Help needed, please read(24 Posts)
I am finding myself in a very awkward situation and I would like your feedback as to how I should tackle this. It’s a long post but I beg you to please read it and share your opinion.
I am a Slovenian girl, married to a Maltese and living in Malta. We have a 3 year old son who attends kindergarten. I have no Slovenian family here, I work full time….all in all a pretty stressful situation. But I am coping the best I can.
Recently I was discussing with my Maltese husband the possibility of sending the little one for a couple of weeks over the summer holidays, to my family in Slovenia to spend some time with his relatives there and then my mother would bring him back and spend more time in Malta with us. I’m not going to go into details, to save you ladies some time…..but hubby and I can’t agree on this as he tells me that the little one is too young to stay away from us. Again, I will not list here the pro and cons of this argument as it’s not the reason I’m bringing this up.
Yesterday, a friend of mine drew my attention to a post on Facebook, which was visible on her page. I am certain that this “Slovenian” girl mentioned in this post is me and the “friend from Paola” is my husband. This post was some by Maltese guy and it goes like this (obviously, names were changed for privacy):
Maltese Guy on FB: I have friend from Paola and he asked my opinion. Please can you help him and give your own opinion, advise or suggestion to him too.
"Suppose you are married to a Slovenian girl and have a three year old child. You are Maltese and settled in Malta. Your wife decides to take the child to Slovenia and leave him there alone with his Slovenian grandparents (whom he meets just a few days a year) for a whole week or more. What will your reaction be? What will you do? Your advice and opinion will be greatly appreciated."
And here are all the replies to this post:
A 1• I would tell your friend to settle this matter with his wife as intelligent adults do. No need to implicate the whole wide world, or publish on Facebook something that only concerns him and his wife.
• I'll hire a lawyer who's good at family cases and international law.
• A2 - Unfortunately the World Wide Web is full of fora with people facing the same predicament; not that i agree with people spilling their beans over the Web but these people exist. Anyways while everyone is in discord about the matter, there is a complete lack of Scientific information.. The best advice is that your friend takes an open minded impartial decision with his wife without external influences. The latter seem to be more damaging to the family unity and hence the children than any other event. The damage done to families by external influences is scientifically proven.
•Maltese Guy on FB - I agree that was the intention of this missile. Thanks for your advice. My friend will appreciate it.
Maltese Guy on FB - I have done so as my friend really trust me and thus I did not mention his or her name or dates. Meanwhile I happen to know the child personally and know him inside out and can judge his attitude quite well,,but I never decide without taking adequate advise from other people who know or from just one person. Then it is up to my friend and his wife without any direct external influence ( whoever it may be) to decide and face the music.
• A1 - Still, whether you know the child or not you should not interfere as the parents know better and can take the decision alone.
A3- Minor observation, Maltese Guy on FB, this post has public visibility which means that it's not just your facebook friends who can see it but anyone who finds himself here. This post will also show up on the timeline of anyone who likes or comments on it.
Maltese Guy on FB- you are right I never interfere but give advise to my friends ( apart from my children) and there is nothing to be ashamed of to show one;s opinion so others can reflect on it. But I must register my belief so that nobody can point at me accusingly in the future.
• Maltese Guy on FB - Thanks A3 that is why I kept names and dates out of it.
• A1- posting this publicly can be considered very much as interfering and even bullying.
• Maltese Guy on FB - I have done this so that my friend can see what others say before taking a final decision. In fact my friend knows quite well that I do not bully others as I have other means of persuading if needed..This is not a debate between us two.. In fact I am not going to put my impression forward. As I have said before I meant others to do so, thus leaving my friend to decide with his wife with all suggestions and advice put forward by others in the background Meanwhile thank you for your help and suggestions. My friend will appreciate them.
• A1 - I wouldn't trust a person who is looking for advice on public sites instead of resolving the issue with his wife. And when his friend thinks this helps, he is very wrong! This could cause real damage to the family relationship.
• Maltese Guy on FB - You may be right but not everybody thinks so. In fact my friend, being trustworthy , humbly prefers to hear other people's suggestion, before deciding, instead of being forced by somebody else to act accordingly,
• A3 - If it were my friend, I would just remind him that such decisions are up to the couple to agree upon and no one else's let alone something to put to a public vote.
And in all fairness, had it been me to ask a friend for a personal opinion and that friend went ahead and posted my concerns on facebook I would take a hard look at that friendship and my friend's motivation.
• Maltese Guy on FB - A3 as you have seen I have been careful not to mention names so as all replies will not be personal but in bona fde a means of help.This was not meant as public vote nor motivated by other intentions but as frank discussion whereas advice and suggestions will be brought forward so that , as you rightly said., the couple will finally decide between themselves what to do.
