I'm in a long distance marriage right now - my husband is American, I am Canadian. He comes to visit me periodically (and I him), and when we do visits here, my family is very insistent that we do some sort of dinner or event or something to all spend time together.
It's somewhat frustrating, as I understand they want to spend some time with him as they don't see him often, but it always has to be on their terms. They like to tell me when and where and how, and it's always to me directly - and if I mention that my husband should get a say/opinion or that I want to check with him, I get told that "this is the way we need to do things because then we can all be together as a family".
The most recent example of this is that we are going to dinner the next time he comes, to a local buffet restaurant. My mom decided when, she decided where, and then told me to pick a time between 1-4pm and to invite everyone like it's my idea.
So I did. I decided 4 pm so things would not be too busy (this place cooks your food in front of you, it can get busy and you have to wait lots if there are lots of people). I made a reservation and everything. I figured then we avoid the rush, it works out. It frustrated me some that it was a demand of when and where (without even asking us if we wanted to do anything, or if we had any plans or anything - I know from past experience if we did have plans, the expectation is that we'd change to accommodate them).
Fast forward to today - my sister asks if we can move it to 5:30 pm - this means it will be right during dinner rush, so we are going to have to wait a lot, it will be very busy and overwhelming. I don't want to move it, but if we don't, her husband can't come. So instead of negotiating or discussing, when I mentioned that I made the reservations and I didn't know if I could move them, there was just a demand that I figure it out because "we are family and we don't get to see him ever".
It's also frustrating because once they get what they want they tend to act overly cheerful and like my frustration doesn't even matter. I never get an apology or anything for the behaviour.
I'm honestly tired of being railroaded - I get that they don't get to see him much, and neither do I. I'd just like all of us to get input - I am tired of them dismissing me when I say I need to see what my husband thinks, I am tired of them deciding when and where and how without concern of what we'd like.
How can I make these lines of communication a bit clearer and more open? Every time I put my foot down, I tend to get told I don't value my family and get guilt trips thrown my way about how they're just trying to make the best of it and get to know him and all of that. It's very frustrating, and it makes me not want to plan things at all, because this kinda sours my desire to actually be around them.
Most of the time, we have a great relationship, but for some reason planning family events just seems to bring out the worst in my family (but my mom especially).