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Wife & son-in-law appear to be attracted to each other, what do I do?

 
 
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2022 05:54 pm
I’m hoping there’s someone here on these boards who can help me understand what is or may be going on with a dilemma that is eating me alive emotionally because I don’t know what to think, what’s happening, how to respond to it or how to react to it. First, some quick background… our oldest son (30) distanced himself from my wife about 5 years ago thanks to his wife who decided my wife was the source of contention between she and our oldest daughter and my son-in-law’s parents divorced back in 2018. With that caviat, about three years ago, our oldest daughter had a gender reveal for a baby she and husband were expecting and immediately after the reveal, my wife, in a moment of excitement, kissed our son-in-law on the cheek. It looked innocent enough and at the time, I didn’t think anything of it and prior to this, there had never been any indication of mutual attraction between my wife and son-in-law. After our daughter had her baby, my wife went over and thoroughly cleaned her house multiple times.

Our son-in-law is lazy and rarely helps with house work and seems disinterested in working hard or sacrificing for our daughter (he wouldn’t even help her study while she went through nursing school, that was my job apparently) and told her a year or so ago to ‘get out of his f’ing house’ after she got upset at him for discharging a firearm in the living room. He loves to have fun and has a cushy 10-4 job thanks to his father and ‘isn’t good with school’ which is an excuse for not having to try to better himself for our daughter and his family. Anyway, ever since, both my wife and son-in-law have been behaving as if they’re attracted to one another or are infatuated or perhaps more. Whenever our daughter and son-in-law are around us now, our son-in-law tries to position himself so that he is close to my wife and my wife seems to do the same, just not as much. It got pretty bad one evening a few years ago when they joined us for dinner at a seafood restaurant where we had to wait for about 45 minutes to be seated and so we waited in our car but within a few minutes, our daughter and son-in-law had moved into the backseat of our car to wait with us.

Our son-in-law got in the car and sat in the back directly behind my wife and during those 35-40 minutes, they were making concerted efforts to make eye contact and on occasion, my son-in-law would lunge forward to get close to her while talking and she would turn as if to welcome the advance. Once we were called into the restaurant, as we were walking to be seated, my wife kept looking to see where he was and when we sat down, my son-in-law sat across from my wife. Later that evening after we got home, they came over to our house and my son-in-law said something which made my wife go downstairs from our bedroom and when I went downstairs, they were sitting next to each other, one on the couch and one on the chair next to it. Prior to this, my wife was in bed with me in the room and he had come upstairs into our room (after our daughter did) and my wife’s left leg was exposed to him and she made no attempt to cover up. I made it clear to my daughter that he was not to ever come into our bedroom again. After they left that evening, I broke down emotionally about it all with heartache and anguish and was in tears and expressed concern to my wife who just consoled me saying there was nothing to worry about, I was hers, etc. Since then, there have been dozens of instances of the two of them being drawn together like a magnet whenever we’re around them.

One evening, he got so bold as to try and put his arm around my wife after plopping down next to her on the couch and to my surprise, she moved away from it. Recently, we all went on a vacation together and it was like watching my wife and son-in-law on a 4-day date in California theme parks as they were constantly seeking each other out, walking together most of the time shoulder to shoulder in between rides and then positioning themselves in lines to get or stay close. There were 18 instances of this on our last day. At one point, my wife took the opportunity to gaze over his shoulder at something. I was in anguish each day over it and decided to walk well behind them in an attempt to let my wife know I had no interest in walking with her if she was going to show more of an interest in being with our SIL. On two occasions in 4 days, she stopped and waited for me, grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly as we walked and another time sat close to me grabbing my hand and cuddling on a ride, but aside from that, she was drawn to our SIL constantly. I even noticed the two of them on multiple occasions glancing at each other with sheepish puppy dog eyes when not together. Late one night in our hotel room, she could see I was emotionally distraught and so I mentioned that I was bothered by some things going on that I was noticing and she snidely remarked “were you upset because I was walking with our son-in-law”, as if I was an idiot for being concerned? I didn’t answer and left the room.

After we got home from vacation, I flat out asked her what was going on with her and our SIL in the theme parks always wanting to be together and getting close 80% of the time and all she did was get sore about it, got defensive and put me in her doghouse for a few days but I could tell she was genuinely bothered that I was questioning her love and devotion to her husband. So that leaves me wondering… is she replacing our own son with our son-in-law? Is she attracted to him? Infatuated? Our SIL has everything on his side of the family my wife would be attracted to, he has his own house, truck, job and cushy lifestyle thanks to his dad’s two businesses, a sister of his lives in the mountains with horses, two things my wife loves, he’s an outdoors guy, another thing she loves and he has hobbies and interests similar to her own Dad and brother that would be attractive to her as well. And she and his mother were having a great time together in the theme parks when she wasn’t trying to stay close to him. So I’m just trying to figure out how I should feel about it all and if I should say anything more to my wife about it, confront my daughter about what’s going on as she appears completely oblivious to it or talk to my son-in-law and tell him I thought he was supposed to have a thing for our daughter?

Is this something that will pass and nothing to worry about? Could it be her way of dealing with a mid-life crisis? Do I risk having an awkward and strained relationship with my son-in-law by asking him to cease and desist? Something similar happened like this 13 years ago when it became apparent that my wife was into a brother-in-law who had done nothing but put my sister through financial, emotional and physical hell because he felt ‘entitled’ to whatever he wanted or needed in life, regardless of expense while she did everything and was the breadwinner. One evening during a Christmas get-together, I had seen enough of the attraction and accused her of ‘making eyes’ at him to which she replied “I needed help” and that she “didn’t have feelings for him”. But he had learned to become a carpenter and was very good at home improvement and construction, something my wife has always been obsessed with. The anguish went on for several years. She was behaving very similar to how she’s behaving with my son-in-law but he had no interest in her and so there was no reciprocation. I’ve always been the affectionate one in our marriage and enjoy being intimate but that’s always been on her watch and time when she’s in the mood and so it’s not like she’s being deprived of attention or physical intimacy, it’s just the opposite in fact most of the time and I’ve always done my best to treat my wife like a princess and have tried to handle most of our family responsibilities so she doesn’t have to worry about doing anything but occasional house cleaning, shopping and a FT job.

As you might imagine, these last few years have felt like a slap in the face with this thing she and our son-in-law have going on. And recently, I was apprehensive when she wanted to go to our daughter’s house earlier than we were supposed to for our granddaughter’s birthday and when I asked her why she wanted to go over 30 minutes earlier, she blew up and said she didn’t know how much longer she could live like this. And back in August, she told me I was a cheapskate and an a-hole when I didn’t want to buy dinner for everyone, including daughter and son-in-law for my Mom’s b-day since it was gonna cost over $100 when we were trying to save up for a vacation. So I don’t know what to think anymore when she is saying and doing all this but still calls me by the pet name she has for me and acts like nothing is going on. I also recently sent her a text apologizing for not trusting her more and telling her how much I love her and she didn’t respond to it at all. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don’t know how much more I can take of the anguish and heartache. Thanks! Sorry for the post length.
 
jespah
 
  4  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2022 08:09 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
Whoo doggie.

So, there's a lot to unpack here.

