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In-Laws eh, who'd have 'em?

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SeaVixenSeaVixen Forumite
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I've spotted a couple of non-money related vents, so thought I'd put this here. Mods, feel free to delete/move if inappropriate. 

Basically: Every fortnight (pre-Covid) the In-Laws come over. They sometimes show up before we get home from work and wait outside. We end up buying takeaway because FIL is a fussy eater (alternating who pays). They stay until at least midnight, and only leave after heavy hints that we have work in the morning. All the while, Father in Law is staring at his phone, so it's not even good conversation! 


Note: OH is in full agreement, so to be concise in the below I've used "We" instead of "OH and I".

We've had our second (socially distanced) visit from them in a month, and these behaviours are creeping back. Part of the problem was that a pattern had established, so now is the time to stop it!  Any advice much appreciated! 

I get on well with my in-laws, they are very generous, and really welcomed me into the family. When OH lived with them, I'd spend every weekend at their house, they were nothing but kind and loving. The only reason the visits are a problem is that entertaining them from the second we walk in the door, to kicking them out for a late bedtime, leaves us exhausted. The earliest they've ever left is 11:30, the latest close to 3am, but averages 12:45.

The In-laws always visit on a Wednesday as FIL has Thursdays off. We both work Thursdays, but agree that the late night wouldn't be as bad if we were actually conversing. FIL spends a majority of the visit on his phone, occasionally talking about spam emails he's just received, scrolling adverts, and playing games. MIL can't/won't go anywhere unless FIL takes her, and she calls my OH nearly every day so rarely has news to share. They arrive at 5pm, by 10pm conversation is running dry, but it's always at least a couple of hours before they leave. They don't have a problem with awkward silences (FIL probably doesn't even notice)

FIL's phone behaviour gets worse the later it gets, but he'll wait for MIL to decide it's time to leave. I assume he recognises that MIL doesn't get out the house often, so he'll wait until she's ready to go home. I'll say at this point, the later it gets, the less subtle my OH is with hints. It starts with "work will be a nightmare tomorrow" and ends with "I'm going to have to kick you out, have you got everything?"

In-Laws used to visit every week (same behaviour, so this isn't a result of seeing us less). OH worked hard to reduce this to every other week (deliberately being busy on alternate weeks, "it's so good to see you every TWO weeks" hints). He's spoken to MIL about FIL's phone use, she's not happy about it either, but he won't stop. 

OH is the youngest and clearly favourite child.They don't visit OHs sibling as regularly (or for as long!) despite her living closer, so we think this behaviour is bread out of comfortableness with us. The flip side of that is that they'll help us tidy up after the meal and load the dishwasher (so we could go straight to bed when they leave).

We do feel a bit awful for trying to limit the time they spend in our home, but believe MIL would get as much out of a visit that ended before we were falling asleep!
I've got a couple of things we could try - like regularly kicking them out at a particular time so that they eventually become "trained" to leave then, or excusing myself later in the evening to prepare my work bag for the next day (so even if they don't get the hint, I'm prepped). 

Writing this down was really cathartic. Any tips from anyone that read this far would be really appreciated! 
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Replies

  • sharpe106sharpe106 Forumite
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    Just tell them you have work sometimes you have to be blunt. Amazing how people forget when they don't have to get up for things.
  • onwards&upwardsonwards&upwards Forumite
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    How have you been doing socially distanced garden visits till gone midnight in the last few weeks?  Its not exactly been the best weather for it!
  • askeymaskeym Forumite
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    Just tell them you're under quarantine.
    I know Domestos kills 99% of germs, but I'm worried about the 1% that got away.
  • edited 22 June at 9:58AM
    SeaVixenSeaVixen Forumite
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    Fourth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 22 June at 9:58AM
    Spank said:
    3 am is taking the urine, just say
    It's 11 o'clock, I'm tired & I have work in the morning, it's time for you to go home.

    sharpe106 said:
    Just tell them you have work sometimes you have to be blunt. Amazing how people forget when they don't have to get up for things.

    Thanks both, this is exactly what my OH has been doing. I'm happy for him to do it as they're his parents. It's not something that he enjoys doing (understandably - neither would I) so I think he feels like he has to wait for it to be objectively late before he can kick them out, or at least until the conversation has run so dry there's no chance that any of us were enjoying it.
    Having to do this every visit is draining though. 

    I'm thinking if we set a time and always kick them out at 10:30ish, they will notice that it's getting to that time and start to leave by themselves. 

    How have you been doing socially distanced garden visits till gone midnight in the last few weeks?  Its not exactly been the best weather for it!
    Obvious - We've only done it on the nice days.  It's not been raining for a month solid, certainly not here. We've also got sheltered parts of the garden, a heater and a fire pit, but we haven't had to use them. 
    Unfortunately we're not close enough to any neighbours that we could use the sound as an excuse to make them leave, either! 
  • SeaVixenSeaVixen Forumite
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    silvercar said:
    It's easy at the moment. Social distancing rules mean they have to stay in the garden, so retreat to the house, lock the door and leave them go when they want!
    Ha! 
    Unfortunately, the only way out is through the house. So they'd never be able to leave!  (Tent in the garden, maybe?)
  • rach_krach_k Forumite
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    Personally I'd just put my PJs on and go to bed!  Get OH to start brushing his teeth etc too.

    After lock down, how about suggesting you go out sometimes instead?  I know it isn't your responsibility but I'd feel sad to stop MIL getting out of the house if she doesn't get out much, but if you go to a restaurant or meet for a summer-time evening walk in a park or something, you are in control of when you leave.  If she wants to stay out later with FIL, she can.

    I would also start varying the routine.  It's hard when you know you have to do something you don't enjoy at the same time every time and it becomes harder to change it, as I'm sure you've found!  I'd do what you suggested about the times, but also change the day sometimes (FIL doesn't work the next day but you do, so move it to a day where he does work so might suggest an earlier finish!).  
  • SeaVixenSeaVixen Forumite
    198 posts
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    thorsoak said:
    Just say "look - you might not have work tomorrow, but we do, so we really need to be in bed by 11pm - every week!"
    Believe it or not - we've said exactly this several times. It was them clearly ignoring this that gave us the go-ahead to start actively telling them to leave. 

    It was only the last visit that the penny dropped that FIL will wait for MIL's instruction to drive them home. FIL is staring at his phone all the time, so can see what time it is. We've decided that when we're back in the house, we'll make sure to leave the TV on the chromecast screensaver, which has a clock on it. So MIL can at least see what time it is. 
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