I am struggling with a family issue. Not in MY family with DH's family. I know there are always exceptions but IN GENERAL, who comes first?
Parenting, Significant Others and Life
Poll Results: Who comes first
27% (8)Sig. other
Thanks those who voted.
It seems DH's father has "chosen" his second wife over a relationship with his son. I am pretty upset with this as I think most people would be. Seem that most here agree that your child would come first. BTW, there was no strife, to fight, no anything. He has chosen to not get in tough with DH on his birthday this year. Just out the the blue. There is one reason only I can see for this and it stems from the "new" wife.
I think, for your own peace of mind, you should be very careful about "mind reading" others intentions/actions/lack of actions. You never know what's really going on and "mind reading" can pretty caustic.
advice given in good spirit by a avid "mind reader" who is desperately trying to get rid of the habit.
Exactly what I was thinking. I voted kids, but if we are talking about grown kids, I change my vote to spouse.
The birthday thing: I wouldn't assume it was b/c of the significant other. And, it wouldn't overly bother me that his dad didn't call. Every family is different, and every year is different, for that matter. His dad could have just be too busy and/or forgot to get in touch. Try not to take it so personally for your DH. Of course, it's likely there is a more background here to have made you upset.
Kids are until they are adults. Then the spouse/partner is.
As for the not calling on the birthday..... meh, doesn't bother me. I'm 27 and I don't think either of my parents have called on my birthday in the last few years (4 years ago I moved out of state, but before that I would have seen them both on my birthday). Sometimes my mom will send an email with an e-card attached. Sometimes not. It's definitely not because they are cutting me out of their lives. Heck, I only talk to my dad maybe once a month. I talk to my mom online a few times a week (she recently joined facebook, but before she joined that I talked to her maybe once a month or so). It is what it is.
I feel much differently about a parent choosing to spend more time and energy on their SO when their child is already grown, married and living independently than a parent prioritizing their SO while their child is under 18 and in need of their parent's care.
My dad completely forgot to acknowledge my birthday this year. It kind of hurt a bit. He is older and just doesn't remember things as well anymore. When he found out he felt bad and sent out a belated card.
My mom died in January and she was the one to remember dates. Since my mom's death my relationship with my dad is different. He is doing different things with different people. He communicates differently. Things change in our parent's lives just as they do in ours. It does not mean that they have abandoned a relationship with us if they are not paying quite as much attention as they used to.
If there was no fight or negativity between your dh and his father then I'd say it was not an intentional slight to not call on his birthday. Sorry if your dh is feeling hurt.
I'm confused, first you say that FIL has never missed birthdays before, including yours. Then you say you didn't think anything of it when he didn't hear from him. Then you say he isn't that close with his son. The "new" wife has been married to FIL for 20+ years? I don't know, maybe it's just one of those things where you had to be there but it seems contradictory.
I think this is beyond a "who comes first situation." If FIL is not contacting your dh because he is "controlled" by his wife or is just trying to keep the peace because she is upset, it's sad but it is still his decision. That said, I think your FB response was...hostile; justified or not. You can try and "punish" her for actively interfering in their relationship, but she will just "punish" you back by just doing it more. Looks like if you want access to FIL you're going to have to play her game .
I dunno... if you asked my dad when my birthday is, his answer would be "Summer." My sisters and I were all born within a month (on different years, obviously) and I think it's all a bit of a blur to him, LOL! Ever since I've been out of the house, unless mom happened to have me over for cake or something, the day would go by without him knowing... but I don't think it means anything, birthdays just aren't his thing. I actually like it this way, because his expectation is that everyone else will forget his birthday, too... if we pick up a dozen donuts and show up to say "Happy Birthday!", he genuinely appreciates it as though we'd gone to some great length for him!
EmmelineII, I agree that it is his decision. It just makes me sad because it does hurt my DH. It seem all he has wanted was his Dad's love and approval. I don't get it but that's what it is. Personally, I think he's a schmuck and would be happy to never see him again.
As for my FB thing being hostile, not at all. I was just being matter of fact. There are all kinds of hostile things I would LOVE to say to her but I haven't/didn't and won't. It wasn't to be a punishment because I don't care and I know she doesn't. I just wanted to be clear that we have not and will not ever be friends on FB or anywhere else. She is not allowed into our home nor is she allowed anywhere that our kids are. This has been agreed upon by DH and I. So I dunno, calling her out on 30 years of bullshit, since no one else ever has, was not harsh at all. Just the truth. Also, I won't play her games. If he IS going to let her control/decide upon his relationship with his own son, that's totally between them. But I have also made it clear to DH that if he pulls away from our kids, I will not put them in the middle trying to figure out "Where's Grandpa?" crap. I see what it has done to DH and I will not let that happen to my kids with this man!
Anyway, after all this, he called today. Gift was lost in the mail. DH would have called him had he received a card to thank him and when he didn't FIL called asking if he got it.
In my defense, I am pregnant and hormonal and tend to over think things ;) The timing just seems too close for me to be comfortable with the obvious I guess.
This is where it isn't a black and white issue for me. For me, my answer to this question would change if my relationship with my partner (we have children together) should end. I don't think it's acceptable for a parent or step-parent to cut off a child. There are clearly exceptions where it would be understandable, but it doesn't sound like we're talking about that.
I've seen this question asked before, and it vaguely disturbs me. I've never sat down and categorised my family members in order of priority, KWIM? It changes, sometimes from minute to minute, in terms of who gets my attention. I suppose if it came down to a Sophie's Choice-type situation, I'd "save" my children over DH, but partly because I know he'd want me to. But that's not really a case of "who comes first", it's just a parental duty thing.
I think it is interesting you are mad at the wife for the fathers lack of relationship with his son. The father is an adult and he is the one who is responsible for maintaining a relationship with his son.
Adult children are also responsible for maintaining relationships. If appropriate: when you partner gets the gift, it might be nice if he calls him up and thanks him and if he lives nearby, invite him out for a drink or something.