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Relating and communicating with DH

Notthedoormat's picture

While he's going through a lot with his bios.  Oldest SK26 is inpatient by court order for another couple of weeks (I mentioned the circumstances in another post, but this skid is trans mtf and made a Facebook post about sympathizing with the Nashville shooter...definitely has mental health issues), SD21's slacker H was just re-arrested (was out on bond for other charges) and he's always been concerned for her because they have 2 little ones, one a newborn and no stability/ employment/ prospects. 

My take on this is that both of skids are adults making crap choices in life and SD seems to expect other people to support her and her kids.  They are over 4 hours from us, so she's not in my home, but DH is obsessed.  I completely understand he's worried and wishes for a better situation, but it's to the point it's all he can focus on.

I feel like since SD got pregnant 3 years ago my life has been hijacked.  Actually,  it was before that...when she ran off with the slime that became slacker H. 

Is there away to start a discussion with tact that can help address that his bios and grands aren't the sun his life should orbit around?

Survivingstephell's picture

It's hard when the skids see him as a knight in shining armor but all you see is an idiot wrapped up in used tin foil.  

Stepdrama2020's picture

I just rolled with laughter. My co workers were like what?

Very true though!

Notthedoormat's picture

would definitely be a good idea....

I see a therapist do I'll mention him joining me.  He knows I've benefitted a lot from therapy and he might agree to come along. At least once.

ndc's picture

When there's a family emergency, or an adult child going through temporary difficult times, I can see a wife putting her needs aside so her husband can focus on others who need him more at that moment.  In this case, it doesn't seem like the needs of his kids are at all temporary, so his focus on them to the exclusion of his wife is wrong and inappropriate.  If you have great communication, and his reaction isn't always "you hate my kids," I'd point this out to him and let him know that while you'd like to be supportive, his focus on his kids has gone on for too long and he is not fulfilling your needs.  Otherwise (and maybe even with good communication), I agree with Winterglow - counseling.

Notthedoormat's picture

I have put myself on the back burner so long that I'm starting to mold, tbh. I don't want to be the selfish SM, but I feel like it's always something and 9 times out of 10 it's one of his kids.  Mine have also had issues, just as they all do from time to time,  but I need a little of that focus brought back to me, to us. 

la_dulce_vida's picture

I have found that focusing on my own life so that I'm happy and having fun usually gets my partner's attention and draws him closer to me.

I would change things up at home. Be as distracted with your own life as he is with his kids. Let him see what it feels like to feel invisible to his spouse or secondary to other matters.

Book yourself a weekend trip with friends - get "obsessed" with some hobby or activity. He'll notice.

I find that some men (actually a lot of them) find comfort in just having their family under their roof. Just having the warm bodies there is enough for them to feel safe focusing just on themselves. But as soon as the house is empty and everyone is somewhere busy doing something else, they can't stand it.


Notthedoormat's picture

I've wondered if that might help...because he works away from home Monday-Friday and weekends usually find him tinkering in the maybe I just need to make myself scarce and let him see what it's like to miss me when I'm not there doing whatever needs to be done...

I have started cutting calls short when he starts going on about Skids/ the situations...because mentally I just can't listen to it for long stretches anymore. I'm exhausted of it. 

I'll give that a shot and see if he notices it's a bitter pill.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Make yourself less available when he's home. Don't seem angry, just breezy and matter of fact as you're busy living life elsewhere. Creating space for him to miss your presence and the comfort you provide may help change the power imbalance, plus its good for your self esteem and mental health. Nothing sadder than a guy having to forage for is own meal, do his own laundry, and settle for his own company. 

This tactic really helped my marriage recalibrate. For many years, it had been all about DH - his career, his kids, his cs, his problematic family of origin - and I was his faithful companion and general dogsbody. When I started checking out and DH saw he was losing me, things changed for the better.

Notthedoormat's picture

Of errands I have to run this weekend!  If he's not seeking out my company,  no reason for me to be there at his beck and call. I need an oil change,  DS needs a haircut and I'm sure there are lots of other things I needs to do outside the house.  He can work on his project in the garage or whatever.  Nevermind that he's been gone every week night for work ...  

Last night when we're going through the goodnight text routine he didn't bother to say I love you.   Normally I would have since he didn't,  but I didn't.  Likewise,  I usually let him know when I get to work....this morning I didn't.  When he messaged to ask why I just told him I got swamped when I got to the office and hoped he has a good day. 

I have had numerous complaints over the past 3 years and I just can't continue to sit in the corner waiting for him to finally decide things are calm enough with everyone else, everywhere else to feel ok about devoting some attention to me.  I can't live on crumbs forever. 

I've been the walk away wife before and as much as I don't want to, I know I'm capable of doing it again.  

Russell1981's picture

I guess it is human nature to want to help your children after they have left the house. I understand that your husband is in a difficult situation and he hurts for his children, but it is imperative that he keeps you as a priority above his children. 

I've said this before but children grow up and make their own decisions. It can be downright painful to watch your children make stupid decisions that you know will hurt them. This is why it is so important that your priority be wrapped up in your spouse. If you focus on your children then your marriage will collapse.

My dad always told me when I was rebelling against his rules as a teenager:

"Son if you grow up and live the complete opposite of what I have taught you then I am not hanging my head"

This has always been my approach. Sure I have been through some pain that my SKs have put me through and I am sure there will be more that my bios will put me through, but I have always maintained my wife as a priority above my children. This is why we have date nights and do things inside the house that is just her and I and my kids don't get to participate. I want them to know that their mother is more important to me than them and I say that even though I would gladly give my life for any one of them. It is because I try my best to model for them what marriage is supposed to look like. (We have a ton of family nights, go out to dinner, Amusement Parks, etc)

It sounds counterintuitive but I teach my children that I love them, raise them, and will support them but eventually they leave and become my extended family. My goal is to give them an opportunity to live a good life and if I can help them along the way then I will, but I am not going to sacrifice my finances or relationships to bail them out. 

