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Topic : Balancing Marriage and Family

Number of Replies: 1242
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Created on : Friday, July 01, 2005, 05:00:43 pm
Author : dataimport
Adding a family means big changes in a marriage. Tell us how you've succeeded or struggled to manage both.

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October 2, 2008, 10:42 am CDT

My blended family is not blending

I have been a single parent for 16yrs and have a 16 and 18yr old daughter, I also have been with my fiance for 3 1/2 yrs. We are now living together for the past almost 3 months and my 16yo daughter just does not want him around every day. She says she doesn't care that we are together but just doesn't want him living with us until she leaves for college. Now I feel like my fiance is being as childish as she is because he does not speak to her and she doesn't speak to him. It's like they are invisible to eachother. We are beginning to argue about things almost on a daily basis. He makes comments how I did not teach my daughter manners and how to be polite and courteous because she does not acknowledge him. He does not have any children and I really resent all the off the wall parenting advice he has, because he has absolutely no clue about being a parent, and just constantly brings up how he was raised so well and he was such a great helpful child and never caused any problems, and we all know that is not true. NONE OF US WERE PERFECT TEENAGERS. I am tired of the ridiculous nit picking and comments he makes. I've gone to family counseling w/my daughter and he was supposed to make an appointment w/the therapist so he can have a session and its been 2 weeks and he has not called yet. I feel like my daughter is willing to make more of an effort than he is and he is supposed to be the adult.

Has anyone gone through this same situation that is willing to give me advice. I appreciate all help.
October 12, 2008, 1:04 am CDT

Balancing Marriage and Family

Quote From: mp1970

I have been a single parent for 16yrs and have a 16 and 18yr old daughter, I also have been with my fiance for 3 1/2 yrs. We are now living together for the past almost 3 months and my 16yo daughter just does not want him around every day. She says she doesn't care that we are together but just doesn't want him living with us until she leaves for college. Now I feel like my fiance is being as childish as she is because he does not speak to her and she doesn't speak to him. It's like they are invisible to eachother. We are beginning to argue about things almost on a daily basis. He makes comments how I did not teach my daughter manners and how to be polite and courteous because she does not acknowledge him. He does not have any children and I really resent all the off the wall parenting advice he has, because he has absolutely no clue about being a parent, and just constantly brings up how he was raised so well and he was such a great helpful child and never caused any problems, and we all know that is not true. NONE OF US WERE PERFECT TEENAGERS. I am tired of the ridiculous nit picking and comments he makes. I've gone to family counseling w/my daughter and he was supposed to make an appointment w/the therapist so he can have a session and its been 2 weeks and he has not called yet. I feel like my daughter is willing to make more of an effort than he is and he is supposed to be the adult.

Has anyone gone through this same situation that is willing to give me advice. I appreciate all help.
WOW! I went through the same thing except I married him and my daughter is 15. I actually had to go to my father in law because my husband like your fiance was just irrational. His whole way of thinking just wasn't right. he would stoop to her level and not speak to her and have the nerve to talk about her rudeness. I just couldn't take it anymore because I would never put anyone before my children and it was tearing us apart but thank God after involving my father in law he saw the light. First thing he needed to realize is that he's the outsider, to her he's coming into her world so if anyone has to go the extra mile with kindness is him. He has to learn to love her unconditionally like you do with your children. He has to be the adult, just because she's a child doesn't mean that he can't say hi, he has to lead by example. How and when he grew up is not how children today are growing up. Most importantly she's a girl, a teenage girl who is going through her own changes with her body and environment. To her the only thing that's important is her, her friends, school and probably shopping. She's a teenager for God's sake did he forget how he was as a teenager, yes boys and girls are different but we all went through our changes. He also needs to realize that it won't happen immediatlely or it may not happen the way he'd like but as long as together y'all raise a young lady to become a women who is polite, respectful, and courteous than that's all you can ask. It's tough for children at that age to adjust to someone and their lifestyle when they have already adjusted to the lifestyle they already had before this person came in the picture. My husband asks me the other day about a friend he saw my daughter talking to outside the house, like who he was? I stop and thought to myself why is he asking me this if he was just outside and he could have just asked her and that's exactly what I asked him, he says well me and her don't talk like that she's not going to answer me. You know what I said? I said How would you know if you didn't try, then i said most likely she wouldn't really respond or not respond how you would like but the only way you and her will have that relationship is if you keep trying, you keep talking to her and you never give up. Eventually they will come around, she will trust him when she's sees that no matter what he will still be there, he will still love her, he will still say hi even when she doesn't, he will still acknowledge her presence even when she doesn't acknowledge him. As parents we can't give up on our children that includes him too and when dealing with young adults because in reality at 16 and 18 that's what they are he can't behave childish, he still has to guide then especially when they ain't acting right because that's how they will learn to respect him. He can't be ignorant to the fact that you obviously know what you're talking about and allow you to influence him on how to handle your girls, I mean you have been doing it for 18 years. You also have to enforce to your girls that disrespect and rudeness will not be tolerated by them either. I hope this helps.
October 18, 2008, 6:51 pm CDT

