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Perhaps I expect too much?

(64 Posts)
mrsmeldrew Wed 12-Apr-23 17:30:30

Just wanted to gauge opinion. Had a recent visit from husband's family over Easter - two nights/3 days. Son from husband's first marriage of two years, short-lived in late 1970's DIL and 2 teenage GC. We don't see them very often due to distance and lack of enthusiasm on our part, although we did have visits before the pandemic but after that rather let visits lapse. I've always felt guilty about this and its because I don't really feel anything, and don't feel any closeness with DIL who is quite cold. SIL is a bit more forthcoming. My husband feels the same as me. It's difficult because my husband didn't have a lot of contact with son since the divorce 45 years ago now, and his son made contact when he got married. Since then we have always sent gifts of cash, not huge amounts at Christmas and birthdays, but what we could afford, and contributed to savings accounts but never once have we received a thank you note, phone call, or even a text or email from parents or GC. They send us a joint gift at Christmas and cards on birthdays. We travelled down once to do a week's childcare (caravan) when GC were smaller, when we were both working full time, and we weren't once invited to their home, have never even been there. Anyway... I did a lot of cooking and hospitality for this visit, bought wine and other things. I thought they might have bought some flowers, wine or chocolates but they arrived with nothing. We were also expected to have arranged outings etc. We are retired and live on our pensions, a lot less income and this time I held my tongue as they like to go out and have drinks, cakes, chocolate snacks morning and afternoon, and previously I used to say "We'll get these" each time, but now it adds up to £30+ each time and then the GC won't eat lunch or dinner. I also had to do separate meals as one GC is very picky, well TBH both of them are! Oddly, they don't like vegetables and salad etc but do like sweets, chocolate, puddings and cake! I bought Easter eggs but no thanks for those either. Also, one has to sleep in the living room as they refuse to share a room which is quite inconvenient. I suppose the final straw was when the parents went to our local shop and purchased some alcoholic drinks which were drunk and rest put in the fridge. After they had left I saw that they had taken them with them! I feel guilty because the GC have some MH issues, but I really don't feel like doing this again and next time they suggest a visit want to say yes, but we can't put you up but welcome to come for meals. I would have to come up with a reason. When they visit the other side of the family, husband's ex, they rent somewhere, but because we have a 3 bedroom house I guess they expect us to offer full hospitality. A bit of a long post, it's my first one on this forum! So, in conclusion AIBU??

inishowen Wed 12-Apr-23 17:48:42

I would definitely not host again. Make an excuse, you're suffering from extreme fatigue for example. They sound so ungrateful 😒

NotTooOld Wed 12-Apr-23 17:57:06


I would definitely not host again. Make an excuse, you're suffering from extreme fatigue for example. They sound so ungrateful 😒

I agree with inishowen.
This thing about not thanking for presents does seem to have become the norm. Very sad. Whatever has happened to good manners?

Hithere Wed 12-Apr-23 17:57:18

How was this visit organized?

Did you all agree on a plan for activities, entertainment, eating, etc?

Theexwife Wed 12-Apr-23 17:58:51

I would phase them out by not inviting them and if they ask to visit would be busy.

DamaskRose Wed 12-Apr-23 18:01:07

No you are not being unreasonable!

Sassanach512 Wed 12-Apr-23 18:40:28

What an obnoxious, ungrateful bunch. I'd stop the cash gifts and contributions to savings accounts straight away. If they can't even turn up with a bunch of flowers for all your trouble or a grunt of thanks, they certainly shouldn't expect to be invited again. What kind of moron thinks that is acceptable behaviour? Husband's family or not my diary would be full for any further holiday dates

Scribbles Wed 12-Apr-23 18:56:15

What a horrible bunch of ill-mannered tightwads! Why would you ever have them in your house again? It sounds from what you say as if your husband's heart will not be broken if the connection lapses so don't invite them; stop the cash gifts; if they ask to visit, say a firm No. If they ask why, tell them you're tired of being a sucker and prefer to reserve your hospitality for genuine friends and relations who don't merely want to take advantage of you.
These people are ghastly and you're better off in all ways without them.

Debbi58 Wed 12-Apr-23 19:09:46

Sounds like typical family's these days , kids and parents constantly on mobile phones. No sitting at the table for family meals etc . I wouldn't have them in your house again. If they want to visit . They can stay in a cheap hotel nearby 🤷‍♀️

MerylStreep Wed 12-Apr-23 19:21:03

2 nights and 3 days is toooo long with people you don’t really know, especially hosting in your own home.

Patsy70 Wed 12-Apr-23 20:11:53

You are NBU mrsmeldrew and should they wish to visit you in future, suggest they rent or stay at a b&b, then you are in control of when/where to meet up. 💐

LRavenscroft Wed 12-Apr-23 20:28:42

I think a lot depends on how you feel when they leave and how you would like to feel. Is there some happy medium you could compromise on perhaps by saying that you get so tired nowadays but are able to do this, this and this. Or, perhaps going to where they live and staying in a nice hotel and perhaps see them briefly and make a nice stay out of it.