That is just the way I see it. 

Your husband has to get his priorities straight and hopefully, a therapist can help, but I would search long and hard for a good one. Maybe even a married couple who counsels. You need to find someone who has gone through the same thing.

Notthedoormat's picture

so maybe I can get him to join in for a session  and bring it up.

I'm very non-confrontational but sitting back and waiting for situations to improve isn't working because a new situation comes up to take the place.

We both love all the kids, we both want the best for the kids...but these endless situations with Skids are beating me up pretty badly and DH doesn't see it. Even if he did see it I think he'd let me continue struggling because he's so wrapped up in thoughts of SD and sgks.  I believe he loves me, but maybe not enough. Or maybe he doesn't understand how serious of a problem that it is....

I think I'll ask if he can do a session with me and see how it goes.  

I definitely understand that my marriage is my primary relationship and I think it should be for married people.  Minor children are a different matter because you're still responsible for them, but once they are adults, there's a shift when they start managing their own lives.  I have 2 BKs still at home and one BK married with their own baby on the way. I'm excited,  but it'd their baby, not mine. I'll love it and spoil it and all that, but my gk won't become the center of the universe for me...I want my spouse to fill that role and I'd like it to be mutual or I'll eventually see myself out.

Survivingstephell's picture

It's called the 180 and comes from the Divorce Busting book.  Basically you turn away from DH and focus on yourself.  You can search here for posts or just google it.  Might give you some ideas and suggestions.  The Boundaries book by Cloud and Townsend would be a good read too.  It has chapters that focus on different people in your life and how to have healthy boundaries with them.  

Notthedoormat's picture

I will definitely be looking for those!  I just feel like he needs something to snap him out of taking me for granted while he falls apart over skids/grands. 

Notthedoormat's picture

Reading and game changer already is all I can say!  I mean, the man called me on the phone last night...not video messages or texts like I usually get....I'm kinda floored already. I definitely have to keep this up because I must have been in overdrive,  doing waayyy too much!  I can't thank you enough for these tips and titles!

JRI's picture

My SD61 has been a lifelong time suck and attention suck and it's been exhausting watching her make one bad decision after another.  It intensified 13 years ago after divorce #2 which left DH85 as her only emotional and financial support.  He was consumed and overwhelmed by her problems and needs.  On top of the financial situation and drug use, she had serious physical problems.

After a disastrous 9-month stay here featuring drug use, theft, lying, manipulation and robbery of our neighbor, we moved her elsewhere and agreed to subsidize her disability payment.  I separated finances and disengaged.  I really truly disengaged, did not discuss SD, changed the subject if DH did, got more involved in my hobbies, in short, had less time and attention for him.  I think they call it the Dance of Intimacy cuz the more I withdrew, the closer he came.

SD61 is still a pain but I seldom hear about her issues.  She seems to be calling him less, he's begun getting very frank about his inability to drive to Dr appts or do any maintenance.  He refuses to listen to her whines about her kids.  He still responds to her $ requests but more slowly and it comes from his "allowance".

I think if I were still in "Supportive SM" mode, we'd both be hearing about her non-stop issues.  Stepping way back and focusing on my own life helped us both.



Notthedoormat's picture

Disengaging is something I must do for my sanity and my marriage.  I've been what I call semi-disengaged and I think I need to keep that wall up and take a few further steps back because I do not want this monster situation or other situations to consume me or my marriage or our lives. I can't allow that. 

I love SD because she's my husband's daughter,  but I don't really like her as a person.  I realize she's a young adult that has done too much too fast and may need some help,  and I'm ok with that as long as she's helping herself, too...which she is not at this time.  To give financial help at this point I think would be enabling,  so not beneficial for anyone of us in the long run.  

DH talked some last night about being exhausted with the situation and I reminded him that neither of us have any control over the choices made by other adults and that we simply can't do anything about it.  I think part of him understands that,  but accepting that is another story and something he'll have to deal with.

I am just keeping it at 'I hate the situation,  but we have no control over the situation.  SD has the opportunity to make better choices." And then I carry on with it. 

I know DH is getting the itch to go visit....I expect we'll be planning a weekend trip there soon, but you better believe I won't be going if I'm not feeling like it.  And right now, I want to hold off on seeing any of them.

Rags's picture

a SKid pit stop in the middle.  No endless chewing on his failed family progeny angst, etc... 

Plan it, map it out, see cool  things, eat at cool restaurants, stay in cool historical lodgings or destination resorts on the way.

Hotel therapy can work wonders on reconnection and purging external, and even some internal idiocy.

Hotel therapy. Enjoy it.


Rags's picture

"Your children and the GSkids are not my life. I have never agreed to them being my life. Neither are they your life. OUR life is OUR life. Yes, they are family, but your children are adults and responsible for their own children. If you cannot reset and actually commit to OUR life together. I have choices I must make and they may not include you in my future."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Make it clear that you are not asking or demanding that he turn his back on them but that you are requiring that THEY not be a detriment to your marital and life happiness.

Russell1981's picture

Perfectly said

When you turn the tables on them and your speech reflects that your marriage is more important than theirs, then they will either change their tune or get angry. Kids need to eat humble pie.