Anyone else marrying a FI who has no family? Could use support/advice

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
5968 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2017


HeartsandSparkles:  Im going to be brutally honest here… My ex was this way. I used to kind of over look it and then we had a child and as time went on I started to see that it really didn’t sit well with me that he was so easily able to dismiss his family. A lot of the reason he left was things he made up in his head and I didn’t find out til much much later on. I’m not saying this is the case with your FI but I would be questioning someone who has little to no ties with family. It’s one thing to not have family, its a whole other to choose not to have family. has he ever told you why he stopped talking to his mom? thats a big deal to cut ties with his mother. Not a decision most would take lightly. If i were in your shoes I would be wondering what the reasoning was. Family is a messy thing sometimes and he may very well have had every reason to cut ties. But I sure would be wanting to understand what happend so I know what I’m marrying into.

Post # 3
6158 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i’m the one with a super small family and DH has a huge family. 

at my wedding  i had my mom, brother, and 6 other family members there.

and both our fathers are deceased. 

Post # 4
2240 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California

I can’t say I know exactly how you feel, but I suppose I’m in a similar situation.  My MIL lives on the other side of the country & I’ve met her twice (once at the wedding).  She up & moved within a week when my husband was 18, leaving him to pay the rent/find roommates.  That didn’t sit well with him & while he talks to her occasionally, he has no desire to grow a relationship with her & our family.  My FIL made it very difficult for my husband to see his mom when he was younger & still holds that against him despite not getting along with his mom now.  We see him on Christmas!

It baffles me because I have such a great relationship with my family & they love my husband & are so glad they can call him family too!  His family has no strong interest in his life alone, much less ours together!

All I can suggest is to continue to support his choices.  Good luck & don’t take it personally whatsoever!

Post # 5
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

From the viewpoint of someone that currently has no/extremely limited contact with my family – most days are totally fine. You have to be able to push the sadness and pain away from you and go on with your life. However, it becomes very difficult around certain times of year – Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. On top of that, I also mourn the loss when I attend functions like baby showers, knowing that I’ll never have that with my mum. What helps me through all those times are my amazing husband – who always find a way to make me laugh again and bounce back. That’s your roll now; you have to be the support that your FI no longer has in his biological family. Seek comfort in the fact that you’re giving him access to your family and all the love they stand for (based on your post I’m assuming that you have a good relationship with your family) AND you’re also doing this totally amazing thing on your own – creating a brand new family!

Also, another lesson I’ve learned – when things are rough, you find out who are really there for you. Friends might prove much more solid than brothers. The fact that you FI have no contact with his biological family doesn’t have to mean that he’s alone in the world aside from you.

Post # 6
1832 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

HeartsandSparkles:  Do you know what his reasons are for cutting off his family? Do they involve abuse (emotional or physical) or neglect? Instead of telling white lies, I would just be open about it when people ask – say “we are not close”, and if anyone is gauche enough to ask why, I would politely say I preferred not to discuss it and ask that we move on to more pleasant topics. You can always create your own family, one of love and support rather than just by blood.   

Post # 7
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012


HeartsandSparkles:  Wow. I am in a very similar situation as your FI and it would make me very hurt if my husband felt the same way you do about it. I think you need to start seeing things from his perspective and focus on how not having a family affects his life rather than just your weddng, which is a very minor part of your lives.

I feel like you come from a loving family so you don’t understand why your FI doesn’t. Let me explain why I have no family: my parents were emotionally abusive growing up. My father was a narcissist and alcoholic who regularly threatened physical violence and my mother had the means to leave him and protect us both but stayed because “divorce is hard on a child”. I feared for my life every night until I moved out to go to college. I cut contact with my father right away but maintained it with my mother for her sake for ten more years, even though I didn’t want to and the relationship caused me nothing but stress. I finally cut my mother out of my life completely because every time I talked to her it reminded me of my terrible childhood, of which she remained in denial. The anger she caused me was compromising my ability to be a good wife and mom to my baby. It was the best decision I ever made. 

