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Need Help In Building The Bridges

Question:

My husband and I have been married for more than 2 years now. You could say ours was a love marriage, since we knew each other for a while before we got married. We were not really dating. However, the decision to get married was entirely ours.

We come from completely different backgrounds – socially, economically and even emotionally. My husband shares a very close relationship with his mother and sister which I initially thought of as a very nice thing. However, it has now started to get in the way of our relationship. Ever since the marriage, I have always dealt with unpredictable behaviour from his sister and his mother. Every time I have been faced with bad behaviour from them, I have seen that my husband has never shown any support. I have never really expected him to fight with them, but sometimes, its essential for you to stand up for your partner when they need you to show them you care and you are always there for them. These feelings of security have never come from my husband.

So, sometimes I figured it’s best to stand up for your own self. At such times, it has usually ended up in a bad or terrible fight with his mother and sister, where they even screamed and yelled at me. At these times, I have only felt more and more cornered.

I am otherwise a very outgoing happy go lucky kind of person. People also always complimented me on my confidence levels. But since the marriage, I feel like I am nobody and I feel complete lack of real love from my husband. Its emotionally stressing us out. I am also losing interest in anything I do. Every time I have tried to address my issues or my pain with my husband, mostly I have got the same reply, “there is nothing I can do as I will not go and fight with my sister or mother. I agree that they behave badly at times, but I cannot do much.” And most of the times our efforts to have a calm conversation have been in vain. It has mostly turned out to be ugly, heated arguments and at times even resulting in my husband using bad abusive language towards me. He says he has only been provoked by my constant complaints.

I just feel like running away but I know that running away is not always the solution. My husband is too possessive about his sister and mother and always feels the need to protect them, do things for them, always at their beck and call.. but I don’t feel I get the same kind of attention and care from him.

I am feeling very deprived and feel that the love is fading in our marriage. Because of our very different backgrounds, my vision of a married life is completely different to the real married life I am leading currently…. I have not been able to find fulfilment in any of my desires from being married… I am feeling completely shattered and don’t know what to do.

I am discussing of therapy sessions. Can you also please suggest a good one?

Regards

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Answer:

The title of your Email is interesting. You state that you need help in building bridges. I assume that you are referring to building bridges with your husband and his family. That makes a lot of sense. What is not clear is how your inlaws are interfering with your life? In addition, it is very unclear what you mean by their “bad behavior?”

It is said that, anywhere from two to seven years after the marriage, the romance begins to wear off and a lot of things that were over looked or taken for granted now become annoyances. At first, you admired and even approved your husband’s close relationship with his mother and sister. Now, all of that has changed. That is the kind of thing that sets in a few years after the marriage.

It seems that you need a different approach than the one you are using with him and his sister and mother. Fighting and arguing is clearly not working. The reason for that is it’s never possible to change the behavior of other people. In addition, your husband does not want to get in between you and them. That angers you but, from his perspective, he may not want to antagonize them or you by taking sides. Besides, who knows whether or not he could get them to modify their behavior.

It may be that marriage therapy is the best thing for both you and him. That way, and with the help of the therapist, you could figure out ways to navigate his sister and mother, without getting into fights with one another. In many ways, when you and he fight, his sister and mother win. Unwittingly, you may be playing their game by allowing them to manipulate the relationship you have with each other.

I am not able to refer you to a marriage therapist but I am sure you can do a search and find a good when near where you live. Certainly, it should be a licensed psychologist or licensed clinical social worker.

Whether you go to marriage therapy or not, you need to focus on your marriage and not these inlaws. Do not allow them to manipulate and the way to do that is to avoid that type of fight with your husband. It sounds lile the two of you need to re kindle your relationship by doing some fun and romantic things together.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • Cyndi

    i agree completely with Dr.Schwartz's response. I have been married for 14 years and live my husband so very much. His daughter who is now 34 years old has constantly been manipulatI've and controlling by trying to monopolize her fathers attention. Strategically timing her phone calls and talking for hours. He does not deal with the behavior even when she is verbally or physically hurtful to me. As time goes on it has lessened my perception of him as a man. His inability to set boundaries with this emotionally disturbed daughter has taken a significant toll on our marriage. I have tried to treat her with understanding as though she were my own child ( she is 1 of our 6 daughters). My husband seems to view this daughter as needing him in her life MORE than the 9 year old daughter we have that is still living at home. Bridges I have tried to build are either burned or boobytrapped by this daughter. The problem is NOT the daughter. The problem IS how my husband interacts with her. All behavior and actions are tolerated and forgiven because "that's just her". Less offensive and abusive behavior he does not tolerate from a 8 year old who truly needs him to be present and active in her life. You can not change people or make them love you. Your choice is whether you live your husband, as imperfect as we all are, or allow your marriage to be ruined by someome who would delight in your marriage failing. It sucks either way, I know, but would life be better without him in it? Best of luck, it sounds like you love him with or without s spine.

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