Author Topic: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)  (Read 26053 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #90 on: March 26, 2013, 11:52:57 AM »
No, family dynamics don't always follow strict etiquette rules; however, as hard as it may be to think of your parents fighting, or possibly divorcing, it is not anyone's place to be the relationship hero, making sure that they interfere to avoid all possible future fights and ensure they stay together.  Not only that, but it's a bit presumptious for children to think that they know how to save a marriage better than a couple who has more than twice the experience.   

POD to bah12, especially the quoted paragraph.  There are dynamics in my parents marriage that really really bother me.  However, they have been married 48 years.  Almost five decades.  When I was younger, I would sometimes get into it with one parent or the other over what I perceived as their relationship problems.  What I learned was that their relationship is their relationship, not mine, and it works for them.  It is not my business.

If I were either the FIL or the MIL in the OP I would be insulted to learn that my DIL thinks she knows what is best for our relationship and thinks either one of us needs protection from the other.  It's comes across, to me, as undermining the relationship and as a statement of "I don't think you two are capable of having a mature relationship."  It seems to me that after 45 years, yes, they are, and if this breaks the camels back, then they should not be together anyway.  The OP cannot and should not be involved, in my opinion.

gramma dishes

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #91 on: March 26, 2013, 12:08:18 PM »
I do get what everyone else is saying, I really do.

But if I were MIL in this situation and my husband pulled a stunt like this that jeopardized our whole financial future and then I found out that my kids knew about it all along and did nothing to stop it and didn't even warn me what was about to happen, I'd be FURIOUS with them!

I have confidence that the decision the OP has made here is best for their situation because they are the only ones who actually know the participants in this story.  But what might be best for one family might be a total disaster for another. 

I agree with Aeris.

TurtleDove

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #92 on: March 26, 2013, 12:53:51 PM »
But if I were MIL in this situation and my husband pulled a stunt like this that jeopardized our whole financial future and then I found out that my kids knew about it all along and did nothing to stop it and didn't even warn me what was about to happen, I'd be FURIOUS with them!

I think there will never be a consensus because of different life experiences and personalities.

If it were me, I either would direct my fury toward my husband or I would have not chosen a husband who would do this.  I certainly would not make it about my children or blame them for the behavior of another grown adult (my husband) I should be able to trust to have my best interests at heart.  To me, the children have nothing to do with it.  I am not a fan of children tattling on their parents.

Amara

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #93 on: March 26, 2013, 02:52:54 PM »
What scares me most about this situation is that the money that FIL will be spending is money he got by tapping into their house's line of credit. If anything happens to the payback plans, their home is threatened. And as OP noted earlier, it is likely that MIL will outlive FIL and have to deal with this (again, should it happen). We don't know that it will happen but she has said that their financial comfort depends on good choices. And tapping a line of credit against your house to pay for anything other than absolute necessities is downright dangerous. No one can know the future. The "what if" question looms very large for me. It may not for the OP, and that's her right.

TurtleDove

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #94 on: March 26, 2013, 03:41:23 PM »
What scares me most about this situation is that the money that FIL will be spending is money he got by tapping into their house's line of credit. If anything happens to the payback plans, their home is threatened. And as OP noted earlier, it is likely that MIL will outlive FIL and have to deal with this (again, should it happen). We don't know that it will happen but she has said that their financial comfort depends on good choices. And tapping a line of credit against your house to pay for anything other than absolute necessities is downright dangerous. No one can know the future. The "what if" question looms very large for me. It may not for the OP, and that's her right.

For me, I absolutely see the folly in what the FIL has done.  Like bah12, however, I do not think it is any of the OP's business. I would be offended if I were the FIL or the MIL that the OP does not trust them to act as adults either independently or as a long-married couple.  If the OP really believes that the MIL has reason to not trust her husband, the issues go way beyond an expensive party.

bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #95 on: March 26, 2013, 03:47:58 PM »
What scares me most about this situation is that the money that FIL will be spending is money he got by tapping into their house's line of credit. If anything happens to the payback plans, their home is threatened. And as OP noted earlier, it is likely that MIL will outlive FIL and have to deal with this (again, should it happen). We don't know that it will happen but she has said that their financial comfort depends on good choices. And tapping a line of credit against your house to pay for anything other than absolute necessities is downright dangerous. No one can know the future. The "what if" question looms very large for me. It may not for the OP, and that's her right.

