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Wife thinks we should separate (long post)


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1st half=history, general environment

2nd half=separating details


I have two step-kids, a toddler of my own, and my wife's parents live with us in the house I recently bought. We've only been in the new house for a month so far and things aren't going great. I'm looking at losing my job next month and have not had any luck getting a new one yet. I'm already stressed out about that, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.


I've already had multiple altercations with my mother-in-law. We step on each other's toes a lot. I, for one, have found it difficult to re-establish any routines. I live by routine, and I've kept the kids to certain routines for the past few years. But now that's all thrown off and I can't seem to get it back with my mother-in-law always interfering. I don't know what to do half the time. Then I get accused of being lazy and useless by my wife and her mother for not handling every conceivable thing that needs to be done, and "depending on" everybody else to get things done.


I've never depended on anyone to handle my business, but what am I supposed to do when they steal my thunder and leave me scratching my head? I don't want to argue about it. Maybe grandma makes the kids dinner before I get a chance to, then so what? It's not like I wouldn't have otherwise. What I don't like is, then, being berated for not feeding the kids and taking my in-laws for granted by depending on them to take care of things. What the .."heck"? I don't remember asking for anybody's help. She just interferes on her own. That's her decision, I didn't ask for or need it. But I'm still the useless failure anyway.


My wife also accuses me of not loving her kids like they're my own and treating them differently from our 1yr daughter. I honestly don't know if I should agree or disagree. They aren't babies, the 1yr is. OF COURSE there are going to be differences in expectations. She says how obvious it is that I don't act as lovingly towards them as my own daughter and that I "treat them like they're nothing". I admit I'm usually not as luvy-duvy with them as with my little toddler. I'm sure I don't have exactly the same bond with them. I didn't know them since they were babies. I haven't had my life invested in them since birth. And maybe I'm not a huge fan of my step-son's bad behavior (that has greatly increased since moving in with the grandparents in our new house).


Maybe I don't feel as close to them as my baby girl who has never spent more than a single night away from me. I certainly don't deny that possibility. But I don't treat them like outcasts or as "nothing". I spend time with them. I help with homework as needed. I try to teach them things. I play with them, though maybe not all that often. I take them to their practices/games. I try to encourage them and tell them I'm proud. I feed them, when my mother-in-law doesn't beat me to it. All in all they're pretty happy and healthy kids for as badly as my wife and her mother say I neglect them.


The simple fact is, my energies and patience are limited. I do way more than I get credit for and my wife doesn't do as much as she takes credit for (her's seems to be a pretty black/white world, and I suspect she shares some of her mother's delusion). She works at night and doesn't have to deal with the kids during the day, except for the baby. I work during the day and get to deal with all of them all night, mother-in-law's criticisms included. I can only do so many chores and spend so much time with the kids. I can't keep everything at maximum at all times, and god forbid I ever get a moment to myself without getting yelled at for not watching the kids or not doing x-chore.



So yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back for my wife, and I admit it was probably not a smart thing on my part. We were going to a birthday party (me taking the kids, wife at work). I was sick and tired, already not in the best of moods, and very intent on leaving when I said we would leave. My mother-in-law, ever the critic, said my step-daughter needed her hair brushed first.


So ok, I take some time and personally brush her hair. It looked FINE. Now it's time to go and I say we're leaving. So now my mother-in-law decided my hair-brushing isn't good enough and wants to take another half hour to do it better (interfering at my expense as usual). My step daughter didn't have to go along with it though. It SHOULD already be established that my authority trumps grandma's in my house.


I said we were leaving for the nth time and my step son, toddler daughter, and I went out to the car and got buckled up. My step daughter, in my eyes, apparently decided she didn't want to go because she went back to get her hair combed again. I'm tired, still sick, and I don't want to argue about it. They both made their decisions and my plans have not changed. When I say I plan to leave at a certain time, I don't say it because I like the sound of my voice, it's supposed to actually matter. So we left without my step daughter. I felt like a jerk doing it, but I'm so tired of this crap, of what I say meaning nothing as soon as grandma sticks her nose in.


