Dear Suzie, As a Jewish teenager I was forced to become engaged to a boy, I was not comfortable with my relationship with him. I met a non Jewish man and my parents threw me out at 16. My fiancee was upset and committed suicide.
I had two beautiful children but my partners family did not accept them because they are German Catholic and we had the children out of wedlock. After twenty years, our relationship broke down because I discovered that my partner watched Gay porn on the internet and he never wanted to have sex with me.
I met a wonderful (non Jewish) man four years ago and we married. My mother has recently died from bowel cancer. He has helped me through my own lonely spate of cancer and severe migraines that I suffer with every few days.
My children are now 14 and 10. Their blood grandparents have no interest in them and neither do my in-laws.
My husband is desperate to have a child of his own so we have been trying. Over the year I have had four miscarriages and I am pregnant now with the fifth. It is difficult because I am now 41-years.
I was really happy to be in a new relationship. My problem now is that I have found out that my husband’s parents admit to being anti-Semitic and they wouldn’t go to my mother’s funeral to support me. My sister and two brothers were nasty to me and it would have been good to of had support.
Non of my husband’s family spoke to me about my mother’s death or sent their condolences. My mother in law and family also show a disinterest in my miscarriages and pregnancy. I do feel very lonely and I live in a small village in North Yorkshire, there is no Jewish community for miles around that would understand my situation.
My husband’s family are planning a big reunion and party in July. Family are visiting from all over the world and the special guests will be my husband’s brother and sister in law and their two kids and my husband’s sister, who is going to announce her engagement to her new boyfriend from New Zealand.
My mother in law is very excited and has sent me a timetable of when all the relatives will be around so we can entertain them, but I don’t want to be bothered with them. I know that this is going to eventually end in divorce, because my husband loves his family.
I lie in bed crying every day as I don’t know where I have gone wrong.
Please advise me.
You’ve suffered from alienation, exclusion and religious prejudice and I do sympathise with you. But I feel the way to rise above it is not to continue along the same path. Your parents threw you out 24 years ago because of their fundamentalist and narrow views. That was nothing to do with being Jewish – I’m Jewish and wouldn’t give a toss what tribe a son in law of mine belonged to as long as he loved my daughter. So seeking Jewish friends won’t make a difference – what you need is friends, period.
Good friends will sympathise and support you even if they can’t empathise with your exact position; all they need to do is know you are sad, and want to help. Which is what your husband should be doing. Why is he allowing his family to ride roughshod over your feelings, and then demand your allegiance and efforts?
If I were you, I’d calmly and quietly tell mother in law that you are glad she is planning such a wonderful celebration but that you won’t be entertaining on her behalf. You can point out to her son that she has not given you any support or comfort and that at present you are in no fit state to be knocking yourself out. And that the whole point of marriage is that partners put each other first.
My strong suggestion would be that you make an appointment with Relate to discuss your feelings, and work out strategies to manage them, with or without your husband. Look in the local phone book for your nearest centre or go to Relate. They also do phone counselling – call 08451 30 40 16 for an appointment. Or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can suggest a counsellor in your area. You can ring them on 0870 443 5219 or write to BACP, BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2SG or go to BACP. Invite your husband to come but even if he won’t, go on your own. It will help. Good luck!