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In-laws driving a wedge between new husband and wife :(

My husband and I have been together 8.5 years and married just over 2 months. He is *extremely* close and loyal to his family -- he's Filipino, so anyone that is or is married to a Filipino I'm sure can relate to this -- and normally it doesn't bother me. I'm close to my family as well, but I definitely want and need distance from them oftentimes (especially now that I'm newly married). His family lives about 45 minutes from us, and the majority of my family (my mom, stepdad, and sister at least) live 12 hours away. The issue here is this: his family (to me) is extremely overbearing and loves to stick their noses in our business, seemingly has no regard for when he's sleeping or has time off with me (he works 60+ hour weeks at a restaurant, with 1.5 days off) -- they always want him to visit them, drive them around places (only his dad can drive at the moment; my husband is one of six kids), pay for their food and phone bill, etc. etc. Last night, for example, he had fallen asleep early and his sister called him, he ignored it, then she called him again. He said "I'm sleeping, I need to be at work early tomorrow," and she insisted, "No, no, wait, your brother needs to talk to you." His brother realized he was sleeping and tried to get off the phone, but my husband called him back and they talked for a little while. I didn't particularly care, but I was annoyed that his sister (the oldest one) had to insist that she talk to him. She always finds a way to guilt my husband into doing things and he never consults with me. Unfortunately, he holds a higher regard for his family's interests and financial state (not that he doesn't have one for mine/ours, but his family seems to come first to him) and would give them money, buy them food, or otherwise before he does it for me. Now, the problem is is that I can't talk to or confront him about this. Even our LMF therapist says so -- however, I don't know how to deal with these issues. A man should realize when he gets married that his wife isn't replacing his family, but rather becoming a part of it, and she now holds the same place in his heart as his mother, etc. Anytime I try to confront him about anything regarding his family (eg. he pays for their phone bill every month! ~$300!! hello we have a mortgage!), he shuts down and automatically accuses me of disliking them, or he gets defensive and says "that's my family" etc etc. I honestly don't know what to do at this point. I try to work through it with him in therapy sessions, but he NEVER wants to talk about it. In fact, he gets angry and wants to leave the session. I need help to try to rectify this, because I'm afraid my new marriage will end because of his family! Please help :(

Re: In-laws driving a wedge between new husband and wife :(

  • How awful that his family never acted like this in the entire 8.5 years you were together and then as soon as you get married they changed. So sad.
    BlueBirdMBVORpuppylove2014KyraNerys
  • I'm pretty sure her H's family was always like this and she turned a blind eye to it or thought that once they were married, it would change.

    OP, you do realize that the very obvious problem isn't so much your IL's as it is your H. 1 - he shouldn't be just giving them money because his money + your money = our money. He also shouldn't be making plans and arrangements that affect you behind your back with them. That's not right. There's a bunch of other issues that I'm seeing here and I'm sure you are seeing too since your in therapy with him - I don't even need to go into all of those. The fact that he doesn't seem to want to hear it in your sessions is a very big problem. He needs to get with the program here and be a united front with you as your H.

    I'm not sure what the solution here is other than to tell him to go back to mommy and daddy if he can't be a partner with you and put you first.

  • Unfortunately they've always been that way. I knew that going in, I just thought he'd be more on my side once we got married.

  • I realize what the problems are, completely. It seems that nothing I do -- ignoring it, therapy, talking, etc. -- seems to change or even affect it the slightest bit. I'm at the end of my rope, and it shouldn't be like this. Everyone asks "how's married life" and I should be blissfully happy but I'm not!
  • mrsdela27 said:

    Unfortunately they've always been that way. I knew that going in, I just thought he'd be more on my side once we got married.




    Well, see, I think most people think this way going into marriage - 'once we're married, things will change.'. Unfortunately, that's not the case most of the time...the fact that you are seeing a counselor with your H and he refuses to listen, wants to leave, continues doing what he's doing....I hate to say it, but that is not good. It would be different if he was willing to change, but doesn't sound like he is. I would hate to tell someone to give up on their marriage, but really, I have no other advice here. Give him an ultimatum? Either he starts putting you and your marriage first or he can go back to mommy and daddy.

    Disneygeek77MrsAshleyH10
  • I also don't know what to say either and I think it is highly unlikely he is going to change.  Well I take that back.  I think he will change his behavior for a short time just to get you back, but I think him changing for the long term is highly unlikely.  

