When you get married to someone, it’s expected that they become your most trusted confidant, your friend, your soulmate, and your partner.
The wedding vows often mention putting each other first and forming a bond that takes precedence over all others.
But what happens when you notice that your husband seems to prioritize his family over you?
It’s a question no spouse wants to contemplate, yet it’s one that arises more often than you might think.
If you’ve been feeling second to his family, this article will help you recognize and understand the signs that your husband might be putting his family first – and what to do about it.
But understand that this isn’t about creating a competition between you and his family, but about seeking a balance where everyone feels respected and valued.
1. Always Prioritizes Family Plans
Isn’t it interesting when your husband starts to hum “We are Family” whenever he’s about to plan a vacation or weekend getaway?
It’s like he has this built-in family compass that only points towards his folks’ place. You both just talked about going to Maui, but suddenly you’re packing for a family reunion.
It’s good to visit the family, don’t get me wrong, but if the ‘we-time’ morphs into ‘family-time’ more often than not, it’s a sign.
Digging a little deeper, do you find yourselves immersed in his family traditions, attending every single family gathering, no matter how minor?
Or maybe the holiday plans always revolve around his family, with little regard for your preferences or traditions. It might seem subtle, but it’s telling. Prioritizing family events over your shared interests and plans is a clear sign your husband puts his family first.
Take a moment and reflect. Consider the number of times you’ve found yourself embracing his family traditions at the expense of your own.
You love the guy, and you also love his family, but there needs to be a balance. Life is a beautiful blend of ‘his’, ‘hers’, and ‘theirs’. It shouldn’t always be ‘theirs’, should it?
[Related: How to Make Your Relationship Last Long-Term]
2. You’re Consistently the Last to Know
How often do you find yourself saying, “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
If your husband consistently shares important news with his family before letting you in on it, that’s another sign.
As his wife, you should be the first person he turns to in sharing joys, sorrows, and everyday stories.
Think about it… When he lands a new job or gets a promotion, is his mother the first to know? When he’s facing a tough situation at work, does he consult his siblings before discussing it with you?
These are indications that he has a tighter bond with his family than with you. You’re his partner, his confidante. You should be on the top of his ‘need to inform’ list.
Remember, sharing is about more than just speaking the words. It’s about trust, intimacy, and mutual understanding.
The person who gets the first call is often the one considered most important. It can be disheartening to feel like a second fiddle in your own relationship.
3. The Family Opinion Outweighs Yours
You’ve been debating about where to buy your dream house. You want a quiet neighborhood, while he prefers somewhere closer to the city.
To resolve the disagreement, he seeks advice from his family and, unsurprisingly, takes their side.
Does this sound familiar to you? It happens when your husband values his family’s opinions over yours.
In a healthy relationship, it’s essential to respect each other’s thoughts and feelings. If his family’s perspective consistently trumps yours, it’s a red flag.
The moment he makes his family the primary decision-makers in your lives, that’s when you know he puts his family first.
Relationships are a team sport. The team, however, doesn’t include his third cousin or great aunt.
Yes, family opinions matter, but they shouldn’t constantly override yours, especially on matters concerning your relationship or household.
4. Constant Comparisons to Family Members
Are you often compared to his sister’s culinary skills or his mom’s home management prowess?
If he frequently contrasts you with his family members in both big and small matters, that’s another sign.
Yes, his mom’s lasagna is legendary, but so is your vegan stew, right?
Nothing puts a damper on your confidence like being constantly juxtaposed against his family members. This habit might suggest that he holds his family as the gold standard for all things.
Remember, you’re unique in your own ways and need to be respected for who you are, not measured against others.
Constant comparisons are neither fair nor healthy in any relationship. It implies an underlying lack of appreciation and might give you the feeling that you’re in constant competition with his family.
Everyone has their strengths and areas of expertise; his family’s abilities shouldn’t undermine yours.
[Also read: The 5 Stepping Stones In a Relationship]
5. His Family’s Needs Take Precedence Over Yours
Ever found yourself canceling a spa appointment to attend a last-minute family event?
Or maybe, he’s promised to help you with house chores, but he ditches it because his sister needs him to babysit her kids. If his family’s needs often come before yours, it’s a clear sign he’s putting his family first.
Understanding that emergencies happen is one thing. Constantly playing second fiddle to his family’s requests, however, is another.
In a balanced relationship, both parties’ needs are considered important, not just those of one side.
Imagine this. You’re preparing for a romantic dinner at home after a long day at work. Just as you’re about to start, he gets a call from his brother who needs him to help fix his car.
So, he leaves you with all the preparations. Sounds familiar? When his family’s needs always come before yours, it’s a telltale sign he’s putting them first.
6. He Shares Too Much With His Family
Did his mom comment about that small argument you had last week?
Or perhaps his sister gave you some uncalled-for advice about a personal decision you’re struggling with?
Sharing too much about your relationship with his family might indicate he puts them first.
While it’s fine to seek advice from family, there should be a boundary to what is shared. Intimate details of your relationship or personal issues should be kept between the two of you. After all, certain things are meant to be private.
Imagine having a disagreement, and the next thing you know, you’re receiving advice from his family. Not because you reached out, but because he shared too much.
