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In-Laws brought back the one of our M issues

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Mack9512 posted 5/23/2013 07:56 AM

One of big M issues for my WH and I was how he and his siblings never let me inside what his family jokingly and lovingly call the “bubble”. I was always on the outside with my nose pressed against the side of the bubble trying to get in. Once my WH and I decided to give our marriage one last chance, my WH talked to his family about this bubble and how it needs to come down. How they need to be more open and welcoming so that it is not such a struggle for someone to get inside and become part of the family. They admitted that this was happening and agreed to do whatever was needed to make our M work. GREAT…except, apparently, they didn't actually mean it.

When my WH gave me his phone last night to look at and I saw that my BIL sent a ‘family’ text blast out concerning an emergency. It was a call to rally the troops so to speak. One problem though. I wasn’t included in this ‘family’ text. All of the siblings and their spouses were included. Aunts and uncles were included. Cousins were included. 1st cousins were included. I was not. Now my WH, being clueless about all things technical, did not even realize that the text was sent to multiple people. He thought it was just between him and his brother. It wasn’t until this morning when I told him how upset I was about being left off the family text that he realized it was not a personal text from his brother.

I know that he cannot control the actions of his family any more than I can control the actions of my WH, however it brought back some of the pre- and during the A feelings for me. He vowed to talk to his brother today about leaving me off, but I am at a point now that I’m like “why bother”. They will never allow me to be on the inside of the bubble and I have to find out a way to accept that. Just makes me sad because they are the only “family” I have here.

Undefinabl3 posted 5/23/2013 08:04 AM

Oh man this is hard because i have BTDT and really, still am.

DH's family has their bubble. I dont get any emails or texts at all about anything - they go to DH and then DH relays them to me.

While they are not my only family, they are about the only family close to us for DD and DS....many cousins aunts and an uncle. Most of my family is out of state and country.

I just finally stopped caring really. I know that it's hard to do, but to be honest, there is some drama I would rather not be in, so if that means i miss a birthday or graduation, then so be it.

I still invite them for our stuff, if they come they come, if not then oh well - I will not let them suck the joy from my life.

Does your WH ever stand up for you? Is this the only area that he cant seem to fight for you in?


Mack9512 posted 5/23/2013 08:19 AM


Before my WH would never stand up for me. It was always my fault. I wasn't trying hard enough. I was being a bitch. I was being anti-social, etc..

Thanks to his IC, he now realizes that I am not the problem...his siblings and his family dynamics are. So to answer your question, I that believe that he will stick up for me this time. (This is the first time we've had an in-law issue since we started to true R.)

Due to what my WH is learning about himself in IC and how well our R is going my WH is pulling away from his family. I think that they are blaming me for this.

My WH and I are actually talking about moving closer to my family so that I have the support that I need. Before the A he would have NEVER discussed moving away from his family and now he is the one pushing it. I feel a little bit guilty about that, but only a little bit.


Heavy Sigh posted 5/23/2013 08:20 AM

My husband's relatives are nice but no, I'm not in the bubble. Neither is one of the other in-laws. I guess we are the "outlaws" :D

The thing is to stop trying to be there, and don't stand around being teary or needy because it will distance them all the more. General advice meant to lurkers and not to just the poster here:

Don't try to be a daughter to the in-laws (common mistake, to want them to feel maternal/paternal toward you). They didn't want another kid, they wanted a full adult able to raise their grandkids and be an adult because they aren't quite sure their own kid is up to the job of being one. So they will approve only if you're the grown-up and act the strong one of the married pair, and will disapprove and shred you up for being dependent on their approval or in needing them in any way that indicates you look to them in parental roles Don't confuse strength and confidence with bitchy-ness and whining. Look competent and capable. That's the way to play it.

Bring the covered dishes, help wash dishes at the end of dinner, wrap the gifts for holidays, stand for family photos, send cards and decide to no longer take it emotionally - just view them as distant neighbors you see once in a while. Go to their church on a Sunday when visiting without making a stink about it if you don't wanna go. Take a book for a weekend visit so you don't wear them down with conversation, and you can go to a different room to give them a break, but at the same time, don't hide so long with the book you get criticism for being stand-offish.

Learning to be an "in-law" has been terribly difficult for me because all that my husband told me they were or how they had been when he was growing up, was all fiction as to what they liked or enjoyed. Took me years to figure out he just gave them attributes and attitudes he wished they had, and assuming those were true, I made many mistakes in how I approached or talked to them informally.

Also, I see some daughters-in-law who are very control oriented and seem always to be upset and bitchy to in-laws over small stuff. If you don't like the outfit you mom in law gave the baby, say thank you and SHUT UP about the complaining.

