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AITA for Dismissing DH's Plan??

TwoOfUs's picture

Hey Stalkers.

This won't stay up long because it's too identifying. 

I think I know how you'll answer, but I'm seeking confirmation because I'm feeling really guilty about shutting DH down. 

To start, DH and I have had a wonderful Christmas. We spent the morning with his kids and the afternoon/evening with my family. He stayed the entire time without seeming restless, anxious to leave, impatient, etc. This is rare...and I greatly appreciated it. 

BUT...a couple days ago DH came up with this idea for tonight. He kept pushing it, I kept deflecting/changing the subject. Today I just told him "NO!" flat out, and I can tell I've really hurt his feelings. 

The idea: Last summer (2019) DH and I produced a film. Not like a "it's always been my dream to make a movie!!" film with local actor friends, but a real independent film with a $2M-ish budget and names you would recognize. We're talking with distributors now and will get a 2021 release. 

Naturally, DH is incredibly proud of this accomplishment. So am I. DH was writer/director and I was Executive Producer. It was unbelievably hard, and we made it through with a good product that will be a huge step forward in our careers. 

So DH really wants to invite all my siblings over to screen the film tonight. I shut it down and now he's clearly upset with me. Here's my thinking, though:

1.) Between us, we have 7 nieces/nephews ranging from 0-14. That means my mom would have to watch all the kids, and I feel like it's rude to spring that on her...even though they're good kids and she genuinely likes watching them most of the time...I just don't feel good about making a plan that would require her services at Christmas. 

2.) I'm the oldest of 6. It's very, very rare that we're all together in the same place at the same time. We all got tested and quarantined so we could spend this time together. I feel like my siblings are polite and would say yes...but they would rather spend our limited time together talking, playing cards, and drinking/eating/hanging out...not watching a film that DH made. I feel especially bad taking my sister who traveled a distance away from my mom's house, since she's here for less than a week. 

3.) This is the biggest one for me. The film got into a bunch of fall I spent mid September through early December traveling to 26 different states, meeting with distributors/buyers, having long phone calls with our sales agent, networking with festival programmers, and screening the film with all kinds of audiences. I've probably seen it 50 times in the last 3 months. Then when I got home, I spent the three weeks leading up to Christmas prepping for our sale, finalizing all music licenses and brand clearances, prepping our cast and crew files for the union audits, etc. I don't know why DH wouldn't understand that screening the film for my family would feel like WORK to me...and that I'd like to have just ONE uninterrupted week off from thinking or talking about this stupid effing movie. 


Anyway. Am I being unsupportive?  Am I the asshole for not even letting him issue the invitation to my family? DH is acting so hurt. 


Gimlet's picture

NTA, even a little bit.

I've followed your story for a long time and I've yet to see you not bust your ass to support your DH, often putting yourself second to do so.

I know what a huge accomplishment this film is for you and for him, and I know some of the risk that you took to make it, but your desire to spend time with your family and connect in a real, human way is completely valid.  You've all made sacrifices so that you can spend this time together and it's even more important in times like this.  You are spot on, TwoOfUs.  I agree that it would not be fair to your mother to ask her to provide services instead of enjoying time with her family.

I mean this is a nice way, but this feels like he's fulfilling his needs instead of respecting your desire to spend quality time with your family.  I agree it puts them in an awkward position to ask them to screen the film - I get that he is proud but there will be plenty of time to do that in the future. 

You're not the person being unsupportive, but I think you already know that. 

TwoOfUs's picture

Well sometimes you just need another pair of eyes to tell you you're not crazy. Your support is very welcome Smile

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Gimmy is right. Your H hasn't thought ths through, or he would see what a bad idea it is. COVID aside, people have lives and schedules, so springing a last minute invite on your family is not going to work. He's also not considering that you want and need a break from this project that has consumed a huge chunk of your life.

He needs to cool his jets and RELAX.

The_Upgrade's picture

If it was for HIS family and you didn't want the extra work it would seem reasonable to leave him to it. You can't forbid him but you can gently let him know that your brain has turned to mush from overworking and you'd like a breather. So if he wants to show his family early he can take care of the arrangements. But what's the deal with him being upset about not showing YOUR side of the family?

Cover1W's picture

Have you explained this to him, what you said above? Or did he not let you finish? I would stand firm. How has he been working on it? Has he spent the "admin" time as well,vor has he done other things that take different effort? If so discussion about that difference should take place.

I negotiate and talk and solve problems for me job. All day. There are times when I get exhausted from it and DH can get hurt if I don't let hiim know that no, I do not want to arrange a dinner out or even make dinner or have a conversation because I am tired, bone tired. Usually the understands once I clarify.

Congratulations on your accomplishment!!!

TwoOfUs's picture

That's a good point. I'll try to be this clear with him.

He has done some admin stuff but not like me. He's been on podcasts, Zoom Q&As for festivals...and done a lot of interviews for press. These are things I would never want to do...but they seem to give him energy. 

