Author Topic: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)  (Read 25622 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2169
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #105 on: March 28, 2013, 02:59:59 PM »
I really like the idea put forth by ladyknight1 and bloo - just boycott the thing.

I like the idea of OP and her DH meeting with FIL and telling him that in good conscience they can not go along with the expenditure, and that they will not be attending.  FIL still probably won't understand the seriousness of his behavior, but at least their non-attendance changes the dynamic - the family's "business as usual" is no more. 

It still seems likely to me that OP and her DH  will  be called upon to bail the IL's out financially because of this dinner.  It seems possible  to me that DH is going to want to do this, too.   Maybe DH gets satisfaction from bailing out his family, like he did at the 40th party.

WillyNilly had an interesting comment several pages  back about how surprising it was that the restaurant was willing to go along with the plan, and have 40 orders all at once.  That made me wonder whether FIL had actually contacted anyone there to talk about the proposed dinner.  Maybe much of the event is still rattling around in his head, and he hasn't acted on it. 

If that is the case, there were a number of PP who stated that OP and her DH should talk to him about how much the actual charges would add up to be.  He really should be given a clue up front so that he can't plead ignorance when the bill is greater than he can afford.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 03:06:50 PM by doodlemor »

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5058
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #106 on: March 28, 2013, 08:36:20 PM »
I don't think it would be rude to do as the OP and her DH are currently planning, which is to say no more, attend the dinner, and refuse to bail anyone out in the future; but I'm liking the idea of "changing the dynamic," especially if the OP and her DH aren't going to be able to enjoy the dinner because they'll be worried about what happens when the bill comes.

If I decided not to attend the big dinner, I don't know if I would tell FIL why or not... I might go with "previous/sudden plans" (but in time that he wouldn't have reserved spots for us) and then offer to take him and MIL out to a small dinner later, or whatever. Depends on how comfortable DH feels about talking to him about the financial details again. I can imagine the following outcomes:

1) RSVP no, say nothing about why. Party goes badly but at least the OP doesn't have to witness or be involved in it.
2) RSVP no, say nothing about why. Party goes well, because FIL has actually made a responsible financial decision of some kind that he didn't share previously. OP misses big gathering but can still celebrate with FIL and MIL later.
3) RSVP no, explain why. FIL gets a clue and changes his plans to something more reasonable, is grateful it was brought up. OP ends up going to scaled-down party after all.
4) RSVP no, explain why. FIL is furious and insulted. The fact that the OP turns out to be right makes it all the worse.
5) RSVP no, explain why. FIL is furious and insulted, because he actually made a responsible financial decision of some kind that he didn't share previously. OP misses big gathering and things are AWKWARD.

So really it depends on how likely each outcome seems to the OP, and how much she desires/dreads them.
~Lynn2000

CrazyDaffodilLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1239
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #107 on: March 30, 2013, 10:44:52 AM »
One thing you can do is to refuse to help out with the planning.  FIL may not be capable of planning the event without help, or he may quickly encounter problems that bring him back to reality.

You could also tell FIL that you'll be boycotting the event if it's a surprise for MIL, because you're concerned about her reaction to the expenditure.  Restate your offer to host a celebration at your house. 

It sounds to me like FIL wants to look like a big shot in front of his friends and that he doesn't want to tell his wife because he knows she'll veto it. 
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #108 on: April 04, 2013, 04:16:54 PM »
Just jumping in, to point out that there is a certain personality type, that can be perfectly competent and smart but still have NO CONCEPT of what things cost.  My dad, a former attorney and commercial banker, is like this.  He will often promise to pay for things for us, and then afterwards have huge "sticker shock".  Now we always make him give us a budget, up front.

I agree that FIL and MIL have both put OP in their financial business, but I think OP would be wise to try to get out of that position.  I also agree with PP's who said that, if they or their mothers found out they were enabling the dad to spring a huge expense on them, the mom would be furious at the kids.  People can get all abstract and theoretical about what is or is not your business, but you know these people, and your gut is telling you that FIL is asking you to help him screw up.  Trust your gut.

In your position, I would
1) refuse to help plan anything unless I was given a hard-figure budget to plan by.  FIL states the number, then you adjust the menu, venue, and guest list accordingly. 
2) If the budget number gave me pause about their finances, or I thought it would upset MIL, I would refuse to help or attend unless FIL spoke to MIL about it.  He can talk about wanting to plan a surprise, without telling what the surprise is. 
3) If you are not willing to do 1 or 2, I think giving the cash gift to "cover your plate" is a decent compromise.

GLaDOS

  • FKA TheAscension
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 266
  • Would you like some delicious cake?
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #109 on: April 11, 2013, 12:37:16 AM »
How far along in the planning has he actually gotten?
If he's asked for your help, maybe he's sort of hoping you'll bring him down to earth a little / act like a professional planner and turn his ballpark dreams into a workable, affordable reality without him having to do the actual work that entails. 

