My daughter, 29, married a longtime best friend. Things were great until after the baby arrived. My son-in-law turned into another person.
My daughter's a hard worker, fantastic mother, and a good wife. She's not perfect, but he overreacts to small things. Example - after working a 10-hour day, coming home to the baby, laundry, cooking, and THEN leaving dishes in the sink until the next day (her day off), he didn't talk to her for days!
He spends money, as he pleases. No joint decisions. If she tries to discuss it, he goes silent. He insisted they buy the expensive house they couldn't really afford and wouldn't look at other houses, so he got her to sign.
Now he wants to put on an expensive addition, which they can't afford. He said she could leave if she didn't like it, but she wasn't taking his son.
Recently, in my presence, he harangued her to find another job and change careers. His parents were haranguing her along with him.
My daughter's waiting for him to get established in his new career, and then she'll make changes.
Should I have said something while there?
My daughter cried today, saying she doesn't understand why he's changed.
He's a hard worker and loves his child. I used to love him. Now he's a controlling, petty tyrant. And I worry what'll happen when his son gets a mind of his own, because it isn't allowed.
Your SIL has become a bully, because he comes from bullies. Once he became a husband and father, he followed the role model of his parents' aggressive, controlling behaviour, which they still use.
The serious worry is that her husband would turn on her worse, should you take him on. There are red flags that he could become physically abusive, beyond the current emotional abuse. You need to help her in the safest, most effective way.
She needs multiple supports - legally and emotionally. She should talk privately to a family law lawyer, about her rights to joint custody of their son, (at the least), if the couple separates.
She should see a therapist alone (again, privately) even if he'll also go with her for couples' counselling (doubtful) to learn how to resolve conflicts.
She must draw on inner resources and decide when she's had enough of his miserable treatment. Stay very connected.... she may soon need you to get her and the child to a safe place.
I'm mid-50s, in a one-year committed relationship with a man, 60s. We'd been discussing marriage or living together, until he recently spiraled into a clinical depression.
I find the condition very difficult to understand, his fears and worries don't make sense to me. A close friend said to consider this an opportunity to seriously consider slowly extricating myself out of the relationship.
She says one is never cured from depression and if I stay, it's years of walking on egg shells and playing nurse and caregiver.
Get informed specifically rather than listen to know-it-alls. If your boyfriend allows, talk to whoever is in charge of his treatment, to assess his prognosis. Or do some research.
But look into yourself as well. Relationships started in late middle age will always be open to illness and life changes of one kind or another. If you're not prepared to be a true partner during the hard times, you're certainly not the right companion for this man now.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young woman whose emotionally distant boyfriend called her "insecure"
Reader - "He was never in a serious relationship with her nor was she ever in his future plan. All the signs were there, e.g. refusal to know her friends and (most especially her) relatives.
"I say, if the guy really cares for you, even during the early stage of the relationship, you'd be a part of his life as a girlfriend. Look in the mirror and ask yourself - am I good enough for him? NO! So cut your losses and run. "Run! Run!
"How do I know? I see the guy (or the girl) in the mirror everyday!"
I get your point that she should move on, but with a far more self-confident chat with her mirror image:
Is HE good enough for me? No! He's treating me shabbily and I'm too good for that!
Tip of the day:
Stay close to an adult child who's in an abusive situation and be prepared to intervene when it's needed.