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My wife hates my brother’s wife and I can’t handle it. It is making me depressed


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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 can’t do so as freely as I would want to. My wife absolutely HATES his wife.

 

Some context: My brother’s wife is not an easy person. She can be very controlling and is always out to make things “perfect”. 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 brother’s wife. My wife shuts down, she doesn’t talk to anyone except for me. It does not matter where we are, if my brother’s wife is around, she shuts down.

 

My family has picked up on it, my brother picked up on it. I’ve lied to them, I’ve covered for her, I’ve made excuses for her attitude and behavior, but I can’t 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 “she will never hold my child” or “she will never be around him when I’m not in the room”.

 

This is so random, reactionary and toxic. My brother’s wife is not always the easiest, but she’s 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 wife’s side and that if I continue to do so, she’ll “walk away” from the marriage.

 

There’s so much more going on, I don’t know how to get it out of her. I think my brother’s wife reminds her of someone from her own troubled past. Whenever I bring it up, I can’t get anywhere. I have even asked her mother about it and she has no answers for me either. I love my wife, I’m excited to be a father — but I’m 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 “such a jerk” 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 — but I can’t tell him. I don’t know why. I can’t talk her through it. The last time I tried, she threatened divorce. It’s not normal, it’s too extreme, it’s killing me. I need advice.

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My wife absolutely HATES his wife.

Some context: My brother’s wife is not an easy person. She can be very controlling and is always out to make things “perfect”. 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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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.

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 brother’s wife is not always the easiest, but she’s 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 wife’s side and that if I continue to do so, she’ll “walk away” from the marriage.

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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.

This....but also counseling.

If your wife can't have a rational conversation there are other underlying issues.

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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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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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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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Your marriage takes top priority over your sibling. You're about to become a new father so focus on being a great father and husband. An early "congratulations" btw.

 

Help your wife A LOT and do it without her having to ask!

 

You can't force your wife to like your SIL just like I can't force myself to like my wretched BIL. :upset: We limit family gatherings to just major holidays so I can fake it 'til I make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gag. :eek: I go through the motions for the sake of my sons and their cousins. After that, I demand and command that there is zero contact during the majority of the year.

 

If possible, you'll have to make arrangements to be with your twin brother without gathering everyone together. You have to do what you have to do in order to keep the peace with everyone. It's called enforcing healthy boundaries. Since your wife is adamantly against reconciling with her SIL, you have to be the bigger person and make accommodations otherwise it's an endless miserable situation.

 

Divide and conquer. Visit your brother while your wife stays home. This way, everyone is happy.

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I disagree with most of the above advice.

 

If your wife really loves you, she will put on her big girl pants and be amicable with your brother’s wife. But she isn’t.

 

I am concerned that she has not given any thought to your feelings. Enduring marriages are made up of team mates. She is not a team player.

 

Yes your marriage is your priority number one, but not at the expense of everyone else.

 

She needs to see a therapist. Is she an only child.

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My family has picked up on it, my brother picked up on it. I’ve lied to them, I’ve covered for her, I’ve made excuses for her attitude and behavior, but I can’t anymore.

 

Pardon me? It's not your wife whom you should be making excuses for...it's your brothers wife!! All eyes should be on her and she should be explaining herself as to why SHE is causing so much upset.

 

Your wife is the victim here, not the perpetrator. It's a shame that even her own husband doesn't have her back.

If your wife is that beaten down by your big mouth sister in law, than you should be standing up for your wife and telling your brother to talk to her, or you won't be visiting them.

 

I understand that you are close to your brother, but this is your wife! She comes first. You have chosen to make a life with this woman....not your brother!

 

Do the right thing and back your wife. Support her. Stand up to this bully. This isn't a problem with your wife, this is a problem with your brothers wife and it needs to be addressed with him.

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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.

 

Absolutely!!!!!!

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If your wife really loves you, she will put on her big girl pants and be amicable with your brother’s wife. But she isn’t.

 

Nope, wrong. Couple's support one another, understand one another and put one another first. His wife didn't marry him so she could "suck it up" and force herself to be terrorized by this loud mouth, nor should she be expected to.

 

I think Wiseman has the best idea, if the brothers want to visit together on their own, that would work out for the best. No need to bring the wives or force anyone on anyone.

 

You might both be married, but no one said you all had to share everything and that your wives had to be best friends or even get along for that matter.

 

Support your wife, put her feelings first.

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You need to talk to your wife and find out why she is so unhappy with your brother's wife. Something is going on. Stop making excuses and blaming her and try harder to understand what is happening. Your wife is hiding in her room for reasons other than "she's difficult to get along with" and "she's a perfectionist". How do you know there isn't some element of bullying going on that you are not privy to?

 

Talk to your wife, in detail, then talk to your brother, and figure out how to go from there.

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I disagree with most of the above advice.

 

If your wife really loves you, she will put on her big girl pants and be amicable with your brother’s wife. But she isn’t.

 

I am concerned that she has not given any thought to your feelings. Enduring marriages are made up of team mates. She is not a team player.

 

Yes your marriage is your priority number one, but not at the expense of everyone else.

 

She needs to see a therapist. Is she an only child.

 

My SIL would take things she admired from our house when I was not home. Because our house was by a builder and SIL was a realtor who wanted to sell the builder's homes, she told people our house was a "model" to look at and i had people looking through the windows at me and in the yard, believing no one lived there (it had a living room/dining combo and a family room. since we moved from a combo that had just a kitchen and one of those rooms, we did not initially have a dining room set or a sofa for both of the rooms so through one window, you didn't see furniture). And she physically abused me on an occasion. Do you think i should have "sucked it up" out of love? I only agreed for awhile to see her in public (an event with a time limit where there were others around) where someone else might keep her in check.

 

We really don't know the extent of what the SIL is like, because he is brother-focused. We know she is very difficult,though.

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You need to talk to your wife and find out why she is so unhappy with your brother's wife. Something is going on. Stop making excuses and blaming her and try harder to understand what is happening. Your wife is hiding in her room for reasons other than "she's difficult to get along with" and "she's a perfectionist". How do you know there isn't some element of bullying going on that you are not privy to?

 

Talk to your wife, in detail, then talk to your brother, and figure out how to go from there.

 

I am betting he is oblivious to what is going on in front of him.

 

I would suggest he doesn't ask his wife right now - that he acts, and does not invite SIL and brother into their home and doesn't plan anything with them for a few weeks so his wife can relax and then talk about it. sometimes the "Do you have a problem?" convos sound confrontational. this way she can see the effort and is out of the reactive mode before he addresses it "i was wrong. You told me how much SIL bothers you and i wasn't listening. We don't have to have them over. I can see how much more relaxed you are when they don't. Maybe i am really dense, but maybe in time you will tell me what bothers you about her for things to reach this point."

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Is your wife an outsider? Are the wives treated like nonfamily? Is your family clannish or elitist? Why are they shut out of you and your bro's closeness and treated as "problems"?

 

What about your wife and when your child comes? Your bro still comes first? Is this normal in your culture or is this fostered by family dysfunction and dynamics? Many dysfunctional families pick on "outsiders" as the "problem" so they can continue to hobble along and never look within.

My twin brother is my closest person in my life.
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Is your wife an outsider? Are the wives treated like nonfamily? Why are they shut out of you and your bro's closeness and treated as "problems"?

 

What about your wife and when your child comes? Your bro still comes first? Is this normal in your culture or is this fostered by family dysfunction and dynamics?

 

My friend got married 10 years ago. She married a guy that has a twin brother. His twin brother gave the most beautiful best man speech. He said "I am the one who knows you best and now my job is done because the beautiful and capable Jenn will now be the one who know you best for the rest of your life." There was not a dry eye in the house. And he is living it. Its not the two bros and wive on the side. Its a married man and wife.

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I disagree with most of the above advice.

 

If your wife really loves you, she will put on her big girl pants and be amicable with your brother’s wife. But she isn’t.

 

I am concerned that she has not given any thought to your feelings. Enduring marriages are made up of team mates. She is not a team player.

 

Yes your marriage is your priority number one, but not at the expense of everyone else.

 

She needs to see a therapist. Is she an only child.

 

It doesn't work. I've tried to "love" my despicable BIL (bro-in-law) to no avail. Just being with him at random restaurant family gatherings makes my skin crawl. :upset: My husband and I can't even look him in the eye anymore. The guy's a jerk through and through and he is beyond reproach. I've tried to be amicable, endure, tolerate, accept, put on my big girl pants, no I'm not an only child, no I don't need a therapist and I finally put my foot down.

 

Fortunately, BIL is my sister's husband and since they don't live too close to me geographically, I have more convenient excuses not to see him throughout the year. I make exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the sake of the relatives and that's it. If the family tree wishes to gather with him, I prefer to stay home and take a nap!

 

Marriage always takes top priority and there is no expense to be had if there are compromises where everyone is satisfied and there is peace. There are times when there is no more patience left and the only recourse is enforcing healthy boundaries with others. If there is semi-estrangement or estrangement in order to arrive at peace, then so be it. It's better than feeling uncomfortable and forcing myself to be where I don't want to be. Those days are over. I'm adamant, steadfast and unwavering about this. No more abuse FOREVER. I've written him off long ago and have never felt better, stronger, secure and self confident with my newfound convictions. It's very empowering. I'm civil at best and after that, I don't bother with disrespectful, mentally ill people anymore.

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Eskimo hasn’t said that she has done anything other than be controlling with OCD tendencies.

 

You are all assuming that she has done something really awful to get this response response from Eskimo’s wife. There has been nothing from Eskimo to suggest that.

 

We are all not the same in our personalities. Some are a little different.

Yes if SIL is overbearing, then the twin brother needs to chat with her.

 

We are taught in Kindergarten to get along and be resilient.

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You are all assuming that she has done something really awful to get this response response from Eskimo’s wife.

 

No, the problem is that Eskimo insists that his relationship with his brother and his brother's wife is, and should be part of, his relationship with his own wife:

 

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.
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