Advanced search

Aibu to think that husbands should put their wife and kids before inlaws?

(44 Posts)
Mugwrittenonmyforehead Tue 20-Oct-15 22:15:28

Before I start I should say that dh is a lovely bloke and his family are lovely too but he has this weird codependant thing going on with them where he feels responsible to help both physically and emotionally for his family in situations that they are quite capable of handling themselves. Mil regularly rings at all hours looking for emotional support from him where she should be going to her husband instead. Dh ALWAYS answers the phone and allows himself to be drained by her. He does way too much for them, mothering and mollycodding them. Recently, his parents were away for the weekend and the day they were due back, he decided that he HAD to go to their house (where his 26 year old capable adult sister lives) to do a few jobs before they came back. Things like putting the bins out etc that his sister would have done herself.

Tbh, I never minded it much before we had kids but now I feel like he is doing things for his parents at the expense of our children, even though he is otherwise a brilliant dad. The latest thing that has me pissed off is that he couldn't get a day off work this week for a medical thing for ds where I really need him yet he was able to get a day off to help his parents out with something that they could have done themselves. Fair enough, he had more notice for his parents thing than the appointment for ds but I can't help thinking that if it were the other way around, he would have made time for his parents. Meanwhile, I'm here doing everything for him and our kids and he's there doing everything for his family first and then us. It probably sounds silly, and like I said before, I love his family, but I almost feel jealous at how much of himself he gives to them. I feel more and more resentful with every one of these situations as they happen. I've tried pointing the problem out to him gently but he either doesn't get it or else he understands but just buries his head in the sand, I'm not sure which. Aibu?

AnotherEmma Tue 20-Oct-15 22:19:23


trollkonor Tue 20-Oct-15 22:24:04

I was already to say yabu but after reading I don't think that you are.

YakTriangle Tue 20-Oct-15 22:25:40

Yanbu. You should come first, because he has now has a family of his own to look after and there's no reason why he should be putting out bins for his mother. Do they ask to him to all these things in order to get more contact with him or does he choose to do it? Is he trying to avoid being at home?

coffeeisnectar Tue 20-Oct-15 22:27:56

Yanbu. It's a bit weird tbh. Unless his parents are very elderly, frail and/or ill then I can't understand why he needs to do so much.

But his mum needs to loosen the apron strings a bit and stop calling so much. Sounds like she's made your dh head of the family and he needs to deal with everything.

Not sure how you deal with it though.

Mugwrittenonmyforehead Tue 20-Oct-15 22:32:34

I'm just not sure how to approach the situation with him. I can't see him changing but I don't know how much more of it I can take. I am actually so hurt that he would think of his parents and siblings before our own babies and I'm certain that if he could see the situation from my position he would be hordified.

LunchpackOfNotreDame Tue 20-Oct-15 22:39:37

Are you married to my husband? Mine has this relationship with his father who he claims to hate but answers the phone to discuss the most mundane of things at any given hour of day no matter what we are doing.

His father is so fucking needy and on the very rare occasion DH asks him for help he tells him to do one.

No advice but plenty of sympathy

LunchpackOfNotreDame Tue 20-Oct-15 22:40:35

Are you married to my husband? Mine has this relationship with his father who he claims to hate but answers the phone to discuss the most mundane of things at any given hour of day no matter what we are doing.

His father is so fucking needy and on the very rare occasion DH asks him for help he tells him to do one.

No advice but plenty of sympathy

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 20-Oct-15 22:44:45

"Mil regularly rings at all hours looking for emotional support from him where she should be going to her husband instead."
What would happen if you answered the phone instead and suggested she ring back at a better time? Or just sat there going 'uh-huh' every couple of minutes?

Finola1step Tue 20-Oct-15 22:52:27

YANBU. There is the general expectation that when you have your own dc, they come first. You meet their needs before meeting your own.

Of course in times of crisis, things might be different. So if one of your ILs was ill, had an accident etc, the priority might shift. But if you are referring to a situation where both his parents are in decent health and they are still his top priority, then a very strong conversation needs to occur.

It sounds like your DH has a need to show that he is "a good son". Still seeking parental approval. As for the way forward, write a list of specific incidents. Talk to him, be factual and tell him how it makes you feel. Tell him that you love his family but he has his own family now which must take priority.

sleeponeday Tue 20-Oct-15 23:09:35


Your children are just that: yours, and children. Adults should always take second place.

And in this instance, he's not just failing to put his children and wife ahead of his own parents, he's actually failing to class them equally. Your child needs you for a hospital appointment, and you find the time off to go if at all possible.

Have you considered having couple's counselling? This is not an attitude he is likely to shift all by himself.

Mugwrittenonmyforehead Tue 20-Oct-15 23:41:09

I think counselling would definitely help but we can't afford it at the moment. This year has been tough on us so far and we are both stressed out but I feel it would be a lot easier if we could just sit down and talk. However, he is always either focused on things he has to do for other people or else too tired and emotionally drained by them. Also doesn't help that he is non confrontational so he gets on the defensive and runs if he sees conflict on the horizon.

I'm just so worn out from it. He says I'm always miserable when he comes in from work and he's sick of it. Truth is, I'm often in a good mood but then he will ring his mother when he gets in and I will literally watch the energy drain from his face as he listens to her. And I want to scream THATS MINE AND THE KIDS ENERGY, GIVE IT TO US AND NOT HER FFS!! And then, of course, I feel guilty that he thinks I'm always miserable and it must be awful for him to come home to that.... Gah! I'm hanging on by my nails here.

