New wife not accepting my kids, alcohol involved
(Philadelphia, PA, USA)
After a 4 year dating relationship, my wife and I got married. We are both free spirits, fun people. Awesome people. We all know nothing is perfect in life, however.
This is my second marriage, and I went through hell with my ex-wife who didn't let me be a father to my children. The divorce helped to a degree in that I now have MY time with the kids, but I still fight an uphill battle in trying to get them to eat properly, get motivated for their lives, etc.
My kids are both very overweight, and my son is on the autistic spectrum. 17 and 15 now. Throughout the past six years I have not been able to get my ex to work with me in restricting their diets, getting them active, getting them to play an instrument or sport. I have signed my daughter up for violin and trumpet lessons, tried to get my son into football, metal detecting, even pinball. Nothing really sticks. They get home to their mom and it's immersion in pizza hut every day and isolation.
Recently things have gotten a little better in that both kids have expressed interest in working, and my daughter lost 20 pounds over a period of a couple of months and with the help of one of her friends. I keep encouraging her every opportunity I get and while she is at my house we make healthy foods cooking, I take both kids for mile long walks, etc.
The kids are good kids though. They do great in school, no interest in drugs, smoking, or drinking. I feel they need positive reinforcement and good role modeling, and this present situation SUCKS.
My wife can be introverted at times - when she drinks. I don't like it. Sometimes she is fun, other times, a demon comes out of her. I hope one day to help her to quit. She also smokes. Again, I know that I can't force her to quit, but I would help her quit if she wanted to.
My wife started drinking at a very young age when she lost her father and was sent away by her mother to live elsewhere. She had it rough. She put herself through college and ended up being a very successful woman! She is a very DRIVEN, THOROUGH, and STRICT person in certain ways, and that has helped her be successful in her career. About 2 years before I met her, her best friend committed suicide. I think that the drinking really escalated at that time and that's when she got a little more isolated with it.
So these are the factors coming in to my situation.
My wife was never married before and does not have any kids of her own. She was initially very accepting of my kids, and helped me in creating workout routines. She had us all go to the local YMCA to sign up for the gym together. The kids didn't respond well to that. I tried to play the middle and make it fun but my son started to have an episode there. So frustrating. An autistic breakdown can be a nightmare when there are a lot of people around trying to do an activity. Sometimes I can get him to calm down, but this time SHE became very stubborn and just too firm which made my son further lose it and so we had to leave.
She had taken my daughter to the gym a couple of times but my daughter became resistant to that. I think it's hard as a teen in trying to feel like you belong. But she needs to get her butt moving. I had my wife's back on it, but I can't control the DISPOSITION of my daughter and her apparent disinterest. DEEP DOWN MY DAUGHTER KNOWS IT'S GOOD FOR HER!!!
But my wife I don't feel understands that there will be resistance with kids. I tried explaining to her that if we do some FUN things like hit a movie, go bowling, etc, on top of the physical fitness stuff it would really boost their self-esteem. She didn't want to hear that and became increasingly offended at the kid's resistance.
So for me I'm pissed at the kids and forcing them to get off their a**es and go walk with me (at this point though my son WANTED to walk!) and would be creative as possible in getting them to do good things for themselves. Meanwhile my ex feeds them garbage at her house...
Then I'm pissed with my wife because she won't have a little more patience and I don't want her to give up on them! But... she did. She stopped any interaction with the kids at all. In fact, she didn't want them coming to our wedding because in her mind they would bring drama or have some sort of episode. They DID go to the wedding and there was no drama or scene.
AFTER the wedding, there was an issue where my ex-wife made a snide comment to me about the wedding. She had my daughters makeup and hair done even though my wife had coordinated with her that WE were handling all of that. I bought my son's suit and daughter's dress, and we had hair an makeup people there the morning of the wedding just for that. My wife thinks that my DAUGHTER purposely told my exwife that we had nothing for them to cause a problem. I think that it was either a miscommunication -- ex-wife forgot, OR ex-wife was just pissed I was getting remarried... In any event, this leads my wife to now distrust my daughter. (Who I really don't think did anything).
But since then it's been more rejection. My wife won't so much as go to a movie with us when they are here. She locks herself in our bedroom watching TV, or goes to concerts, or just leaves for the whole weekend when they are here now. My wife, along with being very headstrong, can be very vindictive.
I don't like this when she leaves on kids weekends like this. Not only is it hurtful to my kids (they notice she is never there and doesn't participate in anything), but it hurts me because 1/2 of my time off she is not a part of now! Sometimes she gets home drunk at 2am from hanging out with her girlfriend, sometimes she leaves for the entire weekend and goes out of state to her other friends places.
Do I think she is cheating on me? No. But could something happen? Well, when we go out I have seen her get hit on if I walk away. I think she would be faithful. HOWEVER, the state she gets in when the kids are here is --- she ignores them, ignores me too, isolated, but then SEE YA and is gone partying. So it gives me pause.
We have been in counseling for a few months. At one point she wanted to move out, we worked it out. She had dinner with me and my daughter, which was huge! Then she left for her friends, I was okay with it, baby steps... It's slow going. But again now she wants nothing to do with them (or me when they are here) all over again.
I don't know what to do. I don't need this.
Went out to pick something up at the store and a very attractive brunette starts talking to me, flirting. I could have BOOMBAH... slam dunk!!! Did I?? No. I want that to be my wife next to me!! Regardless if my kids are here or not.
Right now I feel so goddamn alone.
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist