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I have been married for less than six months, to a great guy. Indeed, I first fell for him because he was sensitive, kind and took care of his family. Fast forward from July "I Do" to January ... when we have been living on separate continents since OCTOBER because he is caring for his mom. She had a heart valve replacement (second one) and it went very badly when the aorta tore. She almost died, but survived...only to face a long, difficult recovery that she is not handling well....and a recovery that she seems unaware or unconcerned is totally ripping us apart. Because he is an only child and his parents live in Europe (where he grew up) he has been over there trying to care for them. She is still in the hospital, and while the heart is healing well, she has mentally lost it. Screams all day. Berates his father for everything. Has started resisting PT. My husband is constantly upset, and in the few moments we have to talk via Skype with me trying to work and the six-hour time difference, our conversations are interrupted by screaming mom.


Where this is making me hopeless is how neglected I feel, and how I am made to feel like a bad, insensitive person for complaining. My husband's job lets him work remotely... my work in teaching does not. I had to come back and go back to work. He is a mama's boy, for certain, and I know that is partly cultural. But, my husband keeps getting frustrated with me for being "resentful" of a situation that is "not his parents' fault." While I (logically) understand his mom is mentally ill from the long stay and that the medicines are not helping by addling her brain more, at the end of the day, I DO resent being made to be a second (or third) class citizen in my own marriage. I do resent that this dad, who is 80, cannot even fry an egg or make ANY food and refused to have me teach him when I went over there over Christmas and had almost a month of my school vacation to try to teach him. I do resent that his parents were so afraid of technology that they refused to ever learn even the simplest skills, so they literally cannot open a web browser and hence everything from bill pay to checking their insurance/social security (they live in a country with single payer healthcare) falls on my husband, taking even more of the time away from our few minutes to talk. I resent that because his mother never worked, she does not understand why we cannot both quit our jobs and wait on her. I resent that she doesn't seem to be trying anymore and does not seem to care that her behavior is wrecking our marriage. And yes, I do resent that his mom, knowing she had had rheumatic fevers which weakened her heart as a child, still chose to SMOKE most of her life.


It is just so, so frustrating because I do not know how to talk to him, or how to express these feelings. I do feel sorry for them ... but I am also mad. Really, really mad. I was finally getting to the place in life where my career was taking off, where we were making enough money to live well...and I'm only 35 and suddenly my life revolves around a mother-in-law who does not even seem to notice that I have been essentially abandoned here in the states to wait. I feel so hopeless, like I have no one to talk to. And I feel like a bad person for being resentful because every time I express how lonely I feel, my husband gets even more upset and makes me feel worse (and likes to remind me that I did indeed say I was so impressed by his care for his family when we first met). I don't know what to do, but honestly, there are days where I wish I could turn the clock back four years to when we met. I love him, but living like this is killing me and I don't know what to do (and yes, everyone says "couples therapy" but I cannot even do that right now because he is not here)

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You could love Him more than yourself and move and help care for his mother, and then you all can live your life after the honouring of his parents has ended. I truly understand, I have a similar situation. Sometimes we have to sacrifice our ideals of life to show love to others. Imagine how much loved your husband would feel if you chose to help him in what he thinks is important. if it were your parents wouldn't you want that from him. Til death do you part. Choose him over you and see what happens.
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Totally agree with surprise above. Don't bring babies into this difficult situation. You don't want your husband to leave them behind, too, to go to his parents.
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Anullment comes to mind. You entered into this marriage wholeheartedly, but it appears that your husband has no intention of being your husband but rather his mamma's boy. I'd go talk to my attorney and my preacher and decide if this is the life I want.

He's showing you what he's going to do the rest of his life. If he is not there with them in person, I would not be surprised if he pays 100% for their care- to your family's detriment. Whatever you do, don't get pregnant for the next 2 years while you sort this out. Your baby would be dragged into this too.
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What I've come to learn is that everything that I think defines my life changes in time. This is for a season, and albeit a difficult one for you, it won't last forever. Remember, "for better or for worse..." Reach out to your family and friends for helping you thru this, use email when skype doesn't work out, and share all the stuff with hubs that will entice him to do all that he can to get home sooner.
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Before i got married, my spiritual leader told me that my spouse comes first. And so I'm trying to balance helping my Dad, while also being there for my husband.

Your husband made a commitment to you. Maybe you can both talk to a third party together like on skype.
Do a group chat. They can help you reason with him and try to work out a balance that works for everyone. You can help him look for services that can help his mom. Let him know you love him and his family and you hope you both can work something out.
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Oh dear. Everyone has said what I would have, had I been home from work earlier.

If I were in your shoes, I would make sure to watch the movie "Moonstruck".

