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Should I stay or should I go.

Started by confusedbyinlaws, April 24, 2013, 09:59:19 am

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My husband's parents moved across country about 1 ½ years ago, not long after I tried to have a frank talk with them about my feelings that caused a big blowup between us.  Since that time, I did apologize for hurting them in that way and a year later they wrote a letter apologizing to me for causing me pain.  Yet I still feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, not feeling good about staying away but wanting to protect myself and do what is good for me.  I have declined going to visit them so far and my husband has gone to visit twice without me.  I have gone back and forth in my mind about re-establishing a relationship with them and can't decide whether or not to join him on his next visit.   I thought writing down the pros and cons of going would help me decide.  However there are compelling reasons for both.    What do you think I should do? 

Reasons to go:
1.   They say that they want me to come and want to have a relationship with me and I don't want to hurt their feelings
2.   It might help me achieve closure or peace with them.
3.    I might feel good about myself if I can be with them without giving up my power or feeling bad about myself.
4.   I would like to see my husband's brother and new family.
5.   I could do some sight-seeing  in New England.
6.   I worry about how other extended family will feel about me if I never go.
7.   It's expected of me.

Reasons not to go:
1.    I dread going.
2.   I could get hurt more.
3.   I could hurt them more.
4.   My husband enjoys time spent with them on his own and I believe they enjoy it that way too.  He is not pressuring me to go and in fact has said he has said I should go for me or not at all. 
5.   I would rather spend money on an airline ticket to see someone I miss and would love to see that I haven't been able to see.
6.   I could donate the money that would be used for my airline ticket to one of my grown kids, as I know my inlaws would like to see them.   
7.   It's expected of me.


My take is that the status quo is working for everyone. I would leave it that way and not beat myself up about it.
Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I don't know if it's working for everyone.   They say they miss me and hope I will come visit.  That's what I feel bad about.   If they were saying stay away, it would be easier to stay away and feel good about it.  It seems to be working for my husband.  It's working for me other than I feel guilty about not wanting to go. 


Just my take always, but I would appreciate that and not let it manipulate me. You know what works best.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


If you can't decide something, toss a coin and while it's in the air you will discover what side you are hoping it will land on .
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
            -- Michel de Montaigne


Quote from: freespirit on April 24, 2013, 11:35:59 am
If you can't decide something, toss a coin and while it's in the air you will discover what side you are hoping it will land on .

What a great idea Freespirit. Personally I would go along with Luise's suggestion.


I don't want to go but I feel like I am being unfair to my inlaws. I feel like they are just waiting for me to get over being angry.  They tell my husband they love me and miss me and want me to come.  I don't know for sure if that's how they feel because my MIL will always say what she thinks is the nice thing to say even if it's not how she really feels.  I feel like I should at least call them up and say why I am not coming, instead of just saying nothing and leaving them hanging.   But I feel like my being honest with them hurts them too.  I want to honor myself and my feelings but not at someone elses expense, even theirs. 
I am very confused about them and my feelings toward them.  They aren't horrible people, and I know that my own personality has been a big part of the problem and the building of the resentment that I haven't been able to let go.  I feel like I must care about them or else I wouldn't feel so angry toward them.  But I have mostly bad memories... not bad like traumatic but bad like just a nagging discomfort whenever I am around them.  So that's why I dread going.  But when I realize that a lot of the discomfort I felt was my own doing, I  feel like it could be better if I gave it another try. 
I suppose I am looking for a win-win situation.  It might be best for me to avoid them for the rest of my life, but that might not be what would feel best for them.  And also it might actually be best for me to go and find some sort of peaceful solution or closure with them.  Right now it just seems like things are left hanging in the air.  They are old and the opportunity might not be there forever.

