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ConstanceS

Would you attend?

102 posts in this topic

Backstory: DIL & family ignored us during her & son's wedding. We were not introduced to anyone, the few people we met came and introduced themselves. Her relatives also sat at one reception table while we were at another, at the opposite side of the room. There was no attempt to invite us to sit with them, or include us.

Now here's the current situation: DIL is having a baby shower after Thanksgiving, she is expecting a girl next year. We were emailed the date and time. It'll be pretty much the same people as at the wedding and we really don't want to go through another awkward, uncomfortable experience of being treated like outcasts.

We have been on the back-burner as far as holidays, they are spent with DIL's parents. Mother's Day and Father's Day are also spent at DIL's parent's house. We get a few minutes the day before or the day after when son does a drive-by to shove a present at husband or me while DIL waits in the car. They have now moved in with DIL's parents, so the child to be is going to be primarily with them and our involvement will be very minimal. Given all of that (and much, much more that I don't want to get into) we have decided to just send a present and not attend. People who know about this are divided, I've heard "suck it up and go" and "after how you were treated at the wedding and in general, you are right to avoid these people". What do impartial parties think?

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Personally, I would probably go to the shower...the tension levels will be significantly reduced at this kind of event and the lower stress levels may make for a more enjoyable party. I did that for a nephew's girlfriend's shower (not at all a fan of this girl!) but I did it for nephew, and I know he appreciated it. 

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I would probably go, and then no one can say..."see, that just don't want to be bothered!"

Sometimes, the bigger man has to take the first step.  If things go off the rail again, then you at least know you didn't give up after just one try.

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I think that only you can truly weigh the pros and cons, b/c of the backstory none of us are privy to.

I suspect, however, it'll come down to a weighing of facts, most specifically: what will it cost you to attend, vs what might it cost you to be absent.

Not attending may cause future issues w/your ds/DIL. Attending will make you unhappy, if the behaviour at the wedding is repeated.

It's a tough place to be, but I think what you're really asking is if it's worth the unhappiness of being treated badly to preserve what ever relationship w/your ds still exists, and hope for the future.

Only you can really say for certain.

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11 hours ago, ConstanceS said:

Backstory: DIL & family ignored us during her & son's wedding. We were not introduced to anyone, the few people we met came and introduced themselves. Her relatives also sat at one reception table while we were at another, at the opposite side of the room. There was no attempt to invite us to sit with them, or include us.

I'm very sorry you and DH (dear husband) felt ignored by DIL and most of her FOO (family of origin) at the wedding. How hurtful and disappointing! I hope you were seated w/ some of your own FOO, at least, and not w/, say, remote acquaintances of DS' or DIL's. I also hope DIL's parents spoke to you 2, at some point, even though they didn't introduce you to anyone.

If it's any comfort, IME (in my experience), it's not unusual for the bride's and groom's respective FOOs to sit on opposite sides of the reception, depending on space, size of wedding, etc. Also, I don't recall ever seeing anyone ever invite members from one FOO to sit w/ those of the other. (Your experience may be different, of course, I realize.) Neither my DH or I did so when we got married years ago - I don't think it occurred to us - we were too busy dancing, etc. Perhaps that was the case w/ DS and DIL, too?

We did introduce some people to each other if they happened to come up to us at the same time. So, I'm sure, did my mom, MIL, etc. Are you saying that neither DS, DIL or her parents, etc. did this regarding you and DH? IMO, that's very rude. I am so very sorry.

Now here's the current situation: DIL is having a baby shower after Thanksgiving, she is expecting a girl next year. We were emailed the date and time. It'll be pretty much the same people as at the wedding and we really don't want to go through another awkward, uncomfortable experience of being treated like outcasts.

We have been on the back-burner as far as holidays, they are spent with DIL's parents. Mother's Day and Father's Day are also spent at DIL's parent's house. We get a few minutes the day before or the day after when son does a drive-by to shove a present at husband or me while DIL waits in the car.

Sigh... You may be stuck w/ one of those DILs who has no use for ILs, no matter how lovely. If so, I'm deeply sorry.

Then again, you've indicated elsewhere that you don't like DIL (I understand why). Is it possible she senses this and that's why she's avoiding you? That doesn't make it any easier, I know, but it might explain why this is happening.

They have now moved in with DIL's parents, so the child to be is going to be primarily with them and our involvement will be very minimal. Given all of that (and much, much more that I don't want to get into) we have decided to just send a present and not attend. People who know about this are divided, I've heard "suck it up and go" and "after how you were treated at the wedding and in general, you are right to avoid these people". What do impartial parties think?

Welcome Constance! Glad to see you've joined us and that you've become an active poster!

I've read all your posts, and you strike me as a very fair, reasonable and caring person. Plus, the fact that you tell us you get along w/ your other DS' XW/your XDIL shows that you're no "ogre" (not that I thought you were) :)  IDK it this will help at all, but you're not the only MIL who has come here who enjoys good relations w/ one DIL but suffers bad relations w/ another.

As you can see, I've made some comments on your post above.... But now to respond to your question about whether or not to attend the baby shower. IMO (in my opinion), Imp is right about  weighing the "costs." However, I realize your and DH's hearts might be too filled w/ hurt and anger to even consider going. Again, as Imp says, only you 2 can really know the answer.

IMO. if you change your minds and choose to attend, I hope you don't mind a few suggestions (if you do, feel free to skip this paragraph) ,,, The way I see this, it will be ok - maybe better than you thought - if you 2 go there accepting that you'll spend most/all of your time w/ members of your own family - and w/o expectation of DIL's FOO reaching out to you. No harm, either, IMO, in going over to a few of her relatives and introducing yourselves. Or, if you'd be more comfortable, perhaps you can strike up a conversation w/ some of the ones who were friendly enough at the wedding to introduce themselves to you. While these ideas still may not make things the way you would like, they might make them a little more pleasant... Food for thought...

 

 

Edited by RoseRed135
punctuation
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ConstanceS,  I was in a similar situation just a few years ago although not quite as bad as you are having. Is the shower a big party with couples attending or a small one? It might be easier to cope with the large type if you know anyone else in your family or friends who are invited that you could sit with at the event. My question is more along the lines of what would be best for my DS and if I felt attending would make his life a little easier then I would go even knowing how uncomfortable I would feel because it would be for my DS and not about me. On the other hand if you feel you can't "fake it" and really can't cope with the situation then stay home and send the gift as you have planned. I understand how hurt you must feel to be shut out of your DS's life and now to know that you will most likely seldom see your GC while DIL's family will likely have unlimited access. Even though my relationship with my DIL has improved greatly I still remember how painful it was to be shut out during the first GC's early life. For me the decision would be to do nothing that could make things worse in hope that in the future your DS would decide that he wants to be part of your life and wants his child to know his parents.

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I can put up with any gathering for a short time. Especially if the gathering is not about me. A baby shower is not, in the least, about anyone except the new parents. Certainly you can twiddle your thumbs for a hour, smile, say "ooooh pink" and then make and excuse to leave, have something else you need to do?

IF I thought our son gave a flip about showers, remotely cared, I'd attend. If not, I'd send a particularly nice gift and call it done. In my opinion, it doesn't take much effort to pull up undies and be polite and gracious.

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I have a question about the wedding.  Most weddings I attend are small town affairs and many even take place outdoors some with the reception taking place in a barn, so I am not familiar with city weddings.  Had the two families met other than perhaps a party or event leading up to the wedding.  Maybe an engagement party, wedding shower, rehearsal dinner or such?  Did the FOB have out of town guest they were trying to spend some time with during the reception?  Or did you?  Is it possible that they felt that had other "duties" to tend to than being a host to your family? Did your son completely ignore you during this wedding?

Are "the guys" invited to this shower?  Will your son feel slighted if you do not make an appearance?  Can you attend with a glad heart.  If you sit in the corner without mingling, will that upset him?  Can you drop in with your gift, speak to a few people you do know and excuse yourself and leave if things are too uncomfortable?

The answer to these questions might give better advice than we can.