Then when my wife got home from work, she chewed me out about how she's supposed to be my daughter and "you don't leave your child behind". Ok, I kind of agree with that, but I also don't think it's the end of the world, and maybe next time all parties involved with take it more seriously when it's time to go. But anyway, my wife says I don't understand/respect her, her family, her culture (Hispanic) or even the concept of a family ..and she thinks we should separate after Thanksgiving unless I "learn what a family is" by then.


My current plan of action is to put some hardcore effort into keeping the house clean, since it's apparently solely my responsibility. I will try to have the baby with me at all times so nobody can fault me there. Between those two, I certainly won't have time to get excessively mushy with the step kids, but I can try to not get after them for their behavior as much, since I'm obviously so much of a jerk in that regard. I think I'm already nice to the kids (when they're not acting up), but I'll see if I can be nicer ..while not taking my eyes of the baby and being exceedingly productive, cause you know ..it's not like I'm tired when I get home from work or anything. Nope, the work is just beginning! But I clearly need to, in her eyes, become a better husband/father/person than I am within this week. I need to impress her and get her to change her mind.


She fully intends to take all the kids with her if/when she leaves. I can't let her take away my family (and yes, especially my baby). "Visitation" is nowhere near the same thing as being a fulltime dad, especially when the child is so young ..young enough to see a new daddy as the primary parent and young enough to forget my importance. That's pretty much what happened with my wife's ex-husband, and she'd have no problem turning me into the next him. Nope, I'm afraid I can't let that happen.


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It seems to me that your wife is in this for convenience, I didn't once hear you say you loved her or she loved you. Why are her parents there? To me, I could just say try marriage counseling, but it seems more like your wife doesn't want to have anything to do with you. Seems like she is only in it for the help and the place to live etc. Sorry if I'm wrong, I don't know why I get that vibe.


I suggest: get a good attorney, that is what you need one that will say he will fight to get your full custody or joint even.

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Yes, why are her parents there?


It was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. My mother-in-law wouldn't babysit her own grandkids for free. I had to pay her (and my wife, before I came along). I was paying $225/mo. So, with them living there, I don't have to pay her to watch the kids anymore, and we don't have to drive accross town either. They're now paying us $200 in rent, if you want to call it that, but it's cheaper than the $600 rent they used to pay, so they save money too. It's economic and convenience benefits, basically. Also, my wife's parents both have health conditions that aren't doing so good these days and it's getting harder and more expensive for them to get by like they used to.


My wife and her mother insist it's a situation that benefits me more than them, but I'm inclined to disagree. I was doing just fine, if not better, before living with them. But I do welcome the saved money and convenience. But as far as who "needs" more, I think it would be them. Even before the house, there was the question of how much longer they would be able to continue like that. They don't have much income, and they aren't' very wise about how they use it (they never owned a home, saved for retired, or anything. They pretty much blow all their money, especially the mom).


Then all these health issues started coming up that's costing them an arm and a leg, and interfering with my father-in-laws ability to keep working (he's 67 and still works because he has to, not because he wants to). He has cancer, off and on, that's apparently pretty expensive to treat. And my mother-in-law has ..I couldn't even tell you what all is wrong with her. But anyway, they're old, sick, enfeebled, and doing even worse for money than usual. To me, there is no question who needs who more.

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Honestly, I think your wife is taking advantage of you. I mean this is a home for you and your family, not the in-laws too. They aren't going to make your marriage, or your life easy at all. It is nice what you are doing, but you could probably even get a baby sitter for much cheaper? Your wife thinks you should separate, what are your views on that? Does she think she'll get the kids, the house, the child support, the monthly payments paid? Don't let her manipulate you and separate so you still pay everything for her. If you do decide on separating when marriage counseling isn't the answer, then you need to divide assets and stand your ground. You have your own life to take care of, your own bills, your own problems.