Something someone else wrote on this site about how they got along with their DIL for years and then she suddenly flipped, got me thinking that this is probably how my inlaws feel.  Well it wasn't sudden from my perspective, it had been brewing for years and I had made an attempt to talk with them about the issues before but they seemed to let it all go in one ear and out the other.  It was really unfair for me to hold in my feelings for so much of the time with them and then let it out.  But now after so many years of bad history, I don't know what to do.  I don't know how to forget all the bad history and I know it will be hard to change patterns of relating that have gone on for so many years. 
How can I tell them it's just to hard for me to be around them right now and how do I tell them I don't know if that will change... without hurting them more.  Would it be kinder to say nothing and leave them hanging?  If you were in my inlaws shoes how would you feel?


My take (and it's always just that) is that you need to be true to yourself...not explain yourself.  You've told us, if I understand correctly, that you don't want to go. It's probably true that stepping back from being motivated by their expectations may be interpreted by them as hurtful...if they want you to be a people pleaser. What you have told us is you don't want to go. If standing up for yourself makes you unpopular...then it probably goes with the territory. Yes, there's a conflict. It sounds to me like you may want to take a stand and have that be OK with them. That may not be a reasonable expectation on your part. There are time when we take a stand...because we do.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hello, Just an idea - if you don't feel comfortable visiting with them, why not leave this visit go for now.  Perhaps if you want to bridge the rift with them, for your own sake, not because of what others think (who cares), try calling and chatting once every ........ and see how that goes and work up to it.  Expose your self to it a little at a time and see how it sits with you before jumping right into staying in their home where you might feel very uncomfortable (from what you have mentioned).  I wish you well with this. xo


Sometimes Status Quo works..  Only you can decide if it's working for you, and you shouldn't worry about what is working for others.  I know how hard the decision to turn down an olive branch is, but if you life is truly more peaceful and less stressful without them in it and your husband is fine with it... why change it?    That's  the realization I've come to.   



I think you are creating your own dilemma here.  Would you expect your ILs to say "Stay away!  We don't want you here!  We hate you!"  Maybe they sincerely miss you and sincerely want you to visit. Maybe they are just being polite.  Even if you asked them directly, you might not get a straight answer.  Geography now gives you an irreproachable excuse for keeping your distance.  Your husband visits on his own and you and he and the ILs seem to be ok with that.  Do you really want to rock the boat?  You could go and develop a close relationship with them or you could go and have an even bigger falling out.  Is it worth the risk?  Only you can answer that, but, for what it's worth, you come across to me as not really wanting to go.  It's not like if you don't go on the next visit you can NEVER visit them.   A year and a half isn't a whole lot of time to overcome a big falling out.  In your shoes I'd stay home.  Be polite and cordial from a distance.  If anyone tries to question you about why you dont visit, stick with the geography/financial excuse you have at your fingertips.  Let go of the guilt.

Good luck.


I like #4 for reasons to go.  I think right there lies your answer. :)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Thank you ladies for your input.  No I don't want to go and I just feel guilty for feeling that way. Luise you are right that I need to be true to myself first and not worry about making excuses or putting myself back into people pleaser mode.   Even though I don't miss them and my husband doesn't think I need to go, I feel like I should, but that's how I got so resentful in the first place is always doing what I should instead of what I want.  I just get afraid of becoming too selfish. 
Fangle, I appreciate your advice about trying some phone conversations first and seeing how that goes.  It's probably not a bad idea to test the waters first and it has already been established by my husband that if I do join him for a visit in the future, I won't be staying in their home.
Freespirit- Yes the coin toss tells me to stay.
Herbalescapes-I don't know how believable the geography and financial excuse will be because they know I could afford it, it's just that I really don't want to spend the money that way and I could get there if I really wanted to, but like Luise says it's ok to be true to myself withoutI  explaining myself of making an excuse.  It's just hard to shake the feeling that I am being a bad person who can't behave in a loving manner to my husband's parents. 
Pooh # 4 is the only reason that is the part of going that I actually want.  But I don't think I can go to see BIL and family without being pressured to see inlaws and without hurting them more than just staying away altogether.