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Husband afraid to communicate

Ms_Patricia's picture

This morning at 6am my husband tells me that he needs to go pick up his daughter at 7am. My response was “today?”. He says yes. I’m confused because he has not told me about this and it’s Tuesday. He is court ordered to have his daughter every other weekend and they alternate holidays, but sometimes they change the days based on whatever (he leaves me out of discussions between him and his ex). So then I asked him why didn’t he tell me ahead of time. Actually, I asked him last week if he would have her for Thanksgiving week and he “danced around” answering me. He said he needed to ask his ex if she was out of school for the week.  

My husband swears he told me that he was getting SD today through thanksgiving, and I gave him specific examples of what he said to me instead. He then says he told our son (who is 4 btw). 

I’m constantly having to deal with his lack of communication, especially when it comes to SD. I just like to be prepared because I’d like to at least have adequate food in the house before she comes over. Plus I may have plans like I do today. I was expecting our son to be in daycare today, my husband has his doctor appointment (outpatient procedure) and I have one later today and then I wanted to go grocery shopping. So where does that leave SD who is 7 y/o?

I don’t know if I’m making a big deal out of nothing but he does things like this all of the time. It just stresses me out. Last summer, HE planned a vacation for he and I. We planned for my parents to watch our son. He didn’t tell me that he was supposed to have SD that weekend as well and was trying to find someone to watch her last minute. He was wrong for that! 

I think the bigger issue is that he doesn’t know how to communicate about important things but it just seems worse when it’s regarding my SD. Anyone else experience this?

fairyo's picture

I think you will find lots of people on here who have experienced what might be seen as 'ostrich' syndrome, selective memory or just plain inabilty to communicate. I had it with my partner and my skids were adults- but their communications skills as a family left a great deal to be desired. 

It put such a strain on our relationship that I gave up and left. You are not making a big deal out of nothing- your DH is making a small deal out of a big thing and that is disrespectful of your having to make arrangements and plans that make things better for everyone.

My response would be to call him out every single time it happens. I know this will be frustrating but it is something I now wished I had done instead of keeping my mouth shut and just putting up with crap for years.

As soon as he forgets, dismisses or ignores something tell him he's doing it again. If you don't he can accuse you of not saying anything- the, 'why didn't you say something' gambit- as if it is all your fault..

How he responds to you pointing his failings out to him is entirely up to him, but do it in a calm and reasonable voice-don't yell or make an argument out of it- just say it isn't fair to you and how he responds will indicate whether he is taking any notice. He may eventually get the picture- but if he doesn't you are going to have to find strategies to minimise the impact it has on you and your own child.

TwoOfUs's picture

I agree with this - but would take it a step further. Call him out AND ghost. 

He doesn't get to change your plans on you without discussing it first. Go about your day and let DH sort out his kid. 

I promise if you do this a couple times, he'll start communicating. 

Step-girlfriend's picture

So, no Custody Agreement then, or why the wishy-washy schedule with SD? My SO is terrible with communication. TERRIBLE. He is always forgetting to tell me things, parties that his family are having, skids school events, etc. But, when it comes to when we have skids, that is never an issue because there is a Custody agreement that we don't stray from (ok we gave BM skids for Thanksgiving when it was our day this year, but other than that we don't stray!), so I know when we have skids. All of this back and forth with skids, never knowing when you will have SD, just seems so unneccessary and is bound to create issues (as it already has). Why not just have a set schedule so everyone (including SD) knows what to expect?

I was expecting our son to be in daycare today, my husband has his doctor appointment (outpatient procedure) and I have one later today and then I wanted to go grocery shopping. So where does that leave SD who is 7 y/o?

I would say that leaves your DH looking for someone to watch his daughter, and that person is not you. I think your DH could use a healthy dose of "oh crap, I planned poorly and didn't communicate, now I have to suffer the consequences". Please do NOT change your plans because of his lack of communication. He's a grown man.

futurobrillante99's picture

^^This. It's one thing if his little change in plans only affects him, but if it affects YOU and you'll end up having to change your plans to stay with her or drag her along throughout your day - OH HELL NO.

tog redux's picture

I think this is a common complaint from women about their husbands. I got on my DH once for not telling me something about evening plans until the very last minute, and he poo-pooed it - so I did the same thing to him a few nights later, and then he got it.

Tell him that he will now need to go to the store and get food for SD, as you've already been shopping and won't be going back.

I love that his excuse was that he told the 4-year-old.  lol

momjeans's picture

My DH will sometimes pull this in regards to plans with skid. Tell me he told me when he did not.

