Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Unusual marriage arrangements
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My sister and I were brought up in an odd family situation. Our parents fought when we were little and I wished I was anywhere but at home.
It dissipated as we grew up and now we’re in our 30s. My older sister asked our parents why things were so awful and now everyone seems to be happy.
Our parents said things became good when our mom allowed Dad to “date” other women. I cried and felt sick. My parents said they were happy and still are. But I’m not okay with the façade we lived.
My sister said that our parents’ situation shouldn’t matter to me because they’re happy. She said our parents arranged their marriage like that for us, and said I should be grateful, because look at the expensive college I go to. She said I should be thankful for all our vacations, clothes, and holidays together.
Well, I am not grateful, because it was fake. Every holiday or get-together my parents make jokes about the whole situation and then they have the audacity to celebrate their big anniversaries.
My sister married her husband after she had a baby with him and everyone but me feels it’s great. Now she’s accepted another “husband” into their home. She says it’s great because they all love each other. She told me to not make a big deal out of it.
I told her I can’t visit her because I can’t stand one more “fake” family.
I want a real family with a husband and then a planned baby and traditions of what is best for our children. How is this going to work within my family?
Not a fake
We understand and agree with your traditional values. Many long-term studies conclude that a two-parent family, with a mom and dad, are best for children.
When some people are unhappy with current families values (especially because of divorce) they try to bring unusual ideas that may create a seemingly better Utopia.
However, most “new” ideas are not new at all: Polyandrous relationships, for example, where people, including children, live in quasi-communal multi-family households have existed for hundreds of years, mostly without success.
There are never-ending combinations that have been recorded since 500 BCE and became popular during the 1960s. Statistically, they failed miserably.
Remember, you cannot change anyone but you. Hold fast to your best traditional family model. But, don’t judge others, especially when visiting relatives, and instead, reinforce your family’s motto, values, and vision by example. Teach your children to respect the choices of other people.
If you believe in God, love everyone.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at BullyingLifeAndStuff.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.