• A3 - I'll ask you a slightly different question Maltese Guy on FB. Let's say I have a Maltese friend married to a German girl and they live together in London with their daughter. Their daughter only gets to see her grandparents on either side of the family for a few days a year. Should my friends let the kid spend a week or two over holidays at the Maltese grandparents where they can enjoy daily trip to the beach? Should they likewise let the girl spend a week or two with the maternal grandparents enjoying the Bavarian countryside? I am also assuming that the grandparents on either side of the family would like to give our hypothetical couple a week to themselves away from child duties.
• Maltese Guy on FB- Sorry A3 for my late reply... As for your question it is the same one I asked with a difference of a girl instead of a boy. I have my own opinion but I preferred to hear others to give their own idea and experience about what criteria has to be taken into consideration when discussing this problem without being too personal ,so that I could evaluate my own as wether they are too avant garde or outdated before passing my own advice to my friend as to how to proceed in deciding it with his wife.
• A1 - Judging by the “large” number of opinions offered on this thread, people seem to feel uncomfortable to offer their advice on a matter that concerns ONLY the couple involved. I pity that couple, as it now has to deal with whatever issues this post created.
• Maltese Guy on FB- They shied away as certain individuals scared them away...but will try again if you wish. However the couple mentioned have learned to shoulder the consequences I hope. Good luck to the child concerned,
• A1 - I would think that the only thing the couple could learn from this is how damaging it is to have others discussing their predicament on a social network. Have you wondered about how the wife might feel seeing all this displayed on Facebook without being asked for permission?
• Maltese Guy on FB- As long as her name was not mentioned ( and I did my best to leave anonymous) and she did not try to show it or put in clues to it ,she would be immune to any splashing and would certainly enjoyed hearing other views discussed democratically without direct interference..but there is always...............
• A3 - Certain prejudices hit a nerve with many of us in relationships with 'foreigners'. I've had girlfriends being referred to as 'she's ok for a xxxxxxx' or 'be careful because foreigners don't share our same values'' and assorted other cringeworthy comments as if Malta is some moral authority and yardstick by which propriety or simply humanity in general should be judged.
• Maltese Guy on FB - Dear A3 you are totally out of context.....we are not discussing the value and qualities of foreign brides or bridegrooms ( I also have a "foreign" daughter in law of whom I can vouhcsafe and laud as if she was my own daughter ). So please if you have any criteria on how this couple can discuss this question between them ( eg age, personality of child, distance of countries involved and airlines avaliable in case of emergency etc) pleaes do put them forward. If not let others do so. Thanks again for your co-coperation.
end of FB post
I agree with the FB posters who are saying he should be discussing it with his wife (you). This is something for you to agree between the two of you as you have joint responsiblity for the wellbeing of your child.
I can, however, understand why he's asked for opinions - I wouldn't do so myself on FB, but that's his choice. I can also understand his concern. Your child is only 3 years old and only sees your family for a few days a year. I'd be very unsure about leaving a 3 year old of mine with people they hardly know.
Of course it would be lovely for your son to have a close relationship with his GPs, but that will take time and I'm sure you wouldn't want him to be distraught and upset at being away from you for several weeks, which is a distinct possibility.
whattodoforthebest2, thank you for your reply. My mother comes to stay with my son as often as she can, she was here for 3 weeks in December/January and will be here for another month in July, probably again until the end of the year. So my son, who is almost 4, is used to her. Last year we spent almost 2 months in total at my mum's. He is very comfortable with her and I do not worry that he will be distraught. And if this would indeed happen, I can always take the next flight available to pick him up.
But this is not the point of my post here, as I do not wish to discuss this. I will decide/ agree with my husband.
What shocked me was the post of this Maltese Friend. What right does anyone have to post something like this on a social network, knowing very well that this could be easily seen by the persons concerned. Afterall on FB, there's friends and friends of friends, etc. And it was even more distressing to see his arguments.
It was also an unpleasant surprise for my husband, who did not expect his friend to post this online. The sad thing is that my husband does not want his friendship affected by this post so he prefers to stay quiet about it, despite the fact that this bothers me so much.
all in all a pretty stressful situation. But I am coping the best I can.
I have not read, and am not interested in the face book stuff, about your original post, there is absolutly nothing inherently stressful about anything you have told us about your situation, and your child is FAAAAAR to young to send away to strangers.
is there more? ( I don't mean more FB, FB is irrelevant)
In some cultures it's totally normal to do this and in some it's an alien concept. Especially I think in the immigrant population. I'm an immigrant myself and have lots of friends who are immigrants. They have moved to another country to work and improve their lives for the future. And that is Argentina this focus.
