Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One-sided Marriage

Recently our family, or more like it, my hubby's family discovered that his oldest brother has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Scared us all a one suspected that anything like this would ever happened. So like all families do, we all pulled together our support by phone calls and cards (we all live far away from each hub and I here in Hawaii, his sibs and parents are spread out in parts of the southern states) and each of the family members crossing off dates to take turns visiting my BIL during his treatment.

It wasn't until my Mother-in-law's turn came and she was the first one, that we found out that my BIL is having serious marital problem. That was a really toughie since he needed every help and support coming from all angles. As my MIL visited, my BIL was in the hospital for his first treatment....the whole time he was in the hospital, the wife never visited once. When my MIL made to their house, she found out that BIL and wife were living in separate rooms from each other. The wife has two teenagers of her own from a previous marriage so they stayed in one part of the house while my BIL stayed in the other part. The whole time my MIL was visiting the son, she took on the cleaning and cooking since wifey there practically did nothing.

Later on, after some serious talking with the son, MIL found out that his marriage has been on the edge of destruction for the longest fact, they had decided to get a divorce before. The wife wanted them to refinance the house so she can get her half of the share and go her merry ways. Well....after the house was refinanced, she took her money which was over a hundred thousand dollars or something, spent it all on practically anything her heart desired and once the money was gone, she decided to stay. MIL reported that the whole time she was visiting, BIL's wife would go out all night and just stayed out til the next day....the whole week and a half of her visit, the only time she saw her DIL was when she was picked up from the airport.

From the phone conversations that my hubby made his brother and conversations between my MIL and BIL, I found out some very disturbing informations about my BIL's marriage. They have been married close to ten years and according to my BIL, they haven't had sex in six years. Yes I know, too much information but I had to point this out so you know how serious this is. My SIL does odds and ends jobs and whatever she made, she spent it on herself and her kids. My BIL is then obligated to support her, her kids and making sure their mortgage is up to date on the payment, car payment, any other bills and grocery bills.

Ok so I know some of you may think there is nothing wrong with a woman doing what she wants with her money but hey, seventy five percent of the house and bills are occupied and used by her and her kids...they don't have any kids she should chip in and help pay for their bills, don't you think so? Especially now that he's sick.

There were a whole lot of other things that she does that my hubby's family does not agree with but I will not go into any details. When my BIL would tell us about how bad his marriage is, we thought, well, maybe now that he's sick, his wife would find that she still love him and takes it upon herself to take care of him.....nope, no such thing. Her kids are the rudest kids I've ever come across, they demean him all the time and she lets them get away with it.

I was so outraged by that, I told my hubby to buy his brother a plane ticket ASAP to get him over here so he can take a break. Hubby and I were both willing to have him move in with us so we can help, take him to his treatment and basically give him a break from all his load. Even today, he drives himself to his treatments...the wife never did it, not even once.

Ok so my hubby called his brother up and told him we'll pay for his ticket to come to Hawaii. He was a little hesitant, didn't want to leave his obligations behind...AS IF..the dummy. We convinced him to come only to find out that he wanted to bring the wife and kids along..(are you friggin kidding me?!!) His reasons? He said he wanted to rekindle what little fire still left in their marriage hoping that if he showed her this one last act of kindness, she would realized how much he deeply love her and return the favor. (whatever!!) I mean seriously, that was very kind of him but in my book, very STUPID! So they came last summer.

I wasn't exaggerating when I said her kids were aweful kids. They are the worst teens I've had the unfortunate curse of meeting and the wife...she's worse!! I'm not being biased either. From the minute I picked them up from the airport, all I heard coming from her and her kids are complaints. "The flight was too long", "the wait for unbearable"(they only waited five minutes for me to pull up to where they were standing to get them...they refuse to walk to the parking lot), "the sun was too hot" (sheesh people, this is Hawaii and it's summertime)...oh the list goes on and on. I was only with them for an hour(that's how long it takes to drive from the airport, give or take) and I was ready to strangle them. She has an eighteen year old daugher and a thirteen year old son...the daughter was literally bitching in the car the whole way to the house about her phone not getting good reception and she couldn't talk to her boyfriend..(boohoo!!).

