I am a 27 year old male that married a woman 10 years older than me. She is a good woman that has had a hard life. She was abused by her step dad when little and by several of her ex boyfriends. I love her so much and can't think about my life with out her. She has three kids 1 girl 2 boys. The oldest two are close to my age 22 and 20. We have been together since I was 21. I love her kids as my own and would do anything for them. I want kids of my own and she said OK but she has to have her tubes untied to have my kid. As the years passed I couldn't save enough money to have the operation done. I still want kids and she said that she wouldn't have any if she was 38. She’s 38 now and now she has a grandson and has told me if I wanted kids still I need to leave her and find someone else. I love this woman with all my heart and can't imagine life without her but I still want kids of my own. What can I do or what should I do?
I think you’re going to have to do some serious soul searching. The bottom line is that you can’t have a child with this woman if she’s not willing and it sounds like she’s not. Whether it’s her age or simply that she’s at a very different stage in her life, she has to be onboard. So you’re going to have to make a tough decision. If you love her and want to be with her, you’re going to have to accept that having your own biological children isn’t in the cards (at least with your current wife). Luckily, she has three kids and a grandchild so your desire to be a parent (and being a grandparent can be even better) is still a go. Being there for her kids is definitely an important thing.
It sounds like you’ve known for some time that having kids was contingent on her age, on having an operation, etc. So maybe the opportunity has passed. And now you’ve got to come to terms with what that means for your life. It’s unfortunate because it’s a big life decision and it probably feels like its been taken out of your hands. So what I’d like to offer is some perspective. What if she’d never been able to have your child? What if she’d had the operation and then hadn’t been able to get pregnant? (these things do happen). Would you still want to be with her?
If the answer is yes, than I would suggest talking with her openly about how you feel and then trying to accept the new direction of your life. It’s important to be honest about how you’re feeling, but if you find that you’re having a hard time dealing with your feelings, find a counselor to talk to.
If having a child of your own is the most important thing, then you know what your decision has to be.
Just last week my wife told me she wanted a separation. We've been together for 11 years and married for 6. We have 2 little girls. She say's she is no longer happy with who she is in our marriage, she knows she's being selfish, she doesn't love me that way anymore, and she needs her space and this is what she has to do for her. I offered to do whatever to work on our marriage she says I'm too late, that she is done. Neither one of us has the finances to move out and I don't want that anyway. She said she's willing to coexist under the same roof until she can acquire the finances to leave. I'm questioning her fidelity and am wondering if I there is a chance to save this marriage while we both coexist.
Nothing is impossible, but the path you are headed down is a difficult one. Co-existing would be hard work if you were both on the same page, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If you’re working to save the marriage and she’s simply trying to move out, there’s going to be a lot of conflict. But you have two little girls that need to be in a stable environment so this is what I would suggest. Instead of focusing on your marriage, focus on being the best parents you can to those girls. Seek family counseling to work on coexisting peacefully. If there’s anything to salvage of your marriage, it may come out in counseling. But even if the marriage is over, you’ll be co-parenting for the rest of your lives and doing that well takes a lot of hard work.
I know that’s probably not what you want to hear but I’m worried that the two of you being at cross-purposes is going to make the situation even harder than it already is, both for you and for your girls. And sometimes, stepping back and refocusing on something else that is important can take the pressure off, and maybe you’ll find you and your wife getting along better because you’ll share a common goal.
My 35 year old married step-daughter is constantly calling her father and asking for money. She isn't working, has no car, abandoned her children and is living with some guy and his parents. Her father (my hubby) can't seem to refuse her and is always running to Western Union to send money. I'm fed up. How can I get him to stop sending our hard-earned money to her when she isn't even trying to help herself?
Dear Fed Up,
You probably can’t get him to stop. What you can work on though is establishing boundaries. His behavior isn’t terribly unusual. He enables her and she takes full advantage. The problem is that she won’t learn to be responsible and self-sufficient if you aren’t able to establish some boundaries. Parents sometimes find it impossible to stop giving help. They fear the worst…she will die without my help or how can I abandon my own child like this? But the truth is that all his financial support is doing is allowing her to continue making poor decisions. Children of any age learn to feel capable based on how their parents treat them. If your husband can show her that he feels she is capable of taking care of herself, maybe she will be.
