Post # 1
I have been married to my DH for 2.5 years, been together for 5.5 yrs. My DH has always had a close relationship with his Mom which I find odd considering most other men in their mid 30’s are closer with their friends.
The history behind this is my MIL caused a great deal of heartache for me when she told my DH not to marry me 3 months before our wedding after she received some mis-information about me from another relative. My DH called off our wedding until everything could be worked out which it was. We got married 7 months after our original wedding date.
My relationship with my MIL has been ok since then. Not really close, mainly because she has a daughter that she is close with so I am like the 3rd wheel. His mother is not always the most considerate when it comes to my feelings, even though she claims to “love you as much as my son”… Not really.
I have been complaining lately about being depressed about my upcoming b-day and the holidays. This has always been a sad time for me because I am away from my family (in another state) and surrounded by his family in VA. My DH is against giving up any of his family’s Christmas traditions to create any new ones with me. So every year is a battle between us about me not wanting to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family. This also involves surrounding myself with his family members that were the cause of our 1st wedding being canceled.
Last night I came home to an empty house after my DH and I had made dinner plans. He showed up 30 min late and said he was at his Mom’s. He then told me that he told his Mom that I didn’t want to do anything with them for my bday and that he is unhappy. He went on to tell me that he is unhappy in our marriage and he knows I hate his family.
I feel like him running over to his Mom’s house whenever he is upset is a betrayal. He counters with how I talk to my sisters about “us”. I think he should be seeking advice from other married men his own age. Not a family member that I have negative history with. Am I way off base here??
Advice needed please!
Post # 3
Oh yuck… I would not want to be in your situation.
Could you two maybe see a marriage counselor? Maybe if a third party told him that he’s being selfish and needs to establish boundaries with his family, he’d listen?
Post # 4
Wow. I’m really sorry you’re going through this!
The fact that he called off the wedding the first time because something his mom said is really alarming. I mean, I have no idea what the situation was, but if he’s going to marry you, he should trust you completely and always have your back.
As a grown man, it’s also incredibly immature and lame to run to his mommy every time he’s in a fight with you. I used to go to my friends every time I was upset with SO and he hated that. He said it was very unfair to him, which is true – so we have a “keep things between us strictly between us” policy that I respect and have come to value. Can you instate a similar rule and see if both of you can abide by it?
I also don’t like that he’s so rigid about things – knowing you and his family have ill feelings, why ca’t you spend either Christmas Eve or Day with them, and the other one alone as a couple? It sounds like he’s not making any effort to make things any easier for you (or taking your feelings into account at all). Has he actually made any effort to integrate you into his family?
Post # 5
Have you said that it isn’t that you don’t like his family but the two of you are now a family and should start making your own traditions? It isn’t fair for him to expect you to spend all of your time with his family. Do you guys spend any holiday time with your family at all?
I think it may be beneficial for you guys to go to a marriage counselor, like PP said. Sometimes it takes a third party to really open up someones eyes to see that they are being a tad bit ridiculous.
Post # 6
The both of you need to talk to EACHOTHER instead of him running to his mom and you talking to your sister. With that being said – I also feel that your DH needs to respect your feelings and wishes by not completely alienating you from your family during the holidays, and giving his own family and holiday traditions precedence over yours. Most couples will alternate holidays with eachother’s family. Thanksgiving at hers and Christmas at his one year, then vice versa the next. There needs to be compromise in this relationship starting yesterday.
Post # 7
@chirod: WOW. I am so sorry you are going through this! It sounds like his mom has a lot of control over him. Is he willing to see that at all? Or are you just the constant bad guy? Would he consider couples counseling? I know that sounds trite, but I think it would help you guys to work as a team and set boundaries.
Post # 8
@chirod: Honestly, I never would have married a man who listened to his mom when she said not to marry me. What did you expect?! You knew he was this way before getting married yet you chose to still marry him. Maybe it is time for some marriage counseling so you can work through these issues and try and set some new boundaries. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to change though, those types of men don’t usually change.
As for your last question, he shouldn’t be seeking advice from anyone when a problem arises in your marriage. He should be coming to you to work it out together.
Post # 9
Well, I don’t think you hate them right? Understandably, you’re hurt over what happened between your MIL and you. Have you ever talked to her about it directly? Maybe clearing the air would help. Spending time with them would also help, because they’re probably getting the vibe that you don’t like them when you don’t come over. I had a very similar issue with my in laws. I avoided coming to a lot of family get togethers because I find social gatherings very intimidating and my shyness when there was often mistaken for being rude. It put a lot of pressure on my DH at the time. He is very close with his family and they pressure him to be there a lot, he also wants to be there a lot and there was inadvertent pressure from me to not be there a lot.
I think you should try to clear the air with them and try to move past what happened. If someone told me my son was going to marry someone who did “x”, my first instinct would be to protect my son. I would bet she feels awful about what happened now.
You could also try going out to dinner instead of going to their house. Sometimes neutral territory makes it more comfortable.
I also think relationship counseling could help. I would bet that his relationship with his family probably leaves you feeling somewhat less important sometimes. I think some insight into how to handle what happened and what to do going forward would be helpful too.
