Author Topic: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"  (Read 1384 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11845
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
"Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« on: November 25, 2014, 03:41:00 PM »
This may not be an etiquette question as much as a "help me be ready" question, but here's the story:

DH's grandmother (FIL's mother) passed away this summer.  Ever since I've known DH, Thanksgiving was Grandma's domain.  DH's family goes up to visit her and she cooks a big dinner and there's absolutely nothing to do for three days and that's just the way it's been forever.  The SILs haven't been a part of the tradition since I moved here (ten years ago), but I gather they used to be.  The last few years have been rough because Grandma's memory was bad to the point it wasn't safe to eat food at her house anymore (she'd forget what had to be refrigerated, etc.) and we ended up going to various mediocre restaurants for the holiday at MIL's suggestion.

Anyway, since MIL can barely boil water and I actually like to cook, I volunteered to host Thanksgiving.  It will give me a chance to get the house clean all at the same time  :P and my sister is coming to visit for the weekend before she moves halfway across the country next year and I figured it would be kinder on FIL, who is still taking his mother's death hard.  I predict Thanksgiving will be particularly difficult.

So the SILs: SIL1 (the actually crazy one) is still voluntarily homeless in California and isn't coming home, but we went out to dinner with the ILs and SIL2 recently and I went ahead and extended the invitation to her as well.  (SIL1 being gone makes things a lot easier, because it means I don't have to invite my niece and nephew whom we only see when they need money . . .)  SIL2 usually does Thanksgiving with friends, which I knew, but she said she appreciated the offer.

That was a week or two ago.  Last night, SIL2 called me and asked if the invitation was still open, and if so, could she bring someone?  Turns out she met a woman at a recent hobby-related convention (the kind where people come from all over the country) and they kind of started dating long-distance and her new friend/partner/girlfriend/whatever is actually moving to OurTown anyway and is getting here tomorrow.  SIL2 said she mentioned to MIL that she wanted to bring her girlfriend and MIL pretty bluntly told her "You already said no so you're uninvited now."  (Sometimes it's hard to tell with MIL whether she's being serious, she's kidding, or kidding-but-kinda-serious-if-you're-willing-to-accept-that.)

Of course, I told SIL2 she was absolutely welcome to come, we'd love to meet her girlfriend, and just to let me know.  It definitely sounds to me like one of those instances where you really like someone so you plan like crazy to have a free schedule so on the off-chance they're free, you can be like "Hey, wanna come do this thing I totally haven't been obsessing about doing with you for a week?  You know, if you want."   :P  SIL2 hasn't had a significant other for years, though (the dating scene for middle-aged lesbians in this super-conservative state is close to nil) so I'm just happy she's got someone to have a crush on at all!

So that's all background, really, and I'd love some thoughts on how to deal with this if MIL ends up being rude.  As far as I know she and FIL have never disapproved of SIL2's orientation in a specific sense, but they've (justifiably) disapproved of the kind of people she's dated in the past  ::)  I'm not really sure what angle I should take if MIL starts making those PA comments she loves so much - on the one hand, it's between her and SIL2, but on the other hand I'm the hostess and if it were anyone else I'd have no problem saying something.  On the third hand  :P, it sounds like this is still a relatively new relationship (a few months at most, all long-distance) and it can be really awkward for "Hey, wanna come be social now that you're suddenly in a new city?" to become "MEET OUR FAMILY AND MARRY SIL2 NO SERIOUSLY WE TOTALLY LOVE YOU NOW!!!"

Thoughts?

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13155
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 03:59:06 PM »
That would be intimidating to me, if I was a new gf (whether straight or lesbian) - meeting the new SO's family so quickly after I moved into the area...but if SIL2 thinks it will improve the chances of them being together after being exposed to her parents, siblings, and other extended family members - more power to them, as a couple.

It would certainly let them get to know a lot about each other very quickly - I started dating a guy in late September, got engaged, and Thanksgiving was the first "formal" event where I got to see his brother (away at college) and his sister (just finishing middle school) other than his parents stopping by his house with his visiting maternal grandparents (maternal grandmother quickly told him that I had plans to marry him - a very canny woman - the wedding was in December 39 years ago). 

But I did get a chance to "see" how they interacted as a family before vows were exchanged and decide whether I could handle eating Holiday dinners with them for about half the foreseeable future.  The other half would be spent with my side of the family or with just our family, depending on distance from the extended family (military man, military wife/spouse, and none of our assignments were closer than eight or ten hours drive to the Families of Origin).

I'd suggest treating her nicely, but not as a future member of the family.  More like a room mate that DSIL2 brought along who might or might not still be living with DSIL2 next year, but whom she is fond enough to make a guest of the extended family....if that makes sense?

I wouldn't suggest bringing out the family photo album until after they've been together a while, but treating her in a friendly manner shouldn't be too much of a stretch.  Trying to keep MIL from going overboard one way or the other might be harder...it's not easy to tell your mother or MIL to play nicely with the company - like you might with a small child.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 04:24:52 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

CrazyDaffodilLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1341
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 04:06:35 PM »
1. Do not tell SIL2's guest that you've heard so much about her :).  (This has become a pet peeve thanks to another thread.)