What I would suggest for you is to read a book on co-dependency. It’ll help you understand how your husband is feeling and may give you ideas about how you can help him see that his “help” isn’t really that helpful. If your husband is willing, I would also suggest seeing a counselor to work on this issue. Whatever is causing him to have this co-dependent relationship with his daughter needs addressing so they can both be more healthy and have a healthier relationship.
I feel like my wants are being put to a halt so my husband can be happy. I mean is it so wrong to want to expand our family? I want at least one more child...my husband doesn't. People have even went as far as to tell him to get a vasectomy and not tell me. He says we have beautiful perfect kids... a girl & a boy and that's all he wants. But, correct me if I'm wrong.... but when we're on our death bed no one says, "I wish we didn't have more kids." But, people do say that they wish they would've been able to have more children or a bigger family. I don't know how to not want what I want or, to not end up resenting him for being what I feel is selfish. He doesn't even consider how I feel he just says, "hell no I don't want anymore so no!". I don't know what to do. All I've ever wanted was a big family & to stay home & raise them up right. Am I wrong to want to bring more love & joy & also a little chaos into our lives!?
This is a complicated problem and one that is going to require some serious communication and patience. Being at cross purposes when it comes to something big like having children can be extremely hard on a relationship. So first, I would suggest taking a big deep breath and breathing anytime you feel overwhelmed by the emotional parts of this argument.
Ok, so let me ask something first. Did your husband know you wanted more than 2 kids before you go married or before you started having children? Was this something you talked about at the beginning? People change as time passes so pulling out the “but you knew I wanted a big family” card may not get you very far. I just wondered if this was something you guys had talked about previously.
So, I’m going to ask you to do something that may feel really difficult in your current state of mind. I’m going to ask you to try to see things from his perspective….not because I think you’re wrong or your feelings don’t matter, but because coming to a resolution is going to take communication, understanding and empathy and it has to start somewhere. So let’s walk through this…you have two beautiful children who you both love and who (like mine and everyone else’s) probably take up tons of time and energy. Is your husband just feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of another child? Are there any financial concerns? Once my youngest was out of diapers, I was excited to move on to the next phase. Sometimes I look at other people’s babies and think “wouldn’t another one be so nice” but then I think about having to go back to diapers and bottles and everything that goes along with having a baby and it feels overwhelming to me. Is your husband maybe feeling that too?
Marriages are partnerships, the good and the bad. You get a companion. Someone to share your life with. Someone to love. But as with business partnerships, you also find yourself in a situation where one person can veto the others vote and that’s what is happening here. Your husband knows he’s an essential part of the equation so he’s relying on the fact that his no vote means the debate is over. But who wants their marriage to be like a business? So you two are going to have to find a way to talk through this, even if its painful, and try to find some common ground. You’re a team and you need to be working together. After all, you have two beautiful children who need a stable and loving home life.
And whoever suggested he get a vasectomy without discussing it with you…send them my way, they deserve a lecture on trust and respect. There should never be a need to take such drastic measures because you two should be working so closely together and communicating so well that it would never even occur to someone to make that remark. Make that your goal.
My feeling is that you are both digging your heels in on this issue and under those circumstances there’s no happy way out. So take a breath. Take a step back. And try to consider this issue from his perspective. Ask him to do the same for you. Tell him that you love him and want to work through this without building resentments. Be honest without accusing or attacking. Tell him how it makes you feel when he dismisses your wants but also let him know that you’ve been considering his point of view so he knows that he’s not being disregarded either.
Remember all the wonderful reasons why you chose to have children with this man in the first place and begin the conversation again from a place of mutual respect and love.
I feel like I am being taken advantage of by my husband and stepdaughter.
My stepdaughter is in school full-time in the evenings and graduates in April. She is 23 years old and recently divorced with a 3 year old son which I babysit while she is in school. We pay for all of her and her child's living expenses. So we are on a very tight budget.
She has started another long distance relationship with an ex-boyfriend from high school. She spends a majority of her time on the phone w/him. She drops off her child early at my house so she can spend extra time talking to him on the phone before going to class. And comes back late so she can continue talking w/him after class.
She starts internship on the 26th on top of her classes. Which means I would have to babysit full time. For six months I told her to enroll him in child care, but refuses to do it. I've told my husband my concerns and says he will talk with her. No results. When he has talked to her in front of me, it's only to ask what she has been doing and that's it.
I feel my only recourse is to give up on my two online businesses that I have been building and go back out in the workforce. I already have submitted my resume and applications to a couple of places. This is something I don't really want to do, but what other choices do I have?