I agree. You have to call him out on it every single time he does this. It’s crazy making behavior. Don’t tolerate it. 


SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

That’s called gaslighting because he’s afraid you will call him out for putting you in third, fourth, fifth place on the totem pole.

Yet they always placate the ex wh*re so the po widdle skids don’t hate daddyyyy. 

Be more dangerous than BM. My husband doesn’t dare gaslight me or change visitation without consulting me. I’m his wife and I come first or ELSE.

 I tolerate a lot and do a lot for our family and my husband. Put me last and I go on strike!

TwoOfUs's picture

Yep - this is very, very common on this forum. 

I had issues like this with my DH all the time. He would whine: "I don't want to feel like I have to ask PERMISSION to have my own KIDS at my house!!!" 

The truth is...they're just lazy and like to leave their options open-ended. I started by appealing to his reason. Of course you don't have to ask permission, DH! I just need advance notice so I have enough food, am prepared, don't make other plans...etc. 

When asking DH to be reasonable and considerate and give me advance notice didn't work...I lowered the boom. Yes you GD DO have to ask permission to stray from the established visitation schedule on the calendar. You know why? Because this is my house, my money, my time, and my resources, too. Your decisions affect we have to talk about them. If you wanted to be able to pick up your kids at the drop of a hat, be completely spontaneous, and never have to "ask permission" to bring your kids over...then you shouldn't have gotten remarried. You should have stayed a single dad. 

There's this thing that remarried biodads do all the time where they expect to have all the benefits of marriage without acting like it's a marriage when it concerns their kids. They want to be able to continue to live and make decisions exactly as before...except now they have a cool new wife who can pick up their parenting slack and make sandwiches and stuff!!! It doesn't work that way. 

My DH didn't think I was serious at first...until EVERY time he made plans with skids or told them they could come over / bring friends over / etc. without talking to me about it first...I left the house. If you don't want to talk things over with me, I'm not going to sit around "enjoying" the company of your kids. I went shopping and to movies by myself...went over to my mom's...I even booked a hotel for the weekend on two occasions. When DH realized how serious I was...and decided he'd rather have my company than complete freedom to bring skids over no questions asked...then he started talking to me and (gasp!) asking how I felt about things....aka asking permission.

What your DH has done is very wrong. This is a holiday week, and there should be a clear plan in place well in advance. It's stressful, hurtful, and unnecessary for him to treat you like this...and it erodes your faith in him. If he's willing to hurt you and damage the trust you've built up in your marriage just so he feels in control concerning his daughter...that's his choice. But you don't have to stick around for it. 

It will be tough...but if I were you I'd stay strong. Stick to your day as usual. Do your errands, your doctor's appointment...your DH will have to figure out what to do with his kid. He doesn't get to change your plans without any notice, let alone any discussion. 

You can do it! If you do it often enough...I promise he will start communicating. 

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

My husband started to go down this path when we got married. It almost always involved school functions-- because all of the correspondence from the school was sent to him and his ex-w. So, it'd be a Thursday night and all of a sudden he has a play to go to, or a parent-teacher conference, or after school was cancelled so he needed to leave work early and arrange for his ex to pick up or him to pick up, etc etc

I finally had a pretty stern sit down with him, and said I wasn't and never will be OK with our schedule being put on tilt constantly because he was poor at managing communication. If he couldn't figure it out and let me know in advance, like a decent person, then he'd need to make arrangements for the two of them and not bother even telling me because MY plans aren't changing last minute. We're not a family that disengages, so I do typically go to school functions and activities-- and its always been important to me to show my stepkid my support. So when we had a string of communication mishaps and I missed several events because of it, DH was pretty upset at himself for dropping the ball and putting that wedge in the family when it was such an easy fix and potential non issue had he just taken 2 seconds to do better.


SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

My husband has to ask me first and I call the shots. Same reason as you - interruption in plans, having enough junk food for stepbrat etc.

Do you have family or friends local? I would inform your “D”H since he “forgot” to tell you he was getting his prior spawn you “forgot” to tell him your plans to visit family or a friend and there is no room for his prior spawn and you will NOT be watching her or taking her anywhere. Maybe your passive aggressive, gaslighting husband will learn that he will put you first and never ASSume you will babysit for him.

Not your kid, not your problem.

hereiam's picture

"I don't want to feel like I have to ask PERMISSION to have my own KIDS at my house!!!" 

This is how a lot of people feel ^^^ but the fact is, when you are in a relationship, when you live with someone, when you share a life together, it is not about permission, it is about consideration and being part of a team. Realizing that your decisions affect someone else (and caring about that). If someone doesn't want to include someone else in their decisions, they should remain single.

