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#2109399 08/13/08 02:19 PM
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It has been a long time since I have posted on here! Now that our marriage is back on the right path, we are having trouble figuring out how to handle a situation with my husband's family. Someone help ... please!

SIL just got divorce finalized last day of May. 2-weeks later, for Father's Day, brought new bf to family dinner. We were told shortly thereafter that this was a "permanent situation" and that we have to accept him into the family. We certainly didn't exclude anyone, but we also weren't rushing to call him part of the family considering it was so soon after her D. Well, we just found out 2 days ago that they are getting married in less than 2 weeks!

A little more info:
SIL called Sunday to say they were engaged and were thinking of getting married sometime over the next few weeks if they could get the family together. We reviewed schedules and she said they would probably do something in 2 weeks on Sat. or Sun. Our DD's birthday party is that Sat., so she asked if they did the wedding at 7pm would we be able to make it? I said it would be pushing it, 7 would be the earliest we could do, but we would make it work to be there for her.

An hour later, H talks to their dad. According to him, they have been planning this wedding for over a month and a date and time are already set - Sat. at 7pm. They said they would understand if we couldn't make it.

Talk to SIL just after this - she acts like they just set the date and time within the last hour. We say "we'll be there". 10 mins later, she called H and tells him by the way she's pregnant and due at the end of March (a few days later she tells me her due date is 2/27).

This morning, SIL texts H and me to give us the new time for the wedding. It is now 1 hour earlier. There is no way for us to make it on time! Was this intentional?

Both sets of parents and the soon-to-be-BIL's 3 siblings have all known about the upcoming wedding and baby for about a month. Our feelings are hurt. We almost wonder if we are even wanted at this wedding?

Are we normal for being upset about this? How do we handle this?

Any advice today would be much appreciated! We have to call her back tonight and want to handle this with as much grace as possible to avoid any unnecessary additional upset.


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Your own little family is your #1 concern. Take care of your D's birthday. Tell her if you have time to drop by the wedding reception later, you'll be glad to, but you already had plans for that time, as you had already informed her. Thank her graciously for the invitation, and tell her you hope she has a great wedding. Hang up.

Take the high road. Such actions last a lifetime.

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Welcome back, TFC and thank you for the great update...

I gotta ask...are you saying this is an affair marriage? Did she divorce because she was in an affair with this man, and pregnant before the divorce was final?

When we attend weddings, the symbol is we stand for the union...we are friends of the marriage. Maybe why all this is happening with the scheduling conflicts (and I totally agree with Cat) is because you're not addressing the bigger issue?

Are you and your wife going to be friends of this marriage? Were you guys friends of the last one?

Love is not enabling or complying...getting by or making peace at the price of honesty...we sometimes have to love tough and true...because your marriage is important, your priority...so standing for it can sometimes mean choosing not to stand for another.

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We cannot say for certain that this is an affair marriage ... I counted back from SILs due date and it appears as though she got pregnant within the week of her D. One could then assume that this is the product of an affair, but no one has been so honest about it.

It is our goal to a good example from our own new M. My H and I were both very honest with our families (parents & siblings) about our affairs - having honesty, along with accountability and support helped us turn our M around. We got married very young, very quick, and very pregnant. We can understand (to a degree) what H's older sister is going through in preparing for this new M. While the circumstances surrounding this relationship are questionable, shouldn't we be supportive of this union? As you said - be friends of the marriage?

The demise of the 1st marriage began last year. H & I had found a wonderful new M together and encouraged them to work things through. Unfortunately the ex-H was unwilling to go to MC or make any additional efforts until she asked for the D. We felt that maybe she should have taken him up on it at that time, make one more effort. But she did not.

H called SIL yesterday, asking her why she is in such a hurry and why we didn't know sooner? There were so many different excuses, reasons, etc. She did say that she didn't think we would approve, which is why she waited to tell us.

On the one hand, we want her to be happy and have a successful M. On the other, we suspect this is all the result of an affair and we do not support that.

They have the date and time set. Had we known sooner (when they started planning), we could have planned DD's party earlier in the day. We will not change her party, so we will have to be late if we go.

