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Is this my breaking point?

strugglingSM's picture

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, DH comes storming in to our bedroom and declares "I'm going to switch SS's room to the back room. It's too light in his room." Now, SS was not with us last night, so I'm not sure why this was coming up last night.

Some back story - our new house has four bedrooms. Of the three that are not the master bedroom, two are the same size and one is slightly bigger. When SSs saw the house, they fought over who would get the bigger room, so I told DH I thought we should put them in the rooms that were the same size. The third room is currently a storage area, but I plan to make it into an office. There is a streetlamp in front of the house, so the room SS is in, is not 100% dark at night, but this is the same SS who used to require that we leave the hall light on outside his room and who needed a nightlight when he first moved into this room. He's also never had a problem falling asleep or staying asleep in that room.

DH insists he is going to move SS's room and I say "no, we'll just put curtains up, we have blackout curtains that we bought for our room that were too small, but they'll fit in his room. We just need to get a curtain rod." DH then tells me that he'll just hang a blanket up in front of the window instead, because he doesn't like the curtains I bought. I told him that I don't want to hang blankets up on the windows because we don't live in a frat house and also that I'm annoyed that he showed his children how to hang blankets up over their windows because then they dislodge the top of the blinds.

He then launches into this whole tirade about how I have to make all the decisions about things for his kids and how unfair it all is. How I was the one who refused to get them queen beds (they are 11), how I didn't get them pillow top beds (they stay with us four nights a month and again, they are 11, do they need pillow top beds, they have the same type of mattress that DH and I have), how I picked out their bedding (MIL gave me the bedding in their rooms because she had two sets of twin bedding from the family cabin that is now being rented out), how we didn't buy them any more furniture, because I don't want to buy it for them and on and on and on.

Mind you, I asked for his input when I was buying beds and other things for our house, but he wasn't interested in making any decisions at that time. The only thing he said he was that he wanted queen-sized beds. I said I thought those were unnecessary. He didn't do any research or find me queen-size beds in a comparable price range, so I was still left doing the research, placing the orders, and making sure everything arrived on time. The one thing I refused to budge on was getting his children queen-sized beds. I think that twin-sized beds are fine for them and money is tight, right now. I mention the money issue to DH and say that, that's fine, if he wants to spend extra money on beds, we can spend less on other activities for his kids.

DH claims that he always had a queen size bed growing up and tells me I only want twin beds because that's what I was used to growing up. Mind you, MIL gave me the two sets of twin bedding before I had even purchased beds for SSs, so she assumed we would be getting twin beds, not queen beds, which according to DH, she bought for all of her children. This causes a big fight and he tells me that he's just concerned about his kids being comfortable. I ask him, "so, did your children have queen-sized beds when you were still married to BM?" Of course, he has to say no to that. I also point out to him that his brother's kids sleep on twin beds and that his kids have twin beds at BM's house (I know this, because they used to share a room, which based on the size of BM's house, was not big enough for two queen beds; now one of them sleeps in the "loft", which is not big enough for a queen-sized bed).

I told him that I'm sick of him making this about me somehow wanting to shortchange his children. He loves to tell me that I'm always competing with his children, but really, he's always trying to force things on me for the sake of his children and then acting as if I'm just being mean or I'm not participating in "our family", if I point out that we can't afford something or if I say "that's fine, do whatever with your kids, but I'm busy, so you can go without me". He apologizes a bit and says that maybe he's being a bit unreasonable, but I know this conversation will come up again.

He and I have had this discussion so many times before, where I feel like he just wants me to step into the empty role in his old family, instead of working to create a new family together. I also feel like I've shared ad nauseam with him, how I feel like we aren't partners when it comes to his children, because he feels as if his feelings or desires should trump mine, because they are his kids.

I understand it's difficult to be a divorced parent and it's probably difficult to let go of the "happy family" you had envisioned for your children, but c'mon, don't force me to step into your old life, so you feel better about your divorce. When he decided that we should get married, he should have also decided that he was willing to build a new life for himself, a life that would include his children, but wouldn't revolve around them. I've said this exact same thing to him so many times and we also had this conversation many times before we were married - about how I would need their to be an "us" outside of his children and that I would need us to be partners in order to feel happy in our marriage (two things that don't seem unreasonable for any wife). I'm not sure how else to articulate that for him...


