Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Future in-laws want their fair share of holidays

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Our son and his girlfriend are approaching engagement. They live in the same city we live in.

The subject came up as to allocating holidays between their respective families. My husband and I are still together after 35 years. Her parents are divorced. Her mother lives within driving distance of us, and her father lives on the opposite coast.

We have always felt that the holidays should be allocated 50-50; every other year to his parents and half to her parents ... and that she and they would need to decide how to allocate her half.

Unfortunately, she sees it differently.

We don't want this to cause any sort of a rift between us and her, or our future in-laws, but we don't exactly know how to handle it without just giving in. Giving in would leave us feeling as though we're being punished for staying married (which at times we had to do the HARD WORK to accomplish).

We LOVE our son's girlfriend and are very much in favor of their relationship.

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Is there any kind of normal expectation in today's divorce-rich society? We'd really like to know what is considered reasonable in this situation.

-- Devoted and Caring Parents

Dear Devoted: Here is the holiday norm for adult children in our "divorce-rich" society: Exhaustion, frustration, and the very opposite of that "holiday spirit," as they race back and forth between constituencies of parents, all of whom love them very much, but many of whom become like demanding toddlers fighting over a sticky candy cane on Christmas morning.

You wonder if "giving in" to this young person's reality would mean that you are being punished for putting in the hard work of staying together. I wonder if you have a clue, or could even imagine, how this sentiment sounds to the child of divorced parents, or to divorced people themselves.


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