H's thoughts were "I would be there for the ceremony, but I don't really feel like celebrating it. I'd rather not go if we are only going to make the reception." We are both struggling with our feelings on this so much - wanting to do the right thing, but also feeling like we are being judgmental.

Sorry to ramble on ...

Last edited by TFCchanged4good; 08/15/08 04:27 PM.
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Thank you for your response, TFC.

Extra kudos to you both for your marriage...it take what it takes to get right where you are today.

About being judgmental...you judged your past actions as wrong...which is why you stopped doing them. You changed your course. We judge actions. That's okay. In fact, it's necessary, isn't it?

Do you mean hypocritical? Possibly for disapproving of what someone is doing/has done that you, also, have? That's not hypocritical...that's valid disapproval. You don't approve of yourself doing it...you understand solidly the same actions/choices of others...you would be the valid source to disapprove, wouldn't you? You've walked in those shoes.

I see the wedding ceremony as where we symbolically approve by standing for the wedding. I see the reception as participating in their celebration of their marriage. So I'm reversed from your H. See how communicating in symbols is tough? lol

I think your plan to go ahead with DD's birthday plans is respectful. And I love the dialogue you and your H have had about this, increasing your intimacy, IMO, so I don't see a downside.

When you both agree on a course and follow it, your feelings will change. You have mixed beliefs right now...and if you don't know it's an affair marriage or not, then you don't know.

I've been to weddings where I didn't know, either. Didn't stop me from being a friend to their marriage afterwards.

What a team you are, TFC...working this out together, holding to your boundary of consideration, respect, acceptance and love. To me, you guys symbolize acting from healthy marital boundaries.

I take inspiration from your post.

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Your post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much!

And yes, I think hypocritical is the word I was thinking of, but you are so right! If we wouldn't approve of it for ourselves, why would we for another?

We have discussed our plans to be there as a support-system for the 2 of them in their new M together. We know that this will be a struggle for us considering our assumption that this was all rooted in an A. But again, since we do not know for sure, we feel guilty assuming this.

 Quote:
I see the wedding ceremony as where we symbolically approve by standing for the wedding. I see the reception as participating in their celebration of their marriage. So I'm reversed from your H. See how communicating in symbols is tough? lol


It is funny how people can differ in their opinion of the symbols of events. So, am I hearing that you would attend the reception, were you in our shoes?

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Thank you for sharing about your eyes watering.

\:D

That's about you, from you, inside...you touched your own heart, I think.

I've forgotten how late your DD's bday plans run...I remember it's a Saturday and there's a drive involved...something like that. See, I probably wouldn't end up going...after a full day, snuggling with DH in bed is about all I can imagine.

I'm much older though.

LOL

Ask yourselves how you could know for sure if this is an affair marriage or not...

How long was her first marriage? You figure it takes a whole year to heal for each five years of marriage before you begin dating--and it's a good rule, I think...and a tough one.

So even if they got pregnant right away...is this a healthy marriage...you feeling rushed may be from them rushing...and bringing another being into the world. Then again, getting married before the baby is born is great, IMO, because it owns their actions...this is what they've chosen.

Ask whatever questions you need to ask...in the end, they will have a marriage...so speak now respectfully and then hold your peace...do not enable, ignore, wish away or into existence...you won't feel guilty when you know you've sorted out your conflicting beliefs.

Do what you can to ascertain if it is or isn't...then decide. You guys get to determine how much, when and check your own intent along the way. You'll do fine, I promise. Because you're aware, questing and listening.

Bet that wasn't your number one reaction before last year, 'eh?

Wasn't mine before four years ago, either.

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No ... a year or more ago, we wouldn't be struggling with this because it wouldn't have been important to us. I am so glad that now it is though!

 Quote:

I've forgotten how late your DD's bday plans run...I remember it's a Saturday and there's a drive involved...something like that. See, I probably wouldn't end up going...after a full day, snuggling with DH in bed is about all I can imagine.

I'm much older though.


Doesn't matter how old or young - I prefer just hanging out, cuddling, or whatever ;\) with my H any chance I get!

