Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

When family ties differ... how to handle it?

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Without going into too many specifics, here is the basic family outline: my parents are still happily married, I still have all my grandparents around, and a very large extended family I know well. FI's situation is the opposite - his parents divorced when he was little, and he stayed with his dad while his 2 older sisters went with his Mom. She remarried after a few years. His dad passed away when he was about 18, and the rest of the family engulfed FI with legal battles over things. He basically had to drop almost everything he knew, so there was a lot of tension and bad feelings for a long time. He has a semi-good relationship with his mom and stepdad now, and somewhat ok with his sisters - all only because he basically told them to never bring any of that up again or they'd never hear from him again. His mom and sisters are close, but he's not close to them by any means. He's closest to his grandparents who lived nextdoor and helped raise him, and he still helps them out a lot, but I think there are some tensions there too. He never sees or talks to any extended family - if he does, it's at his grandparents when people drop by or something.

He's great with my family, and comfortable around all of them. Even went over there without me to ask their blessing, without me or them knowing, which shows a lot of ease. But I, on the other hand, really don't have a relationship with his family. His mom is nice, and I'm pretty comfortable around her. But I've met his sisters only twice, and they're basically just cordial to me. We'd never "hang out" or anything, and I don't know what I'd do if I ever had to sit and make conversation with them. They're not outright rude, but they just look down on me, and have always treated him like a child, so think how they would view me. I'm not intimidated by any means - I just have no relationship or desire to have one with them. He's got a stepbrother who's married too, who I've met in passing only once.

FI and I were discussing this over the weekend, and he thinks that if there are wedding showers, his side of the family just shouldn't be involved (haha, he's pretty black and white
). I tried to explain that usually the 2 sides of the family have separate ones if numbers are big enough, but in his situation, it'd only be 5-6 people (his mom, 2 sisters, niece, step-sister-in-law (does the invite extend that far??), and grandma) to add to a shower, so I'd guess there'd only be one shower and they'd be invited. His grandma can't even get out of the house, so she probably wouldn't come. I'd like his Mom to come, a lot actually. But not his sisters, and I don't think they'd want to come either. But they're the type that would anyway, just because they're "supposed to" then talk through their teeth about things.

Very same thing goes for the wedding itself - I only want people there who truly support us, but I can't just not invite them. Then when I do invite them, they'll probably actually come even though we all know neither wants to hang out at all.

I guess I already know the proper thing to do - invite them all, and if they don't make up any excuses not to come and actually do come, just be cordial, say a few words, and move on to other people. Guess I'm really just looking for anyone in similar situations or experience/advice?

(ETA: Haha, sorry I ended up going into lots of detail anyway!
)
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
3,740
I''m not close to anyone on my father''s side. And we''re actually not going to invite one of my uncles. But because they''re family, the invite must go out. If they come, I''ll just say Hi, but not really dwell on it. It''s one of those just-deal-with-it-for-a-day situations. It sucks because you still have to pay for them, but there''s not much that you can do. Just hang out with your friends and family and stick them at a table with each other. That''s what I''m planning on doing.
 

lucyandroger

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
1,557
I just wanted to say that a lot of times happy occasions like weddings and births can bring families together that aren''t usually close. I would just invite the 5-6 people from you FIs family to the shower. You might be surprised how happy they are for you. This could be an opportunity to forge a new beginning and become a larger part of each other''s lives.
 

elrohwen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
5,392
I feel your pain. I''m not planning to invite my grandma and two uncles on my mom''s side (her only family) because, frankly, they''re just not nice people. They haven''t been rude to me really, but they''re constantly bringing my mom down to the point where she''s no longer talking to them (again; she didn''t talk to her mom for about 15 years straight, so this isn''t something new). I figured the only way they could find out about it is through my mom, who obviously isn''t telling them. Maybe we''ll send an announcement after the fact.

