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I’m sick of “maintaining” my DH’s family and friends.

post #1 of 16
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I’m not all that fond of my husband these days. Mostly, his work schedule is so bad that it affects our entire relationship and family and for the most part we are just waiting out this bad stage.

BUT, I need to vent because something has been driving me CRAZY!

My husband does not make an effort with his friends or family and always expects me to maintain the relationship. A little of this is okay with me (I don't mind remembering birthdays or sending thank you notes) but things are getting worse.

Today is a perfect example. An old family friend of HIS is visiting her sister in our area. She called and (with little notice) wanted to get together today. In the end, I asked my husband if he would mind going alone because I’ve got too much going on and, basically, going would put me over the edge. Anyway, he just told me that he canceled today saying that Aya, our daughter, and I are sick so all of us, including him aren’t coming. I’m really pissed!

What would you all do in this situation? I guess I’m doubly irritated because I have been maintaining all of MY friends and family with little effort from DH for quite a while, which is not easy because we moved away from everyone we know and I've been working hard a making new friends and keeping up the the old ones...plus I have a big family. On top of that, I help him stay focused on staying in consistent communication with his family and close friends.

I almost feel like saying, “This is not my problem…I don’t even know this woman…if he looks like a jerk, that’s his concern”. Problem is that I feel badly for what is happening here but the only way to help seems to perpetuate this thing about all our social/family life being my responsibility.

I know this is long but I can't help but add the two e-mails from today:

This is from me, last night: (isn't it reasonable, considering we've been getting on terribly?)

Would you be up for going by yourself tomorrow? It's 12:30 and I'm still up, stressed. I really can't do with another day of stress and still take good care of Aya plus I've got to make lunch for Mano tomorrow, which will mean 2 days with absolutely no time to myself. It would be nice if I didn'g have to go tomorrow. Besides, we aren't getting along very well anyway. Maybe you would like to have some fun by yourself.

Then this is what I wrote today after he wrote telling me he lied and said that I was sick and inculded a warning that the women may call today to "check" on me!:

We need to talk about this. This is NOT what I had in mind when I asked if you would mind visiting YOUR friend without me. Aya and are not sick and I don't feel like lying to Ruth or your mother when they call. Besides if we were sick that only seems like a good enough reason for US not to go, not you.
post #2 of 16
I can only offer what goes on in my life. Perhaps it will help?

DH is gone from the house 60-65 hours a week. That includes commute and work time. Sometimes he'll work 6 days a week. He agrees that he barely has time for just us.

All of our good friends and family live at minimum 2.5 hours away. I keep up with my family/friends via phone calls and email. DH occasionally calls his mom or brother and one good friend.

I used to encourage him to contact family members, etc., but was told to quit nagging him. So I did. I've let birthdays and other important dates pass without reminding him. He's a grown man. He'll remember what's important to him or not. (I will send MIL a birthday card, though, as I really like her as a friend!) He has started getting better, but it has taken several years.

Regarding the lying, DH once put me on the spot early on in our marriage. He lied to someone to get out of something, and expected me to back him up. I told him I would do it that ONE time, but to never, ever ask me to do it again. And he hasn't!

If it were his friend and something I wanted to do, I'd go. Otherwise I'd just say I was too busy to attend.
post #3 of 16
I used to think it was my job to keep things up with his family(who don't call or contact us), but Mark never calls or send letters, cards for birthdays, anything. I usually am the one (past 3 years) to get addresses for relatives, send birthday cards, etc...

I was the nag to, and ya know, he just doesn't want to be in contact wit them. So, I stopped stressing. It isn't my job to send these things, it's his. I keep up with the famiy members I want to in my family, nothing more.

Why do you feel it's your job to do this work?

I thought it was some kind of wifely duty. Probably from growing up and seeing my stepmom do it.

As for going with his friend tomorrow, I would call as soon as possible to cancel. Don't wait until the day of the meeting. That wouldn't look very good. As for him lying, not cool either, although I would back him up, and then give him the what's for about it for putting me in that position.

Life is so much less stressful without my need to keep up appearances and without me nagging him.
post #4 of 16
My dh is the same. He does not keep with with his friends and huge Italian family regularly. I tell people that I grew up POST feminism, and that means he and I share the family maintenence. So I keep up with my family, and he can keep up with his. I'm sick of pushing him to be in touch with his family and feeling like a nag. It's too much work for this busy grrrl!
post #5 of 16
Same here! Though I made it clear to his parents and siblings that it is his responsibility to keep contact, and to blame him if it doesn't happen. I know otherwise I would be blamed.

I don't even write the Christmas cards to his side.
post #6 of 16
Interesting thread! I have the same problem here, and basically am working on just giving up. Like another post said, I've finally realized that dh doesn't really care if he keeps in touch much with his family, so why should I? I'm not sure why I feel the responsibility (except that I KNOW MIL and SIL blame me for stuff, again, I'm working on getting over that).

It's been 10 years now, and I'm slowly getting there. All this frustrating real life stuff! Parenting, partnering, maintaining familial relationships with people you don't like, etc. It's maddening!
post #7 of 16
Colleen- hey woman

THAT is the exact reason I kept up on cards, birthdays, nagging at Mark to call his family, because I KNEW MIL was/ and is blaming me for Mark not calling or keep in touch.