 

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Thanks to everyone for your kind replies, much appreciated!! To answer a few questions, my dislike for DIL developed as a result of her behavior, as we got to know her better. And it's possible she can sense that dislike, though husband and I try to be friendly and polite. We can certainly sense her dislike for us. I think we CAN maintain a relationship with our son anyway, I mentioned in another thread that DIL would indicate that she was coming by for family functions, dinner, etc., and then just not show up, sending son by himself, with some obviously made-up reason as to why she was not able to attend. So we have adjusted by trying to schedule when DIL has to work (she is in the medical field, so lots of nights and weekends), allowing son to attend by himself. As a result we have not seen her in many months, but son seems quite happy to do it this way and we get to catch up with him. Of course, while he is here she constantly texts him, to the point where he gets annoyed and turns his cellphone off.

As for the wedding, son did spend time with us during the reception and dragged her over once and we complimented her on her dress and the ceremony and exchanged a few polite  words. There were no out of town guests for DIL's family to host/tend to, so I can only guess that she communicated her dislike for us to her family and they acted accordingly. We did meet her parents and siblings prior to the wedding, but only once, and everyone was polite. 

Much food for thought, I think the bottom line is that things are so uncomfortable between us and DIL that it might be better to maintain distance. So I think we will just send a present and stay away. Of course, there are two sides to every story and DIL might feel justified to dislike us, but I really can't think of a reason. I know so many other couples who are picture-book meddling, manipulative MIL's and FIL's and we don't fall into that category. And we both do realize that she is son's wife and has to come first for him. I guess bottom line is, she obviously does not really want a relationship with us, so we won't try to force ourselves on her.

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I remember at my wedding people from DHS side were upset because we didn't give them enough attention, my mil was mad because my parents sat at the table for the wedding party,mil stole the food and my cake and treated the guests rudely and invited people to our wedding without asking dh and I.I never thought I had to go around introducing people , my mom was telling at me because she said I had to eat and was sending people to tell me "your mom sent me to tell you to eat" I just wanted it to be over,I was going around saying hi to people but that's not enough for some people. So maybe your son and his wife didn't know people had an expectation that they had to go around introducing people around and they were just busy.Weddings are hectic so the people that can be relaxed non demanding are the people the couple will be most fond of.

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You say you dislike your Dil, she knows that so she doesn't want to spend time with people that don't like her, you say "she sends son by himself"  I would think thats fine since you don't like his wife it would be a relief for her not to come. My mil didn't like me and didn't want my husband and I to get married so I didn't see them much at first, she didn't ask for me and just talked bad about me to my husband, that did not make my dislike turn to like,but I just wanted her to mind her own business and be civilized for once.If you talk bad about her to your son he is probably telling her and it is causing more tension in the relationship between the two of you,I don't know if you are, I hope not.

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I would not attend the shower and would send a gift at some point.  It is clear from your DIL's actions, especially when she waits in the car while your DS visits you - OMG, you just can't make this stuff up! - that your presence would not be welcome at this shower.  Also, it appears you won't have anyone at the shower to visit with which could be a reason to attend - to catch up with a friend.  You really are in a no-win situation either way - you go, and you will be ignored or marginalized; you don't go and you will confirm why DIL doesn't like you.  So instead of signing up for more of the same crap, I think you should treat yourself to a nice manicure and a lunch date with your DH.

I am sorry you do not have a relationship with your DIL.  It does appear, however that your DS is trying to continue to forge a relationship with you which is a positive in all of this. 

Edited by BSW
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20 minutes ago, Whiteroses said:

I remember at my wedding people from DHS side were upset because we didn't give them enough attention, my mil was mad because my parents sat at the table for the wedding party,mil stole the food and my cake and treated the guests rudely and invited people to our wedding without asking dh and I.I never thought I had to go around introducing people , my mom was telling at me because she said I had to eat and was sending people to tell me "your mom sent me to tell you to eat" I just wanted it to be over,I was going around saying hi to people but that's not enough for some people. So maybe your son and his wife didn't know people had an expectation that they had to go around introducing people around and they were just busy.Weddings are hectic so the people that can be relaxed non demanding are the people the couple will be most fond of.

Okay, fair enough, maybe they were all stressed and just didn't have time to introduce us. As for the other things you mentioned, stealing food, inviting other people to their wedding, etc., does not apply to our situation.

