When my husband of one year and I met, my four children lived with me and he had a young son who lived with his mother.
My husband works on the road and is often gone for months at a time.
One month after we moved in together, his ex moved out of State to be with her boyfriend and left their son with me.
For two years now I’ve been the soul caretaker of this now 7-year-old boy.
My issue is that my two youngest children, and my stepson, have a horrible hatred for each other. Every day brings a fight.
We go to counselling but it doesn't help. Now my boys are planning to live with their dad so they don’t have to be with their step-brother anymore.
I don't want to lose my children and I don't want to lose my husband!
Contact your ex-husband and ask for a meeting to discuss this. Stay calm and explain gently that the reason your sons want to move is a negative one, and not a good basis for anyone, including him, to accept that change.
Describe how difficult and angry they’ve become regarding their stepbrother. Moving would give them the false belief that they, as children, can call the shots:
It’d teach them that they don’t have to adapt, have any compassion for another child’s situation, can be bullies, mean, whatever they choose, to get their way.
Instead, ask your ex to join you in a better solution.
Perhaps your sons can visit their father on more weekends, or you both might consider they spend one week a month with him, if that’s workable.
But to have that chance, the boys MUST return to counselling and find ways to live with their step-brother, who has no choice in where he stays.
If counselling isn’t working at all, get another counsellor. This is a crucial turning point in your sons’ and stepson’s emotional development. And a critical test of how your marriage can handle this divide.
Your husband should also attend the counselling, and try to have an amicable agreement with your ex, on behalf of both their sons.
Among our couple friends in their 40s, a few have divorced. We try to keep up our friendship with both sides, if possible.
But one woman whose ex and my husband were the much-closer friends, constantly asks to get together with us, and flirts openly with my man.
Recently, she’s been calling him at work for advice (he’s an accountant), instead of making a business appointment. She’s been texting him about her finances daily.
My husband admits that he’s uncomfortable about her becoming a client since she’s so openly flirty.
What should we both do about this?
She’s After My Guy
Let your husband handle this through work.
He’s the one who needs to be clear that he has no interest in her as a woman.
He can say that he feels that she’d be better served by someone else in his firm (or another firm altogether) because he’s still very close to her ex.
Together, set your boundaries socially: 1) be “too busy” when she’s asking to see just the two of you.
2) When she’s present in a group event, agree that if she flirts with him, he’ll walk away, politely saying that he’s joining you.
If these strategies don’t work, distance yourselves from her completely. She may be lonely, but her behaviour crosses the line.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding people who feel despair and loneliness after the death of someone they loved:
“Support groups for the bereaved would tell you that you don't "get over it.” Instead, you try to adjust to it.
“It's been 20 years since my husband died at the age of 49.
“Not a day goes by that I don't I think of him in some situation, see something that reminds me of him, or hear his sons say something similar to what he’d say.
“Meanwhile, you adjust and accept.
“Another expression that annoys me is “closure.” “Acceptance yes, but closure, no.”
Ellie – I’m with you on “closure” not being applicable regarding the death of a loved one.
We want our fond memories to remain with us, not end, but not swallow us in grief, either.
After a partner’s death, the human heart is capable of loving again, yet there’s no reason to shut down the recollections of the past.
Tip of the day:
Do NOT let angry youngsters hijack a family situation. Get good counselling.