You do have another choice and its all about boundaries. It’s unreasonable for a 23 year old full-time student with a three-year old son to spend all her free time courting a new boyfriend. She has responsibilities. And while she may be going through a tough time given her recent divorce and her single-parenthood, you and your husband appear to have been more than accommodating to her.
So here’s what you need to do. You need to set your boundaries. Figure out what you are able to do to support her. What hours can you babysit without having to give up your own career? How much financial support does she actually need? And then you need to enforce those boundaries. She doesn’t get to drop him off early and pick him up late. She needs to be working with your schedule as much as you are working with hers. If the cost of childcare is an issue, I can assure you that there is a lot of financial assistance for single mothers out there.
The bottom line is that this is your life too and she’s not learning anything about being a responsible parent by delegating her parental responsibilities to you. I know you want to support her and your husband may not be good at establishing boundaries with her either but its something you both need to learn to do and to do together.
I have a ton of empathy for her (and for you and your husband). Having been divorced, a single mother and gone back to school, I know exactly how hard it is and there were certainly days when I was pushed to my limits. But life is about making choices and priorities. Her child is her priority. Her school is her priority. You can’t make her choices for her. But allowing her to take your support for granted is not only unhealthy for you and for her, but will affect your relationship with her in the long-run.
Stay calm and be kind but assertive.
You gave me advice about my ex and I’m trying very hard to do what's right regarding my son and I. Well my ex invited me and our son over for dinner again at his mom's house and we had a good time. So I kinda brought up the matter about getting back together again and I notice he gets a little nervous. He tells me like this..."I’m in a situation right now that I’m trying to get out of (meaning that he has a girlfriend living with him). So I asked him do you love her? He said no so I asked him do you love me? And he got nervous and started shaking his leg and said yes. I then told him well say it then, tell me you love me. He looked at me with concern into my eyes and said yes I do love you, I do. So I told him only you know how you truly feel and what’s in your heart. Either you want a family again meaning your son and I or you want to stay were you’re at. I mean he's telling me that its not serious and that he doesn't know how to go about it. I mean I don't expect him to just drop everything and pick up were we left off. But I do need him to be honest with me. I don't see him trying to get out of the situation. Also when we were at his mom's he started flirting and telling me that I’m beautiful and he tried to grab my behind. I feel like he's not taking me seriously! I didn't appreciate the way he was acting with me. One thing I can tell you about my ex is that he's always been a procrastinating person. He always waits to get things done when it's too late! So I feel that he's procrastinating when it comes between me and his girlfriend. I mean he made it very clear that his relationship with her is not serious at all that he just has her there for his convenience not to marry or take her around his family. Instead he's taking me around his family. What’s really going on?
Good for you for bringing it up and making your ex have to talk about it, regardless of how nervous it might make him. If he tends to procrastinate, he may very well be putting things off until they reach a critical point. Procrastination and being non-confrontational sometimes go hand in hand. So I would guess that what’s happening right now is that he’s in “wait and see” mode. He’s kind of having this relationship with is current girlfriend but he’s checking out what might be possible with you. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just play around and see what happens? Yeah, probably not.
What’s he’s doing to you right now is unfair and whether he’s aware of that or not doesn’t change the situation. You can’t make him change his behavior. But you can change the way you behave and react when you’re with him. You’re going to need to spell things out for him. First, him trying to touch your behind when he has a girlfriend at home is just inappropriate and you need to tell him that that behavior has to stop. You don’t have to let him have it both ways. You can say “hey, I’m open to a relationship with you but not while you’re with her.” That’s not only appropriate but it’s more fair to you and to her. If he chooses not to end things with her, then you’re getting a clear signal…time to move on.
Having lived with a procrastinator, I can tell you that it doesn’t go away. The best you can do for yourself and your son are to draw your boundaries and to enforce them. If your ex wants to be with you, then he needs to step up. And if he doesn’t, than you deserve someone who will.
In a relationship with a 76 yr. old man that I have dated 9 mos. He said he was 66 online. He has been divorced for 25 yrs. Dates a great deal. 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren. I was married for 15 yrs. I have been single for 25 yrs. and divorced that long. Both of us have not remarried a second time. His ex wife is getting divorced after 8 yrs. of marriage to a man who also ran off with her money. Being destitute, she wants her first husband back (the man I am dating). Problem is: their middle daughter is trying to put mom and dad back together and fall in love again. She is 75 yrs. old. That relieves them of many responsibilities. What the daughter does is invite the father over for dinner to be with 2 of his grandsons and then in pops the ex wife. She brings food and stays awhile. This happens every other month. She doesn't want to be alone and she knows he is dating me. I do believe I should exit this relationship. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about your question and I find myself making some assumptions that may not be altogether correct. But here goes. You’ve been single a long time and my impression is that you’re finding this relationship to be more trouble than it’s worth? Is that close?