Multiple Issues

Quote From: badboyz

I married my wife in Sept. 2006.  When we were first married she lived an hour and a half from me in the town we both grew up in.  When we first started dating I explained to her the importance of my career and the need to stay where I am living because I have a child from a previous marriage and am very active in her life.  She understood this and agreed to move to where I am.  After being married, we discussed her moving and she wanted to stay in her home town until the school year was out, in order to avoid uprooting her 2 children in the middle of the year.  I agreed that might make the transition easier for them.

After the school year was complete she moved to where I live, we established a home and things were going fine, so I thought.  She only stayed for three weeks and told me one day she was moving back home because she was homesick and did not like it here.  She left me August 19, 2006, alone, in a house I couldn't afford alone and with nothing.  I had gotten rid of all of my furnishings because she liked hers best.  No problem, I just wanted her and her children to feel comfortable and welcomed.  Plus, it would be familiar surroundings for the children, by the way, who were 14 and 6 at the time.


After leaving me, she immediately insisted on filing for divorce, which we did.  However, she would not move on.  I attempted numerous times to pick up the pieces but she would contact me and I would agree to try and work things out, knowing in the back of my mind she said she didn't want to live here with me.

She divorced me in November 2007.  I again attempted to move on and again she kept pursuing me.  I eventually find out that she was having an affair with her ex husband the enitre time.  She claimed that she was reaching out for something she couldn't have and that she was now over that.  She insisted we try again, but I avoided it as much as I could.


Well, after many months of begging, crying and many promises on her part that she would do whatever she had to in order to make it work, including moving to where I live.  I was very hesitant, but eventually gave in because I do truly love her.  She assured me, promised me and even swore on her life that if we were ever together again, she would never let me go.  I again told her, I could not move an hour and a half from my daughter and give up my career.  She didn't care, she just wanted us to be together, even if it meant walking out and leaving everything she had, she just wanted to be with me.


Well, 2 months ago, she moved back here.  We are together now, her children are in school here and things seemed to be falling into place.  That was until this past week.  Her son, who is now 15, called his father and asked to go live with him.  My wife told him that was not an option because she didn't want to split her children up.  My wife is now considering leaving me again to move back to her home town in order to please her 15 year old son.  He liked his old school and his old friends.


I am not sure what to do.  Her children love me, we do things together, have fun and get along fine.  I actually spend more quality time with them than their biological father.  My biggest confusion comes from the fact that she is going to let a teenager make a decision for her that will affect the rest of her life, an mine!  She doesn't want to leave, but she says she won't lose her son either.  We seriously need advice on how to handle this situation.  What should I tell her or what should she do?

Please help us!



OK, I'm addressing your question about having the wants/needs of a 15 year old dictate life decisions.  But I think there's other issue(s) you also need to consider from the first part of your letter. So here goes...

Will she let her 15 year old decide where she lives - Yes. 
Will she let her 15 year old determine whether her marriage goes forward or ends - Yes. 
Is this wise and in the end beneficial to you, her, or her son - No.