    I hate for a marriage to end as well, but you truly shouldn't have to spend the rest of your life like this.  Take it as a lesson learned that wedding rings don't contain magic fairy dust.  If he is likes this before he was married he will be like this after.  
    R.Wilsonny
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper

    As sarcasm is obviously not working here is the blunt truth. You married a man who never has put you first, you thought he would change, he has not, nor will he. It is a wedding band not a magic wand, for over 8 years this man has shown you what his priorities are and who he is, you chose either not to see this or not to believe it. He will not change.

    I don't want to pile on OP, but really....  EIGHT years of this and you thought putting a ring on your finger would seriously magically change everything???

    You have chosen to turn a blind eye to this.  It astounds me that now, NOW, it's suddenly an issue worthy of therapy.

    This is WHO your DH is.  Through and through.  The fact that you thought he'd just suddenly change - it really almost leaves me speechless, TBH. 

    Start working with who your DH is and has shown himself to be for the past 8 years.  Stop "hoping" for him to be an entirely different person.  make decisions based on the former, not the latter.
    R.Wilsonnypuppylove2014
  • You've married into a different culture with no idea what that truly meant.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    R.Wilsonnypuppylove2014
  • mrsdela27 said:

    I realize what the problems are, completely. It seems that nothing I do -- ignoring it, therapy, talking, etc. -- seems to change or even affect it the slightest bit. I'm at the end of my rope, and it shouldn't be like this. Everyone asks "how's married life" and I should be blissfully happy but I'm not!

    You actually don't realize what the problems are if you think the problem is his family.  The problem is him.  I'd never have married this guy; people don't change.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
    image
    englishtrish1R.Wilsonnypuppylove2014
  • As sarcasm is obviously not working here is the blunt truth. You married a man who never has put you first, you thought he would change, he has not, nor will he. It is a wedding band not a magic wand, for over 8 years this man has shown you what his priorities are and who he is, you chose either not to see this or not to believe it. He will not change.



    Sorry, I should have mentioned the sarcasm....had to post and run yesterday ;)

     

    But yea, what you and everyone else has said....a ring on the finger does not magically change people no matter how much you wish it would.....

    puppylove2014KyraNerys
  • 8 years and you REALLY thought he would change? Your therapist even told you this was not going to change...yet you went ahead and married him anyway.

    I guess I'm just echoing the other posters. You should not have married this man. 

    You can either get used to coming in last behind his parents and siblings, or you can move on with your life and find someone who will put you first.
    R.Wilsonny
  • I appreciate the "advice" but I don't think any of it can help me. I feel like everyone here is bullying me for making a "bad decision" when really it's not. I didn't think everyone would take what I wrote in the ways you all did -- let's be clear here, my husband definitely puts me first; it's not like it's "family, period, and not you". I know he loves me and he does plenty to make that clear. However, I understand that his family is extremely important and they've been through difficult times while my husband was growing up. Now, since he is successful at work, he wants to take care of his family as best he can -- but he doesn't realize that it's too much because he needs to care for me (and children in the future). What my point is is this: yes, he's loyal to his family. Yes, he's loyal to me. But the loyalty is not equal. I knew what his family was like and what his feelings were toward him through these 8 years. I'm not naive, I know what I married into. What the problem is, is how to address a situation like this where the one person is feeling attacked because the issue is the thing they are too loyal to. Understand? It's like a child of an alcoholic parent who lost that parent to their disease, and they don't want to acknowledge it (my family has experience in this unfortunately). If you try to get that child to see and understand what their parent's problem was, they get defensive and shut down because they feel attacked. It's a similar situation. I guess all of the responses here are the reason why I neglect to ask unbiased strangers for advice because I feel like the bad guy here. Thanks everyone.
  • mrsdela27 said:

    I appreciate the "advice" but I don't think any of it can help me. I feel like everyone here is bullying me for making a "bad decision" when really it's not. I didn't think everyone would take what I wrote in the ways you all did -- let's be clear here, my husband definitely puts me first; it's not like it's "family, period, and not you". I know he loves me and he does plenty to make that clear. However, I understand that his family is extremely important and they've been through difficult times while my husband was growing up. Now, since he is successful at work, he wants to take care of his family as best he can -- but he doesn't realize that it's too much because he needs to care for me (and children in the future). What my point is is this: yes, he's loyal to his family. Yes, he's loyal to me. But the loyalty is not equal. I knew what his family was like and what his feelings were toward him through these 8 years. I'm not naive, I know what I married into. What the problem is, is how to address a situation like this where the one person is feeling attacked because the issue is the thing they are too loyal to. Understand? It's like a child of an alcoholic parent who lost that parent to their disease, and they don't want to acknowledge it (my family has experience in this unfortunately). If you try to get that child to see and understand what their parent's problem was, they get defensive and shut down because they feel attacked. It's a similar situation. I guess all of the responses here are the reason why I neglect to ask unbiased strangers for advice because I feel like the bad guy here. Thanks everyone.

