December 27, 2017 at 11:27 am #183911
Hi, I’m a new member and after reading advice in some of the topics on this site I have decided to ask for some advice of my own. I’ll get straight to the issue as the title describes my family (actually my two Sisters), have a real issue with my wife.
I have been married for 11 years and have 2 children. The relationship between my sisters, (who are both married with children) and my wife has always been civil but not overly friendly, they get along buts its luke-warm, not house on fire stuff.
There have over the years, been a few blow-ups but things settle down, normally by me having to go and straighten things out with my sisters. The blow-ups always seem to come back to what my sisters perceive as behaviours they don’t like from my wife, maybe the way she spoke to them or how she may have been/acted in a certain situation.
I feel a lot of the issues arise from the first 3 years of our marriage when my wife and I lived with my parents in my parents house. My sisters have got an impression that my wife was not as respectful as she could have been during that time towards my parents and to them when they would visit. One sister who lived nearby would visit every single day for a minimum of an hour sometimes twice a day. The other sister, who lived further away, visited every 3 months and typically stayed for 1-2 weeks. My wife did find this environment claustrophobic but put up with it for my sake. Both sisters never considered my parents house to be our home or respected our privacy whilst we were there and insisted it to be an open house with them having keys to the front door so they could come and go as they please.
Anyway these issues would normally come and go as the visits would come and go and we would visit each others houses and families happily enough, the kids would all mingle and usually it was all good.
We now live in our own house (past 7 years) a good distance away and visit my parents when we can, normally every 3 months as a family and I visit every 4-6 weeks on my own.
Recently, during a visit to my parents house we stopped at my sisters house for the night where the 10 years of underlying issues between my wife and sisters blew up again. This time it was really ugly and a lot of slurs and old complaints were made in mine and my wife’s presence about my wife. My wife was quite shocked but stayed quiet and next day we left and returned to our own home.
I informed my parents of what had happened and they were quite shocked and said they would find out why this happened. After a few days my parents informed me that both my sisters had now said that she did not want any future relationship with my wife and she was no longer permitted to visit them, but if I wanted to visit my sisters with my children that would be fine. They also said my sisters would no longer be visiting my house because of my wife.
The bottom line is that my sisters want to cut my wife out of the family and maintain a relationship with myself. My parents at first went along with this idea.
Now, I know my wife is not perfect and I don’t have her on a pedestal, she can have her moments and we have had our arguments but nothing beyond normal so I’m not the blinkered husband in this play thinking my wife has no faults, she does as we all do have her flaws and she can sometimes speak without thinking, buts its usually through naivety then malice.
I will caveat that I always found my wife to be dutiful to my parents as much is as reasonable to expect from a daughter in law, both during and after we lived with them. In our marriage, my wife looks after me and the children really well. We have a happy marriage and family with no issues between ourselves.
However, this call to exclude her from my family seems an extreme action and not one I can go along with. I have informed my parents I do not accept the conditions imposed. On my part, I will not stop anyone visiting me but I will not visit my sisters and leave my wife at home it just does not seem a fair thing to do.
So we have arrived at a stalemate. My sisters won’t visit me and I cannot consciously visit them under the conditions that exclude my wife from my family.
My sisters are adamant my wife is a rotten apple and will not move in their stance to exclude her from their lives and now they are accusing me of breaking family relations because I won’t visit them.
My wife has said she doesn’t mind if I visit my sisters, but I know it would be hurtful to her if I did, and in any case I can’t visit them with any happiness knowing how they are hating on my wife.
I also feel its quite humiliating and disrespectful to me for them to effectively say, ‘you can come but leave your wife at home, and we won’t be coming to your house either’.
Where do I go from here?January 5, 2018 at 4:39 pm #185285DParticipant
I really feel for you, and can empathise with how horrible and impossible a situation this is. That said, I cannot praise you enough regarding your immediate stance not to accept the exclusion of your wife from family gatherings. You are a minority gentleman in my opinion.
I can’t offer very much advice I’m afraid, though I find myself in a similar situation with my partners adult (24 year old), son so I can empathise if nothing else. My partner unfortunately accepts his sons demands to exclude me, and I feel very hurt daily. Only just today we were laughing together so hard our tummy’s hurt…..and then the regular call came through which ended the laughter abruptly and sent him scurrying upstairs to chat in private while I sat on the same spot with my tummy now sank to the bleeding floor, (I get angry at being excluded and silenced by his daily torture calls). Please don’t end up where we are!
I searched “family problem solving” help :/ pathetic eh. I found advise that asked you to visualise what your ideal outcome would be, and act only in ways that would enable reaching that goal. Don’t get caught up in an emotional or blame game. And don’t ever belittle what you and your wife/direct family are going through within your home due to this. If someone had asked me for advice on how to deal with this situation I would have advised them not to be so wrapped up or involved inside such a negative situation. I would probably have suggested that they be glad not to have to communicate with such bad minded people and to see this as a result. But this isn’t such an easy one is it? I would never have considered how much this would evoke feelings, or how there is no real moving on or away from the problem. Left, this will affect so so many situations. Very sad.
