Extended Family Doesn't Want to Have Anything to Do with Us

Updated on July 06, 2013
K.M. asks from Englewood, CO
32 answers

Sigh. Happy 4th of July, ladies. I just received the usual response to any invitation I offer my husband's sister and her husband "Sorry, thanks for asking, we won't be able to make it. We have to _________." No matter what the occassion, they are always "busy." NONE of our children's aunts or uncles have any interest in any sort of relationship with my kids.

Uncle #1 (my brother): Alcoholic with personality "issues." He is one of those people that NEVER lets go of a grudge and at age 40 was still angered beyond control that my father "put him in his room when he was bad" when he was a child. He has never met my kids (ages 5 and 6) and hasn't spoken to me in roughly 5 years. He is mad at me at an issue surrounding our mother's passing.

Uncle #2 (husband's brother): Ex-con, womanizer. Nice guy and on the one occassion he has met my children and me, was fun, kind, and interesting. He just does his own thing and doesn't live in the state.

Aunt #1 (husband's sister): Rather eccentric, also has personality "issues." There were some problems surrounding putting my mother-in-law in assisted living and the fact that my husband's nephew, not her, had power of attorney and control of the money. She can't get past her anger over these issues and because my husband "sided" with the nephew, apparently now he's on her s--- list.

Nephew #1 (husband's nephew): There were some issues long ago having to do with a business that my husband and his brother started and nephew has been cold to my husband ever since. Nephew's wife is ok, but certainly never invites us over even though our kids are roughly the same age.

It just breaks my heart that no one wants to have anything to do with our family. We are happy, "normal", and willing to forgive the past. Why isn't anyone else willing to do this? Should I keep trying to have a relationship with them or wait for them to make the first move, which will most likely never happen?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful answers! As I was writing the original question, I kept wondering "Why do I want to be around these people anyway?" which is something that many of you brought up. Interestingly, July 4th, the day I wrote the question, we were in a town about 100 miles away from home and who do we run into but the nephew and family! So weird. Anyway, it was friendly, although I wouldn't call it warm and fuzzy. All 4 of the kids were so excited to meet their cousins since neither of them have any cousins other than each other. I invited them over for a BBQ and they said yes. We'll see if it actually comes to fruition but I suspect they will do it. The nephew confided in my husband that he and his father (husband's ex con brother) had had a major falling out over a business they were in together (the same problem that my husband and his brother had). That situation is what the nephew has been holding against my husband all these years and so now he understands. Who knows? Maybe a relationship will be able to be salvaged but I'm going to follow your advice and move on. If it happens it happens and if not, I tried. Thanks Ladies!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I am going against the tide of advice that you have received here, but I think it is a great thing to be the 'kin-keeper' in a family. I would continue a relationship, and keep the avenues of communication open. Send the invitations, give them news of the children, friend them on facebook. One day that openness may pay off, and a beautiful relationship may blossom.

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answers from Miami on

I'm sorry, but other than the womanizer, which makes him a really bad boyfriend or husband, but not a bad uncle, I just don't understand why you are lamenting about these other people not having anything to do with you.

I "get" that you want a family to do something with. But THESE people? They are awful, mom! Why would you want to be involved with them?

Do yourself a favor and find FRIENDS to hang with. You can pick your friends. Please get over this. You really need to...

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADD: I'm not quite sure why you're taking this as a judgement of your family, which is what your last paragraph sounds like. Again, unless you are evil, it is THEIR problem. Why is this breaking your heart? Why does this matter so much? Why are you creating this drama? You may want to look into this a bit deeper - check out the book Co-dependent No More. It may help. Good luck.

ORIGINAL: After having read the description of this extended family, WHY are you sad that you don't have relationships with these people? I'm asking this seriously, because the amount of negative drama flowing from them would make me run the other way and happily live in "polite land" when it comes to family connections.

Part of the problem is possibly that you are living in the land of "Should". I "should" have a relationship, we "should" have close connections with the extended family, they "should" want to spend time with us, etc. The thing is, SHOULD is useless when it comes to reality. They are unhealthy people who don't seem to be capable of dealing with negative situations in a healthy way. Unless you purposely hurt them or screwed them over, it would be nice if you were able to make inroads into fixing things, but that doesn't sound like it's what's happening.

