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Should a man view his wife and adult kids as equals?

Anon2009's picture

I haven't decided how I feel on that.

What I do feel is that adults should treat other adults respectfully. Titles should only come into play when one party uses his/her title as an excuse to mistreat someone else.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

No, not equals. Two totally different relationships. Is your DH or DW consulting (directly or indirectly) with the kids on decisions that should be between a husband and wife? I hope not for your sake. I've been there and it is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

OriginalMama's picture

Equal say on household affairs, etc? Not at all. But as a remarried Mom, I have to husband will ever be as important as my kids. They are my children, he is my legal mate. I love him deeply but love them more deeply.

Texas_Pete's picture

No,, they are not equals in the family. Children will always be the children in that setting..

sandye21's picture

No, they are not equal. The marriage shoud be the prime focus for both Husband and Wife. Someone else brought this up, but in first marriages, the children do not usually determine the nature of the relationship between their parents. If I ever treated my mother with the disrespect SD has to me, my Dad would have stopped it immediately. The same SHOULD hold true for a second marriage, but from what I've experienced, SD and I weren't equals, I was so undervalued it was pathetic. Now I don't ask where I fit on the scale of most valued to DH. It doesn't matter now, because I value myself enough not to allow 'second best' treatment.

Poodle's picture

Rarely, if ever, is there a real conflict of interest where a parent has to choose between the best interests of spouse and children. This might occur, for example, if one of them had to be pushed off an air balloon in order for the other to survive, and the person making the choice is the bio parent. But what happens in manipulative situations like many of ours is that either the bio parent, or the child, or both, or sometimes even the step parent, engineers a fake emotional crisis in order to test and challenge the bioparent and put them in that oh so powerful position of choosing between the apparent interests of spouse and children. It's usually a fake, trumped up scenario and you have to get the blinkers right off to spot the game. Call their bluff, I say, and point out who benefits and who pays.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Poodle-The way you've described the fake emotional crisis-wow! You've pegged it exactly!!!

Anon2009's picture

LOL }:)

emotionaly beat up's picture

Anon2009. Would you like someone else to be considered your equal in your marriage.

Marriage is a man and woman coming together and forsaking all others. If a partner in the marriage considers someone else equal to or greater than their spouse, that marriage is heading for the rocks, even if that someone else is an adult child. Adult children are supposed to be independent, gainfully employed, self sufficient men and women with partners and a life of their own. They are not supposed to be an apendage of daddy or mummy for that matter, and they certainly have no say in anyone's marriage including and especially their parent's marriage. The only marriage they can have any say in, is their own. The only marriage they can be equal in is their own.

sweetas_atl's picture


Texas_Pete's picture

I respectfully disagree with your first comment,, at no time should the child,, adult or otherwise,, be viewed as equal.. Yes they have a voice but I was raised "while your under my roof, you do what I say".. If the kids want their own say,,,, they need to get their own roof..

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Anon, if parents stay married, no divorce, therefore only kids, no stepkids, no stepparents, should the kids be "equal" with the parents? Does it change if the kids in a first family are still in the house, already moved out of the house? Just curious what comes to mind when "step" is taken out of the equation.

As for me, I don't think of our relationships as equal vs. unequal. It is impossible to truly determine "equality". I will settle for a lack of passive aggressive, fabricated emotional crises (thanks, Poodle) created by someone in my home who must not feel very secure in her own relationship with her Dad. Why else would she feel the need to create so much drama and side taking?

I don't need to be #1, the only one, the supreme one, lol. Reasonable behavior and treatment of one another is my goal.

old-blue-eyes's picture

I am seriously hoping that I do not hear, see the sd with her continuous Problems anymore. She is NOT my equal and never will be. We have absolutely nothing in common. This troubled woman will never change, and I will not let her or her family drag me down ever again. I almost went thru a divorce because of her dirty low down "feel sorry for me" and screw SM almost like to say who cares about her!

If she ever wants her dad for her own convenience (wants, needs, and $$$) without my pounding any sense from me to dh and does not listen to me, this to me means that his dd is well over me. I am so tired of her she makes me :sick:
In my opinion that means she comes first. Both dh and his dd will win me over again, but no more.
I am truly finish with her. Her kids that I bought very nice things for and not even a thank you, or an a email- well they are on my shitless too. I met many people in my lifetime but never one quite like her.

When someone like that family does not appreciate me I must just blow them off for good too. This is a big conflict of interest!!!
Sorry just venting today Smile

Anon2009's picture

I don't think they should become one...that's just gross.

But I do believe that when their kids are born, parents make a covenant to them too, to love them unconditionally, protect them and nurture them. I also believe that the love a parent has for their child, kid or adult , is very powerful, maybe even as powerful (albeit much different) than the love a person has for their spouse because that child came from them.

I agree that the daughter should have a life of her own. But I think comparing the love one has for their spouse vs. The love they have for their children is like comparing apples and oranges. They are both very powerful but very different.

