‘I’m lost respect for my wife over her nasty attitude to my family’

Dear Coleen

I’m feeling increasingly down about my wife’s attitude towards my family. We’ve been married for two years and have one daughter.

She makes it very clear she doesn’t like them and was pretty happy during lockdown because it meant she didn’t have to see them. Now she refuses to visit them at all, which has caused loads of arguments between us.

It seems to hinge on one incident months ago when my mum dared to disagree with my wife on something concerning our daughter and that was it! Until this, I never realised how unwilling she is to listen to other people’s point of view or to compromise – it’s a really childish ­attitude.

I want our daughter to be part of my extended family and I want her to see us all getting along. We’re her role models after all. It’s not good for her to be kept away from them or to hear my wife bad-mouthing my mum and other relatives.

Also, the whole thing is making me lose respect for my wife and I’m seeing her in a different light. Can you help?

Coleen says

First of all, you need to make it clear that you’re still visiting your parents and taking your daughter with you. It’s incredibly unfair to prevent her

from seeing her grandparents and developing a relationship with them.

If your wife wants to hold grudges, fine, but she shouldn’t make it a problem for your daughter.

I wonder how you feel about what your mum said – was she out of line? Can you see why your wife took offence? If your mum came on too strong, then have a quiet word and ask her to hold back a bit in future in the interests of family harmony. Perhaps try to mediate a bit.

Ultimately, you can’t force people to get along – it’s not a given that you’re going to love your in-laws – but you can tell your wife that you don’t like what’s happening and that the situation is affecting not just your happiness but how you see her. If not resolved, then over the months and years it could cause serious problems.

However, what you can make sure of is that your daughter has good relationships with your family, and kids often have a way of bringing people together.

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