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Old 01-07-08, 02:12 PM   #1
mustang1
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Family matters and a new house, advice sought

Hi all, I haven't posted for some time, but here I am.

Me/wife/baby currently live about 2 mins drive away from wife's parents' house. Wife's sister lives there also. We are also the same distance away from wife's brother's house (along with his wife and baby).

They dont visit often, but visit often enough (take from that what you will). And they phone too. ALL THE BLOODY TIME.

I don't like it, but I learnt to live with it (for 8 years). Now it's time for us (me, wife, baby) to start looking for a new house. So I'm thinking of moving further away. Wife however wants to continue living right next door (figuratively speaking) to her family.

Being close to the family has many advantages (they help out a lot with child care, help out with house stuff like DIY, shopping, groceries, etc) and also has disavantages (they come round when *they* like). So, what is your advice?

Ps: this is unrelated but you may find a connection with the above text: a typical day for my wife is: wake up, call parents, several times during the morning. Then go to parents house, drop off baby, go out with sister on various errands, go back to parents house, talk and stuff, then in evening bring baby back. Then, go back on the phone to parents again. No, I am *NOT* exagerating, I am not lying, this is the truth, really. On weekends when I'm home, it's similar but instead of going out with siter, she goes out with me. And guess who she's on the phone to. And a typcial vacation would be to wake up in hotel room (depending on time zone), call parents, go out and do vacation-like things, back in the evening, call parents, sleep. In takes all the vacation vibes away. (Good thing I have plenty of business-away trips!)

Is this normal? I dont think it is, but before this, I've never been married before so not entirely sure (who am I kidding, this is absolutely not normal). Anyway, thanks for any opinions about where next house should be and/or what you think. And I would make sacrifices of myself to ensure my baby is properly looked after (I have long hours office job, wife will possibly go back to work soon).

BTW, the phone rang just a few minutes ago, it's almost 8pm, it was her family, see, I'm not exagerating. All the time! ARGH!

EDIT (10 Jan): Hello everyone, thanks very very much for all your constructive replies. I thought some of you might joke about this but I really appreciate your comments. I will update this thread soon with comments regarding some of your questions. For now, I'm glad I'm not alone.

Last edited by mustang1; 01-10-08 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:20 PM   #2
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I'm wondering why would you think she'd call her family less if you were further away from them. Seems to me she would call them more often.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:26 PM   #3
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Sounds like you two need marriage counseling. She apparently didn't get the message that you and the kid(s) are primary family now.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:27 PM   #4
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I say move further away. Then send the wife a kids your new address and let them visit.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:34 PM   #5
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I say move further away. Then send the wife a kids your new address and let them visit.
+1 million
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Old 01-07-08, 02:36 PM   #6
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My brother-in-law's wife is very much like yours. Her two sisters are her best friends, and there seems to constantly be some sort of family event going on. Personally, I couldn't stand it, but my brother-in-law seems to get by. I think the key may simply be to set some boundaries. Zorro mentioned that your wife needs to know that you and your child are primary family now. That's absolutely right. You've got to be straight with her that this is leaving you feeling short-changed. (I assume that it is, and it's not just that you hate her family.) Counseling is not a bad idea.

Two other considerations, though. One, it sounds like you get plenty of benefit from the relationship: free childcare, assistance around the house, etc. That doesn't mean her family gets to move in, but it does mean that they have the right to expect some reciprocity. It's up to you (and your wife) to set some boundaries on that. The other consideration is, remember that old saw about how when you marry someone, you marry their whole family? Yep, you just did. I'm not saying "just deal with it," but you need to find a way to have your private space and private life with your own nuclear family without excluding her extended family. Good luck.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:47 PM   #7
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Is this normal? I dont think it is, but before this, I've never been married before so not entirely sure (who am I kidding, this is absolutely not normal). Anyway, thanks for any opinions about where next house should be and/or what you think. And I would make sacrifices of myself to ensure my baby is properly looked after (I have long hours office job, wife will possibly go back to work soon).

BTW, the phone rang just a few minutes ago, it's almost 8pm, it was her family, see, I'm not exagerating. All the time! ARGH!

I would not try to define 'normal' or otherwise. Every situation is different.

Their family is obviously extremely close. You did, after all, marry into the family. Maybe give her a cell phone. Even if you move, the phone calls will not stop. Might try to limit the phone calls to before and after certain hours.

