I saw the love he had for me and my daughter, whose father had abandoned us.
I neglected to see his potential major problems (job dissatisfaction; long, lethargic, unemployed periods; unhealthy vices; and reliance on his parents).
He was interesting and fun. He made me laugh, and feel cared about.
But over eight years together, and having another daughter, my husband’s selfish characteristics became prominent.
He’s not happy with himself or his job. He puts little energy into our family, he’s grumpy, and self-absorbed.
I’m unable to get him to communicate, no matter how I approach him.
But, I also blame myself. When we met, I pushed to create a family for me and my daughter. I did the majority of work, financially and emotionally.
But when people were also depending on him, he fell apart.
Now we're barely more than roommates - no sex, living paycheque to paycheque.
At 35, this is my legacy – two failed marriages instead of working on myself, which is the example I should’ve been modelling for my daughters.
Your “legacy” has a long time ahead to develop and change. You’ve already started this process with a hard, honest look at yourself.
Take the break. You can manage alone, you already do. Tell him this, without threats or accusations.
Maybe, on his own, he can become more responsible. Encourage his relationship with the kids, even if you stay apart.
But for now, show your daughters that you’re a strong woman determined to better their lives and yours.
I’m 22, a college student home for the holidays. Almost immediately, my mom reported that my 19-year-old brother’s been smoking marijuana (pipe version) for three months.
They see the effects (moodiness, lack of motivation). He lied about it until my dad caught him.
He doesn’t have a job, is barely passing at a local junior college, spends all day playing video games, and going out with friends.
They’ve let him smoke on days when he doesn’t have classes.
They’ve threatened to kick him out of the house unless he quits.
I don’t know what to do or say. He and I don’t have a good relationship.
I believe he should be paying rent and/or utility bills if he continues smoking, or join the military (an idea he’s had).
I’m now miserable at home. And my family’s slowly falling apart. What can I tell my parents?
Older Sibling Struggles
Dealing with these issues is their responsibility, not yours. With a poor sibling relationship, he likely sees you as the “good child” with whom he’s being compared. So your “solutions” won’t move him.
He needs your parents to encourage him – not threaten - to find his talents and boost his skills. Educational guidance agencies and/or career counsellors can help with this.
If they and your parents help him believe he has some specific abilities and undeveloped interests, it can move him to look closer at where his education can lead.
Once he’s feeling encouraged, that’s when boundaries should be presented as ways to help him.
Example: No lying about smoking. They’d prefer he drop it but, say, will accept it on weekends. Socializing and video games also limited to when he doesn’t have classes.
If they don’t like those suggestions, they should consider talking to a counsellor together to discuss how to help motivate their son. Or, what might be most effective in case of a stalemate in their relationship.
Stay out of it, but be kind.
Commentary - To young single-parents:
Sometimes the allure of having someone by your side blinds you to their very crucial faults, and to your own faults, too.
You can also lose sight of your own assets and goals, which is very sad to end up regretting later.
Work on YOU. It's tougher raising kids alone, but you don't want them having a dysfunctional parental relationship as their family guideline either.
Remember, they see everything!
You can love someone who can still be wrong for you. If they don't share your core beliefs, such as working as a team, working hard, saving money, growing and changing, communicating and compromising… then, you're doomed before you start.
If you feel more alone with someone than you do without them – pull the plug and take the steps to make your own life better, along with bettering the life of your kids.
Only YOU are responsible for your own happiness.
Tip of the day:
When it’s time to become a person you admire, act on it.