As far as this being an affair marriage, IMO it is, I just didn't want to make assumptions. The facts are: they have been "friends" for 5 years, last M lasted almost 6 years; her stbH broke off his engagement about 1-2 months before SIL asked for her D; D finalized 5/30/08 - stbH was brought to Father's Day dinner 6/14/08, they were too touchy-feely (H asked her not to do that in front of DD again); they moved in together before D was final, only no one knew; prego within days of D.

Its all a matter of opinion, since she will not say how long they have been more than friends.

Its funny you say to take a year for every 5 years of M! I told my H I couldn't believe neither of them waited a year after their relationships ended!

They are all coming over for DDs bday this weekend - should be interesting. When we told DD her aunt was getting married in a couple of weeks, her reaction was "Again?" DD doesn't know about the pregnancy and we don't want her to until after they are married. Is there is a respectful way to request that they all refrain from telling/letting on that SIL is pregnant?


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Respectful way to ask that they don't tell or talk about the pregnancy this weekend is to ask...that's respectul, I think.

Same way for asking, "Were you guys seeing each other while you were married?"

And

"Are you guys going to have friends of the opposite sex during your marriage? We figured out that was really dangerous to our marriage."

Any children from her previous marriage?

I'm looking at this with a sadden heart because they are bringing another life into the world...so standing against the marriage would be, to me, like standing against the child. However, speaking about how tough the statistics are against a successful affair marriage, sharing what you've learned would be involved in accepting, not approving of the marriage, IMO.

I'm not being flippant...I learned to do my part and let the outcome go. This is family. My tendency was conflict avoidance and that sinks all of our relationships. Blocks connection, is deceptive and has no respect.

Funny about the time line...I forget where I read that one for five rule...seemed understandable for me. I like your DD's reaction to the fast marriage. lol

I do think that how our children see us deal with what comes has the most influence...where they learn others choose their way and it doesn't mean they have to choose the same way. Trusting our instincts is important...there's an inherence reverence, I believe, for life and relationships in us as children. I think that's what you found again in yourself and your partner.

Can feel like you welcomed yourself home again. Was for me.

LA

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I suppose you are right, I should just ask. The only reason we have hesitated is b/c of his mom. MIL has a tendency to have a funny (not ha-ha-funny) way of handling being confronted ... the backlash is tremendous! The frustration we are facing obviously comes from us realizing that we cannot control how others react. Which would be nice wouldn't it? But that isn't how things are. And we are fearful of doing/saying anything to cause ostracism in H's family. But, H and I realize that our family comes first and we must accept whatever backlash comes our way. Its just hard to deal with b/c it tends to effect DD - she is currently the only grandchild.

Thank goodness there are no children from the previous marriage. All she has ever wanted is a family, so in a way we are glad she is getting what she's dreamed of. And I agree that standing against the M would be perceived as standing against the child. The baby is innocent in this and had no choice. The baby talk brings up so many other issues with my MIL and the babies - I guess I shouldn't bring up on this particular thread.

I am due the end of this year and she is due 2 months later, so it is inevitable that the kids will at least somewhat grow up together. I just don't want my kids to be effected by the crazy backlash of these 2 women and their apparent displeasure in our family when we don't "play along".

Luckily, we feel confident in the lessons we have taught DD through this whole process. First, we got the opportunity to speak to her about D and how we have had problems in the past, but we worked through them (no matter how difficult) and got a better M from it. We got to have open dialog with DD about M, D, and our values. Turns out, we somehow taught all this before without just saying it - she already had in her mind the same values we hold. It made us feel good to know we had actually set a good example!

I suppose that all we can do is raise our kids the way we believe they should be, realize that we cannot control what other think or do, and stick together as a team. Seems like our best option.

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Well it was interesting ... to say the least. For the 1st 1/2 hr H & I felt like outsiders in our own home. They were somewhat civil, but not friendly - more cold to us, but friendly with one another.

After it was over and everyone was leaving, MIL literally cornered me in my kitchen - 2 inches from my face, pinned against my cabinets. Here is how our conversation played out:

MIL - "I need to tell the caterer how many people they are serving, so I need to know if you're coming. [H] was supposed to discuss this with you last night."

Me - "I'm sorry. He was out of town last night and we haven't had a chance to talk about it more, but with the ceremony being moved up an hour, there is just no way we can make it."

