I've seen your other post(s) about your in-laws issues and something that really stands out to me and seems very strange, is that nothing about your FIL's drinking was mentioned for pages and pages of posts on the other threads. So many people were disagreeing with you and giving you advice you didn't want to hear and then all the sudden you threw in the "my FIL likes to drink", and now all of the sudden "my FIL is an alcoholic". Is seems very strange to me as if it is just another thing you are using as an excuse for their behavior because you cannot accept that it just may be a preference. They may prefer the company of you BIL and SIL and be more comfortable in their home, absent of alcohol or all of the "stuff". You said that even when you had a queen sized be they still didn't stay and they didn't stay or visit more when you were a sahm. I think you just cannot let go of it and you have to have a reason; alcohol, smoking, pool, because it could never be that they are just prefer being with your BIL and SIL.
I guess my best explanation - or attempt to explain that - is that sometimes FIL and MIL have put this all in the context of the alcoholism (if however briefly) and sometimes DH has too.
And most of the time, I hear excuses like the ones I stated earlier: the furnishings, the fact that I work and SIL is a stay at home mom (that's a quote from MIL) which floored me which was sort of the genesis of the discussion. It's not that I am perceiving these things. These are excuses actually said by MIL and FIL, mostly MIL. Things actually said to us.
Anyway, to answer your question, I didn't want to divulge ALL personal information, I guess. But obviously the alcoholism is a factor.
See, I think that if FIL had his choice, he wouldn't visit the other grandchildren or his other son as much as he does. But he isn't allowed to stay home by himself for a week, apparently. MIL once flew out for a visit by herself, and DH was called in an emergency because FIL fell off the wagon during his time alone and was in need of major help to the point of perhaps needing to go to the emergency room. So, ironic as it was, SIL needed help so MIL flew out to help, and even though MIL had never helped us, my DH ended up using his very, very limited vacation time to then go down and babysit FIL until MIL was able to fly back home....leaving me and my baby by ourselves. We've had situations like that before. In that instance, SIL needed help and I understood. But it does seem like we are always side-stepped or stepped on when it comes to MIL and FIL.
So, ever since then, FIL does not stay home for longer than a day or so by himself.
And since FIL doesn't like to travel, he almost never comes to our house, which means that MIL usually stays about 4 hours. She would stay longer if it weren't for FIL.
So basically, she makes FIL fly out with her because otherwise she can't go. But she doesn't make him come with her to see us because she can come for a few hours. That's the biggest reason it's so skewed.
Now, if MIL really wanted to, she could make FIL come, but she doesn't want to. If MIL really wanted to, she could stay longer and bring FIL with her, but, again, she doesn't.
There are other issues. FIL has always been uncomfortable in my house, even when we had a queen size bed. I am the daughter of an alcoholic and I've never understood why they let him drink and pretend he can handle it. I have never said anything, but I do not have alcohol in my home when he comes nor do I serve him alcohol. DH does not like when his father gets drunk, and I don't blame him.
Also, FIL is a big smoker and I have a child with asthma and allergies so I do not allow smoking in my home, not that I did before DS arrived anyway. No smoking in my home. So FIL is made uncomfortable by that too.
I don't know - there are other things too. I am not sure how often FIL drinks at home. I know he drinks excessively and hides it, and has had to go to detox more than once, but I am not sure if he drinks constantly, all day long to get through the day and then when he comes to our house, he goes through withdrawal? I'm just not sure.
I've never seen him sober and relaxed for that long of a period in quite a few years. He had a period of complete sobriety for a couple of years, then he started drinking alcohol for meals and stuff with MIL, which shocked me at the time, and now he's had full blown episodes again.
ALso, FIL feels remorse about being an alcoholic when his children were young. DH never talks about it nor makes his dad feel bad about it. BIL has issues. So FIL (and perhaps MIL) try to make up for it, and compensate/over-compensate a bit.
MIL probably does prefer SIL. I think both MIL and FIL prefer their other son. He's quite successful and they are very proud of him. FIL has had a few run-ins with relatives about that, when he's been drinking, about how his son (BIL) has made so much of himself and done so well. I think BIL makes FIL (and MIL) feel like there were good parents. DH, well, not so much. MIL used to apologize to me for things she did when raising DH that she felt might have contributed to issues in our marriage. She's not done that recently, but she has in the past. FIL took me aside a few times, years ago, and said he did not like how the kids were raised and disagreed with MIL at the time they were making parenting decisions. He said he feared DH would be lazy, which he sort of is, and FIL apologized for that.
So, given conversations MIL and FIL had with me early on in my marriage, it is quite a drastic change to the sorts of things I hear now about why they can't visit.
It's complicated. Very, very complicated. What I think is that FIL and MIL are much more comfortable with BIL and SIL for a multitude of reasons, and some of those include the nice pool, warmer climate, and furnishings.
That doesn't mean something can not change. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe things will be different if FIL passes away? Or if he sobers up again? Or he gets over his aversion to travel. Or MIL makes him to travel to see us as she makes him travel to fly across the country for the other grandkids. Or if they move to be closer to BIL/SIL and then have to fly to see us, if they'd even do that. Things could change as life develops.
As I said earlier and in other posts, I try very hard to be compassionate toward FIL and acknowledge his disease, but it's difficult when we are side-stepped or stepped on.
FIL and MIL can't be bothered to visit or be fair or help, but it has always been DH who FIL calls when he falls off the wagon to talk him back on. It's like they reserve the serious for us, and the fun for BIL/SIL.