Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Cunning" In-Laws Convince Son To Be Bad Husband

Dear Tazi,

I have a problem with my in-laws. My marriage is breaking apart because of their constant interference by talking out against me to my husband . My husband is a devout son, and does not want to see their intentions of keeping us apart so that they can have him to themselves all the time. He is blind to their actions. Their interference has increased to the extent that my husband has withdrawn all the money from the bank account that we jointly hold saying that I am going to spend all the money away. 

My in-laws are very cunning and would always gate crash our holidays, anniversary celebrations etc. I have tried confronting my husband as well as my in-laws. The only response I get is shouting and cursing. Please give me some help and advice.

Odd One Out

Dear Odd One Out:

No loving child (youth or adult) wants to see their parents as bad people, so I can understand why your husband is blind to their goal of cutting you out of the picture. Perhaps he sees the time he spends with them as quality time between mother and son/father and son, and expects you to spend this same time with your parents. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here because you say yourself that his parents are "very cunning"; it would seem that the combination of their cleverness and their honest concern for their son has cast a spell over him and he has forgotten that his first responsibility is to his marriage.

That's correct; I said your husband's first responsibility is to his marriage, as is yours. A marriage is not about the husband putting the wife first and the wife putting the husband first, but about putting the union first and doing what needs to be done to keep that union between the two spouses strong. By putting his parents first your husband has inadvertently put a large wedge into your marital bond.  Would you be able to talk to him about things from this angle? If you do not feel comfortable trying, a marriage counselor or clergy person can assist you - either alone, by helping you rehearse a conversation, or by working with the two of you as a couple. You do not say if there are children involved, but if there are this is one more important reason to try all the harder.

The fact that your in-laws "gate crash" events has me puzzled. Are they inviting themselves along to your intimate dinner-for-two or are they showing up at a large party where everyone but them was invited? If it is the former, your husband needs to draw some boundaries and enforce them if he wants his marriage to work; if it is the latter, you will have to loosen up and grin and bear it. As odious as you find your in-laws, they are family and should not be excluded when other members of your husband's family are celebrating with you (an exception to this would be a young couples gathering). 

Finally, I am astounded at your husband's callousness in reasoning away his unreasonable and disrespectful move of removing all of your money from a jointly held account. A joint account cannot be closed by one party, so it appears he did the next best thing by removing all of the money from it. Regardless of where your marriage is headed - reconciliation or divorce - I strongly advise you to meet with your banking representative and ask for:

1) A copy of the statement showing the withdrawal, which will include the existing balance before the withdrawal.

2) A copy of the check or withdrawal slip used to make the withdrawal. This will have your husband's signature on it proving it was he who withdrew the funds. (If he used an ATM card, a record that it was his card will exist, as well).

Keep these in a safe place, or give it to your attorney if you have one to represent you or even a friend who is an attorney and is willing to keep such confidential matters for you. This joint account is a marital asset, and you are entitled to half of it. If one of you decides to legally dissolve your marriage these documents will be your proof that the funds existed - even if your husband has somehow managed to hide it - and were withdrawn in a lump sum. If you cannot get the cash, you will be entitled to the cash equivalent or even a payout over time. 

Advising couples on how to prepare to leave is something I hate to do, but I must be realistic and accept that it happens. If you and your husband decide that your marriage is worth saving, you should enlist the help of a counselor who will help you negotiate what will be some rough waters - and keep things from devolving into screams and curses hurled at each other in anger. I wish you all the best.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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