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Desperately need help to save my marriage with 9 week old baby

(147 Posts)

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simba86 Thu 07-Aug-14 23:53:52

Hi everyone.

I am going through a really difficult situation at the moment and really don't know what to do.

My wife and I (married for 3 years, together for nearly 10) are in our late 20's. We are privileged to be blessed with the most beautiful baby girl who is just over 9 weeks old, and we had been trying for 2 years for a baby. We love each other and consider each other true soul mates. Our lives are very settled and we have alot to thankful for.

But we have a major issue which has come to its head now and is now looking likely to cause the break up of our marriage.

My wife has had problems with the way my mother behaves towards us and her. She feels that over the past 10 years have been numerous occasions where my mother has been manipulative and spiteful towards her. I am an only child who has a close relationship with both my parents. We have lived for the past 10 years some two hours drive away from them and slowly over time our communication and visits to them have disappeared. In fact we have only ever been twice in 10 years to my family home, in comparison to regular visits to her family each year.

The stress of my mothers behaviour has become too much for now to cope with. She doesn't want to see my parents, and wont let our daughter out of her sight. Since she has been born, my parents have spent an our in the hospital with us 2 days after she was born, 30 minutes visit to our home where they had to look at her through our dining room door because she was asleep and 5 minutes with her whilst my wife held her on another visit. Her Mum has been with us for weeks on an off.

She sent an email to my mum expressing how upset she was, to which my mum replied. My wife didnt think that she understood the cause of the problem, so allowed me to speak to my mum, who replied by email again and apologised for hers and my dads behaviour and hoped they could move forward now to a better relationship in the future. But yesterday my dad was out of order with me, which I dealt with and was resolved, but my wife is so upset that this behaviour has happened again, feels they will never change, she can not have a relationship with them, and feels I have to choose to accept they wont be in our lives as much as they should be,or for us not to be together.

I am distraught and on top of that, whilst her mother was with us recently, her mother told me that I didnt care enough for my daughter. Anyone who knows me would say that is the most ridiculous thing that could be said but now my wife tonight has said she agrees with her mum.

My parents are selling their house I grew up in for 20 years and I really wanted to take my daughter home to have a couple of photos with her there which I wont have an oppotunity to do again as the sale completes in a couple of weeks. My wife wont entertain this at all so I was going to go home myself on Saturday. When they offered to drive me back, see the new house they are buying and drop me home to see their Granddaughter, my wife took our daughter drove off and intended to stay in a hotel as she could not comprehend the idea of seeing them. I talked her back into coming home thankfully

I want to save this for the sake of my daughter and our relationship but have hit rock bottom and don't know what to do

simba86 Fri 08-Aug-14 01:36:56

This might help you all understand the situation better. Here is the email my wife sent to my mother and the responses:

Dear *,

I am writing to you as I appreciate your call the other day, but on reflection, I felt I should have been more honest with you yet felt too uncomfortable to do so.

The reasons why I don’t respond to your text messages and telephone calls is quite frankly because we don’t get on, and I certainly think you’d agree with me. I feel so hurt by the many actions you have done and comments you have said over the past ten years, to me and also to * and I. Over time, I have felt increasingly uncomfortable being in your presence and this has led to * and I seeing you infrequently, which will continue for the foreseeable future unless things change.

I am finding it incredibly difficult to be around you, as I feel you have never embraced the fact that from day one you were potentially and did gain a daughter-in-law, but instead, endeavoured to emphasise that * is your son, as opposed to welcoming me into your family.

I recall the very early days when I met you and you informed me that you did not get on well with your own mother-in-law and did not wish this for me, yet here we are ten years down the line and I could recount the numerous insulting comments you have made and the manipulative actions you have carried out towards * and I, but it won’t achieve anything as what is done is done.

It really is so very sad that we have such a poor relationship as I do witness some fantastic mother and daughter in law relationships and can’t help but feel envious that I am missing out. Yet I have endeavoured for many years to tolerate your behaviour towards me and * and I, yet at times it has become too much, not just for me, but for both of us which is why we do not involve you in our lives as much as we could do.

I wish to emphasise that I feel very comfortable and at ease around * and appreciate his welcoming manner.

I do not expect a response from you as I have learnt that you often ‘bury your head in the sand’ as opposed to discussing and resolving problems. It is with a heavy heart I have chosen to write to you, but at the end of the day, I have my whole life ahead of me to enjoy, however, this has been making me so miserable for far too long that I don’t feel as though I deserve to bare this burden. Whether it makes our relationship better or worse, I need to let go of this all this hurt that is festering inside me by letting you know.

