Please help me deal with my parents ever-strained and unhappy marriage, my fathers refusal to seek marriage counseling, my mother's emotional affair, and my grandparents horrible influence. This has been happening forever--now that I'm 20, my parents are divulging more and more. It's too hard to deal with. Any suggestions welcome.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Family is Indian and very culturally so--my grandparents from my father's side both live with us and have done so all my parents marriage. Both my parents are highly educated people who married through an arranged marriage. My father is an incredibly traditional, conservative, and religious man. My mother is much more liberal.
They have never had a great marriage. Although my father is generally jolly, laid-back, and extremely intelligent, he is a total spoiled slob who never grew up in many ways. His mother has always spoiled him rotten and has continued to do so in his old age. He's a great son and does everything for his parents, who do not care for me one bit. They do not appreciate my mother for the AMAZING daughter-in-law she has always been. Without her, there is no way they would survive here--my father is extremely disorganized, messy, a slob, emotionally immature, forgetful, etc. My mother takes care of a million things pertaining to my grandparents, but they do not see this. They quite literally think my mother has a job because she wants 'freedom', and do not fully understand her giant contributions.
Obviously, this bothers my mom, who is ultra organized, highly intelligent, practical and well...attractive. I say this because my father has expressed, in anger, many times that he did not marry her for her looks, and that she is not attractive...yeah. It's horrifying to me, too. And many men DO find my mom attractive, its totally obvious! She is hard-working, hilarious, social butterfly, fun to be around, has an interesting perspective, is a daredevil... She is a good-hearted person who deserves happiness. Period.
My grandpa has told me before that he does not love me or care for me. My grandma is cruel and manipulative to me and my mother and always has been. She treats my little brother like gold, and me like shit, basically. And because I'm so used to this treatment, I've internalized it and struggled with big issues of insecurity.
My dad seems to understand that I'm affected by my grandparents' cruelty--but he has excuses to the hilt. He says that he dealt with much worse when he was younger, that I need to start by being more affectionate, and his personal favorite excuse is that they are OLD. OLD PEOPLE THIS, OLD PEOPLE THAT--I'm stupidly tired of it. And so is my mom! My dad will NEVER defend my mom against ANY attacks from my grandparents. My mom is just told to deal with it. Or given false promises.
My mother, obviously, is not a very happy wife. She has suggested marriage counselling and tried to work things out, but my father scoffs at the suggestion and has not changed very much. My mother HAS changed to try and improve the marriage. My father has not.
Recently, my father told me that my mother had been having an emotional affair with someone. He also called my uncle, my mothers brother, to divulge the information. My dad seems to want to shame my mother into stopping, and is terrified that she'd leave him--not because he loves her so much, but because he benefits in almost every way. I'm not trying to trivialize the emotional affair, but my mother has been so completely open with me about WHY, HOW, WHEN this affair happened, and its so obvious that she's dying for affection, that I've understood and forgiven her. My dad is still suspicious of her and will frequently accuse her of still being in an affair with this man (whom she used to be in love with). My mother has told me she never has felt appreciated by my father--she has helped my father move continents multiple times, supported his career, emotionally and physically helped him through tough times, took care of his crazy ass parents, done 100% of the housework even though she works full time... She has been his EVERYTHING.
But I don't think she is. And I know they need marriage counselling but my father is dead set against it. "What will they do? Ask her to stop cheating? Will she admit to cheating?" blah blah.
My parents tell me too much about their issues. I'm going through my own and I don't know how to deal with it.
I should say I love my dad very much. He is a loyal guy, a great dad, hard-working, loving, funny, extremely intelligent, understanding... but my parents are not compatible. And I fear they never will be.
I'll be going on exchange soon, and my mother will have to deal with my crazy grandparents without my help (we talk, discuss, dish, counsel each other all the time). I fear she'll be a lot less happy. I'm scared.
It sucks that my dad doesnt think my mom's hot stuff when she clearly is, inside and out. I mean, that fact alone should explain why my mom had the emotional affair with this guy, who took my mom as a muse, told her she was lovely, and appreciated her. Although it DOES crush me realizing how much my mom, who has high integrity, needed affection...I DO feel horribly for my dad, who would never/has never ever physically or emotionally cheated on my mom.
Both my parents never dated. My dad is so culturally conservative and has such particular values that he never even kissed a woman other than my mom (yuck that I know this). So, to him, my mother's betrayal is insane and horrible. The first time he found out about it (several years ago), he said she was very tormented and sad and begged for forgiveness. But the second time (he found out that my mother was still keeping contact with this guy recently), he says she was cold inside, that she wasn't upset at all about it.
I think it's because she's fed up and her marriage is empty. I do believe she's stopped talking to him though.
Sometimes I wish my parents would just split already, or atleast take a break. This is not happening. It depresses me. How can I deal with this? And should my parents BE telling me the particulars of their marriage? How can I tell my parents to stop telling me about this? And how can I convince my dad that actually, counseling is a great idea? And that her emotional affair was caused by his neglect/unappreciation of her?