It feels invasive, right? When your private life becomes family discussion fodder, it’s a strong indication he values his family’s involvement more than your privacy.
7. He Defends His Family Over You
Here’s a scenario. You’re at a family gathering. His aunt makes a snide remark about your job. Instead of supporting you, your husband brushes it off, saying she didn’t mean it.
If your husband tends to defend his family over you, it’s a clear sign he prioritizes them first.
In any relationship, defending your partner when they are wronged is crucial. If he’s constantly making excuses for his family’s behavior or chooses to ignore it rather than confront it, he’s clearly placing them above you.
You should never feel like you’re alone when it comes to dealing with his family. In a partnership, you’re supposed to have each other’s backs.
But when his default setting is to side with his family, no matter the circumstance, it’s evident where his priorities lie.
8. He Is Overly Dependent on His Family
Do you find him consulting his family on nearly everything, from the smallest decisions like what color to paint the living room, to significant life choices?
This kind of dependency is a clear sign he puts his family first.
It’s healthy to seek advice from family members occasionally. However, an over-reliance on them can suggest he values their input more than yours. This excessive dependency can make you feel less valued and less important in the decision-making process.
Think about this. You’re shopping for a new sofa. Instead of discussing it with you, he’s on the phone, asking his parents about their preferences.
In these moments, it feels like you’re being left out of your own life’s decisions. When he excessively depends on his family’s opinions, it’s pretty clear where his priorities stand.
[Related: 10 Things Men Want In A Relationship]
9. He Can’t Set Boundaries with His Family
A lack of boundaries between your husband and his family can be a clear indication that he places them first.
Do his parents drop by unannounced and he sees no issue with it? Does he share intimate details of your relationship with his siblings?
These instances show an inability to draw a line, and it can severely affect your relationship.
Boundaries are essential to maintain respect and privacy within your relationship. If he’s incapable of setting these boundaries with his family, it can feel like an intrusion into your private space.
Think about how you feel when his family’s involvement becomes too much to handle. It’s like they’re always present, either physically or metaphorically, in your relationship.
A marriage should consist of two people, not two plus his family. When he allows his family to overstep, he’s definitely putting them first.
10. He Rarely Takes Your Side in Family Disputes
In any family, disputes are bound to happen. But when they do, does your husband usually side with his family, even when they’re clearly in the wrong?
If he seldom stands by you during family disagreements, he is likely prioritizing his family over you.
Supporting each other, especially in challenging times, is one of the pillars of a strong relationship. If he constantly supports his family over you in disputes, it can make you feel neglected and unimportant.
Imagine a scenario where you have a disagreement with his sister. Even though you’ve calmly explained your side of the story, he immediately takes his sister’s side without hearing you out.
Moments like these make you feel like an outsider rather than a partner. If he’s usually not on your team in such situations, it’s a clear sign he’s putting his family first.
What Should I Do If My Husband Always Puts His Family First?
This is a delicate situation, but not impossible to navigate. First, it’s crucial to communicate your feelings without assigning blame.
For instance, say “I feel overlooked when you make plans with your family without consulting me” instead of “You never consider my feelings when making plans.”
This approach prevents him from feeling attacked and promotes a more productive conversation.
Next, discuss the need for balance in your relationship. It’s about ensuring both families are equally prioritized and your needs as a couple aren’t overshadowed.
This discussion should also include setting boundaries with his family. Be specific about what you’re comfortable with and what feels like an intrusion.
Lastly, consider seeking professional help. Couples therapy can be an effective way to address these issues. A neutral third party can help facilitate communication, set boundaries, and work towards a more balanced relationship.
In conclusion, noticing these signs is the first step towards resolving the issue. It’s crucial to remember that a balanced relationship values both families, respecting and acknowledging the importance of each other’s roles and opinions.
Don’t forget, it’s not about pulling him away from his family, but finding a healthy balance that brings happiness and respect to all of you.
How Can I Discuss This Issue Without Coming Off as Jealous or Controlling?
Approaching this conversation can indeed be challenging. It’s important to choose the right time and place to discuss this.
Ideally, a quiet, non-stressful moment where you both can have an undisturbed conversation.
Start by expressing your love and appreciation for his family. Make it clear that it’s not about him cutting ties with his family, but about balance.
Talk about your feelings and how his actions impact you, focusing on specific instances. Use non-accusatory language and avoid generalizing statements like “You always…” or “You never…”.
Offer up suggestions for improvement. For instance, suggest that you could alternate between spending holidays with your family and his.
Emphasize that your aim is for a harmonious relationship where everyone feels respected and valued.
Can This Situation Actually Harm Our Relationship in the Long Run?
Yes, if not addressed properly, this situation can lead to resentment, feelings of neglect, and strain in your relationship.
Feeling second to his family can be incredibly hurtful and, over time, can erode the intimacy and trust in your relationship.
A marriage or partnership should be about mutual respect, support, and shared decision-making. If one person constantly feels disregarded or less important, it can create an unhealthy power dynamic, causing emotional distress.
It’s important to address these issues early on, openly discussing your feelings and working together to find a solution. This will help to foster a more balanced, respectful, and mutually satisfying relationship.
- All photos from freepik.com