View Full Version : What is your parent's relationship like?
Sad and Deranged
09-10-2006, 05:46 PM
I'm curious on other people's family dynamics...
My parents, I think, I have a pretty good marriage. They're equal partners in the household, both bringing in about equal income. My dad can be a bit of a condescending asshole sometimes, but he's like that to everyone, not just his wife. My mom can be a harpy bitch sometimes, but mostly only towards me, not towards his husband. Although she nags me constantly, I don't recall her nagging my father a day in his life.
They don't show each other much affection though, at least not in front of me. I've never seen them kiss each other in front of me, or say "I love you" to each other in front of me. I've seen them hug each other maybe once my entire life. They're not the type to display affection, I guess. I do know that they have a sex life of some sort, as when I was snooping around my dad's drawer for money when I was a teenager, I came across his condoms. (Somehow, I managed to retain THAT memory, :rolleyes: ) Not sure what it's like now that my mom has gone through menopause, nor am I particularly inclined to find out.
Overall, I think they're pretty happy with each other. I'm not sure whether they married out of love, or both just wanted a home and to start a family, and came across each other and thought "Ah hell, why not?" Either way, it wasn't too terribly bad... just thought it was a bit odd when I was a child that they didn't show affection for each other the way tv couples do.
09-10-2006, 06:06 PM
My parents are pretty affectionate: married 35 years, and dad still grabs mom's ass when he hugs her and thinks no one's watching. Lots of "I love yous". That said, they are pretty independent, as well--at different times, both have had jobs that required extensive travel, and they've adjusted. They've also gone through pretty signifigant swings of income, from Dad being the sole breadwinnner to Dad making a lot more money but mom working to mom being the solebreadwinner to Mom makine a whole lot more money and dad working. It's never appeared to be a problem. Mom's more high energy than dad (mom's more high energy than anyone on earth) and they've had to work around that--she likes to do things like go on week long backpacking trips (at 60!), which is not his thing at all. Luckily, she has siblings that also like that sort of thing, so she goes with them.
Neither one of them have signifigant friends outside the marriage--they work with people they like, but outside of that, they mostly hang out with each other. Dad's a solitary type, and mom's such a workaholic that she likes the quiet for the few hours a day she's not working or working out. They like to birdwatch and watch TV and go on long roadtrips to see the country.
When dad met mom she had 4 kids under 6 and they were engaged within a couple months, and he adopted my older siblings within the year or so. Clearly, he knew what he wanted and mom was all that and a bag of chips. The stability and healthy support they provide each other is probably the single biggest advantage I've had in life.
Alice The Goon
09-10-2006, 06:24 PM
And on the other side of the coin- my mother has been in a horribly abusive (physically, mentally, verbally, you name it) relationship with my father for the past 40 years. They met when my mother was 25 and a young nurse. She was a beautiful woman- homecoming queen in high school, but very shy and quiet. He was a charismatic, powerful "troubled genius", already divorced with 2 kids at 26.
They divorced for a couple years when I was 12, but then got remarried, much to my chagrin. She has always worked as a nurse and she's the one that always paid the bills- he bounced around jobs from cop to artist to cable guy and whatnot. He always had get-rich-quick schemes going- like once he was going to raise birds and make millions. Now he is a broken-down old man with several heart attacks and strokes and other serious, chronic health problems and on disability. She's now 65 but unable to retire. They live near the beach back east, in a travel trailer, and have next to nothing. She broke her arm a couple years ago in "a fall", but the rest of my family and I wonder about that. I haven't spoken to him in 10 years, and hope to never.
I find it incredibly tragic that an intelligent, beautiful woman, who came from a close, loving, "normal" family, gave over her entire life and relationships with her children and grandchildren, her health and mental well-being, everything, to this asshole. I've accepted that this is the way that it is, I just think it's really, really sad.
09-10-2006, 06:52 PM
My parents met and were married before WW-II. At the time, my father was an up & coming businessman. If he were born many decades later, he would have been considered a yuppie. Then my father went away for 4 1/2 years to kill or be killed. When he came back, he was a different man. Apparently, he was offered his old position back, but he could no longer stand to be inside an office all day. He did a lot of odd jobs - tended bar, etc. He started a business with vending machines, eventually sold that and worked with vending machines in the automotive plants until he retired.
I give that background, because I think it impacted my parent's marriage. I think the guy that my mother married was not the "same" guy that she has been married to since. He was vastly changed.
