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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I’m looking for outside advice or at least some opinions on my current situation with my husband. We met 7 months ago on a dating app, we moved in together at about 2 months, got engaged at 3 months and then, due to a clause in his parenting agreement with his ex wife (and also what I thought was a mutual agreement that we wanted to), we went ahead and got married at 5 months. We’ve been married a little over a month now, got married literally 5 days before both our jobs switched to work from home (he usually travels for work and I usually work from an office) and we were quarantined together 24/7 for the first time since knowing each other.

He has a 10 year old from his previous relationship and he has custody of her every other week. With schools closed she has also switched to homeschooling and is in our home 24/7 every other week. To say that I feel like our lives have very suddenly been slammed into a pressure cooker would be an understatement. From day 1 of our relationship, I have asked him for guidance on how involved with his daughter he wanted me to be and from the moment I moved into his home, even prior to our marriage, he told me she was our daughter and he wanted me fully involved with parenting her while she’s in our home. I know it’s been a short amount of time overall but I truly felt like we had asked each other all the right questions and were on the same page.

But his daughter’s mother was not helping with homeschool on her weeks so last week, we discovered that she was over 40 lessons behind in Language Arts as well as a few lessons behind in other subjects. Both his daughter and her mother lied to our faces about having worked on it. So I asked hubby how he wanted to handle and we made a plan for 8-10 lessons a day and it went horrifically. She threw fits at every turn. Refused to do her work. Yelled at him. Yelled at me. It was the week from hell and combined with hormones (I was on my period) I did not handle it very well. I snapped at her a lot.

I fussed at her and nitpicked her for not getting things done or leaving her things all around the house. I rode her really hard about almost everything. But again, I asked hubby if we were on the same page and he said yes. So we barely survived the week but we survived and we were looking forward to a week off. Except then her mother announced she’s divorcing her husband of just under 4 months and needed us to provide childcare while she worked this week. We said yes of course but I could tell from day 1 it was weird. I tried to keep my distance instead of trying to parent his daughter but it just didn’t seem to be working. Plus I was under major stress at work.

And by Wednesday he told me that he wanted me to move out and was leaning towards divorce. Today (Saturday) is the first day I have seen him since. I have given him reason after reason after reason why I believe we should fight for this marriage, not the least of which is that it was one bad week in a perfect storm of pressure cooker chaos and anarchy, but he is insisting on divorce because he says he promised his daughter I wouldn’t come back here and that’s the only way she will be happy.

After 3.5 hours of very calm negotiations over this fact today, he informed me that he had previous plans he intended to keep and I informed him that I would be staying in our home and ready to continue talking when he returned. It felt hopeful. But he’s been gone now for 5.5 hours and is not returning messages (though he has read at least one) and now I’m just sitting in our dining room completely insecure and unsure of how to proceed. I want to fight for our marriage. I believe I deserve a chance to apologize to his daughter and make her understand that our relationship does not have to continue on that path. But how can I make him see that? And what do I do while I wait for him to come home?
 

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How old are you? Did you not know when you marry a once married man with a family you get all of them. If he wants his children to see him.

And seven months is all you knew him, did you set it up?

What did he tell you it would be?

What did you tell him you could do? With his previous marriage and his children?
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I am 34. He is 36. I was fully aware that marrying him meant marrying his daughter and ex wife as well. We have been on the same page, up until this point, when it came to dealing with the ex wife as well as his daughter. I told him that I had prior experience with bipolar (ex wife is diagnosed, daughter has symptoms) and could handle that. He told me that he wanted me fully involved in every aspect, parenting and home life and everything. We both committed to this relationship 100%. I asked a lot of questions along the way. Was there anything he disagreed with in regards to how I was dealing with everything? Did he want me to do anything differently? Was there anything that I did that annoyed him? And everything I asked was a vice versa. I felt like we were very open and honest with each other every second.
 

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Blending families take alot of work and determination and it's not as easy as the Brady bunch makes it look, I would say that it takes longer than he is giving your short time together to even get adjusted to a new family, let alone the stress of the covid 19 on top of it, You may be in for a surprise of what is going on and the reasons for his ex and him both being of divorce minded at the same time. I hope you get the answers you need, sometimes your better off without the whole darn mess, if he comes back you might read everything you can on blending families after divorce and remarriage s. I wish you the very best and hope you get some closer to this mess, be kind to yourself try to stay busy.read up on the 180 interaction with a spouse who is distracted or distancing themselves due to divorce talk.
 

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I'm a step mother, married their father when they were 10 and 12. My son was 10. They are now all in their early 30's. I learned a lot.

Your step daughter didn't get a say in all the changes that she keeps being put through: parents divorce; mom remarried; dad remarries; now mom's getting divorce again. Adults get who choose if who they live with. Children do not and they often resent anyone new their parents drag into their life. It take about 5 years for a blended family to finally work.

