Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: The Room of Requirement
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You know, one of the things I love about this place is that we can all have different perspectives that come from our different experiences and that when people ask for opinions/assistance they have such a wide range of view points!
I offer my viewpoint which comes from my experiences. My experience (unfortunately!) is that dh's family detests me. They are (sometimes) civil but for the most part just ignore. Does dh wish things were different? Absolutely! Do I refuse to spend excess time with them? Absolutely! But dh having a relationship with them that is removed from his relationship with me works for us. It doesn't take anything away from our relationship. He is free to be a good son without also having to be a good husband. I am confident of our relationship and so can be free to allow this. He and I had an earnest discussion of our options. We felt that they were this 1) I put up and shut up and so does he. 2) He tells them they are being inappropriate and that he is disappointed and continues to have a relationship with them that is by and large without me. (We don't have children yet but the plan will be that they are never alone with any of my in-laws and will have minimal contact unless there is some change in the way I am treated. We haven't announced this to them, it is just our plan.) 3) He severs his relationship with them and honors "our" family. For us, obviously, choice 2 seemed the most reasonable and the best way to potentially fix things so that there could be some sort of extended family in the future. Does it totally suck? Absolutely. But he and I both feel that with time there is a chance that things can improve. Are there certain things I would absolutely say, "Nope. Them or me." Absolutely--physical, sexual, alcohol, or drug abuse--he would have to choose. If my in-laws were overtly tampering with our relationship (ie frequent phone calls/emails/texts) or frequently disparaging me that would also be cause for my action on my part. Simply pretending that they don't exist on my planet works for us.
As for the message that actions send I was stating how I might have perceived it given that situation. I typed up several paragraphs about an experience I had as an adolescent involving myself, my parents, and extended family but that isn't really germaine other than it colors my impression that cutting off contact sends the message that love is conditional upon one's behavior.
Proudmamanow I hope you and your dp are able to come to a solution that works for your family. I wish you the best in navigating what surely is one of the most complex set of relationships human beings can have--family!
|People who treat children this way - who let their own issues and prejudices affect their interactions with children - I find really hard to deal with, period. For me, it a core religious and ethical belief that children be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of any other factors. It should not matter to him that your daughter is not (in his mind) his "real niece" or that he doesn't approve of your relationship. He needs to treat her as a person deserving of respect and dignity.|
Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) , Emma (5/03) , Evan (7/05) , & Jenna (6/09)
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing Aaron Ambrose (11/07)
Just thinking on this and I wonder if it would be useful to talk to your MIL and tell her how this is affecting your DD and maybe get her support for the next visit?