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Thoughts for discussion

Rags's picture

Since a common struggle for STalkers, new and old, is a spouse that puts children above their marriage/partner what are the solutions to this problem?

This is a new thought for me but.. how about the non-priority spouse countering the other partner's kid worship with agressively not making the kid worshiping spouse or the kids the priority?

I know it is a tit for tat tactic but....  letting the kid worshipping/prioritizing spouse know that they are not the priority due to them not making their partner their priority may drive the message home.

"Oh, you put your kids above me and our marriage yet again. Now you get to step up and clean the house, do the laundry, yard work, and get a second job. Since I am not  your priority I will not be doing anything that aids you or your children.  Let me know when you are ready to grow up and be my partner. Don't take too long.  If I reach the end of my rope you and your kids are gone."

No hints, no subptelty, just non priority mirroring consequences.  Pointing out the lack of commitment and priority in the offending partner.

I am infuriated by the repetition of failed behaviors while expecting a different result. So...  aggressively highlighting the lack of priority on the marriage for the offending partner may work.  If it doesn't, no great loss.




Livingoutloud's picture

Passive aggressive approach is never a solution.

Direct and frank conversation about how things should work in a marriage should occur before people are married. If even after there was an agreement how things should work one partner is slipping, conversation needs to happen and marriage should be reaccessed. Everyone makes mistakes but people need to be clear on what are their deal breakers and what they can and cannot tolerate and it’s very individual and subjective. 

What I see as an issue is that people (usually women) are desperate to be married so they don’t address anything before marriage or even during it until it gets really bad and then they are too deep and it’s hard to leave.  

And another issue is that people don’t think what they can and cannot tolerate before they commit.

For example a woman marries a guy who has young children and then she is literally pissed that kids come over (not troubled kids). Or she marries someone with young kids but then is pissed he pays CS. Comn now. I didn’t want a man with young kids so I wouldn’t even date men with young kids. So why be so desperate for a man that you go for men who don’t even suit your life style but then get mad.

Be clear on what you want in life and what your deal breakers are from the get go 

and the third issue is that people often marry someone who just  isn’t that into them. Then the wonder why is he not afraid to lose them and why is he treating them like crap and why he lets his kids (usually adult kids) control everything. Men often don’t prioritize their wife simply because they aren’t into her as much as they are into their sports or friends or work or hobbies or kids, so it’s not always just kids. Don’t be desperatev


tog redux's picture


Thisisnotus's picture

I am guilty of being passive agressive because until now in all my 39 years I have never had to communicate with someone in such a fashion.

so I don’t really know how to come out and speak my mind.

dh does things like....I try to make plans be basically ignores my ideas then SD mentions a plan and he tries to get me on board.....I wanted to take a mini vacation for my birthday....dh basically ignore my request....then a week later he drops 500 bucks on concert tickets because SD mentions this concert.....then dh gets mad at me because I’m not excited about the stupid concert.

Rags's picture

Your situation is an example of what I was getting at.   Maybe by the vacation, tell him when it is and go without him if necessary.  If he can spend $500 on tickets you can buy a vacation.  Don't just make plans, execute the plan with our without him.

Maybe that will make a point with him.

Livingoutloud's picture

My ex moved adult YSD in and I decided to give it a go. I gave it a year. It was so bad I’d not stay another day when a year was up. He said she is staying another year or two. Oh no. Not gonna happen.  And she is an educated professional  not a drunk or a druggie. No amount of his begging would stop me. I was out like a light. Met my now DH a year after leaving ex and his mini wife lol 

Nothing wrong with giving it an honest effort. But you have to have boundaries 

Curious Georgetta's picture

approach is to let the individual situation determine who or what should be the priority 

In our family no one person is considered the focus or the priority. The family rather than the marriage of the children is the priority. We have enough love for all.  This may not be best for everyone , but it works well enough for us. 

I think that the personalities in our home are strong enough so that no one feels as though they are in a competition . All feel heard and considered.


somethingwicked's picture



And if I recall your marriage is intact.NO GUBM or toxic skids or Narc DH or Disney Daddee anywhere to be found.Yep,that makes you an expert on StepLife.


SacrificialLamb's picture

My gosh, I agree! Lot's of kumbaya and hand holding! And lots of "good night John Boy" when it's time to go sleepy. It must be nice coming from a perfect family. Still makes me wonder why she likes hanging around the dysfunctional lot we are.

Thisisnotus's picture

 "we have enought love for all" Well of course you do....everyone in your home is YOUR family. I don't "have enough love for all" because I don't love my step kids...never have...never will. In my world, they are at the bottom of my priority list.

personalities in my house are also pretty strong and EVERYONE is in competition.

In my previous marriage of 15 years with 3 kids.....I would agree with your post. But in blended families, no way.

Livingoutloud's picture

This is a stepparent forum curious georgeta. You are free to post of course even if you aren’t a stepparent, but your comments are irrelevant as you have no knowledge or experience re stepfamily.

Why don’t you post your advice and observations on a parenting or marriage forums? It’s just not relevant here.

When I wasn’t a part of blended family, I never bothered joining stepparent forums when I wasn’t one let alone advice stepparents on stuff I had no clue about. 

I also wonder if your life is as great as you claim to be why do you spend so much time on forums that have nothing to with you? Why not spend more time with your wonderful family or take up a hobby or travel or work out etc Somethjng tells me your life isn’t as smooth as you claim to be or you’d not hang out on irrelevant forums online 

Rags's picture

That can work as well.  Unfortuneatly in blended families it is far too often the marriage that takes last place behind kids, Xs, extended family, etc....

It isn't about love. It is about priority of marriage above all else.  IMHO of course.

ITB2012's picture

passive-aggressive to stop putting a spouse first who does not also put you first. If you have tried and tried to communicate and discuss situations, even had some events occur that could have been an eye opener about priorities, but nothing changes then you are protecting yourself from being used.

Livingoutloud's picture

Why stay married if neither partner put each other first or treat each other well? Isn’t it better to leave and find someone more suitable? 

Rags's picture

Absolutely.  The mind boggler is that so many spouses in blended marriages do not put their marriage first and so many married to those people tolerate it indeffinately and won't end it. 

It seems that martyrdom is more appealing than a new life for many.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Shouldn't the point where you disengage from your marriage be the point where you're moving out and on with your life? Your partner has already checked out, so what good does it do to check out, too?

I'm a firm believer that the vast majority of marriages aren't worth saving if they are pushed to the point where disengagement is the only option left. It SUCKS getting to the point where the only card left to play is the D-Card, and at that point the person playing it is likely just done. It hurts so incredibly badly to know that you can scream, cry, beg, plead, and give up nearly everything only for your partner to not do anything UNTIL the benefits you provide (e.g. extra income, maid services, bed warming, sex) are what is being taken away. Doesn't matter that as a human being you're broken. No, you only start mattering when your leaving causes an inconvenience for them.

Eff that noise. If I have to play games to be treated like an equal, I'm out. I'd never be able to trust that my partner would treat me as their equal again.

Rags's picture

Sadly your confidence level and self clarity is rare.

I agree with you by the way.  Had I had your confidence during my first marriage it would have ended upon return from the honeymoon rather than 2.5 hellish years later.

I did gain confidence and self clarity during that experience.  

Sadly many never do and just keep suffering.