If you’ve ever stopped for a moment and thought to yourself: My husband chooses his family over me, know that you’re not alone. Starting your own family is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a tricky one.
Marriage doesn’t only include two people – the in-laws come into the equation as well.
The problem arises when your father-in-law, mother-in-law and other family members cross the boundaries and become intruders.
To be more specific, the problem arises when one spouse starts feeling neglected in a marriage (mentally, financially, or in any other way). That is exactly how you are feeling now, right?
You feel as if your husband no longer chooses you and that his family is his number one priority.
Because of this, you might decide to confront him (or your husband’s family) or withdraw and spend lots of time contemplating the reasons why he’s doing it.
Let me tell you one thing. Whatever you do, confronting him or forcing him to choose between you and his family is never an option.
You should always strive to avoid any kind of conflict with your respective families and try to resolve things in a peaceful manner as a married couple.
As I already said, you’re not alone on this one.
Below you’ll find some handy tips to help you deal with the issue, after which you’ll find a list of common reasons explaining why men (sometimes) choose their family over their spouse.
11 Things To Do When Your Husband Chooses His Family Over You
Don’t let your hurt feelings turn into resentment
Yes, you have every right to feel betrayed, hurt and abandoned.
You shouldn’t pretend that you’re not offended by your husband’s decision to prioritize his family over you but do you know what else you shouldn’t do?
You shouldn’t let your hurt feelings turn into resentment. This means holding grudges, constantly rewinding past events, ghosting him and so on.
All these are extremely toxic for both your mental and physical health. You would be surprised how powerful our thoughts are.
We attract whatever we think about. No, I didn’t just invent that idea, it’s called the Law of Attraction.
Another reason why you shouldn’t let your hurt feelings turn toxic is because it will only make things worse.
Not a single soul on Earth has solved their problems by only thinking about how hurt they feel (trust me on that one).
I’ve tried it multiple times, but it’s never worked out. As I already said, it is okay to feel hurt, but you shouldn’t let it turn into “a year of resentment”. Instead, you should do the following:
Communicate openly and honestly
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s the following: Always resolve marriage issues regarding extended family and best friends with your partner only.
Consider this the best marriage advice you’ll ever receive. (You’re welcome.)
Communication. As you might already know, it is the basis of every healthy relationship – from friendships to marriages (ESPECIALLY marriages).
Sadly, we women have a tendency to believe that our partners are able to read our minds.
Unfortunately, they aren’t. Another priceless thing I’ve learned is the following: If you don’t SAY IT to a man, he WON’T know it.
I like to compare this one with cats. If you don’t show that something bothers you, your kitten will continue doing it because they don’t know that they are doing something wrong.
If you don’t communicate openly and honestly, your husband will never know that you’re feeling neglected because he’s choosing his family over you.
So, the first step is to share with him how you are feeling and what exactly is going on in your head.
Once you do, you will feel ten times better. The most important thing is that your husband is willing to cooperate and listen to you carefully.
This demonstrates that you are still his priority, but for some reason, he failed to show you.
Be a team player with your spouse
Remember that the worst thing you can do in this situation is to turn his family against him, constantly argue with him, and similar.
Instead of involving his family and fighting with your spouse, work on creating a team spirit in your marriage.
What does this mean? It means listening to each other and working together on finding a solution for this particular problem.
Involving your entire family in the matter will only result in creating more confusion and complications.
Remind yourself of the fact that marriage is about teamwork and both sides are expected to make an effort, to propose solutions, and to support each other no matter what.
After that you can decide to share your conclusions with your family members. That way they will understand that you’ve come to an agreement as a couple and this will prevent any potential conflicts.
Also, remember that we aren’t born team players and we need to constantly work on this skill.
When you learn to turn on compassion, understanding and compromising skills, you will instantly turn off every negative aspect that could potentially destroy your marriage.
There’s nothing greater than being a team player with your spouse because it means you are friends, colleagues, partners in crime, and spouses all in one.
It means you have each other’s back and you’re willing to face any problem together instead of being opponents.
Give your husband some time and space to make the choice
I know what you’re thinking! You probably think I mean you should give your husband some space to choose between you and his family. I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not what I mean.
What you need to do is give your husband some time and space to make the choice to CHANGE. You’ve probably heard multiple times so far that all change starts within us.
This means that neither you or his relatives can influence his decision to improve himself and change things in his marriage.
He is the one who can make the choice to start working on himself and improve his performance as a husband.
This means you shouldn’t force him, nag him, or demand that he choose right away between you and his family.
You have to keep in mind that both his family members and you are important to him and this is not a matter of choosing between two sides.
It’s a matter of agreement, understanding, and compromising. His family and your family will always be a part of your marriage and it’s up to you to set boundaries and inform them about it if needed.
But, before all that, you have to wait for your husband to initiate the process. If he’s not willing to cooperate, there’s not much you can do about it alone.
You have to perform as team players – it’s the only right way to deal with this type of situation.
Take circumstances into account
When we feel neglected and taken for granted, we tend to overreact and only think about how we feel at the moment.
We forget to pay attention to other things and circumstances that might be the key to the whole situation.
For example: if one of your husband’s family members is sick or needs help and support in some way, this is an emergency situation. In which case, you shouldn’t feel neglected because it is a temporary situation.
I understand that it’s easier said than done but taking circumstances into account is a necessity and not an option.
Instead of being judgemental, it will help you to look at things from a different perspective and understand the situation.
When you know that something won’t last forever, it’s easier to stay calm and accept things as they are at the moment.
So, instead of only focusing on your own feelings, pay attention to the background and all the other details around you.
You can also ask your husband to confirm to you that there’s nothing you should worry about and that you’re still his priority – only this time there are more important things he has to deal with.
This reminds me of a guy I’ve been texting with for a while now.
He told me that he would like to date me, but he can’t at the moment because he has tons of obligations for college.
He said he would be more than happy if I were to wait for him, but if I don’t, he will respect that as well.
Now imagine if I didn’t know about all this and he just told me that he couldn’t date me without any logical explanation.
It would be really confusing, right? But, when you take circumstances into account, every situation becomes more clear and easier to endure.
First of all, shout out to the person who invented compromising! There’s nothing better in the whole world than coming to an agreement using the tool called compromising.
It means you’re willing to give and take (sacrifice and gain) in order to make things function. Truth be told, we don’t all know how to compromise, but as with everything else, this can be learned.
Compromising is exactly what you should do when your husband chooses his family over you. Let’s say that he always brings his family members on vacation with you.
If you go on vacation twice a year, you could agree to take his family members with you once per year. Or if he helps them financially, you could come up with a reasonable budget plan.
The same thing goes with every other issue you might be facing now or in the future. This way your husband won’t be forced to choose between his family or you.
By compromising, he can let them know that they are still an important part of his life but he cannot go out of his way every single time for them because now he has his own family that he needs to take care of as well.
Make a schedule
Does your husband spend a great amount of his time with his family every weekend or every other day?
Or do his family members come as they please, uninvited to your place if you’re not already living under the same roof?
In these and similar situations, the most important and logical thing to do is to make a schedule.
In that schedule, there should be some time for you and your husband as a couple, some time alone for both of you, and time to spend with your family members.
The accent is on creating balance because that is the key to every happy and successful marriage. When you make a schedule, remember to inform your family members about it.
That voice inside your head telling you My husband chooses his family over me will be muted because you will know exactly when you’re about to spend time with them, together as a couple, and have some “me” time.
I myself am an organization freak, which means every single event and thing has to be a part of my schedule.
I’ve tried both ways (casual and schedule) and I can say for sure that the latter is ten times more productive and effective.
In case you need to remind yourself of a schedule, you can keep it in your wallet or on the fridge. Also, if you break the rules you can think of something like a punishment.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a real punishment but something with which you will compensate each other in case you forget about your deal and do something against the schedule intentionally.
Take all decisions as a couple
Whatever you do, don’t ever assume that your husband thinks one thing or agrees with you on something if you haven’t talked to him about it.
You need to take all decisions as a couple because healthy communication is the basis of a marriage.
Just because you decided that you want him to ignore his family for the rest of his life (or for the time being), it doesn’t mean that he has to accept it.
As already stated, your husband is the one who needs to make the choice to change and act accordingly.
The thing is, if both spouses are not ready to work on their marriage, they are doomed.
I daresay that your husband choosing his family over you is not really a problem if he becomes aware of it and decides to do something about it.
If he doesn’t, then you have a bigger problem and that is selfishness. There’s no need to accentuate how tiring and exhausting is to be with someone who thinks they’re always right no matter what.
The truth is, marriage is not about being wrong or right, but about admitting when you’re wrong and being willing to make it right when needed.
There will always be critical situations and if you decide to go through them as a couple, you’ll resolve them in record time and with minimum effort.
Make your family a priority, too
If your husband chooses his family over you and you barely ever bring any of your family members into the equation, maybe it’s time to change that.
Your family should be your priority as well, so you shouldn’t only worry about spending time with his.
For example, if his family members regularly go on vacation with you, then you have every right to invite your family members as well.
If your own mother, father or other relative has health issues, you shouldn’t think twice about spending more time with them and being at their disposal in case they need you.
Remember that there’s nothing wrong about making your family a priority. The problem arises when they become your only priority.
This is a good lesson for your husband as well.
If he tends to spend a great amount of time with his family members and expects you to be there when he wants you to be, you can tell him that now is your time to spend time with your family as well.
He will learn that he cannot choose his family over you because if he does, you will do the exact same thing. This will help him understand the need for balance in marriage and relationships in general.
