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Thread: Left out of birthday plans

  1. #1

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    Left out of birthday plans

    Ok, I want some insight please into this situation. This has been a very trying year for my husband and I in many dimensions. I have been diagnosed with a really horrible medical condition and have been suffering a lot. We are financially going under. To top it off, I had to move in with my family in another state, because I needed access to a specific medical center as my disease is rare and help is scarce. I also needed more help taking care of our two children. It has been very hard navigating through all of this. Being a part from my husband right now is devastating. He will be joining us eventually, but it's going to take time for him to transfer jobs. One thing that I have been looking forward to is planning his 30th birthday. Everyone knows I am really big into planning events for the ones I love. So I was really caught by surprise when my husband mentioned going away with his sisters for his birthday...that they are planning something and I could come if I wanted. I felt really hurt that I, his wife, wasn't included in the planning of his 30th birthday...and that my health issues or availability weren't even considered...especially when I haven't been living in the same state as my husband for months and miss him terribly. In seven years we have had two weekend getaways for just the two of us. We have however gone on many vacations with his family or to visit them. I really want to be part of this milestone celebration. I said that I wanted to go but that medically I couldn't participate in these specific plans and had no childcare for those dates. It really honestly seems like I was only an after thought...as no effort to include me was made at all and I only heard from my husband. I personally was raised differently. I remember clearly when my mom and aunt wanted in on planning their brother's 40th birthday...they called his wife and asked her what she was doing and really would never have done anything without her. Ever since my health issues became worse I have had comments directed at me from his family that have really wounded me....such as: "You're not normal" , "It's not your husband's problem if you're sick" , "you don't do enough." Meanwhile, I have been in and out of the hospital and working my butt off to care for our one year old and four year old. When I expressed my feelings of hurt and feeling left out, nobody understood at all. If this was just a random getaway it may not hurt as much...but I feel as his wife, that I should have been involved in his 30th birthday plans and that it would be feasible for me to go. This is also a more complicated situation though. Most of my pain derives from the fact that I have barely seen my husband in months...so the timing of course is not ideal...I feel any time for leisurely travel during this trial should be to see his wife and kids or that we should be incorporated. Am I overreacting?

  2. #2
    Bronze Member Afireblue's Avatar
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    I am sorry you are going through all of this.

    If you and your husband are as close as you say you are then everything that is happening is affecting him as well. I believe that one's birthday should be about what the birthday person wants to do. You can also plan something with you and the kids, or the rest of the family if you wish, but this is his birthday and not yours.

    You are obviously going through a lot, The best thing you can do is communicate openly to him and tell him what your expectations are now that you have to be apart, but also respect that he deserves to spend his bday with his family without you.

    Also I would communicate openly with him about the comments his family makes to you regarding your illness, try to do it in a calm manner and see how he reacts. The worst thing you can do is keep it all in and end up resenting him

    I truly hope your treatment is successful and you four are reunited soon.

  3. #3
    Gold Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    That is incredibly rude. I'm referring to the comments that his family have made towards you. If he hasn't shown his support to you in response to those comments it shows total lack of sensitivity to illness or disability and disregards the marriage vows 'in sickness and in health'. At the very least, you shouldn't feel discarded or unheard just because you are ill or not capable of moving or functioning like the average person. You ARE still a person (you are no less of a person) and your thoughts and feelings do matter.

    Unfortunately I think that if your marriage is going to survive this illness it's your husband who has to make the choice to be more committed in his marriage. Everything else is white noise and what his family thinks doesn't matter. It's what he thinks that matters and how he conducts himself and balances his relationships between his family members and you and his kids. Is there any slim chance that this birthday planning fiasco has been misunderstood in any way? For example, has he mentioned in passing anywhere at any time that he would like to spend more time with his sisters? And/or has he ever reaffirmed his commitment to you or told you he loves you or showed you that he loves you in other ways?

    I ask because it's difficult to tell from the outset whether you are overreacting. If he has tried hard to transfer and knows he is transferring and is committed to your marriage in the long term and made you feel that way in every other way except for this birthday planning issue, then yes, you may be overreacting. If everything in your gut is telling you that he's got one foot out the door and the writing is on the wall and your heart is screaming that this is not what a marriage should be and you're in tears or utterly lonely and feeling unloved the majority of the time, then no, I do not think you are overreacting.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    When you brought up your disappointment that he wasn't coming home for his birthday, what did he say?

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  6. #5
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    So... my first thought was “if I wanted to take my sister out/away for her birthday, I would call my sister”. I mean... I have my brother-in-law’s number - but unless it was a surprise party, I would call her directly and tell her to bring her husband. I don’t think it was a slight against you? I don’t think you can use your own family as a benchmark. You have to use his. In general - if they call you guys for dinner or anything - do they normally call you or your husband? Is this a departure from THEIR norm and dynamic?

    I also wouldn’t consider your health or your child care plans. It would be implied in my request that you guys would work that out as a family - who would come and wouldn’t come - and respond as a unit.

    I do think the negative comments to you are rude and uncalled for and your husband should be standing up for you.