But here's what I am picking up:
  • "my wife, in a moment of excitement, kissed our son-in-law on the cheek" - good lord, not the cheek kiss!
  • "Our son-in-law got in the car and sat in the back directly behind my wife and during those 35-40 minutes, they were making concerted efforts to make eye contact and on occasion, my son-in-law would lunge forward to get close to her while talking and she would turn" - maybe she was having trouble hearing him. Seriously, the acoustics in my car are horrible, and it's a small car and I'm not losing my hearing. It may be the same here. Consider the way an ear is shaped--she has what is essentially a shell between her and anyone behind her who is talking.
  • "my son-in-law sat across from my wife" - it's a table with 4 chairs or a booth. Where, exactly, was he supposed to sit? Next to her? Then you'd really be hollering. Diagonally across is somehow more proper than across? Can you even hear yourself?
  • "my wife was in bed with me in the room and he had come upstairs into our room (after our daughter did) and my wife’s left leg was exposed to him and she made no attempt to cover up" - you do realize that your wife probably exposes more of herself at a swimming pool or beach, yes?
  • "I made it clear to my daughter that he was not to ever come into our bedroom again" - wait, what? Because your wife's leg wasn't tied to the mattress under a blanket?
  • "he got so bold as to try and put his arm around my wife after plopping down next to her on the couch and to my surprise, she moved away from it" - so, she did exactly what you would have wanted for her to do, yet you are still suspicious and jealous? She can't win for losing, eh?
  • "walking together most of the time shoulder to shoulder" - you do realize that when people are walking together and having a conversation, they actually stay in relatively close proximity to each other, don't you?
  • "There were 18 instances of this on our last day" - keeping score in a marriage is never, ever a good idea.
  • "At one point, my wife took the opportunity to gaze over his shoulder at something." - oh my God, it's the look over the shoulder bit! Again, do you even hear yourself?
  • "I was in anguish each day over it and decided to walk well behind them in an attempt to let my wife know I had no interest in walking with her if she was going to show more of an interest in being with our SIL." - or, instead of making her guess, you could have had a goddamned conversation with her. You know, like normally people who've known each over for a few decades do?
  • "On two occasions in 4 days, she stopped and waited for me, grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly as we walked and another time sat close to me grabbing my hand and cuddling on a ride" - and again, she's doing something pleasant and all you can yell is, "What have you done for me lately?!"
  • " I mentioned that I was bothered by some things going on that I was noticing and she snidely remarked “were you upset because I was walking with our son-in-law”, as if I was an idiot for being concerned?" - ya ever stop to think that maybe your wife is right?
  • "I could tell she was genuinely bothered that I was questioning her love and devotion to her husband" - yes, you insulted her.
  • "she and his mother were having a great time together in the theme parks" - so you're just pissed off every time she doesn't pay attention to you, eh? Again, do you ever realize what you sound like?
  • " I was apprehensive when she wanted to go to our daughter’s house earlier than we were supposed to for our granddaughter’s birthday and when I asked her why she wanted to go over 30 minutes earlier" - to help set up. To visit with your daughter and grandchild. To not be late. To use their damned bathroom, if you absolutely must have justification.
  • "I also recently sent her a text apologizing for not trusting her more and telling her how much I love her and she didn’t respond to it at all." - maybe she's tired of this bullshit. I know I am, and I don't even know you.
Get. Some. Counseling.

Your wife loves you. And she is trying to treat your son-in-law well. You know, get along like everybody should?

I'll tell you a story. I have been married for 30 years. My mother loves my husband like a second son. My father has never, ever questioned this or gotten upset about it. He doesn't go around making a list of all the times she's talked to him or listened to him or whatever.

Do you want to know why? It's because he loves my husband like a son, too.

Your son-in-law sounds like a jackass, truth be told. But your wife is trying to keep on good terms with him. Do you want to know why?

It's because (a) it would hurt your daughter very much if there was bad blood between you, (b) your daughter has a baby at home and needs the financial support if nothing else, (c ) your grandchild needs their father, and (d) your wife wants to have access to your grandchild, and alienating that child's father is not the way to go about it.

If you feel your daughter and grandchild are in danger, then that's a whole other kettle of fish. But that's not what you've said here, because that's not what this is about. It's not about you trying to protect your daughter and grandchild.

Nope.

It's all about you.

Your reactions. Your imagination running away with itself. Your inability to look past the tip of your nose. Your deciding to take every little thing the wrong way and then amp it up to infinity.