I think if you've agreed to help plan this, you'd be well within your rights to ask for a firm budget to work with, or to seriously discuss your concerns with him.  Maybe his grandiose plans (it'll all just go on the line of credit, it's an open menu) are just him trying to get out of the work planning a smaller menu with a variety that will appeal to forty people; choosing signature cocktails, dividing the budget, maybe paring down the guest list to closer friends and family-- all of the details that would help make the party a  joyful success and not a ball in the pit of their stomachs for however long it takes  to pay off. I'm thinking he's thinking it won't be more than $600-700 or something. Seeing hard (large) numbers might help him scale back and refigure things.

I totally agree with posters that if you were just invited as guests, it's not your place to insert yourself in your parents' finances and marriage, but you were specifically asked to help plan this party, and I think that gives you more leeway. He's free to tell you "hey, no thanks, I don't need your help anymore" at whatever time, remember.
There's Science to do!

tiggnduff

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 264
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #110 on: April 11, 2013, 02:16:11 PM »
Hi everyone. I thought I would provide a non-update / update. ;)

Dh and FIL have not spoken about this at all recently except for FIL mentioning that things were moving along for the planning of the event and that SIL is now involved to help plan.  I gather that DH did not provide FIL with the "help" (ie support and reassurance of what a great idea this is) that FIL need so FIL has moved on to greener pastures so to speak.

Event is still moving along in the planning and we are now out of the loop which suits us just fine.  We really didn't want to be involved after discussing it.

Event is not until June so any major updates likely will not be for sometime but then again with the dynamic in DH"s family both DH and I are not sure if the seas will stay calm until then.

Thank you once again for all the replies. It's wonderful to get so many perspectives and it's helped DH discuss this and cover a lot of different ways of looking at it.

For now we are just going about our business. 

SoCalVal

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2438
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #111 on: April 11, 2013, 03:13:49 PM »
My ex used to do this all. the. time.  "Grand gestures" that would, ultimately become my responsibility to pay for.  I did not enjoy them.  I got angry and resentful.  I wish some friends or family would have encouraged him to not do this, but I don't think they understood our financial situations.

When BIL was still single and before DH and I met, he used to do this all the time.  He would do things like pick up the tab for him and others at a bar then not have the cash to pay his rent or his other bills so he would hit up DH for money.  DH (who makes less money than BIL) wouldn't like it but didn't want to leave BIL in a lurch so he'd cover BIL.  When I came along, DH told me these things and, sure enough, when Valentine's Day rolled around and BIL was dating someone, he asked DH if he could borrow some cash so he could take his GF to a nice restaurant.  I think DH did it (and did, in this case, actually get paid back), but I pointed out to DH that the GF gets exactly ONE BF not her BF and my BF and that our relationship wasn't going to suffer because money that would go to us would go to BIL's relationship instead.

I think BIL finally knew he'd gone too far when DH once told him he had no cash to lend (loan?) for BIL to pay a way-overdue bill so BIL asked DH to put it on a credit card, which DH did but with much protest and let BIL know how out of line he was.  BIL paid him back shortly, but, I think, ceased borrowing money after that.  I adore BIL, but this was one of those things that really chapped my hide (I'm not great with my finances either, but I don't expect others to cover me).  BIL has a wife now who's great with finances so, fortunately, he no longer spends like that (and I know without a doubt that he'd be in serious trouble with her if he did something like pick up the bar tab for all his friends).



Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28368
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #112 on: April 11, 2013, 03:27:48 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.

I'm a fan of people proactively preventing a disaster. This is not "tattling".
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2169
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #113 on: April 11, 2013, 07:07:58 PM »

I'm a fan of people proactively preventing a disaster. This is not "tattling".

Me too.

With your latest update, tiggnduff, it sounds to me like your DH will feel compelled to pay for much of this sooner or later.

I don't generally recommend sneaky behavior, but in this case perhaps it would help the situation.  Maybe you could arrange that MIL accidentally over hears something about the party, or enough to start asking sensible questions. 

If you have a little child of a secret telling age, he/she would be a great accessory.  If the child were told that you had a secret from grandma, at some point he/she would probably tell grandma that you have a secret.  If/When grandma starts asking questions, all you need to do is to tell her to ask FIL.  If she has any common sense she will question him until he tells her the truth.

KB

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #114 on: April 12, 2013, 01:40:54 AM »
Hi everyone. I thought I would provide a non-update / update. ;)

Dh and FIL have not spoken about this at all recently except for FIL mentioning that things were moving along for the planning of the event and that SIL is now involved to help plan.  I gather that DH did not provide FIL with the "help" (ie support and reassurance of what a great idea this is) that FIL need so FIL has moved on to greener pastures so to speak.