Yeah, y'all need to sit down and talk about it.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:49 PM   #8
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The only thing I see that's borderline abnormal are the regular phone calls from hotel rooms during vacation. Actually, that sounds kinda weird. But then again, how long have you been married and how old is she?
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Old 01-07-08, 02:59 PM   #9
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Some people love to be in touch, but there should be some time in the day when people unplug. There seems to be some paranoia that people will MISS SOMETHING if they are not constantly reachable. This is kind of disturbing. Start small with the disconnect from being available and build from there.
  • Get out of the house and ride your bike. Turn off your cell phone.
  • Go work on a household project or something else you like to do. Turn off your cell phone.
  • Take the baby for a walk. Turn off your cell phone while on the walk.

It's almost hard to remember only a decade ago when people could leave the house and travel across the country without any form of communication beyond the nearest payphone. And it was too expensive to use that for anything other than an emergency.

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Old 01-07-08, 03:20 PM   #10
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I think a combination of bluebottle's and CyLowe's advice is a good place to start.

Actually...a good place to start is by simply talking to your wife about your feelings on the matter. If that isn't productive...perhaps seek couples counseling. And most importantly realize that there may be things that you are doing...or not doing that are causing here to act this way. Maybe not..but you need to be open minded about it. Good luck.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:26 PM   #11
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One translation of Mark 10:7 (which was pointed out to me to have been in Greek quoting Gensis 2:24 which was Hebrew) "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cling to his wife: and they shall be one flesh." The word cling is translated as "cleave" or something along the lines of "join with his wife." Regardless, I like the word "cling." "The Hebrew word for leave is 'azab, aw-zab' and it means to loosen, relinquish, forsake, leave. The meaning is obvious. Then instead, you are to cling to your spouse. The Hebrew word for cling, `dabaq, daw-bak' means cling or adhere, abide fast, cleave fast together, follow close hard after, be joined together, stick." (Hissheep)

So this process could also be called going from dependent to independent. Which leads to children, who then become dependent upon you. The process of course then is a cycle. Later as time goes on, perhaps you then take care of your parents in thanks for taking care of you. Whether that's doing the right thing or allowing them to move into your basement, there is a concept of re-dependence.
If your story is true, then things are out of whack. If it causes problems in your marriage then the issue needs to be addressed. I know it would cause issues in mine.
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Old 01-07-08, 04:59 PM   #12
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"Is this normal?" is the wrong question. As with most things, "normal" here is a box - and a fairly big box - not a point. The situation you describe fits within the "box" of "normal" for relations with extended families.

What matters more is: is this acceptable to you? The answer appears to be "no." That means you have to bring this up with your wife and work it through. If you can't work out a mutually acceptable compormise yourselves, seek a good marriage counselor. I would go so far as to say you might want to seek one out sooner rather than later, because I'm guessing you guys will need some help with being able to address your wishes and concerns on this subject in terms the other can hear without recoiling.

Since you have been married to her for 8 years and this appears to have been the pattern the entire time, it will likely be a real challenge establishing more space between your nuclear family and the extended family. But if you don't start, and fairly soon from the sound of it, your resentment over the situation is going build to the point where it will erupt in some form that is not likley to be healthy to the relationship. Be warned, however: considering how long this has been going on and how attached your wife seems to be to her family, I doubt she is going to adapt easily to a less close relationship with her parents, siblings, etc.

Good luck. This is a tough one, but one you need to work out for the sake of both your marriage and your sanity.
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Old 01-07-08, 05:04 PM   #13
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My mother dealt with that when she moved from Chicago to my father's home town. See, my father was the eldest son of 14 children... and seen by my Grandfather as the one to carry the torch for the family dynasty. The empire included six farms and acreage in Door County Wisconsin. My Grandfather gave my parents a farm to live on as long as they worked for that little empire. What my mother couldn't take was it was assumed they didn't pay rent and therefore the house was common property to the family. They wouldn't just stop by, they would walk in and make lunch for themselves while working the fields or repairing equipment there.

She fixed that when one of my uncles stopped by to make himself lunch... she walked out of the shower naked, strolled through the kitchen and went upstairs to get dressed as though he didn't exist.

No one ever stopped by without calling ever again.

My ex-MIL started stopping by all the time, I moved 1200 miles away... then divorced her son.
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Old 01-07-08, 05:56 PM   #14
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Why does this thread make me think of Everybody Loves Raymond?
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Old 01-07-08, 06:27 PM   #15
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Sounds like you two need marriage counseling. She apparently didn't get the message that you and the kid(s) are primary family now.
She didn't get the memo...
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Old 01-08-08, 11:50 AM   #16
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I broke up with my last girlfriend for this exact reason. She would talk and see her mother constantly... I mean constantly! If they didn't talk on the phone or see each other like every hour or two they would both start freaking out. It was pretty sad and pathetic IMO since she was in her 20's at the time. Even if we were out on the town, she would stop and go to a pay phone to call her mother, even if it was 4am. (This was before everyone had a cell phone)

Cut the cord already!!!!
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Old 01-08-08, 12:13 PM   #17
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Maybe have wife call Dr. Phil.
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Old 01-08-08, 12:44 PM   #18
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I can relate to a point. My wife, when I met her, was attached to her family in a very similar way. For her, though, it was because she had no one else to talk to. Once she met me and we became serious, she broke ties with her family just enough to be more reasonable and realistic. Her sister, though, still has a grudge against me for taking her sister away from her (even though they still talk constantly, it seems).