So here is the email my mother sent to my wife in reply:

Dear *,

I was absolutely devastated and very upset to receive your email. I am more than aware that the relationship between us is not where either of us would want it to be and whilst your email is difficult to read I am pleased that you have felt able to tell me how you feel.

I too wish for a good relationship between us- I was beginning to feel more recently that we were growing a bit closer- but clearly that was not the case. There is no reason why this cannot happen, but as you rightly say, we need to clear the air of any misunderstandings, draw a line and move on with effort from both sides to make this happen.

Whilst I have always said that I did not have a good relationship with my first mother in law- I was only married for 18 months to her son before he decided the grass was greener somewhere else- my relationship with mother for the 25 years that I knew her, was second to none and we were extremely close for all of that time. I always had full respect for her as mother and she had respect for me as his wife. This is what I hoped I would have, and truly want to have, with you.

I too have spent the last 10 years desperately trying to build a relationship with you.

However, quite frankly- and I do think honesty is important at this stage- it has been 10 years of walking on eggshells, being afraid to say the wrong thing, to ensure that the smallest comment, no matter how well intentioned, could be misconstrued or misunderstood- and thereby cause a problem. We are all individuals and we are all entitled to our opinions and views on situations but, at the end of the day, I would hope that we can all respect any difference of opinion and make our own decisions.

As a mother yourself now, you will now be experiencing the closeness that both and I have had with **. Being faced with * health dilemma at such an early age and to live constantly with that situation, without any warning or doctors who truly could not tell us what to expect or how best to deal with his problems deepened this relationship beyond even our own expectations. At times we have had to deal with things the best way we could, maybe in hindsight we could have handled things differently, but I think you would agree that hasn’t turned out too badly!

I have learnt to try and take a wider view of situations and that is how I deal with things. Since you and have been together, we appreciate that you have taken over the mantle of dealing with condition. We know that this is something that you wanted to do as his partner and continue to do now as his wife and it always feels awkward saying thank you for your help supporting him and his condition (which we also know is a challenge sometimes of his own making!) but as you will appreciate, as parents, we are always there to help and share the load in whichever way we can. If we can support you more just by talking then we are more than happy to do that. As parents, the worry never goes away either or gets any easier.

Both and I have always done our best to embrace you both in all that you do, and continue to encourage and support, but equally, you need to try and talk openly to us too, like this, avoiding * (there is no need for us to talk through him) so we all know where we stand and to avoid any further misunderstandings.

For the sake of all 3 of you, we need to ensure we have a good open and respectful relationship and there is no reason, with honesty and openness on both sides, why this cannot happen.

We all have the rest of our lives ahead of us and there is no reason for any of us to bear this burden.

I hope that, by putting all our feelings down in writing, it will help both you and I to start to understand each other a bit better and move forward to start to get to know each other a bit better and develop the relationship that I know we both really want to have.

I had intended to call you today just for a chat to see how you and * are and hope we can have a catch up sometime soon.

Take care

and the email she sent following the conversation I had about her reply with my wife, who wanted me to highlight to them the fact that it is the way they speak to us without thinking first that causes her upset and worry....

Hi *,

has spoken to us this morning and we understand that the crux of the long term problem between us has stemmed from the way in which both * and I tend to react immediately to anything that you both tell us, before thinking and talking things through and subsequently arriving at a more balanced and acceptable reaction.

We can now both fully understand how our reactions in the past may have caused you distress and we can only apologise for this. Had we understood how our behaviour was upsetting you, we would have addressed this issue sooner, but now at least we have had the chance to bring this matter into the open and can move our relationships forward.

We really and truly hope we can take the next step now to forming a much closer and open relationship with you and look forward to seeing you all in the near future.

Please feel free to contact us when you feel ready. We are always here for you, and always will be.



....and my wifes response to this email:

Hi *

Just to let you know I have got your email and I will reply when ready.


simba86 Fri 08-Aug-14 01:41:46

I couldnt agree more that I shouldnt have told my wife about the phone call. It happened just before I walked through the front door and I was annoyed with what had just happened so the frustration was written all over my face. I should have jus put it down to a bad day at work, would have been a much better choice... but life doesnt always work that way

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 08-Aug-14 01:45:00

simba86 your wife and your mother have very similar writing styles. And neither of them say anything very much at all.

badbaldingballerina123 Fri 08-Aug-14 01:52:20

Your brother visited your wife with your new born and stipulated that grandparents weren't to be called grandma and grandad as he might get upset ? Honestly , he would not have got through my front door. I do not accept that an adult cannot cope with hearing the word grandma. That was frankly ridiculous and I personally would have told him to not come.

