What would you do? Would you go or not?

Avatar for chicle
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2003
What would you do? Would you go or not?
13
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 12:11pm
Sorry is long. I have a cousin who is separated (not divorced yet, only separated) from her husband; they have been separated for about 5 months now. They have a 7rd old daughter. My sister is the best best friend of my cousin and because of that my sister supports my cousin and agrees in anything my cousin do or does not do and viceversa, even if it is the wrong thing, but my sister is always have been there for her not just now but for some years now. They are very very close.

The husband of my cousin since they got married, he has earn the care and love of my family (aunts, cousins, etc) because he has been a good guy, humble, helpful, working, generous, always think for others rather than for himself, etc. because of that relationship he has had for the family and viceversa over the years, for the family is very difficult to treat him otherwise just because he is separated from my cousin. We are treating him the same and vice versa, and we don’t care what his wife says, even if my cousin is blood related relative. I mean the guy has earn the honor to be cared and love by us but the way he has been with us, so it is difficult that overnight, we treat him differently, if you what I mean. My cousin is upset with the family because we continue to treat him as if nothing has happened between them, my cousin wants the family to stop speaking to him or at least treat him like we have always treated him. I mean, the problems are between them, not with the family why should we do it? My cousin says that it is unbelievable that we care more about him than her, since she is family, he is just an in-law. The family says it is not that, it is simple that it is hard that we shut him out of the family just like that because those two have marital problems, those are not our problems, one thing has nothing to do with the other and besides they both have a 7yrd old daughter, who is family to us. My cousin does not want the family to continue to have conversations or relations with her husband, she says it is not fair because it is wrong that if in the long run they get divorce, we continue to invite him to drink coffee over the house or to family gatherings, because it is very uncomfortable for her. I mean the family knows that we won’t invite him when we invite her to gatherings or vice versa, if we want him to visit us for any reason it will be when his wife is not around, so they don’t see each other and at least one of them comes. But even in that way, my cousin does not like the family to even consider him or continue to talk to him. Don’t you think she is very selfish? That was just a summary so you might understand the situation regarding the question I posted. Every year all the family (cousins, aunts, etc) during the Easter week, we visit our grandmother who lives away from downtown and lives close to the beach. So we spend a week together in family, we go and take trips to the family farm, ride horses, go to the beach, etc, we spend a nice time during that week. This year for my cousin and her husband is going to be difficult, because if one goes to my grandma’s house the other wont go and vice versa. The difference about my cousin’s husband is that he does not even mind that her wife is present in any gathering, for him it is indifferent, the only thing to do is to be away from her and don’t develop any kind of conversation, stay as far as possible, but for my cousin is different, the only presence of him, makes her uncomfortable, she is prouder than him. I mean the guy has always been a very nice person, he is not an abuser, hasn’t hit his wife ever, he treats her daughter with lots of love, etc. but the reason for the separation only is between him and his wife, the family does not have to know anything about it and does not have to care.

Because of my sister is the best friend of my cousin, she will do anything to be there with our cousin. This year my sister wont go to the farm either, but the family did not know the reason why, we thought it was because she had something else to do during that week, until now. My sister wont go because our cousin’s husband will go to the farm so in solidarity with our cousin and because my sister is very very close to our cousin, she wont go to the farm this year. I told my sister that how come she won’t go, the problems are between our cousin and her husband, she has nothing to do with it but my sister got upset and told me that our cousin is her best and dear friend, she will do anything for her, so she wont go either to make solidary with our cousin, who wont go because her husband will go. My sister since it is my cousin best friend is also upset with our cousin’s husband, she does not speak to him, unlike the rest of the family that do speak with him, not that often as before, but for the rest of the family, anything has changed.

Just my opinion but I think my sister is making a big deal out of it, just because our cousin wont go, she wont go either to support our cousin and my sister has nothing to do with our cousin’s problems. I mean, is not that our cousin is feeling very sad because of this, she acts and seems OK. I mean when the separation was fresh, she seem sad about it, but now she is Ok, acts OK, I don’t see her any sad or depressed about it, she is even going to the psychologist so I don’t see her depressed or anything in order my sister not to go just because of her. My sister gets even upset when the family speaks or has any kind of contact with the husband. My sister does not have to mind about that, that is the family decision, it is not my sister’s decision.

