Author Topic: Late husband's family is hard to deal with  (Read 1081 times)


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Late husband's family is hard to deal with
« on: May 24, 2017, 09:48:00 AM »
I want to know if anyone can relate with this and how they handled it.  First, a little history on me.  My husband died suddenly over four years ago of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 41.  I was 40 at the time.  A lot of grievance of our marriage was his addiction problems and in all honesty, I was about to leave him, but then he got sick.  I grieved quickly since I feel I was grieving him way before he died.  Within the first year of his death I did get involved with someone.  He was a friend that turned into more and I moved in with him.  The relationship was short lived.  I never regretted the relationship but I do regret moving in with him.  Anyways, he was the perfect transitional guy for me.  He kept me busy and we had fun.  Now I am in a very serious relationship that is leading to marriage.

So, when I got involved with the first guy, I had become close with my late husband’s older sister and her family.  Their kids are all grown and they are a very religious family.  They invited me to have dinner with them on Sunday’s.  I started dating this guy but never got a chance to bring him to meet the family and before we knew it we were planning to move in together.  He worked nights and lived on the other side of town with kids.  It was honestly difficult to get a time for all of us to get together.  I told the sister in confidence, since I assumed she was a “friend.”  I was planning to bring him over so they could all meet and then when the time was right we would announce it.  He wasn’t a mystery; they knew I was dating him.  Well, the sister told everyone right away and the next time I came over for dinner they were all hostile towards me.  Apparently, they had it in their heads that I needed to get their permission, blessing, whatever, before I moved forward with my life.  When I told my own father, his exact words were “You’re a middle-aged woman, I don’t care what you do with your life.”  When they finally met him, they were nice, but when we were leaving their place, he headed to the car and without him standing there, the bother-in-law said “So, do you guys have separate bedrooms or do you share one?” and one of the nieces said “Well, we know you didn’t want our approval, but he’s nice.”  Nice backhanded compliment, huh?

The other issues.  My late husband’s mother and his younger sister are two peas in a pod.  They do everything together.  Well, when I was invited to start having dinners with the older sister’s family, the mother became jealous.  She did not understand why they were not invited every Sunday as well.  These people know no boundaries.  So, I would then get invites to hang out with the mother and younger sister and they would not invite the older sister.  The older sister would get offended and then ask me if she could join us, blah, blah, blah.  Do you see where I am going with this?  It’s like I got stuck in the middle of a tug a war.

After I broke up with my ex and before I met my fiancé, the older sister and family would be nice and normal.  I got involved with my fiancé and they started getting weird.  More and more I have avoided them since they just make me feel bad about myself.  I even went to a therapist and realized I wasn’t there because my husband died, I was there because his family drives me nuts.

Just a note too.  When I my husband died, his older sister was very supportive, but I think in the wrong way.  She and my husband were never close.  I think she saw me as a chance to connect with her brother as weird as it may sound.  I am the last connection to him.  For the first six months, on the anniversary of his death each month, she would give me flowers and a card.  The first three months were nice.  Who doesn’t like getting flowers?  After that, it was just weird.  Even my therapist agreed on that one.

So, we never had kids, so there doesn’t need to be a connection with his family there, but I am torn.  I feel obligated to have a connection with them, but half of them are nuts and quite frankly, the other half are just not nice.  When I introduced them to my fiancé, the sister was drunk and her husband made a comment that he could now get deals at the place my fiancé worked at (dinner conversation at a restaurant).  My fiance sees my side and supports whatever I decide to do; stay in touch with them or not.

Sorry this was kind of long and thank you in advance for your input and advice.


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Re: Late husband's family is hard to deal with
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 11:41:44 PM »
Here's the deal: you're allowed to have boyfriends and fiancés after the death of your husband. His family is allowed to to feel threatened by this/wish things were like they were. No one is wrong here.

You're also allowed to to see these people or not see these people, whichever is comfortable. If the situation  becomes uncomfortable for either party, you're free to disengage. Since you say you have no children, and there is no particular reason to maintain a relationship, it might be best to let it organically slide away. No one needs to be unkind; no one needs to trash the others behind their back.

Maybe one day things might be different. Accept that this day is not that day and move forward with your life with grace and confidence.
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM


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Re: Late husband's family is hard to deal with
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 12:33:18 AM »
About 2 yrs after DH died his 2 sisters decided it would be a good idea to invite his ex wife to holiday family meals. I was with DH over 20 yrs. I now have nothing to do with either of them. They are out of my life.  They didn't bother to even talk to me about it, bye bye to them.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 08:08:37 AM by BrokenHeart2 »
I don't want it to be his legacy that his death destroyed me.
I need to honour his life by rebuilding my life.


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Re: Late husband's family is hard to deal with
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 08:07:31 AM »
I have 2 families of in-laws...and pretty minimal contact.  I don't live near them, which perhaps is a big part of the equation, but most of them have not attempted to keep in touch with me.  I still talk to MIL#1.  It has been almost 8 years since my first husband died and next month we would be celebrating our 25th anniversary if he had not died.  I've pretty much given up on my SIL and BIL and nieces and nephews, even though I knew some of these now adult children from the time they were born and attended countless baseball and basketball games, birthday parties, holidays, etc. with them.  Their lives go on, much like mine different directions.  I wish I had been treated as a beloved DIL when my FIL died a couple of years ago, but they relegated me to the second row, even though by BIL's wife was apparently a full fledged member of the family.  I suppose it didn't matter that I was a caregiver to their beloved and disabled son/brother for the entirety of our marriage.  I doubt they will reward my sacrifices in the will when my elderly MIL dies, but then again, I'm not asking for or expecting anything.  I'm a little bitter...yeah, but I try to put it out of my mind.

As for my second husband's family, I honestly don't like his surviving mother and brother.  I keep a cordial relationship with his brother and just this week I sent him a few things I thought he might like to have that belonged to his brother.  I expect to move from the home I has with my second husband within the next couple of months, and since I have essentially processed everything I have now that I would give to his family, I don't think there will be any more contact.  My MIL is a bitter woman and all she had to say to me the last time I saw her 2 years ago was that I hadn't been a good wife because I didn't make my (adult, fully capable) husband go to doctors.  She blames me for his death that was due to unknown heart disease.

I know you have some desire to stay close to his family...for reasons you know and probably some unconscious reasons you can't quite articulate.  My guess, though, is that you will continue to drift away from them...or them from you.  I imagine with more time, you will become more accustomed to this reality and the pain will lessen.  It is hard to let go of what we had and what we wanted.  Sadly, our spouses are gone and we can't change that...and we can't change what other people decide for themselves, either.


Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Re: Late husband's family is hard to deal with
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 02:28:14 PM »
Thank you all for your responses.  My heart is with you in what you have dealt with.  When losing a spouse you truly see peoples true colors.  I am trying to let this organically happen; that we all go our separate ways.  Unfortunately one SIL doesn't get a hint.  It's like trying to shake off something sticky from your finger.  Ugh!