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Difficult in laws and marriage

Community Member

I'm thinking of leaving my husband of 10 years because I am so tired of feeling alone in the marriage and battling my in laws. We have a child.

I'm not a confrontational person and I have a MIL and SIL who often challenge me. They want their own way constantly and can't place themselves in anyone else's shoes. They have judged and belittled me.

My husband works long hours during the day. I truly appreciate how hard he works for our family but he shuts off when he gets home. He is often on his phone but doesn't use social media. We have no intimacy in our relationship. It doesn't help that we don't get many opportunities for date nights. If we do get any time, he will be on his phone.

He helps a bit around the house but I do most of the parenting. I am happy with my role as a parent but I want an equal partner. And, to be honest, I want some TLC every now and then too.

My SIL said her mother was always telling them what to do and always nagging when they were younger. I can only guess it could be why my husband won't listen to me. I'm at my wits' end.

7 Replies 7

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I suppose when it comes to affection being absent in a marriage there is little you can do except to go out and buy nice clothes that will appeal. Add a candlelight dinner etc. But, I presume you've done that.

I think with inlaws you didn't marry them so why are you trying to appease them? In my opinion if inlaws are toxic they don't last long with me. I will be civil but I will not tolerate stress from them.

I think I would, in your situation try a few things, tests if you will to see if your husband will alter his phone habits. If you organize a night out when you get to the location you ask him to leave his phone off and at home. Then you are guaranteed to have that time alone with him. If he complains during the date then his phone is more of interest than you.

I'm afraid I don't have anything more to offer.


Thanks Tony. I have tried nice clothes. I make him nice food too.

You are right about my in laws. I'm not married to them. I have lost both of my parents and I guess, in some way, I'm looking for new parents to look up to and to feel close with. My mother's death really shook me. We were close.

Community Member
If you're at all ambivalent, the kind thing to do would be to tip him off and give him the chance to put things right. Who knows - maybe there's something more to this than what you're seeing.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi MummaPetal, thanks for posting your comment.

You say you want to leave him so does this mean a temporary separation or permanent and the other concern is, who is he talking to on the phone.

The MIL's and SIL's opinion are what they believe and maybe totally exaggerated but could then be made to your husband causing the situation you're in.

The other concern is what are they telling their friends making you feel more isolated and if they are dominating your husband this needs to stop.

Can I ask whether or not they are coming over to your home unanswered?

You have to look after yourself along with your child and maybe if you do have a separation period where you could ask your husband to leave or whether it's more convenient for you to move out.

Please take care.


Community Member

My husband knows how I feel. We have tried several counseling sessions together. Most of them have been about how I can cope with his family.

My husband is not good at showing his emotions and he is stubborn. He cannot read other people's feelings. He doesn't have any close friends outside of our mutual friends to confide in if he needs to. I appreciate he shows his love for me by buying me chocolate and going out for dinner as a family. But when he's at home, it's like living with a stranger. He will go on the computer or go into the bedroom and read.

I feel like I'm asking too much when I want him to join in on home activities.

Hi again,

A TV advertisement I saw a while back was great- it depicted a family having dinner together and all members had to turn off their mobile phone and place it in a small basket.

Dinner/meal times are special times where for 45 minutes we are together in full focus with each other and what they are saying.

So in answer to your last question, no it isn't too much to ask but like any issue now a days, balance is the key.

My wife knows that Monday nights I enjoy ABC TV so that's Tony's night. I know that 6pm to 7pm is her TV showtime so I cook dinner and serve it immediately after her show. Your husbands interest in being on the computer is fine as long as it is regulated. EG if he had a rest from the computer every 2 hours for 20 minutes and spent that time with a coffee with you that would make you feel better wouldn't it?

So he has his obsessions as an issue that he is content with.

That balance should be addressed. There is something you can do to help address this also- find a hobby. While he reads you can do your hobby.


Beyondblue topic 3 things, happy marriage, hobbies and spirit


Beyondblue topic anger and frustration


I posted a response and it disappeared, apologies if this pops up twice

in-laws can be a huge emotional drain on a marriage. it's been the case in mine. My MIL is a narcissist who plays the victim, ensuring my husband rushes to her aid, only to turn around and say things like 'I'm not an invalid I don't need your help!'. It's terribly confusing and he is always reacting to her, while I'm trying to keep the peace for his sake. She ignores any boundaries we set and won't curb her toxic behaviour around our children. In hindsight I should have taken a stronger stand years ago, but I didn't have the confidence to demand my hub put me before her, and so he never did. We are now separated, under one roof, because I can't take how she drains the life out of us and how many of her manipulative habits he also uses, I think unknowingly. He's learned though, from her. It's not the only reason our marriage has failed but it is part of it.

So boundaries with in-laws, it's important to set them and your hub has to back you up. The wife and mother of his children deserves his unwavering support. Never doubt you're worth that, as I did. His family has to let go a bit so you can thrive.

The phone to me seems like a different issue. Is he using it to zone out because he also has trouble dealing with his family? Is he emotionally exhausted? Or is he addicted to something on there? You are well within your rights to ask him to put the phone down so you can talk, especially if you arrange dinner together. No matter how difficult he finds talking about his emotions, he owes you that. My hub also finds it confronting and for many years I let him off the hook. That was a mistake.

Wishing you well,