    I don't think anyone here was bullying you - you came here looking for advice and people here are giving you honest answers. If you were hoping for people to blow smoke up your ass, that's not going to really help you. You even said it yourself that your H shuts down during counseling - that doesn't sound like someone that's willing to change. And now you are back peddling and saying that he does put you first when it didn't seem that way in your initial posts.

    As someone who is married to someone that is culturally 'different', I can sympathize with you. It's not easy, and I've dealt with a lot of similar shit that you have (I could write a book). You need to realize that what your H is doing is wrong and if he's not willing to change, I don't really see how your marriage is going to work. I've had to fight with my H to get it through his head that he must put me, his wife, and now our daughter, first. I don't give a shit who it is - we come first. Period. If I felt that he was not willing to do that, I would not stick around. Luckily it hasn't gotten to that point.
    puppylove2014schuette2KyraNerys
  • The loyalty he has to his family and the loyalty he has to his wife should not be equal, you should come first.
    puppylove2014R.Wilsonny
  • You need to try to talk to him that you respect his loyalty to his family but there must be a compromise. For example, when he is sleeping to turn his cell phone off or on silent (not just vibrate as that noise can wake people up too) so that he can get some rest. If he doesn't get enough rest he is going to wear himself out & is good to no one. If there is an emergency his family can contact you and you can determine if he needs to be woken up or not. Maybe you can start there.

    He obviously isn't going to drop the phone bill, so don't ask him to. But sit down and work out a budget for your household expenses and your income & then sit down with him and show him that after all your obligations and their phone bill is paid, you have $x.xx amount left. Figure out together how much of that amount left over should go into savings for say a vacation, emergency fund, retirement & how much else is left to help out his family. Then he needs to be the one to stand up to his family & tell them, we love to help you out but this is all we can afford to do (easier said then done on that part probably)

    In regards to helping drive his family around, is there a night during the week that he works that you could volunteer to go over to his family & help out with any errands that need to be done? This way they don't need him for as much on his limited time off? Are there anything that he does for them that you can incorporate into the errands that you do for yourself already? Like the food shopping? If they email you a list of what they need could you pick up the items when you go shopping & then just deliver them? Depending on what they want & what you need getting items at a wholesale club and dividing them up between the two homes may help with the cost of things too.

    Yes, I am putting this on you on what you can do to help his family to help lighten up his burden, but maybe if you do that, it will help the two of you spend time together for the limited time he does have off. You're a team, now it's time to approach this issue with his family as a team.

    OtterJshort+sassy
  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    mrsdela27 said:

     What my point is is this: yes, he's loyal to his family. Yes, he's loyal to me. But the loyalty is not equal. I knew what his family was like and what his feelings were toward him through these 8 years. I'm not naive, I know what I married into. What the problem is, is how to address a situation like this where the one person is feeling attacked because the issue is the thing they are too loyal to.

    1- SO, he actually doesn't put you first?  You say he does but then you clearly state that he doesn't.  No one said he wasn't "loyal" to you- that's not the issue.  the issue is - AS YOU SAY YOURSELF - is that his loyalty to his family comes first, before you.

    You're clearly still trying to sugarcoat the issue and spin it that it isn't really all THAT bad.  But clearly it IS. 

    2- I think what people are trying to say is that why did you wait until NOW to try and deal with this?  After 8 years, why is it NOW counseling worthy, "we have to find a solution"?  YOU admitted in your OP that you thought getting married would change things.  THAT is actually is very naive. 

    If you want to find solutions, you need to get your head out of the sand.  Telling us he puts his family first and then coming back and saying "Oh,no, really- he does put me first" and then tell us AGAIN how he puts his family first....

    Good grief.  Which is it?  If you can't even be clear with yourself about the issues at hand - how do you expect us to help, your DH to really understand, and maybe even your counselor!
    R.Wilsonnypuppylove2014
  • The problem with asking for advice to help the situation is:  At the heart of the problem is your husband.  Since he is the problem, he has so far been unwilling to acknowledge the problem, or work on it.  There isn't much advice that we can give that will help you change another person!  You can only work on you......he is the one who has to accept the fact that you are married, and YOU & your household need to take absolute priority over his parents and siblings. 

    I would suggest counseling, but you're already doing that.  As you have found out, it only works if both people are willing to identify and fix the problems in the relationship. 