Line of credit can also mean credit card.  Did the OP ever confirm which one?
And I get that $4000 is a lot of money, but I'm having a hard time going all the way to financial ruin.  If they are $4000 away from financial ruin, then they have some huge problems (and probably don't have a credit card with those funds available...or a house credit that large either).  Paring down this party to something that the kids would find acceptable wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface. 

So, it's fair to say that $4000 is a lot and paying off a credit card bill that high may be more difficult than not.  It definitely would take $4000 of contingency for emergencies out of the picture.  But to insinuate that this will put them in bankruptcy is a stretch.  We don't have that kind of insight into their finances...which is why interference is inappropriate. 

Scuba_Dog

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #96 on: March 26, 2013, 03:59:01 PM »
OP said it was a line of credit on the house.
"If you are going through hell, keep going."
Winston Churchill

TurtleDove

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #97 on: March 26, 2013, 04:03:12 PM »
I agree with bah12 that if a $4K party is going to financially ruin a retired couple, there is quite a bit more going on than just the party.  The OP cannot fix financial irresponsiblity in the couple (becuase to get to this point, it is on both of them) and I think she could really damage her relationship with both MIL and FIL if she interferes.  I am glad she and her DH have chosen to stay out of it.

ladyknight1

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #98 on: March 26, 2013, 04:48:32 PM »
I agree with bah12 that if a $4K party is going to financially ruin a retired couple, there is quite a bit more going on than just the party.  The OP cannot fix financial irresponsibility in the couple (because to get to this point, it is on both of them) and I think she could really damage her relationship with both MIL and FIL if she interferes.  I am glad she and her DH have chosen to stay out of it.

Here is where I place my two cents. In some couples, in this case my parents, my mother is unable to work. She lives on retirement benefits and some savings. My father works and spends like the world is ending. They talk, but my mother can not make my father stop spending money, and it is not worth it to her to separate from him over it. My mother ended up getting separate bank accounts, so she can pay the utilities and taxes out of her income, and my father's spending can't affect those accounts.

I would have absolutely nothing to do with a party like this thrown by my father, because I could not in good conscience accept frivolous spending when I know they were nearly penniless last year because of another frivolous purchase by my father.

The above is my opinion. I would not say anything to my mother, but I would not participate at all.

bloo

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #99 on: March 28, 2013, 12:04:36 PM »
Here is where I place my two cents. In some couples, in this case my parents, my mother is unable to work. She lives on retirement benefits and some savings. My father works and spends like the world is ending. They talk, but my mother can not make my father stop spending money, and it is not worth it to her to separate from him over it. My mother ended up getting separate bank accounts, so she can pay the utilities and taxes out of her income, and my father's spending can't affect those accounts.

I would have absolutely nothing to do with a party like this thrown by my father, because I could not in good conscience accept frivolous spending when I know they were nearly penniless last year because of another frivolous purchase by my father.

The above is my opinion. I would not say anything to my mother, but I would not participate at all.

I'll add my two cents to ladyknight1's two cents.

While Aeris' profoundly insightful post has moved me to deep sympathy for the MIL and the idea of tipping her off, I would still stay out of it and not participate.

For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, this is MIL's husband and she has to deal with him (or not deal with him). In OP's or OP's DH's shoes, if MIL took her anger out on me, I'd refuse to accept it. I'd simply say, "I'm sorry you're upset. But this was your husband's idea. Deal with him."

In a much smaller and less consequential situation in my own family, my dad would let his blood sugar drop (not managing his diabetes terribly well) and the typical behavior of our family is (family here is: my parents, brother and current GF, my DH, my kids and myself) when we go out to eat is no one will take the lead in picking a place out. We dither until Dad explodes because he's starving. You can set your watch to this most times.

Finally one day when my dad was in a rage I just took my family and left. The next day he came to apologize and I appreciated it but I said, "Look, if we're dithering and you absolutely can't take it anymore, just say so and leave. It's just a meal." He agreed and the next time it occured, he grabbed my mom's hand and said, "Bye guys, I'm going home." My mom and brother were stunned. As my dad pulled away he was smiling at me and I smiled back and waved.

My brother didn't agree with Dad's decision or my idea. He said it wasn't fair to Mom. I told him I thought it was very fair to Mom. SHE picked him and has stayed married to him and this is one of non-perks of being married to him (there were more perks than non-perks). I also mentioned that while it would've been nice to have a meal with them if Dad was in a good mood, we'd still get to have a nice meal with just the 5 of us. And maybe we'll all learn to be better organized in the future. Which we did!

Like, I said this was a very small thing but it change a dynamic in the way we interacted with my FOO.