Be polite, let go, and find other people who bring JOY and CARING into your life. It doesn't HAVE to be a blood relative. One thing I learned as a kid from watching an old Showtime series "Robin of Sherwood" (a Robin Hood story) is that your "family" doesn't have to be blood - you can have a "found family". These are the people in your life that have the "feel" of family without the blood ties.

From experience, sometimes you have to let "should" die and move on. My relationship with my blood mother is merely polite - and after a long time of adjustment and some mourning, I'm at peace with that. It's the best thing for me and for my family. My older sis and my MIL fill that void and I am glad they are there for me.

Let go of the "dream" of this family. Mourn it. Then create a new one, a new dream. Find a healthy alternative. Stop dumping your energy into this. Just be polite - you can keep the olive branch extended, but you don't have to keep banging your head against the family tree.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

K., ever have your mom tell you, "do not pick at it, you will make it worse? ".. This applies to your situation.. Leave them alone.

I completely understand you have some sort of guilt and feel an obligation, but these people have some major issues. Just because your husband was born into this family, does not make them good people.

I recall a time when my father were on the outs. He was an alcoholic, always angry.. selfish.. But I wanted to tell him I was getting married.. He acted a bit like an A$$. I said we are getting married , his fast answer was, "we have plans and do not have any money to give you".

I looked at him and said," well, we are not asking for money and we are not getting married for a year. Sorry you already have plans, but I just wanted to give you a heads up.. If you can make it, that would be nice, but if not, you will be missed. "

He attended but I did NOT ask him to walk me down the aisle..

But once he turned 60, he had finally gotten his act together.. It was different. He proved to all of us, he had gotten his life together, by living as a good person, admitting his mistakes and really trying to be a good person, ''At this point, these family members are car wrecks. You can love them, but you do not need them to be around. They are dealing with their own lives..

I have friends that are more like my family, than some of my closest family members. They have always been there when I needed them. They know I love them back. We do not judge each other, we can just be who we are warts and all and we still would do anything to help each other..

Those are the relationships that I want my daughter to be exposed to. She has her own group of friends that are like sisters to her.. I am thrilled to know if anything were to happen to me and my husband, she will never be alone. She will have my friends, my husbands friends. , and her friends, along with our relatives to depend on..

Go forward.. no guilt.. Things could change in the future and it wil be a wonderful surprise, if not.. the nuts in the family tree, will make good story telling in the future.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

based on what you wrote, I would say this... You may be trying to have relationships with people who do not have a good relationship with themselves.. E.g... The alcoholic.... You may be expecting normalcy from a person who does not live a "normal life" or a life that you consider normal.. If your brother doesn't have the love for himself, how can you expect him to have it for you... He can't give you what he doesn't have to give.. It's nothing personal... It's just that HIS addict is much stronger and is doing the thinking for him at this time...

A lot of my biological family consists of drinkers, in particular my mother and aunt. I tried for years to have a "normal" relationship with them and because they never got into recovery, it just never happened.. Also, when my son was born, I so wanted my biological family (those who hasn't already died from alcoholism) to meet my son and so far, he is 11 and ONLY one aunt (from marriage) has met him.... Sure, it saddened me.. I mean I would like my son to know more family.. However, it's just not gonna happen the way I might like it to happen.. I finally came to terms with this.. When I did, I stopped having all the heartache I once felt.. I stopped feeling sad and victimized that NO one wants to be around my family.. Instead, I am empowered.. I am learning that in life, you have to accept what is and stop wishing for things that you cannot change or have control over to be different... I got to this kind of thinking by joining two 12 step programs..
Al-anon and OA... In the programs, you learn new ways of coping and are given tools to deal with everyday life..

One HUGE and valuable lesson I learned was that I have choices.. I can choose to stop living in the land of "Oh I wish my family would be want to visit with us" or "I wish my family members would get the help they need"
Instead, I no longer look to them to change, instead... I am empowered with the fact that I can change.. Really, the change you want to see will have to come from within.. Until your family members choose to change (and they may never) you, yourself can begin to make changes...