Peanut575's picture

It sounds like he wants you to step into an upgraded version of his old life that you can't afford, considering the kids have twin beds at BMs. I slept on a twin bed until I left for school & bought my own bed. All 4 of us did bc it's what my parents could afford & had room for.

Your DH is being unreasonable. Just because he wants something for his kids doesn't mean that's what's best for your family. I'd love to take a year off work & travel wherever my heart desires but I don't because I can't afford it & it's not reasonable to expect DH to pay for my fantasies.

Just because a person would like something doesn't mean they need it. An 11 year old is just fine sleeping on a twin bed. Hell my grandpa slept on one until he died in his 80s! I'm sure he had a larger bed before my grandma passed away but after that he slept in a twin, and he wasn't a small man either...

strugglingSM's picture

I slept on a twin bed in my first apartment as an adult, because it was a tiny studio and I could either have a twin bed and have room for a couch and a small table or have a queen bed and that was it.

My uncle's bedroom at my grandparents house was originally the pantry that became a bedroom when he was born. He slept in that room until he got married in his early 20s.

marblefawn's picture

Kids are so freaking spoiled now. Why is it parents don't think their kids should have to share a room, go without a smartphone or work a summer job??? It's as if they think the world will softened their kids' way as they do.

ESMOD's picture

In my case it was my MIL who thought the girls should be getting better treatment.

They share a room?.... the horror
They have to ask before they get a drink or snack?.. outright ABUSE

We don't cater and mold our lives around them? oh no.

In reality, she didn't coddle her boys much a bit anyway. She clutches her pearls to the fact that we charge YSD rent for a home we bought and renovated. Like we should just let her live there for free. I'm like.. LADY.. we actually pay money to own that house.. when you factor in the insurance.. it actually still costs us MORE than we get in rent to own that house. Shoot, we pay our MIL every month to "rent" my DH's grandfather's old house next door to them because she pissed and moaned so much about the cost of property taxes etc.. and this house is supposed to become my DH's when they pass anywyay.. so to shut her up on her "we are going to sell the house" rants.. we pay her more than enough to cover all her costs plus some.

BTW, this house was my DH's DAD's family's property as is the home that she lives in that they were given the land to build on and were given a small loan (under 20K) to build the house by his parents. It really irritates my DH when she acts like she should get to make decisions about property that did not come from her side of the family.

strugglingSM's picture

Oh yeah, don't get me started on my MIL. She is always saying how the boys should go away to sleep away camp because she did and it was so much fun or how DH and I need to take the boys on expensive vacations around the country because she has such fond memories of the trips her family took as a child. She also decided several years ago - before I was on the scene - that one of my SSs should golf, because she golfed as a child. She doesn't pay for any of this stuff, but if we don't then my gosh, it's just me keeping her grandchildren from what is rightfully theirs. She knows DH was broke when he got divorced - he moved in with her for pete's sake. She also should realize that DH and I are essentially paying for two houses for the boys. We're only paying a portion of their living expenses at their mothers, but it's not like we only have to pay for a place for them to stay 4 days out of the month - we pay the full price for those two rooms in our house that largely go unused.

She also thinks we should drop everything and push our plans aside any time BM needs someone to take the kids, because "you need to make sure the boys are part of your life." She even accused me of excluding them, because I asked her if she'd watch the boys while DH and I went to the appointment to sign the paperwork for our house. Instead of MIL watching them, they went with us to the meeting, because she "forgot" that I had told her it was at 11am and had left the house early in the morning, with no indication of when she would return. Fortunately the meeting was at a Starbucks and even though they each got about $10 worth of treats, they still came up at least twice each to bother us as we were signing papers with the escrow agent.

