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  1. Thanks everyone for your responses. I think one of the most difficult things for me to come to terms with is how I haven’t truly listened to my wife and her feelings over the years. I have so many regrets about that. I keep beating myself up over how I could be so stupid to let things get to where they are. I haven’t been a man and prioritized my wife above all else. I worked hard to earn her trust over the last few years, and because I did not stay 100% remain vigilant, I have now lost all of it. I’m back at square one, and it feels terrible and incredibly humbling. None of this is my wife’s fault. I should have stepped up as a man and husband 6 years ago. I feel deeply ashamed about this. I don’t know why it has taken the threat of divorce to wake me up but I truly feel like I have this time. I feel shaken to my core. I feel like this was the slap in the face that I needed. I’ve never felt a call to action like I do right now. I want to earn back my wife’s trust one day at a time. I want to transform into a strong man and husband, not a boy who is still easily manipulated by his parents. I have to truly accept that this is how my family is and they won’t change. I have to know in my heart that all the change that needs to happen is in me. I am so motivated, and so inspired to make real changes this time. Tragically, I don’t blame my wife for not fully believing me. I have let her down so many times. The road ahead is uncertain, and while this is hard for me to grapple with, I’m not seeking pity. I don’t deserve any. I know not all of this is my fault. I can’t change my family and their behavior is not in my control. The only thing that is in my control is learning how to accept reality for what it is, prioritize my wife and son, and continue on this journey of self healing and unfoldment. I have to hold onto the truth that if I do the right thing one day at a time I’m headed in the right direction. The rest isn’t up to me.
  2. Things have gone from bad to worse over the last week. The visit from my family ended with my mom angrily storming out of our house because my wife didn’t feel like joining for a family photo (I supported my wife of course - she was in her pj’s and didn’t want to be in the photo). I asked my family to leave the house when this happened. While outside, my mom remained angry and complained about how my wife didn’t talk to her the whole weekend stating, “why doesn’t she want to be part of the family!” It’s nuts that she thinks that screaming about how she wants to be closer to someone will make that happen. After they left, my Mom sent me a few more angry and manipulative texts about this whole situation. I calmly replied that she needed to stop otherwise there would be consequences. I’ve ignored her messages since and blocked all further messages from my family. I know they are my problem to deal with, but I need a mental break from them right now so I can focus on my wife, baby, and job. After reflecting on the past weekend, my wife first decided that she would be taking an indefinite break from my family, and communicate with them again when she felt comfortable to do so. Understandably this would require real change on my moms part. At the very least, an agreement to be decent. She texted this directly to them - and called out my mom on her behavior. I was proud of this and supported her sending the text. We also wrote an email together re-outlining our boundaries and being clear with my family that they will need to change their behavior going forward and also sincerely apologize to my wife. We didn’t end up sending this email. When my wife picked me up from work the next day she looked stressed. I asked her how she was doing. My wife then informed me she has decided that she is going completely “no contact” with my family forever. I repeat, forever. No only that, she unilaterally made the decision that my family will never see our 6 month old son again either. She also told me that if I can’t support this decision we should talk about getting a divorce. To be clear, I don’t want a divorce! I’m madly in love with her and love our life together! Our only point of contention in our relationship is about my family, and their sometimes toxic boundary stepping behavior towards us. She would agree with this characterization. I know that I can protect us from any undesirable behavior but my wife no longer believes me. She says there’s no way I could stop all of it. She says that after 6 years she’s done giving me chances. How do I show her that I’m worthy of another? I’m completely devastated. I’ve never felt so down in my life. I feel like my entire world is shattered. This prolonged family estrangement is eating me up inside. I fully accept my role in this. I know that a lot of this is my fault, and where I need to step up, and also where I don’t have control over things (like my family). I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of things trying to mediate. I’m on my wife’s side and I want to fix things with her and be a team again. I tried talking to my wife about this and she keeps repeatedly saying, “I’m never seeing your family again and neither is your son!”