One, I might suggest a 12 step for you... as it sounds like alcoholism may run in your family and just because you may not have picked up the bottle, doesn't mean it hasn't affected you..... I didn't realize this until I, myself went to Al-anon... and WOW!!!!!!!!! what a wake up call.... I always thought that since I didn't drink, I kinda came out ok..... in part , I did.. However, drinker or not, I still ended up with some of the characteristics of an alcoholic.. One, I allowed myself to be a victim for a long time, two, I resented others and their behavior, Three I always thought that IF the world around me were different, than I would be different.. Four, I had a sense of entitlement.. like the world and my family owed me something..
the list goes on..

For me, I was also VERY co-dependent and constantly worried about what others thought of me..

Now... although not 100% recovered.I am doing much better than I ever have and have been learning to let go of the things I cannot change.. you can't change your family, but you can begin to help yourself..... Again, I found help in the 12 steps... if you look online.. there are questions you can answer and see if Al-anon is right for you..

whatever you decide, I wish you all the best..

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Not to call a spade a spade or anything, but *why on earth* are you heartbroken that some severely dysfunctional people (from your own description) don't want to hang out?

I'm sorry, but from what you describe, there would be so much walking on eggshells around these folks that it sounds like being in their presence would be incredibly un-fun. Be GLAD that they aren't insisting on a family gathering 'just because'. I used to have to attend those with my ex's family and would really rather have teeth removed without Novocaine that live through that again.

In regard to your last question: stop trying. Period. Let them get over things, or not. Don't waste your efforts, time and thoughts on people who really have made it clear they aren't interested... not out of spite, but for your own happiness. They've made it clear that holding grudges is important to them. Don't let their priorities get in the way of your own family's feelings of happiness and satisfaction. You can live (happily) without having dysfunctional family around to ruin the good times. Trust me on this!

(PS: just so you don't think I'm being cavalier, I DO know that it hurts. I haven't spoken to/seen my mother or nearly anyone on her side of the family --including my brother and grandmother-- for 13 years or so now, due to some of my mother's mental health issues., and they have believed her side of things. Does it hurt? Yes. But honestly, as time goes by, it *rarely* hurts. I've let go of expectations and found I am much, much happier in my life. All that to say-- I do have empathy for your situation, and have also walked pretty far down that path to know there is a wonderful sense of freedom in it as well. What Jubee said is perfect-- it's my 'chosen' family who have cheered us on and carried us through the hard times. )

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Family is just a word.
You cannot MAKE other relatives, act... like family.
Especially when your family & In-Laws are so so so so so so so dysfunctional and sooooooooooo Toxic.
So WHY... even EXPECT them to be and act, normal?
They are not normal.
Stop trying.
Why are you expecting abnormal & toxic people, to act normal when they are NOT normal?
You are expecting things that will NEVER happen.
THEY are not what you want nor who you want them to be and they will not act the way you want them to be.
By continuing to keep asking them over and sending them invites, you are just disappointing yourself or maybe you are co-dependent.
And you keep up this vicious cycle. Not them.

And this is your Husband's family. You are the sister in law.
Its not your place.
And what about your own family?
Are you in contact with them or see them?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If many of them have "issues" then why do you want to associate with them more? I would rather encourage my child to have honorary aunts and uncles if the ones biology provided aren't up for the job. You can be "busy", too.

Sounds to me like you mourn what could be, not what is. Accept what is, and move on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Welcome to my world!

My brother doesn't want to have anything to do with me or my family. It's only the two of us. Both our parents have passed. We try to get together once or twice a year. He lives a town over from me, so distance is not a problem. It hurts because we used to be really close.

About 15 years ago, I decided that I was going to make my own extended family. I have some cousins that I'm close to, and even though we don't get together that often, I talk to them more. I've also gotten really close with people in our neighborhood. There is an older couple that treat our daughters like they are their grandkids. There are several women in the neighborhood that I consider to be sisters. In the greater community, I've made some really wonderful friends that I consider family and they consider my family as family too.