MIL had a stepmother that she hated, whom the whole family (including DH) claims was a "total gold digger" who "never worked a day in her life." Um, the woman is in her late 90s, I feel like there are a lot of women her age who never worked a day in their lives. Also, this woman is still alive and no one in DH's family ever acknowledges her. She was married to DH's grandfather for 25 years and married him several years after DH's grandmother died! DH's grandfather has been gone for 8 years and they all cut her off totally after he died. They are convinced that she got all this money that MIL's mother and father supposedly put aside to pay for MIL's and her sibling's college education (which were all paid for, including grad school for each of them). His grandfather was in assisted living / a nursing home for the last years of his life, living near SM's kids, so MIL wasn't caring for him. She has no idea how much money was left, if any was left. Also, would she kick this elderly woman out of her nursing home, because she feels that it's unfair that some of her father's money is being used to care for his wife of 25 years?! I've told DH that it makes me uncomfortable that his mother is fairly open about thinking stepmothers are just out to "keep kids from getting what is rightfully theirs." She even told DH in front of me that he should make his brother the executor of his will to "ensure your boys get what belongs to them." And what would that be, MIL? The credit card debt that we're still paying off for DH? DH tells me I don't understand and I'm just judging his mother, but then he pulls things like telling me I'm just trying to "punish" his children when I suggest that we cancel the cell phones they never seem to answer and I start to believe that he, too, thinks that stepmothers, including me, are just out to shortchange the kids. If he feels that way, then why are we doing this?!

ESMOD's picture

haha.. yeah..

My dad's stepmother changed the locks on the apartment while my dad and his brothers were at his dad's funeral. Oh.. and she also presented all the boys bills for what was spent on them to send them to boarding school (back in the day when you could get rid of kids like that).. my dad was in law school at the time and advised no one to sign!

I get that vibe a bit from my MIL.. she just thinks that the girls should be getting what's right fully theirs too. I'm like... yeah.. like I haven't supported most of what we have with MY salary.. your son has had 2 cancers in the last year and hasn't earned a dime.. (well.. he's back to work now.. but still). I mean, I get that someone would want kids to inherit something.. but they aren't getting it until "I" am finished with it all. I may need stuff in my old age right?

My MIL told my son she didn't think I was "wife material" after she met me. I like to remind her of that on occasion. Just to let her know that I understand that she wasn't always my biggest fan and that I am not accepting all her sweetness and light.. hook line and sinker.

Peanut575's picture

She said that to your son???? What a woman :O

I never think about getting any kind of an inheritance from my parents. I didn't work for what they have, they did. If they've both passed away (hopefully many years from now) and left my siblings & I money, then fine. But I'm not expecting it, and if either parent left me money before the other parent passed away, I'd make sure the living parent was more than able to sustain themselves before accepting a single cent. Even then I'd likely keep it in trust in case they ever needed anything.

strugglingSM's picture

The crazy thing is, I don't think MIL's stepmother was ever mean to her. I think she was elderly and infirm and living in either assisted living or a nursing home by the time MIL's father died. Also, as I point out to DH, his grandfather decided to leave whatever he had to his wife, so saying she was a gold digger is essentially saying that his grandfather wasn't mentally competent enough to make his own decisions. And all this anger at her father leaving money to take care of his wife is coming from a woman who prides herself on teaching her boys how to treat women correctly.

My view is that unless you come from an independently wealthy family, no one should plan on an inheritance. If you get one, great, but you never know what type of expenses your parents (or stepparents) might have in old age, and you shouldn't expect them to become destitute just to ensure that you get a little financial bump after they've died.

My mother grew up working class and got virtually nothing from her parents, but was happy, because she also didn't have to settle any debts and had enough money to cover in-home care for my grandmother in the months before her death and to cover funeral expenses.

My father grew up more upper middle class and got a decent-sized inheritance after his mother died. He used that to pay for my sister and me to go to college, so I figure my parents have already given me my inheritance in the form of allowing me to not have student loans. They've also paid for other things for me - including the full cost of my wedding - and have been able to help out when I needed it, because they save their money like crazy. But they are by no means rich and I don't expect to get much when they die. I actually might prefer that I didn't get much, because that would mean they spent their money on what they wanted, instead of putting it aside for me. Maybe if I had my own child, I'd feel differently and want them to give me money to help defray the cost of college, but even if I do have a child and don't get anything from them, I still won't begrudge them anything. And if my mother dies first, my father might need to find a second wife, because he'll need someone to cook and do his laundry for him.