My sister tells a completely different story of their marriage than I do - one from 12 years earlier in their marriage than I witnessed. To hear her talk, everything was wonderful & they had a storybook marriage. In fact, she gave that speech at their 50th wedding anniversary party.
I have the perspective of the last of the kids born into the family. I saw their marriage after it had been around a while. I saw them hug & kiss; but I also saw them fight - a lot. The fights would be so loud and harsh that I would hide in the darkness and wait for it to pass. I saw the growing bitterness in each of them. I saw the father that came home from work, drank a 12 pack of Bud and fall asleep. Then I got to witness the uncomfortable family dinners, usually ending with my father saying "get off my back" and leaving the table to sleep in the la-z-boy once again.
Maybe things have changed since he retired. I have moved away from all of it - all of the drama. I don't want my children to play around the sleeping man in the living room that I did at their age.
On the other hand, they have been together now for over 60 years. Something keeps them there - inertia perhaps - but something.
09-10-2006, 07:01 PM
You're not alone at the dysfunctional family camp, Alice.
My parents divorced when I was five. My memories of them together are very hazy. Father was an alcoholic and he beat mother up. On the other hand, mother is prone to periods of deep depression and can be very confrontational. As an adult, there were times when I wanted to hit her. (I never did, and I do not condone striking anyone no matter what they do.)
My parents were 20 when I was born. Their families did not approve of the marriage: lower-middle class Mormon boy weds upper-middle class Methodist girl in 1970's Louisiana. I imagine this also put a lot of strain on their relationship.
What drives Mouse_Bro and I up a wall is that our parents have been in and out of court for over 20 years.
Divorce is finalized in 1982 (I was 5 year old)
Custody battle ended in 1993, when I was 16. (This is very ironic to me. They spent over a decade fighting over custody, but whenever we were with either parent, they had very little to do with us.)
They still go to court off and on over back child support.
*sigh* It's insane.
09-10-2006, 07:04 PM
My parents relationship is very much a role model for me - they are best friends and have remained respectful and loving throughout the years. Which isn't to say they have always gotten along, but they have both been quick to forgive, willing to compromise, and not held grudges. Hope in 40 years time I'll be able to say the same about my own marriage.
09-10-2006, 07:18 PM
My father's passed away now, but when they were married, I never saw them argue or raise their voices to each other ever (and that includes using mean-spirited sarcasm, or passive-agressive mind games, or badmouthing each other behind their backs). I've never known two people more in love and 100% committed to each other, and now that my mom's a widow, I can't imagine her ever being with anybody else (note: I'd want her to be happy if she found someone new, but I don't think she could find someone that she meshed with so well). That's not to say it was a perfect marriage--there were disagreements about style/taste/fashion/upbringing, but never anything that created an iota of tension in the house growing up (and beyond). They said "I Love You" constantly to each other, and kissed and were openly affectionate daily.
My dad was an invalid the last few years, and she dedicated herself during that time to his comfort, care, and happiness. It was not an easy life for her, but she did it unquestioningly, not out of duty, but out of love.
09-10-2006, 07:41 PM
They have a stable marriage and care for one another a lot. However, they had an arranged marriage, very typical of their generation, so I guess that offends some romantic sensibilities. My whole family is pretty high-strung, though, so there have been extremely screamy moments but between my parents, they seem to be pretty rare (most have been between my parents & me and my sister). They're not as visibly affectionate but one time my father got a bad cramp in his back while mowing the lawn and collapsed and my mother ran out faster from the top floor of our house than me and my sis did out the first level. I have never seen a woman move that fast and she was cradling him and screaming for us to call the ambulance before he could croak out that it just seemed to be a very painful cramp.
Most of the arranged marriages I've been exposed to in my family have been about the same-although one of my aunts did draw a bad straw and is now divorced.
They gave us a very stable, dependable and safe homelife and for that I am extremely grateful. I think it has contributed a lot to where I am now-mainly because I know I can always count on them.
Gala Matrix Fire
09-10-2006, 08:02 PM
Mine have been divorced for over thirty years, since I was nine. I remember lots of fighting--not physical fighting, but lots of yelling, passive aggression, holding grudges, etc. Many's the time we kids were sent out to wait in the car while my parents fought for another hour or so. After the divorce they were on good terms for several years until Dad met his future wife, who wouldn't allow Dad to be friends with Mom. Twenty-some years later Dad and stepmom divorced and Dad and Mom get along again, having a lot in common, but being totally unsuited for each other.