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Avatar for cl_starrzz_n_moonzz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 3:11pm
Ok I am a little confused let me see if I get this right and if I am wrong please don't hold what I say against me LOL. The DH took a job out of town? She didn't want to go so she stayed back in their place? He would come home on the weekends? When he got vacation time he would stay out of town? When he lost his job he came back home and wanted things to be the way they were before he left?

Here is where I can see your cousins side. Yes- she should have moved when he asked her to when the job came along first. I am sure he took the job in order to provide better for his wife and child. Two people make a marriage work and when one is away the other is left to handle it all. The DH should have taken his vacation time and came home to his wife and child instead of staying away. Was there a reason for this? Also I don't think he should've came home and "demanded" things from the home. I can see where she took offense. As for her going out and leaving her child with relatives, we all need a break and when we get one we should take it. It helps us be better parents and let's are kids have a breather from us too. I am not saying she should go out every night just once in awhile. As for the knowing how things can get disrupted and fights starting. My DH in the military and when he has been gone for awhile and then BOOM he is home things usually hit the fan. I am used to doing things my way and he comes home and wants things to go back the way they were before he left, but he understands when he is gone things have to change to make them work. If they didn't they would all fall apart. No we don't change allbut we have to change some.

The extra helped a little, but I would still have him over just take care when you do. Think about what is appropriate and what he should't be invited to. I hoep I understood this right. Hang in there and keep us updated~~~~~~~Michelle

Avatar for chicle
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 10:37pm
Well, as my mother said perhaps because the situation is fresh my cousin is still vulnerable, as the time goes by, she will start to mind less what her husband do or does not do.

TSince my cousin does not earn a lot of money in her work, and she is not rich, the husband still pays the daughter's education and he still pays the rent of the apartment my cousin and daugter lives.

I mean my sister went thru a divorce as well, that is why she understand more my cousin than anyone else in the family. What my sister also agrees with the cousin is that it is not normal to continue invite her soon to be ex, to gatherings, because he will be EX, he no longer is part of the family and he no longer will be her husband. The only bond is the daughter, but that is different.

My mother corrected me about my cousin and her mother. The one upset with my cousin is the mother is not the other way around so becuse of that my cousin no longer wants to speak to her because her mother does not want to make an effort to talk to her daughter so because of that the cousin decided not to speak to her.

I mean teh family knows what my cousin is going thru but we dont butt in in a way that we go and tell her what to do or not to do, even if we know there are things that she does is not right.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 7:19pm
My goodness! That is quite a story - a simple statement of incompatibility would have sufficed. Sorry you went to all the trouble of telling the story.

OK - now that's out in the open, here's my humble opinion:

You're absolutely right about it being none of the family's business - he has not endangered your cousin, and she has not endangered him - it's simply an issue of they could not get along and work out their differences.

So what would I do? I'd tell your cousin that she was a selfish and immature brat to have refused to move to the other town because she'd miss her friends, etc. etc... No, wait a minute. That's none of your business, right? Well, I'd tell her off anyway. But that's me - sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong.

Really, sounds like your cousin is being unfair to the family. They have a daughter, which means the ex WILL be on the family sidelines for at least the next 11 years or so, whether the cousin likes it or not. You can inform your cousin that he WILL be invited to SOME family functions (should limit this to larger functions including friends as well - not the small, close-knit family celebrations, like Christmas morning), and she'd better just get a grip on herself and get over it. Let her throw her hissy-fit, but eventually she'll either learn to cope or disassociate herself from the family. That is her choice.

You cannot let your cousin's emotions rule the family's decisions. I'd say the best thing to do is to decide among yourselves what is the RIGHT and HONORABLE thing to do, and just go ahead and do it. Let the pieces fall where they may.

Good luck and God's grace to you and all of your family - especially to your cousin's beautiful little girl. And let us know how it all turns out!

