I Need Other Views Please...

Updated on July 19, 2013
J.S. asks from Georgetown, TX
17 answers

Thanks to you all for your views. I see now that this is far more complicated than what can be typed out in a few paragraphs and I can't address everyone's assumptions. I do appreciate that you took the time to respond but I think I will handle this a different way.

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So What Happened?

I deleted the original message because I realized that everyone has their own take on what they consider to be relevant to my situation. Some were way off and others hit it right on the head. But because of EVERYONE's responses - good/bad, or whether I agreed or not helped me come to the conclusion that I was blowing this whole thing out of proportion. In a way you ALL did make me see different viewpoints so thanks. I didn't need 40 plus posts - just the first 13 or so helped. Is that not the point of this forum? Also, I tend to be fairly private where myself and my fiance are concerned so I deleted the original so it would not so up unexpectedly on FB as some of my other questions/responses ended up.

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answers from Wausau on

To argue in front of the kids is undermining the other parent, however, he is undermining you by disregarding the system you already have in place.

You're both equally guilty and need to work this out privately and come to an agreement about morning routine.

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answers from San Francisco on

Wake up and smell the coffee.
It's EASY for him to get mad and leave because there's nothing tying him to you. Legally and financially he's free as a bird.
WHY do you allow this? Because you're so insecure you feel it's better than nothing?
PLEASE think about your kids even if you won't think about yourself. If anything happens to him you are screwed, and so are your children.
Girlfriends don't have legal rights, WIVES do.
No one is "engaged" for seven years, that's just ridiculous.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Why did you choose to delete your post, type a "this can't be addressed in a few paragraphs" excuse, but not do a "so what happened" to give the details people were requesting?

If you truly do want other views, you need to listen to those posting that they need some more information. Too bad that you just dumped your own post. It does make me wonder if the answers you got weren't ones you wanted or liked. This is happening more often on this site now -- posters who go back and get rid of their original post when the answers aren't what they hoped to hear. Not sure if that's really your case here but I hope that whatever it was works out.

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answers from Denver on

I know it's hard to really convey what the real situation is in a few paragraphs, you quickly realize that it isn't sounding as you think it will. That said, I think you do have two separate issues going on.

The undermining is a common issue in relationships, parents have different ways to do things and it is super easy for them to compete, especially in the moment when the kiddos are there. This requires some understanding of why it bothers him- does he really just like his way and doesn't like it being undone, does it make him feel less of a man, does it make him feel stupid or that he looks stupid in front of the kids? You two need to discuss this to find out the reasons, and he needs to hear why certain things are important to you, maybe structure keeps you from becoming anxious or something else. There is definitely some middle ground in there to compromise.

The other thing is the uncertainty it causes you when he threatens to end the relationship. I can only imagine the feelings that come up for you around this. Again, this requires a conversation about boundaries. As in, no threatening break ups unless you mean it, how to fight fair, etc.

Find some websites or books to help you navigate these conversations, it will help whether you want a big sit down or a few mild conversations. And whatever you do, do NOT read The Care and Feeding of Husbands. She is a complete hack and has been discredited by the psychological community. Read if you want to learn why this is all your fault and why you should just kiss his a##. I actually like the movie Fireproof, though, awesome.

Good luck!

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answers from Norfolk on

I need a specific example of the 'undermining' incident(s) in order to figure out what's going on and give advice about it.

To me, undermining means when I say no (to a cookie or whatever), then child asks Hubby and he says yes.
Which neither of us do - we always check with each other or Hubby will say "What ever Mommy said".
We work as a parental team and child does not play one against the other - although every kid will try to see what they can get away with once in awhile.
Testing boundaries is what they do.

AND - Hubby and I are committed enough to each other that we can argue and not feel that our relationship is in jeopardy because of it.
Every couple needs a method of conflict resolution.

