I am brand new to this forum, and want to thank all those who have contributed to the threads I've read so far. good stuff. I have a complete web of confusion going on in my marriage and would really appreciate perspective and subjective advice.
A little back history in a nutshell. My husband is from another country, so the whole immigration process has been painfully slow and frustrating. Because of the financial pressures which accompany such a process I went from working from home, and homeschooling my kids, to accepting a job in another town, relocating my family, putting the kids in public school to help meet the needs of our family better. It was a pretty difficult transition, but after a year, we seem to be rolling along pretty good. The kids are doing phenomenal in public school, (they are 10, 12, 14, 16) receiving awards and praise from their teachers. They have great friends. At work, it is fast paced, and quite hectic. I'm pretty ambitious, so I advanced quickly in the company, but it's been a rough go. Typical work place drama, created a situation that left me stressed and full of anxiety. Normally a tough Rock of a person, I was reduced to a whacked out stress machine. My week of holidays was so welcome. My bosses insited that I take time with the kids to chill. I was super excited to hang with my husband and the kids, swim, fish, dirt bike.. then we had a trip to take with the kids to do some filming for a movie I'm involved in. Surprise, my husbands mother phoned to announce hey were coming. Long story short, I wasn't looking forward to it, I really didn't want company, but it was my husbands family he hadn't seen in a year so I said I'd make the best of it because I love him. From the moment they arrived I was washing dishes, doing extra laundry, floors cooking meals non stop, without one ioda of help from them. My kids helped me and my normally non domestic husband, even pitched in. The kids laughed at this. I could see my husband felt some compassion for the extra work I had to bear. My husband has a daughter from a previous marriage who is a bit of a handful. I asked my husbands mother and sister to help me out, as her last visit did not end well. Extreme attention seeking behaviour created a huge rift between her and my kids. Every sentence started with "I want", she'd inform the kids that she always got what she wanted so they better give whatever she wanted to her or she would "tell". It was my birthday, the same day as my mother in law's amidst this chaos, pretty much hell birthday, his daughter gorged herself on bday cake, and pie that my kids made. the next day she was ill. I had run into town, and when I came home, all the adults were gone, leaving my 12 year old in charge of looking after this girl who was vomiting everywhere. I spent the afternoon cleaning up vomit, while they were touring around and golfing. Woo hooo nice vacay.. Instead of trying to mend the bridge, they all basically decided my children and I were to look after this nine year old amidst her demands and drama. Long story short, my husband, while acknowledging his daughter's negative behaviour was unwilling to take the reins. His mother had a hissy fit when I wanted to spend some time with my kids alone at the river without his daughter. Besides the fact that she was driving us snakey, she doesn't have any swimming skills, and a mountain River, is not a great place to develop first time water skills. My husband turned on me, and decided he was going to go back to his country with his parents. I was devastated. I went down and confronted his mother and said, well, what did you expect was to happen. I love your son with all my heart and now it is broken. He felt so embarrassed by his family, and disappointed in himself for the lack of father ing he implemented in his daughters life. Only since he's been with my kids has he developed parenting skills. Now that he knows better he wants to do better, but the extreme stress of immigration was definately a contributing factor for him saying. I give up. His mom is a powerhouse of a personality, overbearing, opinionated, strong, running for political office. His father is a peaceful, kind gentle loving man. His sister was in tears, she is pretty fragile, and kind. She came right out and said, that she wants my husband to be happy, and for the first time in his life she knows he is happy. He agreed, but felt so much pressure. His mother came out and said, she never intended to create such chaos in our life. I said, we are stressed, and have so much on our plate. You are always welcome at our home, but understand the immense pressure we are under. My husband decided to stay with us, but a couple times threatened to leave if I didn't "behave" myself. I have to admit, I turned quite reclusive. I retreated into the forest, the river, and into our bedroom instead of being social. I resented being called a Liar when I brought up negative behaviour of his daughter, and i super resented my children being called liars. Now they have gone, it's a day later, and I am filled with anxiety. We had a beautiful night of cuddling and intimacy. Breakfast in bed by my kids.. assurances of love spoke to each other, but I have that , waiting for the poop to hit the fan feeling bouncing around my heart. My husband may not be the best help, sometimes is quite arogant, but I love that man with my entire heart. I almost want him to leave me now so I know when it's going to happen... then I get myself back under control and try to live within this moment. I don't know if we need to speak about this now, later or ever.. How do you move forward? I know this was super long.. thanks for listening..
Aww, hon! It sounds like your husband is a great guy who loves you dearly, too.
