I am 21 years old, and I have been with my husband since I was 18. We got married pretty quickly because he was supposed to go off to the Army. Our relationship had many ups and downs, but I thought the reason was because of our drug use. We did stop doing drugs together before we got married and because of it, our relationship got stronger. We would have just stayed as boyfriend and girlfriend while he was in the army, but he would have had to sign over all his custody rights for his daughter to the mom. He REALLY really IS a great father, and I knew that he would never get to see his daughter again if he signed away his rights.
Well, he never went to the Army, and we have been married for two years. Our communication is obsolete, and when I try to talk to him about anything that bothers me, he gets really angry! I have tried talking calmly, asking with a flirty tone, casual conversation, and of course when I am angry; to get him to hear what I need from him! I just want him to show me as much love and affection as he did when his daughter wasn’t around when we first got together. I thought that he could love us both equally, but he seems to think that she will not love him if he shows me any affection. I tried mentioning that she needs to see how much a man should love his wife so that she doesn’t settle for anything less when she finds a companion of her own. He doesn’t respond.
Instead of being angry or fighting in front of her (i don’t think kids should see those things EVER), I just leave for most of the weekend (when she is there). I know that isn’t good either, but I think it would be worse if I was there making him "take turns" or "share" giving us both affection. He always gets so mad!! We hardly ever see each other during the week because we both work full time, then go to school at night. Then we have his daughter all weekend, every weekend. Plus, he "feels bad" asking his parents to watch her her so we can go on a date (even though they would LOVE to).
So, I want to know if you think we should part our ways. We have had the same argument for the past two years, and nothing has changed, except for the worse. He knows he is stubborn, he knows he is rebellious, but he thinks that he is normal and nothing is wrong with it. He blames me for not changing, even though I give her love and affection when I am around her. I even take her out on girl days, just the two of us. I just need affection too! I need attention! I don’t need ALL of it! Just a little all the time. What should I do? Am I being selfish… or just stupid for thinking he will change back for me?
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It’s hard to know, from what you’ve written, what the actual situation is in your marriage. Your primary complaint seems to be that your husband has no time for you when his daughter is around. Since it seems that she is around a lot, you don’t get much of his loving attention anymore at all. Of course this is frustrating. The thing is, having a small child around the house is a very demanding task that leaves little room in a marriage for alone time among spouses. Young children are simply hard on marriages. Given that this is true, and that I don’t know anything about you or your situation other than what you’ve written, I can’t tell if you are truly being ignored and dismissed, or if you are wanting an unrealistic amount of attention.
You are certainly upset, and that is serious business. The fact that you are seriously considering leaving your husband means that there is a real marital crisis happening that needs to be addressed. Your husband seems to be taking you for granted right now, and is not likely aware that such a storm is brewing. You need to let him know what you are thinking about so that he can properly understand the magnitude of what is at stake (e.g., whether or not you continue your marriage).
The best way to address the crisis will be joint marriage counseling where you both attend every session. The two of you need to have an objective and experienced third party present who can offer you perspective on what most couples go through when raising a young child. It is only against such a perspective that you can make a sensible evaluation of what is reasonable to expect of one another and what is not. You’ve already proved that you cannot easily communicate with one another on this topic. A third party therapist may also be able to help you listen to one another better, get your points across to each other more readily, and help you find ways to compromise. I’m sure that your husband can be helped to see ways that he can an attentive husband at the same time he is being a good parent. Because of how tense things have become, it’s unlikely that he’s going to receive this help directly from you.
One thing that seems to be happening here which is unfortunate, is that your husband has not invited you to be a parent of his child. Instead, he seems to have allied with her against you, in part perhaps because this is not your child but a child he had with someone else. This pattern cannot continue if the marriage is to thrive. Healthy marriages find spouses allied together to raise children. This is true regardless of where the children came from. I’d like to see your husband work on inviting you to co-parent his child. This will be best for your marriage and for his daughter too. If you cannot find a way to come together as parents for this child, it calls into question what will happen if and when you decide to have a child of your own.