Carolyn Hax: Time to put past to bed for family

The Washington PostJune 12, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: At my wedding six years ago, my mother gave a tipsy, boneheaded toast that implied she wasn't all that fond of my husband. My husband has gotten over it - he and my mom actually have a great relationship - but his parents were completely offended, and made it clear at the time that they weren't interested in any family hangouts.

This hadn't been a problem, as our parents live 500 miles away from each other, but now my husband and I are expecting our first child. I anticipate some family blending is going to be necessary.

Do you have any advice for how I can mend this unkempt relationship? I feel the disastrous toast should be addressed before throwing them around the same holiday table.

BELATEDLY JOINING FAMILIES

"Disastrous toast" - good band name.

Your in-laws made themselves clear six years ago, so there's at least some chance they're over the insult, too - or at least far enough past their fury to breathe the same air as your mom.

Can't your husband talk to his parents? Say he's over it to the point of enjoying a great relationship with his mother-in-law? Ask them to give her a chance - if not for him, then for their grandchild?

Carolyn: Husband would rather head-in-the-sand this problem. As in, "Our parents are very different types of people, probably won't enjoy each other, and we should just always keep them separate." I think it needs to be shown that we can all manage to spend a day with each other without anyone dying.

JOINING FAMILIES AGAIN

"Oh, suck it up." Seriously.

If you have any kind of warm relationship with your in-laws, then say openly that you'd like to get both families together, and ask what it will take - from you, from your mom - to put your mother's buffoonery behind you.

If you don't, then just throw them all together and expect them to be adults about it.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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