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My girlfriend's family likes to take trips together and my girlfriend always goes with them. The problem is that they often want to include me and I'd rather not go. They cover all costs and are actually really nice about it and I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I simply do not enjoy these vacations. I also don't like the indebted feeling afterwards.

I think her parents' main reason for including me is that they want me and my girlfriend to have a vacation, so one solution might be to plan a vacation ourselves for just the two of us, but we can't quite afford that yet (going on a small vacation doesn't seem to count). Another solution is to come up with an excuse, which sometimes works, but I'm a bit limited, because I don't want to lie and invent obligations. They also sometimes plan way ahead and reserve and pay everything (for me included!) and ask me not to be busy at that time. I can't really decline if it's all already paid.

I'm usually invited via my girlfriend (she acts as the messenger for these things, they're kind of shy of calling me), I need to ask them to invite me personally in the future, but I haven't done so yet.

My parents advise me to go (maybe unrelated, but I rarely go anywhere with my own parents). My girlfriend thinks declining is disrespectful as she holds her parents' will sacred. While on vacation, she also doesn't like to go too far from her family for the same reason - she believes she needs to be close at all times or it's not family time. Her parents don't like taking no for an answer, so it's going to be difficult, but I think I'll just try to ask them not to invite me again, but thank them regardless, while returning from their next vacation.

Any kind of answer is appreciated, even advising me how to convince myself to enjoy the vacations.

To answer the comments

The trips they take mainly consist of going somewhere hot (like Spain) and not doing much of anything. To be honest I can enjoy a similar kind of trip in different company and a shorter duration. The main reason I dislike the vacations is that I find them a bore and a waste of my time (which is not ample). I'd rather spend my free time differently, like going on a smaller vacation with my girlfriend. The secondary reason is that I find her siblings insufferable (sorry if I sound too negative, they'll probably grow out of it, but as it is, they're really spoiled).

We're all Czech. My girlfriend and I live together and we visit both sets of our parents fairly often. We have been together for four years and we're both 24. Her siblings are 19 and 15.

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I've been in relationships where the parents of the SO are overly enthusiastic about including me in their outings or vacations. An important thing to remember is that they might be using this for their benefit as much your own. Their daughter is an important part of their lives, you are an important part their daughter's life, but they might not know you nearly as much as they want. If your goal is to try to avoid being invited, there are a couple of things you could do that doesn't put your relationship in jeopardy.

  • You might not like this but my first suggestion is to indulge them, but not entirely. I was once invited to an exotic country for a wedding and most of the guests were going for two weeks. Since I don't do well in hot weather, I knew it was somewhere I wouldn't enjoy, so I offered to fly over for the wedding and for a few days afterwards (though I never explicitly told them why). They didn't enquire too much as to why I only came for a few days, but they likely concluded it was due to cost or work obligations. People have personal preferences for where they go on holiday, it should not offend anyone and it is commonplace for people, even a long-term partner, to feel indebted to a partner's relative. Make it clear your decision has nothing to do with the people involved, just the time and destination. Offer them a middle ground and they will hopefully respect the effort you do put into it and not press you for more.

  • Another approach would be to make the 'in-laws' more aware of what you are doing in your day-to-day life, what you like and dislike. During your normal conversations with them, you can bring up in passing the types of places you would like to visit and the places you would avoid. Help them realise before they even book the flights that they know (or could conclude) that it's a destination you would not enjoy. Again, make it less about the family and more about the destination. Also in making your 'in-laws' more aware of what you're up to over the course of time, they are less likely to simply assume that you are free for a vacation. Or at least, they may change from dragging you along to offering a suggestion first. If you are not going on vacations yourself, they may be assuming your schedule is largely open; help them see that it's not and it may make them less forceful about inviting you.

  • There is a risk with my previous suggestion that they will not back down (which may speak to a deeper problem), but if they are determined to plan a vacation with you - or if you think one is looming - take some initiative. Are there places where you would want to go if you had the time and resources, or maybe places where the whole family need not spend all their time together? Make them more aware of what would make a good vacation for you. Perhaps a cheaper/closer destination would help you feel less indebted to them? It may eventually help them realise that you personally are not keen on any vacations in the near future (and therefore vacations provided by them).

It seems like in your situation, there isn't much that can be done to get out of vacations without offending your girlfriend and/or the parents, but hopefully these suggestions will help you through them.

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To "stop being invited" you'd probably have to behave extremely rude or find a different girlfriend - obviously not something you want.

If you don't have the money (yet) to pay for a holiday only with your girlfriend, you could try to make the best of the situation. Find and suggest a holiday place that has what her parents want, but also has interesting places around it. For example, Tenerife has a surprising number of interesting bits, or Crete. These are places where you can hire a car cheaply and drive around all day sightseeing. And both have lots and lots of beaches and sunshine.

Get a small car so you don't get lumbered with her siblings :-)

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