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Gave up due to DH's family that always comes first?

9 replies

ttiredandgaveup · 14/07/2017 05:23

Here it is 4 years of relationship, a month ago bought a new house in preparation for our new family... Well, not anymore.

I am 37 and DH 38, met 4 years ago. I saw troubling sings early on, e.g. when we just started dating, a couple of times he mentioned "you know what they say, who you remember last before you die? always your mother". Weird, but dismissed as a silly thing to say.
Then her first visit to his house during our first weekend together. She spoke to him on Friday night when he picked me up (don't even ask how OFTEN she called him in early days) knowing that i'd be staying there. Shows up on Sat morning unannounced, doesn't knock, just walks in downstairs. I am sitting in my underwear in the lounge. DH sprints of his chair, jumps around me like a kid caught out "quickly put your clothes on, quickly put your clothes on!" and rushes me to bedroom, whilst sprinting downstairs to greet his mom. I am in shock, "what did I just walked into" kind of thing, started packing my bag (i was meant to stay for the weekend, but didn't quite feel right....). He comes in, sees that, tried to talk to me while she is calling him 5? 10? times, basically wouldn't let us talk. He asks me to stay so we can talk. When she is gone, comes and says that she has been always like that, he had seen a counselor about it, who suggested he needs to distance himself from her. I explained that it was strange to see him being talked to like that, he calls her and says "don't talk to me like that anymore". Probably the only time i personally saw he stood up for himself and, really, for us. Then come 3-4 months of whenever i picked up a ringing phone and her saying "can i talk to DH's NAME please" (no hello). I respond "Hi MIL NAME, This is NAME, how are you?" Response "yeah, can i talk to DH's NAME please". Eventually I gave up with trying to be acknowledged. Before I came on the scene, by the look of it, she stayed in the house often. I went away on a business trip. She comes to stay at the house saying that she had to stay there as she had a fight with the FIL. FIL comes in the morning to help with the house (building), DH asks him about it, FIL knows nothing about the fight...

There are endless and endless stories of meddling, intrusive, manipulative, abnormal, verbally abusive behaviour towards myself and my family: how she'd call on my birthday but would refuse to say "Happy Birthday", and then said Happy Birthday for 2 weeks in a raw when saw or spoke to me; how she would make comments that i don't have a family anymore (my own mum started struggling with a drink about 1.5 years ago, so I suppose not a worthy mum anymore and it's ok to point it out), how she would propose to DH that I am wanting to leave him, but don't know how to do it (he was quite upset when he told me this); calls to DH after her phyc consultations and bad-mouthing FIL and how she wants to divorce him (I stopped that, DH loves his dad very much and his dad is a nice man, it took me a while, but i managed to explain to my DH how wrong it was on her part to call her kids and badmouth their father whom they love very much). Calls to organise a birthday celebration for her daughter at our house and insists that we only have cakes and tea. (That's another thing - every birthday is celebrated with the family, it's always cakes and tea) When I stood my ground that in my house I will be hosting the way i was brought up and i will be cooking a proper roast for lunch, she first tried to put pressure on DH, when she didn't get her way through DH, came for lunch and didn't touch food. Gossip about everyone, negativity about all, hates her mother. My DH says: "Her mother was horrible to her" - to this day he is unable to produce any information as to how exactly his grandmother was horrible to his mother. BIL's wife is bad, "for the way she treats my mom". "What do you mean?" No answer.

I tried to work it out: I cooked in the very beginning, that was always turned down, cleaned her house twice, helped in the garden, tried being civil, tried talking to DH about setting boundaries, tried to set them myself. Then she got breast cancer, now she beat it and if no signs in the next 3 years - we are all clear. I don't mean to be insensitive, but OMG the cancer lifted the status to a saint!

MIL is a severe hoarder, e.g. lounge room is a storage room for furniture and things from the street , spare bedroom is a storage room for hard rubbish from the street. The most anti-sanitary I have ever seen - when she got sick, i cleaned her house twice, arranged her wardrobe, cleande onsuite an second batheroom. She was greatful -actually relationship started getting a touch better, but then... When she got cancer she started compulsively describing EVERY procedure, EVERY GP, Specialist, Surgeon visit, EVERY injection/support group meeting/every device - all of it when she got cancer. She goes to GP, she calls all kids one by one, to tell the same story about a procedure. I couldn't listen to it, this is not normal to me (my own mum had 7 surgeries in the past 2 years, not necessary everyone knows about it) and so I again fell out of favour. Even when I had a mini surgery (my cat scratched my wrist real bad, got infected), she came for a visit and the only thing anyone was talking about was the cancer or something about the cancer - which now has been in remission for 6 months.

Fastforward to where we are at now. After comments that I am a disappointment and do not meet expectations of her family and verbal abuse towards my family which were made on the phone to me, while my DH was at her house at Easter, I broke down. He said he spoke to her. While i probably would have expected him to leave after someone wipes their feet with his wife like that. I refused to have a relationship with her, my GP endorsed that and suggested for the DH to seek counselling as well as for myself. I have spoken to him about it, it's been 3 months, he didn't seek it, as he has no time. We are truly very busy with the new house, but not to have time for breaking relationship? I can't understand this. She called every second day to DH saying we need to resolve this (never a call to me), until finally i insisted that there is nothing to resolve, she needs to let it go, all I need is some space and it will resolve itself in few months organically. FIL came out and spoke to me, until that day, he never heard my side at all.

