Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Update: “Torn Apart” Responds

updatesIt’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Torn Apart,” who felt her parents weren’t being supportive about her husband’s girlfriend having twins for her husband and her and were, in turn, treating her husband with hostility. She was especially concerned about her husband not being allowed on the title of the house her parents co-signed for. “Now I’m terrified about what could happen when I’m gone, and I’m getting papers drafted by a lawyer for my parents and husband to sign that will guarantee that if I die, my kids and husband will keep the roof over their heads and my parents will promise not to try and take the kids from my husband,” she wrote. Her update below.

I was going to respond to this ages ago, but life is always very busy and I’m wordy.

I was a little taken aback by the response – but in shortening the story, I think some things didn’t translate. As far as choosing to have the kids – it wasn’t really a choice. My husband and his gf always used all birth control methods, and my husband had been declared by a doctor to be sterile – and then his gf got pregnant with twins despite all this, and, yes, DNA says they are his. I support a woman’s right to choose, but I did ask her to consider letting me raise the children rather than get an abortion, and she agreed to go through with the pregnancy. I’m an agnostic, but the whole thing felt pretty much determined by a higher power (the impossible pregnancy for me to become a mom despite what cancer robbed from me), and I haven’t questioned that in my life.

We all banded together to make this work. (My parents even said they were on board with it back then, but I don’t think they’ve come to grips with the fact something they find religiously wrong seemed ordained by some god and has brought them something my mom at least has wanted since I was 19.) I will never regret having the kids, even though they have to grow up in poorer circumstances. Despite where my parents and my in-laws are at now financially, both my husband and I grew up in poor homes, and we know how to stretch our food budget and do everything we can to keep down costs. We do not rely on my parents to pay for the kids, and since my husband is a stay-at-home dad, we have cut out a major expense. I didn’t grow up with privileges, and I know my kids will be fine without them, too – no costly preschool, no lessons, no TV, no devices of any kind (which kids don’t need anyway), no new clothes, etc.

We made a lateral move as far as cost of living was concerned, but we could only do it if we bought a house instead of renting – which we couldn’t do on our credit alone. We had worked out a way to borrow some money and get the co-signing from my husband’s dad, but my parents then refused to sign off on selling the house we were in. (I had only bought the house when I was in my 20s because my parents insisted it would be better than renting – which it was, but I was young and hadn’t realized the power that put over me – especially when two years later the economy tanked and I stayed at beginning teacher salary for a decade.) After a lot of negotiating with my parents, we accepted that they would only sign off on selling the old house (a requirement to afford the new one) if one of them was the co-signer of the new house and not my father-in-law. The old house is now selling, and my parents are recouping their money (just as we had planned to recoup and repay the money to my father-in-law). We do not live extravagantly, and we aren’t moving to be spoiled – we moved for the financial sense (it’s actually cheaper in our overall budget to live where we are now).

I wasn’t looking for string-free assistance. Since the move, we are further from my parents, so they aren’t babysitters anymore, but they frequently want to see the kids. The distance has given us a chance to avoid seeing them as often, and some of the tension has eased. I was trying to find ways to help both sides accept there are things about the other that they will never agree on, but we all have to suck it up and get along, if for no other reason than the kids. When we accept money from my parents, it is for medical costs – like the money for me to get blood transfusions, and chemo, and pain medicine, and anti-nausea meds, and all the things that literally keep me alive. One-third of our income goes to keeping my health insurance, but copays and other parts not covered make up another one-third of our income. We manage to survive, and part of that is thanks to buying over renting and the other is thanks to my parents. We pay back this money as my husband sells cars (which I guess wasn’t clear as this is something he does while caring for the kids), so we never have savings, but at least I never have a lapse in treatment.

If I weren’t sick, we’d be fine. But I am, so I have to say, check your privilege – having a chronic medical condition is a serious liability in the modern U.S. There is no amount of working and no amount of doing without that can cover the cost of my medication reliably. My reality is that I either die or take assistance – and I’m sick of people who think I have to justify how I live my life in order to deserve to live. If my family can’t pay for both parents and kids to eat, it’s not because I bought a $1.25 soda at work—and it’s not because we moved into a larger house – it’s because I have to pay thousands of dollars a month to keep myself alive. So we sacrifice and do without, and I randomly vent on the internet. I’m glad the situation is easing. I live for my children, literally, but my life endangers them unless I suck it up and take help from my parents. I don’t think it’s too much to ask them to be kind about it.

