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Forums / Multicultural experiences / My husband doesn't like my family

Topic: My husband doesn't like my family

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Natii
    Natii avatar
    1 posts
    16 February 2018

    I am Chinese, my husband is Australian. I am from a family that really close to each other, we all living together with grandparents since I was born. Couple of years ago My parents helped us with 100k for buying our first house, I have discussed this with my husband in the beginning that my parents will live in the granny flat when my parents are old and need care.

    Recently, we just had a baby, my husband's family is so broken,his father left him before he was born. If my family dynamic is "Too close" his will be "Too distance "So only help we can get is from my family. Currently,my parents are living with us on the same floor(granny flat is renting out,lease has other half year to go). And my husband had a lots of fights with me about how my family living here invaded his privacy and the balance of life has gone completely. He constantly showing an annoyed face to them because they didnt follow the"house rule" ,stuff like turning the power point off if it's not in use, wash dishes in full water sink at once,dont wash them under flow water. My parents are trying to adapt themselves, but the old habit or lifestyle sometimes is hard to change in a short time. My husband doesn't show much patience for this. And my parents are very pissed off as well because they think he is mean to them,doesn't respect them ,don't treat them like family and not grateful about their financial help.

    As a Chinese,I can not "Abandon" my parents in China when they are old and need care. And my husband doesn't want them to live closely with us. One of the possible solutions is leaving him. Because I would never left my parents behind no matter who I am be with. And I felt he said one thing in the beginning but actually doing opposite when it is happening. Now I don't think he actually means that the granny flat is for my parents. I felt like I have been tricked so as my family. It's already hard to look after the new born baby, and meanwhile I have to put up with this. Really had enough.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1357 posts
    16 February 2018 in reply to Natii

    Hi Natii

    Sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now and are caught between a rock and a hard place. Culture, family, tradition and change make for a tricky situation. It is even more complex because there are so many competing needs to consider. The common denominator, however, is that it is in everybody's best interests to work this out.

    It could be that you have been tricked but it could also be ... that your husband is feeling displaced as a father and is growing resentful ... that while your husband's rules may seem petty for some reason they are very important to him ... that your husband is missing alone time with you ... that your husband is adjusting to fatherhood ... that your husband feels left out.

    The point I'm trying to make is that you really need to sit down and have a good talk with your husband. Consider going to see a family counsellor if needed. See if you can probe beneath the surface to try and discover what the real issues are for him.

    You might find your husband still expects your parents to shift to the granny flat and that there are compromises you can both make about how daily life is conducted that will help give your husband back the balance he desires and improve the family relationships.

    I wouldn't rush to make any final decisions until you know more about what your husband is feeling and thinking and why, and if he is willing to compromise.

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Hope.for.the.best
    Hope.for.the.best avatar
    211 posts
    16 February 2018 in reply to Natii

    Hi Natii,

    I am of Chinese descent but have lived in Australia for many years. I can relate to the cultural differences. In many Asian countries, including China, children tend to stay close to their parents before getting married, sometimes even after getting married. In Western countries, however, parents pretty much let their children go and live by themselves when they turn 18. Perhaps your husband has been used to living away from any seniors, so he does not feel comfortable with your parents around. Regarding the "house rule" bit, it has little to do with culture, but more of differences in personal habits. As you said, it might be difficult to change your parents' habits, but it is good that your parents are trying to accommodate.

    You should definitely talk to your husband, when both of you are calm. Acknowledge that he finds it difficult to live with your parents, and appreciate his effort for trying to fit in. It is important that you don't offer blame, like "You don't appreciate my parents' financial support! You don't respect my parents!" etc. Even if you feel this way, these words don't solve any problems and guarantee more fights. I don't know how much private time you spend with your husband each day, but you should try to schedule more quality time with your husband, a time that does not involve your parents, so he does not feel left out. Say your parents and baby sleep at 9 p.m., then maybe make 9 p.m. to midnight your private time. Family counselling is very helpful if you still cannot address the issues after the talk.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Summer Rose
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    1357 posts
    16 February 2018 in reply to Hope.for.the.best

    Hi again Natti. I've been thinking about your post some more this afternoon and want to share that I am of Canadian descent. For some 25 years my parents have come to Australia every year to visit and live with us for a month or more and my aunties, sisters and cousins have periodically done the same. At times, this has put pressure on my relationship with my husband for different reasons. Often I felt pulled in two different directions and conflicted.

    Sometimes I needed to gently remind an extended family member that my husband was the children's father and he had the final say. Sometimes I had to remind my husband that it's virtually impossible to stop a grandmother buying sweets for her grandchildren. Sometimes I asked our visitors to babysit so my husband and I could just get out of the house! Everybody involved had to make compromises and sometimes bite their tongue.

    I know my situation is different because the visits were temporary, which is why I didn't mention it earlier. But I've reflected on this view and think there are important similarities because it comes down to kind communication, open hearts and respect.

    If you feel like it, let us know how the talk goes. I wish you success and happy days with all of your family.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    16 February 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose and Natii,

    Great advice! I agree. X

  6. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    16 February 2018 in reply to Natii

    Hello Natii and welcome to the multicultural experiences forum.

    This situation you are experiencing is a difficult one and very common not only amongst cross-cultural couples but also with couples of the same culture.

    When we create our own family, we become one with our partner, our 'other half'. No matter how much we love our parents, they're not our immediate family anymore. I understand that in certain cultures the boundaries are not as clear cut and the separation from the parents doesn't always take place, however, you could have been married to a Chinese husband who would still dislike your parents and/or set rules in his house that your parents wouldn't like.  

    Maybe give some credit to your husband for putting up with this difficult situation as he's clearly not coping very well with all this. Even if he knew that's the deal, as you say, it can be a very different story talking about it and 'know' that this may happen one day, to actually going through it on a daily basis and living it, knowing that this will probably continue for the rest of their days which could be for years. That can be a very depressing prospect for your partner who may be missing his life with you and the way things used to be between you.

    People get tired. Living on top of each other or in each other's pockets brings conflict. It can be suffocating for the life of the couple and you have a new family to consider. Also, he is not used to this arrangements like you are.

    It is admirable that you feel obliged to support and help your parents and you are so dedicated to them but I believe your affection and allegiance should be towards your husband first, the father of your child. Just remind yourself why you married him in the first place. Why you didn't stay with your parents instead, for the rest of your life. 

    Of course it's nice also that your parents have helped you out financially but at what cost? And having a newborn baby is one of the most stressful time in a couple's life as dynamics change, intimacy suffers, the couple hardly has any energy left to enjoy each other, the realization that the honeymoon is over can be daunting and some men especially may not be able to cope as well as a woman who has carried and given birth to her child. So, there are so many things to consider. 

    I'd suggest you and your husband talk to a Family Counsellor and your parents could talk to Seniors Rights to develop some strategies for your cohabitation. Family mediation can also help. 

     

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