Talk About Marriage banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Problem: My adult step children want nothing to do with me. :(

Short version: My wife and I have been married for 15 years. First marriage for me and second for her. I have two step daughters that lived with us from 13 to 22. One was okay with the new arrangement and one was, well, trouble. But we survived through 15 years and it got easier as the girls got older and went to uni. However, the last few years the girls have been horrible to me. It got so they couldn't come over without being really hostile and submersively bullying. I took it in stride but now they want me out of the picture. My wife does not want to be in the middle and is afraid of losing her girls if she stands by me. I don't want that either.

Sad, Long Whiny Version: My wife works and I suffer from a dibilitating depression that keeps me at home (but she was always okay with that as I was the stay home parent and essentially it was just a role reversal) I came along after her first divorce but I was younger and it was hard for her ex-husband. (My wife did not end her first marriage very well. To this today her ex-husband has never moved on and has used the girls to punish her. I thought it would eventially get better but it never did.) I understood that and tried to keep out of most things related to the girls but they lived with us and I was in their lives. It was hard not to be there when they needed a father figure, advice or a shoulder to cry on.

Things were wonderful up until the last few years. My wife started doing triathlons which took up a lot of her time but she enjoyed it and the kids were gone so I was supportive. The kids reconnected with their father as adults and have decided that they don't want to have a relationship with me because it hurts their father. It happen gradually but my wife just ignored the signs until I wasn't invited to my oldests engagement party or wedding. I don't even get to see the grandchild. I helped raise these girls from 13 on!

My wife is afraid of losing the girls and so (though she is sorry about it) won't get in the middle of it. She has resigned herself to seeing them without me even though she knows how much it hurts me. It also makes me resentful and at a time when we are dealing with other issues (financial, menopause, downsizing our lives) it doesn't help matters and adds to my issues related to my depression. She seems completely disconnected from me emotionally. We talk about seperating but we go through this cycle of fighting, making up, having a few months of stability and then fighting again.

To be honest, I feel she is staying with me because she has seen a lawyer and financially things would be better for me if we divorce. Meanwhile, my eyes are starting to wander. I've never had the urge to be unfaithful to my wife. I married late and had my fun and it's so childish and hurtful to be playing games at our age.

I feel lonely in my own home. Am I right to be resentful about her not supporting me with the kids. She seems to be completely thoughtless about the role I had in the kids lives. Less supportive of my issues related to my illness. (Again it's managed but the stigma attached makes it impossible for me to even get in the door of a company. I've tried M of D and it was a horrible experience.)

She wants to separate and I think a lot of her (our) female friends are supporting her. You can just tell. I still love my wife. She asked me to marry her on Sadie Hawkins Day on a morning radio show. We have had a wonderful relationship up until the last few years. Am I being insensitive regarding her relationship with her kids? (I thought once they were our kids). I feel it is disrespectful and, like I say, she just seems to have become disconnected and resentful toward me.

I'm torn. I want the marriage to work but it feels like I'm the only one working at it. We've been successful at some things. Our sex life has been better (it was never great to begin with but it was okay); I started doing triathlons; I love it and we train together now; we have a good social life; good friends.

Mostly, I feel like a second class citizen. The girls are bright, did well in school, married, have great husbands. I never tried to replace their father but he wasn't there for them so I filled the role. We used to joke "all off the parenting, none of the love!".
To be honest, if it wasn't for the fact that there were no takers I probably would have been very vulnerable to cheating on my wife. But I don't want that really.

I need the straight goods here from men and women. Should I be happy that the kids still want to see their mother or should I be expecting more. Am I being a schmuck! I'm feeling trapped and our arguments are getting more heated and vitriolic. I miss the girls but they seem ungrateful for the role I played in their early lives. It's been a few years since I have seen them last and they don't seem to miss me too much. My wife insists that they do and they just need to work things out with their father and slowly they'll be back. Their father hasn't even dated since their divorce 17 years ago.