Anyway, this was a nice distraction from the current state of the country.

 
Sure, those of us who are healthy can check our privilege, but I’d also suggest that someone who has parents who are financially comfortable enough to be a financial safety net – to help buy a family home, to help pay for medication as well as expenses related to raising two children — should, you know, also check her privilege. You argue that having children wasn’t a choice you made, but… it was. At every step, choices were made, specifically: your husband chose to have sex with his girlfriend, risking potential pregnancy; you chose to ask his girlfriend to not terminate her pregnancy and to consider letting you raise the babies — babies that you admit you and your husband cannot afford to raise on your own, on top of your very costly medical expenses (and I absolutely agree with you that it’s a travesty that in this country having a medical issue like the one you have can bankrupt a person and rob people of choices that others are more fortunate to have). You also chose to raise these children knowing not only how serious your own medical issues are but also how serious your husband’s mental health issues are as well.

The truth is you rely on your parents’ help and they help you — what a privilege to have that help! — but you’re angry that the help isn’t given with more kindness even though you understand that your conservative, religious, boomer parents struggle with accepting your lifestyle (a lifestyle they indirectly help subsidize). I understand how much you hate that you have to accept help from your parents — your letter(s) make your feelings about this crystal clear — and how, if it weren’t for your health issues, you wouldn’t need their help. Life is unfair, I get it. Some people get to be healthy and put their incomes toward savings and vacations and new clothes instead of astronomical medical treatments. And some people get to have parents who are comfortable enough to lend help while others don’t have that safety net. The playing field is far from fair.

Look, if you are serious in wanting more harmony between you/your husband and your parents, I would suggest treating them with more kindness and compassion, as you would like them to treat you. They not only help you make ends meet, but also, I assume, they are whom you would designate as your childrens’ caregivers should something happen to both you and your husband — a reality that, given both of your health issues, is a bigger threat than for the average 30-something parents. They have stepped up for you in a very big way, and while the delivery of their support may not be perfect, you are so lucky to have it.

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If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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46 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Kate February 3, 2020, 11:04 am

    Oof, I just – even with the clarification given – can’t get on board with this. It’s just so. Much. Justification. I don’t think you’re in a position to be having kids, and I think like Wendy said, you made a lot of choices that you’re justifying.

    “ I didn’t grow up with privileges, and I know my kids will be fine without them, too – no costly preschool, no lessons, no TV, no devices of any kind (which kids don’t need anyway), no new clothes, etc.”

    Really? Sesame Street on PBS? Some new clothes once in a while? Piano lessons or art lessons or swim lessons? Kids don’t need any of that? I absolutely benefited from those things. My husband grew up poor and really resents the lack that he had to endure. His mom made choices to end up in that position, and that’s hard for him to reckon with. Even so, she scrimped to send him to Catholic boys’ private school and pay for some lessons. Without that school, he’d never have gotten into the college he did or had the chances he had in life. We both learned a shit-ton from public television.

    I’m going on and on, it just annoys me when someone is like, I’m having a kid and they don’t need anything. Yeah they do, to thrive.

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      Kate February 3, 2020, 11:30 am

      Just to clarify the above, my husband was super poor as a young kid, and the public schools in his city were terrible. He remembers his childhood being really dismal. Salvation Army clothes, government cheese. It sucked. It was kind of traumatic. When he got a little older, his mom’s situation had improved a little and she could send him to Catholic school.

      You say you didn’t need any of that, but with all due respect, look where you are right now. You couldn’t support your family without your parents’ current wealth. You’re struggling. Head start stuff and access to lessons absolutely helps give kids a leg up.

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        Kate February 3, 2020, 1:40 pm

        And like – sorry, I can’t get off this, it just makes me mad – My husband was an extreme preemie and had a lot of health issues as a kid. He also had dyslexia and was not a great student. He *needed* that private school. His parents had zero money for college. By being in that school, which was highly respected, he was able to get into a program at Northeastern (which he had to pay for himself through loans that fucked him as an adult). That was his chance in life that opened all the doors. I can’t stress that enough.

