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Ask Sherry: Would I visit my in-laws again? And what that furniture piece is in my OOTD

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I remember your posts about your (exhausting / frustrating / annoying ) trip to visit your partner’s family one summer.

I had commented at the time that there were ways to make your life easier (stay somewhere else or go away for a few days and leave your partner and kid w the family or just stay in town and not have to depend on them or take taxis or whatever else) and you were not really willing at that time to do that (I think money plus family perception?). In a post- covid world – if you ever go back to visit then do you think you’ll have a different approach? A bit more “eff you I’m too old to deal with this and I have eff you money to make sure?”

You know… I have been thinking about this.

For the record, I have already had screaming fights, and discussions in-depth with my partner about his family’s behaviour and attitude, and he for the most part agrees with me, but doesn’t seem to see it as a “oh we will never see them again” sort of situation, which I get. I mean it’s his family. HE can go back and see them with Little Bun, but I am not feeling welcomed, so I told him at the time that I will never… ever… go back to his mother’s village again to stay for a vacation.

I don’t think I’d like to go back and visit them, personally. I am sort of over it. They didn’t really seem to care that Little Bun was there, they didn’t try to speak to him or play with him, they didn’t try to spend time with us or make time to do outings even though we made the exceptional 7-hour flight + 3 hour bus/train thing to get to their places.

It just seems sort of disrespectful, like: “Oh you’re here? Okay.” … or “Oh you’re not here? Okay.”

With my family, it’s the opposite. It’s like a huge celebration and people make time to see us when Little Bun shows up. They actually plan: Hey come over for a BBQ at my place for the day, we will play with him etc.

My mother plans outings, she thinks of ideas, she wants to bake with him, she’s always tries to read with him or interact with him, which is why he grew to love her so deeply within a span of a week or two. In contrast, he was with the in-laws, and in a month or so, he wasn’t any more attached to them than when he arrived.

I get it. You’re not into kids. You don’t know what to do.

But you can’t expect them to come up and love you immediately just because they’re blood. You can’t expect them to want you every morning (which is what Mamie did), if you don’t actively spend time with them and want to be with them, playing on the floor or whatever. She actually scolded ME for not teaching him proper French manners (do I effing look French to you? Scream at your son), and that he didn’t seem to love her. Me: *itching to point out why*

I’m also over his side of the family that had kids his age (his cousins), and they seemed to have planned to NOT BE THERE when we arrived.

Little Bun’s cousins basically went off to do their own thing with their family during the day (the family didn’t invite us to come along, just left), and then they came back for the late afternoon and he had THE BEST TIME with his cousins. I mean they played like crazy together, loved each other.. I was so happy, my heart was bursting with joy at seeing him get along with his cousin and basically make friends, but then they left the next day to go back to Paris.

I had such high hopes, I don’t know why they didn’t try to at least stay a week with us in the same home.

So.. WTF. I mean, does that sound respectful / like they planned to be there when we were there? It sounds to me like they just planned one day to “see” us but then to not spend any time with us at all. It sounds like they didn’t want to form any kind of bond, or relationship with us, with Little Bun, and it is sad.

So come the doubts — Is it me? Is it my partner? I feel like he thinks he has a better relationship with his siblings than he really does, and the residual effect is me confused if it’s my doing. I’ve decided to leave it all alone. I am not wasting my time on people who don’t want to be with me.

I already know his family thinks I’m lazy and hates my “laziness” but I explained it’s a cultural / family thing. In my family, we don’t expect or allow guests to do anything in our home – in fact we sort of get angry if they do because they’re guests AND they don’t know what we like.

After a while, yes, once they get used to things, they can help clean etc. In his family, it’s like the expect you day one, to start cleaning, cooking, as you’re “family”. Well, I don’t know what they want, how they like it, where they keep things — it’s only once I see how things are done, that I can start helping without being told or asked to help.

I don’t want to step in and ruin their schedules basically, or the way they like to do things, which for ME is respecting their family, but for THEM it was that I was lazy and didn’t want to do anything because by osmosis I should have picked up what they wanted immediately.

So black mark.

They also hate that I don’t cook. They can’t understand how a woman doesn’t enjoy to cook, clean and iron for her family (what are we in the 1800s?).. and they don’t know 100% (I think) that I pay half for everything even my retirement (not the norm in their families) and we have split the duties pretty fairly in that regard.

So another black mark against me.

No matter what my partner says, first impressions last. I know this. I can’t help it.

I told him I will go back to Europe, but if we stay with family, it will be the ones in Paris, not some village in the middle of nowhere where there is literally nothing to do but eat, walk and sleep (then he gets mad at me when I am on the internet all the time, or reading because I am bored AF, and Little Bun is bored AF.)

If we are in Paris, at least I can just use their place like a hotel and eff off for the day with Little Bun with or without my partner. Or go off on my own and leave him with my partner. They can want us to be there or not, but I won’t expect much in way of warmth.

It’s just such a disappointing contrast to my family that is makes me sad. I tried really hard to create a family bond, even though we are a continent apart, but it doesn’t seem to be the same sort of reciprocal love, if that makes sense.

I’d also go back to Europe, but as a visit. I’d like to tour France and hang out in vineyards, go to spas, etc. I don’t want to go back just to have a cheap family vacation, I’d rather go to my family then.

In many of your OOTD there’s something in the bottom right hand side of photos – maybe a furniture piece? I’m curious what it is, given it’s so low to the ground.

It’s a floating drawer/shelf that the old owners put up in the room and we ripped it down, patched the wall and painted over it again because we thought it looked stupid and was dangerous.

We have nowhere else to put it, it’s freakin’ massive and I am amazed it stayed on the wall that long as they just GLUED IT ON with industrial glue (We thought it would be a hazard one day and fall down on our heads or something, so we removed it).

Still have a burning question?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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4 Comments

  1. B.

    If there’s one thing you’re NOT, it’s lazy. I hear you on the cultural thing, 100%.

    Reply
  2. Maria

    Did you and your partner and his familiy talk before the visit about what you wanted to do? Given you come from different backgrounds I assume this is not the first time you have different expectations..

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      No because I didn’t realize they would act like this. We really just went there to hang out, see the village, I’m okay with all of that. He had no clue until I showed up, that they would react like that. My family was the opposite – they did everything for us / him and welcomed him into all the outings, and so on. It’s almost like night/day.

      Reply

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