My wife and I have been happily married 40 years. Our adult son is married to an ambitious, smart, very pretty, hard working woman. We have always been close with our son. The woman's family is lovely and welcoming toward us. She is indifferent, except when she is correcting or criticizing my wife. My wife is charming and funny, albeit strong minded, as is the daughter-in-law. I am more politic, but do have opinions. All of us are professionals. I bite my tongue more than I would like to in order not to make conflicts or make my son unhappy. I don't know how we can break through to the daughter-in-law. When we make inquiries about her work, she acts as though it is a state secret. They ask that we consult with them about our visits as they live in another major city. When we visit, we realize that they have work, but we are capable of taking care of ourselves with museums and such. I appreciate that there need to be boundaries, but I am concerned that these are becoming unapproachable borders. Help!
As the post title says, boundaries go both ways. As our children get older and bring new people into the family, we often have to readjust to new personalities and new ways of doing things. It may be that your daughter-in-law is insecure and that manifests itself as criticism, especially toward your wife. Daughter-in-laws often feel that they have a lot to live up to in their mothers-in-law.
That being said, you and your wife need to have boundaries as well and one of those boundaries should involve what kind of language (i.e. criticism) is acceptable in your relationship. If positive productive criticism is part of your lives, so be it. But if that criticism is a one way street, it needs to be addressed.
Given the tension that appears to be present in your relationship with you daughter-in-law, it's not surprising that the boundaries they've set about visiting are starting to feel like razor wire. That being said, asking you to consult them before visiting is a reasonable boundary UNLESS it starts impacting your ability to communicate with your son (though I will add here that marriage changes the dynamics of all family relationships so you may have to decide where you're willing to compromise).
OK, but back to the indifference and criticism. My suggestion is that you talk to your son. You frame your feelings in "when she does XYZ, it makes your mom and I feel XYZ." Stress how important it is to you that the lines of communication remain open. Reinforce the idea that you want them both to be part of your lives, but also that you need to make sure that everyone is being treated respectfully. You may suggest a get-together where you can talk (calmly and maturely) about issues that have arisen on both sides. If everyone can work together, you might be able to uncover the source of your daughter-in-law's behavior and take action on improving your relationship with her.
If either your son or his wife seem resistant to hearing your feelings, there may be a deeper issue. In that case, you might need to seek out a family counselor who can work with you and your wife (and possibly your son and his wife) on resolving those issues. But it sounds like you have a good relationship with your son and I expect he will be willing to work with you if you can lay out some parameters without letting too much anger or frustration seep into the conversation.
I hope this helps. The key here is mutual respect.
I am looking for impartial advice. I have been with the same woman for 17 years and love her deeply but find myself no longer trusting her. We had a 12 year old child that just passed away last year. During the course of our relationship I had to move away for work and was sending my money back home to support my family. I started to notice a change in how she was treating me and later discovered she was cheating on me. She claims she only met someone for coffee. She traveled 200 miles round trip for her coffee so I found that very hard to believe! Needless to say we got past it and got married as the relationship progressed. I forgave her and put it out of my mind. However, flash forward 8 years later and I started to see a change in her attitude again that mirrored what I experienced in the past. I had just started a job that required 100% travel and being away from home again for extended periods of time. After some searching because of the change I noticed she has two Google voice numbers and a MagicJack number with lots of activity both via voice and texting late at night when I am not home; late as in 3:30AM along with texting lingo after doing research it is lingo you would use on hookup sites. She had lots of numbers on her blocked list in her phone and claimed they were all bill collectors. After review it turned out they are not. The ones that are not bill collectors are men. A quick Google search of some of those numbers pulled up hookup sites and now I find myself very hurt moving more towards angry. I have never been one for an eye for an eye but while I have always been faithful; I am finding myself wanting to do the same to her but keep stopping myself because I do not want my life ruled by blind anger. She has denied doing anything at all. Any advice is appreciated.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your child and for the situation you find yourself in now. Long-distance relationships are hard at best and if you combine that with the trauma you and your wife have endured over the past year, I imagine things are a little bit of a mess right now. I understand your suspicion based on your previous experience, and what I generally believe is that if you go searching for something, you’re going to find it. The question is, what have you found? Is your wife lonely and seeking solace in someone else? Is she flirting with disaster because she’s having a hard time dealing with the death of your child and your long absences?