I can understand why everyone was upset with you not wanting to take his obnoxious daughter. She is still a child, and shouldn't have to face rejection from the people who are supposed to love and guide her - which is something you signed on for when you married him.
However, the stresses that are in your lives right now are affecting everyone. At some point, you'll probably find yourselves talking about what happened. I think if you acknowledge that you should have taken her even though you thought you had valid reasons not to, it will go a long way toward him understanding why you didn't.
I totally get what you are saying. I am going to add another thing to the equation that is actually pretty funny in retrospect.. So I mentioned it was my birthday, the day before, sharing the day with his mom. When asked what I wanted to do.. I wanted to go to the lake by our place, swim with the kids, fish, and relax in the sun... so we went golfing in plus bazillion heat while the kids went to the lake. His mom wanted to go golfing. We ended up coming back and swimming for an hour, then we went home so I could cook supper.. I went down to feed the horses and some wierd creature bug bit me above my eye.. in a matter of minutes.. my eye was swollen shut.. ahh good times.. The next day amidst the grogginess of the antihistamines I was taking trying to get my eye back to normal I was caring for his daughter. Not only could I have used help, but I really would have appreciated the help of his family caring for his daughter who apparently drove them nuts so they got away lol..
I have been married before and am incredibly close with my step kids and their mom. We have kind of a sister like relationship, and spent many hours together for family gatherings. We even were invited to her family reunion. This situation is way different. My husband was married for a short time, infidelity, combined with his ex enjoying the bar life caused him to leave. She has 5 children with 4 different men. I did meet her once, but it was perfectly clear she figured I was some kind of Alien Hippie weirdo from Canada lol.. His daughter needs security and love, but I believe she needs to feel that first from her father, then we can develop our relationship. I would love to support him supporting her. I made it clear as far as what I felt she needed but his family, really doesn't understand what I'm throwing out. I worked as a Music and phys ed teacher, and organized many outreach programs with the church we once belonged to. I feel they buy her things and create a disney land kind of feeling each time they get her. Indulging, and spoiling further accentuating the negative behaviour. I feel she needs boundaries, and affirmation of the positive things she does. she is a science wiz.. put her into a science camp, build science experiments etc.. art therapy so she can learn how to express her emotions instead of saying what she thinks the people around her want to hear.. stuff like that.. I fully support my husband being a dad but I want him to be the one taking the lead. He has gained so many parenting skills. I am too tired to undo negative behaviour. I can be a support, but feel too overwhelmed to be the primary "fixer" in this situation.
as I type, I seem to be uncovering so much "Stuff"
A typical scenario in my home. My husband loves Labs.. I grew up with them, didn't want them but then.. I married a man with one, and they we adopted another that was at the shelter we volunteered at. Made it perfectly clear at the time, if he wanted her he had to pick up the slack.. help poop scoop, take for walks etc..
I have a dog that is suited to my personality. He's a wolf malamute.. he's pretty phenomenal.. chill, laid back.. totally a mommy sucky pants.. the sun rises and sets on me. If I say sit he is sitting before I get to the T. He isn't demanding at all, just super content to share time together. Kind of how my kids are. They are secure and so happy to spend time with me. They are super laid back, and I really enjoy my time jamming with our guitars, fishing, biking or snowmobiling with them. they're like my wonderful little peeps.
So at the end of the day.. I look after the goofy dorky labs, the kids poop scoop, and my husband enjoys the happy time with his dogs when the work is done. Every hair I vacuum I curse those dorky things, but really the moral of the story is I'd like my husband's help in caring for "our" family. He wasn't so into the whole parenting things with my kids.. I said.. you know what fair enough. You don't have to be their parent.. you be their friend.. I'll be the parent.. which seemed to be great. Took stress and expectation off his shoulders. I didn't really dig his hard azz disconnected parenting style anyways.. so A few bumps along the way.. a 15 year old who hated us for moving, hated him.. eventually came around and now we have a happy family unit. He admires her hard work, and she is thankful that he's teaching her how to dirt bike. There was a time he wanted nothing to do with my kids and now he loves and appreciates them.
In the case of the labs, and with his daughter, I'd like to be met half way. To have my kids clean up the poop and me bandage the wounds leaves me feeling unsupported, and most of all to exhausted to enjoy life.
This is way better than talking to myself in the bedroom.. I am way less nuts typing to myself, then actually speaking to myself!
It really makes no sense for you to be expected to sit around, waiting for your husband to leave you. That sounds like a nightmare existence. Threatening to leave if you don't "behave" is NOT a marriage. That sounds like some sort of conditional relationship that can be swayed by variables; marriage is suppose to be a constant.
