Just Say No

Dear Dr. Darcy: 

I just got married this past summer to my girlfriend of 3 years. She’s very close to her family to the point that we vacation with them every summer (just locally at the beach). This year, someone came up with the idea to vacation together mid-winter, which means we’ll be flying off to Aruba in a few weeks. I don’t exactly hate my in-laws. I mostly hate how much my wife loves them. And I’m not a fan of being cooped up with them on an island for 2 weeks. It’s tough enough when we’re just at our local beach but at least then I can hop in my car and head south if I need to get away. I’m feeling pressure to be a good new husband but I’m starting to loathe any time I have to spend with my wife’s parents. Do I just need to suck it up?

ANSWER

You definitely need to suck this vacation up. Future vacations, however, are negotiable. You do know that vacationing with your in-laws is optional, right? I’m not sure how you even wound up in this mess. I’m guessing you’re a really nice guy who doesn’t like to say no to his wife.  How are you going to feel when she asks if her parents can move in with you? Just painting some coming attractions for you to weigh against the pain of grabbing your balls and learning to speak your truth.

Resentment begins as a seed formed by saying yes when every cell in your body wants to scream no. Over time, that seed grows roots and the resentment comes out in passive aggressive ways – because there’s no way of muting your truth indefinitely.

My gut tells me that this is a small example of your propensity to be overly accommodating in your marriage, which probably means that she’s a very happy girl but that happiness is situated on a house of cards – it’s not stable or sustainable.

I used to be married to a man who told me everything I wanted to hear. When that relationship ended and I learned that the life I thought we shared was a series of beautiful stories spun to keep me happy in the moment, it sucked. I not only needed to mourn the relationship – I needed to mourn two versions of that relationship: The one he fed me daily and the one I later learned to be the truth. I can tell you without hesitation that I’d have preferred dealing with things I didn’t want to hear than feeling like I’d been sold a rip off instead of the Prada I’d proudly toted for years.

Go on this vacation because it’s what you committed to. When you come home, sit your beautiful bride down and tell her that she’s welcome to vacation with her parents, but that you’ll only be joining her on vacations that involve the two of you. She’ll thank you in the end.

Gender & Orientation: Male, Straight.