        Kids often have special needs that will keep them from being able to succeed without some extra money for programs, unless you have a stellar public school system. My brother would be homeless if my parents couldn’t afford to provide for him. My cousin too, or dead. Saying kids don’t need anything is just ridiculous.

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    Kate B. February 3, 2020, 11:27 am

    Having those babies was absolutely a choice. In fact, everything you do is a choice. The only thing in your life that isn’t a choice is having a chronic medical condition, but you do get to make choices about how you deal with that. You could choose to take assistance, that’s what it’s there for. And before you tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, my niece was born with severe medical issues that required 24-hour medical care. My brother and his wife made many choices and many sacrifices to give her the best life that they could for the five years that she was alive. Some of those choices were public assistance and two jobs for him, in addition to taking money from my parents. I get how hard it is to be sick in this country. Our healthcare system sucks. Knowing that, and given how precarious other aspects of your life are, I stand by my original answer that choosing to have those children was irresponsible, at best. Your parents are doing what they feel they need to do for their grandchildren, so they have the best life possible. That, by the way, was a choice that you forced upon them. They could have chosen to turn their backs on you because of your lifestyle, which you say they disapprove of, but they knew their grandchildren would suffer if they did. They have the means to help out and they do. You should show more gratitude.

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  • avatar

    Bittergaymark February 3, 2020, 11:47 am

    Honestly? If God was so hell bent on you having kids — he wouldn’t have given you the Cancer in the first place. Or saddled you with such a mess of a user / loser spouse.

    Sorry, but you still REEK of entitlement. NEWSFLASH: You have ZERO leverage here. So You best play nice with your parents or you will find yourself — rather deservedly! — completely fucked.

    PS — Your update reads like Trump’s lawyers are now arguing your case. Sorry, but there is nothing much sound in any of your addendums or updates.

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  • avatar

    Helen February 3, 2020, 12:34 pm

    You didn’t even address our concerns. Just justified your house. Did you adopt the twins? If not there’s nothing to stop the bio mom from taking the kids away from you. A 20 year old felony isn’t keeping your husband from working. I have an old felony. I started a cleaning business. I make $30/hr. He can work he just doesn’t want to. Your parents are kinda right to see him as a loser. Nobody should be fighting in front of the kids. If he can’t let shit from your parents slide when the kids are around he’s a lousy dad.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 3, 2020, 12:42 pm

      He does look like a loser to the outside observer. He has a felony, he chooses not to work, he accidentally knocks up his girlfriend yet can’t support kids. I mean, I hope he keeps the house tidy and maintained, cooks the meals, does the laundry, rubs your back, is an awesome nurse to you, AND gives you 100% of the emotional support you need from him. In addition to being a full-time dad.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 3, 2020, 12:53 pm

        I forgot he’s suicidal. That’s not a criticism of him, it’s just another reason why I don’t think kids should have been brought into this situation. Both parents have life-threatening illnesses. There’s no money for ANY extras beyond food and shelter. Dad’s a felon without employment. He has another partner. Where’s the stability here?Where’s the opportunity?

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      • avatar

        Allornone February 4, 2020, 3:42 pm

        The last time they did this was this LW’s first letter. They seem hellbent on insisting this LW is fake despite Wendy’s explanation of evidence to the contrary. It’s strange.

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      golfer.gal February 3, 2020, 1:22 pm

      This. Did your husband find steady work? Literally nothing you have said is a reason for him not to be working and he sounds like a deadbeat.

      If your parents are “recouping their money” from the proceeds of the sale of the first house, does this mean they paid the mortgage on it? Or they gave you the downpayment for the new house? Which, btw, is way more than “needing them to cosign”, that’s needing them to PAY. And you openly said in your first letter you were moving because you wanted a bigger house. Now you say you’re moving to somehow save money with a lateral move on cost of living. Which one is it? It comes down to the exact same thing we said last time- you are relying on your parents to subsidize your family in really big ways, and you have a husband who should be shouldering at least some of that burden and won’t. Your parents are understandably frustrated with that. You’re talking in circles about why you are entitled to their money- you’re sick, you use it wisely like for medical expenses, the new house made “more sense”, they’re cosigners instead of the people paying who deserve a stake in their investment, you didn’t choose to have kids (which, wtf, yes you did). You want them to fund your life, you feel entitled to the money because *reasons* while your husband doesn’t have a job, and you want them to give you their money on your terms with a smile.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse February 3, 2020, 1:21 pm

    The thing is, we’re concerned about the kids. The responses you received weren’t *as kind* as you wanted because we were concerned about the young, vulnerable children who have to live with the choices you, your husband and his girlfriend have made. As are your parents. Kids do need things.

