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My husband cut ties with my Family

Elizabeth Louise
Community Member
My husband has decided to cut ties with my family just over a year ago. What started off as a small complaint to my family about my sisters behaviour at my sons birthday party escalated into a massive fight with my sister a few weeks later. My husband had sent a message to my mum and sister about how she upset our son with her behaviour and because my mum left the group chat he believes his concerns were ignored and he felt abandoned. My mum was dealing with the news of my dads cancer diagnosis and she felt the message was an attack. My husband was constany bringing up the issue for 3 weeks, that it wasn't resolved for instance after a nice day out at the beach and it kept stressing me out. I kept saying to let it go, but he wouldnt. I then asked my sister to respond so it could be resolved and she responded to his text, but he wasn't happy with this as she was being defensive and making excuses at the same time. Because the issue was still not resolved, I asked her to come over and apologise in person so he could move on. It ended up becoming a huge fight because he wasn't happy with the way she apologised to our son. She apologised to him in private and we had no idea. After 2 hrs she was about to leave, he questioned why she came. From the look on his face, it seemed a bit aggressive. It escalated into a fight and she told him to f$%@# off. She also admitting to recording him just before she left. This event almost broke us as he believed I chose to defend her over him.

He doesn't want to see them again and says things will never be the way they were. He doesn't trust them and think my parents chose to protect her and do nothing about her behaviour or the fact that she recorded him at our house without his consent.

I think the whole situation got out of hand and got bigger than what it should have been. I still see my family with the kids but without him but i think the situation Is impacting my mental health. I just want things to be normal again. I feel like there is this dark cloud hovering over me and everyone is being stubborn and no one really cares enough to help reconcile things so we can move forward.

My husband won't reply to texts, he won't even open birthday gifts he received from them. I have asked him to just have a conversation. My dad wants to speak to him but he refuses to see anyone. He previously had a great relationship with my parents.

What do I do? Do I keep pushing for reconciliation?
14 Replies 14

Hi Elizabeth Louise,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing your story with us here.

We are sorry to hear that things have been so difficult recently and that your husband has decided to cut ties with your family. We understand how hard this must be for you and want to remind you that you never have to go through this alone. Support is always here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

We would recommend that you get in touch with an organisation called Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 who provide relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

We hope that you will find some comfort here on the forums. Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi welcome

Just to clarify, secret recordings of people without their consent is banned Australia wide (Listening devices act). As a former licensed inquiry agent (PI) that was a part of my profession. To record inside you and your husbands home is not only illegal but IMO echoes your husbands concerns. It certainly isn't in the spirit of goodwill needed to defuse a family dispute. I think this behaviour is alarming.

The rest of the dispute could have been handled better with a face to face meeting rather than the modern method of texts which can be misinterpreted easily.

As your husband is still angry a period of time will need to pass before a change of attitude comes if any. I suggest you settle things down in your own home, look after him and attend a organisation like Relationships Australia (as Sophie suggested).

BTW your husband tends to dwell and stay angry. This is normal for him. We can't judge others by our own ideals. He may well take much longer to settle than most.

I hope that helps. Reply anytime


Thank you so much. Your advice is helpful.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

I was wondering, is this still about your son and the impact of your sister's behaviour, or is there some deeper underlying dispute where this event has merely been the trigger? It seems to have become 'personal' and your husband appears now to be the victim (or assuming the role) instead of addressing the issue at hand.

How does your son feel about the behaviour of your sister? Did it cause him distress or any lasting impact? And how does he relate to his father's behaviour? - it might be affecting his mental wellbeing if he feels any way connected to the escalation (and children can be very perceptive in this regard).

I would address this to your husband in such terms to help him realise the damage he may be causing to the very one he chose to defend (notwithstanding your own mental anguish).

Unacceptable behaviour, it would seem, is not limited to the accused, and this might start him thinking beyond his disgruntlement in the interests of those he holds nearest.

