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8 months pg and possibly on my own!(22 Posts)
I have mainly been a lurker here - have posted a handful of times. Please be honest but kind!
I am married to someone from a different culture. We have a toddler DD and I am due to deliver our DC2 next month.
In DH's culture, it is expected of him to look after his elders. We support them financially but they also expect to be able to visit for weeks / months.
When we met, he made it clear that he had to support his family but he also said he did not eventually want his family to live with us. The alternative would have been a dealbreaker for me. (note: they currently live in another country).
When we had DD he forced me to have his mum stay with us for 6 weeks to help. Since then I dread her visits as I felt like 6 weeks was too long (2 bedroom flat, post c section, having problems establishing breastfeeding etc - a week or so of help was great but 6 weeks was too much for me).
So far, when a relative comes over, he has managed their expectations by guiding / influencing to some extent how long they would stay. This has generally been 3-4 weeks. While I can cope with this, it is a big compromise for me (my own parents stay around 2 weeks when they come and this feels fine).
Now he has just moved the goalposts saying that hefeels he has been wrong in doing this and that from now on they can come whenever they want and for as long as they want. He has even said that his parents could live with us in thr future.
He says if I can't accept this then we should end it now. I am just shocked and in tears, don't know what to do except I just cannot agree to such a fundamental change. Please talk to me / tell me whether I seem unreasonable - he's basically saying I'm a total bitch for not enjoying these lengthy visits...
Note: when they come they take over the cooking and do their own washing so it's not like I am expected to cater for them. I still feel this is too much of an invasion of my privacy and don't necessarily like someone taking over "my kitchen" either iyswim...
If he is financially supporting them - how would they get a visa to stay here?
Because we are financially supporting them, they have always managed to get visas (eg MiL has a 5 yr multi entry one).
She can stay in the uk 6 months each year through that visa. Also once a parent turns 65, they can come over as a dependent.
I need to prepare dd's dinner now so will come back to the thread later...
Really? (I could go very tangent on 65+ getting automatic residency, but it would sideline your issues)
Where were we, cultural differences.
Would it be possible to compromise, eg buy a house with a granny annex so they aren't actually living with you?
Mind you if they can get a visa and stay here, I'm sure they would qualify for social housing.
But that doesnt alter the fact you see an agreement has been broken.
I can see two sides to this; my culture would look after family (and inlaws and various extended cousins) BUT I am agreeing with you. Six weeks of people you don't have a personal relationship with is way too much.
What he said was probably knee-jerk, but you are very vunerable and emotional at the moment.
It's not automatic but if we say we can financially support them (not we could afford for them to live in a separate house - issue is they want to live together with us) then I understand it will be easy for them to come here permanently once they are old enough...
I feel that whatever I agree to is never enough. I am prepared to give financial support and have in fact been helping dh with this from the time we started dating, and also can understand they need to stay here for a few wks when they visit - it's the open ended / permanent idea that I can't deal with...
Tell your DH that in the UK the majority of families don't have relatives living with them all the time and that he has to respect your feelings and need for a private family life.
Stipulate that as you are already supporting them financially the parents can come and stay for a month say every 6 months but you don't want it on a permanent basis. He cant expect you to just go along with it when it's not the cultural norm in this country. My DH is from a culture were parents can expect to live with their adult children but in a relationship with different cultural backgrounds you have to respect each other's viewpoint. Your DH has to understand that by UK standards you are already doing a lot for his parents
He says he doesn't care that this is not the norm here or in my culture... Says it's me he's married to so he doesn't want to compare with what others might accept or not...
He's even said he regrets marrying outside his culture! Honestly I just think he's reached a point where maybe he doesn't love me enough anymore...
He has changed the goalposts--this is not what you signed up for.
Perhaps he thinks that now you are married and have children he can do what he likes...he has you "trapped" IYKWIM
I think it difficult for someone born into the culture of looking after elder relatives /living together NOT to do it when the time comes if their is family pressure to do so.
If he is serious and you are not happy with it at all then l think your relationship will come to an end and "his culture" will win every time.
I am sorry you are in this situation and l hope you have your own family support network.
Thanks Doha, really appreciate you taking the time o post. Just had a huge argument - will post again tomorrow...