Show compassion and understanding
Instead of judging him, and speaking badly about his family and his character and similar, try your best to show compassion and understanding.
Keep in mind that he is still a child to his parents and understand that things cannot change overnight.
If you show him that you understand how he feels, he will do the same thing for you. He will not get offended, call you a freak or similar.
Instead, he will show that he understands why you feel the way you do and he will try his best to change things in the future.
Marriage works on the principle of give and take.
If you show that you’re ready to talk openly and honestly with understanding about your husband’s relationship with his family members, he will reciprocate.
Family issues are a delicate situation that require lots of patience and understanding. You don’t want to turn it into a game where the luckier or bolder person wins.
You want to go through it together, respect each other’s perspectives, and work on finding the best solution for both of you and your families.
Seek professional counseling
If you have the ability, consider seeking professional help because this will not only solve your current issue, but it will improve your overall communication and marriage in general.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain to your husband why him choosing his family over you is a problem because he might not see it as an issue.
Talking about it with a professional will help him understand things more clearly. Perhaps there are some underlying causes for his behavior that neither you or he can target.
For that reason, it is always advisable to seek a third opinion (professional opinion) regarding the matter.
If you solve things partially and neglect the core issue of a certain problem, chances are that over time things will return to their initial state.
In other words, chances are that after some time he will once again choose his family over you. If you want to avoid that, seek professional counseling and deal with the issue step-by-step.
8 Common Reasons Why Men Choose Their Family Over Their Spouse
He has a guilty conscience for not spending as much time with his family
Before marriage, your man either lived solo or with his parents like the rest of male and female population. Chances are that he spent the majority of his free time with his parents (especially if they lived together).
You know the drill. Family meals, games, drinks, road trips – the list goes on and on.
Don’t get me wrong: This is great and it’s exactly how it should be. The problem arises once your man decides to tie the knot and start his own family.
Suddenly, he realizes that he is no longer spending as much time with his family as he used to. His routine has drastically changed and that’s when he starts being confused about his priority list.
He wants to spend time with you but at the same time he feels guilty for not spending as much time with his family.
Because of that, he subconsciously starts neglecting you, making you feel less worthy and like you have to compete for his attention.
Oftentimes, men are not even aware of this because it’s not something they can influence. Their conscience is eating away at them and forcing them to do things they normally wouldn’t.
That is how they end up spending more time with their family than their spouse.
He wants to be a peacekeeper
If you’ve ever watched Monster-in-Law or Meet the Fockers, then you know what I’m talking about.
These two movies are simply amazing and even though they are a bit of an exaggeration, they still depict marriage problems and conflicts with respective families perfectly and hilariously.
Now, to get to the point: the majority of men turn into peacekeepers for the sake of avoiding conflicts.
You might feel like: My husband chooses his family over me, but in reality, he’s doing it to avoid any potential conflict between you two and his family.
So, when he decides to accept every single invitation from his parents, chances are he’s doing it only to satisfy them and keep the peace between you. But, how can you know that, right?
If he doesn’t tell you, you can only guess what is going on in his mind. Truth be told, men are mysterious creatures and they like to keep their strategies for themselves, which often drives us women crazy.
Perhaps I should rephrase this one: Men might do this to drive us crazy. (Well, I hope not.)
He is suffering from ‘Mama’s Boy’ syndrome
We all know at least one famous mama’s boy out there. It is either one of our friends or if we aren’t that lucky, it is our loved one.
It’s interesting that we often don’t even realize we’re with a mama’s boy until someone points it out to us.
Or we don’t want to classify them as such because it doesn’t sound that good and we secretly hope that it won’t last forever. Whatever the case, being with such a man can be a real struggle.
This kind of relationship between a mom and son includes the following:
Incessant phone calls (mostly on trivial matters like whether they have eaten and similar)
Not being willing to move far away from where his mom lives
Having trouble making decisions (on both minor and major things) without his mother’s assistance
Being financially dependent on his mom
Constantly choosing his mom over you, your children or both.
Such moms fail to see their sons as grown ups. Instead, they still think of them as little children and by doing that they create an unhealthy mother-son relationship.
They feel as if their son is unable to do anything without them and that they should still be available for him 24/7.
And their son feels the same way. He’s convinced that his mother should always be an active part of his life regardless of whether he’s living alone or if he’s married.
It is really hard to break this pattern because its roots are deep. Dealing with a mama’s boy requires lots of patience and understanding.
As always, marriage is all about teamwork and if your partner is willing to work on himself and improve your marriage, then half of your problems are already solved.
Men tend to live with their parents longer
Recent studies have shown that men (18-34) are more likely to still live with their parent(s) than with a partner or spouse. When I look at it more closely, this actually makes sense. Why?
