My wife of 10 years and I were part of the same, very insular religion.
I decided several years ago to no longer participate. She and her mother (who lives with us) are still devout.
Our friends inside the religion now shun me and don't do anything with us as a couple.
She’s embarrassed to include me in religious social events (though I’d happily attend).
It’s very difficult for me since we were both very social and active with others.
I've since joined sports teams and started volunteering. She’s not interested in these and spends her free time watching TV.
She’s also gained weight - a symptom of her feelings of distress.
She says she loves me and shows me affection, but I don't see how we can be happy together if we can't share friends.
She’ll stay committed to our marriage for as long as I’m with her, especially since it’s mandated by her religion.
I need help determining whether this is something that can/should keep going, and if so, how.
In The Lions Den
You don’t say whether you want to keep the marriage going, nor mention whether you still love her.
Your leaving the religion has affected her greatly, too. As a couple, you’re already coming apart.
To stay together, you’d both have to compromise. She’d have to stand by you proudly, even at religious social functions.
You’d have to try harder to include her in your other socializing, and also find more couple time together.
Have that conversation. The decisions will become clearer to both of you.
My second husband and I are in love and have few issues beyond our children.
His eldest is grown up, but dismissive and rude to both of us. His youngest (a teen) is also dismissive and rude, but her father refuses to see it because she’s a strong student and overall good kid.
Despite her ignoring me, and dirty looks, I say nothing, and make efforts to engage with her.
My teens are very different from his. They’re talkative, outgoing, social, and push the limits. I’ve had to deal with issues around dating, skipping school, disrespect, and pot use. Both are also hard working, helpful, and good students.
My husband can’t stand them, even when they’re doing well.
When they arrive, he becomes distant, unfriendly, and critical of them to me.
He takes issue with everything they do or don't do, and doesn’t engage with them.
Yesterday, my son and I prepared dinner for him and his daughter. They didn’t like the meal. My husband made his daughter something else. She went to her room, and then left without a goodbye. He went silent.
I’m tired and embarrassed by this childish behaviour. How do I keep everyone happy?
You cannot make everyone happy, especially not with a man who dislikes your children from the get-go.
His daughter resents the whole scene. That could pass with maturity… but not with her father supporting her rudeness.
Keep showing an interest in her, but withdraw when she’s dismissive.
Do NOT be afraid to tell your husband that his attitude makes the situation far worse.
His disapproval of your children only encourages his daughter and creates an Us vs. Them environment.
And his own rudeness shows where his children get their example.
Despite his warmth when the kids aren’t there, you two may not make it to the better times when they’re older. Unless you get counselling for this divisive “unblended family” situation.
FEEDBACK Regarding the aunt whose nephew is being spoiled with toys (May 11):
Reader – “I’m fortunate to have two sets of grandparents who adore my three children.
“Many times, I feared they were giving my kids “too much.”
“Sometimes, it got overwhelming. It seemed there were toys everywhere!
“Twice a year I do a cull, and quietly give away the toys no one seems to be playing with.
“The aunt might want to offer to her sister- and brother-in-law to help them sort through all the toys when they’re ready to give some away.
“She could say something like, “I’ve noticed you have a lot of toys for Billy to play with.
“When you’re ready to sort through them, I know some great charities that take gently used toys as donations. I’d be happy to help you organize.”
“She might find they appreciate the offer if they’re feeling snowed under by all the clutter!”
Tip of the day:
Major personal changes also affect your partner and your relationship.