How do I put my negative feelings aside about an upcoming vacation?
March 11, 2013 1:04 PM Subscribe
My husband (A)'s family (parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew) are going on a trip in a couple of weeks. The trip has been planned for months, and he and I had decided long ago that it wasn't going to work for us this year. Yesterday, A. decided he wants to go. There are no hotel rooms available. We will have to stay on the pull out couch in his parent's room. I could use a reality check. Longer explanation inside.
posted by mary, queen of socks to human relations (52 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an introvert, and I have found that I need plans and time to prepare mentally for gatherings, especially with his family, who, while I like them all (and adore the kids), still feel closer to acquaintances than family to me. A. thinks I should feel the same around his family as I do around my own family, because the reverse is true for him, and now that we are married (about 6 months in), we are all "one big family". I know it hurts his feelings, but I can't force myself to feel a level of intimacy that just hasn't been established yet. It doesn't help that A.'s parents are pretty quiet people, and gatherings with them are often so oppressively silent that I find myself literally screaming inside my own head. A lot of the conversation that does occur is criticism of their daughter-in-law, which I find extremely uncomfortable, especially as I am looked at to join in (I don't).
So, now this trip is on the table. There are many reasons we were not going to go from the beginning, mostly financial, but also, personally, because I could use some more time getting to feel comfortable with the family before I go away with them. But now, there are no rooms left, and we will have to stay on the pullout. This fact makes me want to cry with frustration just thinking about it. To not even have my own room to retreat to to recharge sounds unbearable. I have made my feelings clear to A., but it's also not really a hill I want to die on and we will most likely end up going. I've suggested he go alone, but he'd rather I come, and I do think that it would look weird if I didn't go and he did.
In some ways, I feel like I am being unreasonable, and A. told me he wishes that I could just be spontaneous and be excited to go (and so do I!). But on the other hand, I feel what I feel and don't know how to change it. It's not helping me that when events like this have popped up in the past, I reassured myself with thoughts of "you are being silly, it will be fine, when it's over you will look back and laugh at yourself for being so anxious and upset" - and then the events turned out to be just as bad as I had feared.
MeFites, how can I work to change my attitude about this trip? Do you have any mantras or techniques you have used when first put into (extremely) close quarters with your in-laws? Can you recommend any resources?