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A sad woman wrapped in a blanket | Freepik
A sad woman wrapped in a blanket | Freepik

My Husband Didn't Take Me on Vacation with His Family – I Found Out Why after Unexpected Help from My Mother-in-Law

Prenesa Naidoo
Jul 03, 2024
08:51 A.M.

Layla's husband, Tom, has an annual tradition involving a family vacation that she isn't invited to. After years of being excluded, Layla finally asks why she isn't allowed to join, only for Tom to lie and blame his mother. But when Layla does her own digging, she and her mother-in-law discover a family secret that breaks the family apart.

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My husband, Tom, has been going on an annual island vacation with his family since we had gotten married. That's twelve years of family trips without me.

A man on vacation | Source: Midjourney

A man on vacation | Source: Midjourney

Every year, he'd pack his bags and leave our two kids and me behind.

"My mom doesn't want in-laws on the trip, Layla," he said. "You know this. It's the same story every year. But still, you continue to ask about it."

My husband rolled his eyes and sat on the couch, his hands wrapped tightly around his phone.

A man sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

A man sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

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"Why don't you just cancel this one, and we can take the kids on holiday instead?" I asked, tossing a salad to go with our dinner.

"Why would I do that?" he retorted. "The kids are too young and it will be chaotic. When they're older, we can start talking about holidays with them."

"And me?" I asked. "Are you sure your mom will mind?"

A woman in the kitchen | Source: Midjourney

A woman in the kitchen | Source: Midjourney

"She doesn't want you there, Layla," Tom said. "And if you come with, you will just embarrass yourself."

I swallowed that excuse for twelve long years, trying not to let it get to me. There were only so many battles that I wanted to fight, and this wasn't one of them.

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But then, a few days before Tom was scheduled to leave for his trip, I was sitting on the couch scrolling through socials.

A woman sitting on a couch with her phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting on a couch with her phone | Source: Midjourney

And that was when something snapped in me.

There, right on social media for everyone to see, was a carousel of photos from last year's vacation. There was Tom, smiling widely next to his brother and sister-in-law. There were other photos of their sister and her husband, too.

But I was told that Tom's mother didn't want any in-laws on the trip?

A couple on vacation | Source: Midjourney

A couple on vacation | Source: Midjourney

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"It's clear that she just didn't want you there," I said to myself.

I needed to know more information before I blew up at my mother-in-law. As much as Denise seemed to have an issue with me, I knew that if I asked her straight up, she would give me an answer.

So, I decided to call Sadie, Tom's brother's wife. She was fairly new to the family, with them having only been married for about a year now.

A woman holding her phone | Source: Midjourney

A woman holding her phone | Source: Midjourney

"Hey, Layla," she said, answering the phone immediately.

"Hi!" I replied, trying to pick up my energy so that she wouldn't immediately think that something was wrong or that I was trying to attack her.

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"What's up?" she asked.

A smiling woman on the phone | Source: Midjourney

A smiling woman on the phone | Source: Midjourney

"I was just scrolling through socials," I said slowly. "And I saw your photos from last year's vacation. Everything looked amazing!"

Sadie giggled.

"Thank you," she said. "I was living my island life. I'm still so sad that you couldn't end up coming because you didn't have anyone to take care of the kids."

A woman on vacation | Source: Midjourney

A woman on vacation | Source: Midjourney

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So that's what they thought. That I hadn't been able to make their trip because of my children.

"Listen, Layla," she said. "I've got to go, I'm getting another call. I'll call you this evening!"

She hung up immediately.

I knew that my next move would be going to my mother-in-law. If anyone was at the root of this lie, it would be Denise.

A smiling older woman | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older woman | Source: Midjourney

"Why don't you allow Tom to take us on vacation? Don't you consider us your family?" I asked as my mother-in-law opened the door and let me in.

"Darling, what are you talking about?" my mother-in-law asked, genuinely perplexed. "My husband and sons go on vacation every year, but they've never taken me with. Roger said that none of the females go on these trips. It's just the boys."

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A woman sitting on a couch and frowning | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting on a couch and frowning | Source: Midjourney

"Wait, what?" I asked, stunned.

"Tell me what you know," she said, pouring a glass of juice.

Shocked, I spilled everything. The photos, Tom's lies, the years of being left behind with and without my sons.

A woman facing another person | Source: Midjourney

A woman facing another person | Source: Midjourney

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To her credit, my mother-in-law sat and listened in stunned silence.

"Let's confront them together," she said in a tone that I hadn't heard from her before.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

She nodded.

Two days after the men left, we found ourselves on a plane, heading to the same resort. My mother-in-law had seen her husband's ticket, so we knew where to go.