I don't think anyone outside of the married couple should be equals in a marriage. Just like I don't think that anyone outside of co-leaders of a company (including spouses) should be equals in that business relationship. But I think that every adult should be equal in that all adults treat all other fellow adults with respect and adhere to each other's boundaries.

emotionaly beat up's picture

You think that two should become one is gross.............interesting. If every adult should be equal then there would be no special people in our lives, would there, we would all be equal to each other............Not the kind of world any of us would want. We all need to have someone special in our lives, and to feel special, it is part of being human.

You believe that when kids are born parents make a covenant to them, to love them unconditionally, protect and nurture them, however you have missed out the most important thing a parent is supposed to do. A parent is supposed to raise their child to be a confident, independent, well socialised and productive member of society, to be able to live in this world as an adult who is compassionate and confident, then as time goes on, that child in turn takes care of the parents. If we keep our children as children when they are into their 20's, 30's 40's etc., we are crippling them, we have failed as parents, and we have done the worse job of parenting anyone could ever do.

stepmisery's picture

I agree with you on this, but the problem becomes that once a person has divorced, how much does it really mean when that person turns around and speaks those vows again with a different person? How many times can you break and re-make a covenant?

There are some in Christian circles who will go so far as to say that having intercourse effectively marries a couple in God's eyes - so how does this work out for never-married parents.

I do also agree that many of these parents, both mothers and fathers, selfishly do not allow the child to separate in a way that is healthy because it feeds something in the parent's ego. And again, you are correct, this parent is ultimately putting self ahead of God and everyone else.

The problem with prior children is that if a man and woman marry and have a child, they will both put all their resources toward the child. Sometimes there is resentment when one parent over-lavishes a child with time, affection, attention, or love that should be directed to the spouse but mostly, hopefully, let's say most parents do not resent resources being directed toward the child.

When it is a step situation, this is no longer true. Stepparents are not willing to give as fully and freely as natural parents. There is competition for resources - and it is not just parent/new spouse vs parent/child. Many, many times, because the parents are supposed to be partners in raising their child even if they are no longer partners in life, the former spouse is also demanding time, attention, energy, money, and maybe even love.

Having three people compete over one person cannot be an innately healthy situation.

It's messed up. No wonder so many people hurt. Sad

sunnyside's picture

Love the link; love what you had to say. Thanks for sharing, NoDoormat. I hope you are well:)

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

I definitely don't think adult kids and wife are equals. The adult kid will be equal with THEIR SPOUSE. The 2 parents (step or bio) are equal to each other - to no one else in my opinion. I strongly detest when grown kids (especially SD) thinks she is not only equal, but above me. This is even worse since a power struggle will never end well in this case.

sandye21's picture

"I strongly detest when grown kids (especially SD) thinks she is not only equal, but above me." THIS is what many of us have a problem with. If SD had given me the impression she thought we were equals I probably would not have disengaged. Instead, she was constantly rolling her eyeballs and puffing up like a blow fish at anything I said, and constantly making comments which pointed to her intellectual superiority over me. It is really nice now not to have to deal with it.

20Year, I DO hope things work out for you but you can not allow this kind of treatment. Last night I had a discussion with my DH. I told him I noticed SD did not acknowledge Father's Day (the second one in a row), but that his relationship with his daughter was his business. I added that I thought she was mad at him for not leaving me, that a lot of the anger that she had for her parents' divorce was unfairly targeted at me, and that it was my fault I had not put a stop to it earlier. But get this!!! A year and 1/2 ago he would have responded much like your DH. In fact he did - until he witnessed and experienced SD's wrath toward both of us. THEN it sunk in. Yesterday when I said, "I guess you had a hard time believing me", he replied, "Not after what I saw!" This was music to my ears!

lucy51's picture

This is something that steps don't get. They aren't equal to spouses even though they feel entitled to be treated that way or even better. My husband is gone now but it's pathetic to see "kids" of nearly 50 behaving this way, whining about this or that. I never expected that my parents would treat me as an equal and I never expected that I would be left any money either.

bi's picture

definitely not equals. totally different roles in the shared person's (dh, dw, mom, dad) life. sd19 very much thinks she is my equal and always has. when she gets mad at me, she actually runs to fdh and tattles on me, fully expecting him to punish me for doing/not doing whatever made her mad. i'm pretty sure his refusal to treat me like a child is why he was ignored on father's day this year.

bi's picture

mine likes to come over and rearrange the pictures and books i have on our entertainment center. irritates the hell out of me. she thinks any home where a relative of hers lives is HER house, too. dumb ass. you would think they would grow out of this and learn what is and isn't acceptable behavior, but apparently not.

Not-the-mom's picture

No! You the WIFE are his FIRST PRIORITY. The kids are second - end of story.

Your husband made a marriage covenant with YOU, not the kids.

