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Is it possible to Disengage from Husband, MIL, and SD without divorce?

WitchHazel's picture
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I've been married almost 10 years.  I have a SD17 , a SS14, and a BS6.  My husband is a Disney dad. We have full custody of SS14.  He has behavioral issues himself.    SD17 started refusing to come to our house 5 years ago because my husband wouldn't get rid of me.  SD17 is a narcissist, and only calls when she wants money, or when she wants to cause trouble.  SD17 has been horrible to all of us.  She is a thief and a liar.   SD17 has tried repeatedly to make me leave.  She has had help from MIL and Ex-Wife.  MIL will sneak around and help SD17 screw me over, then tell me how much she loves me to my face.   MIL thinks SD17 does no wrong.  MIL has nothing to do with SS14 or BS6.  MIL has always claimed to hate the ex-wife but they are just alike.  MIL is very manipulative.  She has a "health emergency" anytime something doesn't go her way.  

Lately, Husband has been acting odd whenever he brings MIL, SD17, and Ex-Wife up.  He told me Ex-Wife didn't even call SS14 on Mother's Day.  He told me that he did talk to MIL and she is furious at SD17, and told him she would never be anything but trouble, and that they weren't speaking.   He told me he hasn't heard a word from SD17. 

This week, he slipped up and told me ex-wife did call on Mother's Day.  I don't  like the woman, but I understand talking to your child on Mother's Day.  Why did he lie about it?  I found out that MIL was never mad at SD17.  I checked out their pages on Facebook, and they've been posting to each other on there constantly.  I don't  see where they stopped talking at any point, or even acted mad at each other.  I also found out that my husband called SD17 this week and talked to her for awhile on the phone.  I understand that he wants to talk to his child.  I've never given him grief for talking to his child.  I've tried to get him to go do things with her without me--just so he could spend some time with her.  It's not talking to SD17 that has me upset. I just don't understand why he lied about it?  It bothers me that these people have all tried to break up my marriage repeatedly.  They have done nothing except cause stress and grief--and now he is sneaking aroung and lying for them.  I feel betrayed.  I'm wondering what is going on that makes him feel like he has to sneak around and lie to me.  He acts like nothing has changed.  He doesn't know that I have found out.  He knows something is bothering me but that's it. I'm afraid if I start talking about it, that I will get upset.  I hate to get upset, because I start crying.  I'm just tired of it all. 

Is it possible to disengage from my husband, MIL, SD17, and the Ex-Wife without a divorce?

Survivingstephell's picture

It is possible to disengage from the skids and MIL and Ex wife..  By doing that you just might be able to get back on track with DH.  Take yourself out of the drama, toxic games and they will have to find another punching bag.  

What you need to do for DH is called a 180.  Basically you build a life for yourself doing what pleases you and makes you feel alive again.  DH either notices and joins you or you have a big decision to make.  I wonder if he doesn't tell you so you wont' start a fight?  Men don't like confrontation and would rather lie and try to please everyone then tell mommy and skids  no.  

Now when you pull yourself out of the game, it will confuse them and they will try nasty things to get you to reengage with them.  Hold strong and they will give up.  Like a new puppy, consistency will teach them the new rules you have for engaging with you.  Respect and honesty or you don't participate.  First things first though.  Pull back.  This can take quite awhile to get to a comfortable place for you, let alone for them to all get your new message.  

Don't know if you can avoid a divorce eventually, but you need to take care of yourself first.  Toxic people suck the soul out of you and you need to put it back in place.  

WitchHazel's picture

You are right. He tells people what they want to hear to avoid confrontation.  It hurts to be lied to. I think it hurts more that he thinks I’m too stupid to know what’s going on. I’m afraid that it will end in divorce. Ten years of this has changed my feelings for him. I have no respect for the man anymore, and now I’m wondering what else he has lied about.  I’ve already started backing away.  Thank you for all of your help. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

and you have lost respect for him. You do not care for his family  members and you are in a very unhappy situation.  You could disengage from your husband ,but that is usually called divorce.

Why would you want to disengage from your husband but remain !married to himhim?

Sometimes, some people remain married for religious or financial reasons and agree to live as housemates with separate lives. If you are amenable to that type of arrangement, perhaps you can propose that to your husband.

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WitchHazel's picture

It’s my son. He is 6. He has autism.  He is high functioning, so he is going to be fine—but I don’t want to put him thru a divorce.  My son is my world. He is the best part of my life.  My son also loves his dad and my husband is good to our son.  They are very close.   I have talked to Husband about separate lives before. He won’t go for it.  He says I’m a part of him and nothing will change that.    It’s an unhappy situation for me only. I think my husband is oblivious most of the time. I know it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I was just trying to figure out a way to make it a little easier.  

