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Am I expecting too much from my Father in law?


eggplant47

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My husband & I got some bad news about a week ago. His dad (we'll call him Bob) has apparently been having a long time affair with a family friend. My MIL found out a few mos. ago & they've been trying to work things out privately. But recently Bob said his life just wasn't what he wanted it to be & he wasn't happy in the marriage anymore. So a little over a week ago he moved out and into a friend's place, which is about an hour away. My MIL is devestated and after he moved she finally called all her kids and told them for the first time that she & Bob were seperating.

 

My husband, of course, is very hurt by all this and is worried about his mom and angry with his father. But this is what I find most upsetting... his father has not called any of his children. Or tried to contact them in any way. I know they're not little anymore... but it just seems strange to me that he wouldn't call to apologize for hurting them or their mom or at least to re-assure them that he'll still be in their lives.

 

My husband still loves his dad but he's angry and feels it's too much for his dad to expect him to make the first move. I also think maybe because of some of the things Bob said he might also be afraid that maybe his dad just wants nothing to do with his kids or anything to do with his old life.

 

We've talked to a couple other people who have said since all the kids are adults now, they shouldn't expect any kind of apology or comfort from their dad. I think that's crazy! There's no age limit on love right?

 

Are we expecting too much from Bob to want him to reach out to his kids?

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I kind of agree. From his perspective, he's spent years and probably several hundred thousand dollars raising kids and supporting a wife and being miserable. Now he's trying to find some escape from that. What's he got to apologize for? Tell the kids to give him back all that time and money and then they can have their apology.

 

It seems to be a theme of life: kids are never grateful for anything... it's always about what's missing rather than what was there.

 

Ok.... so what about the fact that my MIL worked right along side him and paid her own bills? What about all the loads of laundry she did for him, the meals she cooked, the floors she cleaned? Cause he sure didn't do that stuff! And what about the fact that he chose to purpose to his wife, chose to have the children??

 

And let's keep in mind, he didn't say one day: "Hey I'm just not happy anymore, I want to separate." He violated his marriage vows (vows his wife honored for him) and slept around with her friend until he got caught.

 

You would honestly feel no obligation after 30 years to apologize for hurting a woman who made a home for you? Squeezed out 4 kids for you? AND went to work at 6am 5 days a week and still made it home in time to make your dinner each night?

 

If you're a moral individual, when you hurt someone you say your sorry.

 

My husband has always been there as his father has gotten older and needed help. Up until Christmas they were a loving family. My husband hasn't done anything wrong, his dad has no reason to cease their relationship. So I think he's got every right to expect his dad to call.

 

In case you didn't notice: sarcastic responses are not appreciated. We're all here to help each other right?

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Absolutely not much at all. Regardless if they are adults or not, he is their parent and he cheated on their mother. At the very least he needs to speak with them and just at least say sorry for hurting them.

 

Thanks for the response. I agree with you, he has the right to leave... but if you hurt your family you let them know you're sorry!

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There was no sarcasm in my response. I stand by it.

 

So you really, truly believe a valid solution to this problem would be for my husband to go back 30 yrs, research & tabulate the amount of money his father spent over a 20 yr. span on his care, pay him that amount, THEN somehow figure out how to give his dad back all the time he spent with his own kids and then ask for an apology? Really? That was a serious suggesition?

 

Look, I can respect a post that doesn't agree with mine, but not someone implying that my husband is some kind of spoiled brat because he doesn't understand how his father (who until a few months ago claimed to love us/her/them) could cheat on his mother & leave her high & dry to start over in her 60's.

 

I would also appreciate, even if you don't agree with my point of view, your keeping in mind that this is a situation causing a family a lot of pain and not lumping us into some generalized "theme".

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Its not so uncommon for men and woman to become dissatisfied with their partner along the way thru their marriage. Clearly this woman could not satisfy him sexually enough in the way that he wanted to be satisfied, and this is the reason why he ran off and led a double life up to the point where he got caught. Reality is that he's been unsatisfied with numerous things of his wife for a very long long time, and lack of communication and willingness from her side have driven him into the arms of another woman.

 

Its not just a violation from his side, a LOT more things have gone wrong in this relationship a long time ago that they should have gone to a marriage counceller to at the time.

 

The best thing to do is just to abandon him, don't talk to him anymore and don't expect anything more from him. There's nothing left other then to accept that he has gone to live a different life, i would advice psychological support for the mother.

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I think it a lot depends on their relationship before this....if they were close, then the father should definitely contact them. However, I think an apology or some sort of comfort is asking a bit much....maybe an explanation, but that's about as far as I go. If they spoke regularly before he left, he shouldn't think that leaving their mom means cutting off all contact with them as well.

 

On the other hand, if they weren't close before the separation, what makes you think he should change just because he left?

 

My question is, why haven't the kids tried to contact HIM? If they want to know why, they're all adults now, they should have the maturity to call him and ask him.

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I've seen this before, here's my take on it.

 

Dad raised his kids to face their problems head on, to treat their mother with respect, to keep their commitments, show people respect and that marriage is important.

 

And now he's completely violated almost every ideal he instilled in them. In short, he looks like a big ole' hypocrite.

