Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is There Really Such A Thing As Forever?

Posted by Anonymous.

Angry. Distressed. Devastated. Shell-shocked. Broken, it’s all so broken. We were at home on a Saturday, my husband and I. We had just moved into our house we had bought and we had gotten married about a month before. When the house phone rang and my husband picked it up I thought nothing of it. When I saw his face I thought someone had died. It was his mother, she and his father were having trouble. They’d been going to counseling and she was calling because she felt it was time he know, she needed support and love and reassurance.

Now to frame this, I’ve been incredibly fortunate with my mother in law. When she and I met she was genuinely interested in my life, asked me questions, learned my preferences and really cared. She was a woman of myths, a mother in law who never reminded me of the devil. She actually seemed to believe I was good for her son. She was so happy he had met such a nice girl. She was amazing through the wedding plan and continues to be amazing to me.

I had my husband call her again, make sure that she didn’t want us to come to her, or her to come to us, to have someone with her. She decided she was going to come to our house and she was on her way. An hour later she arrived at our house, she broke down and told us that after 31 years her husband, my father in law had told her that he didn’t love her anymore. That he considered her just a part of her life, that he had different plans for the rest of his life. She was understandably heartbroken. After being a stay at home mom, she’s being forced to figure out how to support herself at a time she anticipated she and her husband would soon both be retired and enjoying that together. I hugged her and hated him. I love her so much, and to think that he could so callously do that to her tore me to shreds.

I hate myself because I can’t help but worry that my new marriage may not survive, it feels so selfish. I had always kind of thought that after 30 years you were “home-free.” I called my mother and sobbed like a baby. “How could someone do this, to someone they loved?” I asked her if marriages could really survive. She reassured me that she and my father were never going to divorce and for the first time since I moved 700 miles away from them I felt like a fool for leaving them.

This all feels so broken. What seemed so perfect was broken. Perfect Thanksgivings, perfect Christmases. I have so much trouble talking about this with my husband because I feel like every time I bring it up I’m just reminding him of how his parents’ relationship is crumbling. Although I have told him when he is ready to talk about it I’m here. How will I even look at my father in law? Are we supposed to have a relationship with him like this never happened? I know that this is their relationship, and our relationship with him is separate. But there is that nasty little fact that, well, I hate him.


Anonymous said...

Only time will tell how your relationship with your FIL will evolve. What an awful situation to be in, but in my experience all feelings are fair game cause you are going through something difficult.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. It's never easy when your in-laws have troubles, no matter how long you've been married. After five long years of infertility, we were finally pregnant with our first child when my in-laws separated for a time after she discovered his infidelity. Suddenly my husband was spending hours every night with his crying mother on the phone. I started to hate my father-in-law for causing her pain and making my time of joy all about their issues. She consulted an attorney, but eventually they worked it out through counseling and got back together. And I had to work hard at being neutral and giving him the same chance that she did. Now it's a non-issue. Try to find a friend who can hear your pain and frustration, because your spouse is probably having enough problems dealing with what's happening in his family. I sympathize and hope it gets better for your family soon.

Daniel's Mom said...

Your marriage, your life, will see about a million "new normals" through the years. This may be no comfort, but your life will bear very little resemblance to your planned life. It's really okay. Not great, sometimes, but okay. Aim for the okay, whether it's getting through the hour, or getting through the experience, you will get through and you will be stronger on the other side. "Broken" will begin to look more like "different."
"Break" will become "bend". Might become "bow", but it's okay. Probably "crumble" will be closer to "rough spot." Love your husband today, and tomorrow, and try to keep that schedule up through all the "new normals." You can. You really can.

Anonymous said...

Everyone's relationship is unique to them. There are circumstances that are only shared between the two of them. Sadly, some people do what is expected of them. They try to make the best of it and it just doesn't work out. After a while the years add up and you can no longer do what is expected. And it just doesn't work out. Fairytails are just that. Marriage is work. And if both parties make it happen and put forth the same love and energy, then they more than have a fighting chance. I've only gone half the distance your in-laws went and I can tell you that it's HARD work.

Anonymous said...

My father left my mother after 36 years of marriage. Turns out he had a girlfriend. For almost 20 of those years. He says he stayed for us kids - and waited until my brother was married before he left. But really, he waited until his uber-Catholic and uber-rich parents died so he could both get away from the marriage without his parents' knowledge and collect his inheritance.

This happened in 2004 - 3 months before my first son was born. So, 6 years later, where are we? Well, my mom lives in the house, happier than she ever was when she was married to him. My dad is remarried to his girlfriend, happier than he ever was when he was married to my mom. All of us kids have a relationship with him. The relationships may be awkward and strained but really, they were awkward and strained before this all went down. Life just moves on.

My husband was a rock throughout all of it and that is what I suggest you focus on - being a rock for your husband. It was very important to hear from him that he would not do to me what my father did to my mother. It was important for me to learn that marriage is something that takes work and investment from both parties. Your mother-in-law will get through this. And possibly, like my mom, she will be happier.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Daniel's Mom. Good advice.