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DH rarely sees his family and I feel guilty(28 Posts)
This is why I am glad I have a daughter, my parents did not like my ex but I used to see them without my partner. It seems with men...if there is a rift between parents and their partner, they will allow that to get in the way of their relationship with their parents while a woman would not.
This is not always the case but I have noticed its more common with men. Of course it is not your fault, your husband is just a poor son.
Dont feel guilty. You didnt make this issue. You choose limited contact and never put up barriers to prevent your DH and DC's from seeing them. Your DH has to chose to limit his contact. Maybe your DH doesnt like their treatment of you. Whatever his reasons, hes picked not to see them.
I personally od not dislike my IL's at all.
But I refuse to take an active role in their relationship with their DS, it's not really my business as far as I am concerned.
I will occasionally ask how they are and whether there are birthdays coming up. But it is up to him to maintain contact/good relations with them. I have ensured he buys them nice gifts for occasions (he used to o to the pound shop for 'funny' gifts, yes hilarious!) by going shopping with him, but he finds the gifts himself not me.
As far as I'm concerned he managed his relationship for the 30 whatever odd years he didn't know me, why do I need to suddenly step in now.
It's not your fault at all OP, I would stop feeling guilty, it's your husbands choice and his upbringing nothing to do with you.
Nothing to feel guilty for at all OP. You said it yourself - 'he doesn't want to'. Its entirely his decision - no-one can 'steal' a grown adult away from their parents or anyone else.
And you know what, him not being in touch with them is ok. Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents. If DH doesn't want to see them very often, that's his call. And well done for standing up for yourself if you felt they were treating you badly
Some women feel a great responsibility to keep the family relationships going and to remember birthdays and celebrations and all that stuff. There's no reason why you should or would have been the one to maintain his relationship with his parents. You are two separate people and they're his family, not yours
Don't feel guilty, I was in a similar situation and I realised that I was artificially improving their relationship. By being the one doing the 'wife work', sending birthday cards/buying presents/nagging him to arrange visits, we were more involved with DHs family than he ever would have been if I wasn't doing the donkey work.
Now, he's in charge of communications, it's returned back to its previously shit level of next to nothing. They're not bad people, we're just not on their radar and vice versa.
I agree with the previous posters. It's not up to you to feel guilty. In my opinion, there is a lot of pressure on the wives in these situations to facilitate contact or become the main contact with the in laws. If that isn't the way your relationship with them has developed there is no reason to feel guilty. I send the odd email with pictures of DS and will occasionally remind DH that he hasn't called his mum in a while but that's it. We see them about once a month. That is plenty for me. It would be less if I didn't remind him to invite them or arrange something.
It's his relationship to maintain. If you re not being obstructive then you have nothing to feel guilty about.
Your problem is with your DH, talk to him about how you don't want to look like the bad guy in this situation and his lack of contact is making you look bad. I totally get that you don't want to proactively reengage so he needs to either decide to carry on or rengage and be proactive in the relationship.
As a note though how often did he contact his parents prior to you inadvertently taking over management of the contact? Maybe this is normal for your DH? My DH would go months without contacting his family and now it irritates me when his Mum rings my phone when I am sat next to DH. The other day I diverted it to VM so she would call him and actually speak to him, which she did.
I never wanted to come between my DH and his family but it now seems that I am "that woman" that stole the son/ brother.
Has someone actually said this, or are you just feeling like this is how people might view it?
If you cut your contact with them, I'm sure you did so for very good reasons, i.e. they are nasty in some way. I would count your DC not having contact with them as a positive thing.
I regularly ask him why he doesn't drive down to see them but he doesn't want to
Heavens, why are you feeling guilty? He could see them. They could come to see him. Neither side is bothering much, suggesting they have got the level of contact they both want, without any input from you.
You have nothing to feel guilty about. He's a grown adult and can make his own mind up how much contact he wants and take responsibility for it without you facilitating it. It sounds as if you have gone low contact yourself for very good reasons and, in fact, as if it's them who have forced you into this. So it's not you who's stealing him from them, it's them who are driving him away by their treatment of you. Perhaps if you can see it that way round, it will ease your feelings of guilt?
So he has essentially made the same decision you have, that he doesn't want to invest too much in them? That's a good thing, surely, if they are not very kind to him?
DH is getting grief over not making more effort.
But clearly it's not enough grief to outweigh the shit he has to eat if he does contact them.
You shouldn't feel guilty for allowing him to realise the truth about his abusive parents and to break free from them. Please don't pressure him to keep in contact with people who are bad for his mental health.