 

It is precisely BECAUSE his children are grown, that he is hiding from them. Because he can't tell them that it's too complicated for them to understand, or that it's "grown-up" stuff. He's having an affair. Instead of facing whatever problems he had in his marriage, and/or with his own happiness, he chose the easy route for him, and thus, the hard route for his wife/marriage. His kids are adults, and they know the score- he doesn't WANT to face them, because he knows that he has disappointed them greatly and he cannot justify what he's done.

 

Your husband may have to make a choice. In the situation I was familiar with, the father moved away without saying goodbye, and never contacted his children again. Not when they got married, not when they had children, NEVER. When one child FINALLY contacted him, he refused to discuss the past and showed no interest whatsoever in his grandchildren. So their contact fizzled out when the child accepted that their father didn't care about them anymore. Once, when backed into a corner about it, the father spewed out some line of martyrdom- he basically said that by abandoning his family, he "gave" his ex-wife the family in the divorce.

 

Not to say every situation like this is the same, but your husband may have to make the first move if he wants to salvage/maintain a relationship. He can say, "I don't like this dad, I don't respect it, but you are still my father, I still love you and I still want you in my life. While this is a huge disappointment to me, it doesn't undo everything you've done for me over my lifetime." and try to build on that.

 

I don't know your family dynamics either. Some families, everyone gets involved trying to 'fix' things, whereas others will stay at arms length and let the husband/wife figure it out. Your husband understands his family dynamic better than you do, so support him in his choices of how to deal with this.

 

And be warned. Even though your husband is a grown man, this may affect him and your marriage. His father taught him what he knows about being a husband /father, this may send him into a tailspin. So be ready to support him, and cut him a wide berth while he figures it out.

 

I hope something in here helps. Take care.

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I think it a lot depends on their relationship before this....if they were close, then the father should definitely contact them. However, I think an apology or some sort of comfort is asking a bit much....maybe an explanation, but that's about as far as I go. If they spoke regularly before he left, he shouldn't think that leaving their mom means cutting off all contact with them as well.

 

On the other hand, if they weren't close before the separation, what makes you think he should change just because he left?

 

My question is, why haven't the kids tried to contact HIM? If they want to know why, they're all adults now, they should have the maturity to call him and ask him.

 

Thanks for your response!

 

They/we were all very close. My husband went over there often to help him with yard work, fixing the computer ect.. We spent every Holiday together and they would come over for dinner pretty often too.

 

My husband would like an apology for the hurt that's been caused... and an explanation would be great! But I think would even be ok with his dad just calling to say "Hey, how are you?".

 

He has not called his dad because his dad has not even given him his new #. He could probably find it if he wanted... but since dad is in the wrong (and I know some others would disagree but I'm sorry, cheating with your wife's friend instead of telling your partner of 30 yrs. that you're unhappy IS wrong) I think he feels it's his dad's responsibility to make the first step.

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He can say, "I don't like this dad, I don't respect it, but you are still my father, I still love you and I still want you in my life. While this is a huge disappointment to me, it doesn't undo everything you've done for me over my lifetime." and try to build on that.

 

I can't rep you right now FarthestEdge so I'm settling for quoting you.

 

That sentence above is exactly what he should be aiming for. It doesn't condone what's happened, but it would make it clear that he still wants his dad around.

 

I mean, fear would be my main motivator for not getting in touch after this. He is probably thinking his kids are all very angry with him, as they quite rightly may be. He did an awful thing, but beyond that he now has to face the disapproval, anger and tears of his children. Scary thought. Maybe what he needs to hear is that his son isn't happy about it, but still loves him and wants him around.

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But don't you think if he was the one who found himself suddenly unhappy after 30 yrs. of marriage & had an affair instead of talking to his partner that he is the one with the problem communicating? And since my MIL would prefer to go to counseling & work through their problems... doesn't that show that she is more willing than he to work on their family?

 

And sex isn't everything in a marriage. A man shouldn't be able to voilate his marriage vows just because he's not getting what he thinks he should in the bedroom.

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I can't rep you right now FarthestEdge so I'm settling for quoting you.

 

That sentence above is exactly what he should be aiming for. It doesn't condone what's happened, but it would make it clear that he still wants his dad around.

 

I mean, fear would be my main motivator for not getting in touch after this. He is probably thinking his kids are all very angry with him, as they quite rightly may be. He did an awful thing, but beyond that he now has to face the disapproval, anger and tears of his children. Scary thought. Maybe what he needs to hear is that his son isn't happy about it, but still loves him and wants him around.

 

Thank you. And thanks to metrogirl too for this suggestion. I too, am hoping that he's not calling because he's ashamed or scared or something. Because I swear my husband is a good man & has always been there for his family. He does not deserve this kind of hurt

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Not many people have the moral backbone to face people they've wronged and admit their acts. And people who will commit adultery are even less likely to have the moral fiber to do so.

 

Your husband needs to tell his father how disappointed he is.

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Oh, no, I totally agree, his dad is DEFINITELY in the wrong for cheating (with ANYONE, especially a FRIEND--talk about the ultimate betrayal!!) instead of being a man and leaving first. Also, knowing that they have no way of contacting him, the dad obviously needs to initiate contact.

 

The dad obviously has a problem with communication so I doubt he'll ever give them an explanation and when I said "he", I meant that the dad, not your husband, shouldn't think that leaving the mom means that he's also cutting off all contact with the kids. I doubt that the mom will ever get an apology so I wouldn't hold my breath if I was your husband.

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