I initially advised my partner to somewhat belittle his adult sons request to exclude me from any future get togethers. I suggested he tell him in a light easy manner that he should call as soon as he was in a better mood. Or…tell him he was sad that he felt this way, and that he hoped he would change his mind as he’d miss him dearly, (we had just moved in together after 4 years of being a couple). That our door would always be open and we hoped he’d change his mind, but attempts at separating a couple for every visit was unreasonable and simply wouldn’t work. I’ll never be sure but I feel what he did….plead and begged him to like me…..only made matters much much worse. Don’t do that, it likely won’t help. :/. In my case I believe the problem stems from deep rooted jealousy. As a single father, my partner was much more available, generous and giving, (4/5 holidays per year and lots of cash on tap in exchange for company). I suggest you try to figure out what the real cause for your sisters disapproval is, and handle this delicately with the aim to fix it.
Your sisters seem to be behaving like a little pack. Try to speak calmly with them individually and maybe ask them how they would feel if you were doing this to them in a reversed situation? Their attitude, or dislike seems to have been a growing problem over time? It will no doubt take time to undo this. I can’t see any easy fix I’m afraid. Keep things positive with the family members who do accept your wife and you together though. Focus on maintaining that. Hopefully soon your sisters will realise that only they are missing out through their own bad choices.
Lastly always understand how your wife is feeling, and know that no matter how strong she acts, this is an attack on her self esteem. Speak to her honestly about how you feel. Trust her to understand and give you her advice. Child or adult, it’s never nice to be so publicly excluded and disliked within a family. Most especially if you feel it’s unfounded and very unfair. Tell her not to be like me and grow resentful and angry. I’ve changed and it’s ugly. I hope she can stay true to herself. I’m afraid frustration has gotten the better of me now.
I wish you and your family all the very best, and the outcome you hope for yourselves.
Below is a link that somewhat brought me to your post! Maybe it will help.January 6, 2018 at 11:18 pm #185391MirandaParticipant
I’ve had my share of family strife as well. And I commend you for supporting your wife. You must keep peace within your own home with your wife. And I agree that visiting your sisters without your wife when you’ve always visited together would only make things worse. It would exclude your wife and make her feel left out by her own husband. Don’t give in to your sister’s unreasonable demands. However, when you see them at your parents or where ever, you and your wife can offer them kindness without doing things that would exclude your wife.
Here’s my best guess. Your sisters may have some jealousy toward your wife. I mean your wife stayed with you at your parent’s home and during that time your sisters may have felt like your wife was taking over their turf and building a relationship with your parents. So, they may be jealous of the time that your wife was able to have direct, live-in access to your parents that they never had as adults and maybe that they never wanted. It’s almost like something you would see in an only-child who becomes very protective of their relationship with the parents as they’ve not had to share them with another child. And your sisters maybe haven’t had to share your parents, and particularly your mom, with another woman (someone who could potentially be like another daughter to your parents). That would be enough to spark jealousy in women who are overly protective, and it seems your sister are just that by the way you describe their visiting schedule while you and your wife were living with your parents. Your sisters’ visiting schedule to me seemed a bit abnormal for grown, married women, especially given that you and your wife were there to keep your parents company in the house if your sisters had concerns about their safety.
Did your sisters always visit your parents that often or did that begin only when you and your wife moved in with your parents?
If you want to get to the bottom of this, you could call a family meeting with your parents and your sisters and ask them exactly what do they feel your wife has done for them to exclude her from the family. If you can’t seem to get your sisters to name specific issues so the problems can be resolved, then don’t visit their home without your wife and continue visiting your parents. And if you see your sisters there fine. If not, then not. And if your sisters get upset with you for breaking relations with them because of your wife, place responsibility back on them by reminding them that it was they who decided you could not visit them with your wife and you and your wife come as a package so they can’t exclude one of you without excluding the other. And I like the idea about asking them what they would do if you excluded their spouse. It might make them think about their behavior. And, if possible, after this family meeting, I would suggest you head home to your wife rather than spend the night, if possible, But by no means stay overnight with either of your sisters.
However, I can see your sisters point about their retaining access to your parent’s house while you and your wife lived there because the family house, I think, is always the family house unless your parents take away everyone’s keys. You and your wife were living with your parents, and it probably was a bit uncomfortable at times with your sisters coming and going, but it was your parent’s home, and it was okay with them. Your sisters should have attempted to give you privacy in private space, but there’s little privacy in your parent’s home in family/public spaces in the home. Continue to support your wife and the best interest of your household and attempt to find out what the real issues are. If your sisters are going to discuss your wife, they need to get real specific or shut up. They need to be able to name specific instances and issues and describe what was done. That’s the only way these issues can be openly discussed and resolved. All the best!January 28, 2018 at 6:44 pm #189513January 29, 2018 at 8:26 am #189605anitaParticipant
I just posted to you on your other thread. Without more information about your present Family Strife, I know that the following is still the right thing for you to do: keep your loyalty to your children. Place your children’s well being as your number one priority, above your sisters’, above your parents’-
You brought your children into this world. Do what is right for them. What is right for them is a healthy mother, a healthy father. Having cousins to play with is way, way…. way less important for them.
anitaJanuary 29, 2018 at 11:28 am #189635January 29, 2018 at 11:37 am #189637anitaParticipant
No, marco, I didn’t post anywhere but on tiny buddha. I don’t even know what “reddit” is.
anitaJanuary 29, 2018 at 7:53 pm #189681
@anita its real easy will take you 3 minutes. Theres a really important aspect which I can only discuss privately.
1. go to reddit and create an account
2. verify the account by clicking on the link they email to you
3. once verified, login and look for the link ‘send a private message’ (you get to it by clicking on the little mail icon in the top right after you login)
4. search for me by my username marco1945
5. send me a message, I will reply.