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In-Laws Visit Too Long - How To Cope

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Any advice on how to tactfully ask my in-laws to cut their visit short? When my in-laws asked if it was okay to visit in the spring and I said yes, but little did I know it was to be the whole season - 2 1/2 months. By the time I learned this, I couldn't think of a nice way to tell them this wouldn't work without making it seem like I was being selfish. They are from overseas and want to make their dollars stretch. Plus, it has been a tradition for my husband. Unfortunately, I feel like I've acquired an extra pair of roommates, however nice they may be.



Dear Overburdened,

Unfortunately, once you've already given your consent to their staying with you, it will be difficult to tactfully ask them to cut their visit to a shorter length of time, especially since they are coming from overseas. Obviously, the details of length of stay should have been worked out when they first mentioned that they were coming.

If they haven't bought their plane ticket yet, then your husband should tell his parents that something has come up. Offer an alternative time period that you feel is more suitable for this visit. If they have already purchased tickets, then it's too late.

In the future, you and your husband need to set limits on their length of stay. This needs to be done before they ask about visiting the next time. When they ask, he needs to be the one to discuss the details with them.

Here are a few tips to help make their visit seem less intrusive:

Play host for the first few days and show them around town. During these first few days, keep mentioning that you have a busy schedule, and are helping them get acquainted with the area so they will be more comfortable on their own.

Introduce them to the:

1. Senior Center in your neighborhood. Senior Centers are excellent places to meet people, learn new skills (from flower arranging to how to use the Internet), be entertained by local school talent/variety shows, play BINGO, and become part of the community.

2. Public library and check out some books for them.

3. Local community center and sign them up for a class. Many different types of classes are offered such as pottery, painting, exercise for all ages, swimming, etc.

4. City park and/or lake where they can walk and enjoy the fresh air.

5. Movie theaters, musical theater, symphony, and opera house. Movie matinees are less costly, and some theater productions will let the public view the rehearsals for free or a fraction of the cost of the ticket price.

6. Sports stadiums: professional, college, even high school is fun to watch.

7. Public transportation: If they don't plan to drive themselves around town, then show them how to use public transportation to all of the above mentioned places.