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Old 10-02-2012, 11:38 PM   #1
dakotix
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mother-in-law alert!

OK so here's the kind of year I've had: Last spring, in march, my dad died of cancer. It was a devastating blow to the family, especially my mom. During that time my partner and I decided we would go ahead and do Disney the following winter 2013.

My mom got wind of this not long after my dad passed and expressed interest in going. We thought it would be a cool idea if my mom came down too. She is still not sure if she wants to go, but as of late she is leaning on the side of going. If she does go she only wants to stay for 3 days and spend her time pool side and then join us for meals (shes 70 and not keen on walking everywhere)

As if things weren't bad enough this year , a few months after my dad passed I also lost my dog. Not as big of a deal as loosing your dad but it just brought everything back. A nice relaxing trip is definitely just what the doctor ordered, right?

Well everything got booked in August and now we're just waiting for airline prices to come down a bit.

Today my partner dropped the bomb of an idea of having his parents drive up from their house in Sarasota FL to "meet us" while we're there. This is not a good plan because his mom and I do NOT gel at all. My partner gets along with my mom wonderfully but unfortunately that is not the case with his mom and me. And my partner has NO IDEA... he assumes we get along but we really dont at all.

I tried explaining we were dropping $3000 on this trip and that the only reason i was keen on my mom going was the fact that she was happy to go off and do her own thing while we did our thing. His mom LATCHES on for dear life -- literally....I have pictures to prove it and all the while she dismisses me.

I think I need this to be a trip for us to just be together...i don't know what to do. Should I tell my mom she cant go and tell my partner I wish this to be a parent-free trip? Should I define this as a trip for only my side of the family only, highlighting the fact that it would be better if my mom didn't have to deal with too many other people showing up pulling her in different directions? Or should we stay a day longer and have his parents meet us on our last day, do the parks with us and then drive back down to Sarasota and fly home from ft Myers?

I'm stumped. The one thing I do know is I'm NOT spending 3 grand on Disney to have his mom show up on day #2 of our trip and not leave until our last day! Believe me she would pick us up from the airport if we let her! Help!
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:28 AM   #2
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I'd just be honest with your partner and let them know that with his mom there, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the trip. Stress that you're glad that he and your mom get along so well, and that you don't want to uninvite your widowed mother, but you really want to proceed with the trip as originally planned, with just the three of you [and really for the most part with the two of you since it sounds like your mom will enjoy some solo time]. Don't make it about the money you're spending: the more important factor is that it is your time, your vacation (meaning yours, your partner's, and your mom's), especially since this sounds like it will be a healing time for you and your mom. Then he can frame it to his folks in terms of what you had planned, you'd like to stick to, especially since you're still grieving.

If he absolutely needs a compromise, perhaps the idea of his parents meeting you for just one day of the trip (at the end does sound like a good idea) would be a concession you could make.

Surely he must have some idea that you and his mother are not the best of pals?
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
dakotix
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Thanks for the level headed reply! Oh boy she really gets me going. It would be a lot easier if I could get into a place where I could see her for the good person she is rather than focusing on the negative.

That said, i think in a couple weeks when I decide to grab airline tickets I'll sit down and have a heart to heart with my partner. I'll focus the attention on what i need this trip to be for both me and my mom's healing, rather than on the fact that his mom and I don't get along well. And when I say we don't get along its not like we fight or are nasty. It's just that she's very passive aggressive and doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer...

Enough said. Thank you for your advice. It helped immensely.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:51 AM   #4
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You may point out that it could make the vacation even harder on your mom when your partner's parents show up together, that it may make her new status as a widow even more painfully evident.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotix View Post
Thanks for the level headed reply! Oh boy she really gets me going. It would be a lot easier if I could get into a place where I could see her for the good person she is rather than focusing on the negative.

That said, i think in a couple weeks when I decide to grab airline tickets I'll sit down and have a heart to heart with my partner. I'll focus the attention on what i need this trip to be for both me and my mom's healing, rather than on the fact that his mom and I don't get along well. And when I say we don't get along its not like we fight or are nasty. It's just that she's very passive aggressive and doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer...

Enough said. Thank you for your advice. It helped immensely.
No problem, I know mother-in-law issues. Mine is a fantastic grandmother to my DS, but talks incessantly and always seems to say the things that rub me the wrong way without meaning to, but at least DH is on board and "gets it". I'm fortunate in that DH's sister's husband makes comments that let me know I'm not alone, but I find it easiest to just leave DS with them and go do my own thing whenever possible when we see them. I would never consider a vacation with them, despite DFIL being a saint, though sometimes they meet us for a day and take DS with them which gives me and DH some nice alone time. Its okay to say that your partner's parent aren't your favorite people and you want to limit your time with them in order for everybody to get along better. You can't avoid them entirely, but its to everybody's benefit if you get along better, and if having less exposure accomplishes that, the do it. DH gets along well with my folks (more my mom than my dad), but I think both of us wonder how we came from 'those people' despite the fact that we love them we're a pretty far departure from their ideologies and personalities.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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First, I'm so sorry about your dad.

Second, I agree that you should be clear to your partner that you need a RELAXING trip (and quality time with your mom) and that MIL tagging along isn't a good idea for this trip. Your plan for a heart-to-heart sounds perfect.