It's interesting you refer to the issue with your brother as a bit daft , but you seem to think your mil being there was too much. The only absurd behaviour in that situation came from your brother , and yourself , for tolerating it.

thestamp Fri 08-Aug-14 01:52:26

Your parents sound dreadful and you sound childish. Why on earth do you talk to your pedantic father about something you know he will be forceful about, then argue your point with him, then PHONE HIM BACK when he hangs up on you to continue the argument (!!) THEN tell your poor dw all about it, when you already know how your parents' behaviour upsets her????

Leave it all alone. You're reaping what you've sown here I'm afraid. You and your parents are drama queens and you've finally worn dw down. It's not her fault and don't blame her for trying to keep dd away from the silliness.

BelleOfTheBorstal Fri 08-Aug-14 02:07:16

What is this condition that your mother mentions?

badbaldingballerina123 Fri 08-Aug-14 02:09:07

Why is there references to your wife managing your condition ?

simba86 Fri 08-Aug-14 02:18:48

it was the fact that her mother would hide away for such a long time from my family, in a relatively small house, just because she couldnt trust herself to hold her tongue to people she has hardly met previously that I found strange.

The condition I have is a cross between muscular dystrophy and diabetic type symptoms. My wife assists me by driving the car, but very little else on a daily basis apart from my bad days where she will help out more when I am bed ridden. But these are few and far between fortunately

emotionsecho Fri 08-Aug-14 02:19:42

Simba86 in your opening post you say you are an only child yet later on you describe an incident with your brother when he and his family came to visit you after the birth of your daughter.

Could you just clarify which one of those two statements is correct ?

MeMyselfAnd1 Fri 08-Aug-14 02:28:04

Well, I think the email of your wife seems rude, entitled, and childish. While your mother's seems very conciliatory. However, whatever condition you have that has made them feel they need to continue protecting you by overseeing your decisions, has created a perception on them about you that needs to be changed. You need to learn from your own mistakes and that is not going to happen if they don't let you have your own decisions (but I agree with the advice of your father about closing sale on the same day, not doing so is ABSOLUTELY bonkers!).

I think that you need to explain to your parents that you will need some time to fix your relationship and that would involve not seeing them for a while. Your wife may be in the wrong or right but you are not going to go anywhere about fixing the situation while your parents keep upsetting her even without opening their mouth.

In the same way, her mother has to feck off (but she may divorce you for that) because she is exarcerbating the feelings of your wife and making things much worse.

Personally, having been in a family dinamic much similar to yours, I can say that leaving my husband was one of the best decisions I took in my life. He was like you, I was like your wife, what annoyed me was not his overbearing mother but the fact that my husband always put her wishes before whatever we had decided as a couple and parents. Fortunately, I didn't have my mother bitching in the background, I would have totally lost the sense of perspective if she had been behaving like your MIL.

You need space as a couple as it is at this time that your parenting roles are taking shape, and having both sets of inlaws causing problems between you is not helpful at all.

simba86 Fri 08-Aug-14 02:29:09 brother is a half brother....but we never refer to each other as a "half"! I have two half brothers, both from my fathers previous marriage

GarlicAugustus Fri 08-Aug-14 02:41:27

I've got to say your mother's description of "10 years of walking on eggshells, being afraid to say the wrong thing, to ensure that the smallest comment, no matter how well intentioned, could be misconstrued or misunderstood" sounds terribly sensitive and worrying. But taken in context, with your - her doting son's - depiction of her as prone to shoot her mouth off, and your story about your parents' utterly overbearing attitude to a major life decision of yours, her meaning is clear. She's trying to give your wife a guilt trip because DW doesn't appreciate domineering people shooting their mouths off whenever they feel like it. Nobody likes that, you know? It's even less likeable when the rude person then acts all hurt if their victim's got enough self respect to say "I'm not taking that!"

Your parents sound like very hard work.

GarlicAugustus Fri 08-Aug-14 02:46:00

I'm afraid I agree with your father, too, while despising his manner of 'advising' you.

GarlicAugustus Fri 08-Aug-14 02:47:42

... unless you're closing on your house first, are making a massive profit and have an emergency Plan B if your purchase falls through.

