Every year my family goes to the cottage and I usually go for a few days with my two daughters.
My husband limits his time there to one or two nights as there’s a lot of drama between him and my family every year.
Last January, my older sister told me that my husband wasn’t allowed at the cottage this year – it’s "No Boys Allowed."
My husband’s the only male (my sisters and mom are single).
This led to my husband and I telling my older sister and mom that they can only invite my entire family to an event, or none of us.
That was two months ago. My mom has ignored me since, and my older sister argues/fights with me about it repeatedly.
She’ll not back down and tries to convince me that she’s correct.
My husband and I decided that our family needs group counselling and I set up an appointment.
Yesterday, my mom asked to have dinner at my house. She met us at the park and immediately wanted to discuss the situation.
She demanded that my husband speak to her. He said he wasn't interested as it wasn’t appropriate to discuss this at the park with our kids.
I was forced into discussing the topic in a place where other families we know were also around.
It was embarrassing. My kids picked up on it, as it quickly became a heated argument.
My mom left the park very upset and told me not to contact her.
But it had started with her supporting the actions of my older sister who slighted my husband.
We’ve tried to resolve this issue through our own discussions. Now we feel that group therapy, which I booked, is needed.
How can we proceed and not have our family fall apart? My mom has threatened to cut me out of her life.
Go to counselling first, as a couple.
You and your husband need to come to your own decision how you’ll handle your older sister’s attitude towards him.
No matter how the others try to justify the “no-boys” ruling, there’s the ongoing issue of hostility between that sister and your husband, plus your mother’s control-based support of it.
Once you and he firmly understand, through therapy, what your own reaction will be to further moves to exclude him – even if you have to forego cottage gatherings - you can tell the rest of the family that you’d all benefit from attending as a group.
I’m aware of the emotions and attachments that a family cottage can create. It seems that your eldest sister believes that she has priority on decisions there, and your mother backs her.
There’s likely family history to this scenario (and likely sibling jealousies and power plays from the past).
This current drama, however, may be a turning point for your own immediate family.
If the others won’t accept counselling, you may find that renting a week at a cottage with just your husband and children, or staying several days at a lakeside family resort, may be a new and more satisfying tradition.
FEEDBACK Regarding a man’s reaction to his new wife’s past as an exotic dancer and escort (June 12):
Reader – “I, personally, not only wouldn’t regret her past but I’d embrace it. She’d be bringing tons of experience to our relationship.
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FEEDBACK Regarding the man who complained about his “sexless” marriage (June 7):
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Don’t Judge the Blamed
Tip of the day:
When siblings dictate who cannot visit the family cottage, it’s time to decide if the drama is worth it.