DH just doesn't get it... (very long)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
DH just doesn't get it... (very long)
Thu, 05-27-2004 - 1:50pm
Hi everyone...I haven't been here for a very long time but I'm really in need of some support so here I am. A quick background...I'm married to a man with two kids (one is special needs), I have two kids and we all live together. Husband's ex is in the picture, but not involved much in their lives. They were high school sweethearts from a small town and moved down to the big city after they got married. They've been divorced for 10 years but remain "friends". When my husband and I first got together I admit there were some insecurity issues. She was very dependent on him for things and he was always there for her. They lived close so she took the kids every other day and maintained a friendship with my husband. It wasn't sexual or anything, but it was above and beyond a normal friendship. Anyway, when we got engaged we bought a house together for us all to live in (neither of our houses were big enough) and that meant moving farther away from her. She cried and got all sad, putting guilt on my husband for "taking her kids away from her". Nevertheless, we moved anyway. She only lives about 30 minutes from us now. Still she used to have my husband meet her half way with the kids so she wouldn't have to drive as far, and out of guilt he would. Like I said earlier, she's not very involved with the kids much anymore...has them every other weekend. She doesn't do much with school either. I guess I'm getting a little off topic here, sorry. My issue is that I don't think she treats me very nicely, frankly I think she's disrespectful towards me. I am practically raising her kids...I'm there when they're sick, I do everything with school and sports, I listen to them when they need a shoulder, I run and take and do everything for them...like my own kids. Not really relavent, but let me add we pay for everything...we don't get a dime from her. My husband was entitled child support because she left and he got the kids, but he refused it...giving the checks back to her until he finally had them stopped. I'm not complaining and I don't expect anything in return...but respect. She rarely talks to me, she doesn't acknowledge me...only my husband. She directs everything to him. She'll call my husband (only at work may I add) to ask about the kids schedules for example. They're 15 & 18...call them! He ends up calling me anyway to ask because he usually doesn't have a clue...I pretty much keep everyone organized, like most moms do. I make sure she always knows if something comes up at school, I make sure she has school pictures and sports pictures (which we don't ask money for and I don't ever get a thank you), I make sure the kids call her about things or to get together with her. (I had to remind them it was mother's day!) I feel I do these things out of respect to her as their mother. I don't like her much as a person, she is not a good role model for the kids and doesn't live a very good lifestyle, but she is their mother. So now a situation came up that really upset me. My stepson is graduating from high school next week. For months we've been planning a party for him. Well, mostly I have been...my husband doesn't really concern himself with the details. So one night a few weeks ago my stepson mentioned that his mom wondered if she could go in with us on our party or just come to our party. She doesn't have many to invite and didn't want to do a party of her own. I immediately had reservations, and my husband could tell, but I thought of my stepson and kept them hidden. I told him to tell her she really didn't have to go in on it with us, but she could come if she'd like. I told him to have her call me and we could discuss it. Well...weeks went by and I didn't hear a word. Two days ago, she called my husband...at work...to see if it was still ok she come to our party and asked if she could bring her family. She then told him she'd bring a salad or something. So he called me to tell me all this and I got upset. My reasons for getting upset were that she called him instead of me like I asked. I saw that as a act of disrespect. Couldn't she at least have called me? I'm the one planning the party...for HER son...I know all the details. Also, she just casually tells my husband she'll bring a salad? It's nice of her to offer to bring something, but what if I already have salad? What if I don't want salad at our party? And one more thing, I was upset with my husband for just telling her sure, and it was all fine. He should have told her to call me...he knew that was my request to my stepson and he knows I have certain plans already made. Well...I was really hurt. I thought about it and realized it wasn't really about the food...it was about their disrespect to me and my feelings. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, so I had to confront my husband about it. Let's just say WWIII broke out! He was so angry with me and was yelling at me to no end. I explained how I felt disrespected and he told be it was all bull. He said he doesn't think she treats me with any disrespect, he said she doesn't treat me anyway at all. I mentioned that was part of it. When I told him he didn't have to agree with the way I felt, but I wanted him to understand and support me he told me he never would. He thought it was all stupid and that nobody on earth would feel that way over someone wanting to bring a salad to a party. He told me she was his mother and there was no way he was going to ask me if she could come, he didn't think it was a problem and that was that. He thought it was all about the food and her coming to the party. He blamed it on my insecurities and said I'll never get over it and he's sick and tired of it. Again, it wasn't about her and her being here as much as it was about the way she treats me. What he thinks is jealousy, I explained was really resentment. I told him I had reservations at first about her coming to our party not because I'm insecure, but because she treats me so rudely and then I'm just expected to welcome her into MY home with open arms. I then told him I was putting my feelings about that aside for my stepson. He still doesn't believe me...he thinks I'm insecure and always will be. Anyway...it became a heated argument and he said alot of hurtful things to me. He just doesn't get it and won't even try to understand. He is very stubborn and pigheaded when he has an opinion on something. Counseling is out, he won't go so that's not an option. Am I just supposed to go on living with my hurt feelings? Do I just go on accepting that she'll always be rude to me? Other people see it, just not my husband. When he doesn't see it, either out of avoidance or just inattentiveness, I see it as enabling her to do it. I asked why he doesn't stand up for me...I'm his wife and he should care if I'm unhappy. Again, he said it was bull...he's not going to act on something he doesn't believe just because I'm his wife. So I just go on knowing my feelings about this are all stupid to him? Please don't get me wrong, he's a great husband and very loving and sweet to me normally...except when it comes to the subject of his ex. Any time something comes up about his ex he puts up this defense wall and blames it on my insecurity. I don't think the cycle will ever end...but I love him. I want to make this marriage work. So again I ask, do I just let this all ride and act like it doesn't happen? Am I overreacting...am I making too much out of the disrespect issue? I really don't know what my options are. Thanks for sticking with me here reading this long note. I'd appreciate any advice any of you can give me.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-27-2004 - 6:55pm
it sucks, but this is all your issue. your husband could be more supportive, but he's not. And yes, she should be nicer to you, but she's not. so what can you do about it? work on yourself. you can't make other people change; you only have control over yourself. You want to stay, then go to therapy to figure out how to make this bearable for you. Maybe you'll find a way to cope with this situation or maybe you'll find that you prefer to be alone than with a husband who won't even try to help you overcome your issues where he can.

