I'm 23 and I've been with my wife for over three years, married for a year and a half.
She’s 20 and a victim of her own father molesting her. She finally came forward during her eighth grade year.
Her mother chose to believe her father, which made the court struggle immense. My wife was represented by a court-appointed lawyer, while the family spent their savings on a lawyer for her father.
He isn’t allowed to be around my wife.
She has two brothers, 17 and 15 now, and a sister, nine, all of whom still live with my wife's father.
Everyone in the family talks about him in front of us.
I'm struggling with even communicating with her family. The boys can't accept or believe their father did that.
The only thing that helps me get through a family gathering is that her father ran himself over with a water truck when my wife was a high school senior, less than three years ago.
Still, with the world pointing out the truth, her mother will never believe it.
She says "the therapist said my wife wouldn't tell the truth till she’s 25."
What can I do to feel better about my wife's family and not hate them all?
Follow your wife’s lead. If she wants and needs to be at family gatherings, then of course she also needs you along for support.
If she still communicates with her mother, and allows conversations about her father, that’s her choice. But she also has a right to change her mind about that if it bothers her, or affects you two as a couple.
Hopefully, she’s had good counselling, but it’s not surprising if she needs ongoing professional help dealing with her mother, her siblings, and what happened to her when she was so young and vulnerable.
You’d also benefit from a counselling process along with her, to decide together how to handle this as a couple.
Of course, the family’s insensitivity infuriates you. But your wife needs your understanding and love most.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who doesn’t give gifts or show appreciation on her birthdays, their anniversaries, etc. (Feb. 7):
Reader – “As a male who enjoys and appreciates the benefits in a long loving relationship, it always baffles me why many men don’t take time and effort to show appreciation.
“It doesn’t have to be grand or expensive, just show that you thought ahead and acted.
“I’m also baffled, however, by people who try to drop subtle hints (or none at all), and expect that magically, something will change.
“The husband in this case is oblivious, and so, “Uncelebrated” should skip the subtle clues and use the direct approach.
“I’m guessing that otherwise, this husband may even think that his wife prefers the way things are.”
Reader #2 – “Here’s my take: Some people need input! And subtle doesn't often cut it. In our 34-year relationship, I often choose not only the menu and the venue, but often my own gift for a special occasion. I’m never disappointed!
“Instead of making your birthday or anniversary about your dashed expectations and your partner's shortcomings, make it about taking false pressure off an otherwise great relationship.
“Do your own thing! Make a reservation, plan an evening, a weekend, whatever - and have it entirely your way!
“My mom used to buy her own birthday card and read it aloud at dinner while we all teased dad!
“It was hilarious until he started buying her cards.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband whose wife’s fitness activities keep her away from family and him (Feb. 8):
Reader #1 – “Her actions indicate she’s "escaping the marriage." Some do it by watching TV, online porn, work, running, diving into a hobby that takes them away from their spouse, etc.
“Simply telling his wife that he and the children miss her isn't going to help the situation.
“Something’s wrong with their marriage, and rather than address it, at least one of them has found a way to escape it.
“This only postpones the inevitable divorce. I'd suggest marriage counselling, as soon as possible.”
Reader #2 - “The dad carrying most of the marriage and family load to enable his activity-obsessed wife, was glib about it.
“Obsession with self and a drug, including dopamine through exercise, is typical of an addict.
“The woman needs psychological help, possibly a version of Alcoholics’ Anonymous.
Tip of the day:
The devastating crime of sexual molestation by a parent leaves long-term issues to handle.