Newest Member: mollylynne


Last DDay-2012 (several month EA/PA)
Married 30+ years

Confused - in-laws

I'm confused by my wife's reaction to events with her parents (specifically her father) over the weekend.

The last Dday (10 years ago) led to a break in my relationship with my in-laws, so I see them maybe once a year and, even at that, keep my time actually with them limited. Meanwhile, I've been fine with my W talking to them regularly (multiple times a week) and traveling to see them whenever -- they are aging and there have been some health "scares" over the past several years.

This weekend was a major birthday for my MIL, so we traveled to be there as did my SIL. My W witness two events that gave her pause...

1. Her FIL was having trouble with his phone, gave it to my W to help out with and, in the process, she ended up seeing that he had porn open in his browser. She quickly moved on and said nothing to him or her mother but mentioned it to me and her sister later.

2. Her sister didn't come well prepared for the weather and, as a result, they (FIL, MIL, my W and SIL) stopped at a store to get some warmer pants. She changed into them quickly in the backseat (everyone was present with FIL in the front). Then there was some discussion about how much warmer she felt and FIL came to understand what just happened only to quietly say "What!? I missed it?" -- my W was the only one to hear it. She said nothing and only mentioned it to me later.

These two issues tie into a larger story though.

1. My SIL had accused the FIL of "inappropriate touching" about 15 years ago -- based on memories she had from her teen years. He vehemently denied it and both MIL and my W didn't believe it happened.
2. My FIL has been known to have a "wandering eye" as he will lock onto and stare at women (often younger ones). I've witnessed this on a couple occasions and my W has seen it as well.
3. My W once relayed a story about how my FIL had been starting at a young woman at a family wedding only to realize that it was his granddaughter when she turned around. My W had forgotten this event when I brought it back up.
4. My FIL accidentally sent a screenshot of a search engine page with a pornographic search phase to my SIL several months ago. She responded to it and my FIL replied with "Sent in error"
5. My FIL was caught embezzling funds from his employer a number of years ago.

Summing this all up and adding it to the 2 events over the weekend, it seems very clear (at least to me) that this man very likely did sexually abuse my SIL when she was young and that he is a self-centered, manipulative liar. Which certainly contributes to explaining why both of his daughters ended up with attention/sex addictions along with serial cheating behavior.

My wife's actions so far have been to try and sweep this under the rug. She hasn't shared the car comments with her sister, she hasn't shared anything with her mom and she doesn't seem to want to talk to her father either. For me, it only reinforces the notion that her parents are toxic while also being an "Aha!" moment that my wife and her sister could use to understand part of their own challenges.

What should I expect from my wife? I have to imagine that it is a huge shock to be faced with what she discovered and it is likely very difficult to process the mental dissonance of "This has been my fun, loving father" with "He very likely could have abused my sister and he isn't a safe person".

2 comments posted: Monday, April 11th, 2022

Are my expectations reasonable?

I'd like input on whether my expectations are reasonable around how my W reacts to her sister's divorce and its aftermath. This is going to be a long one though.

Some context about my W and I...

My WW and I have been together for 30+ years which included several A's. After the last (over 10 years ago), we both did a ton of work -- her to see and deal with attention/sex addiction and me for the trauma along with recognizing and addressing codependency. It has been a long road to R. We are in a better place, but we both continue to do work individually and together.

Context on my SIL...

My SIL has also had multiple A's and she seems to have an even deeper attention/sex addiction. Her first marriage was thrown into disarray after she had an A. Her H tried to find a path to R and she then, eventually, filed for D. She told family and friends that her H had pornography issues which is why she divorced him. She was dating other men before the divorce finalized, convinced one of them to help buy out her H's share of the house. She ended up marrying him once she got pregnant. Things seemed OK with them for a while and they had more kids.

Then she had another A. Her H tried to get her to stop. Her family tried to get her to stop. The church got involved to try to get her to stop -- they ended up stepping into a disciplinary process, but she just went to a different church that was, in her terms, "loving" to her. She got pregnant with OM's child, but her H wouldn't leave her and fought for R. She eventually had another A with a different OM. Eventually, she seemed to break things off with both of the other men (other than visitation rights for the one). My SIL and her H eventually moved out of state putting many miles between her and her past along with the other men.