Peanut575's picture

I totally agree, and that's how I feel about it too. We never had a lot growing up, but my parents have helped in as many ways as they could. I don't feel they should have to give up anything else as they get older just to keep us happy.

They've worked their @sses off & should be able to enjoy life as much as they can. If there's anything left over then fine, but I don't expect it or count on it, and the thought of looking forward to that money if there was any makes me sick. I'd rather have my parents around than gain financially off their passing.

Acratopotes's picture

stand your ground Hon...

DH did not want to participate when he had the change, now it's gone.. stuff him.
Simply tell him, your mother gave them the bedding and they are use to having twin beds, so stop trying to buy them.

Originally he agreed with the rooms, now it stays like that, the bigger room will still become an office, over and done with.

If he tries to play this game ever again with you, emotional blackmail, you hate my kids, you always want to short change them, I grew up this way why can't my kids... smile and look him in the eyes and say.. Dear Husband, maybe I will listen the day you grow up and become an adult... now eff off I do not negotiated with black mailers, children and terrorists...

just stand your ground ... SS stays where he got places, simply go and hang the curtains, get it done with... and if he ever dares sleeping with a night light or something, simply take the curtains off after a month of telling him, Oh no you don't buddy... you complained it's to light, no lights now and no complaining it's to dark...

take the control and keep it

strugglingSM's picture

The kicker is that my SS did not complain it was too light in his room, that's DH's determination. SS has never had a problem falling asleep in that room.

Acratopotes's picture

:jawdrop: then take Daddy alone and ask him straight out WTF is you problem dude... your kid acts more adult then you

Oh he will eat mudd when I'm done, I will go as far as asking him... you want out of this marriage, you found some one new.. now grow the balls to tell me then let's file for divorce and get this over and done with, I'm no one's punching bag...

just on Comes to Jesus talk with him

strugglingSM's picture

He actually doesn't want out of the marriage, because whenever I say anything that indicates I'm unhappy or that I feel like we're at an impasse, he gets all upset.

In more light-hearted discussions around similar issues, I've jokingly told him, "it's a lot harder to find a third wife, than it is to find a second wife..."

I think there are a few things at play here: 1) he has this perfect vision in his head about how he expected his "family" to be, even before his children were born, and he has not let go of that vision or admitted to himself that because he's divorced that vision needs to evolve and that's ok; 2) he feels incredible guilt over his divorce and thinks that showering his kids with gifts, allowing them to do whatever they want, and shying away from difficult parenting decisions will make his kids feel better; 3) he and BM were never partners and never decided on anything together (every decision they made was a battle of wills where whoever dug their heels in the most would win), so he has no idea how to actually decide on something with someone other than just stating what you want and refusing to budge; 4) he has this unstated, and likely unacknowledged view, (thanks to the fact that MIL hated her SM, who she viewed as a gold digger) that SM's are really just out to screw over their stepchildren; 5) he assumed that being married would just all come together without work - again, he and BM never worked at being married, which is why they were miserable together and are now divorced.

Acratopotes's picture

I would arrange therapy for him..... for us....

he needs to get over the guilt and stop comparing situations and people....

strugglingSM's picture

He certainly does. He tells me he has "no issues" from his divorce - which I think means that he doesn't have any sadness, regret, or anger over the breakup of his relationship with BM. He does, however have guilt over his family breaking up, so to me that counts as "issues from his divorce".

Before we were even engaged he said something to me about how he wanted a family just like his brother'/ family and I pointed out to him -you'll never have that because you're divorced. You'll need to create a new idea of what your family will be.

lieutenant_dad's picture

"DH, we have had this discussion before and you know my feelings on the matter. I won't discuss this further."

End the conversation or switch to a new topic.

My guess is he likes to fight, or he was used to fighting with his ex so the relationship feels incomplete without conflict. Don't feed into it. Don't rehash old arguments for the sake of arguing.

