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My disengaging may end my marriage

Tryingtomakeitwork's picture
Forums: entire thread on disengaging?!  I wish I had been on this forum 15 years ago, when I first got married and dss was only 7.  Fast forward, and the disrespect from this 22 yo dss blew up in my face in January.  I told dh that I cannot participate in any events with dss from this day forward.  5 months ago, dh and I told dss how much he hurt me, and dh assured me that dss would show me how sorry he was.  Nope, dss has done NOTHING to show any sincere remorse -- no phone call, no text, no fb message, no card, no NOTHING.  I have held several family events (dinners, activities, etc.), and dss was NOT invited.  Apparently, dh thought that over time, I would just invite him over.  uh, no thank you. 

Since dh has been bringing up this issue every week, I told him that the only way the marriage would work is if dh accepted total disengagement and STOP BRINGING IT UP EVERY WEEK.  DH told me he couldn't do that, and so now, dh told me he cancelled our vacation next week (it's been 5 years since the two of us went on a vacation together despite the fact that dh has gone on vacations with dss.)  ugh.  It looks like divorce is imminent.  He told me he found a mediator and that since he has vacation time next week, we can get the divorce done then.  

Rags's picture

Call his bluff.  Don't do a mediator.  Just get the best attorney in town, consult with all of the top 10 since most will do free initial consults, which should take them off of the board for STBXH, and nail him for everything. 

He mentioned the D word. Rub his nose in it hard.

Good luck on your new life adventure.  With STBXH and his spawn having their incestuous emotional affair for the rest of their lives.

Powerfamily's picture

As I posted on your other thread.   There is no reason just to follow because he is dictating what HE wants.

Tell him you are not going to discuss anything about your marriage or divorce next week.  You are on vacation then go away even if it is to family.  Do not contact him, let him stew with his choices.

I hope he gives you back any money you paid towards the vacation or is going to tell you the night/morning before you are due to go that him and his child are going to use your holiday.  And he does I would remove half the cost of the holiday from any joint account.

Use the time you have next weelk to get all the legal/financial advice you can, but do not discuss anything with him.  Do not go to the mediator, do not let him rush you into divorce with preparing yourself.  He hoping by rushing you into doing this you do not get a chance to make sure you are not being short changed.

shamds's picture

Late last year hubby told me all 3 skids frustrated him and were a major disappointment and failure for him in life with their behaviour and attitudes but he says they’ve been wronged because they had a neglectful bad mum (whom hubby stayed married to for 14 years before divorcing her) and hubby was so focussed on work as the sole income earner their whole marriage

boohoo my parents divorced and my mum was a high conflict narcissist and guess what? I never use it as an excuse to treat others like shit. I wanted to be a better person. Treat others how you want to be treated is something alot of skids don’t understand

yesterday hubby had amnesia and conveniently his kids have no issues with me and love me and don’t think of me and our kids as strangers. Really? Is that why your 21 yr old son who lives at home with us hasn’t spoken to me in 2 years and told you i was a stranger and made him uncomfortable to day a basic hello or acknowledge me when i’m here? Is this why your daughters have been 10 months no contact, not even ask about us but conveniently when hubby messages them every 3-4 months they are busy but conveniently ask hubby for gifts from our holiday overseas to visit my elderly dad?

my husband is in major denial and doesn’t like his sisters catching him up on it. They had to talk to me and were in shock at the 2 things i told them about skids...

oh and hubby has this 1 happy family thing in his mind, refers to me as his daughters mummy... ummm no i will never be their mummy... hubby has justified and excused their behaviour. 4 more weeks till i fly back with my kids to my country permanently to finish my university studies and send our kids to school.

i’m hanging by a thread until the day i fly out and am friggin jumping for joy i don’t have to put up with skids

MommyT's picture

Girl! Don’t let him control you! You take a vacation for yourself and let him know that you will meet with a counselor when you get back. Ugh! I hate when people try to control situations instead of working together. I’m so sorry hon

Kes's picture

My DH was in denial of how his 2 kids treated me, for many years, and allowed them to disrespect me in my own home.  Had a bit of an epiphany about 5 yrs ago and is now genuinely sorry for how he behaved and sees where I was coming from.  If this had not been the case, I definitely would not be still with him now. I disengaged in 2004 or so - many years before knowing there was a name for it, and years before I found StepTalk.  DH accepted my disengagement because I think on one level he realised I had good cause - although occasionally he'd still try and convince me I was in the wrong and his kids were the best thing since sliced bread. 