You're less hurt about whatever the 'undermining' is and more hurt that he threw out an ultimatum.
You're thinking "Hmm. So he has some limits about what 'together forever' means to him." and you are wondering what sort of commitment you've got to each other and it's looking a little one sided right now.

Personally, I think what's good for the goose is also good for the gander.

By the by - if you're not married after 7 years and 2 kids - when's he planning on getting round to it?
When they are off to college?
You've got more patience than I would have.
I'd have told him to cook or get off the stove a long time ago.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Do you mean undermining in regards to parenting? For example, Dad tells the kids, "You can do A but not B", and then they come to you and you say "I know Dad said you can't do B, but I'll let you do it this time..."

Maybe you both just need to sit down and make up a list of family rules, so that everyone is on the same page. Include the children so that they know that breaking or bending the rules won't be tolerated. Parenting is nearly impossible if each parent is working off their own set of rules or even different parenting philosophies. It can be really frustrating to work really hard to steer kids in one direction, only to have your spouse undo what you've been working hard to accomplish.

I also want to add, if you're not married, do the children have only one legal guardian? Who is legally able to make medical decisions for the children? Who is legally financially responsible for care of the children? Those are also some things to think about.

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answers from Washington DC on

hard to say without more info.
what does he feel he's being undermined about?

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answers from New York on

So, when you make a rule, and he allows them to break the rule, then you complain, you are undermining him???? Sorry honey, you two have more serious problems. He is undermining you and then turning it around to make it your fault. He is trying to pick a fight. and it sounds like he is looking for a reason to leave. Tell him you love him and love your family and want to discuss everything with a counselor to make everything better and stronger!

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answers from Dover on

In the example you gave, he was undermining you by allowing her to go against your established rule. Do you do the same to him? I don't think you enforcing your rule when he agrees to go against it is undermining him. If you are willing to let him have her break the rule, is he willing and able to take her if she then doesn't get ready on time? If not, he doesn't get to break the rule for you to suffer the consequences.

BTW...hubby does it too but he's getting better.

You too need to talk and figure out what is going on with your relationship AND agree on some house rules.

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answers from New York on

Your question is very vague so my answer may not be all that helpful. But as it relates to you undermining him - I assume he told the kids one thing and then you told them something different within minutes? I was guilty of that too for a long time - and I still have to bite my tongue. Our kids are 14 & 17 so it's been a long time and lots of effort. My husband is more lenient than I am in most situations but on a few he's much more strict. So there have been times he became the "disney-dad" and let them stay home from school (if I was out of town with family or business and he had the day off work) and they'd go to a movie or the toy store (meanwhile we do laundry or grocery shopping on my day off...!) or times when I'd be trying to discipline or tell him the kids to do chores and he'd say - "it's OK they don't have to _____" . It would make me crazy! or I'd do something similar when he's begin barking orders or ignoring the kids so he could watch a game and I'd take the remote, pause the game and tell him to pay attention to his kids.

In all of these situations we send this mixed message to our kids that the other parent isn't neccessarily right or an authority. So the message the kids get is "dad's word isn't final so I don't have to listen to him" or "mom told me to do something but dad thinks it's not important so I don't really have to do it". So while they're little kids it's about snacks and toys and sharing. When they're teens it's about schoolwork, drugs, sex and driving responsibilities - more life and death stuff. But the patterns are set in the early days and if our kids don't know to listen to us when they're young they won't do so when they're teens. And while I'm still guilty of it, as is my husband we have gotten much, much better over the years. But it does require sacrifice of our will (maybe we're not always right?, maybe it's not worth it to make my husband look like he's not the authority?)

We had a long talk one day while out on date-nite over sushi about the need to present a united front when in the presence of the kids. All disagreements about the kids must be done in private. Now if there's something really important that I want the kids to do I will talk to my husband ahead of time and make sure he understands why it's important and to ask that he not make contrary statements - but instead will agree and support me. For example, I really wanted my 14 yr old son to go to sleep away camp for a week. Many of his friends were going, I knew he'd like it once he got there and it would be good for his overall development. So before I talked to my son about it I talked to my husband. Initially he didn't think it was so vital that he go, but once I explained why I wanted him to go and why I needed my husband's agreement on this - he agreed. My son leaves for camp tomorrow morning!