It also sounds like he is projecting. He feels guilty about his first family breaking apart, and feels even worse that he couldn't "fix it" with a new spouse. He wants things for his kids that just aren't reasonable. You can't help him come to terms with that, nor should you be his punching bag for feeling that way. Another alternative phrase you can use is:

"DH, it sounds to me like you feel guilty about the life your kids have. I can't fix what has happened, and I won't be blamed for not fixing something I didn't break. You have to come to terms with this yourself."

End conversation. If he brings it back up, refer back to my first comment.

strugglingSM's picture

Yeah, DH needs to work through a lot of guilt about his divorce. I also think DH and I need help building a partnership because we always end up at an impasse like this (he always gets upset when I tell him that "I think we're at an impasse", but that doesn't seem to motivate him to try to approach things a little differently).

I've encouraged him to find a counselor he can talk to about it or suggested that we find a counselor who will work with both of us, but - get this - he says "we can't afford that, right now." Apparently, taking the kids skiing is worth more than mental and emotional health and worth more than the health of our relationship.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I'm not saying this SHOULD be your breaking point, but MY breaking point with XH was when he refused to go to counseling because it cost too much, but then promised $80 to friends for a board game. I was already miserable and felt like our last hope was counseling, and when he refused (both due to money and him being "fine" with how our relationship was going). To have him just dismiss it after I put in effort to find a counselor and looking at pricing and figuring out how we could work it into our budget, I was just done.

strugglingSM's picture

DH and I did go to counseling before we got married, but to be honest, he's a terrible patient. He just approached it as "tell me what will make you happy. I just want to do whatever will make you happy." We discussed a lot of the issues that are still coming up and I told him what I would need to be happy (i.e. for us to be partners, for us to have part of our relationship that did not revolve around his kids, and for him to shield me from BM's drama - because what led us to counseling them was BM's drama). I had better insurance then, so counseling was more affordable, but it will still frustrating that he couldn't reflect on things and figure out what would make him happy, what would make me happy, what would make us happy, and how we would all compromise to get there.

I've looked in to counselors for myself and reached out to several, but have not heard back from any. I used the Psychology Today counselor listing, so maybe the counselors in question were just not interested in dealing with the issues I presented, but they all said they were accepting new clients.

I'm not ready to give up on my marriage, but I'm struggling with how to get DH to take all of this seriously. He's one of those people who always thinks "everything will work out" and that I'm just making a big deal out of nothing, but shouldn't the fact that these things are making me unhappy be enough to make them something, rather than just to rationalize them away as "little issues"?

lieutenant_dad's picture

Does your work have an EAP with free/discounted counseling options? Or does your DH? Even if he won't go, if he can set it up for YOU, that would be a step in the eight direction if he has that benefit through work.

strugglingSM's picture

That's what we used before, but now neither of us has one.

I'm going to have to go back and look on my own, because I need it for my own sanity, even if DH is not willing to go. Of course, if I told DH I was going alone, he would all of a sudden want to go, because he'd be afraid of what the counselor would say to me in a solo session. The last time I had a solo session with a counselor (one of the pair of counselors meeting with us together for couples therapy) he told me that I should really think twice about getting married, because BM's behavior was only going to get worse and he wasn't sure DH could maintain boundaries with her. DH has been pretty good (although not perfect) about putting up boundaries with BM, but now we have to deal with his unresolved issues over his divorce...

ESMOD's picture

Hahaha... My parents slept on Twin beds...while they were MARRIED! Like a 50's sit com.

My dad didn't upgrade his bed to a Queen until after my mom passed away.

I had a twin bed my entire childhood and in fact didn't "upgrade" until my first apartment where I bought myself a "FULL" sized bed. When married to my first husband we bought a queen.

Now I have a KING and honestly, best decision ever. I am a super light sleeper and it allows me to get some rest even sharing the bed with my 6 foot plus husband. we don't even have to!

But for a kid? 11 yo? Twin beds are fine. Now, when they are a bit older perhaps a full or queen if you are planning on making the room do double duty as a guest room.

And.. blackout shades or curtains are the way to go. I have them in ALL my windows and it helps a LOT.

Cover1W's picture

DH was telling me the neighbor's new house light was too bright.
It was bothering the SDs.
I take a quick look in their room.
Go back upstairs, tell DH, "Those curtains in there are blackout curtains. If they close them, it'll block out the light."