10 minutes ago, Whiteroses said:

You say you dislike your Dil, she knows that so she doesn't want to spend time with people that don't like her, you say "she sends son by himself"  I would think thats fine since you don't like his wife it would be a relief for her not to come. My mil didn't like me and didn't want my husband and I to get married so I didn't see them much at first, she didn't ask for me and just talked bad about me to my husband, that did not make my dislike turn to like,but I just wanted her to mind her own business and be civilized for once.If you talk bad about her to your son he is probably telling her and it is causing more tension in the relationship between the two of you,I don't know if you are, I hope not.

DIL earned the dislike we have for her. And yes, not seeing her is just fine, no complaints about that. As for bad-talking DIL to her husband, we know better than that.

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2 minutes ago, BSW said:

I would not attend the shower and would send a gift at some point.  It is clear from your DIL's actions, especially when she waits in the car while your DS visits you - OMG, you just can't make this stuff up! - that your presence would not be welcome at this shower.  Also, it appears you won't have anyone at the shower to visit with which could be a reason to attend - to catch up with a friend.  You really are in a no-win situation either way - you go, and you will be ignored or marginalized; you don't go and you will confirm why DIL doesn't like you.  So instead of signing up for more of the same crap, I think you should treat yourself to a nice manicure and a lunch date with your DH.

I am sorry you do not have a relationship with your DIL.  It does appear, however that your DS is trying to continue to forge a relationship with you which is a positive in all of this. 

Yes, I was in disbelief the first time I realized she was waiting in the car while he came in. At that time I still thought the relationship we had with her was just fine, so her behavior gave me pause. I agree, hopefully we can continue to have a relationship with son. I had no relationship with my MIL, but I never kept husband and children from visiting with her. Hopefully DIL will do the same.

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For what it’s worth.....do you want a relationship with your future grandchild? Mother and Father are portals to the grands.

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4 minutes ago, annierobyn said:

For what it’s worth.....do you want a relationship with your future grandchild? Mother and Father are portals to the grands.

And we hope to maintain a relationship with our son, the father, who will likely allow us access to the granddaughter. If, however, DIL decides to cut us off, there is nothing we can do. They are the parents and it's their right to decide who has access to their child. But since I was mature enough to not prevent a relationship between our kids and their paternal grandparents just because we did not get along, I am hoping DIL will feel the same.

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.

2 hours ago, ConstanceS said:

Yes, I was in disbelief the first time I realized she was waiting in the car while he came in. At that time I still thought the relationship we had with her was just fine, so her behavior gave me pause. I agree, hopefully we can continue to have a relationship with son. I had no relationship with my MIL, but I never kept husband and children from visiting with her. Hopefully DIL will do the same.

Was it just a stop to drop off the gift and go or a long visit and she sat in the car the whole time?

 

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How did she earn your dislike? Do you have examples of things she has done? Or is more like she is not good enough? You wanted someone better for him? You don't like her hair color? She is too fancy  and she makes you uncomfortable? Or not fancy enough for you? I'm trying to figure out what she has done to merit disliking her. In my case I was too fancy because I didn't wear PJs out if the house like my mil,but now that we live with them she has seen me dirty and cleaning and has a huge smile on her face and she sits and talks to me,but if I look presentable she makes a sour face and looks at me from my head to my toes, so with her is my appearance that bothers her.

 

Edited by Whiteroses

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9 minutes ago, Whiteroses said:

 

.

Was it just a stop to drop off the gift and go or a long visit and she sat in the car the whole time?

 

It was an unexpected drop-in from son on the way to spend Christmas at her parent's house. 

5 minutes ago, Whiteroses said:

How did she earn your dislike?

 

With her behavior toward us.

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MIL here. I would go. Since you've been ignored in the past at events with DIL's family.  I would go with  reasonable expectations of being ignored. But so what=  Actually that might be a good thing.  There is no way your DIL will be out and out rude or verbally abusive.  . It sounds to me like your DIL is passive aggressive.  If she really has been badmouthing you to her family, there is no way she'd want to appear the problem and take the blame away from you.   I'd be polite.  The perfect guest.  I would stay just long enough to appear polite. 

 I would do it for my son and future grandchild, not for DIL.  Plus I think a person can put up with just about anything for a few hours. I wouldn't expect my going to earn me better treatment from her in the future.   But I would go  it for me, because I think it is the fight thing, for my son, and my future GC.

