Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Am I being irrational and overthinking? Husband shows love to his mother and sister more than he does to me(24 Posts)
Am I being irrational to feel under- appreciated by my husband? The past year I have been feeling this way. We have had a lot going on, saving for a house, buying a house etc and in all that chaos we forgot our wedding anniversary. My husband remembered a few weeks afterwards but I never got anything but I was okay with it at that time because I knew we had so much going on. My wedding anniversary falls a few weeks after Mother’s Day and his sisters birthday which he didn’t forget and made sure to gift them. Fast forward a few months down the line when it was my birthday he got me airpods as a gift knowing fully well I’m not that into that stuff. He is into his tech and I got him airpods as one of his birthday gifts the year before, as he really wanted one for himself and he’s into that stuff, I’m not. I’m a very ‘girly- girl’ and he knows this. When it was his mothers birthday a few week later he got her £600 designer watch. I don’t want to seem spoilt but he has never gotten me anything that expensive and always makes it out to me that money should be carefully spent. He also got his sister a beautiful designer necklace for her birthday much more expensive than the boring AirPods I got. Now it’s Valentine’s Day, the one day that I’m thinking I can feel a little special and yes he got me flowers and chocolates which made my day. Only then in the next hour to say he’s visiting his sister and mum for Valentine’s Day to gift them flowers for Valentine’s Day. I know he’s being a good son and brother, but I can’t help but feel I’m secondary in his life and undeserving of the best by his standards. I mean if I was treated equally as special as his sister and mother, I guess that would be me being greedy for his attention and love but. I am actually feeling like they get more love from him than I do. He acknowledged that his mums love language is by gifts, and I even told him I am the same, so why does he not spend time and thought on the gifts he gives to me? Just feeling a little unloved and under appreciated in comparison to the love he shows to his mother and sister that’s all.
I presume that he's always been close to his mum and sister? Did they live together before you married?
They sound very close knit. Are they of the same culture as you?
Op, what is your current relationship like with your mum and siblings?
@pillowcase123 - why is the OP unreasonable?
He has never been close to his mother but recently has been feeling guilty for anything good that happens in our life. We saved and worked so hard to buy the house we have now and I saved my ass off to be able to do up our bathroom. The moment I had our bathroom done he felt an immense guilt for the state of his mother’s bathroom, which isn’t awful as she had her bathroom done 5 years ago but just some bad plumbing in some areas so it’s showing signs of wear and tear now. I earn equally as much as him and most of the house renovation funding has been via myself, and I’ve put in all the effort, he has literally done zero to get anything done on our new house and even he acknowledges it but he finds it amusing. I recently wanted to get blinds in the house and as soon as I mentioned it money became an issue and after talking to him found out he wanted to do his mums bathroom up which was the real issue. I told him he absolutely can and I wouldn’t come in the way. But me doing up my house and him doing up his mums bathroom should be separate. I even said he can take however much he needs from out savings and I will make do with my wages for the rest of the work I wanted to do on our house. But now it’s beyond home and almost on every aspect of our lives. Anything he does good for me or in our lives he feels he owes the same if not more to him mother and sister.
A bit of background, His mother has a weird relationship with her sons almost possessive and gets jealous of her daughter in laws. She hated me from the start even without ever meeting me, mostly because she didn’t like that my family were not wealthy. She drove her other daughter in law away also as they never got along.
He loves his family, they have been part of him all his life. You are saving for a house, he bought them gifts and spent less on you, as you are both saving. He probably assumed it was "a given" for you both to spend less on each other. He bought you Air Pods, they are high value items. Any gift given should be well received , if you like them or not. Comes across a little ungrateful. YABU.
I think there is more here. I do not think it is the amount he is spending on his family. This is about the love, respect , closeness and affection he shares with his family. It is that, that is upsetting you. Why?
His mum doesn't like you because you're not rich, yet she can't afford to fix her own bathroom?
Your husband should be your best friend and your biggest supporter. It doesn't sound as though that's the case, tbh. Do you have children together?
No no noNO! Please don’t marry this man! He is showing you just where you are on his list of priorities. Sorry, I would get the house on the market and start again. If he’s like this now - NO WAY will he get better. I’m sorry, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong, or spoilt or whatever. You are totally entitled to feel what you’re feeling, and he is a selfish, thoughtless nasty little man. I’d rather be single than in a relationship like this.
"She hated me from the start even without ever meeting me, mostly because she didn’t like that my family were not wealthy. "
I think OP and with kindness, this may all be wrapped up in your relationship with your own family and your families financial situation when you were growing up.
Is your DH's mum now on her own? Maybe your DH is looking out for his mum, wanting to make her life easier. He clearly loves her and his siblings. Maybe he is just helping his family out.
I fear OP if you continue like this with the ultimate aim of possibly making him choose between you and his family, be prepared for him to walk away from you.
"@goody2shooz No no noNO! Please don’t marry this man! "
They are already married! Op refers to DH in her op. She also refers to her wedding anniversary.
I wonder what it was like for him growing up in that house. My guess, not good. She regards her son as a possession or someone she controls by withholding approval and or making that completely conditional.
It sounds like he is enmeshed with both his mother and sister and trying to buy their approval with flowers. Neither I daresay will like him any more for doing that and on Valentines Day of all days too. His primary loyalty seems very much to them rather than you.
Why is his mother's approval so important to him?. My guess that he has been the lesser favoured of the siblings his entire life and so also feels obligated because she has never given him the approval he still seeks. He is likely to be mired in FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) and that along with his inertia to his mother causes him to act like this.