I said nothing more.
(I actually did have neighbor re-aim light since it was also hitting our living room)

They still don't close the curtains. I'm sure they are also changing clothes (at street level BTW) at night with curtains open.

strugglingSM's picture

The SS that actually complains about the light is the one whose room is in the back of the house. He complains that it's too bright when the sun comes up in the, yeah, the light is supposed to wake you up.

Just J's picture

OH good lord I slept in a twin bed until I was about 21! I took my twin bed when I moved out my parents' house and me and my boyfriend at the time both slept on it for about a year until we got a queen. It's certainly not the end of the world for an 11 year old!

strugglingSM's picture

Me too! I didn't have a queen-sized bed until I was 28. Before that, I lived in a studio apartment that was too small for a queen-sized bed or in student housing where the only option was a twin bed.

MurphysLaw's picture

" he should have also decided that he was willing to build a new life for himself, a life that would include his children, but wouldn't revolve around them."....before he got married/ involved with someone....

I get the whole "the kids come first " business...In my case "the children " are 21, 23, 25...and their "comfort & wants" not needs come first even before his will never change.

strugglingSM's picture

The crazy thing is, DH was the one pushing for marriage. I was fine with dating for an extended period of time. I sometimes wonder if he was so eager to get married because he knew it would be harder for me to leave once I figured out that his kids would always be first or if he honestly just doesn't know how to be married.

He and BM had a dysfunctional relationship from the start and she has the emotional maturity of a teenager, so I sometimes think "maybe he just doesn't know how to have an adult relationship."

still learning's picture

Move DH and ss into that room and let them be happy together. Let them spoon on the queen pillow top bed.

DH and I have a queen sized be for 2 of us and my boys have twins in a bunk bed. Your DH sounds ridiculous trying to fight over curtains, beds and the biggest room for his ss. He seriously needs to get a life.

strugglingSM's picture

DH would love that. I think that's what he's really miffed about, that he's less comfortable when he tries to cuddle with his kids.

He still manages to do it, though. He's just not as comfortable as he would like, also, if that's the issue then state that's the issue.

When he was staying with his mom for visitation weekends, his boys shared a queen bed, because that's what she had in her guest room. She always talked about replacing that bed with two twins, so they would have separate beds, but we bought a house before she did that. So, I think DH is full of it when he says he always had a queen bed. His mother assumed we were getting twins for the boys and his brother's kids sleep on twins, so, it's not like it's family tradition.

I think he was in a snit about his kids last night, thinking about how I was shortchanging them for some reason and decided to focus on the beds.

DaizyDuke's picture

I guess I kind of get what you are both saying. To me it seems it would have been more logical to get queen size, or even full size beds for eleven year olds so that they could grow into them. BS7 first big boy bed at age 2.5 was a full size bed. Did he NEED a full size bed? of course not. But it just seemed better to get that and not have to replace bed in a few years when he outgrows a twin. now with that being said, if DH wanted a specific bed for HIS kids, then HE should have done the legwork, not left it to you and then bitched about your choices later.

ESMOD's picture

As many of us have pointed out.. you really don't outgrow a twin. Many adults have slept in them they are not just for

A twin bed especially makes sense for a kid because it leaves more free space in their room for them to play and hangout.

ESMOD's picture

lol... my mom was pretty plump and she fit in a twin her whole life.

I guess it's what your used to though. I know that in my family twins were the norm. But my DH's family always had full or queen sized beds.

strugglingSM's picture

A single adult can fit easily on a twin bed - maybe an extra long twin bed if they're really tall.

DH and I easily fit on a queen, which means as two adults we were each occupying less space each than a single twin bed.

I also don't even know if I believe that DH always had a queen bed growing up. His mother was going to get us twin beds for his boys as a housewarming gift. Also, his brother's two kids sleep on twin beds, so it's not like it's family tradition.