I don't think that you should allow DH to rush you into a divorce - get it done NEXT WEEK? give me a break.  Divorce takes a lot longer than that. I imagine it will take you a few weeks to get your financials in order and find a good lawyer.  He is just trying to bully you.   If it were me, I'd go away somewhere nice and relaxing next week, on my own, maybe a spa, have a bit of me-time and pampering.  God knows you deserve it.  

lieutenant_dad's picture

And you're letting him dictate your vacation time because...?

"DH, have your attorney send any requests to mine. I'll be unreachable about this topic next week while I'm on vacation. I'll meet with my attorney when I get back to finalize things with them."

Don't let him dictate this process! He wants a mediator versus a cutthroat attorney because he's going to go in asking for the moon and stars, "but if you'd *just* let SS come over, we could scrap this whole thing".

Nope. My XH pushed me to the brink of asking for divorce. It wasn't until I moved out and started dating again that it FINALLY clicked that I was done and over it. He begged and bought me flowers, everything he thought would win me back. Too little too late.

My new motto is if I am ever pushed to the point of having to use the threat of divorce to instill change OR my partner threatens divorce to instill change that I'll just leave. It's unfair to throw out the nuclear bomb of marriage threats as a plow. If they are serious, then let's be serious and end this.

Tryingtomakeitwork's picture

He was bluffing.  He's back to texting me and I reiterated that he has to accept things the way they are currently (disengagement) and stop bring up the topic every week.  His response, "can ss still call you to talk things out?"  Ok, I have never said that he couldn't contact me.  He knows how to write a letter/card, he has my cell phone, we are "friends" on fb.  WTF?!  I told dh to exclude my name from ANY conversation with any of our chidren.  I don't think he is capab!e of doing that.  I think he is totally codependent and can't butt out of anything that involves him.  Oh, what to do?!  I started organizing my stuff to move, but I have SO MUCH JUNK to get rid of.  It will take me forever.  Sad

Harry's picture

So go with DH on vacation, Do not talk about SS and see what happens. SS was to contact you five months ago, you are still waiting for that contact and “ his sorry “.   Not saying this is going to make thing right, but it still SS having to do something he did not do yet. 

If SS actually saids he sorry. Most likely he wii because DH will insists on it .  Then move slowly with SS. As no money, no overnight in your home, no free Vacations.  Just come over for a holiday,

Tryingtomakeitwork's picture

after agreeing that there would be no mention of the children.  We had a nice time, but I just don't have the same feelings for husband.  I know that marriages go through changes and transitions, and this is a major one I am trying to work through.

I've been doing some reading, and learned that what I am working through is pretty typical -- stepchild is passive agressively hostile towards step parent, bio parent has parenting gaps from divorce guilt, step parent is made out to be the evil one even though the step parent is really being victimized.  Ugh.  I'm just typical.  Even husband acknowledged that I am one of the most generous and caring people he has ever met.  But husband is afraid of being abandoned by ss22 and by me.  So sad...the two people he loves the most can't stand each other, and husband created this hostile environment by not teaching ss22 to respect his stepmother.  I'm sick to my stomach over this.

shamds's picture

He told me it hurt him that he would be abandoned by his kids with ex and i’m like well you’re abandoned by them know when they ignore you for months... then he makes excuses, absolute pathetic ones to justify why basic respect and civility cannot happen with his kids.

i have disengaged and when hubby has his recurring selective amnesia and decides its one big fake happy family time i remind him NO!!. No i will not be in the presence of skids or 2 sd’s because of all these issues which hubby has justified as them being playful with no evil intentions. Oh please, the disrespect from skids i will not tolerate and they aren’t pleasant to be around so i do not prioritise my free time around them or for them when they’re such self centred selfish disrespectful arseholes

Another_unmother's picture

Hi, I think I am trapped in the same place. Passive aggressive disrespect and dad's divorce guilt ajd me being the victim. May I ask where you read about this dynamic? 


Also, the fact that your partner won't choose you is totally not your fault. Choosing kids over partners is bad whether it's a bio kid or a step and contributes to divorce. It's easy to love our bio kids. We have chemical cocktails in our heads to make it happen. It's harder to show up for our partners but we have to choose to do the work. That's a normal thing for you to want.

