More Family Issues! What Do I Do????????????????

Updated on November 03, 2010
F.M. asks from Lincoln, NE
17 answers

So now that the holidays are fast approaching, I find myself wanting to tell my husband I dont want to spend thanksgiving or xmas with his family. They pay no attention to us, they never call, never really acknowledge us when we go over to their house. dont really acknowledge their own son or brother. They totally ignore me and our children, never have been really close and we have had some family issues down the road before, it is just very uncomfortable. His sister is one of those women who if she is in a good mood, she talks your ear off, if she is in a bad mood, she totally ignores you, your kids and snubs you. He doesnt talk to his brother. They have no problems, just dont talk. The family is very dis-functional. Not that family is perfect, but at least i talk to my brother when we go over to their house, but my family lives 7 hours away.
My MIL passed away earlier this year from cancer, so i kind of feel like we have to go over there. I hate sitting on the couch trying to talk to people and they answer me with one word and then dont talk to me again. I hate watching the rest of the family dote over their other nieces and nephews, but dont pay one bit of attention to my kids. We have an older daughter who is 13 and she just sits there with me on the couch because the other girls dont include her to go outside or downstairs to hang out with them.....
I feel like i have to go because it is my husbands family, but gosh darn it... why should i subject myself and my children to that? I would rather spend it with people who actually converse with me and who i really enjoy being around.

What do i do?

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So What Happened?

So happy that i got so many responses on suggestions, thoughts and opinions! I feel bad that my husbands family is this way, I know its not his fault, but its not mine either. I know deep down he wants his family to be more like mine, but that wont ever happen.
I think i will suggest doing thanksgiving on our own, or with some of our friends and then doing xmas with his family and really, we usually on stay there for a few hours, then come home.
He knows i have a hard time with his family and for the most part he is understanding, but sometimes he can make me feel really guilty for having these feelings, but i cant help it. I know that my family would never ever treat him the way his family treats us, even him! I have brought that up to him several times.
Thanks everyone for your honesty!

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It seems to me that you can accomplish the same thing and enjoy being home even more by skipping the whole ghastly annual ignore fest.
When a tradition is no longer fun, it's time to try something new.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Oklahoma City on

are we related?? lol i have similar siti sounds just like my inlaws...we're supposed to be moving here in a week or so, we're spending thanksgiving at my uncle's that just lost a wife, and christmas at our house.

talk to your husband, see what page he is on, maybe host the holiday's at your house, if they don't come they don't come, if they do, it's your rules....that's what we're doing, tired of being in the middle of the drama or not being recognised at all

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pick one holiday to attend and then do something on your own for the other. Considering the recent passing of your MIL, I would not suggest going "cold turkey" this year.

I would also suggest bringing an activity for the kids to do (all ages). If you go over for Thanksgiving, bring the materials to make placecards for the guests and invite all of the kids to come downstairs with you to make them. Not only will it give you something to do before dinner, but you can also make sure that your kids are involved!

We don't particularly enjoy my husband's family either, but I have become the "cool aunt" b/c I always bring something for the little ones to do. We have done...
- place cards for the table (super easy, just look up templates online)
- ornaments to kick-off the holiday season
- "thank you" cards out of the Christmas cards (plus it gets that task completed when I know that other than my child no one else would write them)
- Decorated mugs that the kids then give as holiday gifts

I won't get into the dynamics of my in-laws b/c there isn't enough space, but we started doing a pre-Christmas party at our house several years ago. We order pizzas and invite his side over mid-December. The adults no longer exchange gifts, but we buy for all of the kids. The kids open presents and the whole party is a couple of hours. This makes it feel festive and leaves us available to duck-out of Christmas Day without being the "family a-holes". It also allows my brother-in-law (and any of the others who don't want to be around the crazy) to do the same!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

have a Real Thanksgiving at your home... tell your hubby.. you want to have it here.. maybe his family can come for dessert... just tell him you dont' want to feel like an outsider.. or better have an early dinner.. maybe have a neighbor over who doesn't have anyplace to go.. and go the family for dessert... tell him that's how you and your child want it.. good luck.. keep the peace

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

What does your husband say? I know it's his family, but it doesn't sound like he's incredibly close with them. If he really wants to go, perhaps you can plan to go for an early dinner or just dessert on Christmas Eve or just for a "drop-in" on Christmas afternoon? I would really talk to him about how it's your family's holiday too, and perhaps you should stay at home. If you must go there, tell him it needs to be a very short visit, because everyone is MISERABLE and that's not how you want to be at Christmas or how you want your children to remember Christmas.

You could also tell him to choose Thanksgiving or Christmas to see them, but not both (I would HEAVILY push T-day for your kids' sake). OR you could also tell him that for Thanksgiving you wanted to try some new traditions and have it at your house. Let him invite his family, but you're on your turf, so they can come or not and you can invite anyone else you please.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You feel you "have" to go. Is that any real reason to go because you feel obligated? Yes, it's your husband's family but they don't care about you and you feel resentful for it. Is your husband open to having a special Thanksgiving dinner at home, just you, your husband and your children? Who says it has to be with the WHOLE extended family? You and your husband are the whole family with your children. I say stay home and enjoy your family time together and you will have a much better time anyway.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Junction on

You don't have to go if YOU don't want to. What does your husband want to do? Does he care what you do? If you want to be with them, can you invite them to your house?

