Too close to my parents?

Hey all- just an opinion poll, or perhaps a plea for advice:-)

I am getting married soon and my fiancee recently said that I a)spend too much time with my parents and b)that she is afraid that after we are married we will spend too much time with them.

The thing is I don’t think I spend that much time w/ them.

Anyways- she still lives at home and will be moving from Jersey to Michigan after we’re married, so her fam will be a lot farther away than mine.

finally- here’s the question. Several months ago I had bought a plane ticket (to go to jersey for the wedding) through priceline (non-refundable, 175 bucks) because at that time there was no one leaving early enough to drive with (I couldn’t drive because we are driving her car to the honeymoon and then to mich). However, recently it came up that my parents were leaving early and they asked if I would come with as sort of a last big roadtrip before I got married- when I brought this up with my fiancee it brought up a slight argument.

So, given that whether I fly or drive, I would get there at the same time- should I fly out alone or drive with family? Yes, I would lose 175 dollars, but then again the drive out would cost me nothing…


Fly. At this point, neither of you need more stress in your lives, so if she’s a little miffed about this, it’s easier to go along than to make a big fuss.

However, I would definitely address her issues about you spending too much time with your parents. This is what marriage is about - coming up with compromises that you can both live with. If I were you, I’d work out something pretty solid - like “We have dinner with my parents no more than once a week, and if I want, I can drop over on one weekend afternoon.” or something like that.

How much time does she think you should be spending with them? How much time do you spend with them? Would you be happy seeing them only once a month if she insisted? Would she be happy with you seeing them twice a week if you insisted? Will that change when/if you have children?

These things are best worked out before the wedding. There is no such thing as too much/not enough time. But, different people enjoy different amounts of time.

I would travel with my family if I could. The fact that she doesn’t want you too (assuming you will get there at the same time) is weird IMHO.

(My parents live with my brother and neice about an hour away. I visit a couple of times a month. I would probably see them a couple of times a week if they were closer.)

I’d fly, if not just for the fact that it makes her happier.

I have to ask though, what kind of relationship does she have with her parents? I mean, if she still lives at home, maybe she’s afraid that once she leaves, she’ll be forced back into the “child” mode by having to spend a lot of time with your folks. What kind of relationship does she have with your parents?

One thing I’ve definately learned from being married: not every family has the same dynamic and what may be totally normal for you, may be completely freaking out your spouse (or soon-to-be spouse). Talk about this before it becomes even more of an issue.

I get the impression that she is going separately? Why then would she care just how you got there? If you enjoy their company then I don’t see why you shouldn’t travel together. Be careful with this, my sister in law has slowly but surely alienated my brother from us, without ever really trying to get to know us first. I think I’ve seen him twice in the last year, for about an hour each time. He is on a very short leash. It’s too bad really, because every time I see him I’m reminded of what a great guy he is.

The first few years we were married, my husband always seemed to want to do things with his folks. I was thrilled that he was close to them, but I couldn’t take all that togetherness. So I asked if we could cut back on the visits - he had no idea up till that point how I felt. So we worked it out.
Sounds like the two of you need to discuss how much is too much - and I echo others here - do it before you marry!

Thanks all for your thoughts!

To answer some things you brought up: I have to travel out there and she’ll already be there (we have a long distance relationship at the moment).

I honestly can’t figure out why she cares which way i get there other than the fact that I spent 175$ on the ticket and would be wasting it by not flying. But on the other hand I would not be spending any more to drive and would get there at the same time.

I don’t think she wants to be overly controlling.

Normally I go to my parent’s place one or two times a month- usually for family events or sometimes just to work in the gardens I have there.

So, now I am between a rock and a hard place, as the old expression goes- because no matter what I decide to do, fly or drive with fam, I am going to upset someone. If I drive, she’ll be upset and think that I “give in” too easy when asked to do something with my parents or family. If I fly then my parents will probably think something wrong about her or think that I am trying to avoid them.


:o Uggh!! I have no idea how I managed that. Sorry!
You only see them once or twice a month and she thinks you spend too much time with them? Forgive me, but I think that sounds crazy. If you don’t talk with her now about how much time is okay to spend with them after the wedding you are asking for trouble. Trust me, I have been there.

As far as driving/flying is she really upset about the money or the family time? If it is the money that makes no sense, because as you say it is already spent. But, I would probably be more likely to give in about it and fly.

If it is the family time (which is what it sounds more like to me) you had better think about it. If she is this jealous of your time when you are in another state imagine what she is going to be like after the wedding. What you do now helps to set the stage for what your marriage is going to be like.

If you do decide to fly I would suggest you don’t tell your parents why. Make up something that puts the entire blame on yourself. It won’t help family harmony any if they think she is the reason you wouldn’t drive with them.

What sort of relationship does she have with her parents/family?

I ask because I have an OK relationship with mine but my wife is (to me) very close to her family. My firsts visits to her home I felt like I dropped in on the Von Trapp family. (the people from the Sound of Music) Really I thought they would break out into song at any moment and then they actually DID!!!

Meanwhile, although they did NOTHING to make me feel this way, I felt dirty. Or underdressed. Or really just out of place. I felt like my fingernails were filthy and that my personal body odor was offending everyone. It wasn’t. But I felt that way and your lady may be feeling the same way. But I would address this issue BEFOR the wedding.

My parents chose to live in Oklahoma. Why? Because it’s about equal distant from dad’s family in MI and mom’s fam in SoCal.

