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Senior Member
Am I the A$$?

My In-laws are traveling from PA to Maine today. We have not seen them since last July when they came to visit.

They told DH they may stop at our house today, or they just might travel to BIL's apartment about an hour and a half north of us. I told DH it would be nice to know if they are indeed they are coming here first so I can be prepared. They told DH they will play it by ear.

Last summer when they came to visit it was the same thing. They didn't know but they wound up going to BIL's house. They NEVER told us. We just figured it out at about 11pm when they still were not at our house. We had been asked out to eat with friends we had not seen in a while and turned them down because we didn't know when they were coming to visit. They wound up spending most of the week with BIL and only came to see us for 1/2 a day.

It is a bit annoying and it bothers DH. His brother just moved to Maine last summer after living with his parents. He is able to travel down to PA quite often to visit and is moving back down (and living with his parents) in a few weeks. DH only gets to see his parents once a year.


Senior Member
Poor you. I hate not knowing. And somehow I feel there’s more to that story and the parents’ relationship with the brother.


Senior Member
I don’t think so. You have a right to be annoyed, but maybe you can draw a line in the sand. “I would be grateful/it would be so helpful of you if you could be more specific with your ETA. So I can go shopping, straighten the guest room….” Etc.

More importantly, though, is it’s bothering your DH. Maybe he needs to step up his game and talk to his parents.

The third alternative is to go about your day as usual. If they show up and you’re not there, ce la vie. “We didn’t hear back from you so assumed you went straight to BIL’s place.”


Senior Member
Oh, Amiga.. there sure is!

BIL is the baby. He is 12 years younger than DH. Even though he is in his late 20's, he is still learning how to adult. He calls his mom daily to ask her questions. Last summer my In-laws stayed with him because he "needed" a babysitter. His son actually attended the day care where his girlfriend works, so needed doesn't seem like the right word.

The whole family has a weird dynamic. DH's sister does not talk to her parents at all even though she lives about 15 minutes away from them. The middle brother , who is in his mid thirties still eats dinner at their house every night, often without his fiance, who will eat at their apartment.

I love them, I just feel that both of my BIL's tend to take advantage of my MIL and she allows it because it makes her feel needed.


Senior Member
It is rude of them to avoid committing as to whether they will come to your house or not and I don't blame you for being annoyed. Do they feel welcome at your house? My suggestion is to clean the house and if they stop then great and if not then you get to enjoy a clean house. Talk to hubs and then ask him to do all of the communicating with his parents about this. Its never works for DIL’s to do this.

I also read that the greatest sadness for older people is when they stop feeling needed and end up feeling useless. I would tread very softly on this point. Good luck.


Senior Member
Oh, that is so rude. I am passive-aggressive enough that I'd start finding excuses to be out of town when they were passing through.

One of my cousins and his wife did that to my daughter years ago. Phoned her especially to let her know that they were going to be in the town where she lived visiting the wife's sister and could they stop in for a visit. She was in grad school at the time and it wasn't particularly convenient but she said "sure."

Then, on the day they were going to stop in, they phoned her and told her that they weren't going to have time, after all. I don't think they knew that she was aware of this, but said sister lived six blocks away.

They never saw her again. When she and her hubby moved to Wisconsin, they passed right through the town where my cousin lives and didn't bother to stop. She said she figured they had made it clear enough how important it wasn't to see her.


Senior Member
Since they're playing it by ear, I'd just make sure everything was ready (clean sheets, etc..) then go about your plans as you normally would. Then if they DO show up, you can have a key hidden outside for them to get in and get settled until you get home. That way it doesn't affect your plans and they're still welcomed there.

We've had similar situations with my in-laws for many years (weren't sure if they were going to BIL instead). They wouldn't tell us until the last minute if they were coming to Thanksgiving, so now instead of wondering about it I just planned for them to be there and didn't ask them to bring anything. I didn't mind having extra food if they didn't show up. It was much less stressful and kept the relationship in tact.

NJ Teacher

Senior Member

They are definitely being rude, but as you said, there is a weird family dynamic. Maybe the next time they mention a “visit”, you could firm up a specific period of time when they will spend time at your home. The open-endedness of their time in the area allows them to choose to spend most of the visit with the BIL.If you feel MIL needs to feel needed, maybe there is something you could come up with to play into that.


Senior Member
This is rude. I would respond that you are available at this time on this day. Then do what you please the rest of the time.


Senior Member
I deal with a similar dynamic with DH family. I’ve learned to be prepared in the event they show up, and then just move along with my day. Last time they pulled this DH, was at work and I left for an appointment. I told them to wait on the driveway or go get coffee til I got back. I guess I could have had them get the key from the neighbor, but oh well:D