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I want my parents' marriage to work


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So I'm not a parent or a spouse, but I need some help with this because it's starting to upset me.

Ive always noticed odd things about my parents. Well, my mum really. She's a fantastic mother, like I really couldn't ask for a better one, but it's like she doesn't even care about my dad.

She's a very 'emotionless' person if that's the right word? I've only seen her cry maybe 3 times in 20 years? (I'm 20 haha). She talks to my dad about work and errands, basically in a very businesslike manner, like they're running a business or just coparenting.

She never shows affection, save for a peck goodnight, and I've never heard her say 'I love you'.

What triggered me to ask for advice is that it came to a 'boiling point' this week.

Me and my dad had a dmc at like 1am a few days ago. He told me that whenever they fight and he tries to explain how unwanted he feels, she brings up all the work and paperwork she does for us and that she's the main breadwinner, instead of facing up to the fact that she isn't a great wife. She'll never admit when shes wrong. To make matters worse, he always loses his temper and gets frustrated then gives up.

Today she acted as cold as usual towards him and forgot their anniversary. He was really disappointed and I had to remind her so she would even acknowledge it. He told me that he probably wouldn't be with her if she acted like this and they didn't have kids. That hurt.

I gave him advice but I know he won't take it and I feel helpless.

Sorry for the long entry

Anyone got any advice?

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Do you live at home? Your parents should not be putting you in the middle of their marriage and you should not be putting yourself there either. They have their own unique relationship that started way before you were even born. You're not a marriage counselor. Your father should not be dumping on you. Stop that conversation immediately. Tell another trusted adult (teacher, therapist, relative) about this. It's inappropriate.

 

The best thing you can do is get out of the house more. College, work, groups, clubs, volunteering, etc. and be around people your own age. In fact it's time to start looking into a dorm or house share or apt or roommates your own age. Consider finding a bf and start living as an independent adult.

 

Your father and mother are smart enough to go to marriage therapy or get a divorce if they have problems, they don't need advice from a kid, nor should your father be dumping this on you. If you have an issue with your mother, discuss that with a therapist, not your father. You and him ganging up on her is very toxic dynamic that you should participate in. It's very divisive.

I'm 20 haha. He told me that whenever they fight and he tries to explain how unwanted he feels
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Anyone got any advice?

 

Stay out of it!

 

Even though as their child you are the byproduct of your parents' marriage you have no business in the middle of it. You should not be discussing their relationship with them. They are the adults & they have to work it out. They fell in love, got married, created you & raised you all without your input. They can address this without you too.

 

When one of them tries to drag you into it tell that parent that you love them but you also love the other one & whatever they decide it won't change but feel uncomfortable being dragged into the middle of this.

 

My first thoughts on reading your post were that you have some sort of Electra Complex (A psychological thing where a daughter is jealous of the mother because the daughter wants the dad all to herself). It's not a good a thing.

 

Yes, it's tough when you see people you love in emotional pain but you don't have the authority or the responsibility to fix this. Your participation will only cause harm.

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That's what I was thinking... But no, I'm not ganging up on her with him and no I don't have an 'electra complex' because I love my mother and Ive accepted that she's not a romantic person and I just want my dad to be happy. I told my dad to consider counselling but he just seems to have given up and that's what makes me upset. He said to me yesterday "I hope she changes because now our kids are starting to notice (including me)". I agree with most of what you guys are saying. I am moving to Scotland for college in a week so I'm definitely not gonna be at home a lot very soon (in response to first comment) so I hope I can just distance myself for now and let them figure it out. Don't get me wrong at all, I love my mother and she's a completely different person around me and my siblings. She just doesn't open up about her feelings and its just hard for me to understand because I'm an emotional person. My dad always talks about his feelings too so that's probably why it's hard for them to communicate.

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It doesn't matter why it is difficult for them to communicate -- they have their own relationship, which started and existed before you came into the world and continued while you were too young to analyze and and judge them. You father is completely out of line discussing his marriage with you -- you are the child and no matter how old you get, you do NOT belong in the middle of all of this. Ever. If he wants to talk about his misery and what is wrong with your mother (who, btw, is getting labeled as the villain here when he is not really making an effort) you tell him you will no longer discuss your mother or his marriage with him and if he wants to, he should get a therapist. You do NOT want to be in the middle and you will not be put there.