Speaking from (very current) experience she will end the relationship with you at even the hint of risk of losing her son.

I've often seen the "Mother Bear" attitude where women (and to some degree men) will be very protective, allowing, and giving to their children.  This obviously can be a good thing so the child is protected from potential harm.  But it can go too far.  Where the mother will give up their very life to attempt to satisfy the WANTS of the child - not just the NEEDS.  In cases involving a son, I fear this teaches young man that the women later life should do the same as mom did.  To drop her wants and needs in order to satisfy his. 

Now, another possibility is that the decision to move back may be primarily her own and she's using her son's desire to mask hers.  The truth is that being in a relationship means sharing everything.  Physically, emotionally, financially, and on and on.  If she's been a single parent for some time it can and will be hard for her to open up and accept another person in her life.  Maybe she's getting cold feet after the ceremony. 

I'm afraid I don't have the answers Todd.  For I'm in the same boat right now.  Only it was me who sold my house, quit my job, and moved hundreds of miles to make the relationship work.  Now, I'm facing an attitude of "Where it comes to my son I'm responsible and will make the decisions".  But being part of a family means the actions of any member will affect everyone else.  And I feel that there's regret on my wife's part that she now has to keep me in the loop on her life.  But I do it for her so I'm not asking for anything I'm not already giving.

Good luck working through this.  As for what to tell her...  Try pointing out the benefits of having a stable, loving two parent household for her children to grow up in.  As for what she should do...  It doesn't matter what you, I, or anyone else says.  She has to come to this decision on her own, otherwise there will be resentment and animosity.  As always I'd suggest getting counseling. Good luck to you both and let us know how this works out.


October 20, 2008, 9:02 am CDT

His jealousy is killing our marriage

My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years.  We have 2 children.  We were both previously married. His ended because his ex-wife cheated on him and left him for another man.  My husband is suspicous of EVERY man around me that I am even slightly friendly to.  He makes this biting, underhanded comments like ,"Well, I guess you two will be trading favors back and forth now" in response to a favor a male co-worker did for US as a family.  It's these little comments that actually seem to reflect upon ME instead of someone else that are just killing me.  I can't stand the jealousy and the way he can't seem to express how he's really feeling instead of making snarky little comments. 


It is getting worse!  What can I do? I've tried to tell him that comments like that and suspicion do not make our marriage any stronger and he'll just respond with, "I'm not suspicious.  Why would I be suspicious? Sounds to me like you're guilty when you tell me I'm suspicious." And turns everything around on me.  Also, he says that when I react it makes him wonder why I'm so bothered by things he says and sounds like he's onto something.  I can't win!  It's so juvenille!  I feel like I'm in high school again with an immature jealous boyfriend who doesn't want me to go out with my friends or something.  It's even gotten to the point where he wonders why I'm "dressed up" or "wearing makeup" or makes snarky comments that I'm wearing something too low-cut or form-fitting.  He's suspicious of EVERYTHING!  I love fashion and love to wear cute shoes and dress up when I can and that makes him insecure, like I'm out to impress someone else.  This man is almost 40 years old! When is he going to get over this?


Even me going to the gym to work out makes him wierd! He'll say things like, "you just want to go there to look at the hot guys" or "you just want people to see you".  !!!!  I'm going insane!!!


What am I supposed to do? I've talked to him about this so many times and it never gets any better.  I'm lost.  Please help!

October 24, 2008, 11:23 am CDT

My wife won't get a job.

 I shall try to briefly describe my situation.

My wife was laid off from her job two years ago.  At present, my wife has no job and will not seek employment.  She is a competent professional in the computer field.  She spends seven days a week caring for her mother, who has a degenerative neurological condition.  My wife's mother is in no pain, but in increasingly unable to move.  At present, she cannot climb stairs, walk or even sit unsupported.  My wife has made some attempts to find some sort of alternate living arrangements for her mother, but always finds some fault that prevents a transition to an improved living arrangement.  I have just completed my PhD and am myself actively seeking employment.  I was a teaching assistant as a graduate student, which provided health insurance for the both of us.  When I completed my degree, my wife became quite angry over the loss of health insurance.  I told her that if she wanted health insurance, she should get a job that provides health insurance, but she will not try to get a job, citing her mother's needs.

