My in-laws’ actions make it difficult for me to hold them in high esteem

By Huyen Nhu   April 9, 2024 | 03:51 pm PT
My husband and I were left entirely self-reliant for our wedding expenses, and we continue to have to financially support his family whenever necessary.

I’m 32, and my husband is a year older than me. We have navigated our relationship since our university days, a time when we were financially challenged.

Our wedding was a modest affair, self-funded, without the luxury of makeup, a traditional wedding dress, or a bouquet, despite our monthly income exceeding VND30 million (US$1,201) at the time, which was comparably high.

Following our wedding, we generously distributed all the monetary and gold gifts we received to both our families. My husband also allocated our savings to fulfill familial duties, such as constructing his grandparents' graves.

Now, five years into our marriage, our financial situation has seen some improvement, offering us a sense of comfort and happiness, yet I’m frequently overwhelmed by feelings of restlessness, aimlessness, and uncertainty.

Post-marriage, it fell upon us to support the university education of my and my husband’s siblings, who neither worked part-time nor contributed financially to household or educational expenses, not even for a single month.

Our financial responsibilities extended to fulfilling various needs within my husband’s family, ranging from funding new house constructions to covering costs for anniversary celebrations and weddings, involving sums from a few million to several hundred million dong.

Moreover, my husband assumed the role of financing his paternal grandmother’s medical care, despite her having seven children, and also lent money to his aunt and uncle with a vague promise of repayment. These financial burdens seem forcibly imposed upon him as his obligations.

Additionally, my mother-in-law once requested a loan of VND300 million from me, which were funds I had saved before marriage for my family’s use. She only returns the money when her family needs it for specific occasions, such as an ongoing home renovation, making it difficult for me to accept. This occurs even though she’s fully aware of the bank interest on our house mortgage that I need to manage.

If spending money could guarantee happiness, comfort, and respect from my in-laws, I would gladly do so. However, this has not been the case, as evidenced by my mother-in-law’s frequent, inconvenient calls, often filled with complaints about her insomnia or sharing local gossip, during my work hours.

Additionally, my husband and I have struggled with infertility and undergone treatments. On the birth of our first child, my mother-in-law declared her inability to assist with the baby and me. Her affection for our child was merely verbal, never extending to practical gestures like purchasing clothes or toys.

When our child passed away, my husband and I alone were there for our child’s final moments.

Despite our self-sufficiency and not seeking financial help from our parents, we have never refused their requests for assistance. I even consistently economize our family expenses, seldom allowing myself luxuries, and pondering extensively before enjoying a nice meal or buying new clothes. Yet, I find it easy to give away significant amounts to family members, which sometimes leaves me feeling deeply wronged.

At my brother-in-law’s wedding, his well-appointed appearance evoked memories of my own modest wedding, stirring sadness yet happiness for him, knowing he wouldn’t experience regrets similar to mine.

I acknowledge my husband’s "burden-bearing" as partially voluntary, since he accepts this kind of treatment and finds joy in supporting his family and lineage. Also, aside from this, he is a commendable individual: kind-hearted, diligent, financially successful, and deeply devoted to our family.

Thus, I'm at a crossroads, unsure whether to persuade my husband to reduce his contributions to his family, given their behavior towards us. What is the appropriate course of action?

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