ETA you mentioned in another thread that your husband doesn't want to make any more efforts with DIL.  IF he was against this, I would reconsider.  My marriage is the most important thing.

Edited by skipped
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27 minutes ago, skipped said:

MIL here. I would go. Since you've been ignored in the past at events with DIL's family.  I would go with  reasonable expectations of being ignored. But so what=  Actually that might be a good thing.  There is no way your DIL will be out and out rude or verbally abusive.  . It sounds to me like your DIL is passive aggressive.  If she really has been badmouthing you to her family, there is no way she'd want to appear the problem and take the blame away from you.   I'd be polite.  The perfect guest.  I would stay just long enough to appear polite. 

 I would do it for my son and future grandchild, not for DIL.  Plus I think a person can put up with just about anything for a few hours. I wouldn't expect my going to earn me better treatment from her in the future.   But I would go  it for me, because I think it is the fight thing, for my son, and my future GC.

ETA you mentioned in another thread that your husband doesn't want to make any more efforts with DIL.  IF he was against this, I would reconsider.  My marriage is the most important thing.

I completely agree, my marriage does have to come first.

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1 hour ago, ConstanceS said:

It was an unexpected drop-in from son on the way to spend Christmas at her parent's house.

29 minutes ago, ConstanceS said:

I completely agree, my marriage does have to come first.

Ask DH if he needs you to stay home with him instead of attending, if it matters that much to him what you do for a short hour or so? Ask your son if it matters to him if you attend his baby shower for an hour vs staying home with DH? I think you can figure out what to do based on those 2 questions. I'd still likely go, even with the further information, if our son wanted me to. I think my husband has enough activities he could fill that hour, just my opinion.

The staying in the car? How much time was involved in this drop-off? We drop stuff off on porches often, no problem for me for a 2 minute stop. Admittedly I have loose standards.

 

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Clarification- My marriage is important to me.  I said I would reconsider. Not do exactly what he says.   I would consider his opinion because it matters to me.  Also  The thing is in our family, my husband has a much better "social sense" than I do.    I would trust his opinion in this situation.  

You are already on the fence.  If I'm on the fence my husband can "nudge" me one way or the other.  If I'm far from the ledge he can't shove me and make me do something I totally think is wrong.

 

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Also, if I continued to have a relationship with this difficult DIL, against the wishes of my husband, I sure as heck wouldn't complain about her to him EVER!!!

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34 minutes ago, JanelleK said:
34 minutes ago, JanelleK said:

Ask DH if he needs you to stay home with him instead of attending, if it matters that much to him what you do for a short hour or so? Ask your son if it matters to him if you attend his baby shower for an hour vs staying home with DH? I think you can figure out what to do based on those 2 questions. I'd still likely go, even with the further information, if our son wanted me to. I think my husband has enough activities he could fill that hour, just my opinion.

The staying in the car? How much time was involved in this drop-off? We drop stuff off on porches often, no problem for me for a 2 minute stop. Admittedly I have loose standards.

I happen to agree with my husband, so it's a moot point. We are going to send a generous gift, but we are not going to attend.

The drop-off was a stop on the way to DIL's parent's house for Christmas, which they celebrate with them every year. I really don't see how it would have been a problem for DIL to come in with son and quickly wish us a Merry Christmas. But maybe that was too much to expect.

1 minute ago, skipped said:

Clarification- My marriage is important to me.  I said I would reconsider. Not do exactly what he says.   I would consider his opinion because it matters to me.  Also  The thing is in our family, my husband has a much better "social sense" than I do.    I would trust his opinion in this situation.  

You are already on the fence.  If I'm on the fence my husband can "nudge" me one way or the other.  If I'm far from the ledge he can't shove me and make me do something I totally think is wrong.

 

 

It's not a matter of "doing what he says", but taking his pov into consideration and agreeing with him.

6 minutes ago, skipped said:

Also, if I continued to have a relationship with this difficult DIL, against the wishes of my husband, I sure as heck wouldn't complain about her to him EVER!!!

Neither my husband nor I have a relationship with her, so that's not an issue. I do thank all of you for weighing in on this situation, it has helped me think and consider different points of view. Best wishes to all of you.

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