Rags's picture

Your husband not being invested in your marriage is what will end your marriage.  Putting his spawn before you, not holding them accountable for reasonable behavior, repeatedly re-engaging with his toxic spawn without requiring compliance with standards of reasonable behavior from his spawn.

Of course he does not need to disown his children. But he does need to be an adult, hold them accountable for being adults and he needs to put you and the marriage he has with you first.

Tryingtomakeitwork's picture

I can’t be physical with him anymore.  I don’t feel affectionate towards him...because I don’t feel that he has my back.  I used to feel like I could trust him to take care of me.  Now that I know he supports ss22 in being disrespectful to me, I don’t want dh to even touch me.  Ss22 comes first, and its like I am the mistress, waiting around for sloppy seconds.  If ss22 moved out of town, our marriage would have a chance.  Now that ss22 is buying a house close to us, I’m afraid my marriage is over.  Eegads.  2 divorces?!  I feel so embarrassed.  I feel like a loser.  :(

Rags's picture

I do not know anything about your first marriage but your second is a failure not because of you.  It is DH.

Take care of you.

sammigirl's picture

The first thing I did was separate for a period of time.  I moved DH to SD'S house.  They wanted to spend time together without me, BINGO, there you two go!

Then I drew up a financial statement of what it was going to cost my DH.  Keep in mind, I figured 50/50 square out.  I had a career, he had a career, fair.  Now that got his attention!

I refused and still refuse to discuss my grown SD or her family with him.  No discussion on disengagement, I just moved forward as if she is not on the face of this earth.  I have now cleansed my life of my SD.  She doesn't effect my life.  She visits DH, I ignore her completely.  My DH has finally accepted our change.  I always stay civil, SD got the message also, without any harsh words.  I stepped up and took control away from both DH and SD.

With all this said, it is very difficult.  You lose respect, trust, and your marriage changes forever.  Please don't think I take this lightly.

It has been 5 years since I went thru the stage of disengagement you are experiencing now.  It is heartbreaking.  

Everyone has different reasons for sticking it out, or walking away.  Time away from each other opens up the truth, thought process, and you are able to make a plan on the direction you need to do for yourself.

Hugs and give yourself space.

Tryingtomakeitwork's picture

After my spouse scheduled a vacationwith my children and his evil son without consulting me, even though he promised he wouldn't, I filed for divorce.  He took the children on a vacation, told them that he hoped I would go when I learned the entire family was going. I explained to him that he just taught all of the (adult) kids that it was ok to manipulate me and not respect my boundaries (100% disengagement with the disrespectful ss and ss's wife).  We are now divorced, live in separate homes, and he continually tells me "we could have made it work...we both made mistakes..."  Uh, really?!  We have vistation with the dog cuz that's his only contact with me, at which times he asks me for another chance.  I feel sorry for him.  He is so damaged that he lets his son walk all over him.  I really thought, over the years, that if I called ss on his crap, made him accountable for his behavior with appropriate consequences, and "killed him with kindness," that he would grow up into an adult who would eventually be nice to me.  I was WRONG...I even told him, at one point, that if he continued with his narcissitic ways, that he would be responsible for taking care of his dad when his dad was older because I wouldn't be around.  Well, I guess that is the case now.

This is all so sad, but life is too short to be treated like a doormat.  It's very quiet being all alone, but at least life is calm and sane now.  I am moving towards a happier and healthier life.  I hope everyone finds peace here.  Blended families have a higher divorce rate than first families, and I am now part of that statistic.  :(

Merry's picture

So glad you are taking care of yourself. You were so miserable. I'm sure you're working through the hurt and that will take some time, but damn,

And he wants another chance? To do what? But that's what my ex did too. All those years of begging and pleading for xyz, and then when I finally left he promised he'd "try harder." WAY too little, too late.

Enjoy the calm.

Rags's picture

Though the demise of your blended marriage is sad, it is nothing to frown about.  Smiles are appropriate for your new beginning and new life adventure.
 So smile.

Missingme's picture

The thought of aloneness is probably the biggest reason people don't divorce.  Stay busy and hang in there!  And doubt beat yourself up for another divorce.  It happens.