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mrswinteriscoming
Rockstar December 2021

aita for expecting fh to attend family events more?

mrswinteriscoming, on October 23, 2020 at 12:57 AM Posted in Family and Relationships 1 30
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TL;DR - FH doesn't like attending family events with me/acts like it's a chore. I expect him to come to them with me as my partner.

I come from a very tight-knit family. We are all up in each others' business (the good way) and love spending time with each other. We are always celebrating the little things in life and regularly see one another (we're only a 10-15 min drive from my side of the family, FH's family live 8 hours away).

FH grew up in a rural area with only his immediate family. His family are completely different to mine, aside from the geographical distance, they aren't as open toward one another and are generally more quiet and distant. I.e. I call my parents daily/every second day, they speak to each other once a week or less.

Since FH and I started seeing each other years ago, I was always conscious of the fact that my family's craziness is not what he is used to. Because of this, there are a number of times I see them on my own, which is totally fair.

With that said, he always acts like I'm asking a lot of him or that it's a chore to come see them. For example, we last saw my parents (together) on Oct 2 when we all went out for dinner (I also on my own see them weekly when FH is at football practice). I found out just now that my sister's boyfriend is coming over tonight to meet our family and they've asked if we want to join. She's 16 so it's not serious (at least not yet) but I thought it would be nice for us to both go over and be part of their pizza/meet-the-boyfriend night.

I told FH and he said he feels quite tired/flat. I said we didn't have to stay late, and if he wanted to bring his own food instead of pizza he could (he's quite health conscious). He doesn't 'really feel like it' and I could go alone. I told him I didn't think it was that big of a deal since we're staying home tonight and didn't have any plans to do anything. I am totally ok with him not coming to everything but it really upsets me that he doesn't see the importance of family things the way I do and doesn't want to make a slight effort to come.

AITA for expecting this of him?

30 Comments

Latest activity by Marcia, on October 29, 2020 at 3:11 PM
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    I would think you are asking too much. And my hubby would think you are asking too much. We are big family people, live very close to se eral of my family. But I only ask him once , and if he is not interested, I do not ask about the same event again. If I want to go, myself ( or now with or without some kids, ) fine. I go. but he has been over within a month to six weeks, and that should more than fill any obligation. I really love my MIL and now FIL, and some of his sibs. They are a 6 hr drive away. And really cannot stand half his brothers wives, or most of his sisters. Sometime I will not see anyone of his for months. Then his parents, or a couple of his nieces or nephews come and stay a few weeks. They are welcome, I spend lots of time and effort. But each of us chooses how much friendly contact we want with the other's family. And it would create a war if eiter of us tried to nag the other into doing what we did not want. If he his showing up once every month or 2, that is enough obligation. You can not change someone used to little contact with friends, or with family, into wanting more, unless he wants to change. You hang out with your family as friends. Fine. But there is no reason to expect him to. Meeting a sister's boyfriend she recently met is not a reasonable time to call an obligation. Big milestones, only, can be expectations, but friendly hanging out, no. Maybe he wants to see his friends more. Or maybe he wants alone time, time at home without you there. Without you pulling on him to go see your family. And choose your occasions. A marriage is only a merging of 2 families if everyone involved wants it. But most marriages, one or both want to cross paths only now and then, and that should be enough, not a marital struggle. Don't try to change him. He is an adult, and knows what he wants for himself, as well as you know for yourself. Let him be, with the occasional invitation, no penalty ( like your bad mood or nagging) if he declines.

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  • Rebecca
    Rockstar August 2019
    Rebecca ·
    • Flag

    As you said, his family is *very* different. Honestly, *I'd* be overwhelmed by that - my family isn't quite like his, but my parents live far away, I'm an only child, and we tended to see most family around holidays.

    DH... is Italian-American.

    It's been an adjustment, and sometimes I get overwhelmed, and he respects that. We talk about it. That's the only way through.

    But we both have to give, because that's *also* the only way to deal.

