Torn in two: Do you love people who can't stand each other?

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hepi22 has been handed the miserable situation where her husband and her mother can't be happy under the same roof. So how do you divide yourself among people who need you but can't or won't get along with each other?


Hi cm. Just lost a long post to hepl22, I will try to share here.

You have to decide on your priorities. In a marriage, for Christians, scripturally, God comes first and then spouse second, then children - not that that happens all the time. I spoke with a lady yesterday who is not Christian who says her mum comes first and she has told her bf that she expects his children and his parents to come before her, and her mum to come before him. So it is important that each person's position is clear at the onset and that each accepts the others position, or negotiates a compromise.

Frankly, unless the spouse/partner agrees to the situation, I think they are put in an untenable situation, when another or others are put before them in their own home.

If it is clear, as with hepl, there has been and is tension between her husband and her mother, it seems to me to be most impractical and unwise to arrange to bring mum into their home on an ongoing basis. Conflict was inevitable and it is tearing them apart.

Sometimes we get into a mode of thinking "If only so-and-so could see it this (my) way, everything would work out fine." But if they don't, it isn't fine, and we are denying them their own needs and perspectives, which situation will never end well.

I try to avoid this with my partner, his kids, my kids, their spouses, our exes, my mother and more. Sometimes, it feels like I am walking through a mine field, but I can make my path clear and safe. The spouse of one of my children will not be in the same room as one of his sibs. I can't change that. My mother would see me, but not my partner. I can't change that. My partners ex has impressed on all their children that they are not to have anything to do with me. I can't change that. All I can do is plan a way through the mine field that does the least harm, while also meeting my needs, and within reason, the needs of others, Do I agree with the positions these others take? No, but I have to accept that is their position and work from there. For example, if G and I decide to marry, I would not expect his children to attend, though they would be invited. Neither will I be offended if they do not attend. They are operating in their reality of having been brought up by a very controlling mother who still, in my view, controls them (I understand that having a controlling mother myself), and they will have to live with their own decisions. I know he would be hurt, but I have no control over that. I would work with the children of mine and spouse who have antagonism between them, try to work out a solution which is best for all, and go from there. Will it be ideal or like the glossy magazines? Not at all, but I think we can make it work. As far as my mother and my partner are concerned, he comes before her. Mother would like to come first in my life all the time, if she had her way, but she doesn't. Will I see her without him? Yes, at times and places suitable for all. And so on.

Negotiation and compromise, and above all, listening carefully to the others involved and working out a solution together will resolve many things. Sometimes an impasse is reached, and then outside help can be useful. Inevitably, not all difference will be resolved. Some can be lived with, and unfortunately, some will result in a breach in the relationship.

Think outside of the box. I know a gal who lives in a condo and her partner lives in the one next door. She is very tidy and he is messy. They decided that this is the best arrangement and it works for them.

i think hepi's husband should consider the predicament of a helpless elder before he pisses an moans about his own needs / desires. i know caregiving can strain your brain but hes going to get frail and difficult in his last years too. pay it forward and be the adult. just my opinion.
every situation is different, didnt mean to sound judgemental or all knowing.
No person should have to be put into a position to divide their loyalties. Marriage is a committment between two people and when a third person enters into the relationship, compromises need to be made. You cannot give up the rights of one over the other. When it comes down to hepi22 she needs to decide what is best for her and what she can do to help her mother without jeopardizing her marriage.
Hepi should get her mother out and save her marriage. You on the other hand cannot choose sides or both will hate you.
I am in that situation with my husband and my siblings ,but they aren't under the same roof. Our parents need us and we became one with our spouses when we married. So, really, it is their problem if you are doing your part. Suggestion: Can you get a non-family member mediator to make a surprise visit, tell the two of them what this is doing to you, and set some boundaries? This can be done through non-religious based people or someone from your church. Check with the numerous aging care centers and tell them precisely what is creating the problem for all three of you. This will wear you down so that you are the one that needs caregiving. This truly happened to me: I had a heart attack. It is amazing how two arguing parties can be on one team if they love you. Also, buy some earphones and listen to books on tape. It helps to check out for a brief period.Best wishes.

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