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  #41  
Old 24.12.2010, 18:59
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

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Re: the gift...If your husband doesn't want to rock the boat, he should give the present bought by your MIL to his nephew - from him alone. You should then give the little guy the present you have already bought - from you alone. And damn the torpedos.
I like this as a solution - so long as you are able to accept that it may become what happens forever more. But would that really help in getting your m in l to respect and accept you, or would it just cause further distancing?

Last edited by Longbyt; 25.12.2010 at 12:47. Reason: Please leave the square brackets and their contents in place when shortening quotes.
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  #42  
Old 24.12.2010, 19:07
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

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I would be hurt too. Last week I was told that my husband's nieces and nephews don't feel "comfortable" talking to me which is why they will not call the house to thank for a gift. Instead they will call my husband's mobile to thank him for the gift. My in-laws think this is okay because they say the gift is really from my husband.



When they call your husband, I hope he thanks them, but then suggests that they should now phone to thank you.

THe other angle is that, if they really do have a problem with talking to you ( on the 'phone?) for example if there is no strong common language between you, then they could be writing you a short thank you note and posting/emailing to you instead.
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  #43  
Old 27.12.2010, 14:06
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

How did it go in the end? Did you manage to have a nice Christmas despite the in-laws?
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  #44  
Old 27.12.2010, 14:52
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

Thank you all for the warm wishes, explanations and suggestions...

In the end, brother-in-law gave hubby and I a gift of some time at a thermal spa and some chocolate, thank goodness I had the thought to pick up a very nice keepsake type tin of Lindt and hubby snagged some gift certificates for the restaurant where he works.

M-i-l gave the intended gift "from us" to nephew, I felt completely disconnected from it.

I got the same from hubby as he'd tried about his brother "but I thought we weren't going to exchange presents this year"... I really don't get it as I overheard the conversation between he and his mother which I only connected after receiving things from her - he definitely knows what I'd like, she was spot-on for things I'd love and they were suggestions from him. I'd given him ideas for easily gotten inexpensive things I'd like, things like replacement "starter" earrings, fun socks, a new silver chain for a pendant I can't wear since the previous chain broke... nada.

I'm planning a shopping trip tomorrow.


I went and did the proper things (thank goodness I shouldn't have to look at another fondue chinoise until next winter), spent a good half hour at m-i-l home in the bathroom crying (in-laws assumed it had to do with being sick as I'm on meds trying to clear up a lingering chest cold and stave off bronchitis) which prompted hubby to ask what's wrong so we had a discussion when we came home. The decision is that we're going to try to make sure I get to see my family at least once every year and alternate celebration style between my family traditions and his.

I think it's just built up to a bit of "too much" coupled with some "not enough"... too many hospital visits including surgery last month, not enough help from him (he's also helping out more for the last day or two - why do I have to get upset before he helps though?). Too much time spent with his family for "important" events and not enough casual interaction why does it have to be an event to see each other?

Ah well... maybe it is the codeine in my cough medicine putting me in an unusually poor mood.
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  #45  
Old 27.12.2010, 19:51
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

Have been thinking about you Peg in my own time keeping it all together and dealing with the natural longing to see my family in the UK. This can be such a difficult time of year.

Really pleased to hear that you and your husband have decided on a compromise regarding Christmas - it's only fair really. I think often, Swiss husbands meet their non-Swiss wives and then after a few years just expect them to become completely Swiss in their way of thinking and being. While I know some people who have done that and seem happy to do that - for those of us who just can't do that - there is a lot of compromise and patience involved in living over here and there is no escaping the fact that at certain times it can be very hard.

It's a situation unique to inter-cultural marriages. I've been here 10 years and still sometimes feel it strongly.