It's funny to hear their different sides of the same stories.
Long Time First Time
09-10-2006, 08:37 PM
On the surface my parents had a typical '50's marriage. Mom kept the home fires burning- all the cooking, cleaning, gardening and child rearing. Dad was a very successful research scientist who was gone at least 1/3 the time at meetings of one sort or another. I don't think he ever turned down an invitation. They put up a very good front, but had little affection for each other. I don't recall anything other than the occasional "good-bye" peck on the cheek. There were never any fights, the family deals with conflict by ignoring it.
I'm all but certain that Dad had many short and long term extra-marrital affairs and that my mother suspected if not absolutely knew about them, but she chose to save face and endure. Unfortunately, she became angry and bitter and took it out on her kids a great deal.
Now my dad is an invalid and extremely dependant on my mother. If she didn't care for him he'd be in a nursing home, there's no way he could care for himself for more than 12 hours at a time. Moms becoming increasingly depressed and bitter about her caretaker role (she cuts him NO slack and has the empathy of a toilet seat), but it's become her latest cross to bear.
What I find interesting is that my older sister is now as self-involved as my parents - and she thinks her childhood was all good and has no issues with anything that went on. My brother and I are more aware of the emotions and needs of others - and we both feel quite damaged from our childhoods.
09-10-2006, 09:31 PM
One of the things I am most grateful to my parents for is their wonderful example of what a strong loving relationship can be like.
They met when they were in parochial school in southern MA, my dad was in my mom's brother's grade and they knew each other from around school. They dated all through high school, married after my dad got his bachelor's in engineering and traveled around the country as he got a masters and a professional engineering certificate.
But when she was 24 my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, told she could never have children due to endometriosis and then found out she was pregant with my older sister. 2 years later they had me (another "wonderful surpise!" as it was put) and moved back home to the Boston area.
Throughout my childhood my mother's MS got progressively worse and their relationship stayed strong. Mom couldn't work, so dad worked 60 hour weeks and cooked for us when Mom was too tired. They are very affectionate and constantly tell each other how much in love they are. Mom once said to me "your dad has the cutest butt!"
Not that they never fought or that mom's increasing lack of mobility wasn't a problem, but they overcame all those things to raise my sister and I.
This year my sister married and I'm soon to follow next year to a man I met in college. I'm thrilled to have confidence that relationships CAN last, even through unpredictable hardships. It saddens me most days that my mother's disease ate away at the best years of her life, but seeing how much my father supported her makes me so very proud of him.
09-11-2006, 02:28 AM
One of, if not the most, amazing relationships I could possibly imagine. Love, respect, adoration, it's all there. Plus, not only were they good parents, they're fantastic in-laws as well. I think my wife loves them as much as I do.
09-11-2006, 11:14 AM
My parents had an arranged marriage - while that doesn't necessarily offend my romantic sensibilities I do think it might have been planned a little better. They were from vastly different worlds when they came to the marriage. He was filthy rich and used to being waited on hand and foot, and she came from the depths of poverty and was used to working for every rupee and every scrap of food. And I don't really know if they ever loved each other. Condoms? Bah. My parents slept with the door open for as long as I can remember. They don't really like each other but have gotten used to each other after a while. They're kind of separated at the moment, but it won't last for long. He can't live in the States without her income, and he is such a great house-husband that she can't keep her own house clean without him. So every few months they quarrel and she sends him back. Better than the rip-roaring fights they used to have, I guess. They just....tolerate each other. They won't divorce, so they have no choice.
09-11-2006, 11:21 AM
I am a product of a divorce, well actually about seven divorces. My Mom looked at marriage the same way others look at dating. They come, they go. I have called more than one man Dad and regret doing so. I am divorced and remarried and it should last forever.
Because of my past I will not let my son (from previous marriage) call my wife Mom, even though they are super close and she is probably deserving of it. Her daughter (from previous marriage) does not call me Dad because of my past. It is not fair to her, and being called by my first name has the same meaning as Dad to me.
09-11-2006, 11:34 AM
My parents are still very much in love. It's quite adorable to see. My Dad is 50 and my Mum is in her late 40s, but they still play fight like they’re teenagers. There very affectionate, to each other and their kids.
After being raised watching their relationship, I couldn’t possibly expect anything less from my own. Nothing else is good enough.
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