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CANCER and Family

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  • CANCER and Family

    Before my sister in laws diagnosis of stage 4 cancer in January of this year, my husband and his sister spoke once every few months. Since her diagnosis this has changed drastically (which I assume is normal). He calls daily, more than 5x a day, for 10-30 minutes per call these past 6 months. (I saw the usage on the bill, I was curious/nosy) (I try to tell myself this is not excessive, she is sick).To some (or many, or everyone) I may sound very callous right now I know and have no excuse. But I 'feel' this may not be very 'healthy'. Am I crazy? I'm not jealous but there are times when I'm trying to call him and instead of calling me back he's calling her on his work break and doesn't call me at all saying 'we live together, if it's an emergency leave me a message'. Nice. I feel his preoccupation is his sisters illness and his "family" (mother, father, sister).

    I think it's not unusual that a sibling lean on another sibling because of an illness. (however stressful it is to a marriage) He has become much closer to his mom and father too because of this disease...which again, must be typical.

    The taking away from our marriage and family time with the phone (extensive) calls and trips to visit is something I should deal with how exactly?? I'd like to learn to be less selfish because I know no one is going to say I'm right. (Because I feel I'm being selfish but sometimes I need him too)

    Thanks.

    ps- my adult siblings and I are very independent from our parents, polar opposites of my husbands family. I don't know that I would call a sibling daily even if they were ill just because it's not how we are. But, I can't say for sure.

  • #2
    You aren't wrong.

    Yes, it's natural and okay for him to become closer to his birth family at a time like this; it is NOT, however, okay to withdraw from his immediate family in the process. There are some things where he should reasonably expect you to allow him to prioritize his birth family - those are called 'emergencies'. Otherwise, if he wants to make more time for his sister, it comes out of his free time or somewhere other than your time. You're his wife and have every right to expect the common courtesy of a return phone call. He probably thinks he's being practical when in fact he's being stupid. Your marriage doesn't stop because his birth family wants his time - and any time he wants to give them should be his alone. It should NOT impinge on time he spends with his wife - you - because that time belongs to you, not just him.

    You do need to be understanding as he learns to balance the two - he'll mess up quite a bit - but you have to tell him that you aren't a doormat and do expect him to attend to his duties to you (time/attention/common courtesy - hint guys: marriage is NOT an excuse to be rude to your wife) and no, it's not unreasonable. He can just take time out of other things (hobbies, buddy time, et al) and quit treating you like you don't matter. I doubt he means to but it is what he's doing when he presumes on you the way he is.

    Quit checking his phone. You're his wife - if you feel entitled to information (and you are to a lot of it) then don't go behind his back - ask him or ask him for his phone and check with him sitting there. You aren't a spy so stop acting like one.

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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