Clear65° FULL FORECASTClear65° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

How should in-laws be informed we won't have kids?

How should in-laws be informed we won't have kids?

Q: I do not want kids, and my fiance is fine with that. My parents know this (and have had decades to manage their disappointment) but my future in-laws do not. Are we supposed to tell them? They are lovely, non-pushy people, but I know that eventually they will not be able to stop themselves from asking. Is it better to say something before the wedding? What do we say that doesn't sound crushing?

Virginia

A: I strongly advise that "we" don't say anything about your not wanting children. Instead, their son should tell them (post-nup is fine), "We have decided not to have children." Who initiated this decision is not relevant, and only will serve to divide you two in their eyes, between "our son" and "the reason I won't hold my grandbabies."

I suspect many will go a step further to say it's not his parents' business, but telling them is a gesture to spare "lovely people" from false hopes.

Husband keeps escaping talks about important family issues

Q: How do I get my husband to discuss tough subjects, like important health issues (death, severe illness)? First he deflects with a joke. Then, when I say, "No, really, this is important to me to discuss," he jokingly calls for the dog to protect him. When I repeat that I need to discuss whatever, he gets up to leave.

I've even humorously pointed out these three stages to him ("Now you're going to call for the dog"), but the deflection continues. I worry that when something big happens — like his father dies — he will resort to avoidance rather than deal with the issue. (He says he'll sit in a bar all day.)

M.

A: Then expect him to sit in a bar all day when his father dies, and make sure he has safe passage home. Just because the mental health community isn't likely to prescribe alcohol as a grief remedy doesn't mean it's your job to change your husband's plans. He has his way of dealing with tough subjects, and you have yours.

When the tough subject is about you, then you are entitled to force his hand: "I would like to talk about my end-of-life plans, should I ever become incapacitated." In that case, when he summons the dog, you summon a good attorney and put your wishes in writing. You may also want to designate someone to carry out those wishes for you, if you don't trust your husband to do it.

When it comes to your husband's end-of-life preferences, though, or his father's, or the poor dog's, he should act like an adult — even if just to admit, "I prefer not to talk about it" — but he doesn't have to. And while people often appreciate having a clear blueprint of their loved ones' wishes, I could argue that his refusal to discuss anything is a perfectly clear blueprint. It says, "You decide, because I won't."

His avoidance approach might work, for him, just fine. You probably have plenty of evidence already of how effective he is (or isn't) at processing things on his own. But either way, he won't just wake up and embrace your terms. Since it's in your nature to prepare, prepare as well as you can to work around his ostrich ways.

How should in-laws be informed we won't have kids? 01/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...