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'AITA for refusing to attend family events on my wife's side unless she stands up for herself?'

'AITA for refusing to attend family events on my wife's side unless she stands up for herself?'


"AITA for refusing to attend family events on my wife's side unless she stands up for herself?"

My wife (35F) and I (36M) have been married for 4 years and have 2 kids (3 & 1). My wife's parents divorced when she was a teenager and both her mom and dad have since remarried. There is a lot of competition between her mom, dad, and stepmom in terms of "family time."

Everything has to be equal. Meaning if we spend an afternoon with her mom, then we have to do the same thing with her dad and stepmom. Mom and stepmom especially put a lot of pressure on my wife and guilt trip her about it.

My wife has a lot of trouble standing up for herself and saying "no." Before we had kids, this wasn't as big of a deal. If we had to attend 2-3 different Thanksgivings or Xmas gatherings, not a huge deal. I mean, it sucked, but it wasn't the end of the world. Now though, with 2 young kids, it's exhausting and I absolutely hate it.

My wife and I have had numerous talks about her setting boundaries about this because I am at the end of my rope with it. The bickering and pressure is constant and the need to keep everything "equal" essentially determines our entire non-work schedule.

We had to attend 2 separate Easter events this Spring (we're not even religious) because we went to one with her mom, so we "had" to do one with her dad and stepmom. After that, I told my wife I was done with this BS.

I told her that she needs to stand up to her parents and start setting boundaries and saying "no." I told her I won't allow her parents to continue to dictate how we live our lives. I told her if she is incapable of doing this, then I will absolutely step in and tell them off.

But she begged me not to do that because she doesn't want to ruffle feathers and promised she would do better. Of course, that didn't happen. We ended up having to run around to 3 separate places on Memorial weekend because of this same stuff.

After we got home from the last stop, I told my wife I am done with this and will now pick and choose which things I want to go to. I won't stop her from going and I will stay home with one or both kids if she doesn't want to take them, but I'm done.

Lo and behold, this past weekend she was talking to her mom and 4th of July came up. My FIL had already invited us to his house for a pool day and my wife told her mom about it.

So, of course we have to do something with them that weekend as well. When my wife told me about this, I told her that I will not be attending both and I will choose if I want to attend either.

My wife must have vented to her mom about this because a couple days later, I got a call from my wife's stepdad (the only sane person in this, really). He told me that he completely agrees with me and that he's talked with his wife numerous times about not pressuring my wife, but she doesn't listen either.

He suggested that whenever his wife pressures my wife into keeping things "equal," that he and I go golfing together instead. When I told my wife about this idea, she called me a jerk and told me I'm being unsupportive.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Discount_Mithral said:

NTA, but you two need to work on this to find a solution. Personally, the solution should be along the lines of telling everyone "With two young kids, it is just not possible to keep running around to different households for events and holidays. We are finding we don't have time to establish our own traditions with the children because we are trying to "keep the peace" between you two.

With this in mind, we will be alternating holidays, and choosing to skip some that we will want to keep to ourselves. Should we host, invitations will be extended to everyone, and we expect a civil gathering. If you don't feel you can contribute to that environment for the sake of the kids, then please RSVP 'No." Thank you for understanding."

Your wife calling you unsupportive just reads as she needs someone to stand up for her because she doesn't want to do it for herself. Have a talk with your wife about how exhausting this is for you.

Focus on wanting to spend more quiet time with her and the kids instead of not wanting to do things with her family. Something you don't mention is your family - when do you spend time with them if you are divvying up holidays between two gatherings already for just her family?

MaybeitsMe0617 said:

NTA...told me I'm being unsupportive. You're right, I don't support this. I told you I don't support this and I'm not supporting this any longer.

True-Button-6471 said:

NTA. Personally I think "equal" could be done by alternating holidays, not spending time with all at every holiday. Beyond that, the "alternation" should also include some "home alone" family holidays.

TheEmpressIsIn said:

NTA. Sounds like you have been exceptionally patient with the situation, and you and dad have told them the problem they're causing. Your wife should respect your boundaries, or fix the situation.

Both options are fine, but fixing it would be better. Many families swap and rotate holidays and that seems more reasonable. I feel for your wife; it sounds like she is caught between feuding wives, but too people pleasing to stand up for herself.

Spoopyowo said:

NTA, I think you're being totally reasonable. If your wife is unwilling to have an adult discussion with the three parents making things difficult then she should have to deal with all the visits, and the children if they want to go.

Hopefully she realizes there are better ways to go about this or decide to host these events at your home, inviting both sets of grandparents and having one event together.

Authentic_Jester said:

NTA. You've tried to be supportive and that didn't work. The dead horse has been beaten into a stain. If she's not willing to address the issue, let her know you're not either. Maybe even ask her what more you're supposed to do? You're ruining your own marriage to appease two people that f'd up theirs. She shouldn't want to live her life like that.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this situation?

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