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Avatar universal

Please offer an opinion and help!

We are in our 60’s, got married last year after living together 13 years, have no children together, and the four we do have are all adults and married/in relationships.   Father’s Day has always been low key since our own father’s passed away because none of our kids celebrate it, including no cards or gifts for my husband (same with Mother’s Day for me.)    In the past we sometimes got together with some of our siblings but this year everyone was busy.   My husband’s mother called and said she felt bad no one was getting together, so my husband decided to have a barbecue at our house.  I was not feeling well due to some shots from the doctor and an upcoming radiation scan for cancer, and I was on a limited diet in preparation.   I made food for everyone but couldn’t taste the food I was making.   At the last minute one of my husband’s sons and his girlfriend decided to come but we had to all eat early because they needed to leave;  his other son and family (4 kids) were not coming.   About a half hour before we were going to eat the son & wife and their 4 kids showed up so I had to run to the store quick to get more food;  we had supper ready and ate by 4:00 p.m. but the two who needed to leave early left without even eating.

My husband’s birthday if July 6.   Because half of the family will not be around we had decided to have a barbecue a couple of weeks after the 6th so everyone could come.   Instead we planned  to go to our cabin to finish work we started the end of May.  Again my husband’s mother felt bad we weren’t having a barbecue on the weekend of the 4th, so he decided we should have his mother, sister and niece over anyway – coming back from the cabin early to have a barbecue.   The next morning he said he found out his one brother would be home alone and we should include him.  That evening he said he mentioned to the neighbors about the weekend of the 4th some time ago so they too should be invited.   He also said he might have mentioned it to his other son with the four kids.   This barbecue went from zero because we weren’t having one, to 5, then 6, 8, and 14+.   Today I said if the son with the 4 kids are invited they should bring a dish to pass and if they want anything other than pop or water to drink they should bring their own.   I was told that this was unfair.   Remember these are people who never let you know whether or not they are coming:  last year they were invited to 3 barbecues at our house (including our outdoor wedding reception) and did not come to any - and did not say whether they were or were not.   This year they said they weren’t coming to Father’s Day and showed up anyway.   6+ additional people makes a big difference.   My husband screamed at me today that I was causing him terrible stress.  I thought I was being fairly accommodating with all the changing plans….Can someone please explain to me how I am the one causing the stress?

17 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi there.  Well, please don't fight over this.  It sounds important to your husband to have an open door invitation for his kids and other important family members.  

Are you going through cancer treatment?  I'm so sorry if you are as that is grueling!

What you can do instead of fighting over this is to tell him that you feel overwhelmed.  You hate not having enough food and are tired right now so that the preparation for this feels like a lot.  What can HE do to help?  Well, he himself can go to the grocery if they show and there isn't enough food and get some things from the deli.  Or he can be in charge of some of the food altogether.  

Pick your battles.  That his son is inconsiderate is kind of a sad thing for your husband (and yes, irritating to you,.).   But this is what it is.  This is their relationship.  You've lived with him for a long time.  This probably isn't anything new.  But it may feel different now if you are battling getting well from a serious illness.  I would just get your husband more involved in the parts that you feel are overwhelming when it is his family involved.

I do this with my husband.  He is one of 7 kids and about 2 million cousins.  He wants to do various things with them and at times, I'm stressed by it.  I say to him "okay.  but this is your deal so you take care of getting X to take or X ready for when they come over."  Works out great when I relinquish the part that I don't love (the stressful parts) to him.  all are happy!

Pick your battles.  His family is important to him and while you can see that they aren't so great in terms of how they treat their dad, it's what he is used to and still important to him.  So, just do it for your husband.  peace
3149845 tn?1506627771
Well we can thank God that these get togethers  dont happen very much. I got stressed out just reading your post :(.
With large families this is bound to happen. I have 2 twin sister who each have 4 children and this same always happens to us when planning a get to gether. It all starts off sounding like fun with good ole times but then the reality sets in.
Its not you causing the caos its the nature of these family get to gethers.
Avatar universal
Hi. First of all, I'm so sorry to hear you're going through cancer treatment. I hope you're going to be ok and I have so much respect for you to still be able to go on with daily living while dealing with that. I wish you the best in health.