Look, I'm sorry that you've been distraught. But you, sir, have brought over 99% of this on yourself.

Please get some counseling before your wife leaves you. Not to hop into bed with your son-in-law, but because she can't take it anymore.

She cannot meet your ridiculously exacting standards of loyalty. Nobody can.

Please, I hope for the sake of your family, that you get some counseling so you can get some tools to direct your thoughts in a far more productive direction.

IANAD
Emotionally Drained
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2022 10:13 pm
@jespah,
First off, thanks for the response Jespah, I really do appreciate the time you took to reply and the length of it. To be quite honest, your answers were exactly what I was hoping to hear. But when your wife and SIL are exhibiting signs of attraction, making glances at one another unbeknownst to the other and spend 80% of 4 days on a family getaway being drawn together like a magnet, why wouldn't I be concerned? The body language, behavior and eye contact were more representative of interest, attraction and/or infatuation than a mother-in-law and son-in-law simply carrying on a normal relationship on a family trip. Also, I'm not the person you claim I am in your reply, I'm just a regular guy, father, Dad and husband experiencing heartache and anguish over what appears to be a 'thing' between my wife and SIL. That's not normal and it sends a message. And I'm not about 'me' at all, I try to as selfless as possible. Lastly, I'm sorry you felt the need to resort to some profanity, you seem like a decent person. Again, thanks for the long response, helped me a little, the hard part is getting over and dismissing all the images in my mind what I witnessed for 4 days and for 2-3 years prior.
glitterbag
 
  3  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2022 11:23 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
First of all, despite all the sordid things you suggested in your post, I had to stop short when I read " Lastly, I'm sorry you felt the need to resort to some profanity, you seem like a decent person."? Are you honestly talking about the word Jackass???? After all the suspicious musing and agonizing from a man who considers himself a perfecto provider and affection bug, are you really gigging jespah on Jackass??? I just don't know what else to say, I'm disappointed in your response, especially since you claim to be in so much pain. You really need to find a counselor before you muck up your entire life. I really don't think you would want to know what your daughter or your wife really thinks if they knew the depth of your distraction. Maybe you're right, maybe they are half a hair away from running away with each other........but I bet you're wrong, and you have let your suspicions ruin your daily life.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2022 02:18 am
@glitterbag,
I think Stephen King's Misery has the best depiction of the sort of people who complain anout "profanities."
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2022 09:32 am
@izzythepush,
Not to mention the jackass reference was about his son-in-law.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2022 10:56 am
@Mame,
With such exacting standards one can see why things would look amiss.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Fri 21 Oct, 2022 03:36 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
You're still overthinking it, still overreacting. And harping on things from a few years ago is also over the top. The Statue of Limitations has run.

Let. It. Go.

And again, I repeat: get thee to a therapist.

You don't have to justify your thoughts or actions to me or anyone else here. I am just making a suggestion, because you are riding right toward a cliff and, instead of putting on the brakes or turning the wheel, you're hitting the gas.

If you pick at this hard enough and long enough, you will cause a major blowup.

Do not do this. Don't create the problem you think you're seeing, just to claim that you were right all along.

PS FFS, swearing? I am 60 years old and, since you're a grandfather, you have got to be within spitting distance of my age.