The crazy thing is, THEY don't call or come see us either.

Well, MIL did, but that was to get more dirt on me to spread around :LOL
post #8 of 16
Yeah, mine don't really call much. or visit. especially SIL and family. MIL e-mails a lot and drops lots of hints. she's already supplied me with a x-mas list for grandma--whew! And her e-mail yesterday hinted heavily about her upcoming 60th b-day "lord knows I don't want a party, but I DO want a cake!!" whatever!
post #9 of 16
It is true that dh's family blame the wife. I heard my dh's family complaining that "well, you'd think sil would would want the kids to see thier grandparents." Like she has more responisbilty for bringing them to see her dh's parents than her dh.

So since I am NOT going to take on the work of his friends and family in addition to mine, I simply mentioned it in an e-mail mil sent asking if Jerm had recieved his birthday gift.
"Yep that came and he spent it all on CDs in just two trips!!! But since I'm (trying) not to be one of those women who play household secretary, he's in charge of his own receipt notices/thank yours"

Don't know if they still blame/expect me, but I feel off the hook.
post #10 of 16
OMG! That is another thing that irks me! His family will send GIFTS for Kailey and he will not call, ,write, or email a thank you. I don't know these people well or at all, so I feel it's HIS job to do this.

post #11 of 16
I was very up front with my dh about this from the get go. I wrote the thank yous for the wedding gifts for my side and he got to write them to his side. He's lousy about remembering dates and gifts, etc. When we get a new calendar every year, I take the old one and copy birthdays, anniversaries, etc. for both sides of our family onto it. From then on, it's up to him to look at the calendar, buy a card or gift, make a phone call etc. Mostly he doesn't, but I refuse to let that be my problem.

Early on in our marriage, my MIL started harping about how I needed to make sure dh remembered his brothers' birthdays. I set her straight on that one immediately. She still might think it's my responsibility, but she's been told that I'm not having any part of it.
post #12 of 16
I did that for awhile, and still do it for the sake of his family. But for the most part I've just found honesty to be the best thing. I just tell them, "I'm not sure why V hasn't called you back, I gave him all your messages." or "I'm not sure if he can come or not. He's been working a lot of hours and needs to do some things around our house. If you want here's his work number so you can call him and ask, and here's his email address too." Kinda put it back in dh's lap and make him look rude, not me.

As far as his family in India, I do most of that, out of love and obligation and because I know it makes them happy. Dh won't call unless he has a specific thing to ask about, and it just would not occur to him to send birthday or get well cards. So every week or two I send a long email with cute stories of dd and some photos and ask about people there and different things in their lives. When grandma was sick dh never even picked up the phone to call. I know he's just honestly busy and forgot-- tends to be scatterbrained, and got upset when I "nagged" him about it too much. So I bought a card myself, had dd paint the inside with watercolors and included a crayon drawing of hers and sent it myself from all of us.

My dh is just not a very social person. He detests dinners out with other couples, and has a very hard time managing too much in his life at once. His work is very mentally demanding so by the time he gets home he doesn't have much concentration or patience left, esp. for people outside the family.

post #13 of 16
Dh knows it's his responsibility to call his friends and/or family. Not mine. I hardly every call unless I need to let them know something that DH has forgotten. You should not have to do this for him. You're not his mom.... :LOL Thank goodness for that!!!!
post #14 of 16
I do the "maintaining" in our house but it's mostly b/c I like sending cards and photos, that type of thing. It doesn't really feel like a chore to me. I know my dh wouldn't keep up with it...but I REALLY like his family and so I think it makes me want to do things for them.

I think if it's a drag for you, and it sounds like it is, I'd just tell DH you are done. That it is his responsibility.

On the subject of thank you notes...I do think it is the parent(s) responsiblity to teach kids to write them and if they are too young then to have them help by drawing a picture or whatever. I just think it's good manners and it's something you teach your kids to do.
post #15 of 16
Seems to me that it's always the woman who does familial obligation type stuff anyway. If the woman is gone, it doesn't get done.

DH's family is a good example. His mother kept everyone in touch, etc. When she passed away, that was it. His father made half-hearted efforts, but he just couldn't keep it up. Cousins are now virtually ancient history, and since his father passed, too, the siblings are in touch much less often.

Personally, I let DH do whatever keeping up is to be done with his family, because I'm not too fond of them, to be honest. I like his neices, and his SIL, but his siblings are a royal PintheA, and thoroughly unpleasant, and downright disrespectful of our life choices (read: religious beliefs), so why subject myself to that? Their his sibs, his problem.

Or maybe that's selfish of me, dunno.

I'd back off from it all if I were you. His family, let him deal. If he looks bad to them, that's his problem ... and theirs.

Not yours.
post #16 of 16
"On the subject of thank you notes...I do think it is the parent(s) responsiblity to teach kids to write them and if they are too young then to have them help by drawing a picture or whatever. I just think it's good manners and it's something you teach your kids to do."

Yes, and that is in part why I don't feel guilty about Jerm's family never hearing from him (and thus from us). Neither of his parents taught him to write thank-you's (one of the easiest ways to teach kids the "work' of social interation). So guess what, now they have a son who they never hear from.
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