I recently arrived home early to find my husband of three years cheating - not sexually, but by buying another home for himself when we’d never discussed separating.
We’d been arguing over issues with his ex-wife and their daughters, but we’d agreed to discuss it further and consider counselling.
Then, I discovered my husband and a real-estate agent closing his house purchase! We jointly own our current home.
He claimed that he needs to move where he can have his daughters (whom I like and relate to well) alternate living one month with him and one with their mother.
The girls (12 and 14) already stay with us every other weekend and one week-night, plus many holidays.
He said that their mother insists on the change because it better suits her and her new boyfriend.
No one thought it necessary to ask my opinion. I’ve only met their mother once, briefly, in a crowd.
I believe that such a major change in our home schedule should’ve been raised with me as a suggestion to resolve the problem of his ex-wife constantly changing her weekend plans, not picking up the girls when she was supposed to do so, etc.
His solution – to move - is the same to me as cheating. Embarrassed at being caught out before he could announce what he’d done, he said I should definitely move with him and keep the money from my half of our house when it sells.
I’m so shocked I cannot even consider this “offer.” My instinct is to end the relationship.
There was no sense of partnership in what he did, nor recognition that he negated you in this major decision.
Had you mentioned any sentiments such as loving him deeply prior to this event, or loving your life together, I’d raise the following:
When a divorced parent faces constant difficulties regarding custody, and children are being used as pawns, it’s less surprising that desperate ideas arise.
Nevertheless, he was wrong to buy a new house without any consultation. Your options are either to move with him, or separate.
Sadly, he gave no consideration to how his daughters would feel about losing you as a caring friend/step-mom should you not accept the move.
You now have to decide whether you feel an obligation to the girls to give it a try, or whether his actions have made relying on him as a husband, impossible.
The stakes are serious. Get counselling for yourself before giving him a final answer.
FEEDBACK Regarding the grandmother whose toddler grandchild has very poor table manners when she visits (October 8):
Reader – “I hope your advice will help me deal with my own family. I’d only take exception with your advice to have “a gentle discussion with your daughter-in-law,” rather than both parents. It shouldn’t only be the mom’s responsibility for children’s behaviour.”
Ellie – Yes, talking to both parents IS important and so is doing it “gently” as it’s their child. I mentioned the mom because she repeatedly gave her child the excuse of being “too tired” to try a fork or spoon, or to stay at the table after three bites.
The best manners-training begins at home, not in restaurants nor grandparents’ house. The couple could teach her about utensils and staying at the table at home before she gets tired, and before visiting. She can then join the adults’ for only a brief period where she’s included, not lectured.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the divorced mother who’s not getting consistent child support from her ex (Oct. 6):
Reader – “The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a no-cost government program that garnishees the child/spousal support monthly from an ex’s workplace salary or other income sources.
“You only need to apply and show your legal agreement for support.
“I allowed my ex to send me personal cheques.
“But he didn’t report his true annual income. I eventually realized that I’d been cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars over years of his support obligation.
“I should’ve asked for a copy of his income from his yearly income tax.
“The FRO checks the payer’s annual income and adjusts support payments as necessary. Payments are automatically withdrawn and deposited into your bank account.”
Ellie – If having difficulties with child support, research whether similar remedies to this Ontario program are available in your jurisdiction or seek a court-appointed lawyer to resolve support issues.
Tip of the day:
The most important decisions between a couple cannot be arbitrary. It breaks trust and creates emotional distance.