I think the happiest daughter in-laws are the ones who are there in illness or help in tough times, but who just let the rest of it be surface stuff and not to try to force affection.

[This message edited by Heavy Sigh at 8:28 AM, May 23rd (Thursday)]

TXBW68 posted 5/23/2013 09:47 AM

Bring the covered dishes, help wash dishes at the end of dinner, wrap the gifts for holidays, stand for family photos, send cards and decide to no longer take it emotionally - just view them as distant neighbors you see once in a while. Go to their church on a Sunday when visiting without making a stink about it if you don't wanna go. Take a book for a weekend visit so you don't wear them down with conversation, and you can go to a different room to give them a break, but at the same time, don't hide so long with the book you get criticism for being stand-offish.

^^^^ This, exactly!!

I've been doing this for 21 years with my mother-in-law. She has NEVER approved of me. And frankly, I don't approve of her. She is fake. She pretends to be a good religious person but she's one of the most hateful, hypocritical people I've ever met in my life.

Before we separated, I made sure H remembered to send Mother's Day/Birthday/Christmas presents. Now...fuck it. If he remembers, fine. Whatever. But I won't go out of my way for her anymore.

We have spoken exactly one time since the whole A situation started. She told me to get over it, that men/women come and go, that my job was to take care of Her grandkids. That was last June when we had just separated. To this day, she has called the house to check on her beloved grandkids ONE time - the day AFTER DS13's birthday last year. My H calls her about once a month but she never speaks to me or the boys.

During our last call, she made it abundantly clear to me that she has never liked me. The biggest difference with my H now is that he finally knows it too. I've told him for years but he always said that she loved me. NOW, he believes me. If I make a comment about his momma not liking me, he responds with "Well, you're not married to her. And I like you! It doesn't matter what she thinks."

All that aside, when we go back home for Thanksgiving and I'm in the presence of my MIL, I will do everything that Heavy Sigh said. I will volunteer to wash the dishes, whatever needs to be done. And when I leave that house after those 4 days, she will be out of my mind until the next visit.

Sidenote: The rest of H's family treat me with love. His grandma (MIL's mom) was very upset when we split. She calls me her granddaughter. And I do talk to her on the phone. Because I love her and she loves me!

Hang in there, Mack! You guys are doing great!


Althea posted 5/23/2013 10:05 AM

With my in-laws, there was nothing I could do or not do that would be right in my MIL's book. I wasn't needy or expecting anything, and I always helped, etc. Any time my WH wasn't in the room she would either refuse to acknowledge my presence or just be straight up rude to me. When I tried to help in the kitchen, she micromanaged or made comments indicating she would rather not have my help (continually asking if I had washed my hands). Mine may be an extreme example, but in my opinion, the bigger problem here is the same, the other spouse's failure to call the family on their behavior.

If it is an issue for you that you are excluded, it is an issue for your marriage, and you have a right to feel that way. Your WH should talk to his brother about leaving you off the text. This is a case of windows not walls. If there is a wall around WH's family and you are not on the inside, that is a problem.

On my list of requirements for R was that WH stand up for me where his family was concerned and that we have firm boundaries regarding their behavior. It has been one of the hardest aspects of R, but it was also one of the biggest problems in our M. After almost a year of working at it, we are finally at a point where we are truly on the same page with regard to his family and the boundaries we need to have in place.

Your WH has a lifetime worth of interactions with his family that have to be changed, unfortunately, it takes time and vigilance. I would strongly suggest not just letting it go or saying "why bother." It doesn't have to be a negative or big thing, but nothing will change if your WH doesn't call his family on it consistently. JMO.

Mack9512 posted 5/24/2013 11:56 AM

Luckily (or maybe not...depending on how you look at it), by in-laws I only mean my WH's sister and brother. Everyone in his family including his father and stepmother, both deceased, were/are cheaters. Infidelity is like a family curse so they know what WH and I are going through and are trying to accomplish and they know how important transparency is. So when I'm purposefully left out, even on something as trivial as a text message, it sends a sign to both of us that they are not taking our R seriously. That they are reinforcing the bubble instead of taking it down.

My WH actually asked his B why I wasn't included and he lied. He told my WH that no spouses were included because he "assumed" that everyone that got the text would 'share' with their spouse. Both my WH and I saw the text and saw the To: line. All spouses were accounted for except me. My WH is livid that his brother would lie to his face. Lying is also a family trait, so to speak.

I honestly don't want to be in the bubble because I'm claustrophobic. I don't have the energy or fortitude to have to deal with the stuff that happens in the bubble, however I do believe that there needs to be a proverbial door in the bubble to let some air in.

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