My wife’s brother-in-law is always late and always has some minor excuse that he tosses off. He was so late for his wedding that some people in the church thought it’d been called off and started to talk about leaving.
When he and his bride arrived, they looked smug instead of embarrassed. One can only guess what delayed them and they didn’t apologize.
His wife, my sister-in-law, is also indifferent to time commitments, when she’s the “hostess” of a dinner or occasion. We feed our young children something to hold back their hunger when we’re invited for dinner and there’s nothing served until 9pm.
Early on in our marriage, we invited them to attend a concert with us, featuring a band we all loved.
We gifted them the tickets, so I was very annoyed when she arrived alone, a half-hour after it started, and he didn’t make it till half-time.
Ten years later, little has changed. We see them less, and we know that whatever the occasion when we have to be together, they’ll either delay the event for everyone, arrive late and indifferent to anyone’s discomfort, or laugh in our faces saying that we’re “uptight” and “don’t know how to relax.”
Personally, I’m close to finished with having a relationship with them. BUT my wife says we can’t just drop family, that it’s a bad example for our children. What are your thoughts?
Something’s wrong here. And there are some odd, almost antisocial signals that should be considered.
Your wife must have some awareness of her sister’s general behaviour over the years of growing up together and before she met her husband. It’s worth you two discussing whether she was always indifferent to being on time, and uncaring about making other people wait.
If not, or only moderately so, there’s more to this behaviour. Consider these possibilities: Are one or both of them heavy drinkers or have other addictions? Is her husband or your sister-in-law a controlling person who doesn’t feel they have to follow others’ punctuality issues?
If YES to either thought, change your reaction and start to think about how to introduce a way to offer help.
However, if you can’t trace the origins of their rudeness, decide your own timing whenever you’re going to be in their company.
Your wife’s instinct about children learning the wrong example from abandoning her sister, is worth considering. Hang in until the situation reveals something that you two can either understand, or simply cannot accept again.
My husband is stubborn and I sometimes am (both 34). But we handle it differently. When we disagree, he stomps off, ending the discussion. He’ll be distant and silent for several hours. He may then apologize or just be normal again.
My stubbornness is usually related to raising our 10-year-old twins.
Though he’s a good, caring father, he doesn’t have the contacts and information that I get through my mom-circles. So, I come to some decisions having become certain of them through those discussions.
I’ve explained this but he thinks it’s unfair and wrong for me to believe that I know best. But the reality is that I’ve learned and thought about the kids’ issues more than he has.
How can we handle our differences better?
Stubborn Times Two
Share child-raising information when you learn it, not just when there’s an issue. Read articles/books together on matters important to you both. Listen more than you talk.
I’m so disappointed in my “best friend” since university.
She married and started her career. I married later, so my children are younger than hers and I chose to work from home.
But we chatted through the pandemic and even had some virtual meals together as couples.
Recently, she told me she “just can’t keep up with all my friends because I’m back at my office full-time. We’ll maybe get together one evening in the fall.”
I feel insulted, unvalued, and dismissed. Does my working from home make me unworthy of her time?
End of Friendship?
She’s feeling pressured by returning to working in the office, and juggling time between there and with her family at home.
She should’ve framed her message about her own immediate stress - to which you’d more easily have been understanding, even reassuring her that she’s handled it before and can do so again.
She did leave a door open. You should, too, for now.
Tip of the day:
Family members’ off-putting habits are sometimes cries for help. Reach out. But with sheer rudeness, distance.