for acting like such a pain in the butt and tell him you are definitely going and you will like a mature adult while you are there. If you want I see no harm in asking your husband if you both can stay in a hotel during the visit so you are more comfortable.
Yes, they will probably want to come see their first grandchild when he/she is born. That's a good thing! If you don't want them to stay with you then make hotel arrangements and YOU pay for it. Make sure its a nice hotel and not a motel 6. Then you can also have some control over the length of their stay. You can say something like, "Hey mom and dad, we would love for you to come visit when the little one is born. We've made arrangements for you at a nice hotel for a week visit! Don't worry its all paid for, look forward to seeing you."
Then you are including them, acting like a mature adult and not a spoiled brat. They will appreciate you and love the "new you" and perhaps you will find they aren't so horrible after all, just loving parents.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.:

I have in laws that I don't feel exactly comfortable with either and they live about 3 hours away so we don't see each other often...maybe once a year at that. But I do understand that it is important that I must treat them like family...because they are family and haven't done anything dangerous besides living in a house I wouldn't normally be caught dead in. Seventeen years of marriage has dulled my dislike and actually made me appreciate them, sort of.:)

I think you need to 'get over' your dislike. You won't see them that often but when you do, you are going to need to be the 'bigger' person here. Your children do have the right to know their paternal grandparents and a little dirt won't harm them. They need to see that you are a part of this extended family and your husband needs the emotional and physical support of you being there.

Good luck...I would look at this differently. If they lived closer, and still had the same habits, you would be stuck seeing them much more. Be thankful that they live so far away.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

Personally, I don't think that you should've married your man if you were not willing to accept his family. It would be different if he didn't want to be around his family, but he obviously does, and he loves them very much. If you keep acting the way that you are acting, you are going to cause division in your marriage. It is inappropriate of you to refuse to go and visit them.

As far as the vacation house - you are putting your frustration from that on the wrong people. I am sure that when your husband signed for them that he knew that they would not be able to pay the full mortgage. And as far as them "planning" on paying more, you might as well just get over it and consider that you are going to be paying for this until it is paid off. It was done before you were married, and you are going to need to get over it. You are just causing yourself heartache over something that was done before you were around. Go and use the vacation house yourself!!

Just because his family doesn't do things the way that you would do it doesn't make the way that they do it wrong. It is just different. I think that you need to suck it up and go and visit and quit acting like you are so much better than they are.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Try to be understanding. When you married him you also married his family which means they are now your family too whether you like it or not. You and your hubby need to talk (try to come from a place of understanding) and set boundaries that the both of you are comfortable with - like you'll go and try enjoy yourself and be civil, but you want to stay in a hotel this time. Try not to fight about it - just calmly discuss the pros and cons. I'm on the opposite end as you in a different, but same scenario. My family are the ones who cause/create very undesirable friction/problems. My father has very serious mental issues, which have caused a lot of trama in our lives. I understand completely why my hubby doesn't like coming to my parents house, or to be around my father - I can hardly stand him myself. BUT it means the world to me that my husband grins and bares it on the few occasions - Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays etc. It hurt a lot initially that he fought me in the beginning about it, it made me feel like he didn't like a huge piece of me that I could do nothing about to change. Bottom line - you are both in this together, support your husband, he probably feels the same way you do about much of it but feels like you are attacking him about a huge part of his life. You love this man dont you? At the very least, learn to love his parents for the wonderful man that they made - remember that he wouldnt be the man he is if it weren't for them. No ones perfect, and they too deserve to see their son, grandbabies and you even if they don't know how to show it. Besides, whats the big deal if you see them so little anyhow? Marraige is about working together and sometimes making sacrafices for eachother. This is a time you need to put yourself aside for the wellbeing of others.. You're kids deserve a relationship with their grandparents, and I'm sure it would mean the world to your husband to see that relationship (and yours) develop!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Can you visit but insist on a hotel?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

