Question: Dear Luise: I was married 5 years ago to my ex husband and it was great, but both if our families got involved and we wound up separating and filing for divorce. Two years later my ex husband called me and told me he couldn’t live without me, we got back together and I got pregnant right away. I was pregnant with twins and right around 5 months he told me either I got along with his mother or I could get out. Thus, I left. I went into labor 3 weeks later and had two very premature children. We fought the whole time the kids were in the hospital and tragically we lost a child. At my sons funeral a huge fight broke out and it was, of course, in regards to vulgar things his family said and did. My ex husband decided to sign away his rights to our child and I have been raising him on my own since he came home from the hospital. It’s now 4 years later and I’m remarried and have another child with my current husband. However, he keeps wronging me by pornography and dating websites. I can’t feel like I trust him and my ex husband is knocking at my door telling me he wants me back again. He said that we let our families get in the way all the times before and its about our happiness, not theirs. I do love him so much, but I think about all the stuff that has happened and I cant just cut out my family… there’s more people involved than just us. And it doesn’t help my current husband keeps messing up and hurting me. I’m so confused please help! A.
Answer: Dear A. There are many different ways that families relate. One of them is where the family of origin always takes top billing and the another one is where the new family unit is the priority.
My husband is Italian. They are big on the whole extended family being one unit. When we married, twenty years ago, I must admit it was rather quickly. Neither of us wanted to do the dating-thing because we “just knew.” My grown sons were great with it…a kind of loving and respectful “Whatever, Mom…” attitude. His grown children decided that since I was 15 years younger, I must have ulterior motives. I was treated coldly, rudely and unfairly without even being given a chance. What my husband decided was that it was their problem, not ours. He took a strong stand without saying a word and I became his number one loyalty. They eventually came around but there was no guarantee that would happen. We were prepared to go it alone and would have…to preserve our marriage.
Your first husband has shown you repeatedly that his family comes first and in a statement you made at the end of your question you say, ” I cant just cut out my family.” It sounds like the same is true for you.
Your present confusion probably comes from the fact that you are in a degrading, no-win second marriage. That’s what needs to be dealt with first, isn’t it?
Once you have gathered up your self-respect and acted in your own best interest, take another look at your “ex”. What kind of structure do you think the two of you might be able to create to protect each other from your consistent inability to put each other and your marriage first? If you can’t both do that, forget it. Blessings, Luise