That said, I agree and sympathize with the MIL issue. My MIL apparently checked availability at our resort as soon as my DH told her we were going. Luckily they are booked solid for our dates!

DH and I comprised his mom's need to cling with our need for space by booking and keeping a twice a month dinner date with her and FIL. We do the same thing with my mom and dad to keep everyone happy. And I don't have to cook on Thursdays.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:23 AM   #7
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Perhaps you could meet your partner's parents for dinner or lunch only, and explain that your days are already planned and reservations made for three people.

If they insist on coming for a whole day, let your partner have some quality family time with them (without you and mom) and you can meet them for dinner or dessert before they head back to Sarasota.

Either way, be firm with MIL about this being a get-away for the two of you and for your mom, not a family trip. Just because someone is a bulldozer doesn't mean you have to sit there and take it. Don't worry about offending her either. Sounds like she doesn't lose sleep over offending you. (Hopefully I'm not just projecting my in-law issues here, haha!)Good luck.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:44 PM   #8
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Love my MIL so she goes with us to Disney every year or other year, when my parents go. She gets her own room and we get ours. This year my unmarried BIL will join us and we are excited about that.

I love my brother and his wife my SIL, but DH is the total opposite of their personalities. THey have five children, are great parents and are very nice people. My DH would help them if they ever needed it but he prefers to not hang around and "visit". We do not have children are all in our 40s. So DH and I take separate cars when we visit. He leaves after the dinner or party and I just stay and visit. They prefer it that way too. DH is quiet, my brother is not, DH is on time for everything, my brother is not, DH listens to advice when asked, brother does not....you get the picture.

I agree with the previous poster. Give your partner time with his folks for a y and then you take taime with Mom. You definitely need to talk about it.

** this is how I look at other personalities when I need to be around someone who just doesn't get me....maybe they are truly doing the best they can. I had a patient one time tell me that while one daughter could help her with her illness the other was "not at all supportive". So I asked her

"do you live with non supportive daughter"...yes
"does she fix your supper and help you with laundry?'... yes, but she never talks to me
"does your daughter work, have a DH and kids?...yes, but she doesn't help me get my bandage change.
I simply told her that different people have different talents, some can help people physically while others can't. So you are lucky, you have one daughter who does the physical and another who does everything else. SHe is helping you...she cooks, cleans, feeds, and still manages her busy household...to you daughter that is how she helps you..

"Oh, I have never thought of it like that"....I said, it is time to start.

So maybe your MIL, while she has issues is doing the best she can, when she can...maybe that will help you see it on a more positive note.

I am sorry, I got kinda preachy and that was not how I wanted to answer the question. I had to work, not hard, at getting close to my MIL...at times it was not easy...but I do respect her. Now we are great togther. It was improtant to me so I MADE THE DECISION to work at understanding her.

Regardless have a great trip and enjoy the time with family---
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddyLu View Post
Love my MIL so she goes with us to Disney every year or other year, when my parents go. She gets her own room and we get ours. This year my unmarried BIL will join us and we are excited about that.

I love my brother and his wife my SIL, but DH is the total opposite of their personalities. THey have five children, are great parents and are very nice people. My DH would help them if they ever needed it but he prefers to not hang around and "visit". We do not have children are all in our 40s. So DH and I take separate cars when we visit. He leaves after the dinner or party and I just stay and visit. They prefer it that way too. DH is quiet, my brother is not, DH is on time for everything, my brother is not, DH listens to advice when asked, brother does not....you get the picture.

I agree with the previous poster. Give your partner time with his folks for a y and then you take taime with Mom. You definitely need to talk about it.

** this is how I look at other personalities when I need to be around someone who just doesn't get me....maybe they are truly doing the best they can. I had a patient one time tell me that while one daughter could help her with her illness the other was "not at all supportive". So I asked her

"do you live with non supportive daughter"...yes
"does she fix your supper and help you with laundry?'... yes, but she never talks to me
"does your daughter work, have a DH and kids?...yes, but she doesn't help me get my bandage change.
I simply told her that different people have different talents, some can help people physically while others can't. So you are lucky, you have one daughter who does the physical and another who does everything else. SHe is helping you...she cooks, cleans, feeds, and still manages her busy household...to you daughter that is how she helps you..

"Oh, I have never thought of it like that"....I said, it is time to start.

So maybe your MIL, while she has issues is doing the best she can, when she can...maybe that will help you see it on a more positive note.

I am sorry, I got kinda preachy and that was not how I wanted to answer the question. I had to work, not hard, at getting close to my MIL...at times it was not easy...but I do respect her. Now we are great togther. It was improtant to me so I MADE THE DECISION to work at understanding her.

Regardless have a great trip and enjoy the time with family---
Your levelheadedness is awesome. I love your response. It may not fit the situation but it fits at least a thousand more. It was not judgemental, inferential or one-sided. Beautiful.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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You may point out that it could make the vacation even harder on your mom when your partner's parents show up together, that it may make her new status as a widow even more painfully evident.
This is really good advice. It is also very true. We lost my Father to cancer in January of 09' and it is still hard for my Mom to be around other couples. I am sure your Partner will understand. Maybe you can plan a visit to go visit his parents specifically?
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