Top priority: me or his family?

posted 6 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

He’s told you exactly where his priorities lie, and that isn’t likely to change.  You have two options: put up with it (I wouldn’t) or call it quits.  I wouldn’t marry a man who didn’t put me (and any kids we might have) first.  You should be his nuclear family now and his parents are extended family.

Post # 3
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

razzie17 :  No you aren’t expecting to much. It’s great that his family is so important to him but from what I’m reading in your post he seems very obtuse and unwilling to compromise when it comes to you and his family. The wedding example really stands out to me. 120 people on one side is a lot and I find it hard to believe he is that close to 120 people that he can’t at least compromise and cut out a few people. May I ask what his background is? I ask because some cultures and backgrounds put a huge emphasis on family and it is expected that even when someone marries they are still expected to drop everything for family and they are extremely family oriented. How old is he? You mention that he has to ask his mom’s permission to do things. A grown man shouldn’t be doing that. I would recommend counseling because these issues aren’t going to go away on there own and you may end up growing resentful. I May get grilled for this but yes you are right once you are engaged/married your partner absolutely comes first. That doesn’t mean don’t be loving to your parents and help be there for support if needed but it means in your day to day life decision making he should be holding your thoughts and opinions amd your needs ahead of mommy’s. It also means if he has to choose between doing something that may upset mom or you he should choose you everytime and twice on Sundays.

Again (i feel the need to preface this because some bees love to jump in and give the one extreme example of where a parent might come first.) there are exceptions like if his mom is extremely ill obviously that’s different but that doesn’t sound like the case here.

But my advice moving forward is to calmly and maturely sit down and talk to him about whay your expectations are regarding putting you and your marriage first and what that looks like to you make sure you add that you love how close he is with his fam but ultimately being that you are engaged you come first in day to day life. It also wouldnt be a bad idea to come up with a schedule as to when to see his family. It can be flexible but that way it is something the both of you can agree on. I still think regardless you both need counseling before you get married to sort this out. Good luck!

Post # 4
3443 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

He has been completely and embarrassingly honest and upfront about your position in his life compared to everyone else. You are not now, nor will you ever be a priority. If you marry him, expect this behavior and mindset to continue. Marriage will NOT change him. He will NOT treat you differently after a wedding. This is the best your relationship is going to be, so if it’s not enough then you need to end things and find someone who will treat you the way you want to be treated.

Post # 5
30 posts

You should definitely come first in his day to day life. He can be there for his family and not neglect your interests. 

Post # 6
6649 posts
Bee Keeper

This is who he is. It might work for some women. It wouldn’t work for me. It’s not working for you. He is happy with this arrangement and unwilling to change it. You have a choice: you may either accept it or you may leave the relationship and find someone whose approach to marriage is more aligned with yours. Sorry, Bee. 

Post # 7
9670 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

He’s told you who he is, believe him. This is the way it will be for the rest of your life if you marry him. 

Personally, I’d be running away as fast as I could.

Post # 8
38 posts

Everything everyone else has said. Thank god he was up front with this information before you got married. He will not change once you get married. You have a choice as to whether or not to go forward. I see more incompatibility than compatibility. Just something to think about.

Also, please take care of yourself medically, as well as emotionally!  

Post # 9
120 posts
Blushing bee

 You should come first. A good example to bring up is who does his dad put first. Ask your fiancé if his dad put his relationship with his wife (fiancés mom) first when making decisions growing up? Or did he disrespect fiancés mom (and fiancé) and always run to fiancés grandma. Meaning dad doesn’t consider mom and their children together…including your fiancé…to be true family or top priority. did fiances dad treat fiancés mom and fiancé the same way he is treating you? Either it will put it into perspectictive for him, or it will show you this is a major character flaw within the whole family’s way of thinking

Post # 10
714 posts
Busy bee

In my marriage with my ex-husband (which lasted 5 and a half years), it was like this. An ever present power struggle with my husband’s family. His parents never agreed with our decisions and my ex-husband always allowed their opinions and influence to become a third person in our marriage. I lost count of the number of arguments I had with him where I tried to get him to see that this was untenable and very miserable for me and that he needed to put me, his wife, first.

It was a major factor that led to the split between us.

He only realised his mistake when he married his second wife and started having the same problems and arguments with her.

Bottom line: this issue is stressful and horrible enough even when your spouse is open to possibly thinking differently about it. If he sees absolutely nothing wrong with putting his family first, you are in for a tough time.

