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Old 17.06.2015, 02:23
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The drop in

Hi,
I am seeking views to understand if this has a cultural context.
No longer having an ocean to buffer us, I am getting used to having parents-in-law.
The situation is they drop in (anytime, often at the worst times) to socialize and believe we should do the same.
I am an invite person and thought the swiss were also. they however have made it clear (where we are concerned?) they are not,( it was translated to me along the lines of 'I don't need an appointment to come here'). It has created lots of tension.

So my question for swiss spouses (or others),

is this eurotude ( i.e. Normal attitude this side of the world where families are concerned),

a villatude ( an affliction of the aged who never leave the swiss sticks),

Or just my own private hell when the bell rings??
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Old 17.06.2015, 02:32
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Re: The drop in

It's not normal. Ask your other half to sort their parents out and to respect your wishes. Assuming your partner agrees with you of course. If not, then have a nice argument about it first
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Old 17.06.2015, 08:06
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Re: The drop in

It's your own private hell.

I'm Swiss, and their attitude is definitely not normal here. They're being pushy and invasive.
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Old 17.06.2015, 09:50
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Re: The drop in

If sorting things out as suggested above doesn't work:
You're not obliged to open the door
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Old 17.06.2015, 09:52
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Re: The drop in

We have had the arguments. in fact one was interrupted 9am on a Saturday morning by them arriving. it was the third time in a week. My husband finally said could they please call ( I was hiding as at that time I was in the middle of my mini breakdown and feared I might scream at them).

it resulted in them canceling our invitation to Xmas lunch. They were our only guests and we have kids!!!!! We had just got here.

For a long time I thought I had broken some taboo. I'm still not sure though if they are just plain weird and I just couldn't tell because of language and an ocean?


I cannot hide, we are in a house, on the street, with lots of glass
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Old 17.06.2015, 09:59
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Re: The drop in

I sympathise with you. Getting along with the inlaws is tricky enough without them intruding your personal space. My inlaws are great but we still sometimes rub each other up the wrong way, as their way of family life is very different to mine (and they are from the UK like me but have lived here for more than two decades).


Your husband chose you and that is all that really matters. As long as the two of you are happy, then they will just need to learn to accept your rules, such as no unexpected visitors. I hate it if people turn up unannounced and would certainly put a stop to that, even if it meant having a full blown row!


Are they the sort of folk you could have a reasonable conversation with to explain why it upsets you? Maybe they don't realise how intrusive you find it and just think you are being controlling? I'm not saying you are but that might be their perspective and make them visit more often to check up.....
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Old 17.06.2015, 10:02
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Re: The drop in

Definitely not a "eurotude" - don't know where you got that from . My parents in law would never ever do that. And I know plenty of Europeans (Northern ones) for whom an announced visit is an absolute faux-pas.

I do have one solution for you - perhaps you can get your kids to pester them to take them out EVERY time they come to your house. After a while, they'll realise that any unannounced visits to you will mean babysitting!

Good luck - it sounds a bit of a nightmare for you.
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Old 17.06.2015, 10:10
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Re: The drop in

Time it so you're having a bit of nookie on the kitchen table when they arrive.
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Old 17.06.2015, 10:54
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Re: The drop in

Ooof I feel for you. Unannounced visitors who want to STAY and socialize is a rough situation.
Although they have made it clear through a statement that they don’t need an appointment perhaps if you or your OH had kind words with them to relay your stance it might help. Sometimes even the most well-meaning folks just don’t get it until it is spelled out in big letters. If you explained to them that you would LOVE to see them and SPEND time with them BUT when they drop in unannounced it causes TENSION and stress. You can explain that tension and stress come from having your routine, and schedule messed up. You would love to visit with them when you know you can properly entertain and socialize with them. Hopefully this might gel with the Swiss sense of timely schedule and routine.

Also, I think sometimes especially when it comes to in-laws --feelings on both sides can get hurt because THEY feel maybe like you and the family don’t want to spend time with them and YOU and your partner end up cross because you feel like your time and boundaries are not respected.

A few ideas/suggestions: Would it be possible to plan out on a calendar dates and times for visits? That way they have something to look forward to and you can then prepare yourself/schedule day to accommodate? If talking and this route doesn’t work then I do like the idea of the babysitting go out routine or when they come over you can be happy to see them say hello and then carry on cleaning house or pretending they aren’t even there. Lounge around in bed clothes or read a book. Whatever it is you had already planned- carry on. Sadly, sometimes it takes something in the face for some people to get a clue.

Over all though I would hope that communication and dialogue would help you all come to some kind of mutual understanding. They may genuinely like your company and want to spend time with the family and not see the error of their ways. (Bet you dollars to donuts it was the way things were when they were growing up/brining up family.) Best of luck and I hope you will post back with a resolution or what transpires.