Sorry for serial posts, I'm not typinf ast enough!

SassyPants Fri 08-Aug-14 02:57:21

I think it would really help if you gave us some examples of the 'awful comments' your mum has made towards your wife, because at the moment it seems to me like your wife is being completely unreasonable, but I accept that this doesn't seem to be the consensus at all.

Lweji Fri 08-Aug-14 03:05:02

In all this mess, it's your DC I feel sorry for.
I really can't see any of you without fault here, although it's hard to judge without witnessing things.

My impression is that it all needs to be addressed sensitively and sensibly, withough forcing relationship but also without displays of people being there but hiding should they not be able to hold their tongues. Perhaps a full on argument might be healthier than these letters and not replying to messages. Politeness costs very little.

But don't be the twat in the middle of this. Save your wife from stress, hold your own with your parents, listen o sensible advice carefully and thank them for it (even if you decide against, but don't tell them immediately you're not taking it).

I have to say I don't see a very happy ending for all this, though. You all sound drama queens, based on hat you wrote.

Cerisier Fri 08-Aug-14 03:14:59

OP you must put your DW first now and let the air clear. She needs a lot of time and space away from your parents. I know you haven't seen them much recently but it sounds like they have been constantly in the background via phone, email and text.

I think your DM has potentially blown it, and you haven't helped by discussing private things with them knowing what their reactions would be if you ignored their advice. I am amazed it has taken your parents 10 years to realise their words and deeds have not been appreciated. They sound very arrogant.

simba86 Fri 08-Aug-14 07:04:06

Thank you memyselfand1, balanced, fair and constructive opinions which is exactly what I had hoped for

Lweji Fri 08-Aug-14 07:09:46

I hope you read that advice properly and not only the criticism of your wife and MIL.

tobysmum77 Fri 08-Aug-14 07:18:38

simba several times you refer to yourself as the 'child'. You are not a child. One of the biggest issues with adult offspring is that parents often continue to treat them as children if they are allowed to. Sometimes it's subtle sometimes it's less so. This needs to stop and you are the one to stop it.

I think the bottom line is if they want to see dgd they need to toe the line. Start with them popping round for an hour. Don't give me the 'they live 2 hours away so they need to stay all day' line. They either want to see her or not if they decide not, their decision. One of the hardest things is having to spend all day with ils who live miles away. Mine are generally reasonable but I still dread the whole day events at times.

Once baby is older then dw will let her out of her sight so you can decide how to play it. Perhaps you take dd to them for the day on your own.

Right now it seems everyone is behaving in much the same way, flouncing around about what they want without considering others. I include you in this - a picture in a house - really???

Quitelikely Fri 08-Aug-14 07:20:01

Well I quite like the email from your mother tbh. It just goes to show that things aren't always as they seem.

I know folk on here will say stand by your wife etc but I would not let anyone give me an ultimatum like that.

Also I think the contact she is allowing with your dd is pathetic. They pose no risk to that baby. She's just using it as a power thing.

I don't see the problem with her going no contact but you and dd staying in touch.

If I get flamed then so be it.

Quitelikely Fri 08-Aug-14 07:20:53

And her mother staying upstairs for four hours! Who's being precious now!

TaliZorahVasNormandy Fri 08-Aug-14 07:35:54

I think you really need to stop telling your wife about all the annoying and overbearing stuff your parents have said. Your DW is vulnerable right now and not the biggest fan of your parents, but you keep making it worse, then she tells her DM, so now your DW and MIL have a coloured view of your parents.

Dont push your DW into wanting a relationship with them, you really need to tell your parents to think before they speak.

If you dont reign them in, then you'll lose your family, and that family is your DW and DD.

OnlyWantsOne Fri 08-Aug-14 07:42:22

Is your wife depressed / suffering from anxiety?

Seriously, if she isn't - if she is fine, then she is just being a complete control freak. Has she ever had a job / situation where she has had to put up with people and be polite? No wonder she is like this if her own mother thinks it's acceptable to sit in the spare room rather than say hello to your parents. How utterly rude.

Take your baby and take those precious photos in your family home. Clearly your wife can take the Child off to a hotel and do what she wants?

larrygrylls Fri 08-Aug-14 07:46:09

It sounds as if you are torn between your wife's and parents' demands. Why should your wife determine access to both of your child. We're you to split up, you could see your parents with your daughter whenever you had access. I think you have equal say to your wife where you go and who is in your house. To me, your wife sounds dictatorial.

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