I don't think my sisters behaviour caused my son to have any distress. My son ( 10yrsold) was probably over it the next day.
Initially I was the one that had an issue with my sister. She came came to the start of thr party then returned after most people left. My husbands family left already. She sat at the table with her laptop and was yelling wiht my dad about work and it wss just stressful to hear and very negative. I asked her nicely to close her laptop but she didn't listen and said she had an important email to write. When asking her a second time my other sister made a comment that it's OK for me to be on my phone. My grandmother then contributed and ot felt that all of a sudden I was getting targeted.
I was tired and emotional about it that night but was over it the next day. My kids and husband watched it unfold. I don't know what my son (10yrs) said to my husband that night as he tucked him jnto bed. My son is normally easy going so I suspect my husband raised this concern first not my son. My husbands issue was that he needed to seek an apology for my son for my sisters behaviour. But after 3 weeks of raising the issue and no reply to his text he kept bringing it up. I couldn't understand why he wouldnt just let it go. I thought he was making it bigger than what it needed to be.

My husband doesn't believe he did anything wrong and that she was the only one In the wrong. But I do think he could have handled the situation better. I mentioned that I would speak to my sister directly the next day, but he got impatient as and sent a text. I was going to go in person and have a discussion with her which probably would have been better.

I also feel that he could have just accepted the apology my sister gave to our son in person even if it was in private. Why did it have to escalate further? Why did he need to hear her apologise in infront of him? Why wasn't that good enough? Why did he still have to have have a problem?

My sister came to apologise to my son 3 weeks later, I don't think she wanted to make it a big deal infront of everyone especially since my son probably already forgot about it.

You are right about something deeper going on. 2020 was a tough year, not just because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, but I started a new Job at the start of the pandemic, we were home schooling all of a sudden we were both working at home, my husband had some new health issues where he would wake up with pain in his arms at night which caused alot of sleep disturbances for those 10 months earlier. I thought it was related to the medication he came off 3 mths earlier and naybe it was anxiety and questioned whether he should see someone about this. I think he got offended by this. I felt that he was reaching burnout and wasn't coping. The sleep disruptions, the increase in his stress levels, our arguments increased. Weeks before my sons birthday he told me he wanted to seperate. He said he couldn't cope with the marital issues all the fighting. He said I didn't support him and I abandoned him. Truth is I was also struggling and we were both just trying to survive and get through this difficult time.

I knew his health issues and my long work hours were a contributing factor. I knew I and made mistakes too and i believed things would get better once we passed this difficult period. The pandemic, isolation, contributed to stress. But then the incident with my sister almost broke us. We were in a very bad state for 6 mths and then my mental health started to really suffer. I am alot better state now but I still don't feel like myself while this cloud is still lingering above my head.

I also suspect that a couple of months before the party he reached out to his parents who may have added fuel to the fire. I think this kept him in a negative loop cycle. I pleaded with him to take time off work but he wouldnt have a break and I think he reached burnout.

He never admited to speaking to his parents. But it was obvious they knew things after a conversation I had with them a month after the birthday. They too were offended that I raised concerns about his mental health, that maybe my husband should see a psychologist. His mum said that he doesn't have a mental illness and his father said I was deflecting from the marital issues and I can't just tell someone to get over it.

I just noticed that there was a change in behaviour and felt that something was really wrong.


I'd like to talk about the bigger picture here.

Your husband is married you not your family. To get along with inlaws is preferable sure, but isnt and shouldn't be a mandatory requirement in any marriage. Sometimes inlaws do get along for a while but their differences bubble to the surface eventually and the irritation isnt manageable. To expect him to get along could be taken by him as an obligation. That's not a feeling of freedom but restriction.

I'd go further- that often is the case that the one in the middle (you in this case as you are the sister, daughter and wife) feels compelled to intervene and make judgement on who did what and who's actions/verbals should/shouldn't have been made. IMO these two people, your husband and sister are adults and they are more than capable to make conversation to sort it out. When they dont sort it out, then there is a number of things that can occur and one of them is "time". There is no need, in fact it isnt advisable to try to "fix" everything now and by trying to fix it all you could be making things worse. Your husband wont dwell on this situation forever. He is very upset and agitated.

Considering the above your marriage is priority. There is certain ideals in your situation that should be considered.

