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Second wife needs to release bitterness

Posted: December 28, 2012 2:01 p.m.
Updated: December 31, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: My husband and I lived with a very dysfunctional situation for several years. His children from a prior marriage were encouraged by their mother to tell falsehoods about our home life. She was planning to leave the state and needed full custody in order to take them, and she ultimately accomplished this.

We went to counseling and considered legal action, but realized that even if we won, we no longer agreed on how to parent these kids. The constant discord did some damage to our marriage. My husband put up with a lot of nastiness as long as the kids would see him. I tried to help, but couldn't tolerate their continuing dishonesty and disrespect. The kids eventually developed problems in their personal lives, school and jobs. Slowly, my husband rebuilt a relationship with them, but in doing so, he allowed me to be viewed as the enemy. I stopped being included in family plans.

Now his ex-wife and grown children treat my husband as if he is single. The holidays are fine, since the grown children spend them with their mother, and my husband spends his with our little family. However, he attends his children’s graduations, weddings and birthdays without me.

I love my husband. He is happy with us and lets us know. Most of all, he thanks us for allowing him to be a normal parent. He has his adult children in his life and sees them once or twice a year, but the situation is becoming increasingly untenable to me. I no longer know what line to draw. Where do we go from here? -- The Second Wife

Dear Second:

Dear Annie:

Dear Tired:

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmail box@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

We trust your husband is aware of the severe health risks of having untreated sleep apnea. However, you cannot force him to do anything about it, so we recommend that you invest in earplugs or that one of you sleep in another room.
My husband, whom I love, has sleep apnea, snores loudly and refuses to wear a CPAP. He also won’t see his doctor about alternatives. How am I supposed to get any sleep? I need my rest. -- Tired in Nebraska
Actually, the line was drawn some time ago: Your husband attends his grown children’s functions without you. This is not ideal, but it also doesn’t have to be cause for constant misery. It would show tremendous grace for you to tell your husband to go and spend time with his adult children, without any residual bitterness on your part. It’s only once or twice a year, and we suspect Hubby would be enormously grateful.

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