Secondly, I'm just wondering, when you guys have these big get togethers at your house, doesn't everyone bring something also to share? I have always been taught since I was very young by example that my parents always brought a dish or a bottle of wine or some flowers to whomever was throwing the party because it would be considered rude to show up empty handed. All of my friends since I've gotten older have had the same upbringing, and whenever we go to each others' houses we always bring something food related or at least a bottle of wine. It's kind of a foreign concept to me to show up expecting to be fed and beveraged by your hosts, no matter if its family or friends.

Is there any way to change that in your family? I suppose it is a question of etiquette to ask for people to bring something but how is that any less etiquette friendly than showing up with nothing? Do you know what I mean?

This also reminds me of the time about 10 years ago when I was trying to organize a surprise party for my mom but I can't cook ( well, I can but no one would want to eat it, lol) so when I was inviting her friends I told them it was a potluck and asked if they would like to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert? I think I also had a honey baked ham and some Italian beef sandwiches catered too. I only got flak from one person about asking her friends to provide the food but everyone else really got into it and it worked out really well. I'm more of a meeting planner than a chef so it was great!

Anyways, if you can make the next get together a potluck that would take the majority of the burden off of you and it would give everyone else a chance to take some initiative to help you out. Do you think that would work?
Avatar universal
His family is important to him, as is mine.   But it is hard for me because his kids use him.   We have paid appx. $2000 in jail fines for one of his boys and purchased a car for him to get him started in the right direction.  We paid $3000 for the other son to build a greenhouse for his business which is now rotting on our land.   It's like the more we do, the more they expect.    But never a thank you to their dad, never a Xmas or Father's day gift or card on his birthday.   And no respect.   My husband feels that when his kids come out for a meal you provide everthing.   I was raised that when you go to someone's house you bring a dish to pass or the host's choice of drink, even if not asked.    I am just not used to rude behavior from people who are always looking for financial help and never say bother to say thank you.   I feel bad at how my husband is treated by his own kids.
Avatar universal
To share the prep, shopping or cooking would be great.   But my husband doesn't do that.   I was raised, too, to bring a dish even if not asked, and bring my own drinks and/or the host's favorite.   But my husband says I can't push my standards on his kids.   That's the gray area for us - I think it's only respectful to give a birthday card or bring a dish;  my husband has said he's afraid his kids will not come out if he asks them to bring or do something.    They didn't speak to him for 10+ years after his divorce; when we first started dating he had been divorced 7 years and even as adults his kids wouuld leave disgusting messages on the answering machine, steal things out of the garage, etc.   He said he is afraid of 'losing' them again if he doesn't accept whatever they say or do.  I feel terrible for him and it is really hard to just sit and watch.
4522800 tn?1470325834
Hi lynnie. I am new over in this area. I belong to another one on MH. I just wanted to let you know I am sorry to hear about you going through the cancer treatment. My Mom has been dealing with this for over 5 years.
Respect can not be bought like a Bouquet of Flowers and some Respect is what you deserve right now! Theses treatments take alot out of you too. If I was part of your family I would be helping you.I help my mom but the rest of the family can give a rats ash. They are users and self centered. I would talk with your Hub next time and differently make it a Pot-Luck. Just let him know that you can deal with the stress and all of this the way you feel right now. Maybe even have a talk with the Kids and tell them how you feel about helping them and not even getting a Thank You. We ALL are not on this Earth forever and the time spent should be very Loving, Caring, Sharing and Respectful!!! I sure wish you the best.
Bless
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi.  It does sound hard.  The issue is that your husband is accepting this as to him, it IS a relationship of sorts.  It will hurt him for you to point out all the flaws of his children and how they take advantage of his love and generous nature.  That would not be worth hurting him by making this clear.  If he has the money to give them (and yes, it's yours too . . .) and he feels good inviting them over occasionally and feeding them, then let him have this.  It's a gift to be loving enough of your husband to support him in doing what he does to feel like a father to his kids.  If HE complains, then you listen and can speak frankly with him but it will go badly if you just make him feel bad for the way his kids treat him.  He deep down probably already feels bad.  That's life.  This is the relationship HE has carved out with his kids and it is what it is.  

It sounds semi infrequent.  I'd just put the responsibility on him by letting him know that you are not feeling well, are stressed, and it is a LOT for you to handle to have company over.  Then you just can smile and help HIM entertain his kids rather than you being the one to feel like you are doing the work yourself.  

I've had to S uck it up with my husband's family many a time for HIS sake.  I love him and want him to feel good about his family.  Even if they aren't perfect, he loves them.  I feel it is my duty to support that.  Doesn't mean I have to stress over it.  I just have to allow him to do what he needs to do with a smile on my face not giving him grief about it.  