Choughed Wed 21-Oct-15 07:01:54

YANBU. At all. My DH is similar with his sister. We have changed the ring tone on the phone for her number and if it's her we only answer it if we CBA.

But your DH needs to acknowledge that it's a problem.

How old are your DC?

Duckdeamon Wed 21-Oct-15 07:15:50

Yanbu and it is not a "silly" or minor issue, it's a big one that is likely to get worse as his parents get older. Your DH is letting you and the DC down.

Counselling would be good if you can get the money together. In the meantime might it help to be very specific about what you'd like to change, eg lengthy phone calls at unsociable hours, taking time off for DC.

If he talks about his family a lot (eg after these calls from MIL) I would also explain that I didnt want to hear it because he has disrupted enough of your time with the calls, visits etc.

Mugwrittenonmyforehead Wed 21-Oct-15 07:46:00

Thanks for all the replies. I think it would be easier to bring the issue up if I didn't get along with my inlaws, I feel bad for being annoyed because I do like them, but I just can't take the drama any more. I'm not sure how I'm going to bring this up with dh without it sounding like I am attacking them. I have made it clear when he starts talking about them after phone calls etc that I don't want to hear about it but he just gets defensive and says I'm jumping down his throat and that he can't tell me anything. Sometimes he doesn't say anything (presumably he knows how I will react) but he just sits there then with the cloud of worry over him. Dc1 is almost 4 and dc2 is 2. I always felt a niggle about it before the dc but could never put my finger on it. It wasn't until I was having counselling for a completely different issue that the therapist flagged something I said and with a bit of unravelling, she had picked out the whole situation and told me that this isn't normal.

Horsemad Wed 21-Oct-15 07:51:56

Grrr, just typed long reply and lost it!

Had same with my DH, caused untold problems (I ended up with PND). I ended up telling my MIL she was too needy and it didn't end well, but it couldn't continue as it was.

Your DH needs to 'man up' and you need to tell him this.

Harsh, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Fratelli Wed 21-Oct-15 07:52:33

No real advice but just wanted to say yanbu. That's unacceptable in my book, your kids should come first and he's definitely got issues if they don't. He needs a good kick up the bum!

Mintyy Wed 21-Oct-15 08:01:54

What problems does his dm have that she needs to talk to him about so often? Is it every day? It sounds like she could have mental health issues (rather than physical ones) and if so be careful not to write her off as needy in a way that you wouldn't if she'd broken her leg.

One day when he says something after one of these phone calls, promise yourself that you will listen without getting annoyed. Have a proper conversation about what she said, then open up a discussion with your dh about how unusual it is that his healthy parents seem so dependent on him and is it really a good thing?

I can hear the frustration in your voice but the truth is you are not going to get anywhere until you can discuss this without being cross. So you need to start from a neutral point so that things can be said without your dh thinking it's inevitably going to end in an argument.

Mugwrittenonmyforehead Wed 21-Oct-15 08:11:58

minty you are right about starting from a neutral point. Mil is very needy and although she isn't outwardly controlling, she makes a big drama out of everything and then plays the helpless fool so that the conflict is prolonged and all of her dc flock to her. I have discussed it with dh in the past without getting cross and led on to a conversation where I have gently pointed out that mil could help herself a lot of the time so that situations don't spiral out of control and he agreed with me but just shrugged and said what can you do.

Duckdeamon Wed 21-Oct-15 08:21:44

I don't like that rather than seeking to address your legitimate concerns he is labelling you as "miserable" and pulling the "I can't talk to you about anything", which translates as "I want you to suppress your own needs, opinions and emotions and just let me vent". Both quite manipulative.

MeeWhoo Wed 21-Oct-15 08:30:47

Obviously the root of the problem needs to be addresses via counselling, talking it through, etc. but, are there any "practical" measures you can start implementing in the meantime?

For instance, from your post itseems that your DH call his mother as soon as he gets home. Could you tell DH that when he arrives home you are always very busy with x/y/z so could he start calling his mother after dinner/bathtime/bedtime/insert whatever as this would make evenings a loteasier? This way you can get some family time foryou all before the moodines comes in on both sides.

Mugwrittenonmyforehead Wed 21-Oct-15 08:36:02

duck I see what you're saying but I think it has more to do with his codependancy issues than him being manipulative. For example, if he comes home in a bad mood to me, it upsets me a little and annoys me. Whereas if he comes home and I'm in a bad mood, he feels responsible for my emotion and takes it on himself. Then he often doesn't express himself clearly or will misunderstand me and assume that I am snarking on him when I am not.

Shutthatdoor Wed 21-Oct-15 08:37:48

Adults should always take second place.

Not sure I agree with that.

Horsemad Wed 21-Oct-15 08:47:05

I think the suggestion of phoning his mother later after some family time is useful. Would he do this do you think?

PurpleWithRed Wed 21-Oct-15 08:54:28

What problems does his relationship with your IL cause for you and your family? Does he recognise you and your DCs needs? Does he know/realise/acknowledge he is letting you down? I can't see you winning any arguments about what he does for his mother, but if you focus on your DC and the needs of your relationship then that's pretty undeniable.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: