General Etiquette > Family and Children

Managing Holiday Plans

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OP, here is my advice...

Make things simple and easy on yourself and your DH.  If you are worried that your BIL will invite your FIL and step-MIL (both of whom you very understandably want to avoid), then just don't go to the Boxing Day get-together. 

Instead invite your BIL and MIL to your house for a gathering at a later date.  That way you can control the guest list and have 100% certainty that your FIL and step-MIL will not be there.

(Frankly, if your BIL regards himself as a "peacemaker" I would worry that no matter what you said to him or what you asked him, he would just ignore you and make sure that your FIL and step-MIL were there and force some kind of confrontation.)


--- Quote from: m2kbug on December 03, 2013, 10:36:01 AM ---I find it odd that your MIL is so invested in this relationship with her ex-husband and wife.

--- End quote ---

POD.  This is all very strange to me.  OP, I understand what your response was but I still POD miranova.  So the FIL and SMIL are jerks.  Don't let it bother you, and certainly don't borrow trouble by stressing out about a possiblity they will be invited to the same place you are on boxing day.  If you are adamant that you will not be in the same room as FIL and SMIL ever again, then simply don't go to boxing day.  Just don't expect everyone to support that decision or to not be upset with that decision.  Be firm in that decision and own it.


--- Quote from: mspallaton on December 03, 2013, 10:26:59 AM ---The only thing I will clarify, miranova, is that FIL and SMIL are more than jerks - they are emotionally abusive of my husband.  For our health, we absolutely will not see them.

There may definitely be a third or fourth or even millionth option here beyond what I've thought of -- but 'suck it up' isn't on the list.

--- End quote ---

Emotionally abusive would be a kind description of my ex, so I assure you I do know what it is like.  But that is neither here nor there.  My point was that involving other people in your dispute with this person isn't kind to those other people.  I know because I've been on the other side of it for 20 years.  My parents have been divorced for well over 20 years and I just recently got a LONG email from my dad begging me to make sure my mother wasn't going to be at certain event.  This is not fair to me, as it is not my dispute.  I'm not saying you are going that far, obviously you are not.  But I do think you are being a bit na´ve if you think that you won't cause stress to other family members when you start always asking who else is invited before you accept any invitations.  It gets tiring to the host to try to keep people apart and accommodate everyone's disputes.

I understand - we may simply have to not see people on that day and make other plans.

I will admit that I'm not particularly concerned about their stress as much as my DH's.  He's long been the lowest priority for lack of stress in his family.  He's allergic to cats - when he lived at home his older BIL would bring their cat into town and leave it there for three weeks and DH just had to deal.  So, I'm more concerned with what etiquette allows - even if it bothers someone else.

All that being said - I know both DH and I are open to rearranging whatever we need to so that others aren't put out on the actual day. 

That makes the next question this - any recommendations on backing out of the Boxing Day plans?  We originally made them with just BIL and MIL and realized later that they might add FIL without consulting us so we're going to have to back out of plans we already made.
For those who have expressed confusion about MIL... I agree.  I can't, for the life of me, understand why she is so hung up on a man who left her and her children for another woman.  I have and will continue to bite my tongue because while I don't generally guess the nuances of etiquette easily... I know for a fact that coming out and asking her why she's not over her ex is bad form...

I do think it is a good idea for your DH to have a conversation with his brother and possibly stop this, so your MIL can have a pleasant day without one of her sons getting up and leaving.


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