I'm having surgery next week and will be out of commission for almost a month. My neighborhood sisters are organizing a dinner rotation that people can sign up for. I have others that will take the kids and/or help out around the house because my husband will still have to go into work (not enough vacation to stay home with me after the first week). Even my husband's parents are getting involved (surprise!) and will watch the kids the day of surgery. My brother and his wife? Well, they asked if we could come over to their house about a week after surgery. Granted, they have a pool and the kids will have fun, but I'm sure I'll still be in pain and high as a kite. So, I am grateful that they even asked (even if we weren't invited to their daughter's HS graduation party).

Family is what you make it. It doesn't have to be traditional. Fill it with people that you love and that love you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Happy Independence Day to you!! Why not make this a NEW start for your family? make it a TRUE INDEPENDENCE DAY???

Why do you feel the need to keep these people in your life? They are nothing but dead weight. Really. As you have stated NONE of them can get past something that happened in the past - maybe with the exception of the ex-con.

You CANNOT force relationships. You CANNOT force even a family to care. So stop. Stop TRYING to include them. They MIGHT notice and reach out - fine. If they don't?! DO NOT stress over this.

Make today the day your family becomes INDEPENDENT of the rest of the dysfunctional family. I realize they are family - and you can't choose your family - however - you CAN CHOOSE to walk away when you aren't getting anything out of the relationship.

So - STOP TRYING!! Make today your family's INDEPENDENCE day!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

It's sad but maybe if all these family members "hold grudges" for things so long ago and/or can't be bothered to have a relationship with you and your family, maybe it's better that they don't. Just remember, as is often the case, family isn't just those you are born related to but also those you befriend and become family. In other words, you can't pick your family but you can pick your friends and sometimes they become your family (in the heart where it counts).

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Sadly, sometimes you have to make your own family. My daughter calls my aunt "Aunt Grandma" because she so rarely sees my mom. She met my brother for the first time at Christmas since she was a tiny baby. She was confused to have this extra uncle who never shows up to stuff.

She also has multiple "aunts" in some of my best friends. It's better to have people in your life who want to be there than to try to force it with people who don't, even if they're related.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I have extended family that I no longer stay in contact with. They all brought me so much unhappiness and pain I felt it was no longer worth it and I wont let them make my daughter feel that way.

I say let them go from your life and move on. It sounds like they will only bring you down.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You can't force relationships. I'd focus on your own nuclear family, and build up extended "family" relationships with friends.

It still hurts, I know, but only as long as you still have expectations of having a normal, healthy relationship with them.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

You can't make them behave like the family you want but you can find people that already act like a fun family.

We have exactly one relative within hundreds of miles. My husband's brother is sweet and loves our kids but he lives a very different lifestyle. Travels a lot and lives like a 20 year old. We spend some holidays together but it's not the fun family atmosphere I wanted for my girls.

So we made our own family. Our best friends are part of a huge, crazy, fun family that always has soemthing going on. My kids call them auntie/uncle and we do all that family stuff with them. It's the perfect balance of experiencing the closeness of a big family but none of the headaches or drama. We get to HEAR about the crazy stuff but don't have to deal with it.

Find people who you want to be around and who your children enjoy and make your own family. We are heading down to the annual fourth BBQ soon, can't wait to share good food, hear about what's up and play a softball game. Happy Fourth!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sorry, I hear ya and I know how you feel. The only people in my family that have any interest in a relationship with us (me, the husband and kids) is my youngest sister and my cousin (and my aunt, but sadly she passed away a few years ago.)
Just remember it's not you it's THEM, it's their loss, just try to focus on building and maintaining relationships with people who love and care about you, family or not.
ETA: Sorry AngieOPlasty I must disagree, I have many friends and am close to my in laws but MY family is highly dysfunctional, so no, it's not always your fault when your family wants nothing to do with you. The "problem" they have with me & my husband is that we are healthy and normal and don't subscribe to their extreme viewpoints. For example they don't believe in doctors because they think the entire medical industry is just trying to rip them off. They shirk work at every turn, are incredibly critical of just about everyone and everything and therefore they are all divorced/single and bitter and lonely people. THEY may choose to live that way but I sure don't choose that, or to be around their constant negativity :-(

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Let go of any expectation of what a family is "supposed" to behave like, or how it's supposed to look or feel. It will make you miserable. Don't try to analyze, explain or fix the past - it will make everyone miserable!

