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Met with SS32 after years of disengagement. Can we move on, without any accountability?

There is a light's picture

Hubby and I have been getting on really well the last few years. I had created my boundaries and kept adhered to them.  Word was out that I am no longer accepting step hell.    Then we had undergone counselling which really highlighted the importance of putting our marriage first.   All seemed well.

Then came April, I had a surprise party for DH and did not invite Ss32 (read my previous posts) I invited all the other Skids.  A good time was had by all.    My position was now cemented to friends, family and steps that I refuse to have any step hell.   Dh, totally understood and although he was upset he agreed and even said he would  have been too nervous enjoy himself had ss32 being around.

All seemed well, until ss32 contacted Dh several weeks later, to say that he had been unable to sleep thinking of the way he had been treated.  He did not know what he had done to deserve such treatment?    He went on to say how he had welcomed me and my children into the family (hmmm).     Well, Dh took a turn and somehow we got into an argument,  which had nothing to do with ss32 coming to the party.  But with an agreement we had formed in counselling that ss32 would not be allowed in our home nor would he get an invite to anything.   He had to take the first step of contacting me so we could discuss our. relationship.

Now I was being accused of wanting ss32 to grovel.   Well, that was it.   I felt we had made too much progress to revert back to his “denial and burying his head in the sand stage”.     I decided to sleep in the guest room for a few days to gather my thoughts.  I felt disappointed  and within days I realised  I no longer wanted to be in this marriage.  I have had 10+ years of step hell and I was not prepared to have another 10+ years.    I had done all I could to keep away from step hell and Dh always seemed to drag the hell back into our lives.  It was enough!  For the first time ever, I gave Dh an ultimatum.   Either he gets counselling as to why he is afraid of losing an adult child, that he is prepared to do anything not to upset the adult baby or I wanted a divorce.   DH was shocked and begged that I attended what was to  have been our last marriage counselling session, as we had seemed to have worked the step hell out……. Silly us!  I agreed to have our last session. 

The counsellor thought we had made such progress and was surprised that Dh had reverted to form.  The counsellor explained to Dh, that he had done an excellent job in raising his children, all whom have very successful careers and in happy relationships.  She  said that now, our marriage takes priority and it was his responsibility to protect it. She agreed that Dh's behaviour, were of someone who was afraid of loss.  He knew ss32 was behaving badly toward both of us and was willing to accept anything not to lose him.   We decided that DH  would have a series of counselling sessions alone with DH to deal with his fear of loss.   We  reconfirmed that SS32 would not be allowed in our home, nor would he be invited to any of our events unless, we talk and I (wife) believe that SS32 has had a change of attitude.  In the interim, I made it clear I would be staying in the guests room until I see  significant changes in Dh.

Well well,  unbeknown to me, Dh had arranged  to meet ss32 for dinner within days of our counselling session.  I was contacted by ss32 that very evening to arrange to dinner.  Dh had been trying to achieve this for months and BANG …. I changed my position and things begin to happen. …

I met SS32 alone and what a meeting it was!   In thirteen years ss32 and I had never had a single  conversation.  We had never gone beyond the greeting stage.   There we were sat opposite each other wanting to sort this out.  I had intended to lay my cards on the table and discuss how I felt and why I felt that way.  I expected that he would do the same too.   What a shock!   Instead this is what I got from a 3.5 hours drink session:

  • He denied  his passive aggressive behaviour towards.  I gave him lots of examples.
  • He denied saying disparaging things about me.  Even though I showed him proof in the way of emails and texts he had sent his father, showing nothing short of hatred towards me.
  • He denied, he was upset that he and girlfriend had not been invited to the party.   Even though I told him that I was sat right next to his father when he called.
  • He denied everything and lied about everything.
  • However he wanted us to move on and be friends!

Within 40 minutes I realised that there was not going to be any accountability whatsoever.     So I had a large gin and tonic,  relaxed and told him exactly what I thought of him.  I told him he was a coward, can only talk behind my back and cannot tell me to my face.   I let him know that I knew he was lying about everything.    SS32  thought he would shock/upset me by telling me what Dh had told him about me during dh's "no boundaries and head in the sand days".      Well I turned that around.  I told him our counselling session had enabled us to grow as a couple, we had discussed all what was said and I know  that DH had written to every Skid, saying how ashamed he was of his prior behaviour.  In fact I showed him the email.  I then dropped a few things that Dh had told me about him (just in case he thought it was only one-sided).  I could see how  surprised and hurt he looked.   Perhaps he thought Dh and I never had heart to heart conversations?