Enjoy your retail therapy - I'm also planning on hitting the shops tomorrow

Steph
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Old 09.01.2011, 10:26
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Re: Struggling with in-laws

Ah, Pegster, hope you had a ok holiday after all..It's good you finally talked things through, it seems absurd. Does not surprise me, thinking about the previous situations...I think the whole deal was to please mil, since she had some master plan in mind. I would detest to be told to let somebody give something on your behalf, it is strange. Not your taste, etc. It seems to not be about rules, your bil and hb sound to be confused about their little "agreement", don't they? The whole thing does not seem to be about culture traditions and your need to comply, but cash, no? So, the two bros decide to not give presents, save cash, but people still go on, it's not such a huge deal, it's not like you are giving eachother cars, is it..I just know here sil and bil would probably ask mil to get them something specific, chances are your nephew ordered something, they were worried about you getting something wrong, probably. Like one can "order" gifts...This catalogue shopping for xmas is irritating. Instead of them being happy they can have you around and you are kind enough to think about others and bring something, small..I duno. I can also imagine why mil is plotting and she does not want you to be close to you sil and bil, so she picks stuff on your behalf, and gets the gratitude, not you, you are completely out of the picture and family traditions. Immature. We go to my family for xmas who go out of their way to embrace my new family and always equip us for xmas with stuff we can't afford to buy, electronics, kid's stuff, hubby gets things for work, friends give us clothes and toys, and none of them are wealthy at all, they are not worried we don't even bring anything, it is embarrassing..I don't get the culture who would ban the gift giving so they don't end up owing to one another, stingy. And to tell one don't bring anything to our kid is plain weird. I did have some friends here who would always take all the toys I bought for their kids and put them away, not even saying thanks, probably to give to kids laters when we are not around. Maybe it is just not done here. Not mentioning reciprocating, or coming to our bdays, when we go there, bring gifts again to them (that they ordered..). I digress. Then you meet locals who are not like this at all, and it is fab. Maybe you need more friends, so you don't focus on your inlaws so much, local friends or not, work colleagues... I am glad you talked to your family, time to shift some portion of the adjustment to their side, too. You have done enough, why can't they take you for the accommodating yank you are, and your own person you are, to prescribe something so personal to somebody is offensive. I think it comes from your hb not explaining enough to them, maybe not standing behind you in this. He married a foreigner, he knew what he was doing, so why would he want his family turn you into a local? And make you hurt, while all this is happening. I guess he gets the same controlling and manipulation from her, too. You sound way more mature than that. And sorry about your baby issue, I could only imagine how painful it is now, for you, after what you have been through. Maybe you could talk about it with them, how taboo stigmatizes girls who went through something like this. Talk about it. At the dinner table, do it. And watch their face. When everyone is all over your sil, say out loud you wish you were in her position and it hurts you to no end you are not able to provide the same, and it has been awfully difficult to deal with it, on your own, and now you are proud for being ALMOST over with it. And you are incredibly happy for you sil, since every single pregnancy is a miracle. They will hate you for it, but they will tread a lot more carefully, and spare your poor nerves and heart. Hugs. Sorry this is so long, I haven't had chance to actually be on EF to read this when it was hot.

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I really don't understand the psychology some people have when it comes to spouses and family. Family are there for you through thick and thin, you can piss them off (within reason) and still they will always be there. But a spouse doesn't have that security, and doesn't have that embedded sense of belonging that comes with blood ties... so I can never understand it when I hear that a poor wifey is feeling sad and alienated due to hubbos MIL or other family being inconsiderate and a pain...
It's more common than you think, unfortunately. Some people just don't want to deal with families and stand behind their spouse, maturely. It is difficult, too, in a culture where it hasn't been done, or if you don't have an example in your dad being the noble man with your mom, or whatever. I don't get it either. Maybe it is cultural.

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I'm really upset to hear this. At very best this is poor etiquette - you should never have heard this. But why don't they feel comfortable talking to you? I do think that there's an unwillingness for expat spouses to use "strength" when dealing with family and it seems they therefore get trodden on.
What shocks me more than kids is how come the parents have the guts to excuse their kids like this. So the kids feel uncomfortable to come around, but the parents don't feel uncomfortable to give this reason to somebody generous who has thought about their kids. They either take this generous person for a joke or don't wish any other future presents and it is their horrific ways to pass the message. Jaysum. I do think foreigners get treated weird at times here, the wenches that is.
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