Post # 1
My husband always expressed that there were some immediate family members that he didn’t want to have be a part of his daily life and that he would be thrilled to move away so that he could let the physical distance help him cut these ties.
Well, a year later, we are still in the slow process of letting several relationships dwindle away, but as a family oriented person – this is really tough for me! Mostly because – I feel like I’m hiding something big!
I’m trying to be a good accomplice to what some would call a crime (most love their mothers) while he decreases how often he takes their calls, screens calls, ignores emails and tells them all sorts of white lies to avoid updating them on things. They seem to not be noticing very much so far.
But it makes me anxious. It’s like watching an accident that’s about to happen – OMG, they are heading towards great saddness and they don’t even know! *bites nails*
If I must speak with them, he wants me to keep it brief and nonspecific, which I do. But my mind boggles – wow, all the things that are going on that you don’t know or aren’t a part of!
Is anyone doing this themselves or maybe their husbands? It’s exactly like letting a friendship drift away – it’s often very necessary to protect yourself, but in this case I guess I have a little fear that if he ever has to directly confront them or shoo them away, it’ll be messy!
Post # 3
Well it’s sorta like pulling off a bandaid..you can’t pull it right off you have to do it slowly, a little at a time. Eventually, they will get the hint, unless they are lik 5 years old. Being that this is his family who he has known for a very long time, I’m sure he has good reason for no longer wanting to involve them in his life. All bc you are a family oriented person, doesn’t mean you need to have every biological relative in your life so this is really his and his decision to make.
Post # 4
@coconutmellie: Are these people toxic or what makes him not want to be around them? That would concern me unless they were abusive in some way.
Post # 5
@DanielleZara: Well, sort of as FinallyMarried82 said, there are very good reasons why he is making this decision. I know what they are exactly and over the course of our courtship, wedding, and marriage I have seen these things and I do consider it abuse. He has always taken it to not make trouble, but he is no longer willing to tolerate it.
If I were in his position, with my personality and upbringing, I would directly address these issues and “hash it out” with the family in question, but he prefers a more nonconfrontational approach, which simply means letting them kinda drift out of his life. They literally seem to notice very little, and sometimes even convince themselves that there is no problem.
I do my best to follow his lead, because it’s absolutely his choice to do these things and because I have tried other things such as reasoning with them or kind of “warning” them that they might be cut out completely soon and they are not willing/able to accept these sorts of things. Which might be why he is choosing to do things slowly.
I have had this situaton with friends before myself, where I had an issue with them, but it was not enough to directly confront them and that the best method was simply to let them go. And go they eventualy did with no hurt feelings.
If we must interact with this family (and we have to on occassion to keep them under the illusion that they’re not being fully ignored) it takes a lot of energy not to get too close to them or let on too much about what’s going on with us and the fact that he isn’t happy with them. They are oblivious, but to me there’s a HUGE elephant in the room i’m ignoring and it gives me a lot of anxiety.
Post # 6
Just to be clear–these are HIS family members, right? Not yours?
Personally, I think that you might just have to distance YOURSELF from the whole thing. I don’t know what the situation is between your DH and his family, but unless they were extremely toxic, I would say that it’s a bit…extreme to cut off all ties. Distance is fine and boundaries are great–so him not taking calls and everything is okay in my book because that’s probably what he’s doing–establishing boundaries. But it’s a little naive to think that you can easily carve people out of your life, especially if they’re family.
Anyway, I would follow his lead in that I wouldn’t call them up to chat myself or invite them over, but I wouldn’t allow him to dictate your behavior in ways that make you uncomfortable. So you shouldn’t have to lie and he shouldn’t really be controlling what you say to them when you do speak, In My Humble Opinion.
But then again, it’s hard to say without knowing what the full story is with him and them.
Post # 7
@JennyW1: Thanks, Jenny. The lies are actually where it gets tricky – I tell him very clearly that I will not lie. The scenarios get complicated: his family will ask him to attend a family function, and he will decline but the reason will never be the truth. Instead of truthfully saying that he doesn’t want to spend time with them, he will, out of politeness, give another reason.
However, he doesn’t tell me when he speaks to them or what exactly he told them (literally because talking about them gives him a lot of stress) so I won’t know what he said exactly, only that we’re not attending. Ok, great.
What i warn him about is that if I am approached or prodded regarding why we aren’t going – I probably won’t lie. i’ll be a straight shooter about it. Thankfully, up to this point, he has done exactly what I want my husband to do – take care of his own family. I take care of mine. And so, I haven’t had to answer to them.
I think he goes back and forth about how far he’s willing to cut ties – he may exaggerate. But he’s absolutely setting boundaries.
LET ME BE CLEAR: The only thing that makes me uncomfortable about this entire situation is that I am just supposed to pretend in their presence that he loves them and cares for them and that we are THRILLED to be with them. It is one giant FARCE, and it’s just hard to keep that up.
The reasons he’s doing it are fine with me. The methods he’s using (avoidance) are not my style, but I am slowly realizing it maybe the only way to work with unreasonable people. So, thats’ all ok – I am just BLOWN away that a whole family thinks that things are peachy and have NO clue that one family member is very slowly letting them go completely. If my family knew that I was pissed at them for years and years about something and that I didn’t confront them about it, they would be so hurt and so wiling to make a change. His family is not like that.
Post # 8
@coconutmellie: Yes, I understand what you mean as far as having a different approach to things: My husband is non-confrontational, and I like to deal with things right then and there (our families are different and it’s frustrating)…that’s why for me, your situation seems very uncomfortable. If I were you, I would continue to set boundaries with your husband (continuing to make it clear that you won’t lie). I would even go as far as telling him that he has put you in an uncomfortable place because you’ve had to pretend everything is fine. The way he interacts with his family affects you now too. I think regardless of how his family IS, telling the truth would make you guys feel better, and be easier in the end…but that is all his job and his decision. I wonder if counseling would help him through this difficult time? And help him make good decisions that will make both of you happy?
Post # 9
@JennyW1: I totally agree.