People sitting on a flight | Source: Midjourney

People sitting on a flight | Source: Midjourney

My children were safely with my sister, and Denise and I were on a mission. Though we had never been close, this shared experience forged an unexpected bond between us.

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"I'm so sorry that you thought it was my fault," my mother-in-law told me. "I would never ask Tom not to take you somewhere, Layla. You're my first daughter-in-law. Why would I do that to you?"

Two smiling children | Source: Midjourney

Two smiling children | Source: Midjourney

I smiled in return.

We arrived at the vacation spot with a mix of anger and nerves. It was different, actually being here, rather than seething from our spots on the couch at home.

As the sun set, we drove to their rented house. The people at the front desk were only too helpful when we told them that we were the wives.

A beach party | Source: Midjourney

A beach party | Source: Midjourney

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Music blasted from the open windows, and the garden was filled with people swimming and lounging around.

"Let's go," my mother-in-law said, pulling a large hat over her eyes. We walked in, blending into the crowd. The party atmosphere worked in our favor because nobody paid us any attention.

We moved around from room to room, searching.

People at a party | Source: Midjourney

People at a party | Source: Midjourney

In one of the downstairs rooms, we found my father-in-law, his lips locked with a woman I didn't recognize. The shock on his face when he saw his wife was almost comical and straight out of a movie.

My mother-in-law didn't say a word. She just stood there, radiating fury.

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"Where's Tom?" I demanded.

A shocked man | Source: Midjourney

A shocked man | Source: Midjourney

"I don't know," my father-in-law stammered, clearly rattled by our presence.

My mother-in-law stayed with him, her silent rage filling the room, while I continued to search upstairs. I found Tom in one of the bedrooms, his arm around another woman, both of them laughing at something on her phone.

The sound of my gasp made them both turn.

A couple in a bedroom | Source: Midjourney

A couple in a bedroom | Source: Midjourney

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"Layla, what are you doing here?" he stuttered, scrambling to get up.

"What am I doing here? What are you doing here, Tom?" I asked, my voice surprisingly steady. "You've been lying to me for twelve years!"

The woman next to him slipped out of the room, sensing the storm that was about to hit. But I didn't care about her.

A shocked man against a wall | Source: Midjourney

A shocked man against a wall | Source: Midjourney

"We're done," I said. "I'm taking the kids and I'm leaving. You can explain this to your mother."

With that, I turned and walked out.

The flight back home was a blur.

"I can't believe it," Denise said, sitting beside me. "I can't believe that this is how our marriages end. Really, Layla? How are they both capable of such a thing?"

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People on a flight | Source: Midjourney

People on a flight | Source: Midjourney

I looked at her silently for a moment. It was as if this quick trip had aged my mother-in-law more than anything.

Nothing about this made sense, and I couldn't understand how we had all been living a lie for so long.

"I don't know when or how this happened," I admitted to Denise, just waiting for the flight attendant to bring out the drink trolley.

A woman sitting in a plane | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting in a plane | Source: Midjourney

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"But I am telling you now," I continued, "that this has to end. We cannot do this anymore. We cannot be with them. They aren't good for us now, and they clearly won't be good for us in the future."

"I agree with you," my mother-in-law admitted. "There's nothing left for me in my marriage. Roger didn't care about me at all. And Tom didn't care about you or the boys all this time."

"I already told him that I want a divorce," I told her.

A sad older woman | Source: Midjourney

A sad older woman | Source: Midjourney

When we got back home, Denise packed all her belongings and moved into my home, and in turn, I packed all of Tom's things and left them in boxes in her home.

"He and his father can decide what they want to do," she said bitterly.

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The fallout was immense. My mother-in-law cut ties with her children, furious that they had hidden the truth from her. Strangely, our shared grief brought us closer together.

Brown cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

Brown cardboard boxes | Source: Midjourney

And more than that, she became a constant presence in my life, always wanting to be around me and help wherever she could, and insisting on being an active grandmother to my kids.

"I never imagined that it would all come to this," she said one afternoon as we sat in the living room together.

"Me neither," I replied. "But at least we know the truth now."

A woman with children | Source: Midjourney

A woman with children | Source: Midjourney

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What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you:

My Husband, Who Earns Less than Me, Forced Me to Take a Second Job — So I Chose One That'd Teach Him a Lesson

A couple sitting at the dinner table | Source: Midjourney

A couple sitting at the dinner table | Source: Midjourney

When Lisa's husband, Tom, starts hounding her about getting a second job, she becomes suspicious of his reasoning. But Tom gives her nothing but a difficult time about it. Finally, fed up with his nagging, Lisa gets a job as a waitress at Tom's bowling alley, a place that he frequents with his friends. Once there, Lisa learns a horrible truth about her husband and the reason why she needed to get another job.

Read the full story here.

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This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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