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Opinions please-In laws insist on buying expensive uneeded gifts

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi all, I'm in an agonizing position with my inlaws and I just dont know how to best handle it anymore.

Anytime its a birthday or xmas etc a very large (we live in a small rental) very expensive gift arrives that I very gratefully thank them for - but will never use because as horrible as it is to say - the gift has not been given with me in mind, is generally a status symbol for them - and generally is a version of things hubby and I already researched and spent savings on, as if to say "we know better"

its my birthday soon and hubby disclosed to me that they have bought me an expensive appliance - after he and I did alot of research and bought one 8 months ago for about $400, a big amount of money for us. He wanted me to be prepared for the implyed insult that the inlaws knew we already bought this appliance but bought us one they thought was better suited.

My love language is gifts and am absolutely loath to express any of this to them (my psychologist says to just return the gift for money) but the inlaws are around frequently because of grand children and would notice the gift not being used.

What do I do? This is causing me so much anxiety I cant get it out of my mind! We need money like crazy - and its just so toxic that instead of giving us something we need and consulting us at all - they just keep buying us different versions of things we already have. I feel so awful about this situation and how ungrateful I'm being that I now get panic attacks before birthdays and xmas etc😦

All advice is welcome (even if its to tell me Im being horrible) - thankyou in advance lovely people

3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Sezzybear,

Sounds like this is a difficult situation to be in. Can your husband talk to his parents? Maybe suggest a few things that you really do need and ask if that could be a possibility?

Maybe when the in-laws come over, you could have both appliances out on the shelf (for example) the one you chose and the one they gave you and explain you don't really have room for both and you are very pleased with the one you bought.

It is hard to find an appropriate way of communicating how you feel about this!

I have the opposite with my in laws. It was my birthday recently. I don't usually receive anything from the in laws. I was given a statue, only to be told it was no longer wanted in their home. I placed it where it caught the sun and it was actually quite nice. Father in law saw it in the sun and said he might take it home again!

I was tempted to hand it back to him. I did tell him he could take it back if he wanted it.

It can be hard to keep the peace. When money is an issue and you save up hard for something, it can be quite an insult to have something given to you after you have saved hard to purchase your choice.

Not sure that I have helped you here! Hope you find a solution and more importantly, you find ways to not stress over it all. Birthdays and Christmas are special times and it is sad when they become messed up.

All the best to you from Dools

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Sezzybear

Welcome to the forum. It's a good place to talk about the things that upset and distress you. We are here to support you and help you as much as we can.

I do know how irritating it is to be given gifts in that fashion. My sister's in-laws used to do the same. I remember her in-laws buying her a cot when she was pregnant. Like you my sister and husband had researched what they wanted and my sister was not happy. After a while either she or her husband spoke to them about this. The outcome was the in-laws stopped giving these gifts unless they first discussed what my sister wanted. A good ending but she got upset many times before the whole thing was settled.

It can be very difficult and the thought of potential family arguments can be daunting. On the other hand you are the person who goes to the effort of finding something suitable and buying it. In my opinion I believe your in-laws are not only rude but are using their wealth to intimidate and control you and your husband.

Does your husband have any siblings? If so do the in-laws treat them in the same fashion? I am wondering if they only do this to you. Of course if you asked why they would say it was because you needed them and they wanted to help you. Great if it's done sensitively but this is like a ton of bricks falling on you.

I think your husband needs to tell his parents not to buy the appliance and you will not accept delivery as you have nowhere to put it. Being grateful only goes so far. I think their action is doubly rude because they know you have that appliance. The longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to stop.

One suggestion I have is to tell them you have the appliance but wonder if they could give you something else. Tell them you have researched whatever and your choice is the only one that fits your criteria. I don't know if this will get them to consult you before buying anything but the answer should always be the same. If it's not what you want or chosen then say firmly "Thanks very much but I this does not suit my needs". Perhaps you can phrase it much better but you need to be firm. If it's something they can physically give you and refuse to take it away then I think you are entitled to sell the object. If they ask tell them why.

One thing that may happen is there will be some assumed hurt from them and other family members may want to make it an issue. They may have been on the receiving end of these gifts do the same as you.


Community Member

Hi Sezzybear. I would say your husband needs to have a word to his parents and ask them to stop doing this.

If he's not prepared to do that, then the next time you receive an unneeded gift, I would simply smile and thank them for their care but explain that you have recently just bought one that you are happy with, so you would be happier if they returned it and got their money back.

If that is not possible, then sell the unwanted gift on eBay.

I am guessing because your love language is gifts, this probably equates to rejection to you. However, if they are purchasing items you already have, then they are not really being thoughtful at all; in fact quite the opposite. That said, it sounds like they are willing to be generous towards you. Perhaps they might be willing instead to give you money for your birthday, then you can put it towards something you really need. My ex-MIL used to give her kids and spouses $300 each birthday - it was a great help.