As I walked away from the bar, I felt a huge sigh of relief.   What was once a huge mountain, turned out to be a small mouse. Someone who had caused me so much pain, anger and sat in front of me and was too much of a coward to defend his corner.  Because in reality he knew he did not have a corner, other than the inability to accept that his father had moved on.  

Naturally Dh was nervous on my return from the meeting.  I explained what had happened.  I told me that I am happy to have a cordial relationship with him outside our home.  Neither would I be inviting him to any events.  If ss32 cannot take responsibility for his actions or what he said, how can he change his attitude towards our marriage?  In fact, the only thing he did admit was saying that he had no respect for me, which was telling.  It was like talking to a blank wall.

Way forward ...... Dh is still having his counselling.  I am still in the guest room.   dh has just presented me with a Lasting Power of Attorney to sign.  Before it included me and the skids.  Now it is just me.    The way I see it, dh spent years saying negative things about me to skids, he had   his  head in the sand for years while ss32 disrespect my every being.  He had disappointed me time and time again, that I lost all trust for him.    My position in regard to ss32 will not change.   However  I need time to think as to whether I can start believing in Dh again.  I know he is trying to put everything in place,  but it takes one string to break the camel's back.   




tog redux's picture

Well, it sounds like SS32 is just an asshat, and nothing has changed there.

What's really changed is that you are no longer willing to put up with DH not supporting and protecting you, and he knows it.

sandye21's picture

This is something most SMs only dream about.  Wish I had been a fly on the wall.  Good for you for having the intelligence to see through all of his B.S. and respond appropriately.  You were so well prepared.  Just wondering if you had a suspicion this was going to happen?

After my SD's meltdown,DH was on the phone with her and turned to me, "She says she likes you."  I responded so she could hear me, "She doesn't like me and I don't like her."  With that, the game stopped and I knew at that moment I was free.

DH has to earn your trust back but if he keeps working on it things will get better.  There may be some backsliding but if you stand by your boundaries your DH will learn you mean business.  DH has to be held responsible for a lot of what you have gone through.  If he wants to change the skid dynamics he's going to have to do what it takes or accept that there is no resolution, meet SS elsewhere than your home and make his marriage top priority.

In my opinion you did the right thing.

There is a light's picture

Dis I have suspicion that ss32 would deny all?

Absolutely none.  Dh had always told me that ss32 wanted to sort it out, so I thought that he would support the idea of laying our cards on the table.   Clearly he did not want to talk.  I suspect ss32 agreed to call and meet me as dh was so emotional.     He offered little to the conversation, only that he wanted us to move on!  Really.      So I took the opportunity to tell him exactly how I felt about him.  

shamds's picture

Never ever see themselves at fault. Instead they turn it around to its all you

futurobrillante99's picture

Yup - they are the victims. I'm sure XH2 is milking his pity party for all it's worth. Glad to be free of those toxic people.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I always read your posts OP, because I enjoy your clear, no nonsense manner of handling things.

That said, I'm so glad you drew a boundary with your H. It's not uncommon for parents written about on this site to backslide into their old unhealthy patterns, and it's great that you took took definitive action to yank his chain. I wish him well in therapy.

Regarding your SS, it sounds as if your H has been playing both of you in an effort to get what he wants - everyone to play Happy Family. And as for your meeting, how rich! How delicious! It's likely no one has ever put a mirror to his face before. Isn't it wonderful when you can just drop all pretense of wanting a relationshipand just drop a big dose of truth? Brava!


SacrificialLamb's picture

SS32 talked to you the way he did because in his eyes you are a second class citizen. In his eyes, the Holy Original Family, of which you are not a member,  should always trump YOU.

My OSD, who is middle aged, told my DH that all communications should be kept "In The Family" and if it were important enough he could pass it on to me. This was several years ago and he still makes excuses for her.    Yes, these skids want to move on, with no acknowledgement of accountability or remorse at all....because in their minds we are second class citzens. As if we should grovel to be accepted by them. Hell no. 

I am NO ONE'S second class citizen. Ever. 

In your DH's eyes, he also thought of you as a second class citizen until he saw you were happy to walk away from their family dysfunction and let him deal with it all by himself. He created this narcissistic child; he can deal with what he created by himself.

These guys will always revert to wanting us to help them pander to their adult babies. They forget their poor behavior, and when we aren't screaming anymore because we have moved on, they assume we have given in. Nope. I am no longer screaming because I will move on by myself rather than be treated as "less than" by a person who quite frankly doesn't deserve to lick my dirty shoes.

futurobrillante99's picture

He's never going to change. He might make promises and briefly act a certain way to GET things. But he sounds like a miserable SOB, and I hope your DH gets his head out of his patoot and stops kissing SS32's ass.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I came back to add that there's often a tipping point in these toxic skid situations.

