- 7 years ago
I know we aren’t technically newlyweds anymore, but I don’t know where to put this. And sorry in advance that this is going to be long, but try to hear me out
I should start by saying that I love DH beyond words. Truly. He’s my first everything and I’m really happy with him. What I’m not happy with is his family. I don’t dislike them, but, I have a hard time putting up with them all the time. He has a very small family that is pretty much just his sister, his mom, and him. His dad is in China and everyone hates him and tries to avoid him. He has some extended family, but I’ve never met most of them and they don’t really talk to DH. DH is also Chinese. He moved from Hong Kong to NYC when he was about 6. His parents don’t speak much English. I can say little things to his mom, but we can never have a full conversation. Sometimes, when we have dinner together, DH is good about translating (though he doesn’t consider himself fluent in Chinese anymore either), other times he just kind of brushes it off and I have no idea what’s really going on. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was only occasionally, but it’s not. My mother in law lives with us.
The backstory is that DH, his sister, and his mom have lived in this apartment unit for awhile. Once DH graduated, he and his sister (who graduated before him) took over paying the bills. Everything is in her name, but she doesn’t contribute financially at all. In fact, a few months ago, she legally declared herself DH’s dependant. She’s 55. Now, in retrospect, I should have told DH that I won’t move in until he gets his own place. But I was coming from a very unstable home life plus the strain of a LDR, so I moved in 2 1/2 years ago and we got married a year after that. It’s a 2 bedroom apartment. DH and his sister used to share, but at this point she was only coming home 2 nights a week. The rest of the week she stays with her boyfriend. She still does help pay some of the bills on behalf of my mother in law, but DH pays most of it. She was paying about half, but she cut it down and said she was going to move her things out since she’s not home much. Well, she cut it down, but a lot of her things are still in mine and DH’s bedroom since it used to be her room.
Anyway, to make an already long story short, we pretty much have to consult his family about every decision we make. I don’t feel like it is our home. It’s still their home. DH won’t stand up to his mom or sister. A big part of it is culture. The whole respect your elders thing is big for them (and elders doesn’t mean old people, it means anyone older than you like DH’s sister) and it’s also tradition that the children take care of their parents. We’re technically supposed to give them an allowance, but we can’t afford that. I used to tell myself that I would be ok with it, and that DH is worth it, and these are just petty materialistic things that aren’t important. But I’m begining to think I was just fooling myself. This is a problem. His mom doesn’t work so we can’t just move out and leave her, but we can’t afford to pay two rents. Technically I’m the intruder since they were here first, so we can’t just tell them to get their stuff out of here (we asked his sister to move her desk out of the bedroom once and she BLEW UP), and I just don’t know what to do. DH never wants to have a real conversation about it. But i can’t live like this forever. Is it really so wrong to want to be able to run a household, just DH and I, without having to consult with someone else? We’re adults. Shouldn’t we be able to buy a new couch or microwave or set of cookware just because we feel like it? But then i feel like I’m being petty and this stuff shouldn’t matter since I love DH and these are just material things. But it’s really, really hard, and I just don’t see an end in sight. :'(
Has anyone had issues like this, with the different cultural expectations? Did I make a mistake marrying DH if I can’t accept his family for the way it is? I don’t want to be the bad guy in his family. I really don’t. They’re nice people and I don’t want to “steal” DH away or break them apart or hurt anyone in any way, but I want to be able to live my life like I’m an adult, and I’m starting to worry that the life I want is not compatible with the life that I think DH is stuck with. and this makes me really sad 🙁