We are grownups talking. I have zero problems with using profanity as emphasis and to make a point. There are no tiny children here whose ears or eyes we have to cover.
Emotionally Drained
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2022 08:26 pm
@jespah,
Touche (RE the use of strong language). I'm no stranger to it, just don't like seeing or hearing it. And true, no children's ears or eyes are lurking. It's hard to just let it go when you've spent the last 3 years watching your wife and son in law behave as if they want each other, it's hard on the eyes, psyche and worst of all, heart. But it's obvious you and the others who have responded don't think this is anything to worry or be concerned about, and so I wanted to ask you point blank... being a 60 year old female and mom/grandma I presume, what do you think is going on with what I've described? You were correct, we're in our early 50's. Our son in law's parents are divorced and my wife has spent the last 5 years having literally no relationship with our own son because of our daughter in law... could the two of them possibly just be seeing one another as filling a void in their lives? I know they're not in love because their actions don't indicate that but it's hard seeing your spouse of over 30 years look like she's got a thing for another man, who just so happens to be our own SIL. Anyway, I'm really trying to take your advice and the others to just let it go, but I just wish you could see what I've seen, might make you raise an eyebrow. So what do you think could be going on that is innocent and nothing to worry about?
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2022 09:18 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
Was your objection really about the word Jackass?
Emotionally Drained
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2022 10:36 pm
@glitterbag,
Not especially, there was also goddamned and bullshit, just don't care for strong language. At least there was no F word. 😁
0 Replies
 
Emotionally Drained
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 23 Oct, 2022 11:00 pm
I guess ultimately here's my dilemma...

Wife and SIL showing signs of attraction
Wife still calls me by my pet name
Wife and SIL together 80% of the time on family vacation, shoulder to shoulder and positioning themselves in lines to be together
Wife holds my hand tight on rare times we're together
Wife and SIL making glances at one another
Wife still showing affection for me
Wife and SIL flirting
Wife upset and bothered over my asking what's happening

How would I not be concerned and confused?
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  4  
Reply Mon 24 Oct, 2022 05:12 am
@Emotionally Drained,
Ha, you assume a lot. I have no kids.

And, once again, you are emphasizing your reaction which is not likely to be reality. And is also a stack of assumptions on your part. I am sensing a pattern.

Every bit of what you feel is concerning body language is the way people talk and otherwise interact with each other normally.

Here's a wild idea: if you want more affection from your wife, be more affectionate with her.

As for your wife and your son, that's the real issue here, eh? If you cannot see how your wife could be cordial and even loving with a male family member not related by blood, in a way that doesn't trigger your jealousy meter, then I don't know what to tell you.

Perhaps you would have preferred if your daughter had turned out to be a lesbian. But she has other plans.

Again, I strongly suggest you go to a therapist.

Or start paying us, since you're using this forum as a substitute for actually talking to someone with technical training in this area.

I take PayPal. 😁
Emotionally Drained
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Oct, 2022 11:21 pm
@jespah,
Haha, I do Venmo. 😁
My assumptions just might be that, assumptions, but when you see two people behaving as though they want each other, what's there to assume? If you saw a boy and girl behaving like this in a high school setting, everyone would assume they have the hots for each other. And that's exactly what it looks like. But if that's not what's going on here, I'm totally perplexed because I absolutely have no idea what else could be happening, unless, like I've already speculated, maybe my wife sees our SIL as a replacement emotionally for our son, who has become distant to her, thus, filling an emotional need and void and our SIL sees my wife as sort of a mother-maid who takes care of and does things for him like his own mother might not have? So is it infatuation? Platonic love? Nothing? If none of the above, it's gotta be attraction. Perhaps I do need professional counseling, all I know is that I shouldn't feel terrified at the prospect of being around our daughter and SIL because of what I see and the images it conjures up in my head. I really do appreciate and thank you for your willingness to try and see me through this Jespah, you're a good woman and I'm glad to have made your acquaintance here during this trying time in my life. 😎
Emotionally Drained
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Oct, 2022 11:30 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
Can I ask you, in your personal and professional opinion, what you think is really going on?
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Oct, 2022 02:31 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
In my PERSONAL opinion you desperately need a professional counselor.
Emotionally Drained
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Oct, 2022 10:02 am
@glitterbag,
Yeah, I'm going to see if a therapist can help me out, thanks, I think I may have OCD.
0 Replies
 
Mrknowspeople
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Nov, 2022 03:17 pm
@Emotionally Drained,
Do you really know not what you should do? Son in law is gambling his eternal soul and "wife's" -- I do not care who they think they are.
0 Replies
 
 

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