Msfit

                  &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 12:18am
Ok. let me try to explain the best I can, I try to do my best. The reason for the breakup was not because of alcohol, drugs or that he is an abusive man. It was not even because of a third party. Neither those things were the reasons for the divorce. According to my mom, my cousin's aunt. I dont know the whole picture just what my mom told me, perhaps it was incompatibility of characters, distance and separation from my cousin and her husband and not being a romantic guy. She was the one who kicked him out of the house. I try to be short. When my cousin's daughter was younger, like 3 yrs old, my cousin's husband got an opportunity to work away from downtown (like 2 hrs driving) so he took it, because for him it was a nice shot. My cousin's husband ask his wife to join him in that new town and go and live with them. My cousin turned down the offer, not only the town was away from downtown also in that town she wont know anyone, she will be away from her family, she will be alone sort of saying, but also because in that town were not good opportunities for her to work in a nice place or her daughter to grow up. Not good schools, not chance of hanging out with friends, she will be stuck at home in that town and she wont have a good opportunity to work, so she never went and live with her husband in his new job at that town. Because of my cousin not living in the town where her husband works. The husband only visited her and his daughter on the weekends, or when he asked for vacations, the rest of the week, he did not visit them, he stayed in the town, since the town was away it was difficult for him to drive everyday to home and then go back. That way of living lasted like for 3 yrs. So becuse my cousin's husband was hardly at home, just on the weekends, the one responsible and the one who raised their daughter most of the time was the mother, the mother was the one taking care of her. Then last year the husband was fired from his job, so he returned home. But since he was at home now everyday, he wanted to demand things from her wife (Im not talking sex) but things from the house. My cousin disagree with that and criticized him because she said that he wasnt there for some years and it is unfair that all of a sudden he comes and demand things, when he hardly was at home and the one responsible for their daughter was just her, not him. In that time was when he kicked him out of the house and he went to live with his parents. Also other reason for the separation was that the guy was never a romantic guy, I mean his personality is like that, not a romantic and caring guy, he is like that, not that he liked to be like that but he was born like that, not a romantic guy. My cousin says that there were times,that as a woman she needed a hug, a kiss often from her husband or someone to hold her but the hsuband was not romantic in that department, he was a cold guy. But the husband also criticized the wife as well by saying that she, knowing she was a mother she cannot behave as if she was single, there were times she neglected their daughter and left her many times in the care of a relative so she can go out and have fun. Those are the two reasons I know so far according to my mother, if there are more, those I dont know about. But as I said in my post, the guy in the 12 yrs of being married to my cousin got along very very well with the family and he always treated us nice, he was always helpful, considerate, funny, humble, generous. That is why for the family is hard to tell him just like that, we dont want to keep in contact with you anymore because your wife does not want the family to continue having contact with you. That wont be a nice thing to do. My cousin says it is not appropriate to the family to continue having contact with him, because it seems as we are taking sides and we care more about him, no blood family, than her who is blood family and simply is not correct to get in touch with future ex's because it is not appropriate that we continue to invite him to activities when he no longer will be family when they get divorced. But the family knows that if we like to invite him for things, we know we should not invite our cousin, so anyone wont feel uncomfortable and also viceversa. I mean when the cousin got separated she did not tell anyone of the family because it was her problem and noone has to mind what happened in their marriage, it was her problem not the family problem. The family found out, each member on their own and bits and pieces of the story. In fact, my cousin does not tell much about their separation because is noone business but her own and her husband.The sad part is that there is a 7yrd daughter involved. To the only person she relies on and told everything is my sister, who is her best friend, aside from her, noone else my cousin relies on to tell her problems, not even her own mother, because for this separation my cousin and her mother does nto speak to each other and does not see each other, they are mad. My cousin is a very spiteful and resentful woman. She is in very bad terms with her mother.

The thing is that the family know the problem between my cousin and her husband are only theirs and noone else but because of that, is not fair the cousin does not allow and does not want the family to have contact with the husband and not even see him. Hey the problems are theirs, we dont have a problem with the husband and neither him has problem with us of any kind. In fact when we see the husband, now not as often as before, we dont even brought the marriage issue to the conversation, we talk about something else.

