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Hi all. I just joined today so this is my first post. I really needed to vent and get some advice. We just got back from a cruise with my husband's family. This included my mother in law, father in law, my husband's brothers, their wives and all of their children, along with me, hubby and my two kids.

I was not happy about this family vacation from the get-go. I got a bad feeling about it in the planning stages. I only had a few requests. I did not want my children to miss school and I did not want to vacation out of the country. I have good reasons for these requests: I am divorced and remarried and my children are from my first marriage. Since they are minors it would be a huge hassle to get passports for them as both parents need to give consent and I do NOT have a good relationship with my ex. Secondly, I did not want to be in another country as my mother is ill and if she took a turn for the worse I wanted to be able to jump on a plane and get back home quickly to be with her. I was also worried about our pets. Normally a family member would look after them but since the whole family was going on this trip we had no one to watch our 3 cats and 1 dog and we can't afford to board them.

Every suggestion I threw out was either rudely shot down or completely ignored so when my husband came home a week later and told me that we were going on a cruise to the Bahamas the week of Thanksgiving I was not happy. The kids were going to miss 3 days of school AND I had to get them both passports. So much for my suggestions. When I told my husband I did not wish to go he informed me that the tickets had already been purchased by his parents and were non-refundable. We were going whether I liked it or not.

The closer it got to the trip, the more hubby and I argued. I was also diagnosed with pnemonia a few days before we were scheduled to leave and could barely get out of bed. I did not want to go. When I tried to talk to hubby about it he told me that if I did not go it would create a huge rift that could never be repaired and his family would never forgive me (no pressure there huh?).

The trip was a living hell. I discovered cruises are NOT for me. The ship was overcrowded, the food was awful, the islands we visited were third world and depressing, I had no energy and felt so sick. I could not get one moment to myself in that tiny little sardine can of a cabin or anywhere else on the ship. Every moment was spent with all or some of my in-laws and I was informed that my mother in law expected the entire family to eat dinner together each night of the cruise. The reservation made at the steakhouse restaurant was a big hit for me and my kids considering we are all vegetarian!!

Also, one of my sister in laws is a spoiled rich brat with two babies. She regards everyone in the family as built-in babysitters and servants. This pisses me off to no end but everyone else says "That's just the way she is..deal with it." Classic example: In the airport, she informed us that she needed help so my son pushed her baby carriage with one hand while dragging his suitcase with the other hand, my mother in law carried the other baby (she just had hip replacement surgery), in one hand and pulled her own suitcase behind her with the other hand, I pulled my suitcase along with one of my sister in laws suitcases, my husband dragged his suitcase and one of my sister in law's suitcases, my daughter pulled her suitcase along with one from my SIL's suitcases and my SIL strolled through the airport with NOTHING in her hands..not even her pocketbook!!

My husband and I fought the entire time. My kids were just as miserable as I was. A few days after we got home, my husband brought up the trip so I said "I'm just happy it's over and I never want to go through that again!" to which he responded "Well, I'll try my best." I asked "What does that mean?" He said that his family takes a vacation like this every year and that's just the way it is.

I don't know what to do! My husband gets a limited amount of time off each year and I would much prefer to spend this time going away with just my husband and two kids..not his entire family. We've only been married for one year. How do I handle this without ending up in divorce court again?

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I'm so sorry you were so sick. My only suggestion is next time this comes up, you purchase the travel insurance so if you cancel, well those non refundable tickets are covered. But I have to ask:

How long have you known this family? Did you not know the fact that they take yearly trips together based on last year?

Marriage is a negotiation. This definitely needs to be negotiated. For one, your kids were included which is great but.... your time with them on breaks is too precious for you all to miserable. Plus you and your husband were fighting, that's not good when you're in an already stressful situation.

I think a long talk about budgeting time is called for. This is a full agreement that you know ahead of time when and where. It could be that he breaks off from the trip with the family for at least half of it. Especially since your mom is sick but more importantly you two have time on your own for trips of your own. Perhaps you spend more time with your mother this year by vacationing with her instead of your in-laws. If he's not willing to agree on these terms then you should have done more negotiating before you got married but stand your ground. I know that the art of compromise is called for and you feel like you've compromised enough.

To make up for a terrible week, I think you two should recreate one night that could have been wonderful and transplant that image into the worst night of your trip.

Life is too precious to be miserable more that one second of your life.

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