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Well last night I worked my butt off all night trying to clean the house for Thanksgiving, and then this morning I got in trouble for throwing some things away. There has long been a policy in the home that any toys left out when I clean are considered trash. So there were a few toys in the living room that I threw away. Big deal. The kids have an absolutely oscene number of toys, too many. They don't even have room for what they already have, and they're going have twice as many after Christmas.


So what if a few get pruned? A little pruning is long overdue anyway. And I had so much work to do and so little time/energy, there really wasn't much to think about in regard to some random toys. So then this morning my wife says one of those toys belonged to their cousin and I had no right to throw it away, and for that matter had no right to throw away any of the toys. I can't say I agree with all that, but said they could easily be replaced. I'd be more than willing to replace them (and for that matter, they'll be more than replaced in a month anyway). Then she threatened to throw away my camera/computer since "obviously" $20 worth of toys is equal to $2,000 worth of tech.


She complains when I ask the kids to help clean up the living room, because "the baby did most of it, not them". So I said "that's funny, none of it is mine either but for some reason it's all my responsibility". That's right, it's not my mess more than anyone else's (probably LEAST of all mine), but I'm not even allowed to ask for help with it. Then she said not to worry, my family will all be gone soon and I won't have that problem anymore.


Some of the things she said this morning were just jaw-dropping. Last night, I took a break from cleaning to ask the kids (that I supposedly hate so much) if they knew that I was at least trying to be a good dad/husband. I said I was sorry if I haven't been perfect, but I'm trying. And I couldn't even get through it without breaking into tears.


This morning, my wife and her parents are at a funeral of some relative I never met (and there's a fair chance my wife may not have either ..her dad has a huge and distant family). I sympathize for my father-in-laws loss. I really do. But I haven't been told much about it. My wife just told me I was supposed to take off work today for this funeral to watch the kids or something.


Bear in mind, I didn't know this person, I just barely heard about this, and oh, I'm losing my job soon and can I really afford to take the time off? (I'm a contractor with no paid time off). It's not like anybody even told me when/where it is or gave any indication that I was wanted. I seem to be nothing but EXCLUDED from things currently. The only "plan" she's made clear to me lately is how she intends to leave me. How could I make plans to miss a day's pay for this when nobody even tells me much of anything about it? But oh well, I still lose points for it anyway. I'm not kept in the loop with very many things, and then get blamed for it.


It's like she is looking for ANY possible reason to demonize me. I think she WANTS this marriage to fail. Even before this, she has long been avoiding intimacy with me; our sex life has been pretty few and far between. And last time I tried to snuggle with her in bed when she was asleep (within the past week) , she pushed me away, said "get away" and started crying. I still don't know what that was about, and she denies it happening, but quite frankly it freaked me out a bit. Something is going on with her, beyond everything she's putting on me.


I don't know what to do. I know I'll have no legal recourse here in TX if she takes my child. She will destroy me with child support (like with her ex) and I'll hardly ever get to see my baby (like her ex. I hate the guy, mind you, but I won't deny he got screwed). She'll also probably get the house and new car. She already knows how to play this game, and because she's the woman, she is automatically favored legally anyway. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if she has already spoken to a lawyer or made some sort of plans prior to her saying anything to me. So my life will pretty much be over, having been robbed of everything that gave it light, and there's not a damn thing I can legally do about it.


If I had the resources to take my child and re-establish a new life in a new country, I'd be very seriously thinking about it at this point, but sadly even that's not a possibility. All my resources have been invested into building this life with this family for the future we were supposed to have. So I'm out of options. I'm going to lose my family, my job, and then probably my home, and to top if off, I can count on child support too. What will be left will be a broken shell of a person with nothing left inside but dark thoughts and decreasing concern about what a biased legal system thinks.


I so scared and wish this wasn't happening.



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