The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

April 28, 2014

Counseling needed when parenting goes awry

DEAR ANNIE: My husband and I have been married for three years. He has three teenage children from a previous marriage.

His ex-wife is manipulative and controlling. She gets my husband to fix her stairs, give her gas money and pay for the kids’ school trips and extras, even though that is part of the child support. And somehow, we always end up with the kids here. Every weekend, she coincidently “has to work.” My husband and I have no time to be alone together. His ex has brainwashed the kids about me, convincing them I’m a horrible person and a threat to their existence. I’ve been nothing but welcoming, positive and kind, and I attend all of their activities.

She is trying to destroy our marriage, and it has caused major stress. My husband always takes the path of least resistance, which means doing whatever she asks. They text back and forth for hours on end, and she calls daily and not about the kids. It has reached the point where my husband hides all communication with her and deletes her texts so I can’t see them. I’m sure it’s so we won’t fight about it.

My husband was emotionally abused by this woman for 15 years. He is a good person with a heart of gold, but she’s taught the kids that Dad is a mean, crabby person. Any discipline or rules he tried to enforce were undermined by his ex in front of the kids. My husband now does the “guilt parenting,” not wanting to upset the kids or the ex, so the kids have no rules and are given everything they want.

I’m also losing trust, because my husband is so secretive about everything pertaining to her or the children. He refuses counseling. He seems more concerned about his ex than about our marriage. Any advice? -- Hurt and Confused

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