This may sound strange, but I actually think this is the best thing that could happen, for one of two reasons. Either SIL will encourage FIL to dream bigger and grander - so big and grand, in fact, that FIL wakes up to the enormity of what he has planned and either tones it right down or abondons everything, or else SIL, while helping him plan, lets slip something about how 'last time, when we had your 40th anniversary party, we did this, and that's all right because OP paid for it and I'm sure there won't be any problem with them doing it again' which could alert FIL to the truth about that party. Either way, it has the potential to wingadingdingy his conscience (assuming he has one).

Of course, the next step will be trying to decide what to do for their 50th anniversary...

DavidH

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1695
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)
« Reply #115 on: April 12, 2013, 04:10:12 PM »
I'm still not a fan of saying anything, but the idea of using a child as a tool to give away the secret seems particularly bad.  If you want to tell, own up to it, and tell MIL, otherwise don't.  To use others to do something you don't want to own up to is just wrong.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5752
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)
« Reply #116 on: April 12, 2013, 04:20:11 PM »
I'm still not a fan of saying anything, but the idea of using a child as a tool to give away the secret seems particularly bad.  If you want to tell, own up to it, and tell MIL, otherwise don't.  To use others to do something you don't want to own up to is just wrong.

POD. I don't think this is the OP or her husband's business at all, but it certainly is not something a child should be dragged into.

kudeebee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2181
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #117 on: April 13, 2013, 11:15:44 PM »
Hi everyone. I thought I would provide a non-update / update. ;)

Dh and FIL have not spoken about this at all recently except for FIL mentioning that things were moving along for the planning of the event and that SIL is now involved to help plan.  I gather that DH did not provide FIL with the "help" (ie support and reassurance of what a great idea this is) that FIL need so FIL has moved on to greener pastures so to speak.

This may sound strange, but I actually think this is the best thing that could happen, for one of two reasons. Either SIL will encourage FIL to dream bigger and grander - so big and grand, in fact, that FIL wakes up to the enormity of what he has planned and either tones it right down or abondons everything, or else SIL, while helping him plan, lets slip something about how 'last time, when we had your 40th anniversary party, we did this, and that's all right because OP paid for it and I'm sure there won't be any problem with them doing it again' which could alert FIL to the truth about that party. Either way, it has the potential to wingadingdingy his conscience (assuming he has one).

Of course, the next step will be trying to decide what to do for their 50th anniversary...

Per bolded in black, I think that would be nice if it happened.

Unfortunately, I think sil is planning on what i bolded in red, that op and her dh will cough up the money yet again to pay for this party. 

OP, you need to sit down again with dh and make sure you both agree that you will not be paying for any of this party, no matter how much sil cries and begs, no matter how much fil goes into debt and then can't pay his bills.  This is not your responsibility, you have your own immediate family to take care of.  If you need to, move money into a cd or some other type of investment where you cannot get at the money easily so that there is no way you can help them out.

If fil does go into debt, HE will have to make his own decisions about how to get out of it--sell possessions, move to a cheaper place, get a job, cut expenses. 

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5115
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)
« Reply #118 on: April 16, 2013, 10:31:47 AM »
I'm still not a fan of saying anything, but the idea of using a child as a tool to give away the secret seems particularly bad.  If you want to tell, own up to it, and tell MIL, otherwise don't.  To use others to do something you don't want to own up to is just wrong.

POD. I don't think this is the OP or her husband's business at all, but it certainly is not something a child should be dragged into.

I couldn't agree with this more.  I think it's bad enough when adults insert themselves into the business of other adults, but it seems particularly wrong to manipulate a situation by using any third party to do the dirty work for you (general), especially a child.  If you (again general) feel the need to insert yourself into someone else's affairs, the least you can do is be adult enough to face it on your own.

snappylt

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 458
Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #119 on: August 16, 2013, 12:51:53 AM »
Hi everyone. I thought I would provide a non-update / update. ;)

Dh and FIL have not spoken about this at all recently except for FIL mentioning that things were moving along for the planning of the event and that SIL is now involved to help plan.  I gather that DH did not provide FIL with the "help" (ie support and reassurance of what a great idea this is) that FIL need so FIL has moved on to greener pastures so to speak.

Event is still moving along in the planning and we are now out of the loop which suits us just fine.  We really didn't want to be involved after discussing it.

Event is not until June so any major updates likely will not be for sometime but then again with the dynamic in DH"s family both DH and I are not sure if the seas will stay calm until then.

Thank you once again for all the replies. It's wonderful to get so many perspectives and it's helped DH discuss this and cover a lot of different ways of looking at it.

For now we are just going about our business.

tiggnduff,

I'm posting hoping for an update.  How did the party go?  What was the aftermath?