It might be because we realize we are dealing with a fully grown adult, and that despite the carefully curated version of reality our partners push at us, we know that they are who and what they are.

Or it could be that after being disengaged for a while, we have zero desire to step back into the lion's cage with hateful, damaged people. Once we achieve clarity, we aren't likely to be as invested in creating a Happy Blended Family.

Regardless, for many of us there comes a point where we no longer care to work the problem because we've created our own solution and moved forward.

I've been disengaged from my H's kids for 13 and 7 years respectively, and the more time that passes, the happier I become with my choice.

Jojab1636's picture

At this point in time with my 2 adult SD's I don't think I could remain as calm as you.  My 30 yr old SD recently hid behind a scathing hate email to me basically saying "I am not familly - never was and never will be"  That is putting it very mildly.  One night she called and I heard her saying soemthing about me and I had it.  My husband is hard of hearing due to flying helicopters and always has his phone on really loud or on speaker phone.  I heard what she said without a doubt.  I told my husband to put her on speaker phone (I wasn't sure at this point if he was on speaker phone) and let's talk verbally.  I think it is a total cop out to hide behind an email.  She called me some names and then hung up.  She later sent my DH an extrememly hateful text message to him about him.  I figured by having everyone in the room at the same time of the discussion would be helpful.  I knew she would never take my call if I called her.  She seems to be able to "talk the talk" but can't "walk the walk".  Anyway - I think things are great because I never see or hear from either one.  She has told my DH that I am controling and the only time they can talk is during the day when I am at work.  LOL -

Therefore, good for you.  What I would give for a few moments with them to point out a few things.  Probably more than a few!

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Hello OP, any updates for us? I hope things have improved in your marriage and your H is working hard at regaining your trust.

There is a light's picture

My DH has finished his counselling sessions  and now appears to have a greater understanding of why he is so fearful of loss.  He is really trying to make it work and this is visible to everyone.   It is early days yet and the real test will be when ss32 appears,  would he revert back to form?  

I am still in the guestroom, I would move back to our room when I am ready.  The way I see it, he spent years badmouthing me to his children, if it takes months for me to heal from it, he has to wait.  In the interim, we are courting.  Yes courting .. we still enjoy each other's company, we go out frequently and our relationship is certainly in full bloom.  However DH knows that one wrong move would end our summer romance. 

As for SS32, I have not given him a second thought after our meeting.  DH told me SS32 was surprised at my anger, directness and no nonsense approach.  I notice that dh is also very measured with his words when talking about ss32. That suits me fine.  I do not want to hear anything about SS32.  I had expected to see him and his girlfriend at two family events, however sadly he did not turn up.  I think SS32 is still shell shocked.  He was clearly not aware that I had so much information about him, his conversations with dh and the nasty words and emails he had written about me.  That clearly took him by surprise, I could have knocked him down with a feather.

I think dh has finally gotten the message, that I refuse to be treated as anything other than a wife.  I have made it very clear to him that he may need to learn to cope with the fact that ss32 would not be part of our lives if he does not change his attitude.  He can have dinners etc with him out of the home.  Dh has started talking to the skids about christmas, I await eagerly for his ideas!

When I think back to all the years of stephell I become very resentful and angry.  Having everything in the open and sleeping in the guest room, has given me time to work on myself and letting go of the anger.   One of my biggest hang ups, was being called a gold digger by ss32.  I found that so hurtful and unfair.  DH is a very  high earner and even though I am a professional, he earns 10 times more that I do and  I did not enter this marriage with nothing.  I have a home fully paid for and earn a good salary.   When I met with SS32, I told him, I have heard he called me a gold digger.  I then asked him, what he intended to do about it?   The adult baby was speechless.   I was not going to waste my time proving to him otherwise.  

DH thinks, ss32 is delibrately staying away from me.  I wonder why*biggrin*



Rags's picture

For a person thought to be reasonably intelligent this asshole turns out to be an idiot.  He did not even attempt to engage. He wanted only to confront you.  You handed him his ass.

Well played.

Sadly, you are discovering what is IMHO the most likely case for parents who raise F'd up kids.  It is not the kid's fault. It is the parent's fault.  

Odds are.... DH will not be able to gain true clarity and will not be able to stay in contact with reality.

Take care of you.