The whole time they were here, they were complaining...he was practically on his hands and knees trying to make their trip over here a pleasant one. Excuse me but the trip was supposed to be for him to come here and take a break, instead he was running around all over the place trying to please them. We would go to the beach and as soon as my BIL would start enjoying himself with my hubby, the wife started whining about how the sun is too hot and the sand is blowing all over her...I am getting real ticked off just remembering it. I cooked dinner and breakfast for them everyday while they were here...they declared on their first day here that they don't eat breakfast, so fine, I'm not a breakfast person but I did it anyway because my BIL likes to eat breakfast. But because his family doesn't eat breakfast, he didn't feel good about eating breakfast while they didn't...are you kidding me? Come to find out, they were going to the Seven Eleven store near our house for their breakfast...I made the same kind of breakfast they were spending money on. Dinner time..she would eat and just took off to her room, no "thank you for dinner" from her or her kids and not one single offer of helping with the dishes. I supposed I'm not required to make my quests work while they're visiting...excuse me but everyone that stepped foot in my house has done their share of helping with the dishes. Besides, isn't it just a courtesy thing? But enough about me...

Basically, their whole trip here, she was down right mean to my BIL, her teens were rude and they were very ungrateful. Oh yeah, whenever she ended up spending money, which is mostly on her and her kids, she made my BIL pay her back right there in front of us. Not once the whole time they were here did she ever said a thank you to him or give him a hug or kiss like normal couples do.

It was almost a year ago that we found out about BIL illness and their visit here but things are still not looking up with them. They are still living in their separate units from each other, my BIL is on the brink of losing his job, and he's giving his car up so he can keep up with the payment on the mortgage and his wife and daughter's car payments. He seems to be doing everything he can to keep his marriage but she's not doing anything at all. Her attitude and behaviour hasn't changed one bit. The most frustrating thing about this is that whenever my hubby and his family tried talking to him about just cutting his losses and move on, he gets mad at everyone. He keeps trying to convince everyone that there is still something good about his wife but quite frankly, we can't see it. She has her chance to at least fake it while she was here, but she didn't. We can understand him hanging on to a marriage if they have kids together but they don't...and he never adopted those kids and they treat him like dirt. He is not even happy with his marriage, he complains about her all the time but yet he doesn't want to walk away from her.

What would make a person hang on to a marriage like that? What kind of hold does she have on him? Does he think that if he leaves her, that he will never be able to find a better person, someone who loves him as much as he does her? I'm sorry but if I was diagnosed with cancer and even if I am having marital problems, I would expect my hubby to put our problems aside and take care of me with my illness...if he doesn't love me enough to do that...then hit the road Jack!! The fact that she's not willing to take care of him in his most vulnerable stage is proof enough that she doesn't love him, am I right?

So tell me people...what would you do if you were in my shoes? What would you do if that was your BIL or SIL? Every suggestions we gave him, he doesn't want to heed it. I don't mind us helping him out a little financially if she was actually a loving wife and we know she is doing her part. Whenever he ask for money from my hubby and my hubby asked him about what his wife is doing to help contribute in to budget, my BIL would get downright mean and tell my hubby to leave her out of it and mind his own business....hmmmm, interesting, him asking for help has made it our business, no?

Anyways, this is what I've been thinking about lately so I thought I'd share with you all, hoping you guys might have some suggestions or insights. I appreciate you reading this...I know, it's not about my relationship but like I said, it's been on my mind lately. Thanks!!


Danielle said...

Wow, that is a tuff one. I would maybe try to tell BIL that you don't want to be a part of his marriage problems any more. You just want to focus on helping him get healthy and happy.
You'll need to be there for him when the pieces finally do fall and you don't want to burn out on it before then.
As you have stated, family is family and you do what you can for them, but they too have to do something for them selves. It is hard to see the big picture when you are part of the drawing.
Good luck with this one.
Love your blog

TisforTonya said...

I'm not sure what I would ACTUALLY do... but I'd certainly want to call up a certain SIL and offer her a piece of my mind... I'd also want to fly out there and drag BIL to a lawyer to document everything that has gone on...

My uncle was diagnosed with cancer... 20 years ago?... and it came on the heels of some serious marital issues with his wife. TOTALLY different situation because the tumors had put pressure on his brain and made him an abusive jerk... it was hard, but she stayed as involved as she could through to the end... for the family. It amazes me that your SIL can't find an ounce of compassion for someone who's obviously trying hard to be a good husband...



