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Question
Posted by: Noddie | 2004/01/06

In-laws don't want to let go

Please help. I have been happily married for 3 years now and still my father - and sister-in-law feel sorry for themselves because "they feel pushed aside and do not get enough from my husband"!!! Surely, seeing my in-laws about twice every month (sometimes more) is a reasonable "arrangement". Besides this, my husband goes away with his father and friends for a long weekend every year (which I gladly support without having a problem with it). Not to mention that we hardly see my parents (about one weekend in every 2 months) as they live a little bit further away. Needless to say, my parents understand that we also have a life to live and they understand our hectic schedules. If I may add that if we alternate Christmas times, my in-laws go on and on about not being able to see us over Christmas time because we are going to spend it with my parents this year (even though we have dinner with my in-laws a while before Christmas to wish them well). I know that my sister-in-law is the "communication tool" of his father as she always makes these remarks. I feel uncomfortable and sometimes do not want to be part of the party because I want to give my in-laws time to spend with their son (alone) - which I don't think is healthy for our marriage as I now do not really feel comfortable to "bond" with his family. I actually despise their nagging to tell you the truth!!! It's tiring for me as I do not like to feel all these negative emotions towards them but I can not help myself. My sister-in-law is already 33 - surely she must be mature by now. His other 2 sisters do not have a problem at all! His mother does tend to nag him for attention from time to time, but is not as bad as his father. I have tried to speak to my husband about this as at this stage I can't believe that one's family can put such strain on a healty marriage with divorce statistics being so high. What is wrong with them and how should I handle the situation. My husband says that I'm too sensitive about this and that his father and sister is way out of line. But, he does not have the guts to talk to them about this as he says they would take it very personal. (I also think that they would do that). He has however regulated their visits, cooling the off a bit - but they go mad if they can't see us every weekend. Please advise. Should I go and see a shrink to deal with this as I do not think that it is ever going to change from their side - they are the kind of people who like to be in control the whole time.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Nodie, it's high time that his parents, and sister, worked on growing up, and trying to learn to be independent. he is married to You, and not to them, and they should stop being greedy. It sounds like your husband has begun trying to deal with this, but as if he's scared to actually confront them ( probably due to years of brainwashing by them when he was a child ). if he talks to them about it, they ought to go right ahead and "take it personally" ---this IS personal, and they are happilly intruding on your married lives, for purely and totally selfish reasons --- that's as "personal" as it gets.
It is THEM who are being unreasonable. So maybe it's not you that needs to see a shrink alone ; but it could be helpful for you and your husband, together, to get into some marriage counselling, including help for him to learn how to be assertive and confront his parents unreasonable expectations.

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Our users say:
Posted by: NTSO | 2004/01/07

Noddie I feel and understand your frustration because I was in a similar situation just like you. But girl - it's time that you stand your ground and tell your in-laws to go to hell because if you don't speak up for yourself, you will end up divorced just like me. You go girl!!!!

Reply to NTSO
Posted by: Joy | 2004/01/06

Wow, Noddie, things are bad for me too. But we have to be firm and stand our ground. Good luck.

Reply to Joy
Posted by: eve | 2004/01/06

talk about suffocation, they seriously have a problem letting go, its normally the mother that has the empty nest syndrome not the sister and father! what a strange bunch of peope. I think maybe you and tour husband should go and talk to them and make them realise that because of you busy schedule during the week you dont get to spend enough time with each other and the weekend is when you get to do it so they shouldnt get offended if you dont go visit, then your husband should make tem realise that he has a new life now and he cant always be at their beck and call....even if they do take it to heart i think that is the only way they going to get the message. I seriously sympathise with you but thank God my in laws are not like that i love them to bits but if they had to do what yours are doing i would have lost it a long time ago, you are a very patient person but you have to draw the line sometime. Good luck and let us know of the progress

Reply to eve
Posted by: J | 2004/01/06

You and your husband need to have a chat - and then he needs to have a chat with his family! You cant go on keeping silent about it - even if it does cause disruptions with the in laws in the beginning they will get used to it. Besides -what is more important - them or your husband? If you carry on like this you wont have much of a marriage left to defend.

Reply to J
Posted by: Mom | 2004/01/06

Good Grief, nobody should have to live like this. Is it not possible for you and your husband to relocate to another town fairly far away from these people. It would be worth it in the long run, and would save any kind of confrontation.
Good Luck.

Reply to Mom

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