My Husband Chooses His Family Over Me - What Can I Do?
“Whose side are you on?”
Five little words that can ruin a relationship. All answers to this question can lead to arguments and there might even be no right answer.
When you find yourself constantly having to compete with your husband’s parents or his siblings, this signals the beginning of a difficult war that leaves your husband in a terrible position of having to choose.
Ultimatums are often a sign that something is seriously wrong and often never, ever end well.
When Your Husband Chooses His Family over You
Newly married couples face a common shift in dynamics that soap operas all over the world are famous for exaggerating:
The insufferable in-laws that are impossible to please, the son/daughter that is torn between obligation, love, and understanding their own identities in the vast chessboard that is social and familial ties.
Your husband’s family was here to rear and nurture him yesterday, to make him the partner that you admire and chose to marry today.
It’s common for children to perpetually rebel against their parent’s tradition and preferences as they form an identity for themselves in the world.
This attitude carried over into adulthood always inevitably results in the daughter or son choosing a mate their parents and extended family might shake their heads at, but accept nonetheless because their love for their son/daughter overpowers everything else.
When their new in-law steps into their daily lives, however…
Learning to Cope with Your Husband’s Decision
When your husband chooses family over you, understand that you are not at fault.
This is the hardest, yet most important step. Often, situations like these end poorly for the romantic interest, simply because people have a tendency to prioritize people they are more familiar with, have endured longer and harsher hardships with for decades than a new member of their family.
Outsiders are always easy and liable to blame in a tribe.
By marrying your husband, you marry into his family as well and subject yourself to the position of the outsider of their tribe trying to join in.
No matter the strength and ferocity of the bonds between your husband and you, it's the circumstances here that are at fault for making a dilemma that is emotionally wrenching, and that men are often unprepared to deal with.
Just as it is difficult to choose between which of your children you love more, it’s as difficult to divide time and emotional investment among competing family members.
The terrible statistics of the matter is, spouses, do indeed come and go, especially with divorce rates in the United States being what they are.
The fact is that the family is always present whereas a spouse makes up a smaller fraction of our lives.
If your husband chooses his mother over you, understand that men have a biological imperative to protect the women in their lives, and his loyalty towards his mother will prevail over logic.
When your husband chooses his siblings over you, this often occurs when one of his parents has passed or is unavailable, and he is forced to pick up the slack by negligent parents. Standing by his siblings is only a sign of empathetic, humane upbringing. It's simply unfavorable for anyone in the position of his wife, and isn't personally a slight on you, ever. Understanding that will seriously lift the frustration away.
If your husband chooses his extended family members over you, there are often complex factors at play, and as his wife, you are his equal, his significant other in life that he respects, admires, and loves.
Yet this means that he sees you capable of taking care of yourself and should the need arise, siblings, family, or weaker members of his family that demand assistance will trigger his protector instincts and make him rush to the scene to calculate who to prioritize to protect.
If you find yourself thinking, “My husband chooses his family over me all the time,” then a professional counselor can help teach him the art of balance so that no one feels neglected, ignored, or unloved. By communicating well and prioritizing better, your relationships can benefit enormously while no one feels neglected.
Women are emotionally stronger than men, and while popular stereotypes dictate that women are emotional, you’ll find that men are just as emotional, but lack the support groups to understand, organize, and think out their feelings,.This leads them to make intensely passionate, yet misdirected decisions when it comes to love and relationships.
Healthy Tips to Deal with Your Husband's Family
The healthiest way to keep the balance in these sorts of conflictual family situations is to try and set boundaries. Communication with your husband will make sure you set your priorities straight as a couple. If your goal is to build a family of your own together, you will need to make sure that the extended family as a whole, is a supportive, nurturing environment to bring your children in. And while some family behaviors can be considered normal, you want to make sure that no one is stepping over the limits you consider comfortable. There is no need to go into arguments about this, just be open and honest with how you feel and hope for the best that a compromise can be made.
For example, if your husband is very close to his mother and seems to be taking her side in most situations, this is something you need to address with him, not with her. If the relationship between mother and son becomes so dependent to the point that he becomes unable to make decisions without consulting her first, you should express your concerns, nicely. As his wife and partner, his decisions should be made in consultation with you. So if it's not the case, you must communicate this issue to him so you can regain your place by his side as his life partner. Let him know how you are feeling without sounding demanding and tell him that while you do not want to break their mother-son relationship, you would like a little bit more involvement in the decision-making process.
If his mother or any other family member makes a habit of showing up announced, communicate to him patiently that you are not comfortable with this arrangement so he can, in turn, communicate to his family that they should not expect him to be available at all times now that he has his own family, i.e. you, to take into consideration too.
In the end, accept that his family is an essential part of his life while making sure you are equally considered by all parties involved as his wife and as such, as another essential part of his life.