Ask Dr Louise: My husband’s being manipulated

Frustrated couple. (Photo: Getty Images)
Frustrated couple. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kim, email

I’ve been married for three years  and am feeling frustrated because my parents-in-law manipulate my husband into running errands and doing household chores for them.

Last year my father-in-law was in a  bad car accident and my husband was there to support his mom, grandmother and 22-year-old brother.

He drove them around and ran errands and I just had to fall in with it as they came first and I understood that.

But now I feel they’re using the accident to play on my husband’s feelings. Our lives revolve around them.

I don’t  understand why my brother-in-law doesn’t take responsibility for looking after them. He’s a grown man and still lives with them. 

I want to let them know in a respectful way that we need some space from them. We need time to make memories without them before we have kids. But I’m worried my husband’s parents will always come  before me.

Am I being juvenile?

Dr Louise’s advice

The fact is your husband is also at fault  as he’s allowing his parents to manipulate him.

His father’s accident probably made him more aware of how precious family is, which has possibly made it difficult for him to say no when they want his help.

It shouldn’t be you who says something to your in-laws as it’s going to be construed in a negative light no matter how carefully you try to phrase it.

It’s your husband who needs to set a boundary and be firm but also kind and loving while doing so. You and your husband need to talk first.

Explain that you need alone time with him. Perhaps he can visit his parents and help them out on Saturday afternoons but set aside Sundays for just the two of you.

Your parents-in-law might view their younger son as a child and so let him get away with things. Your husband needs to discuss this with his parents as well, and should perhaps give his brother tasks to ensure he helps out.





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