Is the man you’re dating showing an interest in rekindling things with his ex? If so, then yes, maybe it’s a good time to step out of the relationship. On the other hand, if its just the daughter’s meddling that is frustrating, maybe a good talk with the man you’re seeing about boundaries and trust is in order. He and his ex seeing each other for a little while every few months is probably not cause for too much panic. Unless it is. How’s your relationship with him? How about your relationship with his daughter?
f the bottom line is that you’re perfectly comfortable being single and this relationship is causing more drama than you’d like to have in your life, a graceful and compassionate exit might be just the thing to make things simpler. If, however, you would like to continue dating this man, then I suggest some open and honest communication about how the presence of his ex in his life and his daughter’s behavior is affecting you. Maybe he’s finding the whole thing annoying too and he needs to have a talk with his daughter about boundaries.
Either way, I am a firm believer in making informed decisions that feel right for you. Your happiness is the top priority.
I don’t know what to do? My boyfriend is an abusive, jealous, drug addict. He has been in and out of jail. I have been dealing with that the whole seven years we have together. He has even cheated on me. We have an open cps case. Our kids got taken away. And can’t get them back till we do our classes we need to do and stay clean. I am staying clean and doing what I need to do. And he has not done anything. And right now he is in jail facing two theft enhancement charges. I don’t know if to leave him or what so I can be happy and get my kids back. Or wait till whenever he gets out to see if he is changed. Right now while he is locked up he is still telling me stuff, and blaming me for everything.
Good for you for doing what you need to do for your kids. You and your kids deserve a happy, safe and stable life and it sounds like your boyfriend hasn’t even figured out how to do that for himself much less provide that kind of environment for you and your kids. There’s always a chance that he may change (though it doesn’t sound like it’s happened yet) but I would suggest not “waiting” to find out. Your kids need you. They need you to have a plan for how you’re going to parent them and for what’s going to happen when their dad is back in their lives. I would suggest talking with a counselor or an advocate (or both) and have them help you come up with a plan. If your boyfriend gets out and is a changed man, then you will have steps to follow on how to integrate him back into your lives. But if he doesn’t, you still have a responsibility to yourself and to your children to create a good, healthy life.
Stay strong and healthy.
My girlfriend of a year and I are at odds because her daughters father came for xmas and I told my girl that it seems that she is acting different around me. So I asked her if she still has any feelings for him. She tells me that I am insecure and that is why she was single for a long time because she didn’t want to deal with those issues. Now I want to say that months ago I questioned her about some texts she got on her phone from 3 other guys. She tells me they are just friends and that she is with me all the time so there is no way anything there. I tell her that I feel that there may be more to it because my ex wife said the same thing and was sleeping with those so called "friends". Am I off on this? We live together and I love her I just want her to be real with me. Even her mom tells her yesterday in joking hey how come you cant sit closer to Rob, me.
Trust is a big issue here. You’re carrying some major baggage from your previous marriage into this relationship and that’s bound to cause some problems. Sometimes things trigger responses from us that are tied to something else. Your girlfriend’s texts are triggering jealousy and insecurity tied to your previous relationship but recognizing those feelings is the first step toward working through them. You’re going to have to learn to trust your current girlfriend. In love, there’s always the possibility of getting hurt but you can’t have a lasting relationship without trust and communication so try to recognize your feelings as what they are…leftovers from things that happened between you and your ex. Take your girlfriend at her word unless she gives you a reason not to.
Now, let’s talk about Christmas and blended families. Holidays can be a real mess when you’re trying to include everyone. I can tell you from personal experience that having your old life and your new life all in one room can be extremely stressful and can cause you to act all kinds of weird. There’s a lot of juggling being done. Your girlfriend is including her ex presumably to allow her daughter to celebrate with both her parents. That’s very admirable but it comes with its own set of issues and her behavior is one of them. Imagine being in the most awkward possible situation where you want to show affection to your current partner but feel the need to keep things very even keel for the sake of sanity. It’s easy to imagine your girlfriend keeping things cool and professional in order to keep the peace in a somewhat precarious situation. Is it fair? Maybe not. But you have to consider that this is a new experience for you all and that it may take a few tries before you all start to feel calm and normal.
