We live near my husband’s family in the town where he grew up. His family is huge, and it seems like every weekend there’s an event to attend or a birthday to celebrate. Not attending these gatherings inevitably hurts the host family’s feelings, and then there’s bitterness and recrimination to follow, including accusations of liking other cousins better or not liking a particular brother-in-law or something else ridiculous like that. My husband doesn’t mind going to all these parties, and likes to avoid the drama. I don’t like having our weekends planned for us and I want to be able to skip some of these events without pissing off my husband and 90 other people.
Oh my God, you have to move.
If you really can’t move, I suggest divorce.
But if you like your husband a lot and want to keep him, here’s a good strategy: ignore them and their forced merriment. Make plans as if there weren’t a hungry pack of wolves waiting to devour every second of your precious free time. This way, when you’re invited the christening of your husband’s mother’s second-cousin-twice-removed’s fifteenth kid, you can say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. We’d love to come, but we have plans.” Don’t engage in the high-drama aftermath. Stay strong. It’s more important to make yourself happy than a large group of people who, I suspect, are always ready and willing to find something to be upset about.
You can’t skip all the shindigs, you know; I’m sure you knew when you got married that his family was like this. I think once you stop attending everything, though, you’ll enjoy much more the gatherings you do attend. Also, see if you can get an ally somewhere in your husband’s family and convince her to get everyone to agree to one big combination birthday party every other month.
Lastly, see if you can’t get some of these occasions to involve heavy drinking. That would totally help.