How do I rebuild trust and relationships with my family?
September 10, 2010 2:45 PM   Subscribe

How can I rebuild my relationship with my SO and my parents when someone seems set to undermine it?

The relationship is being worked on, and it feels like someone is trying to pry it apart...

My SO has had issues with my family, and we have been working through them. Part of what has been keeping her sane has been keeping off of each others toes, and she found an online group where she was with peers and could vent. This site requires a login to read, and additionally the subsection she posted to has a policy concerning external dissemination (read: don't) though offline isn't really specified. However, someone's been talking...

My father called me and asked concerning some information that would only have been posted there. I've dealt with the immediate concern there, but I have no idea who told him, he won't tell me. SO and I have been trying to improve feelings between my family and my SO, but this just feels like a massive setback in relationships. How can we best deal with the feeling that we cannot trust anyone involved?

Throwaway email:

(Additional background: I come from a cohesive family with parents still together, SO does not. We feel SO is being judged for that at times, as my parents are rather conservative.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Find a different group. The group she is in is clearly not trustworthy.
posted by brainmouse at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2010

Stop dealing with that group, immediately.

And as someone who has been in relationships where my SO didn't get along with my mom, and vice versa, all I can say is: you can't fix it. They have to fix it. Your job is to set boundaries where necessary/appropriate - to your parents, you say something like "Please don't talk about SO like that. If you continue to do so, I will hang up/leave," and then do it. To your SO, be sympathetic, but set similar boundaries. If your parents are being mean or inappropriate to your SO in your presence, again with the "Stop right now, or we're leaving." Then do it.
posted by rtha at 2:51 PM on September 10, 2010

There is a very old saying which goes "Two people can keep a secret, if one of them is dead". In other words, the only way to really keep something secret is to tell no one, and that includes not writing it down, not posting it on the internet, or putting it anywhere else where it could be found with sufficient research. We often enjoy confiding in others but there are many times when it is wiser not to do so. So, what about the need to vent? Personally I think that venting is over-rated, but if you really need to vent, you can do it with a therapist, who is professionally obligated to respect medical confidentiality.
posted by grizzled at 3:07 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

How do I rebuild trust and relationships with my family?

How can I rebuild my relationship with my SO and my parents when someone seems set to undermine it?

How can we best deal with the feeling that we cannot trust anyone involved?

Honestly, it seems like you're asking several different questions that are part of larger and imcomplete narrative. It's unclear what relationship is damaged, the one between you and your SO, you and your parents or your SO and parents or some mixture of the above. The lack of specifics adds to the confusion. It might help if you cleared things up a bit, by emailing one of the mods via the contact link at the bottom of the page. For instance, is your SO being unreasonable with her issues your parents or is your parents actions freaking out your SO and causing issues? Is your SO blaming your or you blaming her for the relationship with your parents? It's extremely unclear why the SO would need a forum to vent, yet seemingly someone on the forum would vent to your parents and they would care enough to question you about it.

Anyway, there's not a lot you can do if someone distrusts you. You can't control what they do, you can only control yourself. Be trustworthy and let others form their on conclusions based on your actions.
posted by nomadicink at 3:33 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

A lot of small sites with secure logins are still fully searchable, meaning googling will show all their private info, or just typing the correct url to bypass login. It might not really be anyone's fault, maybe he just did a search and saw it.

Going at this from a different angle: Why is is so important that everyone get along? You and your SO are a different family unit from you and your parents - sometimes the only good solution is keeping things separate. Also, your primary relationship is with your SO now - if your parents treat her badly then you should make it clear to them that is not okay and/or shut down the conversation, and possibly leave. You don't have to avoid them, just let them know that the topic of conversation is closed. If your SO is being unreasonable then you should have some long talks about it, but there is no reason that she MUST spend any time with your parents if they just really do not get along, you can attend their events alone. She married you and not your family.
posted by meepmeow at 3:57 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

A professional counselor would be much less likely to disseminate information, and might be a really good listener, too.
posted by amtho at 4:54 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

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