For me personally, having been through what I’ve been through, a man being too enmeshed/dependent/beholden to his family is a dealbreaker. There is nothing wrong with being close to and loving your family, but you have to know where to draw the line.

If this man does not change his mind and you marry him, look forward to years of having your voice be tiny and unimportant in your own home.

Post # 11
2433 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

It doesn’t matter who comes ‘first’, it isn’t like someone has to fill out a form when they get married. 

No matter what about family, it sure is a pain in the ass to be surrounded at all times by someone’s family. He isn’t ready to get married yet. He can’t cut the apron strings. You will be fighting all the time eventually. 

I dated a guy way back in the Dark Ages, and he lived with his father, and his brother lived close by. He had a standard where he wanted to visit as much of his family as he could, every DAY. That didn’t last. The relationship, not the visits!

Post # 12
39 posts

It’s one thing to be close to your family and it’s a whole other to let them dictate your day to day life decisions that you should be making with your spouse who has to live with those actions. The still having to ask permission from his mom seems strange. My SO is very close to his family and we live near by but it never feels intrusive. It feels more just like an extension of my family but he is never asking them permission for anything in our lives. 


I agree with what a lot of people have already said, you need to realize if that’s how he feels, he is not going to change. You need to think about if that’s okay with you long term (it doesn’t sound like it is).

Post # 13
1891 posts
Buzzing bee

If you want some sense scared into you about how serious this is, google DWIL nation and read a few stories on there of women dealing with in laws and husbands like this. DO not have kids with someone like this. 

Here is the thing bee, this is the purpose of an engagement, to figure out things as you plan your wedding. Lots of people find out in that process that they aren’t a good fit for each other. In this case your fiance is clearly stating that you will never come first and he will always see his parents as his real wife not you. Basically if you ever disagree on how to do something and his parents think something different, he will force you to follow his parents advice, he will help them undermine your authority with your children, he will help his parents steal moments from you with your newborn and children. 

This is almost as serious of a problem as you can have. And this is NOT normal. Even the Bible has verses in it about how you are supposed to leave your parents and stick with your wife once you are married. Marriage is the creation of a new family. A marriage like your fiance is expecting is not a marriage, im sorry but it just isn’t. He is setting it up to be you being the hired help, and him and his parents using you as an incubator for grandkids. This is a recipe for disaster. 

I would say leave him because you are fundamentally on different pages. However, if you feel you can’t do that, at the very least find a pastor or priest near you that you would like to do couples pre-marital counciling with. Ask questions of that pastor or priest before you go because you need to know that they will back you up on wife coming before mom. Then ask your fiance to go with you, make it a non negotiable. If he wants to marry you he needs to go to pre marital counsiling. If after the pastor or priest points out to him that it is not ok or normal to put his parents before you once you marry, and he STILL refuses? THen you get the hell out. 

But honestly he has already told you who he is, and I really think its best you believe him. Sit him down and say, 

We want different things out of a marriage. Marriage to me is us creating our own family, where we are equals and make all decisions together without outside influence. Your parents and mine dont’ come first anymore, we and the family we are making do. Your parents can’t be a part of our financial decisions, can’t be a part of decisions with our children, and can not be involved in any relationship infomation between the two of us. From what you have said to me you feel very differently about what marriage is to you. You have stated that you will not put me first once married and that you see me the same level as your parents or less. That is not what marriage is, that is not what a partnership is, and that is not something I want for my life or my children’s lives. bye!! 

Post # 14
1637 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Bee if this is driving you crazy now do you really expect marriage is going to make it better?  Well the short answer is No…its going to only get worse as you are directly affected more and more. 

Think about what happens if you have children.  Are you willing to give up final say on how your child is raised?  

These aren’t red flags, they’re red bedsheets!  He’s giving you direct info about himself so if you ignore the warnings and decide to marry him anyway the results is entirely on you.

Oh and get thee to DWIL.

Post # 15
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

Well I give him credit for telling you up front. At least he is being 100% with you. So now the ball is in your court. You have two choices. You either stay or you leave. If you stay just know that he is not going to change, even if you try. You will get frustrated, angry and you will start to resent him, even though he was honest with you. Does it suck yea I am sure it does, but you have a choice. Looks like your going to have to think long and hard how you want to spend the rest of your life.

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