My case isn''t really the same as yours, but I thought I''d offer what I did! It definitely isn''t easy or fun, but I guess it''s something you just have to deal with. I may still invite my relatives and hope they can''t come (since they''re not getting STDs, I''ll hope they''re busy
)

With your large family, there''ll be so many people there that you won''t even notice the additions (I think this applies to your wedding and your shower).
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Thanks guys for the responses so far! I appreciate it.

lliang_chi - Same here, the invite must go out. Guess it''d be a good idea for us to have a seating chart if our formality allows it, huh?

lucyandroger - Thanks for your input! That''s definitely a good, hopeful thought to have. Don''t know if it''s possible, but FI and I are all about maintaining a positive outlook on all things whenever we can. So we''ll see! (PS cute kitties!!)
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Date: 3/16/2009 12:56:53 PM
Author: elrohwen
I feel your pain. I''m not planning to invite my grandma and two uncles on my mom''s side (her only family) because, frankly, they''re just not nice people. They haven''t been rude to me really, but they''re constantly bringing my mom down to the point where she''s no longer talking to them (again; she didn''t talk to her mom for about 15 years straight, so this isn''t something new). I figured the only way they could find out about it is through my mom, who obviously isn''t telling them. Maybe we''ll send an announcement after the fact.

My case isn''t really the same as yours, but I thought I''d offer what I did! It definitely isn''t easy or fun, but I guess it''s something you just have to deal with. I may still invite my relatives and hope they can''t come (since they''re not getting STDs, I''ll hope they''re busy
)

With your large family, there''ll be so many people there that you won''t even notice the additions (I think this applies to your wedding and your shower).
Hehe good idea!!


Yeah FI''s family hasn''t been rude to ME directly, but they hardly even look at me when we''ve met before. He''s said they both are judging us because he''s older than me (38 vs 24). His Mom is really nice to us both, and she''s very happy for us. His grandma''s in her 90''s and just old. Like your situation, this one isn''t a new situation either. This was years and years ago when everything went down. But FI can''t ever completely forget everything they hatefully did to him. I hate it for him - no one should have to go through what he did, especially with your own flesh and blood. I wish I could just invite his Mom, but she''s close with his sisters, so that''s not doable.

Yeah I think the numbers would be large enough for them to just disappear in the crowd. We may even do a co-ed shower, so that''d make it even easier. FI likes his sister''s husband and their kids, so maybe that''s a good idea. I like the kids too. I also like his mom and stepdad a lot, but then again, I wasn''t around for all the drama, so I don''t have the inner feelings really. I just know them now, which is how I mainly view them.
 

panda08

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Messages
797
I totally hear you about only wanting people who support your guys to attend your wedding. It''s an expensive affair, whether it''s big or small, and it''s hard to spend $$$ on people you don''t really want there. Sadly, sometimes, in these types of occasions, in order to avoid family drama, you just gotta grin and bear it. Lucy has a point and inviting them may help develop the relationships. But if you want to put your foot down and not invite certain people, I''d whole-heartedly support that. It''s your day. It''s not a license to act like a bridezilla but you deserve to surround yourself with people you love and who love you and not have to share the moment with people who are basically strangers.
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
2,949
Sorry that you are dealing with all of this. Personally, I would either invite them to the shower or I would see if the four of you could either go get lunch or take lunch to his grandmother as an alternative shower. Or, would it make it more comfortable opening it up to his stepdad and other males on his side? If so, you could do a his and hers shower. That might also get enough people there to have a his side and a your side shower.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Showers are optional. If you want them there, have your host invite them. If you don''t... don''t worry about it. Maybe THEY''LL throw you a shower? You never know.

I know it is hard to forget when people aren''t nice to you... but this is your special time. I''d invite everyone, so as not to create a rift in the future. Let your FI be your guide. Every family has skeletons, some just hide them better than others. So it is better to know what you are getting into beforehand.. right?

Hugs... enjoy this. THis is your engagement, you are planning YOUR wedding. In the end, it is yours and your FIs marriage. You never know, after sharing in your joy when you get married, and watching you two build upon your happiness... the love may grow, and they may warm up to you.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107

Heeee I just noticed I made my 1000th post!


panda08 - Thanks for the support! Yeah I''m typically one to always stand up for myself, but I''ll avoid drama when it''s in family or situations I''ll be in in the future, just not to burn bridges or create future awkwardness. This would probably fall under one of those umbrellas, since it''s family. But we''ll still see - something FI and I have been adamant about is surrounding ourselves that day, especially during the ceremony, with only people who support and love us. We''re actually considering a private ceremony with maybe just my parents, my brother, and his mom/stepdad. Then invite everyone to the reception.


katamari - Hehe, I don''t think a lunch at his grandma''s house with just his mom and sisters will ever happen.

