- This topic has 21 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 7 months ago by ron.
March 29, 2020 at 10:40 am #878912TimidTammyGuest
Seeking advice about what I should do. My husband, who I’ve been married to for almost 3 years, has two children(9&15)that live in another state some thousand plus miles away. My husband recently invited his two children to come up to stay with us for an extended amount of time since they’re schools will be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He made the decision without consulting me first, he impulsively invited them up during a recent phone conversation once he found out they’d be out school for the rest of the school year; Which it would be great to see them! It would allow him and I to spend some much needed quality time with his children, except for one thing, he won’t be here for most of it. He is away for work 5 or more days a week as a truck driver, so it is expected of me to be here to look after his children while he is away. Additionally, not only will I be responsible for looking after them I will also have to be responsible for making sure that they get their school work done online and essentially homeschool them. I do not think that it is fair that he expects me to take on sole responsibility for them while they are here when it is his responsibility. We have a 3 year old and I work too! I do not mind helping with them because I am their stepmom but to make me take all this on mostly by myself just seems wrong to me. I just feel like I’m being taken for granted here because I tend to want to help everyone and usually extend myself more than I should. My husband knows that about me but he’s running with it. This is not the first time he has made decisions that would affect both of us with out consulting me first. I have not expressed to him how I feel when he does this because he is not always an easy person to give constructive criticism to. He will resort to stonewalling and isolation when confronted about his ways. I would like to get some advice on how to proceed I do not want to make him feel that his children are not welcome here but I feel that because he is away for an extended amount of time during the week he should not have them come here unless he is going to be here. I am primarily the one taking care of our 3 year old, I function like a single mom most of the time. Even when he is home I’m still the one taking care of most of our son’s needs because all he wants to do is rest and play xbox. Also, there is the fear of exposure to the COVID-19 virus by having them come during this time because my husband’s children are at a higher risk due to their mother being a nurse at a major hospital where there have been known cases of the infection. I fear that they may potentially expose us to the virus. I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to navigate this situation. Thank you!March 29, 2020 at 11:06 am #878913bloodymediocrityParticipant
Yeah, you are absolutely right that your husband should have discussed this with you. He’s probably working under the assumption that you will be fine with it because you’re already taking care of one kid so what’s two more? It’s definitely sexist hooey.
It would probably be best if the kids stayed home where they are. I get that without them in school, the temptation to treat it like extended summer is high. But it sounds like they are getting adequate care at their current home. They can sit at home at their current place or sit at home at your place.
If you do decide to let them come, they are both old enough to help out at least, so make sure that happens so you’re not totally overwhelmed.March 29, 2020 at 11:09 am #878914ronGuest
You need to talk to your husband about this. You need to be able to communicate about your frustration at his approach to decision making, assigning you responsibilities, and stonewalling when you try to express your feelings. You need to involve him in some sort of video-counseling with a marriage counselor. He clearly isn’t pulling his weight around the house and seems stuck in 1950s gender roles.
You should let him know that all of this is becoming a threat to your marriage (from the content and tone of your letter, that is 100% true) and he needs to take it seriously.
In a time of coronavirus, it is not a good idea to host his kids. Healthcare workers, sadly, are being infected all across America. Their families also pay the price of their dutiful service to the rest of us.March 29, 2020 at 11:23 am #878917BittergaymarkGuest
Eh, I see a dad trying to save his kids from exposure to a deadly virus…
If we lived in a decent society with a non-idiot President the kids could get tested and problem.
I would step up here. People often do in times of War. And make no mistake — this IS war.March 29, 2020 at 11:34 am #878918PeggyGuest
Hi Tammy-lots going on here. Firstly, you knew he was a dad when you dated and married him. You also knew his job kept him away from home for periods of time. The schools are closed and his ex-wife,their mother, is likely working flat out right now with this virus crisis. Plus it risks her bringing the virus home to her kids.
So it is his right and duty to have the kids there with you two at home. He should have asked or consulted you perhaps, but are you saying you would have refused them to come? These are not normal times.
If you are working, ( which is great money wise) are you working from home? If you are going out to work,who is caring for the 3 year old? Most day care situations are closed right now.
Your husband is still able to work-that should be something you are both grateful for. Trucking supplies etc. is an especially important job during this crisis.He must be exhausted too.
I do not think it is right if he comes home and just plays video games ,but he also needs to decompress for a bit.
I think the both of you need to be more supportive of each other and craft a plan to get through this. Maybe the kids can have some assigned chores to help contribute to everything running more smoothly. Everyone needs to know ahead of time what is expected and how this is going to work. This may be hard for the kids too. Away from their home and friends etc. and worried about their mother.
Your husband sounds immature in some ways and needs to engage in a real discussion so this situation is as fair as can be made for each of you. I wonder too if perhaps you are sometimes quite demanding and unreasonable and so he avoids dealing with you-just something I thought could be true.
