How Having An Estranged Family Affects Your Marriage

October 4, 2018  |  
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escaping a toxic family sitting at a table

If you have an estranged family, that’s something you’ve probably come to terms with. Whether it’s due to emotional abuse, infidelity, stealing, or other types of betrayal, you may have accepted a long time ago that you are not going to have one of those tight-knit families who always has each other’s back. You’re okay with that—you’ve made a new family through friends. You take care of yourself. You’ve been to therapy, done plenty of meditation, had your self-healing journey and you’ve let go of the idea of having a close family. But that all can be disrupted when you meet your forever partner. He wants to know your family, but you know they’d ruin everything. Having to explain to someone new—and their family—that you have a weak, tattered, and turbulent relationship with your family can be difficult. You’ve accepted it—but they may not. They need a lot of time to catch up. Here is how having an estranged family affects your marriage.

escaping a toxic family couple looking serious

His parents can judge you

His parents cannot imagine ever being estranged from their child. They would never forgive their children for severing ties with them, or purposefully having a limited relationship. If they can’t imagine forgiving their child for that, it’s hard for them not to judge you for being estranged from your family.

escaping a toxic family dinner

All holidays are with his family

You’ll spend all holidays with his family, naturally. They will, however, always mention the fact that you could invite your family. They mean well but, you can’t help but feel that they’re trying to push something onto you and meddle.

escaping a toxic family scratching his head

Your partner doesn’t know where he stands

It can be difficult for your partner to know where he stands with your family. Should he attempt to get to know them? If and when you do see them, how close should he be getting? What are the rules for him?

Motherhood anxiety elderly Woman and young girl embracing outdoors

He wants all grandparents involved

It’s only natural that your partner mourns the loss of having all grandparents involved in his kids’ lives. Even if you don’t have kids yet, one day, if you do, your partner will probably start asking if your parents can be more involved in their lives.

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That’s one less line of credit

You can’t go to your family for money because they are the last people you want to be indebted to. That relationship is just toxic. Sometimes, that’s frustrating to your partner’s family since, any time you two need a loan, it falls on them.

escaping a toxic family of a young businesswoman experiencing tension during a late night at work

His parents ask you to fix things

His parents ask you, time and time again, if you could try to fix things with your family. They don’t understand how much you’ve already tried. They don’t understand that it’s healthiest for you to keep a distance.

escaping a toxic family race woman unable to close suitcase before leaving the hotel room

When you visit, accommodations are tricky

If you do occasionally visit your family, you want to stay in a hotel. Your partner thinks that’s silly, since you could stay with your family for free. You have to explain over and over again that it’s best this way.

escaping a toxic family of a young businessman using a mobile phone at his desk in a modern office

Your partner must keep secrets

Your partner has a laundry list of information, about your life, that he’s never allowed to share with your family. There are parts of your life that are sacred to you, that you don’t want them touching. But your partner has to remember to conceal this information.

escaping a toxic family on front stoop

He is your new family

Your partner is your new family. Hopefully, everyone feels their romantic partner is family in a way but for you, he’s your only family. That is a special bond but it can also put a lot of pressure on him.

escaping a toxic family crossing the street walking in the city

He can fear you have the flight gene

Sometimes, your partner can’t help but wonder if you have a tendency to run away. You did, in a way, run away from your family after all. You have to assure him that you didn’t do so out of weakness; it was actually a tough but correct decision for your wellbeing.

escaping a toxic family members enjoy eating Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Grandmother enjoys a glass of wine.

Distant in-laws have questions

Your partner’s close family knows the deal with your family, but distant family of his don’t. So when you meet new, distant in-laws, you wind up having to re-answer questions like, “So, where is your family?” and “Your family couldn’t make it?”

escaping a toxic family being affectionate in bed

There are things he’s better off not knowing

There are things about your family’s past that it’s best your partner doesn’t know. You just know it would make him deeply sad or frightened, for nothing.

escaping a toxic family preparing dinner table in backyard of the cottage. They enjoy in countryside nature and romantic vacation

You make new traditions

You don’t want to carry on any of your family’s traditions because you have negative associations with those. So, you and your partner carry on his family traditions and make up some of your own.

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He conceals info from his parents

You also have to ask your partner not to tell his family some things about your family. Certain details are so upsetting they’d just leave them wondering, “Do we want this person raising our grandkids?”

escaping a toxic family of two people holding hands in comfort

The unsolicited pity

You get a lot of pity that you don’t want. You stopped pitying yourself a long time ago. Sometimes, it feels like you need to comfort everyone else about your situation.

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