Fast forward years and it comes out that she never fully stopped the A's (sexting along with an occasional rendezvous when opportunities arose). And she appears to be having a new EA with a different man. Her H wants her to end the A's, but she tries to makes excuses, promises or blameshift. The situation at home grows more and more tense as her H begins to see his own codependent pattern and starts to stand up to her. She then files for D and tells friends and family that her H had anger issues which is why she divorced him.

Post finalized D, they are working through divesting things and going in separate directions. SIL makes enough that she won't get alimony and the kids are old enough that child support isn't in the equation either. She does make less that her H, so while she will be able to buy somewhere to live, it will be a significant drop from what they had and things will be tight for her. So SIL now claims that her H isn't being fair in the division of costs as they move forward. For example, they are doing 50/50 for the costs of a realtor, painter, etc. as they are working to get the house listed and sold. She wants it to be "proportional" to their income with her paying a lesser portion. She also is picking out the home furnishings she is planning to take -- the master bedroom set, the dining set and the living room set -- basically all of the best stuff. Some of that she is trying to justify as "That was a gift from my family" but, at the same time, she isn't looking at the fact that monetarily she is getting more than her share. In short, she wants at least 50% of the benefits while trying to push off her share of the costs.

Her family and friends seem to be buying into her narrative -- both in terms of her H having significant responsibility for the D and also that her H is taking advantage of her financially.

What I'm struggling with...

My expectation is that my W, given what we have been through and the work she has done, would be repulsed by what her sister has done. I thought that she would be sensitive to how manipulative and self-centered her sister has been in her two marriages and in how she is continuing to be that way in how she is trying to spin her story to others. I also expected that she would be empathetic to her sister's H (as I am) and his side of the story given the amount of infidelity he has been subjected to along with some of the similar struggles that he and I have shared (e.g. dealing with codependency and having sacrificed far too much while being taken advantage of). More specifically, if I express understanding and/or support of my SIL's H's story or perspective, I'd like to see her not view it as an opportunity to take up an opposing position.

However, my W leans to being defensive in SIL's favor both in placing at least partial blame on the H for D and for not being more flexible financially due to his higher income. My parents-in-law are taking a similar, if not even more aligned, position with my SIL as well. So I can't help but feel that none of them really get the destruction that has been caused or that this is enabling behavior for my SIL. I also have to wonder whether the amount of work my W put in to her own healing has been sufficient and if this is a red flag for our future.

So my question is...

I get that family ties can be very tight, but am I wrong in expecting my W to be less aligned with her sister and more empathic to the pain and story of the sister's H and, by extension, to the trauma I've been working through healing from?

10 comments posted: Sunday, March 13th, 2022

Lacking a filter

This is more venting than anything else, but, perhaps, some also empathize and have encountered similar people. My MIL lacks a filter. It is annoying, frustrating, astonishing and sad all at the same time.

I'm amazed that someone in their 80s hasn't learned that uttering everything she thinks isn't welcome and will, some percentage of the time, hurt or alienate people around her. Part of it is annoying and fascinating at the same time. Going down a street will result in "Those people's yard needs some work", "The furniture in that front room looks nice", "Why don't those people know that their color scheme doesn't work so well?", "There is someone watering their flowers with a garden hose", etc. She often takes up all the air in the room while, simultaneously, showing what interests her and what she is critical about. Inevitably, out of the voluminous number of thoughts she speaks, there will be some that sting and it is typically aligned with what she is critical about when aimed at a family member - "Your house is kind of messy", "Why would you choose to do that?", "That's a mistake and it wasn't very smart", etc.

It's also perplexing in a way. Her ability to gab seems to endear her to acquaintances any many think that she is "sweet". However, she doesn't seem to see that those who deal with her more often -- her husband, kids and grandchildren -- get annoyed, frustrated or her hurt. Not to the extent that any have cut her off, but such that they limit time with her and/or minimize contact at a group event. The best reason I can come up with as to why she is this way is due to her own past trauma. When MIL was growing up, she lost her mom when she was in her early teens. My MIL, being the oldest, stepped up to help out and became a sort of substitute mother for her siblings. Her dad got remarried within a couple years and the new step-mom immediately kicked the MIL out of the house. It would seem that my MIL felt that she wasn't heard or cared about, so now she has a habit of ensuring everyone hears what she has to say and, it would seem, that this either soothes her or makes her feel valuable.

So while I can see why she may be the way she is, she also hasn't figured that out for herself or taken corrective steps. So the (limited) visits still can be annoying or even surface some sharp comment that it would have been nice if she would have filtered it out.

3 comments posted: Saturday, February 19th, 2022

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