SugarSpice's picture

the problem with 99% of skids is that guilty parents raise the children to be the equal of the spouse. this happens even in non divorced families.

bad ideal all around. a spouse is an equal while the children are not. even your own. guilty parents dont see this.

when i was a child my father bought us holiday gifts on occasions like valentines day or easter. he would always buy something better like a bigger box of chocolates or a better easter sunday dress. it was clear he loved his children but he make it quite clear that what he had with our mother was special and could not be touched. we knew that she was first in his eyes. he would hug her in front of us. he would also hugs us too but it was different.

when i married dh the skids were still quite young and he made a point not to hug me in front of them and walked arm in arm with them while i walked behind. he used the excuse that he did not see them often and deserved to be spoiled. it was guilt for the bm being and adulteress and leaving him.

guilty parents make the mistake of raising their children to be their equals and then become best freinds with them, major mistake.

sandye21's picture

My DH did this too, and it did NOT help the marriage or demonstrate to SD the social boundaries in marriage vs. children. I can remember walking 10 feet behing DH and mini-wife SD. You are right, this does not get better with time. SD still expects special treatment in a normal adult world and had problems keeping a job or friends. What really gets me is that DH has never acknowledged that he might be part of the problem. In my eyes, he WAS and IS the problem. It's still about SD and SM not getting along, although he WAS present when she slipped up and had a tantrum. He finally stopped denying everything and making excuses for her.

emotionaly beat up's picture

Sure, if you want to destroy the marriage. As soon as you put another person above your spouse you start on the road to ending your marriage.

Your children are not yours till death do us part. Your children are meant to be raised to be independent, productive adults who live their own lives. Who either choose to marry and have families of their own, or choose to live on their own or with a same sex partner. But they are meant to eventually become adults who live their own lives.

Husbands and wives who put children first in the marriage and not the relationship, find that when the children to leave the nest to begin their own lives, there is nothing left for them as a couple. They have lived so long as parents, they have nothing left as husband and wife. The marriage is over. Even if they live under the same roof, the marriage is over because they spent years putting children first.

peacemaker's picture

...What God has put together ...let NO ONE put asunder (or come between) one means no one...God established a system of authority/ (even in families) and has an intentional order to everything He does...A husband and Wife hold a seat of authority that far surpasses that of the children born UNDER that authority...Children are to HONOR their parents...and the seat of authority they sit in. They may not like the decisions their parents make, may not agree with them, but...that gives them no right to cross that line established by God himself...Parent's are in a place of authority over their children... When there is a Second marriage...the Wife in the second marriage, now sits in the seat of authority God has created next to her husband...the stepchildren may not like it...but it has been established by an order that is bigger than them. The BM may be jealous of the DH's new wife...because that WAS her seat...but, she no longer sits in it....and does not get to reap any of the benefits that came with it...Those benefits belong to his present wife...When you think about it, that is why God hates divorce so much (not the people), but divorce itself...Because when a couple get married and take a covenant...they have begun a journey that is important...when children are a result...every decision their parents make effect them. Unfortunately, it seems that divorce is devastating for most all children, leaving them with crushed foundations, abandonment issues, fragmented relationships, rejection, and lots of other baggage...and that is what step moms have to sort through, deal with, and are constantly being enamored with most of their married lives...usually without knowing what hit them....

the answer to your question is NO, they are not ever equals , were never intended to be, and when Parents cross this line, they end up bringing much confusion into the relationship...When parents cannot seem to keep that line clear...they create a lot of problems for themselves, their children, and the one they are married to...A chaotic mess...

emotionaly beat up's picture

I think some men encourage animosity between wife and daughter because part of them quite enjoys two women fighting over them. Not that this type of man would ever own that.

Rags's picture

Oh hell no. A spawn is never the equal of a spouse. Ever. Regardless of if it is a joint biokid or a stepkid, a minor child or an adult child. The spouse and the marriage always take priority over a kid. Always.

Kids are a primary responsibility of parents but the marriage/spouse is always the super ordinate priority.

The amount of second marriage divorces is proof of those who do not understand this absolute constant of relationship physics.

IMHO of course.

sandye21's picture

Rags, Over 3 years ago I wrote my first post. I had been living in a marriage where SD's needs came first and foremost. I endured this and her abuse for over 20 years and it appeared the marriage would not survive because of it. I made a copy of your reply and gave it to DH to read. It made the difference between marriage or divorce. Thank you SO much!

When we say our vows we promise to love and cherish each other. EBU mentioned that a marriage can not survive when skids are the prime focus. Time and time again I read on this site how a woman or man is having to put up with terrible treatment by adult skids and used as a scapegoat by DH or DW. By doing this, you are dishonoring your partner and disrespecting the marriage, plus setting the skids up for social failure.

A good parent raises a child to grow up to be an adult who practices mutual respect.

Rags's picture

I am happy that things have gone well for you and your DH.

My DW and I will celebrate out 20th anniversary this year with the renewal of our vows. The SKid is doing great.

It is possible to make marriage the priority and to fulfill the responsibility of raising SKids.

Best regards,

SugarSpice's picture

one of my adult sds came to live with us when she attended university. she immediately started throwing her opinions in: food, decor, home remodel and my private property. she even got bm into the discussion. bm called dh to tell him to order me to reorganize the rooms to suit sds preferences.