Heidi said...

Sounds to me like he has a fear of being wrong or making a mistake. I would stop telling him to leave her, in fact, I wouldn't even let him talk to you about it. When he starts to complain, just change the subject. The less pressure he gets from everyone to leave her, the more likely he is to actually do it (in my humble opinion which counts for nada).

"Cookie" said...

I'm with Heidi....I wouldn't even engage in conversations with BIL about SIL even if he wants to. He gets mad if you guys bring it up so dont' let him complain to you. As for BIL not wanting to leave the wife....maybe he's scared. The cancer might have scared him about being alone and not having he's hanging onto her to have someone even though it's bad.

I wish your BIL luck in having a healthy life and realizing what a caring family he has...that's just wanting to look out for him and help him during this hard time.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't talk to him about it anymore. It's like an alcoholic, they have to realize they have a problem and get help themselves, you can't make them get help.
He needs to realize what his wife is doing to him and decide for himself to end it.

As painful as it is to watch for you, this is one problem you can't solve for him. You can just support him in other ways and be there when it does come apart.

Barbaloot said...

Let me start by saying I may be the least qualified person to give advice on what to do (being as I'm single and all...). However, I can tell you that someone very close to me was in a rotten marriage for 13 years. And it sounds to me like your BIL is a lot like him...putting up with all the awfulness in the hope that maybe one day it will improve. It took awhile for him to realize he needed to get out of the marriage if he was going to be okay. Things with his ex still are rocky, and she's been awful to his new wife for over 30 years (yes, it's been that long!)! But, he did finally get out, and his family support has been a HUGE blessing through the years. So, it may be awhile before he gets the divorce and can accept the advice you are giving him because you love and care about him. But when/if he does, he'll know that you and the rest of the family love and care about him no matter what and will continue to support him. Hopefully that can be enough.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'd have to find someway to release my aggression about the situation. Run, dance class, kick boxing... something to release tension. Especially when I have something like your situation running around in my head.

It's obvious they need counseling. If she isn't willing to do that... and at her end she is literally THROUGH with the situation... then I say do what the others have suggested.

It's obviously not helping him to bring it up or discuss it period unless he just wants someone to vent to.

If he's anything like me. I want to get it off my chest and then work it out after that... sometimes just being able to have someone to talk to about it... that isn't pushing their opinion down my throat (not that you are doing that--I'm just telling you about me) helps me come to a conclusion faster--then when someone is repeatedly talking about what's BESt for me. When they do that... I tend to do the opposite.

Good Luck Anjeny... this is a tough one!

Cameron said...

If it's so bad that you live in separate parts of the house, then maybe it's just time to call it quits. I don't know why he would be hanging on to the marriage, he probably doesn't want to have a failed marriage, he probably still loves her and has a convoluted notion that maybe it'll still work out. I think all you guys can do is be supportive and wait for the chips to fall. You can't help people that don't want help...and throwing money at a problem doesn't fix things.

K said...

A friend of the family was in a similar situation, except the wife was spending nights at her boyfriend's house. Her husband took her back two times, always giving her anything and everything she wanted: money. He's in debt over his head now, can't have custody of the kids (they were his and hers biologically), and is living very simply. Yet he never wanted to let go of the marriage. The only thing that my family could do was have him over for meals, listen when he wanted to talk, and give him a place to go to when he needed to get away from it all. It's so hard though when it's a family member. I think the best thing you can do is just be there for him when he needs you. Getting involved financially makes it a lot harder, money and family is always a difficult one. I hope things work out for everyone in the best way possible.

Anjeny said...

Thank you all have great views.

Danielle, you're is hard to see the big picture when a person is the one in it so we will always be here for him but we will reassure him of our love for him .

T...I was feeling that same feeling, I wanted so badly to just knock her on her behind...but had to hold back. I thought when my MIL was telling me about how my SIL was, she was exaggerating but no. Yeah, I find that hard to believe that she doesn't have any compassion whatsoever.

