My husband’s 30, I’m 31, and we have three children. He’s always thinking about what his past ex-girlfriends did wrong to him.
He thinks I’m going to do the same thing. But we have a baby who’s had major surgery to worry about.
I know we’ve both stressed each other out, but he doesn’t have trust issues with anyone but me.
I love him and know he loves me. I just wish that his past didn’t affect our relationship.
Since trust is the issue, and he was cheated upon, his past is about him, not you.
Tell him that the way you’re devoted to your children is how you feel about him – you’d never leave them, and you’ll never abandon him.
If he keeps accusing you, he needs to talk to a counsellor about his own demons.
Years ago, while we lived in another city, my husband’s siblings, and mom lived with us for two years - the worst time of my life.
I battled depression during it, until my husband’s job moved to another small town several hours away. We fell in love with it.
The distance helped with handling my relationship with in-laws. I was more than willing to see all of them once a month, especially for my husband’s sake.
Now, one of the sisters and her family has moved in across the street with her family. Given what happened before, I can’t put up with them every day.
They have no boundaries and I’m unsure how to enforce any with them. This is one of the sisters who walked in on my husband and me when we were intimate.
They have two kids around our kids’ age. Meanwhile, I work full-time, am enrolled in a challenging graduate program part-time, and trying to stay on top of my kids’ needs.
I also worry about them being too strong an influence on my kids (they’re homophobic, fat-shame others, etc).
My husband is happy that they’re close by, but I’d rather divorce him than re-live those years again. He insists that since they’re in a separate house, it’ll be different.
For me, it feels like there’s a party at our house every time they have someone over.
I’m even thinking of moving, but we love our neighbors.
Instead of extreme reactions like divorce and/or leaving a place you love, look to solutions that change the situation rather than uproot you.
You’re not incapable of setting boundaries, just do it. Look at your own, your husband’s, and your kids’ schedules and then decide what you can handle as an occasional get-together with this family (for your husband’s sake).
Maybe Sunday lunch, or every other Saturday afternoon, etc. Then be clear, as in, “This is when we can be together. Otherwise, we’re busy with our own schedule.”
If you hear homophobic or other negative remarks, interrupt the conversation and say that your family doesn’t think that way.
Also, discuss privately with your own children what your own views are on bigotry, shaming, etc. and insist that those comments are not acceptable from them or anyone in your home.
I appreciate that you had a difficult period of too-much-togetherness when his family lived with you. That was then.
You’re wiser, very busy, and know what you cannot handle. So, speak up instead of running away. Your husband has the right/need to have some time with family, but it can be controlled in a practical way.
My sister invited us for Thanksgiving dinner, as always, and asked me to bring an appetizer or dessert. I’d previously said I don't like her stuffing, so offered to bring that instead. She said okay, but she’d also serve hers, which her family likes.
I then mentioned our former (unloved) stepmother, who’d never accept help in the kitchen.
My sister took offence, saying it’s best if someone else host dinner. I apologized for my comment and said she could go ahead with her dinner as planned and I’d miss this year.
Now she doesn't want to host Christmas dinner either and there’s family tension about the loss of tradition.
How do I get across that I was just trying to make the dinner more enjoyable for everyone?
You were rude. All over stuffing! Apologize again. Offer to host Christmas dinner yourself. Or tell her that if she hosts, you’ll bring whatever she wants. Period.
Tip of the day:
Hounding someone about false mistrust is sure to sour whatever’s good in the relationship.