    It seems like most of the advice given so far falls into 2 categories:
    • Realize that you are the one that made a mistake by marrying him.  You knew that he was like this, and mistakenly thought he would change.  It's a hard truth to learn when it's too late to learn it, but marriage rarely fixes problems - it very often magnifies them instead.  If he is not willing to work with you to make your new family (you and him) his new #1 priority - and agree that helping his parents/siblings ONLY happens if you BOTH agree on it, then you have two options:  submit and accept that this is what you married into, or file for divorce. 
    • Erikan73 offered some suggestions that are along the lines of "submit and accept that this is what you married into," but they are suggestions of how to make your new situation more bearable.  Be the one to step up and help his family so that he doesn't have to do it himself.  Talk with him about setting small boundaries - like turning off his phone when he needs rest.  Set a budget that includes paying for their food and phone bill, and cap the limit of their financial help to ONLY what you budget for.  Eventually, your husband may see himself that it isn't financially sustainable for him to help as much as he has been.

    I know that it feels like you're being personally attacked, but there really isn't much advice that we can give you.  You're not the one causing the problem - you're the one that willingly walked into it.  Unless counseling begins to work (maybe try a different therapist?), you still can only control your own actions.  Either correct your mistake by leaving, or accept your situation and try to make small changes to help make your situation more bearable.  I personally would go for option #2.  If you do, I hope that you are able to set strong boundaries, and find some success on a happy middle ground that both you and your husband are satisfied with. 

    puppylove2014R.Wilsonny
  • The only issue I'm seeing with option 2 is the whole helping her IL's out financially. Unless I'm missing something here, why are they paying bills for grown ass people? I think that needs to come to a stop, unless there's some dire emergency and they need help financially (once in a while), OP and her H's own financial goals as a couple should take priority. Her IL's poor financial planning should not become her or her H's burden.

    Setting boundaries and compromise is all well and good, but from the way it sounds, OP's IL's sound like 'give an inch take a mile' kind of people, so I don't really know how much I'd be willing to compromise for them when they're already taking the piss. Just my opinion.
  • The husband is in a bad position.  I've been him.  Not to this severity, mind you but some cultures and families do believe that the children should take care of the parents and their finances and do what the parents say (including take care of the siblings.)

    The difference between me and the op's husband is that my SO didn't understand that the help and financial help I was providing was temporary, we had a lot going on and they needed my help.

    If you don't you're a bad son or daughter.

    It has to be him to set his foot down.  It has to be him to cut the purse strings. He works hard for his own money I really don't think anyone wants to work hard for money just to give it away.

    It has to be him to stand up and say you want money from me, let me see your budget, where are you wasting your money?  If he becomes a complete pain to borrow money from and a pain in the butt people won't want to ask.

    Some people are just bad with money, I handle my folks money, it's how I keep them from asking.  It also keeps them on a strict budget.  It's worse to just cut them off because they come back crying for financial help.  It's really ridiculous for some families so I understand.  But since I started running the budget they haven't asked me for anything.

    But it has to be him to makes the move.

  • rawheart00rawheart00 newb
    First Comment
    edited September 2015
    I am a Filipino woman married to a white Australian for 8 years now, The problem here is definitely coming from cultural barrier, I have no doubt your husband loves you and will put you first, but he will still try and help his family the best he can until probably the day he dies.It can be a good thing but at the same time a curse. His bond with his family will never change. It's like asking an indoctrinated muslim to convert to Christian or convincing an Atheist to believe in God, His upbringing and roots will always be a part of him, Filipinos have a very strong sense of belonging, to their family. Filipino mothers have raised their children that way. Even I struggle with my own mother now that I have been westernised in my views, and try and do what is right and make a decision that is sustainable(which means, in the end I will not have suffer the consequences of my families, financial decisions) I make a limit of sending them $45 a month to the Philippines,(In the first five years of marriage, we have spent over $30,000 to pay for my sister's education to be a nurse, which at the moment resulted to nothing, long story.) (That's could have been a deposit for a house.)Whenever I call another financial problem comes up, it seems like our relationship is becoming nothing but about money, about me helping them. It causes me a great deal of stress and depression as well. Although I have a very supportive husband who always says yes to me, I still feel very torn most of the time. That's why I joined this forum to hopefully help me find some light :). I wanted to buy a house here in Australia so that we have something to call our own place when we grow old and stuff, but whenever my family calls for help which seems all the time, I feel like we are 2 steps behind in achieving my dreams of buying a house. I am also trying to help them be in their own feet so they don't become a troll on my 2 shoulders weighing me down. It is a tough very hard position to be in. But I guess others have heavier problems like the Syrian refugees.
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