I have never wanted kids so having a kid over every other weekend was a big deal for me. You better believe DH discussed it with me if he wanted SD on extra days.

futurobrillante99's picture

Exactly, hereiam. But I would feel this way about my OWN KIDS.

What if I was still married to their dad and he springs it on me that our kids are coming for a visit on a weekend I was hoping for quiet, couple time and naked fun.

I would not like it at all if it was sprung on me and we suddenly had to entertain. It's only slighty better when it's your own kids. And it's not about asking permission. It's about being considerate of your spouse.

I guess I'm thinking of adult kids visiting, but even if it was an intact family and there were plans to go out and hire a babysitter OR the kids were staying at grandmas. If one spouse unilaterally canceled the sitter or visit to grandmas, I think the other spouse would feel slighted and blindsided.

SteppedOut's picture

So funny, well not really, that so many are the same. This was not the only issue in my relationship, but one of the many things that ended it. 

My formerSO never told me change in plan stuff either because it was HIS KIDS and HIS DECISION and his kids were ALWAYS welcome to come over ANYTIME they wanted and would be accomodated (including kids having friends over). Also free to change/cancel without anything being said. BUT *I* was expected to cook (more and earlier or later), changes in menu to accomdate whatever whim, run to the store for additional/different drinks, etc. Why? Because "we are a supposed to be a TEAM and I need to help him because that is how it is when you are a team!". 

LOL, yeah, that's right... formerSO. Funny he wasn't interested in my perspective until I left. For me, it was too late to discuss. And frankly, I knew if I went back and even if it did change for a little bit it would never stay that way. 

I hope you can get through to him!

lieutenant_dad's picture

"Well DH, sounds like you need to figure out what you're doing with SD today. I already have plans."

I'd keep an electronic calendar that you both have access to and tell him that is the master scheduler. If it Isn't on the calendar, it doesn't exist in your world. You will plan around things on the calendar so long as you have adequate notice. Putting SD's pick-up on there less than 24 hours in advance doesn't suffice. In those instances, he needs to figure out the logistics, from babysitters to events to dinner and snacks. Plus, being electronic, it will all likely be time-stamped so he can't try to say "I told you a week ago".

Ms_Patricia's picture

thanks for all the advice. I’m glad to know that the way I feel is appropriate in this situation. Sometimes as a stepparent, I feel like there’s this expectation that we’re supposed to just automatically go with the flow once we get married. I decided to join this site today because I was fed up and had to get this off of my chest. I did tell him that he needed to go get breakfast after he picked up SD. He agreed and got some groceries and even cooked. I was also able to get my errands done, kid free, as well. I guess I just have to keep calling him out  to him when he pulls a stunt like this again.

shamds's picture

Usually drops him off at university on saundays normally. When he is coming thursday or friday, he messages hubby like an hour before he is coming, like as if he doesn’t know when classes finish in advance. Hubby just says ok and messages me to let him know when ss arrives because he usually just doesn’t call or message dad.

often ss 20 will message or call dad on a thursday lunch time and expect his dad to drive an hour away to pick him up.... hubby tells him to get an uber and pay for it himself. He doesn’t understand we all have jobs and schedules prebooked and especially his dad who is a senior person at his work.

whatever is home is whatever is home in way of groceries. If they won’t give adequate notice my feeling is TOUGH!! So if hubby gets cranky no groceries just say “this is what happens when you don’t communicate when stepkids will be home” and leave it at that.

Rags's picture

IMHO the only solution is to let him know in no uncertain terms that no one, including SD, will enter your home without your clear prior concent.   Obviously prior concent can be given in blanket form for a COd visitation schedule. Beyond that.... he has to give you notable notice and you must concent or SD doesn't come over.

I don't understand why people make things so much harder than they need to be.  He just needs to put his hands between his legs, grab a handful of man sack, and ask the question.  "It looks like SD can come for XYZLMNOP days. Would that be alright with you?".  Of course the earlier the better.


LosingHerShit's picture

I know exactly what you're going through. I've literally had BM show up with my 2 skids for me to watch and DH didn't even call me from work to ask me to do it!!! Just conveniently forgot to call me to tell me his 2 toddlers were on their way to terrorize me for the next few days. I've had to reschedule appointments and cancel plans due to this. I just recently put my foot down on it I'm not being his BMs free babysitter.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Good for you! BM has NO RIGHT dumping her spawn into YOUR lap. Your husband is an a$$hole for doing that to you! He is using you!