Always calling mom during spats can backfire on marriage
My husband likes to tell his mother everything. If we have an argument, he will call her immediately to tell her all about it. I feel like the things that go on in our marriage should be private and I don’t feel comfortable with his family knowing all about our ins and outs. Should I be bothered by this?
You’re husband clearly has a strong bond with his mother and values her opinions.
Although your husband may be dependent on his mother to be a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on when your marital relationship is strained, it can cause major backfires in your marriage.
When he has the need to spew out his frustrations against you, it may feel like a load off for him, but the reality is that these negative rants can cause the people he unloads on to be protective and fail to see that there are two sides to the situation. Support and empathy may be all he is after when he talks to his mother about your issues and he may even receive advice that feels supportive and rewarding to his feelings, but meanwhile you may be feeling betrayed and misunderstood.
As marital issues go up and down for couples, the negative times may be the only times that family and friends may hear about. This creates opinions in those not in the relationship to assume that nothing good happens in your marriage and unhappiness is the major emotion felt. This can cause family to feel fed up and may even advise someone to get out of the marriage.
The loyalty blinds family from understanding the context in which the marital problems have developed over time. Things get more complicated if a couple decides to work on their relationship and feelings for one another begin to warm up again. As things get better, and those positives are shared with family, they may not be convinced. They’re frustrated and angry because they’ve been the emotional support through the hard times.
Family members, no matter how close, will never have the full picture of the dynamics between two people, and they do not share the same deep feelings for the other person, especially if they have heard nothing but flaws about the partner for some time.
So, here’s some advice.
Since your husband is close with his mother, he will want to discuss your marriage with her. He needs to understand that when he does this, she will naturally take his side. The more information shared about your “wrongdoings,” the more she will object to the relationship. He should sense when his mother is becoming biased, and limit his complaints.
And ask your husband to share with his mother all of the good things about you and the marriage that he can.
(Nikki Delaney is a licensed counselor and owner of A New You Counseling in Rio Rancho. You can submit “Love Letter” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or rioranchocouplescounseling.com)
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