My Step MIL told us that as long as the grandparents are alive they will have Christmas at her house and not go anywhere else. Period. We told her that they wouldn't be seeing us on Christmas then. It was hard, but it was our holiday too. It is a time for family to get together and ENJOY each other. If you are going to be miserable, do what you want so you, your husband and your kids can have a nice holiday.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

I agree with everyone else, host it yourself. Talk to your husband, and tell him you’d like to cook at home this year. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the blessings you have in life, not sitting on a couch feeling ignored and watching your children get their feelings hurt. Whether you want to extend an invitation to your husband’s family or not is up to you, but personally, I wouldn’t spend one second worrying about what they’re doing. That may sound harsh, but doesn’t watching football, taking a nap on the couch, and going through black Friday sale papers with your 13 year old sound nice? Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a nice holiday. Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't want to go either if I were you. Sounds like in-law hell. Tell your husband what you told us and see what he says. You should be able to work something out where everyone can be happy.

I'm sure his family would throw a fit if you don't see them at all. They sound like the type of people that would notice you weren't there!

Like another poster said, I'd go for Thanksgiving, but have Christmas at home. Good luck to you and let us know what happens.



answers from New York on

Why not host a family pot-luck at your hosue very close tot he holidays. As one of 5 we rarley could get together on Christmas after the odler ones go tmarried. Everyone had inlaws, etc. So on the Saturday after Christmas we all get together at one person's house. Lately it's been mind because my elderly mother who has been very sick lives in an apartment on the side of my house.

We all make our "specialities". We encourage everyone, kids too, to make something. Some of th elittle ones mkae rice krispie treats with their moms, the adults all bring the one or two special things - my sister always bakes, my brother & his wife always bring the greek salad and baked clams, etc. As the neices and nephews have gotten older, gotten married and some have their own kids, they are able to make it becuase it's not on Christmas day.

Since even the kids make things they feel involved and can share their recipe secrets. We push the teens to do things like clean up the appetizers, take out the garbage, etc - so they can complain together and feel a sense of comradarie. It could be that you should put the teens in charge of something - so they are forced to do things together and they may find that they like eachother. I realize it's a stretch.

And if no one is going to talk to eachother than some classic Christmas movies on TV are called for. The men can go to the basement and watch football if neccessary - but at least you can find something to share.

Families are difficult - especiall the more dysfuncitonal ones. I can so relate becuase my husband's family has always been difficult too. I always encourage my kids to be helpful (time goes by more quickly if you're washing dishes than sitting on the couch next to the gross grandpa from the other side of the family). The only other suggestion is that you bring some cheap crafts to the Thanksgiving gatherin. Wooden tree ornaments and markers to color them, (add glue and sequins?), beaded ornaments, pciture frames to decorate? It will involve the kdis, maybe even the grown-ups and you can leave with a memory - even an ornament - even if they are tacky.



answers from Chicago on

I don't think you have to. Just talk with your husband very honestly about how you really want this holiday season to be about creating memories for 'your' little family. Don't knock his relatives, but make it clear that you and he and your children are the most important thing to you and you would just really love to have the holidays to yourself this year.

I feel for you- my family all live 2 states away, so although we love having the holidays with them, it is a huge production of getting time off work, arranging for pet care, driving there, coming back again...

My husband's family is very close by - but sound a LOT like your in-laws. They mean well, but are not warm or demonstrative people. At holidays, everyone in the family just sits in the living room randomly staring at the TV with a plate balanced on their knees while my BIL channel surfs. At Thanksgiving, they go out to eat at a banquet hall. It's not that it isn't a nice place to eat- but it isn't really the kind of 'family' Thanksgiving I grew up with either!
Good luck- talk to your hubby. It is HEALTHY and normal for your family to have some holidays to themselves. You can always stop by later in the week to visit and drop off presents, etc.



answers from San Diego on

Start a new family tradition, you host the holidays at your house, my kids hate the thought of having to go somewhere else on Christmas, their grown now, but when they were little they were happy that the holidays were always at our house, I have been hosting both thanksgiving and Christmas doe 20 years. and still love it as much as the first one i did. This way what ever family members want to come can come if they don't that's OK too. My husband parents always came here, his step dad died a few years ago and my mom died 2 days after Christmas in 2004, but i keep the tradition going no matter what, my husband and my children love it, and to me that's what is most important. J.



answers from Kansas City on

don't go! You will be stressed out all day and really a family like that isn't worth the headache go to your familys or just stay home! I'm going through this right now myself and my hubby is giving me Christmas to stay home just us and we do the every other year with Thanksgiving and families.



answers from Tulsa on

I totally relate. You are a kind person to think of this. I like your decision.

In our case, once my MIL and FIL die, we will never hear from or see the relatives again and we all know this(except MIL). I don't understand why they insist on going through the motions.

IF they were to ever truly change, it would be different. Of course, they don't think they have a problem and being hateful and selfish works for them.


answers from Dover on

Why not host Thnaksgiving at your home. If they want to come they can, if they don't you get to enjoy the holiday. Or just invite your FIL.


answers from Lincoln on

I'm right there with you. I would never want to be subjected to that or have my daughter in the middle of it. Create your own memories. You don't want you daughter to look back and remember an awful holiday season. No fun at all at your in-laws house.



answers from Youngstown on

DON'T GO!!! Why are you putting yourself and your kids through this? Just don't go. It sounds like they wouldn't even notice you weren't there. If people can't treat you with kindness and decency, don't waste your time on them - family or not. I say stay home and have fun, or spend your time with people who you enjoy being around. Good luck. :)

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