    I still have no idea if you’re a legal parent of these kids or not.

    I mean, in the best circumstances, having a clinically depressed father who is suicidal is not the best for kids. Having him as the SAHP is a little worrisome, and your update about how kids need no screens, lessons, anything seriously makes me wonder what kind of environment they will be growing up in. Parents don’t just want their kids to survive, they want them to thrive. Many people choose not to have children because they literally can’t afford kids. You made the choice (to adopt?) and you and your husband are both unwell. I just think it’s smart to really think through what you’re doing. What if you die? Will he have full custody? Will the bio mom? What about your parents? You need to prepare even for the worst possible outcomes. I feel like you give your husband too much credit and I do think he’s taking advantage of this situation. Even without your parents having different ideas of what relationships should be, it does seem like he’s getting many advantages here that you and even your children are not getting.

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  • avatar

    Kacie February 3, 2020, 1:40 pm

    From one poly person to another:

    Get your parents out of your business.

    Consider immigrating to a nation with healthcare and state provided child care.

    Vote.

    It;s hilarious to me how many commenters/readers seem to think poor people shouldn’t have kids. So fucking sad.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 3, 2020, 2:00 pm

      Kacie, do you live in the US? This is no longer a country where kids born into poverty have a good chance to get out of poverty.

      Also, the father in this situation doesn’t work. Both parents have life threatening illnesses. The home life isn’t stable or peaceful. You think it was a good idea to choose to bring twin babies into that?

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      • avatar

        allornone February 3, 2020, 2:18 pm

        I’m someone who will not be having children. In a perfect world, I would’ve had at least one. But I didn’t. The main reasons? For the vast majority of my child-bearing years, I was poor and my life was a mess. It was not something I could bring a kid into in good conscience because I would not have been able to sufficiently support them offer a life they could thrive in. I sacrificed my own wants because I knew it was the best thing.

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      anonymousse February 3, 2020, 2:29 pm

      I don’t think poor people shouldn’t have kids. I can still look at this situation and wish they had made different choices. Bringing kids into this family, with one parent seriously ill, suffering chemo and being the only breadwinner, with a long life not guaranteed and one suicidal father who doesn’t work is not optimal. There’s a difference between being impoverished with kids and this. Everyone wants to give their kids the best they can, better than they had it. That is not the attitude here.

      They talked this woman out of an abortion. I mean…it’s not like this was an “ooops! we’re pregnant, let’s turn our lives around and make the best of this situation” situation.

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    • avatar

      Ange February 3, 2020, 8:23 pm

      Sorry to say but most countries with universal healthcare wouldn’t take two chronically ill people, one with a felony and no special skills to support their immigration. That’s as short sighted as having kids when you’re in a really precarious financial situation that you’ve done nothing concrete to change.

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  • avatar

    FYI February 3, 2020, 2:36 pm

    “If my family can’t pay for both parents and kids to eat, it’s not because I bought a $1.25 soda at work—”
    … it’s because my husband won’t work.

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    • avatar

      saneinca February 3, 2020, 3:00 pm

      LOL!

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    • avatar

      Anonymous February 3, 2020, 3:24 pm

      Oh snap!

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  • avatar

    Jennifer February 3, 2020, 2:54 pm

    Frankly, I’m quite annoyed at the “check your privilege” crap flung at people that dared to comment on the prior letter. You chose to write into a website where people routinely provide their opinions on the submitted letters, and you’re all huffy that opinions were provided? We can’t provide negative commentary because we don’t happen to also suffer from a chronic disease? I don’t know if you were expecting an outpouring of support for your sad plight, but when I read this letter, I felt the same way as everyone else. And the update really did make it much worse. You chose this path. You chose this husband, you chose your career, you chose to take these babies (hogwash that it was somehow arranged by god btw), you chose to move, etc. etc. etc. The only thing you haven’t chosen is your cancer. It sucks that you’re sick. It is just ridiculous that a sick person has to live one step away from bankruptcy in this country. But given the situation you’re in, you seem to keep making terrible choices and blaming your parents for the consequences. I don’t blame your parents one bit for their reaction to all of this.