Heidi...I sooo value your opinion and it counts for a whole lot. And what you said, I never thought about it before, "the less pressure he gets from us to leave her, the more he's likely to do it"..that goes with what Shelle said...I think it's just the tendency we have as human, we tend to want to do the opposite of what others tell us to do whether we agree with them or not. I know, I tend to want to do just the opposite of what I'm told, even if I was thinking about doing something and someone comes along and tell me to do that very thing, I do the exact opposite.

And Shelle, I think you're right, maybe my BIL just want to talk to someone who will just listen and not pass judgement or to pressure him into doing anything.

Cookie Crumbs...I think you are on to something. I think my BIL is scared of being alone and I think he probably doesn't want to come off seeming like a failure so he would stick with that marriage and stayed with his even if it's not a good one.

Blogging Mama, I love your view. I know I or my hubby can't solve his problem for him, it's just hard to sit by and do nothing and you're right, he needs to solve his problem himself. I know if we keep trying to solve his problem for him, he'll end up hating us.

Barb..thank you and who said you are less qualified to give advice? From what you've witnessed and seen with what happened to that friend of yours, you're able to give a very good suggestion/advice. sentiments exactly but obviously my BIL feels there's still something to hold on to. But you're right, I can't help anyone who doesn't want my help.

You all have a really great point and that is maybe my hubby and I need to step away a little bit and give my BIL some breathing room. I think we've been going about it all wrong. I think it's one of those compassionate human trait where someone comes to you about their problem, you immediately jump in to try and fix the problem, even if they didn't ask for it. Thanks...all your comments have been very helpful.

Anjeny said...

Thank you Kimberly. Sorry about your friend. Actually, the other details I didn't want to put in the post was that my SIL does go and hang out with her ex and whoever she picks up at a bar. My BIL followed her one time and saw it and it was too painful for him, he decided to just leave it alone...I know, he's very stupid..but like you said, all we can do is be here for him. I seriously hope he gets hit on the head real quick so he snap out of this wanting to fix a marriage that in my opinion is "non existent" but oh well...

Danielle said...

A quick quote that I learned a long time ago.
"When the pain exceeds the pleasure, you have to move on"
He will know when it is time for him to get out when he gets nothing out of it anymore. He is just not ready yet. His pain hasn't exceeded his pleasure.

DGB said...

For some reason he's got major blinders on. Has anyone ever sat him down and given him an outsider's perspective of his marriage? The horrible kids? The wasteful spending? The shabby treatment?

Tough it seems like this guy is in such deep denial that a conversation like that realistically wouldn't do any good.

I want to feel bad for this guy, but how many signals does one person need? This woman sound miserable. Her children sound miserable. And your BIL sounds like he's feeling miserable.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's much anyone can do unless he decides to help himself.

Anjeny said...

Precisely what I've been saying..we all can see it but he obviously can't see it.

We've kinda stepped back a little from him right now to let him figure it out on his own. My hubby's decided he'll be here for his brother but he's not going to get so seriously involved that he ended up getting frustrated. Hard for me to watch my hubby like that cuz I know he's the kind of guy who can't turn his back on family and the kind of person who likes to solve anyone's problem best way he knows how.

Thanks for comment DaddyGeekboy.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

That's really bad. Somehow she's got something on him or over him. Do they have any kids together? I wonder if there are things you don't know. I agree with Heidi. I would stop talking about it with him. I wouldn't lend him money either. It's taking it's toll on you and your hub. His brother needs to take responsibility for his own marriage. I don't understand either why people let themselves get walked all over like that. I know someone very close to me that is in a similar boat and I get very angry at his wife too! It's hard.

Anjeny said...

Crash..we're all trying to figure out what she has over him. Ok, I'm going to sound mean if I say this, but not only is she mean and ungrateful but she's not even pretty so I should say she's ugly on all counts, the inside and out. And I'm with ya on that one, I can't see why people do that either.

And no, they don't have any kids together..those two sorry excuse for teens in that family are hers from her previous marriage.

So we're kind of leaving him alone now...not abandoning him or anything but just not too seriously involved. We tried to talk about his wife so much when he called us and when he started complaining about his situation, my hub would quickly come up with an excuse to get off the phone now.

val of the south said...

I really don't have anything new to add - everyone has covered it pretty well. Maybe your BIL will read this post and see how much you care and want the best for him.

It's so hard to sit back and let those you love make bad decisions. I hate that helpless feeling when you know they could be so much happier.