Who likes taking obligations from others? Feeling like you owe them something?
Not for me. This is why the topic of getting financial help from in-laws in one where I have a pretty clear point of view: I prefer not to get it.
First of all, I haven’t had the luxury of getting any financial benefits or generosity along those lines, so I guess I’ve had nothing to worry about:) However, I’ve seen others whose in-laws have actually provided them with some financial benefits or perks. Some of these have been pretty cool, when you hear about them. It seems like a person can suddenly have doors opened to fun experiences if he or she marries someone with in-laws who enjoy giving to their kids. And, by extension, son or daughter in-law.
A couple of examples:
A woman with whom I worked a long time ago once told me about her typical weekend with her husband. They would always carve out time on one evening to go out to dinner with her in-laws. They bought dinner for “the kids”, and looked forward to it every week. The in-laws always paid, and they always chose. Oddly, it was the same exact restaurant nearly every weekend – a local Greek diner that was apparently their favorite. Every. Single. Weekend.
A friend of mine told me a few years ago that he and his wife get handed a car by his parents. These cars are more upscale vehicles (Lexus, Mercedes) that his parents want to get rid of after 6 or 7 years when they want a newer car. His wife smiled and said “yeah, it’s a pretty good deal for us”.
They pretty much only have to buy one car for the two of them. The second car, a presumably more modest one, is bought by them. Being a gentleman, he drove the more modest car, and let his wife drive the nicer, upscale (though a bit older) car
His parents apparently like to remind her of their generosity from time to time.
Another couple went on vacation to Hawaii with her parents. Pretty good trip, coming from the Midwest and taking the vacation in a cold weather season. With this couple, the in-laws paid for the hotel room. I think it was some type of time share condo that everybody stayed it.
Anyway, getting away for a great week and visiting the Pacific Paradise that can be some parts of Hawaii would be fun. In this case, it meant paying for airfare, but getting free lodging. It also meant waking up each day and following the agenda of in-laws for much of the time.
My Thoughts on All This
Admittedly, a very small part of me initially gets a bit envious that others have met in-laws who are generous in that regard. Why haven’t I been treated like that? After all, I could imagine getting older and wanting to incorporate my kids in to my life in these ways too, finances permitting of course.
However, I then realize that I wouldn’t want to feel obligated to them. Or, anyone for that matter. I think that quite often, such “generosity” or gifts come with some strings attached. In the case of the dinners, it’s the woman (and her husband, for that matter) having to eat the same exact place every weekend, never mind that they work all week and would like freedom to do different things. In the case of the car, it’s the woman getting reminders from her in-laws (probably mother-in-law) about how they’re so generous to her. With the vacations, it’s the notion that your “vacation” is filled with days where the agenda is dictated by your in-laws.
Again, strings attached.
I guess I’d rather be the one giving, than receiving, even if for my own selfish reasons. I’d rather be my own person, and have boundaries. By keeping boundaries, I’m not feeling like I’m owing things – or feeling indebted. Maybe it’s an independent streak, who knows. Just seems better that way 🙂
My Questions for You
Have you ever known anyone who gets gifts or even direct financial assistance from in-laws?
Do you think accepting such gifts invites an element of control or obligation? Does that matter to you (as it does to me), or is it something you’re totally cool with?