It''s a very nice thought, but we are so far from ever even considering something like that. I''ve only met his grandma once as well. Anyway, I do think, like you said, that it may be easier if we open it up to men and women - probably would make it more comfortable. I do have a question though - when you do that, do you only invite family/close friends and their spouses? Because otherwise we''d invite all the wedding guests to the shower.


tlh - Thanks for your input too! Yeah this is certainly a family situation that I know FI will never fully forget. He''s been through so much, and with FAMILY. But I try not to hold grudges. He hasn''t held any skeletons from me, which is exactly why I think I have a hard time wanting to get close to his side of the family. Plus they just act like they don''t want to get to know me anyway. Thank you so much for your support and kind words - they are very nice to hear!!

 

galvana

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 4, 2008
Messages
884
I am in almost an identical situation. You just need to try and do the right thing .................. its not always easy
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
I really think that whether you can get away with not inviting them depends on who else is invited. If you''re having a very intimate wedding with a small # of guests, and/or a shower that is the same, I really think it would be OK (especially if that''s what your FI wants - its really his call, as they are his family).

I know a lot of people think that joyous events are supposed to bring out the best in people and bring family together, but I have two family members that were dreadful at and around my wedding, and I''m still barely speaking to one and not at all to the other. Given, there were lots of underlying issues, but the wedding made things worse, not better, and while it was still an amazing and joyful day for me and DH and those who love us, I honestly think it might have been better had these individuals not been there.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
iloveprincesscuts - Thanks. Yeah I usually do end up choosing the easiest road and doing the right thing. So are you inviting the ones in your situation?

AmberGretchen - Thanks for the advice. Yeah if we do something small, I guess that would make it easier to just make it more intimate and not invite them, huh? And I guess I should ultimately leave it up to FI. He just doesn''t really give a flip about "etiquette" - not that we have to follow everything to the T, and we''re certainly already not... but he is very black and white with things just based on what he wants. I have to sometimes explain to him that I''m not leaning this way or that just because "you''re supposed to," but because it''s the right thing to do. I tend to take the easiest road, and he really doesn''t care - he wants to do what is best for us only. So we just have to talk about them and find ground we''re both comfortable with.

Yeah I don''t think these people would be the happiest people there by any means. They''re not ones to stir up things in public, but they''re also ones that like to talk between their teeth while they grin like they''re happy to be there, talking about how much trouble something was, etc. There are lots of old, underlying issues with that family too, which is the main reason they''re not that close. Definitely something to think about, that you would possibly consider not having those people there.
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
FI''s middle sister actually invited him and I to come meet her for dinner one night. She just closed on a new house, so he offered to help her move. She''s just really "moody" as he describes it. Today was a good day. But usually she won''t even answer the phone or call him back, for days. I just thought it was interesting that she called him. So we''ll see.
 

Maisie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
12,578
When Gary and I got married I really didn''t want his dad there. He has been really abusive to me in the past but I tried to put that aside so that we might make a new start.

We even asked him to video the ceremony for us so he would feel involved. That was a huge mistake. He really messed up the video, missing crucial parts of the ceremony and just zooming in and out for no reason. I can''t remember much about the wedding to begin with as I was unwell at the time. It would have been nice to have a video that we could watch.

Needless to say when we renew our vows next year he won''t be invited!

I understand where you are coming from and I hope that you can find some way to keep everyone happy.. mainly you and your FI! Its your day and I want you to enjoy it!
 

luvthemstrawberries

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
2,107
Hey Maisie - thanks for your story and advice - I really appreciate it. That stinks about the video - I agree with why you wouldn''t want him there at the renewal. Thank you for the kind words - I honestly don''t want to look back with any negative memories that I can help (I realize some may be out of my control), so I guess we need to figure out if we''d be ok with people like that there or not - if things go badly, I''d know it''s because we chose to invite them in the first place. I want to enjoy it too!
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top