My mother-in-law calls day and night with various distress calls.  We've received calls at 3 am, where my wife gets up and goes to her mother.  My wife has complained that I don't leap out of bed at 3 am, ready to respond to the emergency, which may be as trivial as my mother-in-law being unable to sit upright when she wants breakfast at 3 am.  The needs of her mother have permeated every aspect of our lives.  I fear that my marriage is deteriorating and I need some advice in figuring out what to do about this situation.  I can't take much more of this.

Thank you.

December 2, 2008, 9:57 am CST

Trapped: To good to leave, to bad to stay.

I find myself in a most difficult situation. My wife is not who I married. She is trustworthy and I do still love her however, I am not happy in our marriage and I don’t know that it can be fixed. I am caught between staying with her for our son or leaving to find someone I can be truly happy with. I’ll give some background.

My parents are the greatest any person could ever want, very supportive of me and they have loved me through really tough times. Yet, between the two of them there has always been struggle. My parents are barely affectionate toward each other, fight constantly and a lot of times I think they would have been better off without each other.  Deep down, its seeing them and the struggle they have had that makes me have second thoughts of my own marriage. I don’t want to be like them and look back 30 years later and wish I had a different life.

This is my 2nd marriage so from the very start I laid my life out on a platter for her to see. I was completely up front about what I expect in a marriage as far as life, how to raise a child, sex, religion and everything else. My wife knew 100%, going into this, what I expected out of life with her and she had very similar desires. I often referred to her as the female me because we had so much in common and felt the same way about so many things.

Having said all that, after the birth of our son things changed drastically and I feel like a stranger in my own house.

I do the majority of the house work and child care. By default, if we’re together I watch our son. My wife’s life has not changed since the birth of our son very much. She still goes to bed early every night and is allowed to sleep uninterrupted until I go to bed. I get up with the baby when he gets up most of the time. In the morning I watch my son so she can shower and get ready. She is ready 2 hours before she has to go to work. I am relieved to get ready for work anywhere between 30 minutes before I need to go all the way to 15 minutes after I should have left. When I get home I watch our son until she gets home, I do the dishes, I clean, I cook and just do general house work along with any to do items she has for me. While we eat I take care of the baby so she can have a hot meal. When the baby goes to bed she either also goes to bed or stays up for an hour or so more watching TV. She is always to tired, has a headache or some other problem that prevents her from spending time with me. On days we both have off I spend the majority of my time watching the baby. When we are at family functions I watch him. My wife really hasn’t had to give up anything or change any routine since the birth of our son. I on the other hand have only had 1 day, since his birth 1.5 years ago, that I have not been ultimately responsible for him and that was for 5 hours. Having kids was her number one goal in life but I spend the majority of my time caring for him. I’m not saying she is a bad mother at all, she’s great. It’s just that child care and house work are mostly on me.

Our sex life is past dead. We went from sex daily, if not more, to about 3 times a month. My wife does not want to make out with me, there is no foreplay involving me touching her at all. When we do have sex it is robotic, scripted and plays out like 99% of the other times. She doesn’t like sex to last more than 10 minutes. It’s always in the bedroom, on the bed. It’s 100% on her schedule. Nothing can even be done to bribe it out of her. I purchased a brand new car and she still didn’t sleep with me for 4 days.

She will not open up to me for conversation. Anytime I try to talk to her we go through the 100% same phases. If I try to bring anything up its silence, crying, anger. She gets mad and points out things wrong with me. In the end we never talk about what is on my mind and nothing ever changes. She never comes to me with issues at all other than when she is trying to divert something from herself. I am the typical woman in this part of our relationship. I have no problems talking about my feelings and she doesn’t want to talk about any of it.

