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Experience or perspectives on relationships where backgrounds are very different.....(21 Posts)
My marriage is on the rocks.
Our upbringings were financially, educationally and materially worlds apart.
He had the best of everything, I didn't.
We did not used to live in the area he is originally from, however we moved here a few years ago.
His family are judgemental and slightly toxic. SiL is the favoured one as are her children. Mind you she is only favoured when she is doing as mother wants. My DC rarely get a look in. I'm used to it though so don't kick up a fuss.
The MiL and SiL are preoccupied with status, looks, weight etc. they regularly critisize others regarding these things and I would describe them as quite shallow.
Naturally I'm not the thinnest, richest, fashionable most person around so I'm off their list.
My dhs friends are similar to this. I'm not saying they are bad people but they are concerned with things that I am not and never would want to be.
Everything seems rather fake.
My problem: I stick out like a sore thumb, I can do things to alter this but I resent it. Hate it even.
I feel under pressure to be this, be that, if we are expecting a visit from the friends or family my anxiety starts.
I don't want to be like these people, I'm not shallow, their conversation is utterly boring to me. I don't want to see any of them ever again. Even my in laws (there have been other issues with them but I dont want to bore you all).
I feel like the only way to escape this environment is to get away from my husband. He agrees that his family are shallow and I suspect underneath it all he is just like them. I'm losing my respect for all of them.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Can I fix this by changing my perspective because quite frankly I want a life where I don't have to be involved with this type of people.
My family are very down to earth, they don't live near.
Is the inlaw problem causing your marriage problems, or are they 2 separate beasts?
I'm trying to get to the heart of it, if you like which needs sorting first, inlaws or marriage or are they both halves of the same big problem?
The in laws aren't a problem because I avoid them where possible.
But I just don't like everything they stand for. Some people. Plus just accept this but I want to get away from it all........
Having said that if I thought I could relate to them (the ILs) and we got On well then yes I could handle the friends thing but all of it together, no it's too much.
You suspect he is like them, but is he? You haven't told us anything about how he actually is!
He is great on many levels but obviously values beauty, money & materialistic things..........
I feel pressure to look and act a certain way. I don't want the pressure.
Am I making any sense here?
I don't see how we can be together when I despise the things that all his friends and family stand for........
I think, when we met he liked the fact that there was no pressure or judgment from me - he could just be himself type of thing.
But why do you feel pressure? What does he do/say?
He drops hints about me going to the gym or wearing make up etc
I just feel like I don't fit in with all of it. I don't want to either.
I feel as though he would be better suited to someone from a background like his own and me mine iyswim
You're NC with your family?
I must admit, your posts are a bit confusing but I assume that's bcs you are feeling very confused?
Sounds like you need a break to get your head straight - do you have anyone you could stay with/anywhere you could go?
When in was in a major pickle about my marriage I ended up housesitting a friend's house for a few weeks - pure chance. Those two weeks were bliss and I really got my head straight. I didn't go back to the marriage - but that was me and this is you.
Sorry OP, your posts don't give much information to go on.
I suspect one of the following is true but I don't know which one:
a) He is shallow and you've noticed, and it's going to be a deal breaker for you
b) He is a bit shallow due to his upbringing, but can/will change and you can compromise a little bit
c) He is a little bit shallow, but you feel self-conscious and are assuming more than it is
Have your problems started since moving closer to his family? You are talking about a marriage on the rocks but, like others said, you say little about your marriage/husband. I think different backgrounds can work but massively different values not so much. What is it about your relationship with your partner that Is now a problem and that wasn't (?) before.... Is he happy having moved back to what sounds like a familiar envt to him - or is he also unhappy? Could you make choices to move further away together to build connections with like minded people? Hard to write proper post on an iPad but it's not clear if your marriage is bothering you or the place and surroundings you've moved into. He will be like a fish in water in that envt if he grew up in it - does he truly understand that it's the opposite for you and you can't breathe?
Can you both move away? It doesn't sound like your marriage itself is in desperate measures, but that you're just struggling with the environment you find yourself in. Give your marriage your best shot - move away and start up a new life for yourselves, where you surround yourself with people suitable to you both.
To be fair to your husband, his family is bound to bring out these traits in him - it's what he's accustomed to. He can't be that shallow if you're only just beginning to wonder if he is!
Tell him how you're thinking about all this and suggest a fresh start.
Thanks for the responses.
Yes I'm confused........
Our issues did start when we moved here, near his family and friends, like I said there are clear differences between me and them which I suppose come down to background.
When I'm around them I feel a need to act and present myself in a certain way, my husband expects this too.
I just want to be normal and feel comfortable but I don't feel comfortable around them at all.
I feel anxious. Yes I do think it comes down to values. I think when we didn't live here the pressure was not on my husband to present himself and his family in a certain way but he has returned to the environment he left and re assumed his role.
And I hate it.
It's affecting me. I don't want to spend time with the people who my husband holds respect for and that doesn't feel right to me.
That is just the thing about his family. Looking from the outside in his parents gave him everything but divorced when he was a teen, at this point his mother lost interest and his father (highly successful) lost interest too.
So they didn't turn up to his graduation for example, owing to work commitments and the mother stating that a baby was due the same week and she needed to be there to help (I know for certain that she did not assist in any way).
I think my dh took to me because I was a very warm, caring person. His parents were very good at being seen to be doing what was right but not actually doing anything at all, especially after they divorced.
I appreciate this sounds confusing! It is for me too.
Oh and my dh isn't very happy with his family but accepts there is not much he can do to change them.
I also accept this but I cannot stand it! I don't want to see them ever again. I hate the forced conversation.
How do you get through it?
I thought from your title that this was going to be about a relationship between people from different social classes, or with huge income disparities - but I can't decide what's actually going on, because what you say doesn't quite add up. (Not a criticism - I imagine you're confused yourself.)
On the one hand, you suggest the issue is different 'backgrounds', but what you seem to be saying is more about a difference in priorities than anything class or income-related, and that a lot of it is to do with looks and grooming...?
Could you give an example of how your husband expects you to present yourself differently when you're with his family? And what kind if image of his family is he trying to project since you moved closer!
Perhaps you're not only reacting very negatively to the values of these people but you're upset your husband is sucking up to people who so badly let him down.
I think its clear, though, that you recoil from these ppl and perhaps you feel it's as if you've moved to a foreign country - a 'country' with values and tastes you dislike and dont relate to or respect, which makes you feel like an alien. It sounds like you don't recognise your husband on his home turf - bcs he's changed, not the man you married and built a relationship with; that the move has fundamentally changed the dynamics of your relationship and its history.
You sound like a fish out of water - and it's doing your head in
I married 'up' [mind the gap!] and initially felt very intimidated by the world we moved into, in which he was entirely comfortable but which was so alien to me, anyway, but also bcs I had no confidence in, was ashamed of, my own culture. I got over it, eventually
Its sounds like this culture puts a lot of pressure on women to be, think and look a certain way and you find the pressure and expectations suffocating (I would too btw); not least bcs you feel you look crap?
I think you've got two separate issues here:
1. Your in laws sound horrible and have treated your H badly, a fact he acknowledges but is still engaging with them in spite of;
2. Your H has absorbed values from his family about women being compliant with patriarchal beauty standards, and is attempting to impose them on you.
Regarding the first, I would simply arrange to be out (or don't go) during visits. Your H is surely aware of how you feel about them, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
As for the second, I think when he drops his little hints, you pull him up on them immediately and ask him why he married you if he actually wanted a blow-up doll.
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