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    • avatar

      Kalindria February 5, 2020, 1:29 pm

      Well, I DO live with chronic stage 4 cancer and chemo and I agree with the posters here that this LW has her head so far up her own entitled ass she’ll never see daylight.

      If you’re planning to send your kids (or whoever’s kids they are) to public school, you’ll want them to at least be conversant with some of the tech items everyone else takes for granted. They’ll be teased and bullied otherwise – believe me, I know.

      Honestly, this LW should have just quit while she was behind. Her situation is horrendous and someone else, of sound mind and body, should be tearing those children.

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      • avatar

        Kalindria February 5, 2020, 1:31 pm

        Grrr! Rearing not tearing.

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  • avatar

    saneinca February 3, 2020, 3:20 pm

    LW, you are one of the most irrespobnsible posters ever. I am having an impression of you being utterly brainwashed by your husband (and a small cult style living),

    – You are dying of cancer
    – Your husband cannot work
    – You decided to have a 3rd person into the marriage ( Is it more like a sister wives situation ?)
    – And then let her and your husband have children. How exactly are you involved here ? why did you decide raise them ? what makes you a better parent than your husband’s GF ?
    – And you are mad at your parents that they will not support your husband and his GF and their children after your death ?

    Why should they ? Get over yourself.
    Is it not enough that you are being a fool? You don’t need to sign on your parents to this idiocy.

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    • avatar

      Jennifer February 3, 2020, 4:12 pm

      Or these kids…. They had even less of a choice to sign on.

      I have twins. Twins can be a lot of work. My husband and I are financially sound, healthy, and (for the most part) mentally balanced. It can be a lot. I can’t see how this situation is tenable with twin babies on top of it.

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  • avatar

    brise February 3, 2020, 4:00 pm

    LW, you are courageous in your fight against your illness and you obviously want to seize life and see the positives and make the best in your circumstances. But objectively, your family situation is very precarious. I still can’t understand how your husband can not work with a sick wife as sole breadwinner. He should work the evenings, the week-ends. Doesn’t he feel the need to be a rock, to stand for his family? It is great that he is looking after the children but he has also to take part in the breadwinning process. I would also seriously make plans for the future and your parents are your family’s best option. Can’t you ask your guy to work part-time, when you are at home? You don’t have to be the total heroin, he can take his share of the task and you can still fight, with more energy. A job could make him more stable, your family a bit less poor, and the future a bit more secure.

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  • avatar

    brise February 3, 2020, 4:19 pm

    For the sake of the family, I would ask more help from your parents: one day of babysitting, for example, while your husband works, any job. Just ask him.
    About emigration, I don’t think this is possible if you are sick, unless you have the nationality.

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  • avatar

    Oracle February 3, 2020, 4:38 pm

    Can not believe anyone thinks this is real. For starters why is she not in a HMO where everything would be covered?

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    • avatar

      Rebecca February 4, 2020, 10:17 am

      …what?!

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        Kate February 4, 2020, 12:50 pm

        Right, what? You have a pattern of coming on here and crying fake on these letters (that Wendy has said she vets out, btw) because of medical knowledge you claim to have. I think the last time was about cancer too. Give it a rest. Your experience is your own, and it’s really rude to come on here and claim that someone’s cancer experience isn’t real because it doesn’t look the way you think it should look.

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      Kate February 4, 2020, 1:02 pm

      Not to mention… not every health plan is an HMO. She could have had a PPO or whatever through work. Or had to buy crappy insurance on the economy. And I don’t have any personal experience with cancer, but from what I hear there are lots of expenses that are not necessarily covered. Someone I know just went through breast cancer, and at the time she got it she had gone back to grad school full time and had bad insurance. She had a kickstarter.

      Seriously, you’re being so rude.