But this is not a story that’s easy to tell people, so I tell white lies sometimes when people ask about my parents. I’m also an introvert like your FI and it’s hard for me to make friends. I’m an only child and really I didn’t have many people close to me in my life before I met my husband. Thankfully he didn’t hold that against me in any way.

If you FI is anything like me, his lack of family is something that affects his life every day, and hurts him every day. If I were your FI I would be very hurt if you were dwelling on how my lack of trustworthy people in my life affected you, especially your concerns about how the wedding will look. Please, please keep these thoughts to yourself (which I assume you are, since this is a vent). You can ask him how he would feel about including certain family-oriented traditions in the wedding, but don’t insist on them if he says they would make him uncomfortable. Since he’s an introvert, he likely doesn’t want to do anything that would draw attention to his lack of family. You need to be ready to accept this because his feelings are so much more important than having all the wedding elements you dreamed of. 

Has your family been welcoming to your FI? If you are close with your immediate family, I would probably tell them the truth about FI’s family. I’m sure they would understand why certain elements would be left out of your wedding because of that. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone else. 

If this is all hard for you now, it will get a lot harder in the future especially if you have children. You should prepare yourself for that now and talk to your FI about it. I hope the two of you have talked openly about his family, why he decided to cut ties with them, and how they affected him, but those conversations have to come from a place of love and concern for him. But don’t try to convince him to change his mind and don’t belabor the conversation. It is very hard for me to talk about my family, even with my husband, as even thinking about them causes me pain. 

Most importantly, as PP have said, focus on the fact that you are creating a new family with each other. Focus on the fact that your FI and you will always have each other, no matter how many other people hurt you and no matter what your wedding looks like. 

When you commit to someone for the rest of your life, you help lighten each other’s burdens and take them on as your own. Think about how you can lighten your FI’s burden of being alone without his biological family. Part of that means you have to endure your own hurt feelings about the situation without letting your feelings make your FI feel worse about it. My husband does that for me by truly understanding what I’ve been through and supporting my decisions, and being my rock when I have no one else to rely on. Even when it makes his life harder, which it often does. He defends me to others who don’t understand my situation and truly makes me feel like we are in this together, no matter what may be against us. 


Post # 8
314 posts
Helper bee

HeartsandSparkles:  WOW, am I your husband? lol because my father is dead and I haven’t spoken to any family in about 10yrs. Although I was ok with my sister not anymore. And I pretty much have no friends.

I’m sorry YOU are struggling with his lack of family… seriously?! you need to stop being so self-centered and get over it. Obviously you can’t understand his position because you come from a good family, but his life sucked and he did what he could to stay sane and try to move forward. I’m sure it bothers him deep down and he tries to avoid thoughts/memories everyday. Instead of crying for yourself over not getting in-laws, trying mourning for the lack of love in your husband’s life! He deserved better- and now angels put you in his life to fill that void. If you love this man you will roll wth the punches and accept reality doesn’t always live up to your childhood fantasies, but it will still be wonderful in its own right!

Post # 9
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


eocenia:  said it perfectly.

My DH only has his mom and brother, and those relationships are so strained, most of the time I feel like they are doing more harm than good.  Special events like weddings, Christmases, etc tend to stir up the feelings of loneliness more, although day to day can be very hard as well.

For our wedding, we didn’t highlight the fact that so little family was there.  We didn’t have specific “sides” for our families to sit on, he didn’t want to do the mother-son dance.  We did seat the mothers specifically after everyone else, but you could always just do your mom.  I still did the father-daughter dance, but the mother-son dance isn’t something that’s always done where I live anyway.

His mom and brother also left early from our wedding, which upset my DH because they were his only family there to start with.