Because we all know that women are the ones who mature faster than men, both mentally and physically, which means they become independent and decide to get married sooner than the male population.
Now, how is this analogy affecting marriages or your marriage to be more exact?
Your husband’s strong relationship with his parents might have been the first thing you really liked about him, but over time it can turn your married life into a real burden.
If he’s lived with his parents for a long time, he might be having difficulties switching his priorities now that he’s a married man.
He still feels as if he needs to choose his family over you (or he’s doing it subconsciously) because his connection with them is still strong.
While it is desirable and okay to spend time with family, friends and partners, overly prioritizing one of them is never a healthy option.
Everyone living under the same roof
Another common reason why a man would choose his family over his spouse is the situation where everyone is living under the same roof. Talk about a really tricky situation.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to move into their own house with their spouse. Sometimes, we’re forced to live in a multigenerational household because we have no other option.
Also, sometimes men choose to live under the same roof even though they have other options. This is usually connected with mama’s boys syndrome.
If you’re living under the same roof, conflicts and potentially awkward situations become inevitable.
Privacy becomes scarce and your relationship with your spouse experiences multiple challenges.
At some point, your husband will feel as if he needs to choose between his family or you (especially if his family is pressuring him).
In order to appease them, he will start dancing to their tune and as a result end up neglecting you.
We could say that married couples living under the same roof are married to the whole family and not just their spouse. In such situations, there will always be some minor or major frictions and taking sides.
He wants to make you jealous
Yes, believe it or not, there are some spouses who choose their family over their partner simply for the sake of making them jealous.
When it comes to the male population, we might be talking about narcissists who want to make you fight for their attention.
Let’s say that he knows you will feel neglected if he spends all his weekends or free time with his mom and/or dad instead of you.
Even though he’s aware of this, he still chooses to do it because his main goal is to make you compete for his attention and time.
That is when you start thinking that you are the problem and that you must have done something wrong in order to deserve such treatment.
If you feel that this might be the case with you, pay close attention to other details as well (his body language, any changes in his behavior and similar).
The biggest sign that he’s trying to make you jealous by choosing his family over you is if he hasn’t acted this way before.
In other words, if he hasn’t spent much time with them in the past and now they’re literally inseparable, then you know something fishy is going on.
As always, the best way to find out what is really going on is by simply asking, explaining the situation and how you feel about it.
Bound by tradition
Sometimes husbands decide to choose their family over their spouse because of tradition.
This is especially true for married couples in India, where husbands feel like it’s their duty to take care of and prioritize their family.
Because of that, they decide to live closer to their parents or under the same roof.
This is in close connection with their culture and tradition and in such cases setting boundaries is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
When family life becomes the number one priority, marriage is overshadowed.
When a woman feels like her husband is deliberately choosing his family over her, she might become desperate and think about doing something she usually wouldn’t do such as forcing him to choose between the first woman in his life and his spouse.
If your husband feels like you’re forcing him to choose between his mom and you, things might get even more complicated. The truth is, you cannot fight tradition but you can always compromise.
Other reasons (emergencies, finances, etc.)
There are tons of other reasons why a husband would choose his family over his spouse and some of them are emergencies (health issues), finances and similar.
When it comes to emergencies, I’ll refer to my mom and dad who were in a similar situation.
Not so long ago, my aunt had some problems with mental health, so she came to live with us and basically the entire household revolved around her because it was an emergency.
Now, my mother could have said that she didn’t want to live like that and blame my father for prioritizing his family, but she didn’t.
On the contrary, she agreed to nurture her when my aunt became immobile. I will always admire my mother’s strength and her selflessness.
What I’m trying to say is that sometimes prioritizing a family member is not an option, but a necessity.
In such situations, we have to adapt and make the best of it.
The same thing goes with the financial aspect.
If your husband’s mom and dad or other family relatives are in a financial crisis and he’s helping them, from his point of view, he’s doing a good thing and it’s something he has to do.
However, if your significant other is constantly going out of his way to meet their every need and as a result neglect yours and your marriage, this is a red flag.
As always, balance is the key and spouses should always strive to establish it whenever they can.
For example, your husband always paying for family holidays (for his mom and dad and other relatives) is not an emergency situation, so this requires a different approach and his actions are not justified.
Whenever the following sentence invades your brain My husband chooses his family over me, remind yourself not to act on impulse.
Don’t contact his family and threaten them or make him choose between you and his family members.
Stay collected and talk to him openly about it. I suggest doing it ASAP because the more you prolong it, the more you will overthink it.
We all know what happens when we overthink things. In our heads, we make them ten times worse than they actually are.
Remember to create a team spirit in your marriage and focus on making compromises. Also, if able, seek professional help.
If you do all that, there’s not a chance that you won’t succeed in resolving this particular issue.
As a result, both of you will become even stronger and wiser as well as your marriage. And remember:
“The goal of marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” – Unknown