My own mother went recently to visit a friend at her home after the friend had just returned from visiting her ds and his wife in another country. The friend had brought the baby with her to the UK to look after him. After six weeks she took him back home again.
It's particularly ironic that you have chosen to publish, globally on an open site, FB messages which begin with advice that this is a matter best dealt with privately not published for all to see.
There is not necessarily a right or wrong here. And I have no difficulty with the idea of small children staying with competent grandparents for a while in the holidays.
But I think that the DH is showing more maturity here.
And the female 'friend' is presumably still pretty young (you refer to her repeatedly with the term 'girl'). But even allowing for that, she may well be horrified that you have posted what appears to be a direct quotation from her DH's FB. People might assume that you have done this with her permission (or even that you are she), and that makes her look passive-aggressive, fairly unpleasant, and definitely loses any sympathy for her side.
In some cultures it's totally normal to do this
something can be "culturally normal" and still be damaging. As a teacher I deal with the fall out from this sort of arrangement all the time. The negative repercussions can last decades.
Ladies, thank you all for taking the time to read and post your thoughts. Much appreciated.
Here is the truth, and I apologize if I offended anyone here. It was only done with the intention to understand what others think of such involvement. However, the situation here is much different.
I am not Slovenian, however European. I chose the nickname because of what my father in law posted on FB. Yes, he is my father in law, and he decided to give me a lesson and post the message about the Slovenian girl on FB, knowing very well I will see it, and obviously reply.
The problem here is that my husband’s parents are interfering a lot in our relationship. This all started over 4 years ago when I got pregnant with my 2 boys (yes, twins). Since I don’t have any family here, they are helping out, albeit with a lot of conditions and interfering too much in our decision and life in general. My DH is the only son and won’t do/say anything that would upset them. He didn’t even react to his father’s post on FB. As a result, I am constantly fighting with DH about his parents’ interference and control tactics.
As regards the matter of the children being sent abroad, it is indeed a cultural matter, as Savoy Cabbage mentioned above, and I do not wish to debate this here as there would be a million different opinions about it. Just as an example, my own mother came to Malta alone with my sister’s daughter ever since she was about 7 months old, for 1-2 months at a time. She is now 11 years old, perfectly normal and loving both her parents and grandparents. She will come again this year with my mother only, as she will have summer holidays and her parents both work full time. Her parents will have a break, she will get to spend time with her aunt and cousins, enjoy the sun and the beach in Malta for a whole month. And going back home, she would love her parents just as much.
something can be "culturally normal" and still be damaging.
I think my contstant fight with DH over his parents interefernce will damage the children much more than spending some time with loving grandparents, aunties and cousins.
I think you and you dh need to come to a agreement. There's really nothing else to advise.
The problem is that I cannot come to any agreement with DH as long as his parents keep interfering. I am under a lot of stress because of their constant interference but DH thinks it’s my fault because I let them and their actions affect me. Even though he agrees they are not right to do so, even though their interference damages our relationship, he will not stand up to them.
I understand what you are saying. Your problem is the fact that your PILs are interfering in your relationship.
Personally I think it is your husband who needs to deal with this. however, as you have said that he doesn't want to get involved, I would be tempted to say something to you father in law, asking him to not post on FB about your marital problems and to mind his own business!
This is exactly what I was telling DH in the car this morning. “If you don’t speak to them, I will. Do you want me to do that?” He just shuts up….. I avoid speaking directly to PIL because I know how they would react, hell would break loose. I am really bothered by the fact that DH lets things degenerate between us. For the past 4 years there have been fights on and off, I am going through depressive periods, we’ve been seeing a counselor together….however he would do nothing to stop his parents from interfering.
After the FB post I was extremely depressed, I cried a lot and was thinking of the worst, and what a bad mother I am, because the depression makes me snap at my children out of nothing. I asked a friend for the contact details of a psychologist she was seeing but I sometimes wonder if instead I should see a lawyer……I don’t want my children to suffer
I really really really feel that dumping children long term on distant relatives is a seriously bad idea. I deal with the fall out in schools every day! I have many adult friends who have never recovered, and know many families where the dumped child is adequately cared for , and treated with affection, but very definitely a second class citizen. Caring for a child is an huge undertaking, and can't be shifted round the family lightly, for the convenience of the parents. A child needs to feel that their mum is wholeheartedly committed to them. A short visit, fine, but for a three year old, overnight is going to be plenty, and then only if they know those relatives very well, and are comfortable with them.