PS. All else fails and you know you will never change them—keep instant coffee handy, some frozen cookie dough in the freezer and a nice smelling candle at the ready. They ring the doorbell you light the candle, put the kettle on, pop the cookies in the oven and go about your business. 
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Old 17.06.2015, 10:57
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Re: The drop in

My in-laws (Swiss) are divorced.

My mother-in-law pops in unannounced whenever she feels like, whereas my father-in-law always asks us in advance.

I personally have no problem with either of them dropping by without a previous arrangement, it's actually my wife (Swiss) who does. If they catch me in my boxers lounging on the sofa, that's their problem not mine. But I do understand why you don't appreciate it.

The wife advised my mother-in-law, she sulked and didn't come by for a few weeks, but now she's back to rocking up whenever she pleases.

AFAIK it's customary to have an appointment.
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Old 17.06.2015, 10:58
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Re: The drop in

reminds me of Everybody Loves Raymond
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:14
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Re: The drop in

I second Just_A_Mutt, if dialogue doesn't work, put them to work. I love my mother in-law, but if she dropped by unanounced while I was cleaning the house, I would give her the mop and the choice between helping out or coming back another time. Repeat as often as necessary, with the most boring chores possible. Best case: they get the message and stop coming unannounced. Worst case: you get help in the house.

Alternatively, thank them for the spontaneous babysitting offer and go out for a drink, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, shopping, or anything that is pleasurable without kids. Quality bonding time with grand-children is important.

I'm a complete control freak and would hate to be in your situation, you have all my sympathies. On the other hand, I believe it's important to strive for a harmonious relationship with in-laws, especially if they are the only family one has in the country. 15 years with Norwegian in-laws has taught me the importance of "swallowing camels" as they say over there, in the interest of peace and harmony.
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:18
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Re: The drop in

I never answer the door if I'm not expecting someone. Try that.

If they know you're at home, even better.
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:24
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Re: The drop in

We have tried to give them our kids. ( not interested? Too much effort ? ) We tried the invite (the first dinner i arranged again after the Xmas cancellation they were sullen and she arrived with tears. They speak no English so discussions are labored )
We were asked back for drinks on a school night, I naturally had prepared dinner for the family for after. No takeaways around here. We arrived to a set dinner table and no drinks...... And no indication to either of us they had changed the plans.....

Do you think they know social rules and simply choose to ignore them ( do I have a monster-in-law ? ) Or a syndrome of being farming stock?
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:25
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Re: The drop in

You could try inviting them at times that suit you - then it's hard for them to show up the next day for any good reason. Or better yet, invite yourself to their place then the effort falls on them.

If the kids are of an age that need babysitting, get them to do an evening and go out - they see grandkids, you get a night out, they'll probably be too knackered to bother you for a few days.

Maybe you can build up a routine to reduce the randomness.

Edit - ok you've thought of all this from the last post...

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Or a syndrome of being farming stock?
Possibly - I grew up in a rural area, and farmer friends did seem to have an open door policy for neighbours, relations and workers.
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:27
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Re: The drop in

Quote:
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I never answer the door if I'm not expecting someone. Try that.

If they know you're at home, even better.
This is a great solution, though I would add the 'shuffling the curtain back' as though to simulate the observation of 'have they fekk'd off yet?!'. A most uncomfortable situation at the receiving end...
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:33
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Re: The drop in

Does your husband have siblings? If so, do they behave in the same way as they do with you? If yes, then perhaps they are really clueless to social norms. Farming stock, you call it

If their behaviour is different to the other siblings' families, then perhaps they are a little bit naughty. Maybe "punishing" you for having their son live far away from them; for marrying a non-Swiss person. Their list of things "you did wrong" can be endless and totally risible. But that is how it is with small-minded people!

Some of the things you write here sound a bit similar to what a friend of mine is going through, so you do have my sympathy
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:36
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Re: The drop in

I think it's just sheer bloody-mindedness on their part which apparently gets worse as you get older.

They never come round for dinner when invited but always turn up at other times when you're having yours (as they were just passing).

Happens to us all.
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Old 17.06.2015, 11:55
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Re: The drop in

Quote:

The wife advised my mother-in-law, she sulked and didn't come by
.
We are at this stage after inviting them to a school play about a month ago ( a big deal in our little lives here). They happily agreed and then she choose to make a public village snub of refusing to greet me. My husband had a Swiss German meltdown. I just thought wtf?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 17.06.2015 at 23:00. Reason: fixed quoting
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Old 17.06.2015, 12:07
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Re: The drop in

I would let your hubby sort it out; it is his mother after all. Sounds like she's upset about the nasty foreign lady taking away her little petal.
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