The husband got back to the town he was working, another job opportunity, but this time he hardly comes downtown, he only comes to downtown to see his daughter and his parents, so the family hardly see him now, in that case it is best to see him less.

Is it clearer or I confused you more?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 9:17pm
I have to agree with most of the posters here, however, I don't think it's as simple as that. Sometimes you have to use common sense whether to honor the family alliance, or honor the friendship, or both.

One issue being skirted around in this thread is the reason for the breakup. You stated that it's between your cousin and her STBX, does not involve the family, etc... But are you so sure? Do you even know the reasons? If the reason for the split was incompatibility, then I can understand why the family would be so torn in this issue and it truly may be none of the family's business. But how do you know?

My mind races about WHY the breakup, and if it were my cousin, I would darn sure want to know WHY - was he abusing her? was she abusing him? was there a problem with drug abuse? If the problems go deeper than simple incompatibility, then family alliances are irrelevant.

Two examples to illustrate:

1) My ex-husband (when we were still together) and I had a terrible argument one day over his alcohol abuse - and he put a gun to my head. I escaped the house barefoot (in winter), and he locked me out. I walked 2 miles to the nearest relative (his parents) for help - they stared at me blankly and stated, "But he's our son - what are we supposed to do? We can't help you." In this case, the family alliance stood no matter what the "issue" - when clearly there should have been more common sense used. Years later, after our breakup, I still maintained contact with my ex's parents (it wasn't all bad - they were wonderful people), but I did NOT attend their family events, except one: a wedding, where my son was asked to be ring-bearer and I was invited to attend.

2) My niece recently lost all parental rights to her three young boys because of neglect and abuse. Her husband divorced her and now has sole custody of the children. Our family has remained supportive of the boys and their father, and has helped my niece to get back on her feet and start a new life in another state. He does not attend extended family gatherings where my niece is present, but he does spend "family" time with my niece's parents, with the boys, as a smaller, separate family unit. So far, this arrangement is working for the benefit of all - especially the boys.

IMHO, if your cousin wants her family to reject her STBX, then she must provide solid reasons why you should do so - and the family should LISTEN. That doesn't mean the family should get involved in her problems (or maybe you should?) but how do you know if you refuse to hear them?

Let us know what happens!

Msfit

                  &nbs

Avatar for chicle
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 4:27pm
I mean, the family knows that when we invite our cousin to any gathering, we wont invite her husband we are clear about that,besides he hardly comes to town because he works kind of away from downtown and he only comes to downtown on the weekends. But we also know that if we invite him for a gathering we wont invite our cousin, that is the way it is.

Other problem that of course we dont butt in, just to mention it, is that my cousin's mother care deep about her son in law and she treats him like nothing has happened and she continue to keep in contact not as often as before, but from time to time. Because the mother says, the problem are between those too, not with me. I think that because of that my cousin has been very mad with her mother ever since the separation 5 months ago. My cousin and her mother does not speak to each other, they are angry at each other.

She is so angry at her mother that if there is a gathering and she is invited if the mother is present, she wont go to the gathering and viceversa. Is not that I butt in I just know what my mom tells me, but I dont around and give my opinion to anyone. I keep it for myself. My mom told me that since the cousin is very spiteful she has been disrespectful to her mother and she tells her name (not in front of her mother but when she talks about her) she even cursed her mother once in a heat of the moment. The mother is very dissapointed in her daughter because of that.

Do you think my sister should get really involved in this issue? The involving of my sister in this has caused other members of the family to have small frictions with her, because she is getting very much involved to support the cousin. I mean, she is the only one of the family who knows more about the problem than the rest of the family, no other member in the family has an opinion on this, but my sister do and my sister gets upset when others have a say in this I dont know understand why she gets upset, since she is very much involved in the issue, I mean to give opinions, knows more detailed about the cousin problems with the husband than anybody else.

My cousin is very proud and spiteful lady, she has always been like that, this is not to criticize her is just to tell you that her personality is like that.