Ok, so I can tell you with 100% certainty that getting even with your wife is not going to help you feel better and it’s going to complicate an already complicated situation. I can fully understand why your trust in her is shaky, but I can also guarantee that checking out her online and phone activity is going to make it worse. Finding out that she’s calling hookup sites doesn’t help your marriage and it really doesn’t address the problem. So, I urge you to quit snooping and take a more direct approach to the problem. Have an open conversation with her and find out where’s she’s at. Ask her how she’s feeling, how she’s grieving, how she’s coping. Tell her how you’re feeling. Don’t accuse. Just talk. Try to understand how she might be feeling and how her actions might be related to that. And make sure to keep your anger in check. Yes, you have every right to be angry. But this is a woman you love deeply and my guess is that she’s struggling. Be kind and show compassion, even if it’s difficult.
Now, all that said, I would strongly suggest seeking marriage counseling. I would suggest this for either the infidelity issue or the grief issue by themselves and together, I think you guys could really use someone to help sort this out. Maybe at the end of the day, you find out that this marriage isn’t going to work. But maybe, if you work together, you’ll find some common ground and a way to rebuild the trust that you’ve lost. It’s up to you (and to her) as to how much effort you’re willing to put into this to fix it.
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.
I have been with my husband for 26 years. I have never had a worry in the world of him cheating in all these years. This past year I had a neighbor and found out she gave him oral sex only once. They claim I really don't know. I forgave him. Then here we are 8 months later and I found an SD card by my couch. When I look at it I'm shocked to see that it's my friend and her husband. I confronted him, he lied and said he knew nothing but a picture of his mothers house is on the SD card as well. No one knows these people but me and him. I don't know what to do. I feel he's just going to keep doing this to me and doesn't want to talk about anything.
Here’s the thing. You’re probably not ever going to know for sure what’s been going on. I understand your frustration, though, and I think what you have to consider is what you need in order to live a happy healthy life. Obviously you want a husband who is faithful, but also one who communicates, right? And the truth is that you’re the only one who’s going to make sure you get those things. You need to set boundaries and then be willing to change your life in order to make sure those boundaries are being respected.
Talk to your husband about how his behavior is affecting you, including his unwillingness to talk about it. And then decide what you’re willing to live with. It’s really unfair and unfortunate that you’re in this situation, but you can start working on fixing it by focusing on what you need from your relationship.
I married a man 11 years younger than myself. We were friends since he was 18. I went to his wedding to his 1st wife and through his divorce 4 years/ 2 kids after. We became friends with perks after that but nothing serious. He went on to have a 3rd child with a different woman with no intention of having a life with but ended up in a battle for the baby girl. During that time the lawyer told us we needed to get married if he wanted a sure win in the custody. So not even thinking we did. Now married 6 years. Myself never been married nor could have children myself thought this at the time was a great arrangement. I figure I loved him as a friend how hard would it be to move to the next level. We did for a while too but his started his old habits and started to be unfaithful and not even lying about it rather saying well you know how I am. I have grown very attached to the 3 kids. I'm not sure to either just accept this and be happy with how things are or to cut my ties. This would be easy if my love for the kids wasn't as they were my own. We look like we're the picture perfect family to everyone and everyone is happy but I feel at a loss. With my parent passed on these last couple of years I think too much on that til death do us part. I fear once the kids are out of the house so will my husband.
I’m not entirely sure where to start. Getting married for the sake of winning a custody battle is a rocky foundation for a loving marriage. Not that you didn’t have history and a relationship, but it sounds like you weren’t in total agreement about how this marriage would work. You assumed that if he married you, that he’d be a good husband…that he’d actually try. And that’s a fair assumption. But he’s clearly not on the same page. And that’s really unfair and unfortunate, both for you and for the family you share.
Let me say, quite plainly, that no, you should not accept being treated badly. I know you love those kids, but consider what they’ll be learning over the years about relationships by seeing the way he treats you. Kids are not oblivious. They’re little sponges and they know far more about what’s going on the lives of their parents that we’d like them to.