I am sure that you and your husband were trying to work together with the agreement that you would be a fully involved parent. I think you now know that was a mistake. His daughter did what kids do in this type of situation. She dug her heals and any played you two off each other. Kids know how to do this instinctively (little buggers o_O ). Then as though this was not going to be hard enough, COVID-19 happened and you are all stuck in a house and going nuts.

If the two of you stay together, you need to back off. For now he needs to parent his daughter. You are not her parent and she will/does resent you. It will take time. He also needs to be supportive of you and make sure she knows that she has to treat you with respect.

You also should not be interacting much with his ex. He has to handle her.

There are some good books on amazon (or any other book seller) about parenting step children. Get a couple of the books and you both need to read them.

I'm sure you can think of a way to make this up to your step daughter. Tell her something like you are ne at all this and learning. Ask for her help. Ask what she would like. Remember that right now you should not be acting like her mother. She's not going to accept that from you.

How old is your step daughter?

How much of a relationship did you have with her before you married her father?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First, thank you to anyone who took the time to respond. I really appreciate it. A couple of you jumped to the same conclusion his best friend jumped too. “They’ve both suddenly decided to divorce, maybe they’re trying to get back together.” I’ll admit it crossed my mind but after spending hours upon hours hashing this out with him, I’m convinced that is not the case. EleGirl, you hit it right on the head and sounds like you are thinking the same things I am. His daughter, who is 10, just didn’t like that I was trying to parent her and now she’s very smartly using that to push me away. Both hubby and I had good intentions for trying to co-parent in our home but that’s not what anyone involved needs and I think we agree on that now. Funny thing is, before this argument ever started, I had already ordered a book from Amazon to help me navigate some of this. I was already seeking that type of guidance. Problem is, Covid-19, books aren’t so essential. It won’t arrive here until Monday, lol. We both have trauma from previous relationships and I think that’s also playing a role in his knee jerk reaction to just divorce instead of fight for this. But I’m still fighting (and by fighting I mean very calmly and without yelling or accusations making all my points and proving to him that this marriage is worth fighting for). I think we’re making progress. I appreciate y’all’s feedback so much cause it sort of validates from people who are not emotionally invested in the situation that I’m thinking the right things and trying to make the right decisions.
 

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You got married after 7 months into a blended family because of a legal agreement with his ex wife?

I didn’t need to read past that to know that this is going to be a problematic marriage. And 1 month in... maybe you can get it annulled and take your time next time?
 

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First, thank you to anyone who took the time to respond. I really appreciate it. A couple of you jumped to the same conclusion his best friend jumped too. “They’ve both suddenly decided to divorce, maybe they’re trying to get back together.” I’ll admit it crossed my mind but after spending hours upon hours hashing this out with him, I’m convinced that is not the case.
I contemplated this angle too. But I can just see your step daughter in my minds eye... so predictable. :) I'm not trashing her, she's just a kid with a far too complicated home life.

EleGirl, you hit it right on the head and sounds like you are thinking the same things I am. His daughter, who is 10, just didn’t like that I was trying to parent her and now she’s very smartly using that to push me away. Both hubby and I had good intentions for trying to co-parent in our home but that’s not what anyone involved needs and I think we agree on that now. Funny thing is, before this argument ever started, I had already ordered a book from Amazon to help me navigate some of this. I was already seeking that type of guidance. Problem is, Covid-19, books aren’t so essential. It won’t arrive here until Monday, lol. We both have trauma from previous relationships and I think that’s also playing a role in his knee jerk reaction to just divorce instead of fight for this. But I’m still fighting (and by fighting I mean very calmly and without yelling or accusations making all my points and proving to him that this marriage is worth fighting for). I think we’re making progress. I appreciate y’all’s feedback so much cause it sort of validates from people who are not emotionally invested in the situation that I’m thinking the right things and trying to make the right decisions.
It sounds like you are on the right track! We are of course here for you if you hit more bumps in the road.

I am curious, last week while home schooling your step daughter, did you spend more time doing this then her father did?
 

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@Confusedgoodintentions,

Something just came to mind that might help you.

When my step children first moved out here and into my home, my step daughter who as 10 at the time was at first sweet and thick syrup. Then she and her brother to spend a couple of weeks in the summer with their mother. She came back completely a hellian. Apparently her mother and friends told her that if she misbehaved, we'd send her back to live with her mother (who was a drug user, an alcoholic and had abandoned her children for 3 years - that's why their father had 100% custody).

After that my step daughter was hell on wheels. She started yelling things at me like "I hate you." My reply to her every time was something like: "You don't have to love me. But this is my home. You will treat me with respect and follow the house rules. But I will always love you." That reply took the steam out of her and so she stopped yelling that at me.