Last week BIL's wife invited the family to an exhibition in the city and then cafe. DH said we'd go for the exhibition but will not go to cafe as I can't sit. (I unfortunately got very sick about 2 months ago, long story, but in pain constantly hemorrhoids stage 3, can't sit, can't drive, etc. No insurance means public, means waiting. I am not irresponsible, i had insurance, DH got a new job with awesome insurance, switched me over and when he left, I completely forgot to switch back. Now with over 6 months not having insurance, it means only public access to healthcare.) Anyhow, made an effort came out to the exhibition. MIL and FIL didn't, they showed up and met us after the exhibition. When we were ready to leave, DH turns around and starts insisting on us staying for a coffee knowing I can't sit down! BIL's wife hints to him, "i understand, not much you want to do when you are in pain". BIL says "gotta take care of your girl". He stays behind, i am miserable went to a tram stop, caught a tram to get back to the parked car, and had to drive (can't tell you how painful that was!). I went to our old apartment we are currently renovating and started painting. He came in an hour later and i decided that's it. Last week i worked from home mostly so i can lay down when I need to.

I am still confused but i am thinking to myself: i could have dealt with her toxicity if it's 2 of us facing the world, but somehow i feel alone. Right now, really alone. My family is overseas, they don't speak English. My mum and grandma said a number of times "we love DH (they accepted HD as their son), but what do we get in return? Some strange woman treating you like this?" They feel powerless with no language and far away not being able to stand up for me.

Couple of mentions: the day of the exhibition was an anniversary of my dad's death (suicide, i, my brother and step mom found him. horrendous experience) which DH knows about. Last year I asked him not to leave me on that day, but he did - he went to look after his mom (she had been going for 4 months into chemo and they never left her at home alone), when other kids took his father for a movie to give him a break. I asked if this could be scheduled for another week, no. After a conversation, DH said he'd never leave me on that day again and a year later he did exactly that except i was now also sick. Irony: now it seems that i will remember this anniversary date as also a date of my break up.

Whether I am right or wrong in how I am feeling, right now i am feeling alone, miserable, kicked down to the ground, not being able to get up. Sooo soryy for long message (didn't realise... before i previewed it!), thank you for reading and any advice...

OP posts:

Shoxfordian · 14/07/2017 05:58

Sounds like such a difficult situation OP
Your partner isn't interested in standing up for you against his mother though and I doubt he ever will be. I think you should consider leaving him.


HashiAsLarry · 14/07/2017 06:53

Sadly this is the old MN line. You don't have a MIL problem, you have a DH problem.

FWIW xH had a very similar relationship with his DM, and eventually it broke us. He wasn't willing to put boundaries in, so therefore wouldn't regardless of the outcome. Leaving was the best thing I did, although it was hard. No DC there thankfully too.

I think you need to decide what you want to do at this stage. It sounds like either leaving him or giving him a final ultimatum. BUT if you do go down that route, make sure you're willing to follow through or nothing is likely to change.

Good luck


ttiredandgaveup · 21/07/2017 02:40

Thank you both for the advice. I am glad to see i'm not going mad and truly appreciate your support. I decided to give it one more go.

We spoke of the few disturbing episodes I described above, he says sorry. I asked him is "sorry" enough to mend a breaking relationship? Are you happy with just "sorry" and not changing anything?

I did give the "ultimatum" in the form: "This is your family, i'm not simply a girlfriend you are dating, we lived together for 4 years, we bought 2 properties together, we were getting ready to welcome 2 little feet - this is your family. This is where your life is happening, and happening now. Your parents have their own life and someday they will be gone. Your family here is your priority".

He seems to have understood. He said you were right about other things too: e.g. chasing properties, etc. He asked me is we could take baby steps, so we are...

OP posts:

Shoxfordian · 21/07/2017 07:05

That's good you had a conversation about it

Just keep monitoring the situation and see if he is really capable of prioritising you. Hope it works out


MrMessy · 21/07/2017 08:37

Are you actually pregnant, or just planning to be in the future? if not, I would think carefully about having a baby with this man. Imagine what his mother will be like when she has a grandchild. The pressure will be ramped up, she will want to dominate and control the way you bring up your child. Don't have a baby with him unless he 100% changes his ways.


YorksMa · 21/07/2017 08:51

It's good that you've had a conversation. As others have said, your DH needs step up and change his ways. From some of the neglectful behaviour you have described, it looks from the outside doubtful that he will/can. So you must be prepared to end the relationship if it doesn't improve significantly. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. You sound like a lovely and very patient person who has tried very hard - but you can't make a relationship on your own. You deserve better than this. Sending all good wishes to you.


Questioningeverything · 21/07/2017 08:56

Oh god he sounds awful. I mean truly awful. She sounds bad but if he were supporting you like he should be it'd be minor irritation. It's like he's ganging up on you with her.

Cut your losses and run. He's honestly never going to change. You can do so much better than this stress and pain.


SomeKnobend · 21/07/2017 09:08

If you are not actually pregnant now then you are bloody mad to even be thinking about having a baby with him. It's not fair on the child, he'll be no sort of parent putting his mum first. Please stop wasting your life and leave. This is him, not just a surface habit, this is who he is as a person. He won't change.


terrylene · 21/07/2017 09:27

i could have dealt with her toxicity if it's 2 of us facing the world, but somehow i feel alone.

Tell him this, though TBH, I think he likes the 'concept' of being a free agent, but lacks any will to put it in place, beyond the first small steps. She keeps pushing him back where she wants him and he goes there. He has someone to help him and a reason to do it, but still does not get there.

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