Anonymous

Family Gatherings

We’re a family of 4, my husband and I and our two kids. I have a big family compared to my husband. Holidays, and celebrations, etc are a big thing for us. He is always unwilling and states that he doesn’t need to go or be there. But we’re a family and we should be there together. Not just me and the kids. I understand that he doesn’t or we don’t need to go to every family event but if it is important to me I feel like we need to be there altogether. How do I deal with this?

  • Tara
    Apr 12

    I get where you’re coming from, and I also sympathise with your husband. My husband’s family is huge, and not only that, but they always seem to want to have everyone all together. So for me, with a smaller extended family, I struggle to cook for 18-20 people for lunch or dinner, when it’s our turn to host. I prefer our 5-6 family dynamic. And personally, i struggle with big groups in general. I hate small talk, and sometimes worry I’ll say the wrong thing... In short, both my husband and my attitude, is that ‘our family’ is us, exactly as you defined yours: my husband and I and our two kids. Everyone else comes second. I try to make his family gatherings- in fairness, I more often than not, make it, as I also need to chase after our little ones! And my husband tries to make my family gatherings too, though he’s sometimes away with work or would rather do yoga. And I’m OK with that. And I find it’s refreshing to be with people, including my own extended family, both with and without my husband/ our kids. I also like being with them on my own as it sort of reminds me of life pre-marriage/ babies... Perhaps not very helpful, though I’d suggest asking yourself why you’re placing pressure on yourself to be all together all the time as a family. You’re still a family, even if you choose to do different things at some points. If a particular event is an especially big deal to you then you can ask your hubby to be there. Though I wouldn’t aim for every holiday/ event, if that’s a struggle for him. Otherwise, I’d maybe check with him if he enjoys these big family gatherings (I’m assuming he doesn’t, but maybe there’s more to this!). Ask him, can you do anything to help him enjoy or better cope? Maybe set a timer, for instance, like 1 hour max..? Or after dinner/ after the cake etc. Can you promise that if he joins that you stay by his side..? I don’t know, of course, just imagining what might help me cope lol Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    Apr 12

    He should be willing to compromise a bit and you should too. Meaning, you should tell him the major events you don’t want him to miss (maybe 4 or 5 a year?) and he should be able to find a way to make it there for you. My husband and I have a similar dynamic, except we have only one child. I don’t expect him to always be doing things with my family, I certainly understand that he grew up in a tiny family and is overall an introvert. But he can certainly make it for certain holiday dinners and birthday parties. If he didn’t do that for me I’d be really disappointed. If it continues to be a problem I would suggest couples counseling. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to realize how selfish your actions are, and if your husband continues to make the events about himself (by saying he doesn’t need to go or be there), then it might help for him to speak to someone who can help him see that it’s not about what’s needed of him but what you want of him. It’s also really good for your kids. We really do model our lives after our parents. If they grow up thinking it’s normal to just opt out of important family gatherings because they don’t want to do it, that’s just not right. Good luck.

  • Anonymous
    Apr 12

    Ps, I do agree w/ Tara as well. I actually find that the family gatherings I go to with just my child and not my husband are usually more relaxed because I’m not worried about whether or not he’s okay, wants to leave, is bored, etc. so in reality I do end up doing most of our family things alone with just our daughter, and tell my husband what ones I expect him to be at for whatever reason.

  • CheerioMama
    Apr 12

    My Dad was the same way with my mom’s family. He was also very open about not wanting to go. He passed away when I was 16, and now, my brother has unreasonable negative feelings towards my mom’s family, just because our dad did. I wouldn’t worry too much, unless he is trying to get the kids to not want to go either. You don’t want him to be a negative influence against your family.

  • Vicki
    Apr 12

    I agree with above answers, compromising with him attending events that are directly important to the kids like Christmas and thanksgiving, birthdays but maybe skipping baby showers and graduations etc. It would be nice if he went to everything but it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t. My husband can’t go to most things because of his job. So you learn to adjust. It’s not a negative reflection on you and as long as the kids see him making an effort and you do things as a family, that’s all that matters.

  • Laura
    Apr 12

    Is there an option for him to partially attend? My dad would always go for a long walk after a meal at big family gatherings with my mom's family. Only as an adult did I realize he probably needed some alone time away from the crowd and socialization. He'd always ask if anyone wanted to come with him for a walk, but most of the time we said no.

  • Anonymous
    Apr 12

    Maybe try understanding why he doesn’t want to attend versus trying to make him understand. Maybe it’s just simply awkward for him and by coming off as not understanding you could possibly be making it worse.

  • jxn8tors
    Apr 12

    It’s sometimes easier to go w/o him. Just take the kids and enjoy yourself. If he goes and he doesn’t want to be there he’ll be uncomfortable, grumpy and all together awkward. You can start a holiday tradition with “your 4 and no more” that you can both enjoy.

  • Yanis
    Apr 16

    I understand your point of view because you’re a family unit, and it’s good to have everyone spend time together specially for the kids. BUT I also understand your husband. I dated a guy with this huge family and they would get together all the time, every single holiday, and he’d want me to be there but I really really hated it. I’m a little introverted so being around that many people was exhausting. It just wasn’t enjoyable to me. The guy didn’t seem to understand that I didn’t find his family as great as he did. I think it’s important to compromise and decide which holidays he needs to be there for like thanksgiving or Christmas and giving him a pass on some of the other gatherings. 😕

  • Anonymous
    Apr 16

    It’s also nice (and important) to spend time with just your immediate family, rather than focusing on the extended...

  • Angie
    Apr 18

    Compromise. Maybe he only goes to family gatherings on holidays and birthdays. Or take turns....he skips, you skip, he skip, you skip. The ones you skip,,,,,he gets to take the kids alone and you have a break from parenting.

  • sadnow
    Jul 12

    I'm going through the same thing, but unfortunately my immediate family plays an important part of my life. I have already warned my bf now that my family is huge and they are important to me, so in order to be with me, he would eventually have to be in these functions. So I already had my cards out, but due to the fact of our recent argument of moving in together, I ended up living back with my parents because my bf did not want to compromise on my payment of rent. Long story short, my family was unhappy of the outcome and sad for me so they are now upset with him. And now my bf is upset as well and doesn't go to the family functions any longer. HELP!

  • Lorena
    Friday

    While I dislike big gatherings I still believe my place should be with my husband. It’s a family gathering. I’m FAMILY. Just like his place is with me.