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I don’t like my in-law family.

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My husband and I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner before. That was awful. We just bought a new house. My in-law family opened my cabinets and a fridge to look for food without asking. They ate a lot! They expected we served good food. One day, we asked them to bring some food for yourself, but my brother in law said, “Well, I can eat what you have.” Then, we offered beef burgers, but he said, “I don’t eat beef. I eat turkey burgers.” Whaaaat? They think they can get free meal. They don’t have a polite manner. They like to visit us even they drive for 7 hours. They tried to come in the winter storm…. I told my husband that I don’t like them. My husband agreed, but he started to say, “I don’t want to hear that. That’s boring.” I like my sister in law so I mailed holiday gifts for her family. But I don’t want to give any gift to them. My husband plans to have dinner with them. I plan not to go. Am I wrong?

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I agree with @catfeeder.  I don't like my in-laws either especially my husband's sister's husband and BIL (brother-in-law - my sister's husband).  Since we seldom see them despite these local extended family members and it's infrequent,  I practice good diplomacy.  I don't love nor hate them.  I'm polite yet keep my safe distance.  It works.   As long as your in-laws don't bother you too much, tolerate them for a bit and then they leave.  You are fortunate for them to live 7 hours away.  Geographical distance is in your favor. 

I did not attend every family gathering though.  There were times when my husband went by himself and took our sons with him.  I enjoyed my glorious home alone time to my heart's content and even took a nap! 😴 💤 

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9 hours ago, Disney girl said:

 My husband plans to have dinner with them. I plan not to go. 

This is fine. It's ok to spend the holidays with your people and let him spend it with his people separately. 

One of the biggest sources of stress during the holidays is forced-togetherness.  In fact research is emerging that following such "traditions" when it makes people miserable is not healthy.  

This conflict is really between you and your husband rather than you and his family. You two will have to be of the same mind when it comes to houseguests and dinner guests. Make sure your husband does his part and entertains them rather than plopping on the sofa expecting you to be a servant. This is a huge source of family get-together stress and in-law resentment.

There's no law that you have to be one big extended happy family. In fact space and boundaries help people get along better and tolerate the stress of the holidays.

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3 minutes ago, Disney girl said:

My mother in law is very kind and nice. I would like to see her and give my holiday gifts by myself.

But that would be rude to the others and put her in an awkward position.  Since they sound just annoying and not up to your manners/etiquette standards (meaning they are not abusive to you) then just put up with it for the sake of family peace and your marriage and supporting your husband who does want to be with his family. 

I loved my inlaws but the last few years my FIL was alive he really turned kind of nasty to me and neither of us really knew what was going on -except my analysis was he'd lost his wife, love of his life for 50 plus years and she'd had such a long illness and he was upset and also quite elderly -late 80s, not in great health.  My FIL knew I'd been a great support overall to my husband and him when my MIL was so ill and in hospice for months.

My husband was very close to him and our son loved him -mutual admiration and love so when my FIL came over I would take that time for myself -so he could spend time with his grandson and son.  I said hi politely, made some chit chat and then took a couple of hours of child-free time.  

As far as your kitchen -when they come put your favorite foods away or anything you don't want them to have access to, and do your best to plan a menu that accommodates your guests just as you would for other guests.  Buy a coupla turkey burgers - and be done with it.  It's really not a big deal.  Don't make it one or it could reverberate and escalate in ways you cannot imagine.

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Also remind yourself your inlaws birthed your husband -this is why you get to be with him, right? His qualities are in part because his parents raised him with certain values, yes?

One more anecdote.  When my son was 10 months old we traveled 800 miles to live for a month in an empty apartment while our family friends were living in their winter home.  It was like moving.  My husband had to go on a 3 day business trip.  My in-laws and two others wanted to come over and see me and the baby.  So I arranged to bring in Chinese take out (remember I was alone and in a strange apartment with my baby). 

They come over.  My FIL brings deli meat and bread and condiments.  Apparently I was expected to make sandwiches.  But I had nowhere really to put the baby for that long a period of time and had a limited window for getting him fed/down for his nap.  I also noticed that the deli meat was not yet expired but also not the freshest. 

I explained I'd already ordered Chinese and got past the issue of the family friend picking up my son's burp cloth from the floor and draping it over his crib where he'd soon be sleeping.  And getting push back. 

Food comes.  I put baby in playpen so I can eat with my guests.  Realize that they've taken up all the seating available. Someone with a plate makes a casual gesture to make room but doesn't get up. I ate my food sitting on the floor while tending to baby.  After they left I found that one of the guests um had had an accident in the bathroom and hadn't told me.  

No I wasn't happy.  At all.  But there were -and have been -so many many times when our family has been there for us -including the people who were there that day.  So I had to eat a meal and converse with the carpet and hold a dumpling in one hand and my little squirming dumpling in the other lol.  And scrub a bathroom floor and toilet with someone else's cleaning products. 

But you know - there are worse things.  They meant well.  Sometimes -um- older men think it's just nothing for a new mom in a strange place to whip up sandwiches for a gathering because maybe to some new moms it's not.  Cut some slack -realize that people can be a bit clueless or thoughtless, forget their manners, eat your frosted flakes or the last bit of cheesecake you were saving for yourself.  Deep breaths. 

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2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

when they come put your favorite foods away or anything you don't want them to have access to, and do your best to plan a menu that accommodates your guests just as you would for other guests.

I think I will put my food away. I don't want them to have access away. That's a good idea. Thank you for your idea. 

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I'd caution against speaking badly about your husband's family to him even if they are pretty awful and he agrees. It tends to create bad feelings and it can hurt his heart, like I said, even if he knows and agrees with the assessment. Just try to say nice things or stay silent on it if you really can't find a positive. 

Most of my SOs family are great but his sister has always been a curveball. She has a long history of substance abuse and so behaves quite off and rudely sometimes, even when she's clean. I've hosted Thanksgiving for his dad, and that side of his family for quite a few years now. She's come with McDonalds in her hand and not eaten anything, even commenting badly on the turkey dinner. She's hidden in a room with her son ignoring everyone else. She doesn't show up on time, she is always "tired", it goes on. 

You vent to friends or here or whatever. But I know how important it is to my SO and his dad, those dinners. Getting to relax with his kids around him and a nice meal he doesn't have to cook. So that makes it worth it to me.

Vent away though if you need. You don't have to attend every since thing but shoeing up for your husband at least sometimes with his family means a lot to most people, even if they aren't able to articulate it right in the moment. 

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13 minutes ago, Disney girl said:

I don't mind feeding my guests at all. But bad manners hit my nerve. At least they should ask if it is okay to access my pantry. 

I get it. People 'should' or 'should not' do lots of things that they trample right over others to do their own way anyway. 

It might be helpful to look at it through a different lens--perhaps they are accustomed to being rambunctious with your husband.

Decide whether this incident 'must' strain your relationship with your husband by raising difficulties for him. And how often? And what kinds of steps can you take to limit your exposure to these people without causing any barriers to your husband enjoying them? Or without making him feel lousy that you feel lousy.

Think of it as a compromise whenever you must deal with them, and think of situations your husband puts up with that you've taken for granted. That might help it to feel more balanced.


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26 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

What if he didn’t want to see your family and didn’t like them? Would that be ok for you and your family ?

Good questions. Instead of clamping down on my dislike for some of the people I've needed to spend time with, I've noticed that by adopting a generosity of spirit toward them, I've actually conditioned myself to like them--because I enjoyed making myself proud of my own ability to be kind to them regardless.

This is the stuff of agility and resilience that are crucial life skills to learn. They are signs of maturity that can minimize the small stuff instead of inflating it into unnecessary crises.

Your generosity toward your husband can sustain you through these times, and it can transform your resentment into a pride in your own contribution to harmony for your husband.

Head high, you can do this.

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37 minutes ago, Disney girl said:

I want to see my parents in law and give gifts to them. but I don’t want to see my husband’s brother family.

If you think of generosity toward your brother in law and his family AS part of your gift to your parents in law and husband, that kind of reframing can make it all easier.

I remind myself that it's not all about me, it's about my contribution to joy for the people who I DO love.

If I act like a ninny, how would that impact my loved ones? If I'm gracious with everyone, how would that impact my loved ones?

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You don't like the brother in law and his family? Is that where everyone will gather for the holidays? 

Don't invite them over. If your husband wants them to visit, let him cook, clean, feed, host and deal with it. Use that time to get away to visit your own family and friends.

If you get along with the rest of his family and don't mind them as guests, that's ok.

The problem is your husband not providing the appropriate cushion and boundaries with his brother and foisting  on to you. Hiding food is strange so tell the husband to get to the store and shop and stock up, since he's aware of their behavior. He's the one who should be shopping for holiday gifts for them. That's not your job either.

You can remedy this by not being there or telling your husband he will need to shop, cook, clean, feed them.

If your husband treats you like the household help, that's the real problem.

It's his job to deal with his family, not yours. Your husband is the problem. You only need to be respectful and tolerant of their relationship, you don't need to tolerate your husband's passively while they (and he) walk all over you.

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