    And I do understand why you miss your husband and would want his actual bday with him (can he go away with them the weekend before or after?)

    So - mixed bag. From my point of view and family dynamic, I think you are being sensitive about some stuff and not others.

  7. #6

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    Rose, I really identified with what you said. His family's lack of responsiveness for my dignity while I suffer has been a huge wound...and my husband doesn't do anything. He seems to really go to them and play the victim for having to deal with a sick wife. I have been made to feel like an outcast and the black sheep during one of the most trying times of my life...coming to terms with an incurable chronic disease. I feel so misjudged and I try my absolute hardest. I honestly feel my marriage is hanging on by a thread. This year has devastated our relationship seeing how the love of my life responded to my diagnosis...it really shocked me and I felt so alone and betrayed. The timing of this trip, not really being considered/included and the growing distance I feel between us as we literally are 700 miles apart and need to overcome some serious pain...it just feels more than just birthday plans to me with all this turmoil surrounding it. There's just so much unsettled and brewing under the surface. I can't take feeling so discarded anymore...I feel like he's really married to his family. I feel like an outsider.

  8. #7
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    Be honest. you were not going to plan anything for his birthday. medical treatment, childcare, etc -- you could have struck first and planned something. You were unable or didn't feel you could.

    I will tell you, i crave time with just my siblings and not the spouses once in awhile. My brother and i used to buy eachother a cheap but meaningful gift or played a prank and would meet for lunch (it had been tradition way before he met his wife -- like from teenhood on) and she put a stop to it. I would have not made such a fuss. if it was just the siblings and not their spouses or kids -- let it go.

    Its not fair to crab about not being invited -- and then say you wouldn't have been able to come anyways...

    Instead of fussing that you were not included -- thank them for giving your husband something nice - a nice break from all the stress of not being together, etc.
    Thats taking the high road.

  9. #8
    Gold Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lily1735
    Rose, I really identified with what you said. His family's lack of responsiveness for my dignity while I suffer has been a huge wound...and my husband doesn't do anything. He seems to really go to them and play the victim for having to deal with a sick wife. I have been made to feel like an outcast and the black sheep during one of the most trying times of my life...coming to terms with an incurable chronic disease. I feel so misjudged and I try my absolute hardest. I honestly feel my marriage is hanging on by a thread. This year has devastated our relationship seeing how the love of my life responded to my diagnosis...it really shocked me and I felt so alone and betrayed. The timing of this trip, not really being considered/included and the growing distance I feel between us as we literally are 700 miles apart and need to overcome some serious pain...it just feels more than just birthday plans to me with all this turmoil surrounding it. There's just so much unsettled and brewing under the surface. I can't take feeling so discarded anymore...I feel like he's really married to his family. I feel like an outsider.
    Lily, I strongly suggest you speak with a helpline or hotline (a safe place where there is someone who can guide you and knows how to help with the mental stress of your illness). When my mum was very ill we had the option to speak to people who were trained to deal with life-changing situations and what we faced. All I needed was her patient # and we were qualified to speak to trained mental health professionals who could help us if we needed it. You do not need to face your illness alone. Ask your nurses or your doctor where you can find emotional support. I understand what you are going through in a small way. Family friends whom we thought would be by our side vanished and (at the time) the very people closest to me (flesh and blood) had to deal with the loss and grief in our different ways. I felt isolated and totally alone. Most of all I was shocked that one or two people closest to me simply weren't there at the worst times of my life. Thankfully I had two coworkers who stuck by me and never shied away from me - good days or bad. They were just silently always there and they never badgered me for more, they knew the right things to say and didn't ask questions I didn't know how to answer at the time. I'm not very religious but I know something somewhere up there was looking out for me and sent kind people I didn't know very well to keep me company.

    I see it this way: you're dealing with two losses. First is dealing with the news of your health and your chronic illness. Second is the loss of your husband as your support network or as someone you thought you knew. The truth of the matter is that no one can really know what people are like in the face adversity and pain. You should take faith and remain strong and calm. You are not alone. You are always welcome to post on these forums and see what others are up to. Speak to someone who knows how to guide you with your illness and cope in a practical way also. Cry all the tears you need to cry. Hug your children and spend time with them. Don't lose hope.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Has he always been close to them? Have you had a lot of conflict with them all along? You can't sever him from his family. Perhaps he is trying to ease your burden by not expecting you to do all this while being so sick. Relax and focus on your recovery.
    Originally Posted by Lily1735
    I feel like he's really married to his family.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you. Husband's family may be a rude and convenient target, but this is a marital problem, not an in-law problem. If you haven't seen husband for months, that's on him--the able-bodied guy who doesn't travel to see his wife and kids.

    The 30th birthday is beside the point. I'd consider it to be my eye opener about husband, but his family is irrelevant and hardly the problem. If you want to deceive yourself by blaming them, you can do that--it's not against the law--it's just not useful. They are not the one who's failing you, husband is. You get to decide whether you'll want to hide that fact behind his siblings, or whether you'll want to face the fact that the only thing stopping husband from being a husband and a father IS husband.


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