I've been married for 13 years and have three wonderful children. My husband and I disagree on important things, like parenting (I think he's overly harsh and lacks empathy; he thinks I'm overly permissive and over-empathize).
I dread being at home when he’s there. I hate the way he interacts with the kids; it’s like living with a grumpy old man.
That behaviour overpowers his positive contributions to our family - of which there are many.
I'm at the end of my rope, but stay to keep the family unit and finances intact. I try to be positive and supportive but do challenge him when I think he's being too hard on the kids.
He's overly critical of them and of others in general. I feel angry with him more often than not. I think about divorce everyday - the love and companionship is gone. I've been to counseling. He went once and decided the counselor was a man-hating idiot. What now?
Stymied and Stuck
You swing between extremes – you “dread” going home, yet consider he’s made “many positive contributions.”
You need to translate your meanings to be clear and honest with yourself. To me, it sounds like he’s a great provider but you can’t stand him.
If this is an accurate, if cold, summary, then you’ve made yourself stuck by choice.
Keeping family “intact,” where the kids are constantly being criticized without empathy, is a set-up for later unhappiness, too.
One likely result is that they’ll grow up and model his ways (which you’ll also hate). Or, they’ll lack self-confidence into adulthood.
As for keeping finances intact, the cost to your life is pretty high. Talk to a lawyer.
I’m one of five children. Our parents both worked long hours to support us and purchase a waterfront property. They built a house there with five bedrooms - room for extended family.
On retiring, they made it their home. Our father died four years ago; our mother’s now in a retirement home suffering Alzheimer’s, and awaiting a nursing home bed.
My siblings and myself use the property to varying degrees, for recreational purposes. While there, we attend to maintaining the house and grounds.
One sibling and spouse are using Mother's bedroom to sleep in. I feel this shows a lack of respect. I’d expect her room to be used if all the others were occupied, but these two use it even when alone there.
Am I over-reacting? I’ve expressed how I feel, but they don’t “get” it. It’s not the only comfortable bed in the place.
Should that room be off-limits to overnight guests? If so, how to handle this without starting World War III?
On the facts, you are overreacting, since all bedrooms would be used when the place is full, and there was no pre-stated “rule” about not using it.
However, your feelings are natural. You’re grieving the loss of a family era, and the decline of your remaining parent.
There’s no need for WWIII, so long as your next approach is very tactful. First, be open that your emotions were at play, given Mom’s condition and nursing-home future.
Then, canvass all the siblings through one copied note or a meeting, with thoughtful (non-accusatory) questions about use of the cottage:
Example: Should Mom’s room be undisturbed unless there’s a gang, and then only occupied by adult siblings, not grandchildren? Should use of rooms be rotated to try to keep wear and tear happening evenly?
Accept the majority opinion.
FEEDBACK To the woman grieving the loss of her beloved pet goat (Oct. 26):
Reader –“Your father-in-law thought he was doing the right thing by replacing your pet with new ones. I've raised five goats for 14 years. Most people don't understand what these wonderful, smart, loving animals bring to your life.
“The fact that he bought two is a good thing. They are herding animals and they need company.
“I was beside myself when a similar same incident happened. Two dogs killed one of mine because their owner didn’t take proper precautions. Later, he couldn’t understand why I’d grieve over a goat.
“He told me that if the dogs got loose again, I was to shoot them. NO! I’m an animal lover. It wasn't their fault.
“Time is a great healer. Ellie's suggestion to direct your time to two animals who only want your love, will again bring joy to your life.”
Tip of the day:
Be honest and clear about why you’re weighing divorce against staying unhappy.