Family Interference

Question: Dear Luise: My name is Pete. I am 37 years old and going through a divorce. I think it’s premature because I was only married 17 months. It was initiated by my wife. I think she is making a big mistake. My mother says if I love her and she loves me we would be together. I wanted to be but she threatened me again and again with her lawyer. Please read the following and if possible, can you give me advice from a woman’s perspective? Thank you.

Answer: Dear Pete: First of all thank you for your donation to my web site. Also, please know that you can send follow-up questions in the future if you wish.

OK…from reading the attached description of the rocky road you and Nicole have traveled over the last several years, it is clear to me that you love each other very much. Please don’t doubt that. You both know what you have tripped over, which is her loving and well-intentioned family.

Late in life, I went through a somewhat similar experience. I married into a very tight-knit and volatile, Italian-Catholic family. The interference was from his grown children but the effect was the same. There was no room for us to adjust to each other and create a solid bond. What we did was extricate ourselves from the business, sell the house, buy a motor home and hit the road. It was still work to build a strong marriage…I think it usually is, but we made it. I’m not saying that’s what you should have done or could have done, I’m just saying that the two of you were probably right for each other and still are…”if” you’d been given the opportunity to become autonomous.

I’m glad you are in counseling. You will probably need a lot of help to understand what hit you and to pick your way through the minefield called the healing process. A good therapist, male or female, can help with that. In the long run, you will need to forgive yourself for proceeding with the marriage when the engagement told you everything you needed to know. I’m not sure there’s much you will need to forgive Nicole for…she was simply born into the structure that defeated you both.

I’m a strong advocate of “never say never” but I think in your case the odds of anything coming from the phone calls and pleas are about one to one million. It doesn’t look like you can ever have Nicole without the “Nicole Package” and she is so lost in all of the high drama, that there is very little of her available to you. I wish I could be more encouraging. All you can give is your best and you have. Blessings, Luise

2 Responses to Family Interference

  1. M. November 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    I try hard to get along with my MIL, but lately she has made it extremely hard. She spies on me, has convinced her son to go behind my back and set up a bank account with her. I love my husband but don’t know what to do. I lost my own Mother 5 months ago and am being told by both to just get over it. She will get along if I will bow down and let her take my Mother’s place. Please advise. M.

  2. Luise November 12, 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    Dear M. This has to be between you and your husband. You are a couple. She is the outsider. You need his understanding and support after losing your Mom. You certainly wouldn’t tell him to “just get over it”, if it had been the other way around. And your money is about the two of you and the family unit you have established and represent. None of this can be about your husband and his Mom, with you being the outsider. The partnership between you and your husband needs to be seen as your priority. Work together on that. If you can’t establish your solidarity and maintain it, face the fact that you don’t have a marriage. Blessings, Luise

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