Husband Doesn't Take His Wife's Side When There Is Tension with Her in-Laws
A woman narrated how her husband sides with his parents whenever there is tension between her and them and sought Annalisa Barbieri's advice.
The Guardian's Anna Barbieri advised a woman who complained about her husband not taking her side whenever she had issues with her in-laws.
According to the woman, her husband is southern-European, and his parents reside abroad. Soon after they welcomed their eldest child, the woman's mother-in-law began to attack her verbally, complaining about how she was raising her daughter.
Months after that episode, the woman and her husband invited both their families for Christmas. Again, her mother-in-law attacked her. This time, she told the woman she was not treating her husband well.
She said her son was tired and overworked and was doing too much housework. This complaint greatly perplexed the woman's family. After that episode, her husband reduced his contact with his mom.
The husband accepted she was out of line with her comments but insisted that she meant well. Six years have passed since that incident, and the woman's relationship with her mother-in-law has become tense.
She never apologized for her comments and was still invited to her son's house two or three times a year. However, the woman did not make any effort to get along with her.
The woman said her mother-in-law is hardly interested in her grandkids but always wants to hug and kiss her son.
The woman explained that she would like her children to meet their grandma and know about that side of their culture, but she cannot accept her mother-in-law anymore.
She further explained her father-in-law and mother-in-law were divorced and that her situation with the former is different. They do get along fine but had some cultural differences, which also caused their relationship to be tense.
Her father-in-law is very traditional and expects everything to revolve around him whenever he visits. He wants to decide what and when they eat and usually gets offended when he does not have his way.
The woman observed her in-laws' character has changed in recent years. Although they still visit their grandkids, they spend most of the time talking to their son. She usually speaks with her husband about the situation when they are alone.
However, whenever his parents are around, he becomes a child again, meaning they are in charge whenever they come. This situation has played into her mother-in-law's hands.
She has started manipulating things between the woman and her husband and did things to annoy the woman on her most recent visit. The woman said her mother-in-law is hardly interested in her grandkids but always wants to hug and kiss her son.
The woman noted that she can tolerate her in-laws' visits but cannot forgive her husband for not standing up to them when he needs to, as he is always focused on pleasing them whenever they are around.
She believes the situation will get worse and does not know how to change things. The woman also said she and her husband always try to avoid conflicts but feels her in-laws walk right over him.
The problem for her now is that she and her husband were to host Christmas dinner again, and she did not want to continue in the same manner.
Barbieri said she foresaw a potentially explosive situation at the family dinner and insisted that the woman and her husband must act united. She also consulted with a family psychotherapist, Tony Manning.
Manning advised that the woman and her husband should set reasonable boundaries they both agree to. Hence, she must talk to him when things are calm to understand why he acts the way he does.
Manning further said the woman cannot change her mother-in-law but advised her and her husband to modify their reactions and behaviors to deal better with the situation.
Here's another interesting story about a woman who refuses to go to her brother's wedding after he told her not to bring her husband.