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Ask Dr. Sherry: 'My Husband’s Family Is Bad News'

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Dr Sherry Profile Two

You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...

Dr. Sherry,

I have always known to mind my business, especially when it comes to married folks and I continue to do so. My dilemma is that I don’t know how to manage my husband’s family drama, and I’m trying desperately not to let the adulterous intermingling affairs of my in laws ruin my relationships with each of them – or worse, him.

In this family, it is common knowledge that one of four sisters is having an inappropriate relationship with another sister’s husband. My problem is knowing and watching  an entire family ignore, accept and even hide the truth. I don't know who is worse the sisters, mother and father-in-law, or the hen pecked victim husband who is more than happy to live in a state of denial. How can they all silently watch this behavior and go on as if nothing is wrong?

Deep down I know if it were my spouse they'd be cutting slices of cake and pouring coffee like we're one big happy family all the while their kid could be screwing around on me with their blessing. I've lost a great deal of respect for my in-laws.

Anytime I'm in their presence, my blood boils, my tongue bleeds from biting it and my heart aches at the sadness and disrespect they all tolerate and show each other. While I'm keeping my faithful spouse of 20 years, I do want to divorce all of my in-laws. How do I manage these people? Do I even have to co-exist with them?

Signed,

No Vows Broken Here

If someone shows you who they are, believe them. Your husband's family has clearly shown you who they are and how they deal with distasteful situations. Their beliefs and values seem to be sharply different from yours. While you may be horrified by their behaviors, your husband and his family seem to have accepted it as a way of life. The "adulterous intermingling affairs" of your in laws does not seem to bother or be an issue for anyone except you. It is likely that they do not see anything wrong with their behaviors. They are all adults and making a choice in how they deal with one another. So, why do you think that you need to "manage " the family drama?  The need to manage drama suggest that you may be a part of the drama. Why have you decided that you no longer want to be bothered with your husband's family after 20 years of marriage?

I am sure it did not take them 20 years to show you who they are. Regardless of the " why," you are the one who has changed, not them. It is hard to divorce your in laws as long as your husband is involved and happy with his family. I suggest that you have a conversation with your husband about the issues. I would remind him of how you feel about him and your marriage before you express your feelings about his family's behavior. Let him know that you are having an issue with their behavior and you need to take care of yourself emotionally.

I would also suggest that you limit the time you spend around his family. If his family asks why you are not around as much, let them know that you are having a hard time with their personal choices. Take responsibility for your healthy choice to no longer want to be around their drama. Continue to separate their issue from your issue! -- Dr. Sherry

Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now and be sure to include "Ask Dr. Sherry" in the subject line.

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