Keep politely extending invitations. Smile and let it go, without hurt feelings, when the answer is "no," as it probably will be.

We always tried to speak positively about the relatives in front of the kids, so they didn't inherit the last generation's issues.

Trust me, few families look storybook perfect! You and your kids will not suffer by staying away from negativity.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I think you need to realize that none of this has anything to do with you, and honestly, they don't sound like the kind of people I would want my kids emulating or hanging around or being exposed to much anyway. Whatever is going through their heads is THEIR problem, not yours, and it's not up to you to make them see the light. I would let go of any expectations of how they "should" be and just see them for how they really are. For whatever reason they don't see things the same way you do and their perception, however skewed, is their reality - and it affects how they relate to you and your husband. You are expecting normalcy from people that just are NOT normal. Send them all a Christmas card once a year and leave it at that. There are family members of my husband's that we don't have any relationship with either and that is their choice, not ours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

OMG. I can relate. Our is not quite that extreme and I have connected with cousins and such. It is not the same as have your actual sister or brother over for a BBQ though. My sister and my husband's sister have major issues. His is into hard drugs and my sister, well I am going to guess mental illness. She lies to people and is so convincing that part of me believes it (hard to explain, but not a safe person).

I understand being heart broken over not having a relationship where my kids and their kids (in my case they are so much older) be cousins. Like picturing all the cousins doing a play or skit together for the 4th of July or what ever holiday. The things that I remember as a kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Um, this is a blessing in disguise. I know you ache for a family but at this point, y OU would be so much better off making your own friends, a family.
It's difficult to do, with other people with their families but keep trying. Out there somewhere are people just like you with disfunctional people in their families and no place to go. Find a church this Sunday and make your best effort to make friends.

Before I stop, I need to give you a website because I see some factors in your family members that give me red flags. BPDFamily.com. Check out the symptoms and lessons on boundaries there. Keep yourself emotionally safe. You are better off.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Make some good friends and don't give these people another thought. Do you REALLY want ex-cons and mean people around your kids?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you'd be very disappointed if they DID come and you found out what it was like having to deal with dysfunctional people in person! You should be glad that they are choosing to keep to themselves and not showing up at your celebrations and ruining them.

You can keep extending the invite once a year, but you need to get past them not coming. They may or may not come one day. Keep the door open, but focus your attention elsewhere.

Concentrate on the good people in your life! Why are you wasting energy on those other people? It's definitely not worth your time and energy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If this were me, I'd consider myself pretty lucky!! Sounds like a bunch of whack-jobs to me!! I have some of these in my (and husband's) family and I'm actually glad they've stopped having anything to do with the rest of us. Seems every time they DID show up, they would be determined to make a scene and/or cause some type of trouble. Ever since they've excluded themselves, we've had some very nice visits, holidays, etc.!!

If you've extended invitations in the past, there's nothing else you can do. You were the bigger person; if they didn't show up, then that was their unfortunate and immature choice. If this were me, I'd let it go. I don't really care that some of my family is no longer involved with us. I have enough family that we are involved with; they don't make scenes and if something's bothering them/us, then we sit down like mature adults and discuss things. We don't hold grudges for years and years.

Good luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I say let it go in your mind...don't waste your own time feeling bad about this. Create your own "family" with good friends and create your own traditions with them. We have these amazing good friends who are about 15 years older than us that never had children and over the years they kind of adopted us...our kids are kind of like their grandkids they can never have and they really enjoy them (and our kids enjoy them). It sounds like your family is "difficult" and if it's out of your control you should just try to move on and not let it bother you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think if your husband wants to try to talk it out with his sister and nephew to repair things, thenhe should do that. Unless the air is cleared between them, your invitatations probably won't go anywhere.

I would let the relationships go with the brothers who don't have anything to bring to the table with your family. They need to deal with their own stuff.

We have some family that don't interact with us but I have let it go. I have come to realize that I can't make people care if they don't so I prefer to move on to positive relationships.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

You sound very sweet, but I think you should count your blessings! This sounds like a train wreck.

