General Etiquette > Family and Children

To go or not to go?

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MIL and I have a history of not getting along [see previous posts I've written]. However, last night was the last straw. Without divulging into details, because that isn't what my post will be about, she made an unforgivable false accusation about me to DH. I was livid! Whatever possibility we had for a decent relationship no longer exists.

The issue is that our family and MIL have been invited to her niece's baby shower on Saturday. MIL and her family have not had a good relationship in the past due to their parents passing away and leaving everything to MIL (but that's a different story and not really mine to tell). Only recently have they been in touch. Her niece (DH's cousin) have invited our family and her to their baby shower. Despite the feud MIL and her siblings had, her family still remained in good terms with DH. DH wants to go and MIL won't go unless he goes. After my fight with MIL, I told DH that I wasn't going to the baby shower. I reiterated this today. DH really wants me to go though, especially since this is family I have never met before. I'm torn—I want to meet his family but the idea of being around MIL is upsetting. Not to mention she will be around family she isn't comfortable with while knowing that I am angry at her (yes, she is aware). The situation seems like a ticking time bomb! Do I suck it up and go because it means a lot to DH or do I avoid a potential disaster but hurt my DH's feelings?!

I think that MIL would be delighted if you stayed home, and she got to go with just your DH.  That may be why she recently insulted you, consciously or otherwise.

Therefore, I think that you should go.  You don't have to sink to her level.  You have a day or so to think about this, and to channel your inner Dowager Countess or Lady Mary.  I think that you should make your husband happy, and go to the party with the most elegant, posh manners that you can dredge up.  If MIL does something guttersnipey to you there, remain calm, aloof, and well mannered.  If she is nasty to you, be polite and slightly amused.

If she acts poorly if will reflect on her, not you.  In fact, you would receive points from everyone for being courteous and putting up with her.

It sounds like you've given MIL the cut but your DH hasn't. You and DH need to figure out how you're going to handle all family get-togethers and do that. If you'd like to get to know these relatives I say go ahead and go to the shower, but have a few phrases prepared in case MIL tries to speak to you. Things like "This is neither the time nor place." and "I'm not going to discuss that with you.", etc. Get your DH on board with the fact that if she tries to corner you or make a scene you'll need to make an excuse and leave early. Otherwise ignore her.

I wouldn't give MIL the power to keep me from meeting relatives that I want to get to know. Take a few stock phrases with you to repeat if she tries to be disruptive and keep your focus on why you're actually there.  If she makes a scene, it will be her scene alone.  Go with your husband and have a great time.

If I were in your shoes, I would go and do the charming and bubbly routine.  Ignore MIL totally and completely, and be absolutely wonderful to everyone else.  Be the backbone of the party, and just let her seethe in her own juices.  And do lots of mingling so she can't find a corner to get comfortable.  Win-Win


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