DH's family won't communicate...what to do? — The Bump
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DH's family won't communicate...what to do?

I was wondering if any of you have had experience with this situation...

DH is deployed right now, and has yet to hear from his family.  He's had a birthday since leaving, and nothing...no email, letter, care package, nada.  He was in port over the weekend and I could tell on our Skype chat that he was so upset about it, though he'd never say so.  They have his email address AND his mailing address, so there's really no explanation, other than they've just not done anything.

My question is, would you mention it to his family?  I cannot imagine going several weeks without talking to my children, especially if they were overseas.  I talk to his family regularly (well, as regularly as you really talk to in-laws, haha...) but haven't said anything because I don't want to cause a rift or drama.  My in-laws can be very dramatic and I can just imagine them concocting some story about how it's my fault, or his fault, that they haven't emailed him.  Should I put it out there though, even if it causes hurt feelings?  I don't want DH to feel abandoned, and I can tell that's sort of how he feels.

It just makes me so sad.  :(

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Re: DH's family won't communicate...what to do?

  • My husband's family never does anything for him either.  They just don't care enough.  Too concerned with their own lives.  Anyway, whenever I know he's upset about it I call them and just says, "Oh I was just calling cuz DH wanted to make sure you guys were ok since he hasn't heard from you in a while".  They usually get the idea and send an email at least.  DH has just learned to deal with it over time, but it sucks.
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  • mysticlmysticl member

    All I can do is throw out some possibilities.  When he's home do they normally have regular contact with him?  Would they send a birthday gift if he wasn't deployed?  If these things aren't normal for them they might not suddenly start doing them when he's deployed.  Has he e-mailed them and they haven't replied?  If he hasn't e-mailed them maybe they are waiting for him to make the first move so to speak (especially if they are dramatic people).  Maybe they just figure that care packages are your job since you are the wife.   Since you mentioned he was in port I'm guessing he's on a ship.  So is my DH.  With storage space being very limited he has asked me not to send anything else unless he specifically requests it.  Maybe he's mentioned the space issue in the past so they didn't want impose.  I also know that mail has been taking anywhere from a week to a month to reach DH so it could be they sent something and it just hasn't made it to the ship.  Do they know how to send stuff to the ship.  Not just the address but the whole customs thing?  My mom loves to send packages to people so deployment was right up her alley.  However, I had to give her detailed instructions on how to send it. 

    When you talk to them maybe try to bring it up causally.  Like "Did he tell you about xyz?" or "I just got back from the post office isn't that customs form a royal pain?" and see if they respond in any way.    

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  • In the 14 deployments my husband has had his parents have yet to contact him during a deployment. (granted until the last 4 there was no such thing as sailor mail or skype). I think they just feel he is off doing his thing and they shouldn't bother him. Also before sailor mail there was no way to contact them besides family grams so that is what they are used to. I think it used to bother my husband but now he is thankful because he doesn't have to waste any of his 2 emails a week on writing his parents back instead of me and he doesn't have to deal with their drama

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  • Through 8 years and 12 deployments, H has received 4 letters and 2 packages from his family.  That's it.  It bothers him a bit, but he doesn't make a big deal of it.  He just doesn't do anything in return for them any more except to call on special days. 

    What ticks me off is his brother.  His younger brother has been in jail for the past 5 years because he got caught up with a bad crowd at 16 yrs old and made some bad choices. He had the nerve to send H a letter blasting him for not writing him more than twice.  Several times, my MIL has called and asked if we could put a few dollars into his brother's spending account and H did.  I send him cards on his birthday and for holidays.  I've sent him H's address several times but he has never sent H a letter.  Then he sends this letter to H saying he's been a crappy brother.  Right. Got it. 

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  • Trust and believe I know who sent me what and where.

    My mom didn't send shiit, but DH's parents blew the postal system up.  I wouldn't interfere too much with how his parents operate missing him, because they are suffering too.  Or if they aren't, why get involved anyway?  You could just do like a PP mentioned and bring it up casually, but if they are high drama just don't.  He isn't going to get any benefit from that at all.   

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  • My husband's family did this during his last deployment.  They made a big show about him deploying, crying, carrying on, the works but as soon as he was settled out there he didn't get much in the way of communication from them.  If any communicating went on he either called/emailed them or he heard it through me.  It definitely upset me but I just let him know that I was there for him and made sure to be available to take his calls or emails as much as possible.
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  • I wouldn't worry TOO much to be honest.

    I know what group you are talking about (my DH is deployed with yours I am 99% sure) and they haven't been gone that long.  Letters and packages haven't had a chance to get there until they pulled into port last week (the CODs and helos couldn't deliver the mail while they were crossing the Atlantic).  So if they mailed something he wouldn't have gotten it until yesterday or today at the earliest.  Some mail was brought on board while in port but it all still needs to be sorted, etc.

    As for email...  that is a family to family thing.  I don't think my husband has really communicated with is parents too much yet.  I mean, we go 3-4 weeks without talking to his parents much when he is home, so to expect tons of emails the first month would be a little out of the ordinary for us.

    If you think it is upsetting your DH I would encourage him to write them an email and ask for more communication.  I don't think most people realize how "groundhog day" the ship can be and how an email can really brighten their sailor's day.  His parents might just feel like nothing is going on and that their emails would be boring.  My husband asks me to just write the mundane tasks that I have done all day so that he can feel like he knows what I'm up to. 

    If you feel comfortable, you could write an email to his parents and siblings and just give them a friendly reminder about his contact info and say that he really really loves getting letters, packages, and emails.  Hopefully they will take the hint.

    Try not to worry though.  We are only a toe into this deployment and I'm sure when a little more time has gone by that they will start communicating more :).

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  • I just reread your OP and saw the birthday stuff.

    If it makes you feel better, I mailed my DH a card the day they pulled out and he hasn't gotten it yet.  So his parents might have done something for him and he just hasn't gotten it. Ship mail can be SLOW.  I always assume it will take 3 weeks and am pleasantly surprised if it is sooner.

    As for the email - yea, they should have emailed on his birthday.  But maybe they sent him something nice and figured they had done their good deed. I'll cross my fingers that something shows up for him :)

    Married 6/28/03

    Kate ~ 7/3/09 *** Connor ~ 11/11/10

    4 miscarriages: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014


    No more TTC for us. We are done, and at peace, as a family of 4.

    "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” — Charles Dickens


  • Thanks for the replies.  To answer a few questions, yes, he has emailed his family a few times.  I think the lack of response is what bothers him most, especially given the fact that email is quick, free and easy.  MIL made a huge scene when he left (tears, sobbing, ohmygoodnesshowamIgoingtoeversurvivethenext7months, etc.) but she is always about a production. 

    Next time I talk to them, I'll casually mention it somehow.  I never thought to do that, but now I'm saying "doh!" because it sounds so easy. 

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  • How would your DH feel if he knew that you said something to his parents? Because inevitably if you do say something to them, he will find out that you did. This would be my biggest factor that would determine whether or not I would say anything- if your DH would feel betrayed, or feel relieved that you said something...I would base it on that.
    I can't imagine why his family wouldn't communicate with him...the only good-hearted reason would be that they would feel imposing on the time he has to talk with you...But that is why you have e-mail, I guess?? Do they communicate with him while he's CONUS??
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  • I would definitely reach out to them.  Maybe they are thinking that they shouldn't communicate because they don't want to "bother" him while he is over there. 

    I would approach them in more of a, "DH is worried that you are having trouble emailing or sending packages/letters because he hasn't received anything from you guys.  I wanted to check with you to see if you are having any troubles or are confused so I can make sure that DH is getting your stuff." 

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