. When she says this she says it with a level of anger and seriousness I’ve never seen before. Things get really heated when this topic comes up and she has even gone as far as saying that in the event of a divorce she will fight for sole custody and do everything in her power to prevent my parents and sister from seeing our son. She says she will aim to paint them as unstable and abusive. During these conversations she has called me a motherer, a , a , and a coward. She has screamed these words while pointing a finger in my face and marching me around the living room. I know she is deeply upset with me and them. I know she feels betrayed and alone. I know she feels like she can’t trust me. I agree with all her reasons. But, I also believe in myself. I believe in my strength. I don’t agree that this is the only way forward. How do I turn things around? I just want to make things right. I want to more deeply understand her feelings. I want to show her I truly understand where she is coming from and how she feels. I do believe that I understand the feelings driving this decision right now, but also I feel like we should be able to talk about this. I’m desperate for some kind of compromise here. I agree with my wife’s characterization of my family, but I really believe that if my wife and I could connect, we could figure out how to be a team again and face anything. I’d give anything for another chance at proving I can protect her, and by extension, our son, because this moment represents the life or death of our relationship. I would be vigilant about boundaries and unleash severe consequences on my family if things went south. Things like leaving immediately, 6 months no contact with grandchild, etc. I think my wife is worried about retaliation from my mother since she finally stood up for herself and told her how she feels this time. We’ve been through this before. The pattern is the same. My mom loses her cool, and we all stay estranged for a while. When we see each other again my parents keep their distance. My hope is that if we keep showing real consequences we will establish clear behavioral expectations over time. I desperately want my son to know his grandparents, aunt and cousin. This past weekend they did treat him with love and kindness (not so much us) My wife believes they are ‘baiting’ him and this kindness will change in the future. It pains me to imagine a future where my 70+ aged parents never get to see him again. But, that’s not where my wife is on the subject. I don’t know what to do. My stomach turns in knots and I feel so helpless thinking about this. I can’t stop thinking about how I can fix this! I love my wife and son and I don’t ever want to ever get divorced. It’s also devastating for me to accept her position that my son will never see his grandparents ever again. I’ll do anything to show we that I am strong and want to become even stronger. I texted my family and sternly told them that their behavior was totally unacceptable, and that I won’t be communicating with them until I’m comfortable. I blocked them on my phone. I plan on focusing on my family for the next few months and blocking out negativity. I plan to get stronger mentally and physically. Step things up in therapy, and exercise like a mad man. I plan to show my wife that my heart and loyalties are exclusively with her and my son. I’ll do this with the utmost sincerity. She has deserved this version of me for many years. It’s time for me to really step up! I just hope and pray my wife can see my strength and trust me again.
  3. Hi folks. Would love some perspective from the community about something my wife did recently. It’s a really long story, but my wife dislikes my family and doesn’t enjoy spending time with them. They’re intense people, overwhelming, often negative, provide a lot of unsolicited advice, and a bit toxic at times. They can also be fun, kind, loving and very supportive. It’s very confusing. She’s never felt the kind side of them, and resents them for the way they have behaved towards us during our 6 year relationship and 4 year marriage. Over the years we’ve had to set firm boundaries, reduce visits and limit the number of hours we spend together when we see them. We live 4 hours apart my flight so we only see each other 2-3 times a year, and at my wife’s request, not on the holidays. Earlier this year we welcomed our first child. He is amazing and the light of our lives. I had hoped that his arrival would soften family relationships and heal things. My wife and I haven’t stayed under the same roof with my parents and sister for years. This was by design because it gave us distance. We just bought a house a month ago so we decided to invite them to stay with us for a few days. They flew in for a long weekend. Things went fine at first, but then devolved a bit. I had asked my mom to only bring a few gifts and toys for her grandson. Instead, she brings 2 suitcases filled with things. Angered by that, I tell her to leave one in the garage. My mother then proceeds to open up the second bag in the middle of our living room. Much to my disappointment there are far more than a few things. Way more than my wife and I were ok with. I was disappointed and mortified. I felt disrespected. And instead of speaking up sternly in the moment, I got soft and let her keep showing the gifts and pretended to like them. This really pissed my wife off because she felt as though my moms gesture was terrible, and my going along with it and expecting her to as well was a severe betrayal. Later that evening she tells me how disappointed she is in me. That she can’t trust me. She then tells me that the Xmas visit later this year to see them would have to be cancelled. Keep in mind that we are meeting my family at a resort in another state. All flights and hotels are already booked. She then proceeds to cancel our flights and hotel without asking me, and informs me about what she did. I am floored, and devastated. She now expects me to tell them that we’re not going to see them. She didn’t seem to think about their feelings and the money they have already invested. Am I wrong to think that this is a step way too far. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I feel like she didn’t want to go anyway and just needed an excuse to pull the trigger. Needless to say I don’t want to give the news to my family. They will be devastated and it will severely damage our already fragile relationship we’ve worked hard to make better. Why is she doing this? I know we’ve had our relationship challenges, but this feels downright cruel and insensitive to my parents who are in their 70’s and might not get to see their grandson that many more times. What do I do? I don’t want to tell my parents that we fought and my wife cancelled the trip. I also don’t want to lie and say a ‘work thing’ came up and we can’t come. None of these options are very good and this is not the outcome I wanted. I just don’t know what to do.