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  • Samantha
    Devoted October 2021
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    You are not an AH, but you do have to accept that your FH is not comfortable with so much interaction. Ask him outright how often he would like to spend time with your family. From there you can both compromise on when and how often you both attend events. If you plan on having children, you may have to revisit this conversation.
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  • Jai Butcher
    Rockstar May 2020
    Jai Butcher ·
    • Flag
    My hubby and I have a situation similar to yours. I'm very close to my parents and my mom&I talk on the phone daily. Hubby works with his dad but has a strained relationship with parents and family. We see my parents biweekly for dinner and we see his for holidays really. We compromised and see mine biweekly (gives us time to do our own thing), and see his for a limited time (holidays or any other events, like we put a time limit on it maybe 3-4 hours each event then leave because of how they can be). Finding a healthy compromise is good, and maybe asking your FH how often he would like to participate in family gatherings. For me, I wouldn't feel comfortable going to his often. But he wants to go together and not independently so we compromise and since we both feel the same way about his family it isnt an issue.
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  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    I think you’re equating “importance of family” to how frequently you see family and I don’t think that’s always accurate. My family is very important to me and we spend a good amount of time together, but I wouldn’t get together with my family every couple weeks for dinner, whether I had other plans or not.
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  • Samantha
    Devoted October 2021
    Samantha ·
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    That's a very good point. I live very far from all of my family; as in must fly or take the train. Still think of them everyday.
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  • Margaret
    Master October 2020
    Margaret ·
    • Flag

    I don't think you're being the a$$, I think it's quite natural to want your FH there with you.

    So, in your FH's defense, you noted that your family is big and very close, while his is much smaller and not so close (well different). That is exactly my situation, except I'm your FH and my husband is you.

    My husband thinks I hate his family because I don't want to spend so much time there as he does. "Since FH and I started seeing each other years ago, I was always conscious of the fact that my family's craziness is not what he is used to." It's not that I don't want to go, or that it's crazy AND IT IS CRAZY.... Sometimes it's just too much for me mentally. I always feel like I HAVE TO BE ON when I'm around his family. I can't just relax because they are so much. I love them, I get along with them, but holidays are over the top crazy, unorganized and chaotic and it's just too much for my mellow self to absorb. The feeling actually makes me very anxious and nervous. I don't like feeling that way at all.

    About every 3rd visit to his family's - I let him go alone so that I can have a break. During the holiday's I stay 1/2 the amount of time he does for these same reasons. Sometimes I feel bad because I don't want to go, but really at the end of the day, it keeps our relationship healthier that I don't go.

    There has to be compromise for you both, understand him and understand you. I can't say that what your FH feels is the same as me, but maybe have an honest one on one. I've explained myself to my husband and he knows now where I'm coming from, but every now and then he still thinks I just HATE going to his hometown to visit. And it's very little to do with hate, but everything to do with how it makes me feel internally (anxious).


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  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
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    "DH... is Italian-American."

    I hope people get this reference/context because I'm lmao'ing over here. My dad's side isn't *quite* like that anymore, but it definitely was when he was growing up.

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  • Katie
    Super August 2021
    Katie Online ·
    • Flag
    I'm sorry I don't agree with others. You are not asking to much of him to attend family things more. My fiance and I come from almost the same dynamic with our families. And even then when we started dating it was a chore for him to do family things with me. I told him that I'm very close with my family and would expect him to attend family events, of course I told him he wouldn't have to attend everything, but he needed to accompany me to some family event. I set him straight from the beginning and told him if he isn't willing to make the sacrifice and put in the work that our relationship would more than likely end because I'd stop making sacrifice and putting in work. Now my fiance attends family events that I ask him to go to with out a problem. I think you need to sit down with him and make him realize this is important to you and he needs to be making the sacrifice and do his part in the relationship. As long as you aren't forcing him to go to every single thing you go to with your family I don't see the problem. You guys are a couple and should be attending things as a couple.
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  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
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    I agree with this. And yes, Original Poster, I think you are asking too much of him. My mom is super important to me and I only see her once every 4 months pre covid and now nearly never since COVID. if I were your FH, I would feel so overwhelmed. I love my FH's paremts but we are definitely different.
    • Reply
  • MD
    Super July 2019
    MD ·
    • Flag

    My parents live 3 houses down from me and my husband's parents are a 3 minute drive, so we are close. However, I am still a homebody and really enjoy my time at home to myself. So if my husband said "hey we now have dinner plans tonight/tomorrow" at someone else's house, I'd probably say no, too. Typically when we go to our parent's house, we end up there for hours just talking. We each go to our own parents' houses by ourselves a lot, and both of our families understand that even though we're married, we're still 2 different people.

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  • M
    Super October 2022
    Michele ·
    • Flag
    Marriage or any relationship is all about compromise and respect. That includes boundaries. You need to sit down with him and figure out what all that entails for both of you.
    Some people are not close to their families at all, while others love theirs but don't want to visit that often, both of which are perfectly acceptable and valid. Pressuring someone to do something they are not comfortable with leads to friction and resentment instead of them willingly doing what is asked.
    If he has said he doesn't want to attend, respect that by not guilting or forcing him. Say I'm going to XYZ. You are welcome to join' and leave it at that. But work out a compromise. Maybe you visit family most weekends and he joins on major holidays, or whatever you come up with together. But to expect it as a spousal duty is too much.
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  • Rebecca
    Rockstar August 2019
    Rebecca ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    I mean, we also live very close to them.


