He wants his brother to live with us

Dear Suzie,

Me & my husban live in Australia from last 4 years. He\’s always supporting his family financially, sending them money back home. he wanted to build a house there and he\’s given them all our savings for that. I was fine with it. but now his brother & his wife is comming to australia permanently sometime next year. His brother\’s wife has been very mean to me & my husband in past. I\’m expecting a baby this month, i don\’t want to live in all that stress. told my hubby but he wants to live permanently with his brther. i don\’t know what to do. i feel like I\’ve lost my identity for him. i can\’t deal with this anymore but he just wouldn\’t listen.

It certainly sounds as if he simply isn’t hearing you, and I wonder why. One of the foundations for a marriage that works is that each partner makes the others well-being as important or more important than their own, and that partner and children come first.

Other family members can be central in our lives. Some cultures make siblings and parents key figures and will sometimes put those who are not related – even partners – second. Especially when you’re in a strange country, cut of from all that was familiar, you might feel you need to have that support network about you. And maybe he feels under pressure, or even emotional blackmail, to carry ahead with this plan.

But that’s to partly try to explain his actions. It doesn’t excuse them. It’s really hard when the person you expect to put you first can’t or won’t hear your objections. You have, in your eyes, some very good reasons that he should take on board and at least discuss – the fact that you feel his sister in law was unkind and the fact that you feel particularly under stress with the baby on the way.

He needs to hear what you have to say or he needs to know if he doesn’t, it bodes very badly for your marriage. My suggestion would be for you to talk with the medical team looking after your pregnancy – the doctor or midwife or health visitor – and ask them for support and help. You need someone to talk to about your feelings and someone to help you have your say with your husband. Maybe he needs help to see his priorities. Ask for some counselling support, either to support you in managing this situation or to help both of you talk it through.

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