VioletSky Wed 12-Apr-23 20:36:34

That's a lot to put on you

Would it not be better to clear the air and tell them politely that it's a bit too much for you?

I don't think people always mean to be thoughtless, sometimes you need to give your expectations

paddyann54 Wed 12-Apr-23 21:49:13

I'm going against the grain here ,your husband didn't have much contact with his son for decadesmthe son reconnected probably in the hope of having some kind of meaningfull relationship with his dad and a grandfather for his kids .
Seems to me he's being rejected again!
What a shame you cant find it n you...either of make an effort and make them feel welcome and part of the family .
He's probably better off without you but I'd bet he still tries to make some kind of relationship with the dad he doesn't know .Sadly I think your more bothered about your own feelings !

VioletSky Wed 12-Apr-23 21:55:14

It could be that son having missed that relationship growing up is expecting an adult to child relationship now

I have a good relationship with my Dad but we don't see each other often due to distance and do find myself needing him to be "the parent" when I do see him because of how much we have missed..

Maybe understanding that would help and it would get better with better communication

Nanatoone Wed 12-Apr-23 21:58:00

I’m with PaddyAnn
A rejected son find his dad and his step mum, they aren’t that interested in them or the kids. What a shame. Sorry, but for me it’s not unreasonable to expect better behaviour in your home but it sounds quite par for the course these days. The attitude you are giving off is negative. Do they have no redeeming qualities?

Nannagarra Wed 12-Apr-23 22:30:22

YANB. Be guided by your husband.
I’ve seen one family member use the excuse of decorating.

HousePlantQueen Wed 12-Apr-23 22:32:34

Nice polite and understanding posts on here, on MN they would be described as CFers. grin

Grammaretto Wed 12-Apr-23 23:24:38

Almost all guests pall after 3 days. That's a long time especially with DC who can't share a room!
You are very accommodating!
I think you should put them all in the same room - after all that's what family rooms at hotels are like.
Don't you have anything in common?
If they are ungrateful UANBU.

Some people don't know how to be guests. These ones are perhaps like that.
They think as you are hosting, you do all the cooking and organising.
Another time, if there is, put a plan for each day in place before they arrive and get those DC helping..

mrsmeldrew Thu 13-Apr-23 09:13:13

Thanks for the supportive responses. We really have tried to keep the relationships active but every time they visit we hope there might be a change but there isn't. We did stop the savings accounts in the financial crash as my husband was made redundant. They have a few thousand each still, although I expect it will be spent on rubbish when they are 18. Funny thing is their mother never even mentions the little nest eggs to us! I remember when I was young (60's) my nanas used to send me 50p now and then and I had to write thank you letters. I was one of the rare children whose parents were divorced so it was tough- my mother worked full time and I had a front door key around my neck aged 11 onwards. I was allowed one bar of chocolate a week. I do fear for these generations as they will never be able to stand on their own feet and seem to have little empathy or compassion. It's all me, me, me, nowadays which sadly they have inherited from their parents.

I think I will stop the cash gifts when they are 18. The parents moan about money but splash the cash on the teenagers be it drinks, snacks and stuff when we visited various places during their visit.

Hithere Thu 13-Apr-23 11:05:30

"We really have tried to keep the relationships active but every time they visit we hope there might be a change but there isn't."
What change are you referring to?

Could this be a case of different expectations for the visit? They wanted to do x and you had y in mind?

VioletSky Thu 13-Apr-23 11:13:50

I really think you need better communication about visits and expectations and to try and find some things you do like about them and some common ground

luluaugust Thu 13-Apr-23 11:27:27

Surely the drinks, snacks and stuff are just part of a break away. It does sound a lot for you and perhaps let them go out either morning or afternoon on their own so you don’t feel so pushed.

VioletSky Thu 13-Apr-23 11:42:56

luluaugust makes a really good point

They view their visit with you as a holiday whereas you are just being at home

Maybe if you view their visits as a holiday too and take that timeto just relax and enjoy their company it will help?

Hithere Thu 13-Apr-23 11:47:31

I do think you mean well with misguided expectations - the visit went generally well, as you describe it

The issue I see is that it didn't go as you expected

Why would you have to get along well with dil? As long as she is civil and respectful, isn't that enough?

The key here is the lack of a close relationship with the son for many years while he was growing up
That is crucial for a good relationship as adults
Relationships are naturally nurtured over time, growing in closeness (or not) at their own pace

The two teens not wanting to share a room - was it known before hand of this sleeping arrangement?

As a teenager, I would not have enjoyed this visit very much, it would have been boring
Different phases in life

Was an agenda that both parties liked discussed before the trip?
Perhaps your above and beyond efforts was not something that they were looking for
Looks like you expected to eat at home more than out - was their idea too?

Looks like the DNA held a lot of expectations that did not materialize

Staying in hotel would be better so you can decompress at end of day and have their own space