I've talked to a lawyer but I keep putting things on hold. Am I just afraid of being 50 and alone? (Well, yes.) I am feeling abused and desperate (obviously, I would NOT be doing this.) Mostly, I think I know in my gut that it is over regardless of what I do.

Thanks,

WGR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Is this kids issue the primary reason for her wanting to separate? (And how sure are you of your answer?)

I see two possibilities: either she is confiding in those girls that she doesn't want to be with you, and they are being this way to you because of that, OR their reconnection with their dad really is the root of the problem. These are two VERY different scenarios that should not be handled the same.

If it truly stems from daughters feeling like having a relationship with you hurts him, then there's a whole gamut of stuff going on. Your best approach would be to recognize that the girls were victimized and emotionally abused by not having their father in their lives. Perhaps your wife manipulated things to make sure this happened. (Read up on parental alienation syndrome to get the idea - you're a surrogate for the "targeted parent" who was dad, and now they have to find a way to keep on mom's good side, too.) Like I said, there's a whole slew of stuff happening if this is genuinely the case. If you believe it is, then resentment will prove to be completely worthless to everyone here. This is something that *will* run its course, but it could take years. I'd expect it to start fading as the girls complete their "teen brain growth" around their late 20s.

OTOH, if your wife is not wanting to be married to you, and there are some good reasons for thinking this is likely (she's talked to you and an attorney about divorce, the role reversal, the demands of living with a chronically depressed person...) then what you are seeing is daughters who are being loyal to your wife and believe that she is right to want to leave. If this is the case, then your behaviors are at least half the problem, and your wife is the other half. The kids' behaviors are just feedback.

The one thing I would encourage you to do in either case, and no matter what happens, is to start keeping a daily gratitude log. Find reasons to feel good about small things every day. Try to find at least three things per day that give you a positive feeling. It may take some practice to get to three. Then start working yourself up to ten per day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
It games two to have a marriage. But only one for that marriage to end up in divorce. If both spouses are not dedicated to the marriage, its doomed. Your wife hung you out to dry with her kids. Knowing that her EX was trying to mess things up she should have stood by your side, but she didn't. And I cannot believe she did not stand up for you to go to the wedding.

You said she wants a separation. If that is her final word, there may be no talking her down. Has she said if she is willing to work on the marriage at all? If you did, I believe it would require moving away from the famy that is looking to tear the two of you apart and start fresh somewhere else.
Posted via Mobile Device
 
  • Like
Reactions: Betterthnchocolate

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
You are far from a schmuck. You most likely feel used and burnt out and that you are not getting anything at all in return.

To not be invited to your step-daughters ceremony and marriage is a damn shame. It feels like a slap in the face. If anything, I am assuming that the father may have pressed for not wanting you around and if you are then he won't show face. Now that they are older and wiser, who knows what he is feeding them.

However, your so called W is the main problem. She knows what you did for her children. She saw what you did for her children. And yet, she refuses to acknowledge any of it so she doesn't lose her daughters? She should have completely took your side OUT OF RESPECT, if anything.

To me it looks like they are slowly kicking you out of the family. Sorry man. Lawyer up and stop being disrespected. No one deserves to be excluded from family gatherings, especially under your circumstances.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,485 Posts
The commenters above are all on the money.

Your wife is orchestrating all this at some level, consciously or unconsciously.
Even men who are gainfully employed are on thin ice when marrying women with children. Those with jobs are called "beta providers" in your case it would be "house husband." Women have more contempt for the house husband (even biological SAHD's are usually doomed), but the fate of both types of men is often the same: divorce almost as soon as the kids are out on their own or the wife comes into money, which ever comes first.

If your wife cared about you, all would be well.

She doesn't. She simply lacks the guts to end it honestly.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,174 Posts
The commenters above are all on the money.

Your wife is orchestrating all this at some level, consciously or unconsciously.
Even men who are gainfully employed are on thin ice when marrying women with children. Those with jobs are called "beta providers" in your case it would be "house husband." Women have more contempt for the house husband (even biological SAHD's are usually doomed), but the fate of both types of men is often the same: divorce almost as soon as the kids are out on their own or the wife comes into money, which ever comes first.