The relationship your DH has with his parents isn't and never was, your responsibility. Your decision may have been the catalyst for your DH decision but it isn't the reason.
Why on earth would you feel guilty about your DH finally letting go of the FOG? Your DH still investing emotional energy for the approval and recognition from people who aren't capable of giving it, is surely worse.
My friends mum used to nag her DH to call his mother, but whenever he did she would immediately criticise him and moaning how he hardly calls, her other son never bothered because of all that.
So FM called her MIL and spoke to her, in the end she told her MIL, "I want my kids to come and visit me." Her MIL had no recourse because she was the one pushing them away.
If your IL's play favourites and criticise DH, then I'm not surprised he doesnt want to see them. They've pushed him away through their actions.
"I thought he would still go over there. I thought that everyone would be happier".
You would think that because you are at heart a reasonable person from an emotionally healthy family.
You are however, dealing with your DH's family and they are clearly not reasonable at all - and never will be. His family of origin are an emotionally dysfunctional family unit (and neither you or he caused them to act like they do).
It was his choice to distance himself and you yourself also state you did not push the issue. You made your own choices here (the right ones to my mind as well given their behaviours. Why would you at all want to be around people who dislike you so; family are not everything) as did he.
Re this comment (from yourself):-
"DH is getting grief over not making more effort".
and pocketsaviour's response to this
"But clearly it's not enough grief to outweigh the shit he has to eat if he does contact them".
Would also suggest you ignore any comments made by other family members if they attempt to say that you should "smooth troubled waters". They are not acting in your best interests here.
Favouritism is common in emotionally unhealthy families and people from such end up playing roles; your DHs role was one of scapegoat whilst his sister remains more favoured.
I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the dynamics that are really being played out here.
You have nothing to feel guilty for here; you have helped your DH immeasurably by showing him that it is indeed ok to walk away from and have no contact with toxic family members.
I'm in a very similar situation to you op a couple of steps behind though. I've stopped contact with his sis and limiting the time u spend with his mum (although not limiting time between her and my partner/ and her grandchild).
I get a lot of negative comments about her not seeing them enough implying that's my fault - although I've always encouraged him to see his mum and organised things in past. The comments about this and other things mean I want to spend even less time with her.
I can't offer any advice but I completely sympathise I think it's easier to blame the nasty dil than it is to realise that actually your son doesn't want to spend time with you. I think it's incredibly sad that he doesn't but think similar to your situation he's been overlooked for his sis for years and finally he's given up trying to win favour
It feels like you're trying to force your view of a parent/child relationship onto him in my mind. If he doesn't see the need to talk to them, why is it your concern.
Not all children and parents are close.
Mine live far away and I see them 3 times a year, we talk once or twice a month on the phone.
I thought he would still go over there. I thought that everyone would be happier. PIL happier because I wasn't around and DH because he wasn't caught in the middle. It is not working out that way. DH is getting grief over not making more effort.
^This is confirmation that your presence was never the problem, you were just a convenient scapegoat.^
Your investment in maintaining contact with your PIL didn't protect your DH or encourage a healthier relationship between them, it merely postponed the inevitable consequences of their poor relationship.
Your DH is not the only one letting go of the FOG.
You're trying to second guess him and projecting your feelings into him.
You need to talk to him about it. Tell him you fully support him seeing his family despite you not seeing them and ask him how often he thinks he's like to go.
It might be less than you think, he may be glad to stepped back because it suits him too. Talk to each other.
Yes, you are the gatekeeper... gates work 2 ways, just like any other door. For your DH you have opened the gate to him not having to put up with them. Good for you.
Bear in mind I am biased, it took my DH quite a few years to give up on his, frankly horrendous, siblings after their mum's death.
But DH has, just this year, aged 53, 15 years after MILs suicide, decided that he didn't like her as a person, never really had her as a mum, has never really liked the people his sib grew up into and that, crucially, it is OK for him to feel like that.
So now he will stop ringing, texting, dropping in on them every month or so. They didn't visit our last home in 10 years and haven't been here since we bought it last year, both houses about 15 minutes drive from BILs. They have never instigated contact and very rarely returned his calls. So now he has decided to leave them to it.
I'd have stopped bothering years ago, but have always supported his decision for 'just one more try'.
You have nothing to reproach yourself for. Support him and don't feel bad about it in the slightest!
Have you asked if its because of how they treated you? My dh has nothing to do with his family simply because of how they treated me as far as he was concerned family or not they do not speak to me or think that they can behave in the way they did and aren't suitable role models for our ds's he could think along the same lines
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