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Thread: My wife hates my brotherís wife and I canít handle it. It is making me depressed

  1. #1
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    My wife hates my brotherís wife and I canít handle it. It is making me depressed

    I have been married or three years. I love my wife very much. We are expecting our first child in August. Unfortunately, there is a huge problem in our relationship and I am running out of ways to deal with it. My twin brother is my closest person in my life. Our family history has been filled with division. My brother and I grew up relying on each other to navigate those choppy waters of family politics. I talk to him every day and without him, I would be a very different person.

    We are both married. My wife and I are expecting a child in August. He and his wife are expecting a child in November. More than ever, we have so much to talk about, so much to share... but I feel like I canít do so as freely as I would want to. My wife absolutely HATES his wife.

    Some context: My brotherís wife is not an easy person. She can be very controlling and is always out to make things ďperfectĒ. She means absolutely no harm, but often does not see how she can brush off on other people. My brother has struggled with this, she can be hyper-focused on perfection, hyper-focused on how their friends see her, etc.

    When my wife and I first went to visit them as a couple, I had hoped that they would get along. Unfortunately, whenever we visit them, my wife will stay in our guest room the entire time. She never ventures out unless we are going somewhere. Basically, she hides from my brotherís wife. My wife shuts down, she doesnít talk to anyone except for me. It does not matter where we are, if my brotherís wife is around, she shuts down.

    My family has picked up on it, my brother picked up on it. Iíve lied to them, Iíve covered for her, Iíve made excuses for her attitude and behavior, but I canít anymore. It breaks my heart every single day, every single moment I think about it. Tonight, I told her that my brother was having a baby and she flipped out. I was crushed. This is one of the most important family members I have. I tried to explain how hurt I was that I could not share the fact that my brother was having a baby, that I was going to be an uncle. All she could focus on was that ďshe will never hold my childĒ or ďshe will never be around him when Iím not in the roomĒ.

    This is so random, reactionary and toxic. My brotherís wife is not always the easiest, but sheís not malicious. My wife treats her like the most vile and disgusting human being. Any time I try to bring it up, we end up fighting. She accuses me of taking only his wifeís side and that if I continue to do so, sheíll ďwalk awayĒ from the marriage.

    Thereís so much more going on, I donít know how to get it out of her. I think my brotherís wife reminds her of someone from her own troubled past. Whenever I bring it up, I canít get anywhere. I have even asked her mother about it and she has no answers for me either. I love my wife, Iím excited to be a father ó but Iím deeply depressed about the fact that my relationship with my closest family member is drifting. My brother confronted me about it over Christmas and demanded to know why she was being ďsuch a jerkĒ to everyone. I actually agree with him, she was reacting to his wife so hard, it impacted everyone in the house. Nobody knew what to do. I told him that his wife makes her uncomfortable. He wanted to know why ó but I canít tell him. I donít know why. I canít talk her through it. The last time I tried, she threatened divorce. Itís not normal, itís too extreme, itís killing me. I need advice.

  2. #2
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    Originally Posted by Eskimo2000
    My wife absolutely HATES his wife.
    Some context: My brotherís wife is not an easy person. She can be very controlling and is always out to make things ďperfectĒ. She means absolutely no harm, but often does not see how she can brush off on other people. My brother has struggled with this, she can be hyper-focused on perfection, hyper-focused on how their friends see her, etc.
    Before I comment, can you clarify this? What has she said or done in the presence of your wife?

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    You have admitted to us that your brothers wife is not the easiest to get on with.
    Have you admitted that to your brother??? If not why not?

    Your wife has become increasingly frustrated that her response has being noted by others moreso than the source of her frustration. Which you seem to want to sweep under the carpet?

    Listen to your wife. Talk to your brother.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Why not stay close to your brother but avoid forcing the wives on each other. They do not have to like each other. All they have to do is respect that you are family. The more you try to shove your SIL down your wife's throat the more conflict you bring to your home, family and marriage.

    Just stop. Stop making your wife "the problem" and a scapegoat for your brother's "difficult" wife. Never force people on each other unless you want to bring war upon yourself.
    Originally Posted by Eskimo2000
    We are both married. My wife and I are expecting a child in August. He and his wife are expecting a child in November. My wife absolutely HATES his wife.
    My brotherís wife is not always the easiest, but sheís not malicious. My wife treats her like the most vile and disgusting human being. up, we end up fighting. She accuses me of taking only his wifeís side and that if I continue to do so, sheíll ďwalk awayĒ from the marriage.