I would say lay it all on the table, full heart out there. Let this man know that you love him, and you cherish him in your life, and the lives of your children. Tell him your fears about him leaving, tell him that such an option is totally unacceptable, and that his exit would devastate you. Ask him point blank what his desires, and plans are, and fortify yourself for whatever answer he has to give. Just encourage him to be brutally honest.
On your part you are going to have to accept his daughter fully, and completely, as a part of your family, equally on par with your own children. You still haven't gotten that she is NOT an "other". She is as good as yours now that you're married, and you are going to have to come to terms with that as long as you're married to this guy.
What you described as your relationship with your former stepkids and their mother is highly unusual and a blessing. What you describe as your relationship with your current stepdaughter and her mother is much more like the norm in step family situations. You are likely in shock to find yourself living the vast difference, but you have to get used to it and accept it. In fact, it will never get better and most likely will get worse. Someone, if not several of the people involved, always makes waves, and those waves can be overpowering and cause more stress to the marital relationship. Either the stepchild(dren), their mother, the step parent (the new wife or new husband), the step parent's child(ren), the in-laws, or a combination of these become the antagonist(s) to disrupt the family tranquility/routines and disturb or alter, if not dash, the hopes and spirits the new wife has for her marriage and family structure.
Your husband's behavior as far as his daughter is concerned is also typical. What most second wives (or whatever number she is) discover in step family situations is just how crappy a father her husband is because, like your husband, he doesn't step up to get his kid(s) in line with the new program......to say the least. There are many reasons for this, which I won't get into (already becoming too much of a novel I'm writing), but suffice it to say, and hopefully make you feel a little better, your husband is not unique, your experience and complaints are not uncommon, and it is understandable, as well as typical, that your feelings and expectations are not valued or validated.
(Obviously, I cannot speak for every single solitary step family situation that ever existed. I'm talking about what is most common these days based on years spending time on step parent forums, being a step mother myself although my situation is not nearly so bad as most others turn out to be, and there are numerous books written on the subject.)
So, think about boards like this one, which are mainly dedicated to marriage and marital problems. What you will realize is your problems are compounded by the new marriage and family dyamics plus your husband being a crappy father (placing all the responsibility for his daughter on you) as well as being unsupportive, demanding, judgmental, and seemingly not very devoted to the marriage.
Oh boy, do you have your hands full. And, what is more, you are dealing with most of it the wrong way.
Just stop and take a few deep breaths. Then, sit down for a couple days and read this book, Stepmonster. It will be an eyeopener. Have your husband read it too so he learns about himself, his daughter, his contribution (what it should be as opposed to what it has been), and how better to support you.
Secondly, you should never allow your in-laws or anyone to come into your home and run over you. You can be a gracious and accommodating host, but you were not supposed to allow them to turn you into their doormat. What do you mean you cleaned after them and even did their laundry? Huh?
Finally, think differently about yourself (and your own worth) and your husband (love yourself more than you love him). Instead of being of afraid of his threat, make sure he understands he is not more important to you than you expect to be to him. Tell him if he wants to leave, it will make you sad, but he is welcome to go, and you will help him pack his stuff. Make sure he knows what you expect of him, and then tell him just like he told you - that you will make him leave if he doesn't act right. The onus for the success of your marriage is as much his responsibility as it is yours.
Do this to take at least this much of the pressure off your shoulders because you cannot function on this level forever. It will begin to affect your health and your performance, not to mention make you a nervous wreck if you continue to allow all of this stress. You cannot keep on living up to other people's expectations. Set standards and and boundaries and make your husband live up to yours.
I feel sad that you think you can only love his child after he steps up to the plate. You do not have to be the "fixer" to set appropriate boundaries for how she interacts with YOU or in YOUR home. Also, if you want to go swimming on your birthday, you can go. His mom can play golf without you.
You guys are awesome, and so bang on. I am going to sit and digest for a bit. Thank you
I am completely exhausted, even before his family's visit. My husband and I talked, and I pretty much said, I will NOT wait for him to leave me. To toy with me because you are angry is not acceptable. He said, they all figured, I have 4 kids, so what is one more to add to it. He said he feels I'm the best mom he's ever seen, so he hoped I would just mom his daughter.
I told him how powerless I felt. When I tried to enforce good behaviour I was the bad guy. Addressing negative behaviour, I was over reacting. If she was to be with my kids and I it was basically a free for all. My kids felt powerless, they couldn't address negativity or they were called liars. So pretty much keep your mouth shut and bear it was the expectation. It is not me loving his child after he steps up to the plate, it is wanting him to step up to the plate to fill a void for this little girl. My kids dad is kind of an arse, but he is a good dad and the kids benefit from being with him. They talk to him each night on the phone, and we make sure that if there is something special going on, he is in the loop. If my kids went to his house and hung with a girlfriend/wife and her kids rather than spending time with their dad I'd be sad.