Charis1 I respect your opinion, however, as someone mentioned here before, this all depends on culture. Secondly, the children would be with their maternal grandparents, aunties, cousins, etc. My mother spends weeks at a time with us in Malta, so they are very comfortable with her. More than with the paternal grandparents, who look after them when they finish school but never had them overnight or weekend, to give us a short break.
And my rant here , is all about the interference of the PIL and the attitude of DH who would rather see me depressed and fighting with him then set boundaries with his own parents.
Wow there's some nasty people on here. Nobody knows who she is on here, it's a place where you can choose to be completely anonymous so nobody can get hurt. Putting it on facebook is a totally different thing.
OP I'd speak to your partner about what his friend has said. He might have not intended to hurt you and quite possibly only did it to help his friend but he needs to know it has upset you and maybe you should tell him in person.
On regards to sending your baby to his GPs. Only you know if he will be comfortable without you there, not people who don't know you (as I stated before it is anonymous on here). If I were you I would maybe spend a week with him before and one after just to make sure he is entirely happy.
Charis1 as a teacher (and a human being) it would be expected that you would have more empathy towards situations rather than saying 'I don't care'.
this all depends on culture. I really don't think it does depend on the culture. I have seen hundreds go through this, and everyone says !its the culture" but that doesn't make it any less harmful and damaging. Just saying it happens in this culture excuses nothing. FGM happens in some cultures!
starodyssey2015, thank you for your reply. “the friend” who posted on FB was actually my FIL posting as a “friend”, making up a story, but all hinting at my situation. Unfortunately my PIL are very nosy people who would like us to live the life they want. My husband, being the only child, is being emotionally blackmailed by them and does not stand up to them.
Their interference started when I got pregnant, 4 years ago.
They want to “help” us but on their terms only. Whether we like it or not.
I’ve been fighting with DH since then, been to couple therapy, etc……I’m going through some very bad depression spells occasionally, mostly because I fight with DH who thinks that it’s my fault because I shouldn’t let his parents’ interference affect me.
I’ve been asking DH that we find a solution together to stop relying on his parents help in any way and to stop their interference. His reply: they will always find a way to interfere.
Charis1, as I explained before, it is a cultural thing, in some cultures this is perfectly normal. I was giving you my own niece as example, who is now 11 and has been coming to Malta with my mother only ever since she was 7 months old. She loves her parents, she loves her grandparents, she is a smart and very sociable child. I would not leave my children with someone I do not trust. But my own mother whom I also consider to be my best friend, whom I know inside out and to whom I always turn for help and advise!? She brought up 2 children, fostered 1, looked after my niece…..yes, I would trust my children with her. If something happened to me, I wouldn’t trust anyone else.
My twins were born through an emergency C section, one of them spent 5 weeks in hospital before they released him home to me. After 10 days in hospital I went home with one of them, and my MIL refused to look after him even for a few hours so I could visit the other one in hospital. Since the delivery was well before due date, I didn’t have my mother here, but I didn’t worry because I thought MIL would help, as a mother herself. Hell no…..I was home after undergoing a major operation, caring for one baby, expressing milk for the other so that his father could take it to him in hospital…..whilst my dear PIL were trying to “organize” our lives. In 2 weeks, until my mother arrived, I only saw my baby boy in hospital once for 30 minutes, whilst the other one was in the car with daddy….it was the most difficult time of my life.
starodyssey2015, thank you for your
starodyssey2015, yes, my intention would be to take them to GP myself, stay a few days with them until they settle a bit and then leave...... and then, it's only a 2 hrs flight, 3 times a week...any sign of discomfort from them, I would bring them back.
It is not an easy decision for anyone to make whether your child is 3 or 23 so I can see why your husband confided in "Maltese Guy on FB". For anyone who knows you and your family, that post will be obvious who the post is about. I think your husband should talk to Maltese guy and expalin to him that, while he appreciates he was only trying to help, publishing your private lives on facebook is totally unacceptable.
as I explained before, it is a cultural thing and all I am saying is that excuses nothing. A lot of cultural things are profoundly wrong, and in my experience this i one of them.
Do you actually think your dh will ever stand up for you? Really? You need to figure out whether you can continue like this. FIL is out of order for putting that on fb.
GiddyOnZackHunt no, I gave up hoping that DH will ever stand up for me. That's why I'm considering separation and yet hoping it will be a wake up call for him. The stress of dealing with his "just ignore it, it will go away" attitude and the PIL is just too much to bear any longer.
Join the discussion
Please login first.