Author Topic: Family Obligations  (Read 222 times)


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Family Obligations
« on: March 06, 2018, 07:09:26 PM »
I lost my wife to cancer 2 1/2 years ago.  So I am curious to learn when is the time that I should no longer feel an obligation to attend holiday meals with my in-laws??  Yes, my  adult daughters are blood related to my in-laws but this is not the case for me. They will always be their grand-mother, aunts and uncle. Yes, I need to be sensitive toward my daughters.  But for me, attending these dinners is starting to feel like an obligation not something I really want to continue.  My thinking is after Easter talk to my daughters and let them know my thinking and especially what my plans moving forward will be especially since I am now dating.  If our relationship continues for deepen as I expect it will, by the end of the year my preference will be to spend the holiday season with her and her family rather than my late wife's family. I am just not sure how to cross that bridge.

Thank you for your comments


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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 08:02:47 PM »
I think you cross that bridge just like you said - an open discussion with your daughters, then with your in-laws. Maybe find an alternative date you can spend time with them if you need/ desire to?

I'm 5.5 years out, and still see my mother-in-law for holidays, but my kids are only 15. I have to say I'm looking forward to their adulthood so I can cut more ties with the in-laws and stepdaughters.


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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 09:58:50 PM »
I think it's important to consider your in-laws' feelings as well. How will your eventual decision to cut ties affect them? The kind of relationship you've had with them should probably factor in as well.
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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 02:56:20 AM »
Even now that I am remarried, we have kept up a strong relationship with my father in law.  My daughter is his last link to his son, and I respect that.  We tend to go away during the holidays so there's never been that specific issue, but I agree with serpico in the sense that my father in law lost his wife and his son in the span of 6 years.  If my daughter gives him joy and comfort, then that is a gift I want to give him.  You can and I'm sure will find a compromise as things develop and evolve. 


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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 05:55:28 AM »
I lost my wife to cancer 2 1/2 years ago.  So I am curious to learn when is the time that I should no longer feel an obligation to attend holiday meals with my in-laws?? 

Hey Paul, my deepest sympathies on the loss of your wife.

Stop attending whenever you want. Honestly, it is just that simple.

I started dating 6 months after my late wife passed. Even though my youngest children were still pretty small, I stopped going to holiday dinners, etc. within a year. My laws were cool about it. I still made sure my kids got to see their aunts, cousins and grandparents on that side. But just not as often. My inlaws were fine with my dating, it really was never an issue.

I'm 11 years out now. I've been remarried for years. My youngest son has a big event coming up later this month (Navy related) and we all will be visiting his ship for it. My former MIL, his aunts, uncles and cousins from that side and me and my now wife. It's all good, we all get along wonderfully.

Do what you need to - it will all work out.

Good luck - Mike
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. (Proverbs 11:25)


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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 09:10:37 AM »
I am remarried and I now have 3 families to consider at holidays, mine, new DH's family and my late husband's family.  My current husband has hosted Christmas Eve and Easter for my late husband's family with me, and while a little odd for him it's all good.  His kids love having extra cousins!  That being said I say no when I need to. I have 2 adult children who spent Thanksgiving with their Dad's family while youngest son went to my new inlaws with us and enjoys his new step cousins.

I think you do what's comfortable for you and based on the type of relationship you have with them.  Maybe a big sweeping declaration is not necessary but take it Holiday by holiday and say "this year for x holiday I plan to spend it x place".
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Re: Family Obligations
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 03:07:34 PM »
Seven years out and six years into a new relationship, still see my in-laws with the children (12 and 9) a couple of times a year, and the children see them another time or two (they live far away). I guess I'm lucky in that I love them, and they have always treated me like family even after I met someone else, which is something I'm grateful for. They are just lovely people who have lost so much. Your children are adults, so as others have said, they can continue to see the in-laws without you, and also as others have said, it depends on your relationship with them. We do some holidays together, some not, and that seems to work OK on a case by case basis.