MIL backed off with a nasty look on her face. "Fine then."

Awkward silence.

Me - "We wish we could be there, but with us having just found out last week about it we have no choice but to miss it. I can't and won't move [DD]'s birthday party - I have already placed a deposit and everyone has RSVPd. Had we only known sooner we may have been able to avoid this."

H - "Mom, its an hour and half away and the party isn't over until 4. Assuming everyone gets their kids on time and we clean up, that doesn't put us home until 5. We couldn't leave our house until the ceremony begins, and there isn't really a point in driving that far just to get there when everyone else is leaving."

MIL - "Its an hour and 15 mins away, not an hour and half. But that's fine. If that's how you feel ..."

H walks them out saying "Its not how we feel, its just the way it is. You all have known about this wedding for a while now and have been able to plan accordingly. We just found out, and its too late to change our plans."

----

H called MIL last night to be nice, say hi, etc. She was short with him on the phone - almost rude. She inquired if we had chosen a baby name yet - we have not, but have some ideas, but we're not planning on deciding on one until the baby is born. That obviously upset her too. She rushed off the phone. Things are just awkward, to say the least.

Its strange and uncomfortable. We really wanted to get in a lot of family time leading up to the birth of this baby and afterward. It has been important to us to spend as much time with family over the next several months since we will be moving away in the summer.

This whole situation has left us feeling disappointed about our relationship with them and wondering how to repair it. Have we made a tremendous error in dealing with all this? How can we be blamed for not going when we didn't know about it until it was too late?

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TFC,my Mother is like your MIL. She once had a birthday party for me and told me to be there at 7:30. I told her we would be there at 7:45 as we were eating dinner with my in-laws. We got to my parents house at 7:45 and no one would speak to us. They had already eaten the cake and she threw a wrapped present on the table angrily. She said,"Young lady,IIIII am your MOTHER. I should not have to wait 15 minutes so you can spend time with your in-laws on your birthday. You are MY child,not theirs"!
My H is a no nonsense man. He took my arm and said,"We're leaving and don't you EVER treat her like this again". She was really stunned and tried to back pedal but we just left.
I've been in IC many years because of my Mother. She ruined my wedding and the day our son was born. Because our sons first name begins with a "D" and so does my FIL's name,she decided we named him after my FIL and didn't get my father's name in there. She threw such a fit at the hospital, the nurses asked her to leave.He was not named after anyone but no one can reason with her.
I used to go crazy with her but what I learned in IC is that my Mother is stuck in "child". She's very petulant and manipulative. My brother has not spoken to her for 30 years.
I think you did a good job under difficult circumstances. Your MIL is putting a guilt trip on you. My Mother is a bully and tries to put guilt trips on me too. Thank goodness for my counselor. My counselor once said to me,"If your Mother dies,it's NOT your fault". My Mother would use the "You'll be sorry when I'm gone" guilt trip a lot.

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The sad thing is, my MIL is a THERAPIST!

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 Originally Posted By: TFCchanged4good
Its strange and uncomfortable. We really wanted to get in a lot of family time leading up to the birth of this baby and afterward. It has been important to us to spend as much time with family over the next several months since we will be moving away in the summer.

This whole situation has left us feeling disappointed about our relationship with them and wondering how to repair it. Have we made a tremendous error in dealing with all this? How can we be blamed for not going when we didn't know about it until it was too late?


Make room for the family time anyway. Others' actions do not change your priorities if they were really your priorities to begin with.

Human relationships are dynamic...they change moment to moment. Don't fall into judgment where you pat them down and say they are just that way. That says you are just this way...pats you down, too.

You know you've experienced big change in the last couple of years...when you owned your half, your stuff...everything changed. Continue that with your FOO and his FOO. Hold yourself to your own code and act...helps your marriage. Reinforces your changed beliefs.

Disappointment arrives in us from our own expectations. You expected something from them and didn't receive it. Okay. Check your expectations. See if you vocalized them. As humans, we hide so much from others and from ourselves...did you say, "We are afraid you will cut us out of your lives because of our decision. It was really difficult for us to make the decision because of our fear."