No effort is made for “us” time. Plans for people to watch our son on her day off are made days/weeks in advance. Plans for us are usually made last minute as if it’s done that way for greater chance of failure. I would not have married the woman I am married to now. I feel like she has given up on life. She has no hobbies and wants none, she has no desire to travel, she has no desire to do anything but work, sleep and play with the baby when she isn’t busy doing something else. If asked if she is happy or how life is she is always positive as if the world is filled with sunshine and rainbows.

I took the Dr.Phil relationship quiz and she scored the highest possible, I scored the 2nd to lowest that I had “already had an emotional divorce”. She doesn’t think anything is wrong. I’ve asked her to come to marriage counseling with me and she won’t because she doesn’t think we need it. If this is all somehow my fault I need someone to tell me because she isn’t working with me at all. I think she is just scared to find out that anything she is doing could possibly be wrong.

So in summary I feel completely trapped. My wife doesn’t cheat on me, she doesn’t spend my money wildly, she is a good mother. It’s just that I am a roommate or best friend, I feel unappreciated, undesired sexually and rejected. I am not a husband or lover. I am a great guy and any woman would be happy to have me. How can a marriage be fixed if only one person thinks it’s broken? The other issue is that even if Dr. Phil read this, had us on the show and told her she was wrong and needed to treat me better or sleep with me I wouldn’t feel as if it counted. She would be doing it because someone told her to and not because she genuinely wanted to be with me or around me.  Even more so now I feel like I am trapped and destined to live out the life of my parents; looking back and wishing I could have my life back to try again.

I don’t know that there is advice for me and I don’t know that this wasn’t more than spilling my heart out on to paper. Maybe someone else is dealing with this and they can know that they are not alone. I would give anything to have my wife back, to know she cared about me like she used to or just feel loved/wanted. I’m sad and scared that my life has been sacrificed trying to make her happy enough to care about me again. A battle I’m obviously losing.

December 9, 2008, 10:18 pm CST

my wife and our son, my ex-girlfriend and our daughter

 First off my name is Bobby  and my ex-girlfriend  Amy have a daughter  Hannah together from our past relationship. I get custodial visitations set up at my moms via supervised visits to make sure that my Girlfriend  whos name is Cindi at the time who recently just a few months ago became my wife now was not allowed around my daughter since she had a past that my exgirfriend repeatedly keeps throwing up in my wifes face she was charged with child neglect charges 5 yrs agoand lost her kids a very touchy subject at hand However  we now have Nathaniel our 4 month old baby boy  of our own and I go every other weekend to my moms 2 weeks for summer break and the holidays are divided between us the problem is that my wife Cindi  is 25 im 36 and she can't deal with the situation of  me going to  my moms to see my daughter ever other weekend and this is constantly  putting our relationship into jepordy the ex refuses to let her near my daughter because she hasChild Neglect charges on her however she used to babysit my daughter before the neglect charges came into play now it tears my family apart. I am constatly fighting with my wife and with my ex and even with my mom cause my mother and my wife can't seem to get along as well. I also pay $300 a month for childsupport I can't work ive filed for disabilty they just told me that it may take 2 more yrs for the case to get done with the appeal I can't hold a job and my wife threates me with divorce all the time cause she can't handle the stress it causes with our marriage my question is what can I do about my ex she constatly does nothing but non stop harrass me about child support  The child support keeps dragging me into court for reviews for being so far behind on my child support and threates me with jail time but since ive filed my SSI case I haven't paid much of the child support because I can't  seem to be able to keep a job  to pay the money I owe because im  so depressed all the time I can't sleep  my wife keeps me upset and fighting all night I don't want to lose my wife but she constatly tells me either my  exgf and  my Daughter goes or her and my son goes how do I choose between my wife and my son and between my daughter can someone please help me im so confused

thanks Bobby
December 13, 2008, 1:41 pm CST

My wife does nothing in the house.

I think that this is emotional abuse or spousal abuse.

