Okay, so here is my dilemma and what I think might be an okay solution as long it wouldn’t actually be rude. I think it definitely might be in some circumstances, but I’m also sort of at a loss for another way to tactfully deal with this situation.

So, my birthday is coming up and my MiL has called and wants to take me clothes shopping and spend an afternoon together. That is super sweet and generous of her. The problem is that I don’t think I can actually handle going clothes shopping, especially not right now. I am doing pretty well in terms of my eating disorder recovery and have gained back and maintained about 15 pounds, so I’m at a normal, healthy range now. So, I know intellectually this is a good thing and I want to be healthy, but emotionally and mentally I feel horrible and I hate my body right now. It is still a struggle and clothes shopping isn’t easy for me. I don’t feel safe going unless I’m alone or maybe with my husband, who recognizes and accepts when we just need to gtfo.

The other issue is that I was raped one week after my birthday and so this time of year leaves me extra vulnerable. And I really just don’t think I can or should go shopping with my MiL. I caught myself being vague about when I’m available to her and thinking to myself “oh, I’ll just stop eating from now until then and suck it up.” But that is bad and I don’t want to let myself slip back into a relapse. I’m trying to be as responsible and proactive as I can to stave off depression and relapse.

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So my thought was maybe I can suggest we go for a massage or manicure instead. But I’m worried that sounds rude and I don’t like the idea of dictating a gift. Honestly, if anything I would most prefer to just not have to do anything and I don’t need a gift at all. But I know part of what is important to her is less about the birthday gift and more about taking me out for an afternoon together, so I was thinking that would give us something we can go do together and avoid me having to navigate through all my other hang ups.

I don’t know, what do you think? Is that okay? Do you have any better ideas? I just don’t want to seem ungrateful or rude.