Are you still in a 2 bed flat? You have a husband who doesn't value you or your opinions at all. You are about to have your second child, and he is threatening to have his parents to come and live with you against your wishes, and despite his promises?
What are you waiting for? He isn't going to change, and you don't have to put up with it.
I would call Women's Aid if I were you. Their helpline is 0808 2000 247.
Make sure your midwife knows what's happening too.
I think you need to really stick to your guns here - and tell him that living with your inlaws will put a massive strain on your marriage and destroy your relationship with him and them.
Don't be a doormat - who knew what culture you were he married you - you have been respectful of his and made lots of compromises but now it's time for him to meet yours. If he won't then I'm sorry but he is selfish and will take, take until there's nothing left of you.
You did not marry him to be a nurse for his elderly parents. Reading between the lines the country they come from will have
much cheaper care or servants he can pay for.
He needs to learn to say no to his parents too - often in an elders culture the children are so used to being proged to please their parents that thief parents expect it their whole life.
I would start plsnning an exit if he won't compromise - if you leave himself either start the process of marrying someone he can make a servant or come crawling back with a vengeance.
I'm not sure it is a cultural divide that is the problem so much as different beliefs. I've always said I would definitely and personally care for my elderly parents/parents in law, I'm English, I see it as my duty and one, although difficult I will be happy to do if that's what they want. I don't think British culture rejects caring for elderly parents does it? The problem seems to be that what he believes is his duty and what he plans to do, you really don't want to. If he can't compromise I don't see what you can do, you are already compromising on how you feel, is he convinced he won't compromise enough that it ends your marriage?
I understand what you are saying, of course in this country we care for our parents. Also it's very much down to the personality of your inlaws or parents whether this works.
I guess what I'm trying to say is some cultures will expect you to defer to your elders opinions your entire life - you could be fifty and your mum could be vetoing your current partner for example! I'm just giving examples based around experience. Some cultural beliefs make inlaws feel more overbearing just by the expectation that you will defer to their opinions. If you've grown up with this - no problem!
If you haven't in can quickly make guilt undermine your self confidence when you try being something you are not. This makes living together a slippery slope for a vulnerable person. It doesn't mean they couldn't live over here somewhere else and you could help them that way.
I don't know - I'm just speculating!
This is about a clash of cultures - neither culture being in the wrong. The trick is to create compromise half way.
Btw - cultural divide equals different beliefs???
No cultural divide is about cultural beliefs. I don't think there is a cultural belief in Britain that says children should not care for elderly relatives. I think it is pot luck here, some don't have an opinion, some feel it is duty, some don't want to, some want to. My in laws personality would only affect whether I wanted to do it or not not whether I did it. I think this is a misdirection, I don't think he should be able to use "cultural beliefs" as a trump card to win. This is about their lives together as a married couple, what does he personally believe and how strongly, that's what is important not what his culture says.
If you try to argue it is about cultural beliefs he'll always win the argument because there is an absence of cultural beliefs in Britain about what to do with elderly parents that will easily be trumped by a set cultural belief of his.
I get what you are saying Offred (I love that book) but I think maybe his culture is directly influencing what he personally believes I.e one backs up the other.
All you can really do is explain what you want and where you are coming from and see where it takes you. If he doesn't get your point of view he should at least respect it and meet you halfway.
SpecialC I can understand where you're coming from. I'm married to someone from a different culture and went through a similar situation when our first dc was born. I am quite a solitary type person and though I didn't even want my own mum to come and stay, dh's WHOLE family assumed they would all come and stay for a few weeks and I think are still upset that I said no.
At the end of the day your relationship HAS to come first! For us that was the commitment we made to each other, every one else comes second. As long as we can both stick to that, I think it has a good chance of working. As soon as one of us starts to put our own family or culture first then the relationship will be doomed.
This isn't so much about how much you do or don't care for his elderly relatives, it's about him giving priority to the woman he has chosen to marry, whichever culture she comes from. It's about YOUR opinions and YOUR feelings, not about culture!
It sounds like you have made some huge compromises in terms of what you feel comfortable with.
He chose to marry YOU, effectively saying that he would always consider you and your feelings first. If you get to the point where he puts his family before you then I'm sorry but I think it's not going to work.
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