2. Have a cut and paste reply ready for anything MIL says. Something that makes it clear the subject is not open for discussion and her opinion is not welcome.  I suggest, "I'm so happy Susie and Annie could be with us today."

3. Don't overthink this.  Treat SIL2's guest like you would any other guest.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31431
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 04:11:33 PM »
I would head off any rudeness with MIL now. Call and say, "So, SIL2 is coming after all; she called, and I invited her new friend as well. They'll both be here, which will be nice. I'm looking forward to having SIL2 with us. And of course it's always nice at Thanksgiving, especially, to welcome newcomers to the table. I regard it as a special blessing both ways. I'm hoping we can make her welcome.
    "Anyway, were you still willing to bring pie? {or whatever}"


When the woman arrives, treat her like any other person you are just meeting. Think of her as a friend.

If MIL says anything about SIL2's orientation, or new relationship, or making friends too fast, or anything, interrupt immediately with, "I don't think we need to get into this now; it's Thanksgiving, and having a new face at the table is a special blessing. Let's just enjoy the company."

and if necessary, do the cut-and-paste with "I don't think we need to get into this now; it's Thanksgiving."

It doesn't condemn MIL and stick up for SIL2 and her new friend. But that's part of the appeal, to me--it just slides everything over to some other time. And it subtly points out that -this- is not the time nor the place to hash out those sorts of things.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6714
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 04:12:45 PM »
I agree you need to treat the GF as you would any other guest.

If MIL starts making PA comments, have your DH take her aside and tell her to knock it off because she is making you and everyone  else very uncomfortable and flat out being rude to a guest in his home.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11845
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 05:00:53 PM »
I agree you need to treat the GF as you would any other guest.

If MIL starts making PA comments, have your DH take her aside and tell her to knock it off because she is making you and everyone  else very uncomfortable and flat out being rude to a guest in his home.

Ooh, hadn't even thought of that because DH is usually so non-confrontational, but . . . yes.  Having DH actually call her on it would probably throw her for such a loop she wouldn't be able to snark at anyone for the rest of the day  ;D  I'll have to mention this to him.

To be honest, DH and I aren't really all that close to SIL2.  I like her a lot, but we don't have a lot in common and she works super-early in the morning so she goes to bed even before Bittybartfast does, which makes it hard to do dinner or whatnot  :P  On top of that, FIL always made it pretty obvious DH was his favorite (SIL1 and SIL2 are both quite a bit older and are technically FIL's step-daughters), so it's taken a long time to smooth that over now that DH is an adult.  I would love to see her happy, though - she deserves someone special in her life (romantic or otherwise).

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31431
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2014, 05:10:36 PM »
Also, if your DH is definitely friendly to the new friend, that may cut off MIL's avenue to be snarky.

Mergatroyd

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 931
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 05:33:24 PM »
Tell MIL to be nice to your guest or you'll cut her off the adult beverages.   >:D

chibichan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1004
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 05:51:20 PM »
Will you have a chance to talk to SIL before the day ? I'm sure she is perfectly aware of MIL's tendency to make remarks and hopefully has warned New Girlfriend in advance .

It may be helpful for you and SIL to come up with a strategy for dealing with this . I also like the idea of DH intervening - if it will have the shock effect that you think it will , it could very well save the day.

If MIL somehow manages to make things awkward , the best you can do is try to convey the following to New GF : We're not all like that .

Other phrases : MIL ! What a thing to say ! ( Change the subject , steer New GF away from MIL , if possible - " Let me show you our new toaster !"

                       Well , I suppose you are entitled to your opinion . ( unspoken : however rude or wacky ).

                       MIL , now is not the time to have that conversation .

                       Let's not go there . Bean dip , anyone ?

If SIL's New GF starts looking uncomfortable , a discreet wry smile and a silently mouthed " Sorry " can do wonders . One of my Ex's family gave this to me during a spectacularly awkward moment at my first meet with his family . It made me realize that it wasn't just me who was mortified by a certain person's poor behavior .

 

 
The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

StarFaerie

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1187
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 08:39:17 PM »
I have no advice. I just wanted to say I think you are a delightful person. I thought this was going to be a thread of how to I exclude someone as notice is short all the fair points, and to see it being an, I am including someone and how do I make sure others don't exclude, made me smile.

Diane AKA Traska

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4759
  • Or you can just call me Diane. (NE USA EHellion)
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2014, 12:52:42 AM »
I have no advice. I just wanted to say I think you are a delightful person. I thought this was going to be a thread of how to I exclude someone as notice is short all the fair points, and to see it being an, I am including someone and how do I make sure others don't exclude, made me smile.

I think the forum software is fritzing.  I can't find the "Favorite" button!
Location:
Philadelphia, PA

buvezdevin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1518
Re: "Can I bring my new girlfriend to your house for Thanksgiving?"
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2014, 01:20:00 AM »
I have no advice. I just wanted to say I think you are a delightful person. I thought this was going to be a thread of how to I exclude someone as notice is short all the fair points, and to see it being an, I am including someone and how do I make sure others don't exclude, made me smile.

I think the forum software is fritzing.  I can't find the "Favorite" button!

Ditto, and many warm wishes for a lovely and loving Thanksgiving!
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain