Join Date: Jul 2012
| | In-Law Trouble
For starters, I want to be clear that I think it's important to not let anger or resentment lead to a misrepresentation of events, especially when it comes to your spouse's parents or siblings. I am having in-law trouble, but the honest to goodness truth is that I think they may not realize or understand what they've done.
My husband and I met last year and I instantly loved him. It was not a whirlwind romance nor was it some passionate love affair, but he became my best buddy and I had a feeling he was the right one for me the second I met him.
Quickly, only a few months into our relationship, he was offered a job that required him to move across the country. Not only was it a great job, but it's one of the greatest. He wouldn't approve of me talking about it, but to put it in perspective, it was like getting offered a job by the Wizard of Oz. It was his dream job.
I thought it would mean we would split up, but he asked me to come with him. That, though, meant leaving my friends, family, business and everything I owned for someone I had a good feeling about, but didn't know. If I decided not to go, though, he was going to turn it down.
Cut to three hours into a really intense conversation and he went out to make a beer run, but came back with a proposal.
So, the whole thing moved fast, but it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime situations and I just took a gulp and took a breath and the next thing I knew, we were headed to California.
When we told his family and friends, the news was met with a chilly reaction. Which is fair. I took it with a grain of salt, even though there were some pretty harsh things said and one of his friends actively tried to hurt me to run me off. She baited him into an on-line conversation about another girl she thought he should start seeing, instead, and twisted the conversation to make my husband respond to questions that showed him in an ugly light. She then forwarded a copy of the chat log to me.
I didn't blame him or take it out on him and his just reacted by saying that once we were across the country, we wouldn't have to be exposed to any more negativity, and everyone would get time to process the whole thing.
Well, something big happened when we got here. I switched birth controls and, as it turns out, even though you are "protected from the start" the damn things recommend you use a back-up when switching from one to the other.
So, we have a baby on the way.
Part of me was embarrassed. It was really too soon. It was not how we envisioned this big adventure out west and it meant a lot about our relationship would change, before we'd had much time to understand how our relationship actually worked.
One thing my husband knew, though, was that he didn't want to be single and have a baby. He wanted to speed up the wedding. Our families were getting together around my birthday this year and we decided to have a small ceremony at a JP with just our parents and sisters in attendance.
We agonized over how to tell his parents and eventually decided to just lay it out and promise to handle whatever reaction we got with patience and understanding. We told them and when we realized they were stunned, we suggested just talking again a few days later when they could get their thoughts together. The same thing happened with his sister, moments later.
I felt guilty, but thirty minutes after we hung up the phone, his mother called wailing into the phone. She couldn't speak for crying so hard. She kept telling him to tell her this was what she wanted. She's a devout Catholic and pro-life. We're the only liberals in the family, but homegirl apparently had a conversion in the abortion debate, because she kept reminding him that we could "do something about this, now, while it's not too late."
I was heartbroken.
He handled it beautifully and kept telling her (we're both 30, btw) that kids were always in the plan, this little kid is just coming earlier than we thought and kept telling her how happy he is . . . and he is.
As soon as we hang up, the sister calls and she is also crying hysterically. Apparently, in her mind, we'd promised we wouldn't have kids until we moved back to the East Coast. News to us, since we didn't plan to move back. This is where his job is.
She kept repeating that this was ruining things.
My father-in-law (I'm not even kidding) sent my husband and e-mail comparing our marriage to that of the friend who tried to split us up and said my husband and I should wait a few years to see how we feel, then.
We didn't give in, but when they realized the wedding was going to happen, they started making weird demands. We expanded the guest list to accommodate aunts, uncles and cousins, but then they became upset because distant family and neighbors weren't invited. They became resentful because we wanted to get married in Florida where my mother lives (she has Leukemia and can't travel, so if we had it where they live, my mother couldn't be present). His sister was upset that his friends from college weren't coming and called to let me know. I explained, once again, why it was just the twenty or so people and although she said she understood, she called back ten minutes later to run the whole thing by my husband. He gave her the same answer and she called us once a week for three more weeks to have the same discussion.
We decided against bridesmaids and groomsmen, but my SIL started to cry about it, so we whipped together a wedding party. I asked for pictures of my husband when he was a baby for the guest book table, but my mother-in-law insisted on sending pictures that included my sister-in-law because she didn't want my sister-in-law to feel left out.
I didn't argue.
We had a cookout the night before the wedding to let everyone get to know one another and to give everyone a chance to relax after traveling, but my sister-in-law riled my mother-in-law up by telling her I was trying to take away her chance to host the rehearsal dinner.
My sister in law wanted me to hire ushers to walk her mother and father down the aisle and I kept having to explain that parents and grandparents were the only remaining guests at the wedding and if we did that, it would be twenty-two of us prancing around the back yard and no one watching. This conversation happened five times and once was the night before the wedding.
The night of the cookout, our photographer came to take photos of the family hanging out. He started organizing groups of us together and took some pictures of my husband and me with his parents. We had hours to go and my impression was that we would make our way around getting photos with everyone. My SIL, though, saw this from the other side of the yard and turned red in the face, hot tears started pouring out of her eyes and she stormed over to throw and absolute hissy fit, because she felt left out.
After that, she kept hovering around us and when our photographer would try to take pictures of just me and my husband, my SIL would wind up in them. At one point, she even pushed me (not physically) out of them by making it clear SHE wanted to make sure she got pictures just with her brother. If you look at the roll of photos, you'll see me and my husband, then the three of us, then them, and them, and them, and them, and them.
My mother-in-law had a break down and even though I talk to her for an hour a week and force my husband to call her (he'd rather play video games on his time off, what are you going to do?) and we spent Christmas with her and had dinner together four times before we left for Cali, she kept asking my family to tell her something about me, because she "doesn't know anything about me." Like we've never met.
My wedding day was much the same. There were lots of temper tantrums. My SIL was upset, because I hadn't planned a makeup artist or hair person for the bridesmaids (not a priority) and was upset when the photographer took photos of my husband and I in private. She ushered her parents out to the yard so the three of them could crash our photos.
After the ceremony, I had to stand and pose for hundreds of pictures (not kidding) that she staged, because she could not let go of feeling like she would not appear in any of these if she didn't take over.
My husband and I were clear that even though we'd done a wedding party, we didn't want to toss a bouquet or a garter and we didn't want any toasts unless our parents wanted to make them. We told her this months in advance, but she did one anyway and the whole thing was about how close she is with her brother and she said the worst day of her life was when he left for college and now she's losing him all over again. She was crying so hysterically, she was choking while she was reading and her hands were shaking.
While we were at dinner, his mom and sister both told me that their biggest concern was being "pushed out" or not included. I didn't know what they were talking about, but we've lived on the West coast for seven months and has never even called us. They both started sobbing while telling me this and kept saying, "this is hard for us, but it doesn't mean we don't like you."
I believe they are sincere, but that was such a horrible, horrible weekend.
Well, last week, we found out that we are expecting a little girl. I told my husband last year, in our first conversation about kids, that I'd wanted to name a girl after my mother. That's what we agreed to. When we told my SIL, she told us that when we are around her family, we should tell them the baby is named after one of her grandmothers, who shares a name with my mother.
Now, I shouldn't care. If she needs it, let her take it, right? What difference does it make when I know the truth? My problem is that it seems like I'm going to come up against a few problems with them over and over:
1. They catastrophize things that aren't really problems, like the early wedding or the unexpected baby.
2. They react to this heightened sense of worry with hysteria and erratic behavior.
3. They only seem to be happy when they are controlling things, like logistics of our wedding or what we name the baby. My SIL even decided recently to invite herself to our house without telling us and has planned it for my husband's birthday. She has also planned for them to attend a baseball game and I'm not invited. It seems like she must be trying to cope with her own sense of loss by trying to proactively recreate their relationship when they were in high school . . . except that they aren't and his pregnant wife is an actual person who will be sitting home waiting for them.
4. None of us want it this way, so I'm scared to even bring this up.
Has anyone else faced this? I don't believe they are bad, just immature and really emotional. I feel like addressing it only has the potential to make them defensive or hurt worse, because I know they don't want to seem like bad people. But I don't want it to keep going, you know?