My wife of 10 years and I have been separated for five months. She’s 56; I’m 48.
A big problem is my 26-year-old stepdaughter who’s moved in with us for the third time.
Repeatedly, I’ve had no say and no notice about her moving in. She pays no rent, buys no food for the house, and just lives off her mother and me.
She doesn’t clean up after herself. She drinks in the house though I’ve said I don’t allow it. Her mother doesn’t hold her accountable for anything.
I love my wife but I couldn’t take it anymore and moved out, even with my income gone and my wife barely keeping the household together.
She previously told me that she’s scared to lose her daughter, yet she seems okay with losing me!
We still talk and go to the same church. We’ve gone to marriage counselling via our church and I’ve spoken with our pastor about this daughter, but she won’t.
We still date one another, but when my stepdaughter’s name comes up, everything changes.
I want things to work, but I need my wife to be on the same page with me.
I don’t want a divorce but believe I deserve to be happy! I’m unsure what to do.
A difficult, dependent adult child can certainly sour a couple’s otherwise-happy union.
Yet it’s a terribly stressful situation when one parent feels forced to choose between a child and a spouse.
Her daughter creates guilt feelings in her mother to get what she wants, then takes advantage of both of you and keeps you too divided to change anything.
If you want this marriage to work, you both must work out something together, such as insisting her daughter gets a job and contributes something towards food.
You need to be a team. If your wife sees that you understand that she can’t just close the door on her daughter, you two may be able to find a program that helps get her standing on her own feet.
Your pastor may have ideas. A work/school program might lead toward some independence. If drinking’s the problem, then Al-Anon for those involved with alcoholics may help you two make future decisions about her daughter.
I've been living with a married man for six years and have two kids with him, expecting a third.
He’d said he’s getting a divorce, but I discovered the truth when I first got pregnant.
I stayed for economic reasons and love, and got pregnant with the second baby which he didn't want me to have.
Now I’m pregnant again and know he’ll ask me to have an abortion. Everybody will say I should’ve left him long ago and having a third kid is crazy.
If I have the child I’ll be by myself. But I hate abortion.
Desperate and Depressed
Get to a legal clinic and learn what rights to child support you may have under these circumstances, depending on the laws where you live (whether a US state, a Canadian province, or elsewhere in the world).
If there’s assured support for your kids, leave this man rather than accept his pressure to have an unwanted abortion (if you stay together, you still need ongoing assurances of child support).
Then, be the strong mother you need to be. Look online for single-mother support systems in your area – websites such as oneparentfamilies.net (One parent Families Association of Canada) and spaoa.org (Single Parents Alliance of America) have useful suggestions/resources.
I’ve been divorced from my wife for six years. She has a boyfriend but we still see each other once or twice a week.
It’s your thoughts that matter most, but your brief email indicates that you don’t want to think it through yourself or you might have to make a decision.
IF you were truly happy with this arrangement, you wouldn’t be asking for my thoughts.
Meanwhile, your inaction is holding back your chance for a more satisfying relationship with someone who wants to only be with you.
Your wife wanted freedom from marriage, plus a boyfriend, plus friendship with you (presumably with benefits).
Now you get to choose what you want. If it’s a relationship better suited to you, gently distance from your ex-wife while you start meeting other people and dating.
Determine to find your own comfortable situation rather than just fall in with hers.
Tip of the day:
When an adult child divides a couple, a team strategy is needed.