We have one (one!) mentally ill alcoholic in our extended family, and sharing any family time with this person is challenging. If you think the ex-con is a decent uncle, let him participate as he is able, and build your own "family" of close friends around your own age (= aunts and uncles), their kids (=cousins) and older friends and neighbors you trust (= grandparents).

Good luck to you.

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answers from Chicago on

Sounds like us in some ways, I continue to try over the years. I won't get too detailed here today, but you aren't alone. As it is for instance we do have some close by relatives, but we make other friends and church substitute families until someone decides to respond. One time we were celebrating my birthday and a friends birthday and his daughter was amazed that I have many siblings. One doesn't talk to anyone, she is about forty minutes away, never comes to even our weddings. My mother didn't come to my son's wedding even though it was an hour and a half away (I blame her husband my stepfather for this). My other sister decided some years back that it was better for her to keep her family from us, however what goes around comes around and she didn't know til I spilled the beans, not on purpose just inquiring when were her twin grandchildren due? she apparently hadn't spoken to her son in a year. My brother is ruled by his wife (they live twenty minutes away) and she doesn't like us, and my other brother was widowed in 2000 and hates the world, never has any money and is nasty. And finally my other sister got married later in life, is in public service and has a humdinger of a personality. Only recently when my mother wound up in the hospital were we all somewhat close with texting. Sadly though Someone is always not talking to someone. A couple of years ago when we were going on a trip I wrote the family trying to express how much I wanted to be closer. I guess it was a big joke. But I will never give up. Can't tell you what to do, just do what will make you feel good and love your own little group. Time might just heal things.



answers from Louisville on

I read this thing once that said something along the lines of - the common denominator in all your failed relationships is you.

If *all* these people, with their myriad of issues, don't want anything to do with you, I'd take a long look at myself and my behavior around them. Perhaps they pick up on how judgemental you are about their "issues." Or perhaps you're just too perfect and "normal" for their dysfunction.



answers from Boise on

Sounds like you wouldn't want them around your kids anyway. My husband's family is the same way in that they don't want anything to do with us either. We still send them cards for their birthdays and anniversaries, and still invite them to things. If they show, they show. If they don't show, they don't. Even though it is sad and it hurts, we look at it as being open whenever, and that we are being the better of the two because we are still showing we care.



answers from Chicago on

Stop inviting them and instead invite people you really want to be around. This group has too many issues, so let them be. Years ago, i heard that some of my in laws didn't want to come to our house to celebrate Christmas because we didn't allow them to drink, smoke and play cards. First, there is no smoking in my house, period. Second, when you have alcoholics in the bunch - you don't serve liquor and three I don't play cards, but if you want to, bring you own damn cards. My house is NOT the neighborhood bar. I stopped inviting the period. They have lots of issues and doing things with family has never been a priority with my husband's family and I'm not trying to change them. I don't even care that we don't spend time together. We see them when and if by chance - never by invite.



answers from Denver on

I won't get into it, but we had sort of the same trouble (with a close friend) after our son was born. I'll tell you the same thing that I used to tell my hubby - it's not about whether they come or not, it's about whether or not you invited them. You can't control their response, you can only control your own actions.
That being said, I am also estranged from a large section of my family. Regardless of how YOU feel about their problems (small, large, stupid reasons, whatever) THEY have the right to those feelings. I certainly wouldn't accept a truce at this point in my life just because an in-law wanted me to spend time with her children! In fact, I would feel like they were trying to use me. (not that you are, but I'm sure there are multiple reasons for their behavior)
Really what I'm trying to say is to go ahead and invite them because that's the person you are - when they decline just know that they have their own reasons for not coming and leave it at that. Don't take it personally! :)



answers from Dallas on

I think I would compromise a little. I understand your desire to want your kids to develop a relationship with family, but some of them are not worth it. Work on developing close friendships with people that have families your kids age and then do things together - maybe take a vacation, have BBQ's, go to sporting events. I would keep the lines of communication open with the relatives, but not count on them being a source of support or friendship. Since the nephew's wife seems nice, invite her to lunch some day or ask if her kids would like to go somewhere with your kids. Evidently the nephew and your husband do not get along and don't want to spend time together. Good luck!

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