I think you're a great mom. Obviously you're beyond step when she's dropped the ball to such an extent. And like all moms, you've just got to keep taking the higher road. it's about the kids and making their lives easier. They're stuck in this situation created by you, the adults.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Fri, 05-28-2004 - 1:02pm
I want to let you know that I think you are a very BIG person for being such a wonderful step mom to your stepkids. You are not letting your resentment for their BM to affect your feelings toward them. Obviously you aren't being fully appreciated for the wonderful job you are doing. I agree that you can't do much about BM and how she acts toward you. Most likely, you will never get the respect you should for taking such great care of HER children, but I'm sure you are not doing it for her, but for the children and for yourself.

I don't believe it is o.k. that your DH is not trying to understand how you feel, even if he doesn't agree with it. Quite often, men do not have a clue to how we think and feel, but we'd like to think that they are willing to try. My DH reacted very similarly to me when there were issues (mostly before our marriage) regarding his children and parents and how they treated me (mostly his parents). At first he reacted just as disagreeably as yours, but as time has passed, he has come to see it pretty clearly and comments on it more now than I do. I think sometimes men can be pretty clueless about these things, but once it has been brought to their attention, they sometimes start to notice the things that we were trying to tell them.

I hope that your DH, although defensive and seemingly unwilling now, will start to try to see things through your perspective and can become more understanding to how you feel.

I wouldn't hold my breath regarding the ex. After all, she has shown she is willing to give up responsibility and care of her own children. To acknowlege that you have done so much for them means she might have to acknowlege that she has not. I don't think that will happen.

I can only suggest that you might go see a counselor on your own. Hopefully a counselor can help you deal with the feelings you are having so that they don't poison your relationship with DH and SK's. In addition, the counselor might be helpful in ideas to get DH to be more responsive to your feelings.

Best wishes and again, you are doing a very wonderful thing by being so caring and responsible with your SK's.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2004
Tue, 06-01-2004 - 10:28pm
I don't think you are over reacting at all!!! It sounds like you have taken the high road above and beyond the call of duty.

Obviously DH isnt going to budge and I may be going out on a limb here but have you considered calling his ex yourself? Why does DH have to be the one to be the go between between the two of you. Maybe you should go right to the source yourself. Just a thought : )

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2004
Wed, 06-02-2004 - 12:19pm

I read your note, although I have to admit, I did skim a bit. I can identify with your emotions, I am married, second time, with two of my children living with us. It is not easy. My daughter, who is 22, just graduated from college and my new husband, don't get along too well. When I spoke to my counselor, she advised me to try to let them work out amongst themselves, as a diad. Whenever a third person gets in the middle it makes for much worse relations. That I should try to say out of it (Unless things get really out of control or abusive) In other words, take out the middle man and go directly to the source. Basically, what I am saying, is perhaps you should have a discussion with his ex wife directly. This takes the pressure of your husband and perhaps you two can communicate for once and for all.

It is hard having step children, ex's and the whole works. I have some issues that probably will never be able to work out (my husband has terrible anger). I think you situation can be worked on. Maybe you and your husband should go to a family/marriage counselor who deals with second marriages/step families.

Best to you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2004
Wed, 06-02-2004 - 11:20pm
Hi Nancy ..

I think your post was for the originater of the post. I sent a reply to sweety4592 shorter then yours but on the same idea. I also suggested contacting the ex directly.

I hope sweety4592 reads your reply .. it was more indepth then mine.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-03-2004 - 4:04pm

wow - that's some story!