His excuse is that he couldn’t tell his ex about me for a long time because she is jealous and wouldn’t have let him see the kids. In fact, he never told her I was pregnant or that we moved in together; she found out through social media creeping. Then she got full custody of the kids and asked for child support. She clearly knows we are together now — our wedding was in 2016, and there has been a lot of anger between the two of them because, again, he did not tell her about the wedding.
He has allowed me to say hi to his kids on FaceTime, but I still have not met them. WTF is going on? I’m ready to honestly give up on this marriage. When I bring it up, he says he doesn’t want to confuse the kids. I desperately need advice. — Mom of three boys
Why did you marry a guy who refused to introduce you to his children and who prioritized his ex’s feelings over your own? What do you say to him when he says that meeting you will confuse his children with his ex? It would only confuse them if they believed he was still in love with their mother. Is he? Do you feel like he’s in love with you? Besides this craziness, do you feel otherwise supported and valued and appreciated and like your marriage is on strong footing? Or is this rejection of you — and let’s be honest, rejection is exactly what this is when he refuses to introduce you to his children and integrate you into that very important part of his life — sort of par for the course? If it’s the former, get some marriage counseling to work through this. If it’s the latter — and I think it probably is — you might want to save your money, skip the counseling, dump his ass, and let every weekend be boys’ weekend from here on out.
P.S. 17 Things Every Couple MUST Discuss Before Getting Married (check out number 2).
My dilemma is: I want to live in a cooler climate but my husband won’t even consider it because he thinks he won’t get another job anywhere else. My upbringing was dreadful as was my brother’s. Hence, why we were farmed out. I’m just wondering: Do I keep compromising all my life or do I fight for what I want (literally, for the first time in my life)? I’m at a loss as to what to do. Any suggestions are welcome. — Tired of Compromising
I can feel your pain in being abandoned as a child, being cheated out of a relationship with your brother, and missing a happy family life as a kid. I think it’s normal now, as an adult — one whose kids are grown now and whose in-laws are nearing their end — to take stock of where you are, physically, mentally, and emotionally — and to want more or want something different for the next chapter of your life. And while a move to some place cooler, away from memories that may or may not bring comfort and away from family obligations and responsibilities, may feel like the most logical choice, I think if you were honest with yourself, you might realize it’s not terribly logical.
You keep saying none of your family lives near you — that you just have this one brother who lives in a different state — but that isn’t really true, is it? After all, you have your husband and his parents, and you have your four kids. One of them is already married – maybe there will even be grandkids on the horizon. You may feel lonely and unfulfilled, but it isn’t because you lack family near you. You have more family close to you than most of us do. Your dissatisfaction is based on something else, and that something else is going to follow you wherever you go.
I’m sorry to tell you this. The day of reckoning may be upon you, and no amount of running or trying to hide from it is going to save you from the work you need to do to face it and slay it. You had a shitty past. That is not your fault. Your husband is devoted to his parents and perhaps failing to see that you need him too. Speak up. Tell him you’re running on empty. Tell him you need to see your brother. Scrape together the money you need to make such a visit possible. It is cheaper and less traumatic than picking up your life and moving to a cooler climate without jobs and far from family.
Lean on your loved ones — your kids, your husband, your friends. In life and love we make compromises, but if you feel that you are the only one doing so, ask that others shoulder some burden now too. What tasks or sacrifices are you making that keep you unhappy? Can you pass these tasks to someone else? If you stop doing them, will everything fall apart or will people learn to adapt? There are ways you can start living more for yourself without as much disruption to yourself and your family as a move to “a cooler climate” would entail. I know you’re searching for an easy solution — one big action you can take to make everything better — but, with the exception of maybe going to therapy, I don’t think there is one solitary action that is going to bring you the peace you crave. It certainly isn’t a move away from all the people you know and love, no matter how much cooler the climate might be.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.