We have been married for 21 years and for the last 6 months my wife has lost her mind.  She no longer works so she is home all day.  She is on the computer all day from the time I wake up to the time I come home from work and go to bed.  She is either playing a multi player online game, IM'ing her online friends, talking to them over the pc, or talking to them on the cell phone.  The house is a pig pen since she does not pickup or clean after the kids.  The sink is overflowing and you can't see the floor in the washer room.  The living room is covered with blankets, pillows, clothes, dishes, cups, candy wrappers, etc..

The kids are all old enough to help, but refuse to do so. 

I stepped up my cleaning for a couple of weeks and got things cleaned up and asked her to help with the keep up.  When that did not happen we started to argue.  I would unplug the internet so she would pay attention to me but that mad her more angry.  She is acting like a child with candy and snack all over her desk and the kids think that it's all ok.

I am sick over this.  My blood pressure is the highest it has ever been and I am on meds for it.  I cannot believe that I have to come home to a filthy house every night.  The number one cause for ALL the problems in the house is the filth.  If that were not the problem all our problems would be minor ones.  I feel like I am a victim of abuse,  not physical, but mental.  I feel that I am powerless in my own home.  I have to work  to support the family, but have no say as to how the house is kept. 

Councelling has not helped so far.  Nobody wants to tell my wife that she needs to be a wife and mother and help take care of the home.  It is a vicious circle.  I have stopped 95% of the yelling at the kids and the wife.  I sometime get so frustrated that I slip and start yelling.  The other day I did not put a finger on my 14 year old when he threw shoes, a pillow, and a hairdrier at me.  I am trying, but my wife doesn't care.

I want to fix this, but I need help.

What can i do?  Who can help me?

January 19, 2009, 1:48 pm CST

My fiancee isn't too happy with my Mom

Well, I have been engaged for about a year now and just a few months until we walk down the altar. Last night my fiancee tells me "I'm having second thoughts." It isn't about me, as we both love another dearly, but she is worried about the excess baggage that comes with me - my family.  I won't get into the boring details but right now my fiancee feels that my mom is putting a wedge between us as she is getting big things for our house mainly for me w/o consulting either of us, she is doing things for the wedding that my fiancee feels she is over stepping her bounds and whenever she sees my mom - she feels she is very fake an putting up a false front on her. Again, I'm not going crazy into the details but I feel that my mom and her are very silmiar to one another and I also feel like they are competing against each other for me? Also, I suggested my fiancee let my mom know how she feels - but she won't because she isn't the confrontational type. She also doesn't want me to go and blab anything or she'll end up looking like the bad guy. I am currently seeking out a pre-marital counselor to see how we can get this resolved, because the last thing I want is to marry this girl, and a few years down the road have my wife not take it anymore and force me to move away from my family.  Anyone else gone through this or have some pointers?
February 2, 2009, 1:05 pm CST

Not Sure what to do

I have been married (the second time) for almost 2 years.  My current husband and I have known one another for the past 10 years.  Recently, we gained custody of my husbands son.  I hate to say it but it seems that since he has moved in everything has gone crazy.  My husband seems to want to spend more time at work than at home.  If his son needs him or has a problem, my husband tells me that he can't handle it right now.  My husband seems to be full of anger and I do not know where this is coming from  His son and I have gotten along, except when he tries to play me.  I believe in getting a good education and he is in 8th grade.  He has a tendency of being "typical" lazy teenager but I try to encourage him to do well.  I have 2 grown kids from my first marriage.  My youngest is in college and tries to help show my step son how important school really is.  My husband doesn't spend as much time with his own son as my son and I do.  This is creating a problem with my husband and myself.  I have noticed that my husband tends to show more anger at me, fighting over stupid things and getting really nasty.  I have thought (but did not say) that maybe some of the anger stems from his inability to deal with his own son.  Seperate my husband from the kids and work and it just be me and him and he is back to his old self.  Very loving, caring and funny.  We have had some good times together when we plan a night out for just the two of us to try to help keep our marriage fresh and together.  But throw work and his son in the mix and look out.  Can someone help.  Has anyone ever dealt with something like this?  I love my husband and would do anything for his son, but how do I deal with the anger that keeps rearing it's ugly head.
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