Survivingstephell's picture

If he expects you to stick around then you need to make it clear what will enable that to happen.  You do have some leverage, DH has expectations.  Get to marriage counseling.  An outsider might be able to get thru to him.  

still learning's picture

Any way you can take a break from him and his crazy family? Go somewhere for 2 weeks or a month and clear your head?  Better yet send DH and the looney toons off camping for awhile.  

Short of a physical vacation from the circus I would advise a break from Facebook. I know it's hard but don't look at anything to do w/ any of them on social media.  Put the blinders on, fingers in the ears and just say "La la la la la", anytime the drama comes up.  

Anytime he brings up SD, ex Wife, MIL put some nachos in his mouth and change the subject.  No need for you to hear about or be involved in the 'Coven' in any way.  

WitchHazel's picture

A break away from them sounds outstanding...and I love how you called them the “Coven” .  That is my new name for them. 

Rags's picture

Mostly likely not... if you want at least a partly healthy home for your son.  Staying in it for the kid(s)  does no one any good IMHO.

Old sm's picture

You can but it's not easy. I've caught DH lying about things re: SD in the past. He was constantly fixing her speeding tickets (he's with the parish sheriff's department) and she was on our insurance.  I got so sick of it that I told him next ticket, she was to pay for her own insurance.  Sure enough, she got another ticket but he couldn't fix it so they were going to have to go to court.  He didn't tell me; his cell phone started going off one day and when I went to turn it down, there was a message on the front from the cop who wrote the ticket that he wouldn't show up for court so the ticket would get dismissed. So I waited to see what excuse he was giving me for that court date. He told me he was going to court bc of a violation he wrote on someone else.

I was pretty pissed and disappointed. I didn't bother to tell him I knew the truth. At that time; our children were in elementary school and I wasn't going to put them through a divorce either. Not too long after that, SD got on her grandparents' insurance, though.

I learned long time ago that he would lie to me for his daughter. But we already had children together and I just didn't want a divorce that would hurt the kids.  That was 10 years ago. Our kids are all adults now and both of them are pretty smart; they see their dad's behaviors now and his favoritism towards his daughter.  They love their dad as do I but they see the flaws and are pretty disappointed in him too. Dh and I have pretty much gone to a "roommate" type of relationship and I'm fine with that. He can't touch my finances; he's here for his kids; he keeps our ranch running.  A divorce would cost me out my butt and I'm not jeopordizing my kids' inheritances over a divorce. All my premarital assets (namely the ranch and all the lands that go with it) go to my kids-period. So DH being here running the ranch is saving me hiring a person and he's keeping it intact for my children.  Not the best marriage in the world but it does work for me.

WitchHazel's picture

My husband is in law enforcement too. It's hard to see him come down on other people and their kids for little things and then make excuses for SD17 and lie for her.  She has been caught stealing several times. Him and his mother have always lied about it.  They don't even  know that I know about most of them.  It wouldn't do any good to tell them.

Evil3's picture

For quite a while I lived a totally separate life from DH. I would take our DD and do things with her, join things with her and have even traveled with her. I gave DH exactly what he wanted, which was all the time in the world with his wife, oops, I mean DD (my SD). I even slipped and referred to her as his wife a few times. I traveled with our DD leaving everyone else at home and DH did not like that at all. He hated missing out on trips that one of his kids was on and he started to turn things around. During my disengagement, I took up new hobbies, became reacquainted with old ones, went back to karate and got my black belt, went back to school to finish my degree, got promotions at work, ran many marathons, took DD to gymnastics and swimming, took DD to the library and cool places to eat and much, much more. DH couldn't do any of that due to the SKs' behaviour. Also, because I was being excluded. So, I excluded right back. Today, DH regrets that times that occurred during my disengagement were some of the best times in our DD's childhood. So, to make a long story short, you can disengage from your spouse. It doesn't make for the most fulfilling marriage, but if you're in it for practical reasons, then disengagement works just fine. So, what will you do first? Go on a trip? Read a great book? I can't wait to hear. Keep us posted on your new interesting life.

WitchHazel's picture

I have started working on the book list for PBS's The Great American Read.  I had already read most of the books on the list, but i've set a goal for myself to finish the rest by September. I've also booked a trip to Disney World in November for me and my son.  I can't wait. He is going to love it.   As far as referring to SD as his wife, I have done that many times.  It does seem like she is his wife.  I have to keep reminding myself that she is his daughter, not "some other woman".  It seems strange thinking that way, but she really does act more like a girlfriend than she does a daughter.  I know exactly what you mean by that.