And the fact that your husband is younger is no excuse for his disrespectful behavior. He’s lucky to have you in his life and he’s repaying your kindness to him and his children with a lack of respect and compassion. Maybe he really doesn’t know how to be faithful, but writing off your concerns because “it’s the way he is” is a weak and cowardly way of shirking his responsibilities, some of which include you. You don’t have to accept it and quite frankly, given that you’ve been a parent to his children, you might just have rights to visitation even if you leave.
I know this sounds pretty harsh, and I’m sorry for that. I really do wish you well and I hope you’ll believe me when I say that you deserve a marriage where your husband shows up and gives you 100% (just like you give him). I know that the kids make this really complicated, so you might think about consulting a lawyer to see what your options are, just in case.
It’s okay for you to expect that your husband be faithful. You don’t have to let him get away with the “way that I am” excuse. And if that means having to break up, know that his behavior is really unhealthy for your whole family and there may just be more good in being apart than in being together.
I've been with wife for 12 years 3 of which we have been married, I feel like our marriage is in jeopardy because I have lost total trust in my wife, we've separated many times throughout the years and she's slept with other men, and when things got hard for her she come crying back to me, and I would fall right back not really giving myself a chance to move on because of how easy it was not going through all the trouble meeting someone else, our children being so young and we have history together. I said to myself that I would let it go, that I wouldn't let it bother me, but as of late its haunting me, I don't want to feel like this anymore it's tormenting, I want to trust her and give our marriage the chance it deserves but that little voice in my head tells me different, the thought of her being with another man kills me inside and messes things up in bed for me. What’s wrong with me?
What you’re feeling seems pretty reasonable to me. It sounds like your wife has taken for granted that you will always be there and has treated you pretty badly. You’ve let her come back so you’re angry at her, and probably at yourself, right? But wanting to make the marriage work puts you in a tricky position. You’re trying to just push those feelings away instead of dealing with them and as a result, you’re having trouble in bed. There’s nothing “wrong” with you. Your reactions, both emotional and physical, are pretty normal for your situation.
Given your history with your wife, I would suggest finding a marriage counselor. You can’t just ignore those feelings of betrayal. As you see, they tend to take on a life of their own. Marriage counseling can be really helpful if both people are fully onboard with the process. If you find that your wife is not, I’d still look into some individual counseling so you can work on how you’re feeling. If you want your marriage to last, you’re going to have to do the work so that you can really move forward without resentment. The bottom line though is that you deserve to be in a relationship where you are treated with love and respect, so make sure that, at the end of all your work, that’s what you end up with.
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.
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 have been married for 15 years and am no longer happy because there is no sex in my marriage. My husband takes mountains of prescription drugs and cannot sustain an erection even with Cialis. I want to have sex but know an outside relationship would end my marriage. I am 69 years old. How can I get my needs met?
I’d suggest two things. I am assuming that you’d like to stay married, you’re just frustrated at the lack of sex. If you are otherwise happy in your marriage, I’d suggest having a talk with your husband’s doctor about your continued problems. There may be options other than Cialis that will help get things functioning properly again. That’s my first suggestion.
Second suggestion. Get a vibrator. Honestly, at the end of the day, finding ways to meet your sexual needs on your own might take the edge off while you’re pursuing other options for having sex with your husband. It’s a lot less complicated than having extramarital affairs and you might find that it does the trick. Then you can focus on having a happy marriage regardless of whether sex plays a large part.
I didn't get my wife of 24 years anything special for Christmas this year although now she’s mad and wont talk to me. I really don't know how to make this up to her. We did get several things early.
Ok, so I have two questions and thoughts.
First, do you usually get her something special? If so, what happened this year? If the early presents were the special presents, talk to her about it honestly. Validate her feelings. We all get bent out of shape at times. It’ll be ok.
Second, if you don’t usually get her something special, is there a reason she may have been hoping for something now? You’ve been together a long time and if she’s feeling a little blue or feels like things have been getting a little “comfortable” she may have been hoping for something to liven things up. Or it may have nothing to do with Christmas at all. Luckily, there’s only one way to find out.
So, here’s what I’d suggest. Take her out for a nice dinner and talk to her about what’s going on. Ask her why she’s been so upset and listen. I mean really listen, without getting defensive, without worrying about making it up to her. You can’t always make things up to someone in the way you think. But showing her that you really care and want to make her happy may just get you guys through this hump.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.