Your paragraph re his mother and another DIL was very telling.
No she is not on her own, she has a husband and kids but she’s has been having problems with her husband, and almost had an affair.
Yes I agree I think he is just trying to be supportive to his family, but in the process I feel like he priorities them more than me in nearly every occasion.
Op, what is your relationship like with your parents and siblings? It it important for us to understand that. It will help us gage how you view family.
I think you’ve spotted something quite true. He had quite an turbulent upbringing growing up, which is why they were never that close. She also disowned him shortly after marrying me and they rekindled their relationship a few years ago. It is good to know he is a good son and brother but would love it if he fuelled some of that energy to be a good husband. Sometimes I do feel if I left him maybe he would finally appreciate me and realise I was there for him all the way through.
I have always had a loving relationship with my family, treated very well. We were not wealthy but my dad did the best he could and we acknowledged that, and we had everything we needed in life. We have respect for each other, keep in touch regularly, and prior to covid would get together often.
Ok. Good. Could it be connected solely to his mum disowning him for when he got together with you? What was it about you that she did not like that caused the rift? I am sure you are a lovely person OP but i would never disown my son for marrying someone. What was it that his mum took such offence to? Whatever it was he is clearly now trying to mend bridges with his family. What caused the NC between him and his mum?
I do sympathize with how you feel that he is more considerate about his m and s. It would really annoy me too. But It seems to me that he feels he has to prove his affection for them, but perhaps thinks you must know what he feels for you without the proof of those kinds of gifts. If that is so, and you accept he does love you (but is a bit thoughtless about demonstrating it to you in that respect) could you not just tell him what you want for birthdays etc? Or just buy it for yourself? Sorry if I’ve missed a description of how you organize finances, but I would say let him do what he likes with his own money, but YOU should not sub his family, nor should any of that the money you have in a joint account for joint expenses be used for them, either. Good luck.
God I hate mothers like this, I would never expect my children to put me before their life partner.
Did you say she is having problems with her partner and SHE nearly had an affair, wtf why does everyone know this?
Why do so many mothers who are self entitled and who put partners before their own children growing up always end up being put on a pedastal by the very people who they abused?
Don't listen to her crap anymore, who buys flowers and cards for mothers and sister on Valentines Day, what mother expects this?
Oh and I bet she love the language of love with presents when she's getting £600.00 watches.
She sounds basically selfish, distance yourself from his family they sound horrible and grossly unfair, which you will no doubt see more of in the years to come.
By the way does she own her own house, maybe he is doing it up to keep his investment going, and also if her partner isn't his dad, she may be using that as leverage as step children may be also wanting a cut of the house.
Don't give any more savings to his mother for bathrooms etc.
She sounds like she has messed with his head big-time.
I'm not sure you will ever be able to compete with her. She is possesive and that's why he has this guilt that he cannot allow himself to have anything nice. Because she will find out and be jealous.
This also includes you. He cannot treat you better than her because he is unconsciously afraid of her finding out.
He has to keep showing his mother that she 'owns' him. If he doesn't her feelings will be hurt and his entire family will suffer as a result of that. She's a piece of work.
You can see why the other female partners got driven away.
You will have to put your foot down and tell him. Have a serious talk with him.
But the mother dynamic may be too strong for him to break. It'll come down to how much you can tolerate if he cannot change.
This is exactly what’s been happening these past few months but I don’t want to sound like a bitch so never say anything regarding it. I want to talk about it but he gets so defensive about them it’s unbelievable, so don’t really know how to bring it up.
I think the biggest issue here isn't the presents, as hurtful as that is to you. It's the fact he's earning equally but not contributing equally to the renovations of your house. Your spending your savings and your income on renovations, this increases the value of both your shares of the marital property and yet he's not putting any money in.
He should be contributing 50% to the cost of renovations. Instead he wants to use joint savings to replace a 5 year old bathroom at his mums house. I could understand if she was having problems accessing the bathroom and needed renovations because of frailty or disability or if the bathroom was really old. I would not be happy if DH was putting joint funds into replacing his mums 5 year old bathroom when he couldn't manage a contribution to renovations of your joint asset. If you pay all the renovations out of your income you're literally handing over 50% of the renovation cost to him by increasing the value of his share in the joint asset while he goes on spending on whatever he wants.
I have a lot of sympathy for you OP. I think Attila’s word, ‘enmeshed’ is a key one here. It sounds like an unhealthy dynamic between him and his mum (and sister) but to a lot of people it will be viewed as natural family affection, and of course as the newcomer to the family, it’s easy for him to dismiss your views or cast you as the problem.
Sadly I think men who are tied to their mother’s apron strings like this are not good husbands and protectors, and tend to toe the line with their mothers when it comes to it. I have been there (and now pursuing a divorce). I ended up paying for our wedding because my DH had put himself into debt to pay off his mum’s mortgage. I should have left then. Looking back it would never have worked as he didn’t see there was any problem with her over involvement in his life and hostility to me - easier for the family to blame it on me.
If I were you, I’d veto any of the bathroom work and book yourselves into couples counselling and hope that a counsellor might make him more aware of what’s going on here.
OP - your post reads quite strange as it’s so self-centered. ‘My anniversary’; ‘my house’, ‘my love language’
And it’s all seems to be about gifts and your disappointment with them.
You don’t seem to mention what gifts you have your H - for the anniversary you forgot, or his birthday... As your love language is gifts - and you make similar wage - then gift giving must go both ways?
Apart from that - it does seem strange that only one of you is saving and investing into jointly purchased house. Do you not pull you finances together and/or have a budget of sorts?
Please login first.