If your wife cared about you, all would be well.

She doesn't. She simply lacks the guts to end it honestly.
What if it's an Alpha "Gustavo" type house husband, complete with Chippendales bod, martial arts master, fixes things around the house, works out during the day and makes her feel protected and good sex. She's a bread winner?

One of my friends just did it for a couple of years. They want more money so he's going back to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,380 Posts
Did the bad end to the first marriage have anything to do with you? And this is an anonymous Internet forum. No one here knows you, there's no need to be euphemistic, it would be beneficial if you say what happened. 17 years is a long time to carry the torch for someone who apparently moved on.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,485 Posts
What if it's an Alpha "Gustavo" type house husband, complete with Chippendales bod, martial arts master, fixes things around the house, works out during the day and makes her feel protected and good sex. She's a bread winner?
If you get around polygynous cultures, like parts of Arizona and Kenya, it's real common for the husband to do little or nothing productive, while the wives bring in the income, sometimes lots of income. But the polygynous dynamic of wives all vying for the husband's attention makes it work. If it's only one guy and there's no female cooperation/competition drama, it can't last for the reason given below.

One of my friends just did it for a couple of years. They want more money so he's going back to work.
Are you sure they want more money? Here's the thing, women really, really, really, do not like to be out-earning the man.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,174 Posts
If you get around polygynous cultures, like parts of Arizona and Kenya, it's real common for the husband to do little or nothing productive, while the wives bring in the income, sometimes lots of income. But the polygynous dynamic of wives all vying for the husband's attention makes it work. If it's only one guy and there's no female cooperation/competition drama, it can't last for the reason given below.
Machiavelli,

You are a wealth of information. I have heard of some societies where you say the women working and doing the labour is the norm and the male lays back...

Are you sure they want more money? Here's the thing, women really, really, really, do not like to be out-earning the man.
I have heard this before in the American culture. They usually loook for a man who makes more than them or has more access than them or both.

I don't know how much the wifey prompted him to get back to work, because his complaint to me was he was providing some assistance via his savings but he was burning it down and did not like that.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,589 Posts
Here's the thing: women do not like having to support a man. Even if there are kids at home they often don't respect a guy that doesn't work. On top of that, you say you have debilitating depression that keeps you home, so you are not really a partner to her. How is it that you've developed a wandering eye if you're too depressed to leave the house? Online stuff? If you can leave the house to look at women you can leave the house to work and spend time with your wife. Perhaps her daughters don't like that she married a guy that doesn't work or leave the house? Maybe she's depressed too but somebody has to pay the bills.
Have you done everything you can to deal with the depression? Have you sought medical help for it? If your wife dumps you it's going to be difficult to find a decent woman while you're not working, not leaving the house, and living off your ex wife, so if you're at all prepared to make some changes for another woman why not make them for your wife?
size=1]Posted via Mobile Device[/size]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,945 Posts
I do feel bad for you. I raised 2 daughters & it was very hard when they were teens (the age you came into their life). So bad timing plays a big part in your problem. Also, their Father played his "poor me" part very well. The odds of the girls accepting you were never good.

I think it is too late for them to accept & respect you. You need to get over it if you want to stay married. This may not be the popular view on this website, but if I were given an ultimatum between my daughters & my 2nd husband, I would choose my daughters.

The fact that you do not work puzzles me. You say depression prevents you from working yet you are able to do train for triathlons? I have suffered from depression in the past & could barely get out of bed but managed to drag my sorry ass to work.

I can't help but wonder if the girls don't respect you because you do not work & contribute financially to the household. I mean no disrespect because I truly do understand depression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow! Thanks for the thoughtful responses one and all. I appreciate everyone's candor and the supportive comments too. You have given me a lot to think about. I never thought of my wife telegraphing her unhappiness to the girls. That makes more sense then the girls just blowing me off. Very cool. Thanks!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top