There are cultural norms that are hard to buck. But if your DH came to the US and wanted an American wife, he has to expect that she would want an American marriage. Is that not what he was expecting?
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ff, I don't think the situations are comparable at all. Many spouses in every era are separated a lot. Military. Traveling business person. Bus driver. Pilot. If you marry a soldier and there is a war on, you pretty well know what you are getting into. And you have LOTS of company of others in your situation. In most professions the separations might be repeated, but they are broken up with times together. My son has been working out of town for a few months, but he comes home to his sweetie every weekend. My DIL took a course on another continent this summer, and is often gone for part of each summer, but it is for a set time. It is not indefinite and stressful.

And, of course, not all the marriages with long or repeated separations survived. Glad that your parents' did!

SadCareHelper, you need to make decisions based on your particular situation. What are your expectations? What are your husband's expectations? What plans did you have for the first year of marriage? Can you pick them up when he comes back? What has to happen before he returns to you? Are you willing to wait for that?
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Give him time to get her settled. If it becomes more prolonged (like into Spring) then sit him down and tell him that it’s “them or me”. Sorry but he’s a married man and his marriage should be #1.
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You have every right to feel what you feel, Your "newlywed" phase got kicked to the curb 4 months after your marriage.

BUT--you have control over how you come across to hubby. My onw hubby travels extensively for work and always has. I raised our 5 kids basically on my own. One thing I learned early on was to NOT complain to him about my day. If he called and I was in a temper, I wouldn't answer the phone. He would get angry if I was angry, and it wasn't b/c he was angry at ME, it was the situation. He would have rather been home and helping, but he couldn't be.

I developed a great support network of neighbors and family and reached out to them long before I'd call Hubby at a jobsite and complain.

His devotion to his mother is telling of a loving nature, and that's sweet. But, he has an obligation to you that he hasn't even begun to understand.

Perhaps write and email, rather than talk. Bullet point all the "issues". Let him see your side of the issue. He is under a ton of stress and I am sure, trying to be a good son, and hoping that you can understand.

His mom sounds awful--poor guy. Once he comes home--and I hope he does, soon, you guys could benefit from some couples counseling to get back on the right path.

He's got to eventually fish or cut bait. You can't wait for years..and he knows that!

Good luck!
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SadCareHelper, I view this from a different perspective. What you are going through, even thought not quite the same, but the time away is identical, is of a military spouse.

I remember my sig other telling me his parents were living apart for 2 years, Mom here in the States, and his Dad overseas with the World War. His Dad didn't get to see his first born child until she was almost 2 years old. His Mom was lucky that her sisters and her parents all lived in the same neighborhood, so that was a big help. And back then the only communication was letter writing. Yet, somehow most of these spouses accepted the separation, but there was always the fear that the spouse would die in the War.

Try reverse psychology, make it sound like everything is going well here in the States. What hubby needs is a shoulder to lean on, someone he can talk to without any resentment coming across. Otherwise, he will stop calling as he is getting enough stress with his parents.

You need to remember, your hubby didn't cause his parents to act like they do, he didn't hand his mother her first cigarette, etc. And that his mother was from an era that is quite different from your own. Back then it was the norm to stay home and take care of the household and children. And for Mom to do all the cooking, thus keeping her husband out of the kitchen. My parents came from that era, too. My Dad couldn't even boil water or know how to turn on the washing machine.

Just food for thought.
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Putting feelings aside, if you and he were not married, and you stumbled upon him on the internet and his life was consumed by taking care of his mom. Would you marry him? The answer is NO.

He has no time for marriage. He has no time for a wife. He's not even available physically to get married or stay married.

So, you do NOT have a husband or a marriage. You can either put your marriage on hold for years until his mom dies (hopefully his father can take care of himself) or you can tell him you can't wait for him an go your separate way.

If you look at things with out feelings, things become a lot more logical. Good luck.
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You did indeed say you were so impressed by his care for his family when you first met.

You are his primary family now. That is what he hasn't seemed to recognize. Is that cultural? Does his whole social circle think parents come before spouse?

What is the long-term plan here? When MIL is released from hospital, then what? Will he come back to you and handle their finances remotely? Is he looking into arranging some in-home help?

You could very well be married to this man for the next 50 years. What's a few months separation now in the overall scheme of things? I surely do understand your resentment and think it is justified, but I'd weigh the benefit vs the drawbacks of your relationship with this guy. And if you are intending to have children, factor that in, too.

MIL could, conceivably, live another 10 or 15 or 20 years, in need of help all that time. What is Hubby's expectation for that possibility?
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Truthfully, it sounds like you seem to be the only one in this marriage. Since your new husband feels so obligated to take care of his parents, choosing them over you and criticizing you for wanting a true marriage, depending on his mother’s recovery time, he could be away for years. What happens when she comes home? He will still feel obligated to care for her and also his father. Ideally, there must be some sort of senior citizen care or home healthcare where he is. There’s also a chance he may want to bring them home with him to live with you. Could you tolerate that? I believe some sou-searching is in order for you. Some honesty with your husband. Be firm. Don’t whine and/or complain. Don’t disrespect his parents. But be honest with him that things need to change.
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Hang on. I am sure people here can help.
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