  • That he will take time to settle and not have this situation in the forefront of his mind
  • To not talk about it is best (dont bring up the topic). If he brings the topic up try to slowly change the topic and distract him with an activity while remaining supportive
  • You can visit your family. Thats your right but again, avoid the topic with your family
  • Remember, the recording of conversations was unacceptable and violated trust (see my last post)
  • It isnt recommended you speak to anyone else regarding your husbands mental health. 80% of people would reject this idea as they have no understanding of it and indeed most of them would take offence (pride).

Due to the above I would strongly urge you to reflect on those points and seek a meeting with Relationships Australia or marriage counsellor. No one is criticising your endeavour but there is some serious issues here that is best resolved with proper help. Then, and now I'd also say a break, a weekend away to regroup, focus on each other and write down some form of agreement for you both only.

Do some soul searching, remove yourself from "he said this, she said that..." which is threatening your marriage.

Many family arguements take years to heal.


Thanks again for your advice white knight. Its great advice and very helpful.

I think I'll reach out to a counsellor again. We did have some marriage counselling over a year ago but never had the chance to bring this up.

I'd rather not bring it up and not talk about it but this had come up again this week when I visited my parents and my dad asked when he could see my husband. Also because my mum had come past our house to drop off some fruit and treats for our kids. The kids were really upset as their pet had died and she found out and I guess it was a gesture to make them feel better. The only problem was that my husband was cutting the front lawn minutes earlier and he had no idea she was coming past. I also didnt know she was coming, but she tried to call me and messaged me but my phone was flat at the time, she still came anyway. Lucky I answered the door and he was in the backyard. When my husband had heard my mum came past he wanted to talk about it. I would have rather we didn't. He had concerns that he didn't know she was coming and she should ring before she stops by so he could be prepared and not be around. He said it was a close call and "dangerous". My mum knows he doesn't want to see her. (Remember my mum ignored his text and left the group chat). She hasn't stepped into our house since the birthday party. I was also suprised when I saw her at the door as I didn't know she was coming but the conversation with my husband was the trigger and my reminder that things are still not OK.

I know the priority is my marriage. I just couldn't help but feel anxious when i saw my mum and then the conversation just made it worse for me. It's a shame that I have to feel like this.

I guess I'm worried that he will dwell on it forever as its been over a year and he still says that things will never be the way they were. I don't see my mum or sister apologising for their actions, their focus is on my husbands behaviour and what he did wrong.

I have hope that maybe one day things will be resolved. Perhaps your right, its best I don't push it and let things take place naturally in due course.

Thankyou EL

It is a difficult situation you find yourself in and none of us are experts on what to do but by brainstorming you are getting the benefit of views that span decades having faced similar situations. My hat dips for you by listening and considering.

So bearing in mind what I've previously said-

"my dad asked when he could see my husband..." Your dad can ring/write/text your husband. They are adults. So if others ask when they can talk to your husband- "you can contact him". You aren't his doorkeeper.

"My mum knows he doesn't want to see her". Then why did she drop in? There is no excuse for his conditions not to be met. He would feel that there is no escaping your family of which, at the moment and foreseeable years, is what he wants. Your family must respect that.

If your children have an upset and you believe they would benefit from seeing their grandparents - take them to their home. Just because your husband doesnt want a relationship with them shouldnt mean anyone else should be distanced from love ones.

"I just couldn't help but feel anxious when i saw my mum and then the conversation just made it worse for me. It's a shame that I have to feel like this." As your mum shouldnt have attended your house, you could have supported him in that you could have said "she knew she wasnt permitted to attend here, I'll make it clear again as its your wish".

Chance meeting might also occur- shopping centres and the like. It isnt your responsibility to be the united nations and keep separated these people. Again, they are adults and they have the responsibility to avoid each other. That's where a lot of your anxiety is originating from.

What is your responsibility? Well, supporting your husband for his quirkiness (compared to your family) is important as he is an individual with not much in common with your family. Respecting his wishes and advertising those wishes when to opportunity arises with those he doesnt not want contact with. Maintaining a healthy loving relationship with your own family and continuing to promote their relationships with your children bearing in mind you feeling of your husband when it comes to decision made. eg always check with him with dates of events and who minds the kids.

Praise- he might need it! when you return from a visit to your family you can say "its really good of you to not interfere with my relationship with my parents and we can all remain happy".