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    • avatar

      Kalindria February 5, 2020, 1:36 pm

      I have cancer. In 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and told without treatment, I had 5 months to live. Even with treatment, the odds of living 5 more years were only 12%.

      My partner has terrific insurance through a major US company and I STILL have copays. I don’t think there’s any insurance that pays everything and if there is, the premiums are probably ridiculous.

      Don’t judge and don’t pontificate unless you know whereof you speak.

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  • avatar

    Phoebe February 3, 2020, 5:22 pm

    This is the kind of person who will never take unpleasant advice, but will go from person to person until she hears advice she wants to hear.

    It was selfish and reckless to bring babies into that situation, and the parents are probably frustrated and doing their best.

    I have a daughter at a college routinely voted the most liberal in the country, and we hear “check your privilege” used a lot, but it’s wrong here. When she pressured the girlfriend to have those babies, knowing the situation she was bringing them into, she was acting irresponsibly. There’s no other way to say it.

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  • avatar

    FYI February 3, 2020, 6:00 pm

    I want to throw in a sympathetic comment.

    LW, are you sure it was a mutual decision to be polyamorous? Do you have the time or energy to sleep with other people? Was it your partner’s idea to “open” the relationship? If so, that means he gets to have sex when you’re too tired or sick, doesn’t have to work, and yells (!) about your parents’ contribution. Oh, and he has time to go out and get people pregnant while you work full-time while sick and raise two little kids.

    Think about it.

    I did, and I think you’re being snowed.

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  • avatar

    Ms.Vader February 4, 2020, 3:28 pm

    I second Kate’s comments…I have a BA in Psychology and used to teach so I have some perspective on what is required for child development. I also taught in inner city schools where kids were coming to school in winter (and i live in Canada to give you an idea of the temperatures) without jackets and where the only time they will see a computer is in the classroom. Let me tell you – those kids find it quadruply hard to succeed because so much more is stacked against them compared to their average counterparts.

    Yes, you are technically right, in order to survive a child doesn’t need t.v., NEW clothes, “lessons”, and “devices” but they certainly do if you want to raise well functioning adults. IN particular, those devices you abhorr and the lessons. You are setting your kids up to be failures – if they succeed, they will in SPITE of what you have provided and not because of. One or two case studies are not a good indicator of success. Your kids are growing up in a technological era – they need access to those technologies to be able to compete and learn. Restricting their access will do them no favours – it will not make them stronger, it will make them weaker and have to play a lot of catch up when they reach school age. And no lessons? What do you mean by no lessons? Well rounded kids need to have external stimulation in order to stimulate the areas of the brain that they will require to learn critical thinking skills which is crucial for success. As a parent, your job is to raise your children to be successful adults; it isn’t to raise them just so they are breathing at the end.

    It is terrible that you live in a country that the cost of surviving cancer means you may not actually be able to survive – and nobody is arguing against that – but you know that and you made choices despite that.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 4, 2020, 4:21 pm

      Thank you! I’m not a child development expert, but *of course* to be successful kids need something more than bare-minimum, often crappy public school education – which may not be well equipped to deal with special needs. We had to move to a new town in a new state to get into a school system that could deal with my brother’s special-Ed needs. I was just a normal student, but he needed to be in all special-ed. He wouldn’t have graduated if not for that program.

      And how about just like, lessons at the YMCA? I did drama classes, art stuff, swimming and diving at the Y. I don’t think they exactly have great art and sports programs at schools anymore. You don’t think that stuff builds ability and confidence and puts kids on a better path in life?

      Even something as simple as NEVER having a new outfit makes kids feel really at a disadvantage and just inadequate. That’s not good.

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      • avatar

        Leon February 5, 2020, 1:41 am

        I disagree with this. The only privileged extra thing I had while growing up was access to books, art supplies, and in my puberty, web access. And I think of them as privileges, but in fact they are not really expensive. Didn’t have private education, courses of any type, new clothes, etc. And now I consider myself a fairly functional adult with two bachelor degrees.

        I don’t think that having access to these kind of paid stimulation is an indicator or guarantee of success. I didn’t took a language course, but I’m a fairly (certified) advanced english speaker who taught myself by playing videogames, reading in english and using apps. Didn’t do well in math, and had a rough path in uni, but studied harder than the rest who had better education and apparently knew (what was) and how to do an ecuation. Had to repeat some courses, but got to do it in a way or another.

