Dear Annie: My wife and I are both 54-year-old professionals. We grew up in the same small town, but didn’t begin a romance until our 30th high-school reunion. We were in a long-distance relationship for four years and then married two years ago. Her children are grown. My 14-year-old son lives with us.
The problem is her parents. For some reason, they have decided they do not like me. I am not welcome in their home, nor will they come to our house. My wife is invited to every one of their family events, but my son and I are not. Her three siblings treat me the same way, as does her 28-year-old daughter. We all live in the same town, but I have no contact with any of them.
I have never treated any of my in-laws with anything other than the utmost courtesy and respect. I have tried engaging her parents and sister in dialogue, but no one will say a peep. I am convinced her parents are purposely stressing my wife in the hope that our marriage will fail.
I could deal with all of this if I felt my wife stood up for, supported and properly prioritized our family. I feel she should not attend functions if we all are not invited. I am hurt and humiliated when she goes without us – effectively saying it’s OK for her family to treat us poorly.
I cannot fathom treating my children as her parents have treated us. I think their behavior is controlling, selfish and borderline abusive. Is it too much to expect my wife to stand up for her family? – Ignored Husband
Dear Ignored: Of course not. Your wife’s family continues to treat you with disrespect because your wife permits it. She should have the decency to tell them you are a package deal and insist on your inclusion. They will never willingly adjust to your marriage if your wife doesn’t demand they make the effort.