Just be supportive to him and focus on the fact that you’re starting your own family.  I never knew one of my grandfathers, and it is sad to me that our future children will never know one of theirs either.  I always wanted a huge family and like you thought I would gain another side of family when I got married.  But that’s just how things go sometimes.  Try to not focus on the negative, and on your wedding day revel in the company of everyone that is there for you.

Post # 10
1498 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

HeartsandSparkles:  btw, I went back and read other’s responses and I’m not sure why you’re getting so much negativity.  Your feelings are perfectly valid, and it’s not like you’re trying to make your FI feel bad about not having any family.

My DH’s brother is a recovering drug addict and has basically completely screwed his life up.  He obviously doesn’t offer this information out freely, so a lot of the times white lies are told.  Out of respect for him, I’ve had to dodge questions from my nosy mother countless times.  Just be there for him and be the one he can count on.

Post # 11
262 posts
Helper bee

i am the one with no family.  just make sure he knows your family is his family now and the family that you two make is what counts.  even without kids, you two are a family.  don’t pity him for it, just embrace what exists and carry on.  those of us without family, it becomes normal.  sometimes sad, but normal.  

Post # 12
210 posts
Helper bee

I am not engaged yet but my boyfriend has no contact with extended family. All he has is his mom, dad, brother and aunt. It worries me when we get married that no one from his extended side will come because whenever he is invited he doesnt go to their things and I have never met them. He isnt very family orientated, he doesnt like going to his family functions or holiday get together and he doesnt like to go to mine either. 

Although my boyfriend didnt cut his family off like yours did I am sure he has vaild reasons. Just support him. After all your family his his family now too! Dont worry about sides and all that at a wedding. Just mix them up, its more fun that way.

Post # 13
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

My FI never really had a huge family to begin with, and his mom died when he was young and his dad moved out of the country. The only family he really has left that he is close with is his brother.

Because of problems with my family and his lack of family we’ve decided to forgo the wedding and elope. We will probably have a get together for friends after the fact. It just works better for us

Like others have said, just try not to do family sided things. Mix up seating arrangements, and if you’re set on doing father daughter/mother son dances perhaps your FI could dance with your mom or something. I personally would avoid all that entirely though

Post # 14
7281 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I’m a bit confused as to why YOU are struggling with HIS family situation. Mr. Lk has an aunt, an uncle, and a grandmother. That’s it. Everyone else is dead. He struggles with that. He struggles a lot with burying every member of his family. It took a long time for him to trust me that I was going to continue to show up every single day in his life because he was so used to people disappearing from it instead. Holidays are always shadowed by the people who are not there. Birthdays, too. And our wedding was tough on him. We made conscious choices to downplay the emptiness, like not having “sides” to sit on, skipping parent-child dances, etc. But it wasn’t something to be struggled with. It just was. That’s his “normal”, and by extension it’s my “normal”, too. We try to live each day in the present and build an amazing future with our own little family.

Post # 15
207 posts
Helper bee

I am also unfortunately like your fiance in this situation, and have very little family.  My mother passed away when I was twelve, and I moved to a different country with the little bit of family I had on my mothers side.  I haven’t spoken to my father since the day my mother died.

Due to some unfortunately disfunctional things that happened, I can only call myself close with one person in my family.  I have tried over the years to make an effort to make things work with my family, but everytime I do, I get burned badly.  My BF did not understand, as he comes from a very big and very loving family.  He also did not meet a single person in my family for 2.5 years.  It was only when I took him home, and he heard stories first hand from my best friend, and saw the intense emotional reaction that I had from going home that he truly “understood” why I chose to distance myself.  I never told him the full story, mostly because its too painful to share and because I don’t want anyone’s pity.  I also tend to tell little white lies here and there about mine, because really its no one’s business and most people who come from awesome families cannot understand.  Most days I get by just fine without thinking about them, and life goes on.

I would recommend that you just support your fiance, and his decision to pass on things that would be too difficult to do at the wedding.  Not everyone is lucky to have a supportive and loving family, and just because he hasn’t told you the full story doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried to make it work with them.

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