I have been married for 25 yrs. My husband's got a relationship problemwith everybody ranging from me, 2 sons, his family, my family & friends.
It is possible to ignore or cut off friends, but not possible withfamily. The part that causes me heartache, pain & tears is that he doesn'trelate well with my family, some from interstate. I have 5 sisters & their families mainly. I haven't discussed this with my family although theyknow he is not a very friendly person. I feel I cannot make them feelunwelcome all because my husband's got a problem with himself.
He grumbles when anyone from interstate is coming over to stay - usuallyonly for a few days, about 2 - 3 times a year. He will murmur - why can'tthey stay with so & so, how long are they staying for & he will commentthat they don't expect him to 'entertain' them. He will say that 'this ismy house'. My relatives are very considerate people ( my sister brought meup when my parents split), they do not demand anything while they are withme, & they only stay at my place for part of the time they are in town.I cannot tell my relatives not to come to stay because my husband doesn'tlike them.
He can be described as an 'abrasive' person - hot-tempered, offensive,unfriendly, self-centred , verbally abusive, aggressive & mean. He can belike that to me at times - but I manage to tolerate him for the sake of mymarriage. He appears such a charismatic & nice person on the surfaceuntil you get to know him. Being a migrant family, he never grew up with relatives and relates to his parents out of obligation.
Out of this situation I cannot have a close relationship with myrelatives. My husband says I can relate to them but don't get him involved. How can thisbe possible - just meet up with them at McDonalds?!
Sometimes he makes empty threats, like saying he will walk out when they come to stay. Fortunately he hasn't done that. He manage to be just politewhen they stay at my place. My strategy is to overcome the problem asbest as I can while I have family visitors for those few days, trying tokeep the peace with my husband. Once my visitors are gone, I feel sorelieved because that's the end of the tense time trying to pacify myhusband during those few days. It's such a nerve-wrecking situation. Ihave talked it over with my husband for the past 25 years but his attitudehasn't changed. In his good moods, he admits that he has to change.My question is - how do I find the strength to cope with his person? Icomfort myself that I managed to tolerate 25 years so I can do so for the next 25.
The positive part is that between us there is still a lot of'companionship' so my marriage is not on the rocks. We communicate a lot,however, I can say mostly on the head level, not the heart level.
I still value my marriage highly & will stay in it even for the 'wrongreasons' - for material & social benefits. However I have lost respectfor the man in the marriage. But in order to keep the marriage going, I still have to be nice to the man. Am I in a predicament?
A. Putting the issue of your family aside for a moment, you need to decideabout your marriage in itself. If he's aggressive and abusive then leave himfor that or stay and as you say, tolerate the situation.
The family situation is a whole other matter. The heart of the problem liesin the extreme differences in the way the two of you view family. You aretrying too hard to compensate for his lack of interest and are puttingyourself through extreme pressure. Yes, you are putting yourself throughthis. I'm not saying his attitude is right but his feelings belong to himand he will only change them if he wishes to and after 25 years, it's notvery likely.
I also have to say that many people don't care for house-guests. Yourhusband is not alone in this. If he doesn't wish to have visitors in hishome, this is his choice. You need to be honest with your family withoutfeeling the need to make excuses for him. He is who he is. Why put yourselfand your husband through this excessive stress just to have your familystay? You can see them without their actually being under your roof, can'tyou? Marriage is all about compromise and whilst you probably think you'redoing all the compromising, it seems that you're being as stubborn as he ison this particular issue. You can't force someone else to love your familyas you do and acceptance is a key skill in a successful marriage. You don'tseem to like your husband very much and this is causing you unhappiness.Lighten up a bit and you'll see an inevitable improvement in your life.
Body Talk Column is hosted by Charmaine Saunders. www.charmainesaunders.com
Send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org