  4. My wife and I have a 4 month old. She has decided that she doesn’t want me posting any photos of our child on social media like Facebook and Instagram. She is convinced that it is unsafe and puts our child and family at risk. Not only does she not want any photos of our kid online, but she’s extended this to any photo of our family or her individually. I completely disagree with this policy. I am aware of the dangers of online predators and information security. But, I just don’t think posting a photo of me and my son on Facebook will result in the worst case scenario. I want to be able to share my life with my friends and family, and I don’t think an occasional post is that big of a deal. She has taken a hard line on this issue. No budging, no compromise, no nothing. I feel like she doesn’t care about my feelings and what I want. While I empathize with her concerns, I think her position is really extreme. If she could have her way, she’s have me leave social media all together. I’m not going to do that. It’s how I stay connected with the people I care about. We just had a conversation about this and she left the room angry and in tears. I don’t know what to do here. I feel like she is encroaching on my life, interests and preferences. Far too often it’s “her way or the highway” and to be frank, I’m kind of tired of it. I usually appease and give her what she wants just to keep the peace. This time I just can’t do it. I have to stand up for myself. I’ve already changed so much in my life to accommodate her preferences and sensitivities- no matter how different that are from what I want. Advice?
  5. You are right. I don't think it is "baby brain" talk either - though - I'm not really able to tell what is these days. I don't dare to tell my wife when her emotions are getting the best of her. This is a situation where she is anxious, worried, and trying to set firm boundaries. She says that in the past she has done things taking into consideration my feelings, and therefore neglecting her own needs. I just think this approach is so severe. How can I hope for any kind of cordial / decent relationship if she won't even entertain a phone call or text? How can I hope that we might have a normal family life when she wants nothing to do with them? It seems she's made up her mind about who they are, and who they have the potential to be. She doesn't believe that they will ever improve. I know in my heart that they are good, loving people, who do in fact mean well. I know we can have a decent family life, but that begins with trying!!
  6. Healing does indeed start with trust. I agree with you 100%. I hope to god my parents can respect this. If history is any indication, they won't.
  7. They are the only inlaws we have. My wife has already gone no contact with her parents. Without my family we have no one.
  8. I truly, truly, wish that were the case. I have a very volatile, temper prone mother. Things tend to get ridiculous when I communicate boundaries, or try to tell her when her behavior is unacceptable. , it gives me anxiety too. Sometimes I wish I could just write an email with it all. I know that sounds avoidant, but I want to pull my hair out when I can't get through to my parents about how their behavior needs to change. They are just so stubborn.
  9. You are absolutely right. I know I am on thin ice, so I know I need to deliver here. But I also don't want to feel like I'm not speaking up when I have a point a view about how we might mend this relationship. I think ignoring people for a year isn't the way to go. Torn, because I understand her pain, but I don't get her solution.
  10. I have set major boundaries. We only see my family at most twice a year. We stay in hotels, and we only see them for 3-4 hours at a time, for a max of 2 days. She hasn't spoken to them in 8 months now. I have literally changed my entire relationship with them at her. In regards to her pregnancy, I'm 110% there for her, and inspired to be. I do a lot for her, and I don't expect anything in return. It's my duty, and I do it with pride. I just really want us to have an extended family - sometimes I feel like she eventually wants to cut off my family forever, and I don't want that. I think family is really important, and we should find a way to get along.
  11. Very, very true. I just don't know when or how my parents will change. Every time I ask them to change their ways, and insist that they do so from a loving place - they tend to get immediately defensive and argumentative. It is as if they cannot ever admit fault. I desperately want them to find a way to genuinely reconcile, and put their egos aside. When I put myself in my wife's shoes, I get it. But I also know that I don't like cutting people off, and would try to find a way to have a relationship given it is family.
  12. Thank you so much for your response. It is amazing. I've quoted the two parts that hit really close to home for me. You are absolutely right. The volatile family relationship has indeed cost her a sense of trust and safety around them. That will take time to heal and will require improvements on their side, though, I'm not holding my breath the latter will happen. She is right that she doesn't need any toxicity in her life right now. What I wonder is, if my family is now reaching out with a new positivity, shouldn't there be at least a little communication to help things move in the right direction?
  13. We've been together for 5 years, but things were not as bad in the first 2 years. When we started to enforce boundaries, things quickly got intense and overwhelming.
  14. We've been together for 5 years and things weren't ever spectacular with my fam, but during the first 2 years we didn't enforce any major boundaries, and after we started to things got more intense with them.
  15. My wife doesn't get along with my family of origin. Specifically my parents and older sister. They can be very intense, opinionated, and controlling. In the past we've had major blow ups with them, bad arguments, and general difficulty in establishing boundaries with them that they respect. She hasn't spoken to them in 8 months. My wife is currently pregnant. She has decided that she doesn't want to communicate with my family for the entire duration of the pregnancy - 6 more months. No calls, texts or emails. She feels as though any communication stresses her out and gives her anxiety. On one hand I empathize, but on the other, I find it extreme and not the way to heal relationships. Recently my family has been kind, and offering excitement and support. My wife doesn't care for any of this and has made up her mind about what kind of people she thinks they are. She now wants me to call my family and tell them to stop calling, texting, and emailing. This makes me uncomfortable, because I think it is extreme and doesn't work in the direction of mending the relationship. I also think it's unnecessarily confrontational given we haven't had any major issues with them in over a year. She won't budge and expects me to do this. She gets angry whenever she gets a text or email from them, even though they have been to just say hi. Not sure what to do here!
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