My mom says that since the issue is fresh 5 months, the cousin still vulnerable but perhaps in one or 2 years she wotn even care to see her ex husband or whether he is invited to a gathering or not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 12:48pm
You don't have to be mean, but you really should set some boundaries for the sake of your cousin. You do care about her, right? Because it seems that your right to associate with whomever you please is much more important than her, and you are really just using her DD as a justification.

She is obviously, and understandably having a tough time with his presence at family events. Until she is okay with his presence, he should not be invited to these events. Let me make this clear, he is no longer family and he should not be at family events because his STB X does not want him there. You are right that it is none of your business, but you have made it your business by both inviting him and welcoming him to family events against her wishes. By doing this, you are really picking sides and demonstrating to your cousing how little you value her, and how little you care about what she is going through. This is not about you and your family, this is about them breaking up. I am glad that I am not a part of your family which does not seem to value actual family members and seems to care less about whatever emotional trauma the family members might be suffering.

This really has nothing to do with the DD. I am sure that he can see her without the family present, and there is no reason for him to be present at family events simply because she is. Yes, he will be present at non-family events such as school plays, ball games, etc... and you will see him there, but there is absolutly NO reason why he needs to be at family events other than some unhealthy need to hold onto the past. By making this an issue, you are only complicating matters and making the whole situation difficult for the primary players. You really need to step out of this and develope a relationship with him outside of the family if you feel the need to hold onto your relationship with him.

Avatar for chicle
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-09-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 11:33am
But there is a daughter involved, so as long the daughter is involved the family is involved as well. My cousin's daughter is family, so one way or the other we have to see the dad, not as often as before, but from time to time. The guy is not forcing himself to the family but us as the family are not that mean to kick him out forever just like that.

The problems that lead tot he separation between my cousin and her husband is their problem, not the family's problem, is not our business to know the problems and because we dont have anything to do with it, we dont have to cut ties with the husband, if we are not butting in, their daughter is family.

The guy has never done anything bad to us in order for the family to tell him something like: Since your wife is our family, we dont want to have any more contact with you, you are not family", that would be very mean. We are not like that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:42am
My opinion hasn't changed either. Having been through a divorce, and now dealing with my DH's family who continue to have a relationship with his X, you need to back off your relationship with this guy. Fact: he is no longer family. Stop treating him as if he is. Treat him like a good friend, but stop inviting him to family events.

So, you don't see your cousin as depressed or upset, I wasn't either after I left my X because it was such a relief to be out of that relationship. When my Mom talked to him, it was as if she was more supportive of him than of me, like he counted for more. When she understood how I felt, she stopped talking to him. Kudos to your Cousin for seeing a psychiatrist, I am sure it will help her get through this. But as a family, you are failing her miserably. You are allowing her X to take from her the loving support of her family by making this a loyalty issue between him and her when this is really about the tragic end of a family. Just because you don't see her tears doens't mean that they havn't been shed. IF he were actually the nice, caring guy who was always concerned for everyone but himself that you described, he would stop horning in on his wife's family time. IF he were actually the kind, caring mand you described, he would step back and let his wife spend this time with her grandma like she has for most of her life, long before she knew him, and will long after he has faded away. Instead, he continues to use her family to force his continued presence in her life against her will, to exhert power over her actions, and to turn her family against her. His behavior gives me some clue as to why she is leaving him. No, I don't think that she is the one being selfish. I think that her H and her family are the ones who are being cruel and selfish.

I certainly hope that you will never go through a divorce, and I certainly hope that if you do, that your family will have grown up by then and will be much more considerate of your difficult situation. If you do find yourself in such a situation, you will at least have your cousing to comiserate with.

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 6:54am
I will have to agree to disagree with you because after two of my husband's siblings got divorced I learned a lot. I can not even begin to imagine how your cousin must feel about all this.

I asked about the divorce because it would be different if they were trying to get back together. But since they are just waiting out their time, I do not think the same way as you.

But that is okay. It is your family and I am sure you will all find a way to deal with this. Have a great Easter gathering.

Melissa

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