        I mean. Life coud have been a little more easier if I had access to a decent highschool, or something better. Was it a hard path? Certainly. But the outcome of this and based in my experience, is that you don’t necessarily need expensive things to make a child thrive. Teach them to enjoy reading. Let them play with other children. Public entities have great free summer courses. The best thing a children can have is the curiosity to learn new things, and money is a non required part of that recipe.

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        Leon February 5, 2020, 1:48 am

        Mmm, now that I think about it, my adolescence sucked and I was depressed most of the time, so I don’t think my life experiences are the best examples on how to raise a child. But, under certain circumstances (good health system, good public schools, a stable family, etc.), I think that with little money child can be raised into great individuals.

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        Kate February 5, 2020, 6:27 am

        Yeah, Leon: You had devices and apps. You also mention good health system (we don’t have one), good public schools (in some towns yes, and these towns are expensive to buy or rent homes in), free summer programs (those would be great, but not sure we have any of those for suburban kids), and a stable family life (not at all for these kids).

        So let’s recap: With Internet, devices, apps, great health care, excellent public schools, free summer programs, a stable home life, and perseverance, a kid has a chance to do all right.

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    Lucidity February 4, 2020, 4:18 pm

    As the child of a clinically depressed parent who eventually killed herself, it’s very disturbing to read that your husband is the primary caregiver for these children. I know depression presents itself differently depending on the person, but I find it hard to believe that someone who is suffering to the point that they’re suicidal is able to properly care for two young children and work on cars at the same time. This is likely not a safe situation. Your children could be neglected in a myriad of ways on a daily basis, witness something traumatic, or even be harmed. I hope your husband is receiving proper mental health care.

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      Kate February 4, 2020, 4:39 pm

      I was thinking that with the working on cars. No one gets any work done with kids around. People at work are just offline if their kid has a fever and stays home from daycare. Everyone knows they can’t work. How can this dude be doing mechanical work outside the house, under a hood or under the car itself, and also be watching the kids?

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        Kate February 4, 2020, 4:56 pm

        And they’re TWO years old. God forbid they have an accident like my brother did at 2 or 3 when he got out of my dad’s sight for a minute.

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    dinoceros February 4, 2020, 11:37 pm

    I imagine that no matter what Wendy said, you were going to write back with a multi-paragraph rant about how it was wrong.

    All I’m going to say is — what do you mean they used ALL the birth control methods? One, I don’t think anyone uses them all at once (implant, IUD, pill, condom, etc.),. Two, how do you know what they used for sure?

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      Kate February 5, 2020, 7:56 am

      He told you they used “all the birth control methods.” Much more likely, knowing what I know about men and their usage of birth control methods, they weren’t using anything. He thought he was sterile, and she’s his girlfriend/long-term partner. Under those circumstances, he’s not using condoms even if he tells you he is because that’s your agreement. Even guys who are SUPER paranoid about using condoms AND don’t think sterility is an issue, will take them off at times in a long-term relationship. Fact. And if she only has one partner and believes he’s sterile, why is she necessarily using anything either?

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        Bittergaymark February 5, 2020, 1:36 pm

        Because it’s all bullshit. This letter isn’t bullshit — but the saga of divine immaculate conception destined by the loving hand of God is simply utter malarky.

        I bet you are right, Kate. There was ZERO birth control involved here.

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        Allornone February 5, 2020, 1:46 pm

        I didn’t even catch that. You’re right- I’ve never been in a relationship where the guy continued to wear condoms after we got serious. I’m not a complete idiot and have always been on birth control, but condoms? Ha. No man wears a condom if he doesn’t have to.

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        Kate February 5, 2020, 1:52 pm

        Also, condoms cost money. This guy has no money. Condoms have to be purchased and replenished. But beyond that, yeah, guys don’t use them consistently under the best circumstances. I had one boyfriend who was very very diligent about them, but there were still plenty of times he was in there without one. And I’m GenX, we grew up with the fear of HIV. Younger people are way more lax.

        Clearly it was important to your husband that you think he was using multiple forms of birth control with his girlfriend, but he lied.

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