So talk to him and be flexible and appreciative of the good things and figure a way to minimize the bad. Good luck!March 29, 2020 at 11:42 am #878919EssieParticipant
Mark’s right, he’s probably trying to get the kids to a safer place. A lot of healthcare workers who are on the front lines are sending their kids to live with relatives. Maybe his ex asked him to take them.
The fact that he didn’t explain any of that to you, didn’t discuss it with you, didn’t ask your opinion, didn’t ask if you were OK with it, though? In your place, I don’t think I could help but feel like he didn’t value me at all. Or respect me. And I would have to say that to him.
Will he change his mind and leave the kids where they are? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound promising, from the way you describe his personality. For the sake of the kids, you may just have to bite the bullet on this one.
Please, get couples counseling. I know it’s rough with his work schedule. But I think it’s necessary to save your marriage. I don’t see how what’s going on now (he has a tantrum if you speak up, so you walk on eggshells) is sustainable.March 29, 2020 at 12:13 pm #878921ktfranParticipant
Your husband definitely needs to help more at home and he needs to talk to you about joint decisions. There’s no question there is a communication problem.
However, I’m not sure this is the time I’d put my foot down and say the kids can’t come. They are likely safer with you than their mom because of her occupation. Your stepchildren our fully capable of helping you with meals and with looking after your three your old and chores.
Come to an agreement about how they’ll help before they get there. Try to spin this positively and think of it as having more hands on deck to help.
Also, couples counseling.March 29, 2020 at 12:54 pm #878928anonymousseParticipant
I agree that the kids are probably better off with you, but that is not the issue. Has this been settled? Are they actually coming? How are they traveling?
The issue is your husband makes decisions about what you will do and what responsibilities you will take on because he knows that he can. He knows that he can make this decision and even if you don’t agree with it, or think it’s unfair you won’t say anything because “he doesn’t take constructive criticism well.” He knows you will go along with it. His manipulations have clearly worked- he doesn’t respect you as an equal partner and this is how he shows you that. I’m sorry to be so blunt. But I’m sure this has been building and building and unfortunately for you there is really not much you can do right now to change his behavior, especially if you’d just rather not voice your opinions or concerns or feelings. You can change your behavior.
What did you say when he told you that his kids would be moving in indefinitely, and that you would be in charge of homeschooling, entertaining them and feeding them? Did you say, “Hey Bill- I cannot believe you’d make this decision without even talking to me. I’m still working full time from home and caring for our three year old. This is a lot more responsibility and work that you’ve just thrown into my lap.”
Or did you just say, “Okay.” And never voiced any dissent?
Couples counseling is a really good idea. Unless you plan on being a doormat forever. I really hope you can find a way to calmly communicate your point of view to him. Now is the time to be clear about how you want decision making in your relationship to be now and in the future. Good luck.March 29, 2020 at 1:45 pm #878936HelenGuest
Are the kids safer staying with a truck driver? His job is pretty high risk too. Maybe the older kids can help entertain your 3 year old while you work. Slack whatever you can on the homeschooling. They have all summer to learn what they need. Probably not possible with the high schooler, but you might be able to get away with it with the elementary school kid. Your husband’s attitude and sketchy ways are huge problems. But I don’t think keeping his kids away during this time is the right thing to do. It was shitty to not include you in the decision. Maybe when this is over you can try marriage counseling.March 29, 2020 at 1:55 pm #878937ronGuest
It’s not that simple, BGM. The husband and wife both work, yet she is expected to care for their child and the house while she’s not working, but he expects to spend his time playing Xbox, when he’s not working. That’s a very unequal marriage. Now, without any consultation with her, he expects her two just about fully care for two other children. That’s awful
We don’t know what is safest for all involved, because the letter gives us insufficient data. The two children are over 1000 miles away. How will they travel? Travel is a big source of coronavirus spread. What EXACTLY does his ex do as a nurse. Is she likely to have already been exposed to the virus? This depends on virus spread in her community and whether her job involves contact with CV patients. Is her job likely to make her significantly more exposed than average person in future? More exposed than a truck driver? What are odds that his kids have already been exposed?March 29, 2020 at 2:15 pm #878940BittergaymarkGuest
I’d love to know how many hours she works versus him. Also, really. If you want a fellow parent who never routinely out of town for work… maybe, gee, I dunno… plan ahead. You know, don’t make a baby with a truckdriver. Just a thought.March 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm #878959ronGuest
Admittedly we weren’t told how many hours a week she works, but it’s not unreasonable that she’s just scraping by without going nuts with her job, the housework and 1 child, while feeling put upon that her husband isn’t doing more and then feels that two more kids to take care of will push her beyond her limits. It is not normal childcare of school age kids, since they will basically have to be home-schooled (on-line, but doubtless needing her help). It is just grossly thoughtless, rude, and domineering for her husband to make this commit on her time, without discussion. Really, to me that is unthinkably bad if the guy wants to stay happily married. He sounds like a troglodyte out of the 50’s.
Yes, she married him knowing he was a long-distance trucker, just as many women marry military men knowing they will be on deployments. Neither is an excuse to be a shitty, dictatorial husband.