Edited to add: Also yeah, I think it’s total;y unfair and counter productive for him to complain about this to his mom. It makes you look bad and makes it harder for you to be there. Totally unfair. I think he probably feels like she’s the one to talk to because they’re close and likely doesn’t see how this is harmful. Plus I would bet she may have some resentment still there and this just feeds it. I would talk to a counselor about this for sure.
Post # 10
May I ask if you and your DH practice a faith? If so, you may find some helpful guidance and support from your clergy member.
For example, as a Christian, I would counsel another Christian couple that your husband’s behavior is contrary to Biblical standards for a Godly marriage, in which a husband is called to “leave his father and mother” and “cleave unto his wife,” and the two are to become one flesh. You, not your DH’s mother, should be the person he prioritizes over everyone in his life, after God.
Although your husband should always love and honor his parents, he should not be allowing them to have undue influence over your marriage, or over his life or yours.
Post # 11
@chirod: You all need to get professional, objective counseling.
Do you, as a couple, visit your family for the holidays or alternate? It is unreasonable of him to expect you to want to spend every moment of every holiday (not to mention your own birthday) with his family. Part of growing up is that things change. Part of being married is compromise. You should be able to work out something that allows you to spend holidays with each family or just together sometimes.
Do I understand correctly that your husband called off your wedding due to unsubstantiated gossip reported to him by his mother? If so, you are very forgiving. And your MIL wields tremendous power in your relationship.
Post # 12
@chirod: I would consider him running to her when the two of you disagree as a betrayal. My husband took a little while to understand that he and I were on the same team and no one else mattered when it came to our decision-making. I’m a believer that when a man marries, his wife is the most important person in his life, and that both the husband and his mother ought to honor that. I don’t know if I could ever get over her trying to sabotage my wedding.
That said, he does not seem to be able to see things objectively when it comes to his family, nor is he able to compromise. He and his family don’t have healthy boundaries and it’s affecting you negatively. I think counseling, and hearing from an impartial person you both trust, would be crucial to helping this issue.
Post # 13
@ChicFoodist, @arsing89 and @GonnaBMrsB – I have tried in the years past to carve out some time for our own family of two during the holidays but it hasn’t happened. Christmas Eve is at his Grandparents (where the relative is who started the wedding drama the first time) and Christmas morning is at his parents. Anytime I try to get out of Chrismas Eve he guilt trips me by saying he doesn’t know how much longer his Grandparents will be alive, and how this tradition means much to them. I have always ended up going and suffering through it trying to be a good wife. Unfortunately my family doesn’t have any tradition of doing anything together over Christmas, so I don’t have the argument that I am missing out on my family’s traditions. My life growing up with my family is the majority of the reason why I get depressed around Christmas.
I agree with all of you that we need to be talking to each other about this and not family and friends. I admit I am not good at that. I am a very social person and my emotions are written all over my face. It is hard when a friend asks “whats wrong” for me to keep quiet. That is why I am turning to all you strangers for advice and hoping no one I know reads this.
My DH did stand up for us a few months ago to his Mom and I thought we were finally on the same page. His Mom allowed this relative over to her house for Grandpa’s bday after she knew it made me uncomfortable. My DH told his Mom we would not be attending because of it. I think that surprised his Mom but I was proud of him for standing his ground.
We have been to counseling at our church before and they told him he needed to be putting me before his family. That I am his family now. Maybe we do need to try that again.
@MrsWBS I appreciate your bluntness. Yes, I have questioned my decision to marry him knowing how attached he is to his family. At this point though, I did marry him. Now I have to figure out how to deal with it.
Post # 14
@chirod: You both are incorrect in the way you communicate. He shouldn’t go to his mom OR other men his age, and you shouldn’t go to your sister. You should be talking to each other when you have martial issues or disagreements.
That being said, I don’t know if he sees what the problem is, and it doesn’t sound like, even if you explain it to him, he will realize it. When DH and I went to premarital counseling, this was the biggest discussion we had with her was regarding family and how to handle the dynamics when it came to holidays and children. Because of visiting with someone beforehand, we were able to has those issues out.
So many Bees are quick to recommend counseling, but I feel in this case it truly is necessary. This should have been disucssed before marriage, how you would divide holiday traditions and handle family (especially since he called off your 1st wedding because of his mother’s behavior), but since you didn’t, you and he should probably seek some counseling sessions to help break down the communication barrier.
Post # 16
OP, if you want to see your family for your birthday, go. You don’t need his permission, though I can certainly understand that you would like his support.
As for everything else – wow. Your husband should not be forcing you to spend time with someone who spread rumours about you and caused the postponement of your marriage. That’s inappropriate. The fact that he still has a relationship with this person is gross, IMO. A similar thing happened when my parents got married, but instead of postponing anything, my father told the meddling aunt to shut her mouth, and they have never spoken to this aunt again – 40 years of married bliss later.
You are your husband’s family now. He needs to understand that. It is inappropriate for him to go running to his mom every time you have an argument (and you need to keep things private too). I know you said you’ve talked about this before, so I’m not sure where you go from here. You can’t “make” him change, you’re right. The truth is, he has to decide what he wants – he can be a momma’s boy, or he can be a husband, but he can’t be both.
As an aside – I come from a crazy close family too, so I know it can be hard to break the habit of talking to parents/etc, but it needs to be done. When you get married, your spouse becomes your go-to person, and everyone else takes a step back. Otherwise, it will not work.