The idea is to not tangle with kids on things like this. Children have very little power so they use subversive approaches to gain power.. and they will fight to their deaths to win. They will destroy themselves, turning to drugs and other bad behavior just to show their parents (and step parents) that they have power and can do what they want. Never, ever get in a piss fight with a child. They will win.. and not in a good way.

It was quite an experience raising my step children. When they were in their early twenties. Both of them apologized for the way they acted as kids. And both told me that the love me and I have done more for them than their own mother ever did. We now joke and laugh about the crap they pulled. All is well that ends well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@EleGirl to answer your first question, yes I am the one who is good with Language Arts (he’s science and math) so since she was behind most in language arts, I was doing most of the schooling. And in response to your second post, you’re right on the money. She is much worse after she has been with or talked to her mom. And I think that’s where the problem is happening right now. She’s been with her mom every evening as well as over this weekend and she’s saying things like she’s afraid to be around me but with zero reasons to say that. I’ve deduced those words are coming from her mom and I think I’ve also gotten my husband to see that it doesn’t make sense for her to say that so I believe we’re making progress. What you’ve suggested, not tangling with her and just replying in a way that takes the steam out of the argument, is what should have been done from the beginning. It just isn’t what my husband told me he wanted so we’ve together created a bad situation. All I can pray for and fight for is that we get the opportunity to change how we’ve handled this so far and do better. Thank you again so much for all your excellent insights thus far.
 

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Since her mother is injecting herself in this manner, you might want to get some family counseling once the pandemic lockdown is over... this includes all 3 of you.
 

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Since her mother is injecting herself in this manner, you might want to get some family counseling once the pandemic lockdown is over... this includes all 3 of you.
Yes, I’ve requested this multiple times, even before the lockdown. I’ve already started individual counseling but he has not agreed. The best compromise I’ve gotten so far is church. He’s been really interested in getting us to church as a family for several months and of course, we can’t go in person right now, but we can do it virtually. He and I did this morning and I feel that it helped a lot.
 

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You can only do what you can do. Just make sure, for your own sake, that you keep your own welfare as your main focus. If you do not take care of yourself, who else will? It's like they say on an aircraft... put your oxygen mask on first, then put on a mask on the child. Why? Because if you put the mask on the child first you will pass out and then neither of you will have an oxygen mask.
 

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You have to decide how much one-sided pain and effort of yours is worth it because there are a few miles of bumpy road ie a year or so, in your future.

Your new H put you in an almost unwinnable situation. That is as a disciplinarian of an almost teenage daughter, with problematic mother right close, and the daughter the product of their traumatic divorce, mom's remarriage, now new divorce; I could go on.

H probably didn't do it intentionally but let it happen, multiplied by Covid quarantine and boom.

It will be wise for you to realize this up front. I think you have.

I also think H is again taking a path of least resistance on his part to in his mind level out the emotional bombs in his life. Wrongly I'd think, because it sounds like you've got everyone's best intentions at heart.

This may be a wake up call for you. H may or not may be the man he convinced you he was.

Or he might.

Pls realize you don't have the control over all the results here, and may be forced to deal with results you don't want.

But you must financially and emotionally be prepared for different end game scenarios here.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Again thank you all for taking the time to respond. As of today, he has refused to move forward any further with talking and told me we could either get an amicable divorce or he’d call his lawyer and we could fight it out in court. I did and still do have the best interests of everyone involved at heart. I am sad and a bit angry at him for giving up so easily but I’d rather agree to an amicable divorce and pray for his heart to be healed than to drag out the pain for everyone.
 

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Again thank you all for taking the time to respond. As of today, he has refused to move forward any further with talking and told me we could either get an amicable divorce or he’d call his lawyer and we could fight it out in court. I did and still do have the best interests of everyone involved at heart. I am sad and a bit angry at him for giving up so easily but I’d rather agree to an amicable divorce and pray for his heart to be healed than to drag out the pain for everyone.
I'm so sorry. I still think that something was not right about this situation. You seem like a very nice person. Maybe too nice for the situation.

A small lesson in life - don't fight for someone if they are not fighting for you.
 

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If this is how he feels, you would be doing yourself a huge favor to just agree to end it. There is so much wrong here and I have a feeling that your life going forward would be nothing but drama after drama.

I went through a divorce after a whirlwind, rushed into marriage too, only married 11 months. We Married after only four months... he was the one who rushed it. (We had been each other’s first loves way back heading into middle school, and I got all caught up in his excitement, and really believed it could work out because of our history.) I realized how messed up it all was after I was out, (kid issues and ex wife issues and eventual cheating with her) and he actually did me a giant favor by divorcing me so soon. I think you’re going to see the same thing and I’m sorry you’re going through all this.


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