In fact, when I shut him down in a pretty frustrated way, he went to his office and started watching a recent Zoom Q&A about the film. I shut my office door so I wouldn't have to hear it.

I don't know. 24/7 talking and thinking about the film does not give me energy or wears me out. I'll try to explain this to him a little more patiently and see where we get.

TwoOfUs's picture

That's a good point. I'll try to be this clear with him.

He has done some admin stuff but not like me. He's been on podcasts, Zoom Q&As for festivals...and done a lot of interviews for press. These are things I would never want to do...but they seem to give him energy. 

In fact, when I shut him down in a pretty frustrated way, he went to his office and started watching a recent Zoom Q&A about the film. I shut my office door so I wouldn't have to hear it.

I don't know. 24/7 talking and thinking about the film does not give me energy or wears me out. I'll try to explain this to him a little more patiently and see where we get.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

You deserve a break after working so hard plus the Holidays themselves are tiring. 

tog redux's picture

Speaking for myself - I love movies, but in my own way. I'd be annoyed if a family member did that and I felt obligated to sit and watch it, even if I was tired, uncomfortable, didn't like the movie, or whatever. I'd prefer free passes or a DVD as a gift so I can enjoy it (or not) on my own time. So to me, it would be the equivalent of someone pulling out their slides of their last cruise and making me watch them. Seems self-centered rather than guest centered. 

TwoOfUs's picture

Yes! That's exactly it.

I totally get that he's proud and wants to share with people...but for a whole lot of reasons now isn't the time.

We have had my brother and his wife over to watch it, and we had a socially-distanced outdoor screening nearby that my mom came some people have seen it. 

If we're going to do an event for my family I'd rather it be a real event at a different time. 

tog redux's picture

If he does it, make it optional and offer the others a screening another time, or a DVD or whatever. I have to be in the mood for a movie. When we do family vacations people watch movies in the evening and I rarely do - I'm often too tired.  Or don't like the type of movie. 

StepUltimate's picture

... it's rare and precious enough to gather as life goes on and we spread out & become busier than ever; even in the "normal" times it would make more sense to (as mentioned above) share via link or DVD rather than monopolize the rare in-person togetherness. No matter HOW awesome & exciting your film accomplishment is!

Aunt Agatha's picture

You are asking for family time and a break from work!  Just because the work was a film that your family will hopefully be able to see in 2021 anyway doesn't change things.

Congrats on getting the film out!  Best of luck pulling your DHs head out of his behind!

CLove's picture

That being said - I agree with everyone else. You need a BREAK, and work is not a BREAK.

He is probably stil basking in the "afterglow" at this point, because hes not been thoroughly saturated yet. He needs to understand.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I don't think anyone is an a-hole here. You said your DH gets energized by this kind of stuff. Mix in some pride and good press behind it, and sharing this film probably seems like a huge highlight for him for the year. In addition to having his own ego stroked, he likely wanted you to get some praise from your family as well.

However, you have a different outlook on this film. I think explaining to him that this has nothing to do with him and everything to do with you and your feelings might make him feel better. Bonus if you two can compromise on a big event next fall or winter after the film has been released , shown at festivals, etc. Him having something to look forward to and plan might make him happy.

It's a pandemic. I honestly think a lot of folks, too, are using any opportunity they can to justify human interaction and normalcy. In any other year, I'd guess you'd have had a big party to celebrate. You can't really do that this, so he's using what he has to celebrate this accomplishment. It was misguided, not malevolent.

You're not an a-hole, but I do think you need to have a deeper conversation about this and not just say no without explanation or talking about it. Giving this a passive response until giving it an aggressive response was a bit of an a-hole move, but that doesn't make you an a-hole.

TwoOfUs's picture

Good perspective.

It does stink that the movie came out in the 2020 festival season when most festivals have been entirely virtual. You're right that, normally, there would be some parties and he probably is just piggybacking on a gathering that's already taking place without considering the broader implications.

And I know he wants me to get praise from my family. He tends to think they don't appreciate me enough or acknowledge my accomplishments. I disagree...but that's his take on it. So in a weird sense I'm sure he thinks he wants to do this "for me" -- only I don't want it...

I also agree that being passive isn't good. I just wish DH could take a hint from time to time. It's like he won't actually listen until I'm rude and yelling...and sometimes he doesn't listen then, either. 

TwoOfUs's picture

Well...update. I took the advice and was completely direct with DH. He was off on his workout / riding his bike, so I texted a shorter version of what I wrote in my post and also apologized for being passive / not being direct.

He responded that it doesn't hurt his feelings but that my reasoning makes no sense. He also mentioned that I sent a thank you / Merry Christmas text to the producers on the it doesn't seem like I don't want to think about...just seems like I don't want my family to see it...and he thinks it's because I'm nervous about them seeing how incredible I am.

