When I married Nick (5 years ago now), I married him. I chose him. I knew that he was perfect for me. He id kind, compassionate, empathetic, very intelligent and most importantly, he loved me too. The thing about marriage is, though, that you don’t just get the person you choose. You get everyone they’re related to too. It really brings into stark focus the whole ‘for better or worse’ element of the vows.
Don’t get me wrong. Nick’s family are for the most part lovely. His parents are divorced and so he has half siblings, a full brother and step siblings meaning that the family tree spreads far and wide. I have had some wonderful times with his family. Easter hunts in his dad’s garden, family gatherings at beach houses and more recently a rare night out celebrating his cousin’s birthday. There are members of his family who I adore speaking with. They’re intelligent and interesting and they love my kids, which is a big deal for me. In fact Nick’s step mum is one of the most indulgent of them and I love watching their relationship build with her.
It’s not all plain sailing though. The reality is that just because Nick and I love each other, I am very different to many members of his family. I think differently, come from a different environment and behave differently because of it. Most of the time this doesn’t matter but every so often it causes cracks to form.
This past week has been a challenging one. A member of Nick’s family sent a wholly inappropriate and vile message to us about how we were ‘killing his kids’, ‘complaining about life when their’s is so much harder’ and that basically we were the cause of their pain. Their story is not mine to tell, so I won’t explain why they are troubled, why they need some counselling and help. They have had struggles, no one has claimed they haven’t but this doesn’t excuse the message they sent. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time and I fear it won’t be the last. They are a close relative so not someone who can be ‘cut out’ easily but I’m hurt and I’m angry. Nick is also incredibly upset by the events of the past week and is slowly coming to terms with the familial implications of it.
The question that plagues us now is how do we continue to see this person, continue to call this person family and keep him in our children’s lives when they clearly have such little respect and love for us? I work hard to show to compassion and kindness to people when they have hurt me because as the saying goes ‘hurt people, hurt people’ but I’m really struggling this time. This time feels different, this time his words were cruel and I don’t seem to be able to push them aside. This time they’re sticking around.
What would you do? How would you deal with this?