That is repairing...simply stating what is yours, honestly, in respect. You know you're not doing the wrong thing...you are holding yourself to your commitments...you've put in the effort to see from many other angles...and you decided. Don't focus on blame or you'll put it back in your marriage...it's a slippery slope.

Focus on your responsibility...and seems to me, you're hearing the call of the Circe, which is blame, coming from the shore...strap yourselves to the mast and know you are reaching for being responsible for others' feelings, being the cause. You are not. Nor are they causing you this strife. This is real life, happening now...and old patterns are going to strongly reassert...know what is and what is not.

Keep your plans for inclusion...continue them. When we act out our feelings, our actions change with them...comes and goes...and I see your extended family as doing just this...and now it's really rattling because neither you nor MrTFC do this with each other anymore...it's going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Keep acting from respect and love...engage, participate, stay aware...I think you're going to deepen your marital intimacy even more. Oddest thing about experiencing rejection--we can either experienced increased acceptance, which lessens our experience of rejection, or we can begin to also reject.

Accept they are doing/saying what they are...make sure you're holding yourself to sharing honestly, respecting they can deal with their own stuff even as you respect yourselves for dealing with your own stuff, 'k? Because they can. This will pass. All things come to pass.

Stay a part of it.

LA

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It doesn't matter that your MIL is a therapist. I interviewed many so called therapists before I found one I thought could help me. I once went to interview a therapist that had alcohol on her breath. I went to another one that became obsessed with me when I was pregnant. He even called me and yelled at me over the phone because I didn't call and tell him I had had my son. I threatened a TRO if he ever called me again. He backed off.
If anything,with the problems your MIL has,being a therapist would,IMO,make her more manipulative.
I tried for many years to get along with my family and my H's. I really,really tried. But I finally have come to the realization that THEY are the ones with the problems,not me.
My H's family is as bad as mine. We once went to meet them at a restaurant and they did not save us seats because "You are 15 minutes late". Well, screw that. I'm not going to be treated that way. We left the restaurant and they had the gall to call and say,"Meet us at the house after wherever you eat for coffee and dessert". YEA,RIGHT! We went home,got in our PJ's and watched a movie and THEY had the gall to be mad because we didn't show up.
My Mother would say things like,"I EXPECT you to be here a half an hour BEFORE we arrive. I want to see your smiling face when I walk in,young lady". What did I do? I refused to go. I WILL NOT be treated like a child.
People will treat you the way you LET them treat you. I know it's hard with family. But my Mother and my SIL on my H's side of the family are pains in the butts. I don't have to be around them because they're are FAMILY. I will be treated with respect or I won't see them at all.
I DON'T see them at all because they refuse to treat me with the respect I USED to show them. They can make someone ELSE feel bad about themselves, It's isn't going to be me.
My son knows his cousins but that's about it. I bent over backwards for so many years so HE would know family when they never even cared. The result is I have nothing to do with either family. They may call and talk to my H but he knows better then to put me on the phone.
They all deserve each other. There is nothing wrong with me....and there is nothing wrong with you either.

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You are so right! Last night, our devotional helped us confirm what we knew we should do all along ... be good people. Instead of lowering ourselves to being catty and holding grudges, we are going to take path of kindness, forgiveness, and love.

Wish us luck!


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I took that path and was NOT successful. I will only turn my cheek so many times. I wish you luck. You are going to need it.

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TFC,

I don't do "shoulds" and I don't do "goods" really.

Healthy boundaries build healthy relationships...all of them. God made us to connect with others...and in doing so, we learn better how to connect with him.

God doesn't do the all or nothing, IMO. He creates us with constant choice...we choose to love, act or react, react from our feelings or act from our beliefs...we have control of our life experience...and no one elses. You know he loves your FOO families as much as he loves each of you.

You know you are all equals...and you all choose...and each day, your choices can be different.

You know he requires you to forgive even as he forgives you. So you can have a close relationship with him and healthy relationships with others.

You hold yourself to offering connection and letting the outcome go. If you hold grudges against others, you will do so against your spouse and yourself...and your children. God made us so we can't just do one way...be good to our families and trashy to those outside our inner circles. Sure can seem as if we can...we really can't.

Doesn't mean you do one thing which you will resent, either. Middle ground...not all or nothing.

LA


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