umm, you knew all this going into the marriage did you not? meaning, you probably knew you couldn't stand his mom and that they were a bit on the dirty side, right? That said, you probably over-looked all this at the time for LOVE.... and if so.. well, do it again for love.. the love of your husband. Truly, if these people aren't criminals and instead just have habits and tendencies you don't care for.. try and grin and bear it... try this... see IF you act differently around them IF in return, they act differently... I mention this because you might have more control over the situation and its outcome than you may think. Additionally, I don't advocate footing the bill for EVERYTHING (especially, if you can't afford it) but if you can, then why not offer to put them up in a hotel or you, yourselves stay in one... That could be a nice compromise that you and your husband come to when visiting them and on their turf. Believe me, I don't like dirt either..... and would also have a hard time staying at a relative's whose house was dirty... I would tell hubby you prefer a hotel........ Lastly, whenever I can afford something more than someone else (especially someone older than me) It's just my nature to pay the tab... If your husband feels as though he wants to pay for things, then hey.. what the heck.. allow him to do so.. it's probably about honor but also his pride...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think you & hubby need to compromise. Go and stay at least half of the time in a hotel.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I understand how you feel. In my situation, my husband's family always seems to be taking while my family is always giving to us. We have to pay for meails etc. I don't have a lot of respect for almost any of them and when you live cross country from future in-laws, you don't always get to know them that well until after you're married awhile. People's true colors also don't come out for awhile. And how are people criticizing you so much when I see posts ALL THE TIME on here from people disliking their inlaws?... I also don't see why you have to go visit before you have children but if it's important to your husband, I guess you do. But then insist on staying in a hotel at least half the time. After you have a child, you do have to let them visit etc bc it's their grandchild. Figure you're lucky they're across country so they won't be around a lot. The fact that these people had their son sign a mortgage on a vacation home speaks volumes to me. What in the world were they thinking/doing? Saddling their son like that for a luxury item? Ugh. But do your best to keep your dislike to yourself and talk to your friends about it instead of your husband. I try not to say much to my husband bc I know it puts him in a no-win situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I guess I don't understand why anyone would have a vacation home if they can't pay for it. But your husband sounds like he really loves his parents and wants to have a relationship with them and wants you, as well, to have a relationship with them. At some point, parents have to realize that their kids are grownups, if you don't want to stay by their house, don't. There is no rule stating you have to stay there. But I think there will be alot more problems between you and your husband if you speak this way regarding his parents of all people, so negatively. You married your husband and these are the people that raised him, so they must have done something right. And I agree with some of the other posters regarding your future children, you want them to have as many people who love them as possible. There is always a way to be a polite, rational, adult in any situation. Talk to your husband, tell him your concerns, maybe a little differently than the way you put it in your post, and figure out a trip that will work well for all of you. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Talk to hubby and explain these things to him. If he demands you go then yeah you have to unless you want to argue with your husband. Why don't you guys stay in a hotel when you go?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow sounds a lot like what I went threw, the last few years. I don't stay at other peoples homes any more. Does any one here relize that there is a reccession? My husband & I are retired & since we have married his family that ruin their credit, felt that I was suppose to help them. NO isn't a dirty word. My husband lend his mom his car for two years, she gave it to his brother whom uses drugs to drive. We paid for the insurance etc. When I became exhausted & didn't want to drive my car, his mom got nasty & told me that the breaks went out on my husbands car. It's nice to visit once a year. He picked the car back up. You aren't selfish, some people have really bad habits & you DON'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THEM. My husband relized Thank God, that we only have to take care of our home. This is a stressful time to live & don't pick up baggage that isn't yours!



answers from San Francisco on

I guess I found this question because I'm looking for an answer too! I don't blame you for having negative feelings at all because I do too and I doubt we are the only ones. People can be so high and mighty on the internet!
I don't see why you have to go with him every time he wants to see his parents. Tell him to go have fun and that you could use a little alone time at home to just unwind or clean or whatever. Plus it probably doesn't help that your parents live locally. Mine do too and it's almost like he can see how close we all are and he wants the same with his family. He doesn't understand that moving away from my family wasn't an option for me because we are that close, but he moved away from his family and I'm supposed to believe they have this super close relationship that we have to put them up in our house for a week every other month.

I hate to say it but since we've had our first child it's become even harder. I know you posted this several years ago but I'm curious what your situation is like now...



answers from Oklahoma City on

At what point are you going to try and make him choose you or them and who do you think will win.

Even if you can't stand them they are his family and you just have to take the trip and try to get a long.

They will be gone someday and be out of your hair.



answers from New York on

I don't feel your pain as I LOVE my in-laws and they live far away as well. However, my hubs deeply dislikes my mother and she lives 5 blocks away, if he never saw her again it would be too soon. Yet when we have family functions, he has to come with me. She is my mother, even though I don't love her all the time, she's a little difficult, but she's my mom. Hubs has to grin and bare it. Sadly the same goes for you. As far as when you have kids you can dictate who, when and where for people to visit, but now it's only you two, so if for nothing else do it for your hubs. After an event at my moms I thank my hubs for coming to let him know I appreciate that he does it for me.


answers from Chicago on

I tell you what, you didn't marry his married him.If anybody's spouses family is great, that would be a bonus.
My husbands family proofed, over and over that they are shallow people and not really interseted in us.We had are problems and we decided, we only let them so much into our lives.
If my husband would make me see them, I would leave him, no kidding.I know how much stress this situation can cause, I have been there.It took us a while, to figure things out, but we did.
Communication is everything,
good luck :)



answers from San Francisco on

I know some people don't understand how you feel, those people most likely have more normal in-laws. I HATE staying with mine as well, and would never have her stay here. She is rude, controlling and I don't feel safe with her around with her crazy tendencies. I don't see why you have to do that if you don't feel comfortable, and if they can afford a vacation house, they sure can afford a hotel. You really don't have to do everything jsut because you are married.



answers from Amarillo on

As others have said, you married the whole family not just your husband. The in-laws may not be around you much but they are still there. Not every one has a model show home for a home. Perhaps she was not taught how to clearn when young or is of a different culture.

This fight could cause a big rift in your marriage like a divorce. Your husband will only bend so much and if you continue to push he will make a choice and it may you are out and they are in. My son is having a problem similar to yours right now with his wife and we are staying the heck out of it. I told him when I come up (8 hours away) I would stay at the LaQuinta and not at his home or on the army post or air base.

It is not good to fight about family because they may be the ones you need and they won't come to your rescue. Family is family no matter what. Learn to live with their quirks and know that when you do get back home you will be glad to be back in your home (clean and dirt free).

What's that saying help me change what I can and understand what I can't. You can't have everything in life at the same time so learn to become flexible.

The other S.



answers from Anchorage on

How would you feel if your husband told you he can not stand your parents, that he never wants to see them again, that they are not welcome at your home and he will not go to see them, and that he does not want them around the children? I mean listen to yourself!! These are his parents, his family, the people who gave him life and raised him and helped him become the man he is today! He loves them with all his heart, and if you force him to choose between them and you, you may not like his choice! When you marry the man, you marry the family. And I would never dream of asking my parents or inlaws to stay in a hotel after they spent a bunch of money to come see me. They are family and family should always be welcome, even if it is a "imposition".

Now, you have every right to ask that they wait until a decent time after the birth of a child to visit, and that time should be discussed with your husband so he can relay when it would be ok to them.

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