Best of luck to you and welcome to the boards.

If you are driving with your family because you want to and not because your “giving in” then maybe you should tell her that. I’m sure she’s not trying to be overly controlling, so ask her, and if it matters to her an awful lot (for what ever reason) fly. I think your parents also have to understand (not that I’m saying they don’t) that your fiance/wife, is now your No1 priority IMHO. My husband myself and my kids will back each other up till our nose bleeds, because we’re now a family unit, as much as I love my parents and his.
And BTW, once or twice a month for visiting your parents, I would say is healthy and certainly not too much IMO.

[sub]ok am I rambling now, someone take this wine away from me <sigh> [/sub]


I don’t want to be a downer, here, so forgive me if it seems that way.

I lost my mom and my brother to cancer a few years ago. I cherish every moment I ever spent with them, and I wish I had spent more.

I have always spent more time with my parents than anyone I know. And sometimes it seemed like a burden, something that was expected of me since I live nearby and none of my other siblings did. And I am not married, so I didn’t have a new family of my own to worry about. The thing is…I don’t think that we really ever think our parents are going to be gone. They have always been there for us, and in our hearts I think we feel that they always will be.

I learned the hard way that the time comes when they are NOT going to be here for me. I loved my mother more than I can begin to tell you. And occasionally I look back on missed opportunities that I could have shared with her, and I didn’t do it just because it wasn’t quite convenient. I wish I could live those times over again, because I would have included her in everything I could have.

I am not suggesting that you owe them anything, or that you should make your parents your first priority anymore. Clearly, your wife and future children will become that. Just…think about what I said. If you are going to get there at the same time either way, maybe the joy they would feel if you chose to ride with them would be one last time before your priorities shift that they can be with you.

I would ride with them.

Best wishes on your coming marriage, hon.


Oh, and if you decide to ride with them, maybe you could tell your fiance exactly that. That this is one last time that they can be with you, before you become her husband first, instead of their child first.

BTW…I don’t know how much time you actually spend with your parents, but when my mother was alive I spent one day a week with my parents. Sometimes I spent time with mom alone, too. Now that mom is gone and dad is lonely for her, I see him at least three times a week.

I don’t know…is that too much? What IS too much?

When he is gone, what will I view as TOO MUCH? I can tell you from experience. I will wish I had spent MORE time with him instead of less.

Not that I am suggesting that anyone should do what I do, just…that is how I feel.

Well, I guess you can see some what the way I feel. By the way i’m plantmans fiancee. I have knowledge that his parents aren’t very fond of his sister in law because they feel that she has taking their son away. See i’m feeling as if they are going to look at me in the same way, because i would love to spend a lot of time alone with my new husband, being that we have a very long distant relationship. Everybody is saying that i’m controlling or that i’m wrong, but i feel i have reasons. He was all up for flying until sudddenly a change of plans to driving out with his family, which most likely he got a guilt trip to do it.

Hi Amber Skye

I hope you guys work out your differences and settle this matter. It really is small potatoes and you shouldn’t let grow out of controll.
So where are you spending Christmas?

Welcome to the Boards and Congratulations on your impending nuptials, Plantman and ~AmberSky~.

I have also lost both of my parents in the last 16 months and can appreciate just how little time we have with them.

My unsolicitied advise [sub](and remember, you get what you pay for:D)[/sub] is that you both need to talk about this to come to a compromise that you can both live with. Perhaps Plantman you can reduce the number of times you visit, especially if it is taking time away from ~AmberSky~. Also, ~AmberSky~, perhaps you can look at your feelings of competition? jealousy? fear? whatever and set those aside for the sake of compromise. This is a very complex problem on a lot of levels and you are heading for a disaster if you don’t hash it out before the wedding. It also isn’t something that has to be engraved in stone. Try to come to a compromise and try it for a while. You both agree to revisit the situation in 6 months and see how it’s working for both of you.

Ok, enough with MamaRuby. Go have some f-u-u-n-n :wink:

Sorry about the typo ~AmberSkyE~.

I am in a similar situation. I have absolutely no obligatory feeling towards my family. I see them about once a year, sometimes twice. I call my Dad (my mom has Alzheimers and is in a home) about once a week, and usually that’s him calling me. I talk to my sister maybe once a month or so.

My wife talks to her mom on the phone literally every day. She is in constant communication with her sisters as well. She feels she should see her family at least twice a year, if not more.

So far, there’s no problem. Except that, because she feels close to her family, she insists I be close to mine as well. So for a long time she would constantly harp on me to go see them or to call them or whatever. To her, the idea of only seeing your family once a year, and even then out of duress, was just absurd.

I should also point out that she’s Catholic, and is VERY guilt-motivated. I’m not, and am not. The last time we went down to Louisiana, where both our parents live, hers guilted her into staying a few extra days.

What we do is usually take separate trips. She has more time off than I do, so she can hop the train and go see her family. If we do go down together, we often will come back separately, so she can spend a little more time there. She’s stopped (somewhat) holding me to her standards of family obligation, and for my part, it doesn’t bother me how often she talks to them on the phone. Fortunately, she doesn’t want to eventually live near them again (she did for a while) and won’t be in a position to do so for a long time even if she did want to.

we’ve been married for eight years. So it’s possible for peopel with different ideas about family obligations to make it work, so long as you talk about it, don’t try to push the other to your standard, and don’t bitch about things that ultimately don’t affect you that much. And both need to realize that you married each other, not each others’ families.