We happen to live faily close to her family. At one point, and by coincidence, we lived in the same building as my wife's sister. Her sister would come over several times a day and would make herself at home no matter what my wife and I were doing at the time, and it drove us both nuts. So, after a while, whenever her sister would just show up and expect us to pay attention to her, I would answer the door naked and tell her we were busy. Yep. I said naked. After doing that twice, her sister always called before coming over, and if we didn't feel like seeing her, we just didn't answer the phone. Of course this method doesn't work for everyone, but it took something as obnoxious as that to get it through my sister-in-law's head that we weren't available at her every whim just because we lived 20 feet from her.

This all being said, when we lived in another state for a while we didn't hear from her family for almost a year. We didn't call them either, though. But now that we live near them again, my wife talks to her family every single day. Usually once a day at most, though. Whew!

As for my family, if I talk to them once every month or two, that is pretty good and enough for me.

As someone else pointed out, "normal" in this case should really be "acceptable to you." I know some people who are married with kids and LIVE with their families and are perfectly fine. If I get a call from my dad more than once a week I go crazy.

So, talk about it with your wife and see what you each have to say about it.

Just remember that you are certainly not alone in regards to a situation like yours.
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Old 01-08-08, 01:23 PM   #19
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Things sound out of whack, but you have most likely aggravated the problem by depending so heavily on her folks. You need her to be there for you first (and vice versa). Sounds like that's not what you have.

I think moving far away would be a good thing. Being married to someone who is tethered so tightly will significantly damage both your and her personal and professional development. You both should have your own life -- it is possible to be very close to people who live thousands of miles away without going nuts or yakking nonstop on the phone. There is something inherently screwed up about living too much of your life connected virtually to people (via internet, phone, or whatever) when it comes at the expense to those who are in your immediate presence. I'd move as far away as possible, but even 60 miles would be very helpful.
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Old 01-08-08, 01:48 PM   #20
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Sounds like a typical Italian family to me. Get used to it. Only way to escape is to move outside the 'compound' area (more than 45 minutes away).

All kidding aside, some families are like this. Learn to like it cause it won't change. It has its good side, and certainly its annoying, bad side. The first years of marriage & new baby, it'll be priceless but let your wife know how you feel.
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Old 01-08-08, 07:39 PM   #21
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Sounds like a typical Italian family to me. Get used to it. Only way to escape is to move outside the 'compound' area (more than 45 minutes away).

All kidding aside, some families are like this. Learn to like it cause it won't change. It has its good side, and certainly its annoying, bad side. The first years of marriage & new baby, it'll be priceless but let your wife know how you feel.
That's what I was thinking only moving further away doesn't stop the phone calls. They just become expensive.
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Old 01-09-08, 11:18 AM   #22
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I say you need to get used to it. It is not like her relationship with her family is a surprise to you. You married her after all.

My wife is very close with her mother and sister. The first few years, they were always stopping by unannounced. I kept my mouth shut, however, and only complained when Mom-in-law would walk in the front door without ringing the bell. Looking back, they all meant well and they made taking care of little ones so much easier for my wife. Which enabled me to get my graduate degree *and* participate in a number of different hobbies. Had they not been so local it would have all been up to me. So now I am appreciative that we have had their help. The good news is that now that the kids are 12 and 10 the family does not stop by nearly so much anymore... the kids have their friends and are not always around, and when they are they are often busy. My wife talks to her mom once a day usually now.

So you only have 12 years to wait!
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Old 01-09-08, 11:24 AM   #23
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The first few years, they were always stopping by unannounced. I kept my mouth shut, however, and only complained when Mom-in-law would walk in the front door without ringing the bell.
Did she at least bring food?

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Old 01-09-08, 11:37 AM   #24
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That's what I was thinking only moving further away doesn't stop the phone calls. They just become expensive.
My long distance phone is a flat rate.
$20 per month, unlimited. (Bellsouth)
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Old 01-09-08, 03:02 PM   #25
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I'm going to second the idea of counseling. Or some other means of convincing your wife that there is life away from her family.

My first wife was like this and no matter what I tried I couldn't get her to let go of her family even a little. Mainly her dad. This wasn't the only reason but it was a major reason why she became my first ex-wife.
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