If I were the OP, knowing what I know from this thread, I'd try to get DH on the same page as myself. And my page is to sit down with FIL and say, "We won't tell your surprise but what we know of MIL and your finances means we don't want any part of this or to particpate in any way. We'll take you both out to dinner (or whatever way OP & DH want to celebrate the IL's anniversary) to celebrate at a time that's convenient for you." Cue possible arguing and threats but if the FIL's own son won't help or participate that may cause him to pause and think.

Even if it doesn't, at least OP & DH can stay out of it. If he goes through with it, MIL will probably be more furious about the debt than why her son and DIL weren't at the party. If MIL tries to direct any rage about keeping secrets at OP & DH, they can refuse to accept it and redirect her to her own husband.

It would take a pretty sick parent to blame a child - even an adult child - for the behavior of his or her own spouse.

ETA: Gramma Dishes I'd just like to add that I'm differentiating anger and blame. I re-read your posts and noticed where you said you'd be furious at your kids if they knew and didn't say anything. 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 01:08:48 PM by bloo »

gramma dishes

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #100 on: March 28, 2013, 12:48:51 PM »

...   Like, I said this was a very small thing but it change a dynamic in the way we interacted with my FOO.   ...


Sorry.  Old woman here.  What's a FOO?

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #101 on: March 28, 2013, 12:50:00 PM »

...   Like, I said this was a very small thing but it change a dynamic in the way we interacted with my FOO.   ...


Sorry.  Old woman here.  What's a FOO?

Family Of Origin.
Current fosters: Boojum (F, adult);  Balrog, Rooney, Rascal, Rocket (M)

gramma dishes

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #102 on: March 28, 2013, 12:51:10 PM »

...   Like, I said this was a very small thing but it change a dynamic in the way we interacted with my FOO.   ...


Sorry.  Old woman here.  What's a FOO?

Family Of Origin.

Oh.  *head slap*  Thanks!   :-[

NyaChan

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #103 on: March 28, 2013, 12:56:53 PM »
Ten years ago, I had a friend (we've moved and we lost touch gradually) whose husband (now ex-) did that.  He couldn't or wouldn't admit to his family that he wasn't rich, so he'd pick up the check at family get-togethers.  Knowing that he was going to do that, his siblings and parents would order expensive things off the menu and pig out (based on what my friend would tell me later). 

He did have a fairly good job - but he kept spending to the limit of what he was earning - apparently not remembering little things like income tax, property tax, savings for their kids' college funds, and the like......so he'd spend money that should have been set aside.  Then complain because SHE wasn't building up the savings accounts......

They divorced about seven years ago......

My uncle did that until he was drowning in credit card debt, lost his job during layoffs, and lost his house when he could no longer make payment on the mortgage.  It took hitting rock bottom and my dad's advice and help to get him to do a complete 180 on finances.  It takes time to dig yourself out of holes like that though and it still makes me upset when I think of the other relatives who used to egg him on when we all went out and let him pay for their expenses knowing that he had 2 kids and financial trouble.

bloo

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #104 on: March 28, 2013, 01:05:59 PM »
Ten years ago, I had a friend (we've moved and we lost touch gradually) whose husband (now ex-) did that.  He couldn't or wouldn't admit to his family that he wasn't rich, so he'd pick up the check at family get-togethers.  Knowing that he was going to do that, his siblings and parents would order expensive things off the menu and pig out (based on what my friend would tell me later). 

He did have a fairly good job - but he kept spending to the limit of what he was earning - apparently not remembering little things like income tax, property tax, savings for their kids' college funds, and the like......so he'd spend money that should have been set aside.  Then complain because SHE wasn't building up the savings accounts......

They divorced about seven years ago......

My uncle did that until he was drowning in credit card debt, lost his job during layoffs, and lost his house when he could no longer make payment on the mortgage.  It took hitting rock bottom and my dad's advice and help to get him to do a complete 180 on finances.  It takes time to dig yourself out of holes like that though and it still makes me upset when I think of the other relatives who used to egg him on when we all went out and let him pay for their expenses knowing that he had 2 kids and financial trouble.

This couple we're sorta friends with, Tiffany and Jim, have this weird dynamic. Tiffany told me that when they were in a sizable group out for dinner, she'd be sick the whole time with worry that he'd try to pick up the check. I don't know how she could put up with that but she said when they were really broke and couldn't go out to dinner, and could no longer use credit cards it was almost a relief for her.  He still doesn't understand the connection. And it was disgusting - the relatives and friends that benefited from Jim's 'largesse' knowing they were in financial trouble!