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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Why not stay close to your brother but avoid forcing the wives on each other. They do not have to like each other. All they have to do is respect that you are family. The more you try to shove your SIL down your wife's throat the more conflict you bring to your home, family and marriage.

    Just stop. Stop making your wife "the problem" and a scapegoat for your brother's "difficult" wife. Never force people on each other unless you want to bring war upon yourself.
    This....but also counseling.
    If your wife can't have a rational conversation there are other underlying issues.

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    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    I understand that you are twins, but I think your priorities are backwards if you are putting your brother's needs and brother's wife's needs before the needs of your own wife. Your wife is your future and your family's future. You are actually acting against yourself with your current mentality.

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    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    I agree you are putting your bro and his wife ahead of your own wife. Your post sounds like nobody has ever admitted that your wife cannot stand her SIL, it's like it's a secret. These two women dont need to like each other, I cant stand my own SIL, so I stay away from her but my husband can have all the interaction with her that he wants. You need to figure out what the actual problem is and if possible find a compromise but that may be impossible. Or your wife will not be interacting with your family when SIL is around. Which is far from how it should be, but might be how it ends up.

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    What would you rather have? Your wife remove herself when your SIL comes over or have arguments with her? It shocks me that you aren't seeing your wife's side, meeting your brother for a drink, just the guys, in the meantime, and talk about your wife's feelings with her. It sounds like your SIL probably criticizes and belittles everything she deems not perfect and she has no right to do that in the home that belongs to you and your wife. On top of it, your wife doesn't get her "moment" - she is going to be upstaged by the SIL concerning her pregnancy, too.

    I bet your wife won't talk to you about it because you are very dense about this and have not listened in the past. This is not sudden. It has escalated over time and has come to a head. you also seem more chuffed about becoming an uncle than about becoming a dad, honestly. and you don't talk about your wife becoming an aunt at all.

    So do guy stuff -- have a beer, golf, whatever you do to see your brother and leave the women out of it until your wife is comfortable to open up.

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    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    I disagree that speaking to anyone else in your family about your wife's dislike of the SIL is productive. Just the opposite--it puts a spotlight on a problem that only you and your wife can resolve between yourselves. It dumps a burden on the people you love who are powerless to do anything about it, even while it puts the kind of pressure on wife to perform to the expectations of others under a banner of self consciousness that needn't ever be created.

    So I'd skip that. I'd work with wife instead to learn how she feels--and why--without negating her or being dismissive. I'd start by telling her that her happiness means the world to me, and I want to find a way that we can operate as a couple around my family despite one member of it that I cannot change.

    This is where negotiation comes in. Bribery is the fine art of making it worthwhile for another to meet you half way. Since the end goal means more to you than to wife, you'll need to pay an extra high price in terms of offering something of value to wife in exchange for whatever modicum of cooperation she will fork over.

    Your offers may need to change over time in terms of rewarding wife with something of value to her in exchange for any degree of cooperation you may want next--it will be an ongoing negotiation.

    But meanwhile, you'll need to hear her--regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel to listen. Then let it be for a while, and let wife's emotions settle. Then you can raise questions. What would be the ideal outcome she'd like to see, and how realistic is that vision? And if the ideal isn't possible, what would be the most realistic ideal she would want? How does she see such an outcome impacting your future together as a couple with a baby to raise?

    I'm not in the camp where wife gets full reign to act like a 2 year old tantrum thrower while you're left holding an impossible bag to manage. If wife isn't willing to raise her bar on goals toward civility and resilience, then I'd pose questions to her about how she foresees us working out as a couple if she escalates this into an unsustainable position for me.

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    I think I'm qualified to comment on the twin thing. I am identical twin. He is not my only sibling though. But we are closer than the other kids are.

    However, I do not expect my wife or his wife to be best buds at all.

    He and I are not joined at the hip as other twins get presented to be in the media.

    I really do not think a blanket statement of "we're twins" confers any kind special rules that everyone else has to live under because of that quirk of nature.

    Unless your wife is severely introverted, something else explains her deliberate isolating herself during what to he are painful visits with your brother and his wife.

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