Husband or family? For her, an easy choice
CHERYL LAVIN June 4, 2012 9:26PM
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:22AM
Bonnie has two younger sisters and a brother. She says she was never treated like them because of her weight and her medical problems. “My mom and my sisters always thought I was faking despite all the doctors’ visits, labs, tests and hospital stays I’ve undergone for years.”
When she started dating, the tension in the family got worse. “They would ask me why I couldn’t find a nice, white Catholic boy, Irish preferably. My parents disowned me twice because I dated and lived with black men. I also dated a Latino guy when I was in high school, but they tolerated him.”
Bonnie is now married. Her husband Tony is Italian. She says her family “despises him. They don’t like his job, his Italian heritage, where we live, how much money we make. It goes on and on.”
Bonnie’s father told her that Italian men beat and cheat on their wives. He told her Tony was cheating on her. “He wasn’t.” He told her he was stealing. “He wasn’t. It goes on and on.”
They were married in Las Vegas. None of her family attended. Her mother said they couldn’t afford to go. Her father said he was upset because Tony hadn’t asked him for her hand in marriage.
“At that point, we’d been living together for three years and dating over seven. I was 33 and Tony was 36. He knew my dad might say no and wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction. Only one set of my grandparents and one aunt were classy enough to call us and congratulate us.
“The only wedding gift I received from my family was a typed card addressed to me using my maiden name, unsigned, with a $50 Target gift card inside. To this day, I don’t know who sent it.”
Bonnie doesn’t speak to her mother. She says she stopped talking to her “because I got tired of hearing how much they all loved me and wanted me around, yet I wasn’t invited to my brother’s wedding and haven’t been invited to family holidays or gatherings in years. I’ve never met my brother’s wife. I’ve never met some of my sisters’ children.”
Bonnie says it’s ironic that her parents accept her sisters’ husbands. They criticized Tony because he has only an associate degree, but one brother-in-law doesn’t have even that. “He’s always high or drinking, but that’s OK. I think my parents accept them because they kiss their butts.”
Bonnie and Tony don’t have any children yet, but they’ve made a decision on how to raise them once they do. That is: without any involvement from Bonnie’s parents. “Tony knows how I was treated growing up and he won’t have that for our kids. He says he wouldn’t allow my parents to hurt our children like they hurt me.”
Bonnie has had to choose between her husband and her family. It wasn’t a hard decision. “I love my family — I always will — but I cannot have their toxic ways in my life. Tony and I have been happily married for three years, together for almost 11 years. He’s my soul mate, the love of my life.”
Did your parents try to break up your relationship? Send your tale to cheryllavin email@example.com.