I have been following up with a few threads here and am impressed with the support and help from the community. A close friend of mine is going through some issues in her relationship and therefore I am posting on her behalf (upon her request).
So this person got married about 8 years back after ~1 year long courtship. The courtship and initial couple of years after marriage were blissful to the couple. Families were largely left out of the process by the couple. Both felt that the families would support their decisions, which they appeared to do. Both these are highly educated, in high profile careers and a typical urban city dwellers.
After having their first child, his family's visits suddenly increased in frequency and duration. Initially they were always under the pretext of "helping out". Since both are working, they welcomed the help. Slowly however, inlaws began to talk about how much they missed their grandkids and how the child missed them etc. and got themselves invited.
However, my friend (the mother, wife) realized soon that his mother and sister were basically constantly indulging in all kinds of character assassination towards her. Basically everything she did came under an attack and as a result, the relationship began to unravel.
The wife and the new mom in this case tried to rekindle the romance for some time with no avail, but finally gave up. She suggested counselling that the husband refused to participate in. She considered divorce and the couple have talked about the divorce several times.
The wife feels that if the extended family continue to rummage through her life unabated, divorce is certain, and has asked his family to not visit. The husband has reluctantly agreed to this, however never wastes a single chance to show his displeasure.
The wife now feels that she was manipulated into the whole situation. His family was kept out of the loop during dating for a reason.
Recently he has begun to talk about having a second child.His rationale is that it would be good to have a sibling for the older child. The wife feels that this is manipulation too; since having the second child would tie her down a bit and it would be hard for her to leave the marriage for some time at least. Also given how much the first child made her vulnerable to all the manipulations, she's reluctant to consider it.
The question that we wonder about it is, does this sound like manipulations? How common is it for men to put out the kid card to tie down the wife? She says that, for all along, she was the one who wanted a second child and he did not. Now after sorting out the issue of his family and successfully keeping them at the bay, suddenly he's been pleading to have a baby.