Does that make sense?
2217782 tn?1394363972
Hello there Lynnie,

I'm so sorry to hear you have to to through all of this whilst dealing with treatment and trying to continue life as normal.

It sounds as if your husband loves his children very much, but they are all too aware of that. You're right, they are using him and they are taking advantage of his fear of losing them. I think, that as a couple in your 60s, you and your husband should be the one getting phone calls and invites to family partys, not the ones throwing them!

You can see he's being used, and I'm sure to a degree your husband knows to. The family dynamics are all wrong. Regardless of divorce, he should be loved and respected by his children, not the go to guy whenever they need bailed out of trouble. This must be so frustrating to watch your partner be mistreated like this but I think at the moment anything you said to him would be taken as criticism unfortunately, even though you only want what's best.
All you can do is support him and hope that if he does open up about the situation, you can tell him truthfully how you see things. But that does not mean having to run around playing the hostess with the mostest for his kids!  Partys are hectic enough in small numbers, but when the people invited are unreliable and she up empty handed, its plain rude and inconsiderate.

I agree with the others. Hard as it may be to watch your husband be treated like this, you have to put yourself first. He seems willing to put up with them, but you are not (quit rightly!), so he can bear the burden on shopping and catering for these get togethers. You could tell him you respect his decision but that you are finding it very stressful, that you wont be very involved at all in the preparation of these parties but that you are there for him.

Also, are you close with his mother? Perhaps you could explain this all to her as she seems to be the one pushing and guilting him into having these parties? Or could she have a word with his kids? Would he resent you calling his mother? Just a thought.

Again I am sorry to hear your caught up in the middle of this. But do remember to put yourself first at the moment and focus on getting better as stress free as possible! I hope it all gets resolved for you soon!

My best wishes to you and your husband.
Avatar universal
Thank you very much.   Every little bit of insight helps.
2217782 tn?1394363972
Your welcome, keep us updated on how thing go if you can!
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Well, that is an interesting idea to talk to his mother.  You could try that.  I'd caution you to be a little careful with what you say so she doesn't get defensive or go to your husband saying "she doesn't like your kids!"  

Is any of this new by the way?  You've been with him for many years now even though you've only been married for one.  

I think the stress of illness and treatment can also play a role here.  That's a lot to deal with and any extra stress can push one over the line.  

peace
Avatar universal
You're right, this isn't new.    But I really hoped that our getting married  would somehow cement our commitment to each other.   Quite honestly this has been a miserable year, with things getting worse rather than better.   This is my 5-year cancer check/procedures, and I don't believe this is a stressful area for us - at least it hasn't been.   It just feels like since we got married the situation with his kids have just gotten worse.   One of the sons didn't come to our reception - hasn't to this day acknowledged the fact we finally got married.   This is the child who mentioned to one family member his father should have given him our home because he's the oldest, but then we had to go and get married.   It just seems like a whole lot of resentment from his kids.   And to be honest, anything we've done financially for the kids has been from us, but it's been my money - my husband is a hard worker but doens't have a solid bank account.   I never wanted to make that clear to his kids but maybe I should have....
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Question---  do you just want acknowledgment and appreciation from his kids?  Or would you rather not do the things you guys do for them?  
13167 tn?1327194124
4lynnie,  I certainly understand your frustration.    You're going through a serious health issue right now,  and adjusting to new married life and his adult children.

I think you should do pizza.  Catering for this crowd is difficult - and if you can get several large pizzas and a couple large bagged salads,  done and done.  

I understand that your husband wants to keep up with his adult kids,  and there was a lot of difficulty and estrangement in the past.  He's really trying to keep all his plates spinning,  and he can't do that if you're unhappy too.  

It's curious to me that his mother keeps being sad that no one is barbecueing,  so she tells him too rather than hosting something herself,  although she may be too frail.

So.  I think you should put out chips and salsa and cheese and crackers,  and whoever comes you count heads and order pizza and smile.  

It's a blessing,  even if his kids seem ungrateful,  that he's able to enjoy their company.  
13167 tn?1327194124
And meanwhile,  why don't you work on the kids (yours and his) being normal about sending cards on mother's and father's day?  That's kind of unusual - that out of 4 adults,  NO ONE acknowledges their parents.  Do they call?
Avatar universal
After 14 years I would just like one thank you, just once, from his kids.  
Avatar universal
They do not call on a regular basis.  Not even to wish a happy birthday.
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