Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Avoiding the in-laws isn't possible when they move across the street

Carolyn Hax on

Hi, Carolyn:

My husband is extraordinarily close with his siblings and parents. They visit with one another at least four times a week. I feel pressure to attend, but usually politely decline. This prompts questions about my whereabouts and "we never see you" comments.

Frankly, so much sweet togetherness freaks me out. I grew up in a small, introverted family with few gatherings and a whole lot of conflict. My parents moved us 4,000 miles away when the local family got to be too much. I have a sound relationship with my parents now and am perfectly happy with bimonthly visits.

So you can imagine my panic when I learned my parents-in-law are moving across the street from us.

My husband isn't thrilled, but acknowledges the home suits their needs. He has told them to keep their expectations low in terms of visits and home projects. One of my siblings-in-law may move to the neighborhood as well.

How should I set new boundaries now with dwindling excuses to miss a hangout? I feel I can only say no so many times before offending, and the excuse of being stuck at work won't cut it when I've been spotted reading in the neighborhood park.

 

I get along well with everyone; I'm just the only partner who needs this distance. The others happily join these regular gatherings.

I am fighting the urge to flee the area myself.

-- Good Fences Make Good In-Laws?

As much as I sympathize as a fellow introverted reader in the neighborhood park, I'm going with this as a good development.

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