My husband wants his family and myself to get along and he is so sad that this visit was a disaster. I felt so much pressure on me, and at a time where I wasn't totally together. cleaning up after the 6 of us is a chore, the kids help so much, but cleaning up after extra people was just too much work. Cooking for ten people was really a lot of work at a time I hoped to relax. I said I can get along with your family. I love and respect them. My biggest concern right now is the preservation of our Marriage. We are complete buds, and enjoy so many things together. We have come through so much, and have such deep love. We committed to keepin on. working through it, sometimes just allowing the other person to not be perfect. I'm certainly not. I am sad that I couldn't just let things slide. I still have a lump in my tummy, thinking of how fragile our relationship truly is.
So after a night of sleep, I'm here in the early morning figuring out what is nagging at my heart. In our discussion yesterday, a few things were said that I feel were contradictory to what marriage is all about.
I am just his wife, they are his family. His words
He spoke of being mad because his parents came to visit, and now there is tension between he and them.. making him resent me. I flipped it. I said I am angry that your family came to visit, and you turned on me, causing a rift in our relationship.
He said I should be thankful his mom told him to stay here or he was gone. I want my husband to be with me because he truly loves and is devoted to our marriage, not because his mommy told him to. He is 9 years younger than I am, his mom and I share many similarities, right down to the same birthday and name. Mommy issues? When I met him he had moved back home to live in his parent's basement.
I am 41 He is 32.
The strong devotion you'd like to have in a relationship is one of the greatest foundations for a strong marriage in my opinion.
The lifestyle we have is a wonderful one. I am blessed, although I work my keister off as a Marketing Exec for a insane busy company, they give us many luxurious perks we couldn't otherwise afford. The filming aspect of our life propells us into the spotlight, again providing perks for a lifestyle we wouldn't otherwise afford.
I absolutely feel like I am not truly loved and appreciated. Be it my age, my lack of fancy, my own insecurities that is the way it is. I don't feel he is the end of all for me in life. If he were to leave, life would go on, but my love for him consumes my whole being. I love the fact we can go rip it up on bikes, chill in the wilderness, and basically just be low key together. I have total trust in him as far as fidelity. He'd never even look at another woman. He is a good man. He begged me to take the job I have now, to give our family a better life. It was so hard leaving my children, all my music students, and the town we lived in. This new lifestyle is fast paced, and one of the only saving graces is the fact we live out of the city I work in. It is a 20 min commute, which provides serenity for our family but less time over all with the kids by the time I get home, make supper, tidy up etc..
The one thing I would ask for, if I could have anything is Time. That was what was taken from me this past week, time. Consumed by cleaning and cooking for people who didn't take my needs, or the needs of my kids into account.
I am just his wife, they are his family. His words
Originally Posted by the rock
He said I should be thankful his mom told him to stay here or he was gone.
If he truly meant these statements, in his core, and was not just lashing out, there is no real marriage here to even fight for. You are a temporary stop gap until such a time that his family wants him to come on home, and then he will be gone.
That's not marriage. That's chummy roommates who have sex.
I hope your husband is lousy with words, because I agree with jaquen that if that's his real beliefs, he's not the life partner you deserve.
One other thing caught my eye, too. If you're the "best" mom he's seen, then you can use this to say, "And that's why I want you to adopt my methods for parenting your child and support me when I lay down appropriate boundaries."
I go through something similar with my husband over his teen daughter, who was mistreated by her first stepmother and abandoned by her biological mom until recently. She's developed some unhealthy behaviors, and my husband is reluctant to enforce boundaries because he feels guilty that he didn't protect her better. But because he likes what he sees for the most part in my grown children, and because she responds well when I do step in, he's come to trust my judgment. I think your guy can, too, but you have to insist that he acknowledge that your methods produce better results. If he's going to say she's included as part of the family because she's "just one more kid" to the flock, then that means he must include you in his family fully.
most of the finances do fall on my shoulders, but I know the powerlessness of immigration has been devastating to his self worth. I am broken hearted, knowing that I am "replaceable". Life is going on as normal now that his family is gone. He is loving and attentive, paying attention to the children, planning for our future. It was like a bad nightmare that stole my sense of trust in this strong powerful man. Replaceable, just a wife, I'm lucky... words that still reside in my mind and surface throughout the day. I thank all of you for listening and interjecting. You have no idea how much it helped me to get my feelings out. Healthy, so my emotions don't come out all jumbled when I go to express myself.