When his kids are teenagers, if they are so uncomfortable that they need queen beds, we'll consider it, but I know that at least one won't be coming around when he's a teenager, so I'm not going to pre-emptively buy him a pillow top queen bed to lure him to our house. He's already told us that he hates our house - it is somehow both too quiet and too noisy at night and everything at his mom's house - including her kitchen and her tv - is better. He sits and pouts in his room and sometimes calls her on the phone in the hours after he arrives on his visitation weekends. The only way to make him more comfortable is to tell him he doesn't have to come anymore.

Money is tight for us and we had a very limited amount of furniture to fill our new house. Our other pieces are hand me downs and things bought on Craigslist.

The only things we bought new were the beds - a Cal King for DH and I to replace my 10 year old queen (DH is very tall, so his feet hang off the end of a queen) and two twins for SSs. Even on our bed that we use every day, I picked a more economy model. I did not want to spend over $1000 buying two queen beds for his children, not to mention how much we would have spent on pillow tops, which DH didn't even mention until last night. As it is, we got a bigger house than we needed, so everyone could have their own room.

Maybe if I thought I could use their rooms as guest rooms on the 26 days they are not with us, then maybe I would have bought queen beds, but their rooms are already strewn with trash and clothes that I refuse to pick up, so not really suitable for guests.

And that last part is my exact problem - he can easily go pick out all of these things he wants and then buy them, but he leaves it up to me and then I have to go badger him for his opinion on whatever I've found. If we left it up to him, the kids still wouldn't have beds at our house.

I love dogs's picture

This is exactly why I don't go out of my way to make SD comfortable at our house. She said that her bed at our house is more comfortable than her bed at BM's but is so dependent on mommy that she'll never make a full use of ours.

Our house is quiet, organized, and SD has plenty to do but prefers to be at BM's pigsty with loud toddlers and a tablet glued to her face- but BM never expects her to raise a finger and be responsible like a 12 year old should. I used to spend hundreds of dollars on helping SD decorate her room, buy fun toys and clothes. No more.

moeilijk's picture

Your DH sounds very impulsive, idealistic and controlling, all at once.

I think I'd try asking if we could talk about it the next day at dinner, every time. I mean, FFS, it's bedtime. That is not time to start a long discussion!!!

That kind of 'parks' the conversation for now. Then you have two options. My own DH, in your shoes, would just not bring it up again because he'd figure if it was important to your DH, your DH will bring it up. Me, I would bring it up at dinner myself.

If nothing else, you still get some zzzz and your DH's impulsivity isn't affecting you. The rest of it.... maybe if the impulsive 'pressure' is off, he'll tone down the rest. Hope springs eternal.

strugglingSM's picture

He's definitely idealistic and impulsive. I think I'd classify him as stubborn more than controlling. One of our problems is that he expects me to just take control of most things for him, which might be fine, if he let me be in control without complaint, but instead I'm more like his executive assistant sometimes, presenting options and then looking for approval or disapproval, which often isn't delivered until after the fact.

I think he also lacks self-awareness as to how he comes across sometimes. I think in his mind he meant the room switching as a proposal to consider, but it came out of his mouth like a proclamation that must be followed. I also think that he doesn't fully realize how telling me I always have to make all the decisions is not only unfair, but also untrue. He's since admitted that he doesn't respond with input before the decision has to be made, so it's a little sh$tty of him to complain after the fact about the decision that was made when he didn't want to be part of the decision making process. Sort of like people who don't vote, but then complain about elected officials.

moeilijk's picture

How you describe the stubborn/controlling bit and the executive assistant feeling is so much how I experience some interactions with my DH!!

I've really had to learn to push back. I specifically ask him to do xyz research and to come to the table with an opinion BEFORE I invest too much of my own energy. So many decisions can take a really long time when I feel like I have to 'guess' right. Of course, he is always surprised that he comes across like that. We've been using Trello lately and one of his ongoing tasks is to 'criticize everything.' Funny not funny, lol.

I also sometimes just ask for general parameters and tell him that if he doesn't get involved on the front-end, he can complain afterwards, from outside where he'll be sleeping. I mean, in a former life I WAS an executive assistant, but I was really lucky that I've only had two really horrible bosses... who do exactly that crap. And they were both disorganized and poor communicators across the board anyways. So I try to remember that DH can be like that too, especially with things that have low value to him - which is anything before it's complete. Lol.