And, of course, since Christmas only comes once a year you don’t get a lot of chances for practice.
My suggestion for you is to try and stay calm. You and your girlfriend should be able to debrief about the holidays. She can tell you how the situation made her feel. And you should be able to do the same. Remember, you’re on the same team even when things are tense. Keep the conversation about how things made you feel. And remember that feelings are not fact. Give them the proper perspective. No personal attacks.
Your feelings are real and they are understandable. This is a tricky situation and if you stay together, its one you’re going to have to deal with again next year so make sure you’re communicating with one another. And I’m going to ask you right now to just come to terms with the fact that your girlfriend is always going to have weird feelings about her ex. She doesn’t ever have to want to be with him again…but he’s still the father of her child. That gives him a strange and permanent place in her life. Get over it (and I mean that with all kindness). Once you accept that he’s going to be in and out of your lives, you take away the power he has to affect your feelings.
Don’t let the stress of the holidays come between you and the girl you love.
My husband of 9 years has 2 children from a previous marriage (ages 15 &17). They wanted us to go to his ex-wife's house on Christmas morning to watch them open their gifts from her last year, for the first time since we've been married. (they never asked when they were little). We reluctantly obliged, drove almost an hour, then sat there while she threw presents to them and they ungratefully tore into them and bickered amongst themselves. It was awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. Well, even though they will be celebrating with us on Christmas Eve, they have demanded him to be there Christmas morning again this year, but I feel that this crosses too many boundaries. I just don't understand it after all this time... Why now? My therapist thinks it's absolutely ridiculous and believes it to be a control tactic by the teenagers. He's a good father, although most times he tries to be more like a friend with inappropriate comments, jokes, language, and actions. As well as letting them do and say whatever they want without any consequences, sometimes even encouraging them by laughing and joining in. I have always been good to them, without trying to over-shadow their mother, who still calls my husband (her ex) to fix problems in her home. Whenever any of them say JUMP... he almost always says HOW HIGH! Do I have the right to be pissed?... because I am.
Dear Giving In,
You absolutely, unequivocally have the right to be pissed. But being pissed doesn’t really help much right? So let’s talk about the issues at hand. First and foremost, blended families are all kinds of complicated. It sounds like your husband has trouble with boundaries and I can completely understand why you’re feeling frustrated. You’ve got a husband who’s making things up to his kids by allowing them to get away with being disrespectful and demanding. You’ve got an ex-wife in the equation who is intruding into your relationship by asking your husband to attend to her despite being divorced. And you’ve got two teenagers who are probably dealing with a whole heap of emotions that they don’t really understand how to handle. Have you guys considered family counseling?
It seems like there are a few things that need to happen. First, you and your husband need to have a talk about boundaries. He needs to understand how these things make you feel and how they affect your relationship. You need to understand how he’s feeling as well. I’m sure he’s conflicted about how to be the best father to his kids and it may simply not have occurred to him that there are any other options. The kids also need to understand the consequences of their actions and behavior. For whatever reason, they’re struggling for power over him. It could stem from any number of things including that they are both in that overwhelming, emotion-driven world of adolescence and they’re testing you. They will learn something from the results they get…whether they are able to manipulate the situation or not, so it would be a good idea for you and your husband to talk about what the implications of giving in to their demands are.
Now, I would like to say that, under the right circumstances, it’s not a horrible thing to consider spending Christmas with your hubby’s ex if it means having the family together. But the situation you described at last year’s celebration sounds less than ideal. I would say that the whole family…kids especially…need a good dose of boundaries and appropriate behavior. Have you sat down with the kids and explained why the situation makes you uncomfortable? You and your husband need to be on the same page first, but maybe this is a good time to start having some really honest family discussions. The kids are old enough to understand how their actions affect the people around them and you’ve been a part of their lives for a long time. You deserve their respect and they deserve yours. This is a good time to bring them into the conversation as valuable partners in the family dynamic.
Last point. Model the behavior you want them to learn…your husband and your kids. Be open and honest. Be kind but assertive. Be willing to hear what they have to say despite feeling frustrated with them and try to involve them in the solution as much as you can. You may need to be firm with the kids and just tell them that you will not be doing Christmas with their mom, but maybe there’s something else that will appease their need for closeness and your need for respect and boundaries.
Wishing you luck.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.