Um. Well...I'm glad I said my piece and did it directly instead of just wishing/hoping he'd drop it. But if he really doesn't understand the difference between a two sentence group text and watching and discussing a film / telling stories about production and where we are in the sales cycle / etc. for an entire evening...well, I think he does see the difference and is being deliberately obtuse.

Still glad I said what I needed to say.

Cover1W's picture

Hopefully you can repeat yourself in person.

And the text to the producers on the 25th is WORK. He isn't getting it because he doesn't do it.

Stand firm. Repeat. Can you schedule a family showing later this spring? This way he gets what he wants on a timeline that may work better for you?

lieutenant_dad's picture

You were direct, but not direct enough. You're still expecting him to infer/understand something that he can't/doesn't.

Think about it this way: you HATE the idea of doing anything press-related. He LIVES for it, though. You two fundamentally view work differently, and you two have very different jobs despite being in the same industry.

To him, he may see a text like that as socializing. He may well and truly not see it as a formality because his interactions with people, while business-oriented, are also driven by passion and art. That's not to say you don't have that same passion, but a similar text to him may read as "hey, you're a super cool artist that I view as a friend and fellow artist, so Merry Christmas and here is an invitation for us to chat about our shared art". 

You have to be more explicit, and you need to do it in person. Sit him down again and say "honey, I think you still didn't understand what I was trying to say..."

If he still dismisses your feelings, then he's purposefully being obtuse. Honestly, though, it sounds like you expect him to make conclusions based on what you say (based off your comment that you just wish he'd take a hint), and you're upset when he doesn't. It's not fair to judge him based on what you THINK he should understand based off of hints you've given. If you don't say it explicitly, and have never said it explicitly (this part is key), then don't expect him to know that he's wrong.

TwoOfUs's picture

I agree with you LD and am trying to get better at communication.

If you have the time - could you tell me what could be more direct about this? Here's the exact text I sent: 

Also. I’m sorry - I’ve been deflecting away from the film question and I shouldn’t do that. I should be direct and not passive...but I worry about hurting your feelings.

The truth is, I’m sure my family would love to come see the film...but I don’t want to. Just because of timing.

I’d really like a full week off from thinking/talking about the movie during the holidays.

I do want my family to see it, but I feel like I need a break/reset before we go back to film stuff full-time in January.

Again, I’m sorry for not saying that/making that clear earlier.

I’m also hesitant to set a plan in motion that requires my mom to watch all 7 kids solo...even if I’m 95% certain she won’t mind.

But the main thing is my own need for a mental break where I’m not thinking about the movie. 


I'm not sure where exactly I can be more direct in this. Do you think I need to tell him that his experience on / with the film is not my experience? Because we have had that conversation before...but it's been a while. 

TwoOfUs's picture

PS - we did not do the film night. I went and spent the evening with my family at my mom's house and he stayed home. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think what you wrote is good. Now it's time to have a follow-up, in person, at the one week mark, telling him you've re-energized from your time away from the film. You can also address his misconceptions about your family, and re-iterate how you feel differently about the film because you've seen it 50 times.

"DH, it has been awesome having a week not doing the non-creative pieces of the film. I was getting burnt out on the administrative side of things, and another viewing just would have felt like another meeting. It wouldn't have felt like I was showing off our good work with my family. I know you're worried that they aren't showing me enough praise for it, but they have for my liking. But, I do want us to be able to celebrate the film with our families and friends, so let's start planning now for a big showing in the fall."

If he starts in about anything:

"DH, I manage my relationships with my family differently than you do yours, just like I manage our film differently than you do. That doesn't make one better over the other; it just makes it different. You don't have to understand how I operate, you just have to respect it. It's the same courtesy I give you because I love and care about you. So, do me the same courtesy of respecting that I know my limits and relationships with my family, and if I tell you something, believe me."

And if he still insists:

"DH, there is nothing in this conversation that needs your opinion. I wasn't seeking advice."

These conversations suck because you're trying to explain to another living creature how your brain works, and they likely aren't going to understand 100%. I think DH and I have good communication now, but we've had many lengthy conversations in the past about how we talk, why we choose the words we use, what our facial expressions mean, how we can communicate best to the other person when it's important, how we can call each other out, etc. Communication was awful in our previous relationships, partly out of being young and dumb with not exceptional role models for relationships and communication around us. Sometimes these conversations become heated, and sometimes we both end up frustrated. But, we've always managed to move through them and get to a better spot on the other side.

So, I'd highly recommend that you keep having these conversations, and having them in person. Your body language will tell him just as much as your words will. If he still doesn't get it and still acts like he's a know-it-all, so be it. You'll be improving your relationship communication style even if he doesn't appreciate it.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I'm glad you took the direct approach, I'm sorry your DH dismissed your feelings and reasons. I think he understands what you are saying, he just wants his own way. Since this is your family, stand strong and don't screen the film. Human interaction is what is important to you right now. There will be plenty of opportunity for your family to see the film at other times.

Congratulations on the film!