It's such a challenge, to figure out these things that are actually just small personality traits, that clash with how you see the world and how you do things. Because these small things can lead to SUCH frustration.

strugglingSM's picture

Yeah, I think DH and I might need to set some guidelines as well. I think especially when it comes to his children, he should be responsible for doing the research and making his case, rather than getting mad at me if I don't somehow anticipate and meet needs that I didn't even know existed. For example, he complains that we haven't gotten any more furniture for his kids other than beds. The kids have also complained that they don't have X or Y at our house, when they have those things at BM's (one of those things is a couch in the bedroom, which we are not getting). If either DH or his kids want something, they need to articulate what they want...I'm not a mindreader, so I can't figure out what they want without any input. Also, I refuse to be the person who buys things and then says "is this ok?" If you have an opinion the time to express it is before the purchase is made, not after...

kidsaplenty's picture

Honestly, arguing over an empty room is kinda silly. If your husband is hurting over only having his kids overnight 4 days a month and it makes him feel better putting them in the unused room just do it and use the other room for the office. Same with the queen beds (can be budgeted out and saved for). It is 4 nights a month and you get the other 26-27 nights to yourself with him. If you love this man and he is already feeling like crap bout the small amount of times with his kids stop making issues over this stuff. If you don't love him then just leave.

strugglingSM's picture

Well, everything needs to be budgeted and saved for. We spend between $200 and $400 on average each weekend visit entertaining SSs and then also go on more expensive outings like ski trips, pay for braces, etc. DH also pays child support and we buy clothes and supplies for BM's house and our house. If DH would like to do all that and buy the queen beds and whatever else he decides he wants (like the XBox and the fishing gear he bought over the summer) and he can do it without forcing us to dip into our meager savings to pay bills, then he's welcome to do that. But at the end of the day, if he feels like he should just get whatever he wants because he's "hurting" over his kids, then we should just give up, because that's not a partnership for me. I don't want to feel like I'll have to spend the rest of my life making up for his divorce. I didn't cause his divorce and I didn't draft his custody plan. Yesterday, the issue was that he wanted fancier beds, next he'll want to buy them a car, or take them on a $5000 cruise (which he booked last year, but I canceled because we cannot afford that). I don't think his children are being short-changed because they have the same type of bed that 90% of their peers do and I don't think any amount of fancy material goods or splashy outings will make up for the fact that he only sees them 4 days a month. I've encouraged him to reach out to his kids more regularly and suggested he talk to a parenting coach about how he can be more involved in their lives in a productive way, but I'm not interested in spending all of our money on things for his kids to help him feel better. I still expect him to be my partner and I still expect us to manage our finances responsibly. That might mean that you only get a twin bed when you wanted a queen or you spend a week at a local beach instead of flying to Disney World, but I think everyone will still survive.

blueskies4me's picture

Stop spending YOUR money on HER kids. Your DH is undermining your role as his wife and criticizing your decisions and being a jerk. Quickly set up your office in the biggest room.

Really, I couldn't stay with an undermining and gaslighting jerk like that,

ESMOD's picture


Kids will survive a lack of a lot of "material goods".

What's important to kids is to know that they are secure and safe. Your DH should figure out a way to be more involved with them. He should probably be trying to talk/text daily to check in with them... perhaps even see if it's possible (logistics?) to see them more than just these 4 days.. even if it's like a afterschool icecream or a lunch.

mommadukes2015's picture

I despise these types of situations because there is no clear win for you.

When he brings up lofty spending, calmly remind him of your budget.

Then I would very shortly follow up with "If you want me to equally contribute to "our family" then I need to have equal power in this house". He can't undermine you and then accuse you of not fully participating when he's cutting you off at the knees. Now, getting this through his head will probably be a different story all together. I have taken quite a liking to finding one succinct statement and sticking with for so long that SO can finish the line for me. It subtly reminds them that you've been consistent in dealing with the situation when it arises, and it also reiterates to them that they have brought it up numerous times and you have yet to budge.

We don't fight to be right, we fight to be understood-make sure your message is clear.