Traveling In-Laws Cause Stress for Me and My Husband
Dear Annie: My husband is 68, and I am 66. He has two boys, and I have one, all fully grown and out on their own with children and even grandchildren.
Recently, my husband and his youngest, "Thomas," had a talk about how little time his son spends with us or any other family member. Thomas has a wife and children, and they are a busy family. A lot of the things they do we are unable to do, due to health issues. We've invited them out to dinners, but they just aren't interested. I won't go into all the excuses given.
What I would like to know is what I can do to help my husband with his son's decision to not spend time with us or other family members. It really gets to him that he chooses friends and his animals over him. I tell him not to worry about it, but I know he does.
We live in a rural area and there isn't much around to do, especially in the winter. Any advice? -- Lost in PA
Dear Lost in PA: The fact that Thomas even engaged in this conversation is promising. It means that he cares.
Given Thomas' busy schedule, your husband might need to initiate. Rather than inviting them out to dinner, why don't you and your husband drive over and offer to cook them a meal?
They might not share any hobbies, and they might not have much time to spare -- but everyone's gotta eat.
Dear Annie: I've been with my husband for 10 years, and my husband's parents are wonderful people. They graciously host holidays; they offer to let us stay in their beautiful home each time we visit; and best of all, they are eager to see and spend time with us.
They are recently retired, and we both work full time. This sometimes leads to us denying their offers to spend time together as work doesn't always allow us to do so. We live about five hours away from them, so it's not an easy daytrip.
While we love to spend time with them, we have had to deny visits due to work-schedule conflicts. They respond to our denial by revealing that they already have lodging and are coming to visit regardless. If we deny them again, they pay cancelation fees on pre-booked lodging. If we allow it, then they stand around bored, waiting until the end of our shifts for us to be "ready." It's simply not good timing for us, and we can't host them well.
Additionally, my husband and I are introverted and while we love them, hopping into conversation and attentive family hosting right after work is awfully exhausting.
I understand they have more free time with retirement and want to see us, but how do we stop them from making plans without an affirmative "yes"? -- Yes, Please
Dear Yes, Please: If your in-laws are coming to see you, you and your husband must be included in the planning process for these trips.
The next time you see your in-laws, simply tell them that whether their next trip is in a few weeks or months down the line, you'd rather know early so you can put it on your radar. This ensures that no one is disappointed, spending unnecessary money or feeling stressed during what should be a fun visit, and that you'll truly be able to make the most of your time together.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.