    My dad and I text a lot.
    His parents call. (They live, as the crow flies, less than 5 miles from us. But we have to take the subway, so it's about an hour.) Frequently.
    DH lived at home until well into our relationship, partly because of the family dynamic, partly because they lived in the city, and it was way too expensive to move out.

    But, yeah, I've sat at family events and kind of been overwhelmed by the, uh, decibel level.
    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
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    LOL! "overwhelmed by the, uh, decibel level...." I can completely relate! H and I both come from VERY large close families, but they have very different dynamics. My family tends to be more quite, calm, and when it comes to conflict, avoidant or passive aggressive (not necessarily healthy, but it's what I grew up with), but H's family is super LOUD, they talk over each other all the time, and they are definitely very competitive/confrontational about conflict. They literally just yell whatever crosses their minds at each other.... It took me a while to get used to them, and while I'll never behave the way they do, I have come to appreciate the fact that they are completely "honest" with each other, but then 5 minutes later they are laughing over a beer together.

    To the OP, I think there is a good middle ground where you and FH negotiate around what's most important to you regarding his attendance, and then attend less important events (e.g., meeting a 16-yr old sibling's bf...) separately.

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  • M
    Super January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag

    Compromise is an important part of successful relationships, of course. But so is recognizing and respecting who each person is at a fundamental level, and not trying to change that. You are marrying this person, the way he is, not the way you wish him to be. And who he is, based on your descriptions of him, is someone who was raised was raised very differently from you and who has polar opposite views on family ties, socialization, and how to spend free time.

    Neither of you is wrong or right, just different. Wanting to see your family so often doesn't make you an asshole, but badgering and being upset with your future spouse for not agreeing with you DOES.

    With good communication and genuine willingness to compromise on both sides, I have no doubt you two can find a middle ground that makes you both happy. But this is one of those differences that should definitely be worked out before marriage because not getting it right could mean serious relationship troubles for years to come.

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  • mrswinteriscoming
    Rockstar December 2021
    mrswinteriscoming ·
    • Flag


    EDIT:


    We had a bit of a talk about it and I’ve realized that what my expectation of ‘normal’ is, is very different to his when it comes to these things, and that the level of attendance I was expecting is something he is not comfortable with, but for no personal reasons against the family.


    From hereon I will try to adjust my expectations so that I’m not putting him in a difficult position. Probably will take some getting used to but I’m aware of his perspective now so it’s a start.

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  • Katie
    Super August 2021
    Katie Online ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    I feel like he needs to make the compromise, you are not wrong for wanting him to be with you when you are going to see your family. You are not asking or expecting to much. He is putting less work and compromise in this relationship all because of his comfort level. Sometimes when it comes to relationships you have to compromise and give up a little bit of your comfort. He needs to understand this is important to you and if it's important to you and he truly loves you then he should be there for you. Yes he doesn't need to be there all the time but he should at least make an appearance some of the times. You are not asking to much of him, this is going to be his future in laws. And they say when you marry someone you are marrying into their whole family. I'd talk to him again and tell him that it's important to you and hurts your feelings that he really doesn't do much with you and your family. He needs to make the compromise and put in the work.
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  • M
    Super January 2019
    Maggie ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    This is a fantastic update. How we are raised informs how we see the world so much (for good and bad) and learning to try to see things from our spouse's perspective is really important. I mean this sincerely: good job!

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  • Katie
    Super August 2021
    Katie Online ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Yes true but seeing things from your spouses perspective goes both ways. And he should realize that it's important to his future wife that he attends a couple of family things together as a couple. It wouldn't be a good relationship if she is the only one who is making compromises and giving up a little comfort for him while he's sitting there not doing anything for the relationship. Sometimes in a relationship you need to do things out of your comfort zone, because it's important to your spouse. He should want to be there for her because he loves her and knows how important to her it is to be there with her. Relationships are work and he needs to realize he needs to be putting in the work as well. To me he sounds like one of those guys who thinks he can skate by in the relationship with doing little to no work all while she's probably over her carrying all the weight of the relationship.
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  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
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    It sounds like he attends plenty of family events, including having dinner with them just a few weeks ago. I don’t think it’s reasonable that any time something comes up he’s required to go.
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