 

Then you are out. And if they get divorced, that is their relationship and their decision. You are going away to college, you have a whole new life, stop worrying about theirs relationship. As a child you are bound to take care of them if they are sick (and that means different things to different people), keep in touch and since you seem to like and love them, give them access to some of your world. It is NOT your job to fix their relationship or be a marriage counselor -- especially because you are emotionally involved, untrained, and, right, NEVER BEEN MARRIED.

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Okay, okay

I understand what you're saying

I'm not claiming to be a counsellor, I'm not trying to be one, I just wanted to help the two people I love the most

For my own emotional wellbeing, I've already decided that I'm not getting involved anymore. Im just feeling sad about my feeling of helplessness and just wanted a bit of empathy.

I'm also autistic and anxious, if you didn't already guess, so I have this annoying need for control and safety/security in my life. I've accepted that I can't do anything about it.

Just to clarify, my dad isn't a bad person and isn't trying to turn me against her. He hasn't had a good example of marriage and raising kids in his life so please excuse his mistake like I am doing

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I'm sorry you've been brought into this, OP.

 

I don't think your dad had any malicious intention in sharing with you, but it was really not appropriate to put you in the middle of their marital problems. You aren't qualified to give advice, and you're too emotionally-involved, naturally, as they are your own parents. It has obviously (understandably) sent your anxiety through the roof, and made you worry about the stability of your family life and proverbial safety net.

 

I would ask your dad to please not share such personal details with you, and instead suggest he look into marriage counseling if the situation has become intolerable. Don't entertain any more talks about Mom with him. If he brings it up again, tell him you do not want to discuss it and change the topic.

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Are you sure your father is not rehearsing speeches for women he intends to cheat on your mother with? This kid of "wife's cold and doesn't understand me" is the typical cheater's drivel. It's not or your mother's job to make him happy.

I just want my dad to be happy.
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Attempting to pull sides or gain sympathy will just backfire on your father as he will appear whiny, inappropriate and suspect in his various complaints. If your mother is fed up with him, there may be very good reasons for it and how she behaves towards your father is not your business. Stay out of it as the others have mentioned and be neutral towards both of them, love them equally and don't take sides.

 

Your emphasis should be on love and respect for both your parents. If your dad is feeling down show him that you love him by giving him a hug and do the same for your mum. You can explain to your dad you are not comfortable when he brings up topics about mum and you love both of them equally. Most adults/parents will step back and understand what they've done is inappropriate. Stop giving advice. That behaviour is inappropriate also coming from a child.

 

Stay on top of your studies or your work if you're working and your goal should be self-sufficiency and growing up well outside the realm of your parents' influences. Show that you love them but take care of yourself.

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I agree with others, you've got to mind your own business. It's their marriage, not yours.

 

Not that it's an excuse but bitterness and resentment erupts since your mother is the main breadwinner. Perhaps she has stress at work with her work and whom she works with everyday which spills over into her home life and marriage. If roles were reversed, perhaps it's your father who would act like your mother. Try empathy for your mother and your father has his part to play in the marriage. It's not all on your mother as there are two sides to every story.

 

You need to play "Switzerland" and remain neutral. Be cordial and show respect to both parents. Let them work it out among themselves. Don't get involved in their marriage. Concentrate and focus on your own life. Whatever goes on is between your mother and father. Everyone else stays out.

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Oh, OP! I feel for you so much. I was in the exact same position as you. My parents were desperately unhappy in their marriage and would both complain to me about their marital problems. I repeatedly asked them not to, but they kept doing it.

 

It's very easy to say "stay out of it", but it's different when your parents are putting you in this position against your will. I would suggest gently advising your father to seek counseling and ask him not to include you in their arguments. This may or may not work.

 

I'm glad you'll have some distance soon. That's important. Continue to distance yourself from their marriage as much as you are able.

 

Best of Luck!

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