My spouse (42M) and I (38F) have been in a committed relationship for a decade now, and we’ve been married for five years. We have two children together: a 15-year-old son from my previous marriage, and a nearly 4-year-old daughter who happens to be the first grandchild on my husband’s side of the family.
Now, I must admit that my mother-in-law (MIL) and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. Frankly, I don’t have the warmest feelings toward her, but I do make an effort to maintain a cordial and respectful demeanor. It’s worth mentioning that my MIL has also had strained relationships with her other daughters-in-law. The three of us tend to keep her at arm’s length, given the difficulties we’ve encountered. On the other hand, I’ve never had any major issues with my father-in-law (FIL), except for the fact that he tends to side with my MIL due to her knack for using nagging and guilt trips to manipulate him and her sons. Consequently, my FIL often gives in to her demands and encourages my husband and his siblings to do the same.
To provide some context, my in-laws see us, or at least my husband and daughter, once a week, sometimes even more frequently. However, their desire for interaction extends beyond that, particularly on the part of my FIL. He has taken on the responsibility of watching my daughter while I work from home for about a month now. Moreover, he shows up unannounced multiple times a week, claiming to be “in the neighborhood” and assuming he can simply drop by. He never bothers to inquire about my availability or whether it’s convenient for me. As you can imagine, this behavior irritates me to no end, especially considering that I’m working and my husband isn’t home to act as a buffer.
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. I expressed to my husband that I didn’t want to spend the upcoming Memorial Day weekend with his parents. We had already made plans with my brother-in-law (BIL), his wife, and their baby for one of the weekend days. However, my husband began hearing from his brother, who served as a middleman, about how hurt our parents would be if we didn’t invite them too. It was clear to me that this message was a guilt trip orchestrated by our parents. In the end, we chose not to invite my in-laws.
Earlier this week, my FIL approached me while my husband was gardening outside. He conveyed that both he and my MIL felt hurt and unwanted because they weren’t invited to join us while we spent time with their other son. I attempted to explain that there are occasions when we prefer to socialize and “let loose” with people our own age, without the presence of parents. I emphasized that there would be times when they would be included, but there would also be times when they would not. However, my FIL disregarded my explanation, insisting that he would continue coming to our home as often as necessary until my daughter and I became comfortable with his presence. (For context, it’s worth noting that my daughter tends to take some time to warm up to people, including my in-laws.)
And yet, here we are today, with my FIL once again showing up uninvited at my house after my daughter returned from daycare, while I’m still engrossed in my work.
I’m truly at a loss for what to do at this point. I find myself questioning whether I’m being unreasonable or if there’s something more I should be doing to address this situation.
Fortunately, my husband stands in complete agreement with me. He has spoken to his parents on numerous occasions about how we feel, but they always interpret it as a personal offense and insist that we are causing them pain.
So, I find myself wondering, where do we draw the line? How much is too much?