If he or I says something to the kids that the other doesn't neccessarily agree with we will now get the other person aside (even if we have to send a text) and express our difference of opinion. It is a much better way to approach raising kids. Most of the time once given the opportunity to understand the other's position we will agree with eachother.

Now - I think there is a concern that your man is willing to threaten to end the relationship with an ultimatum over this without serious conversation before. Part of the problem with having kids before the marriage comes along is that lack of rock solid committment. It happens inside a marriage too - but it's so much easier to bail on a living together & sharing kids than it is to bail on a marraige. Before we had kids and we were living together I gave my now-husband the marraige ultimatum - and it was more from a legal perspective - about finances, will, etc. i explained how if he died I would be legally entitled to NOTHING, that I couldn't make decision about his medical care if he was seriously injured, etc. After we got married, bought a house and had kids we went through many difficult times (I think having small children is very tough on marriages). And finally after many threats of divorce I told my husband to go ahead and leave because I didn't want to live under the threat of him leaving me with 2 kids to raise. I told him I'd rather just get started on that life if that was going to eventually happen instead of worrying about it. When he backed off and agreed not to leave and to work on our "stuff" I told him that if he wanted this to work he had to promise to never again bring up divorce as an option. And he hasn't. We've worked on our stuff, God did some awesome (and really difficult) things in our life and our marriage is stronger than it's ever been. We are going on 18 years of marriage - we've been tgether for more than 20! Who would have thought...

Anyway - the two of you have to sit down and be willing to not always be right. You ahve to realize that not every disagreement is a battle to death over your perspective. 90% - 95% of the time it's stuff you can resolve to have the same position on in front of the kids. And PS - it's a good thing to show that same united front and loyalty to eachother to your circle of friends too. Women look for love from a relationship, men seek respect. If your man gets your respect he'll never look elsewhere.

Good luck mama!

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answers from Lansing on

Undermining in what sense, like when your parenting? I'm just curious to know to what extent the undermining is. Its hard for me to believe that it could/would be a deal breaker.

I guess its hard because, I, like you can't see why undermining would be a deal breaker. Undermining is definitely something you want to work at fixing, but hardly seems like something to break up over. I think you need to get to the bottom to why it is.

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answers from Washington DC on

The basis of a good marriage is communication. If you cannot communicate, then you need to find help so that you can. Regardless of whether or not you stay together, you have young children who need their parents to be able to communicate for their benefit. I would seek couples counseling/premarital counseling

ETA: Oh good gravy. If you tell your child to eat first and he says TV is OK, then HE is undermining YOU! And it would be no better if it was dad's house, dad's rules and mom's house, mom's rules. He still would have to deal with you doing what you wanted in your home with your children. We've had to deal with some very big parenting differences in the other household with real repercussions. TV is stupid small potatoes.

So what's the REAL deal here? You need to find out. Your rule is perfectly fine. I suspect this is not the core issue. So what is? What is causing him to hold out this as something YOU need to change or it's over?

We can only go by what you post and what I honestly "assume" with your deletion is that you don't like the responses given so you won't really consider the severity of whatever it is going on in your relationship. So is it just about undermining him in front of the kids, a communication thing, or is he being verbally and emotionally abusive? I truly hope that for your sake and for your kids you don't whitewash this. Something caused you to post. So listen to your inner voice and really figure out why.

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answers from St. Louis on

Well using your example, he didn't say watch TV till mom snaps, he said while you are eating with the anticipation that when she was done eating she would finish the process.

So instead of saying, make sure you get blah blah blah done after you eat, then sit down again, you said no to the whole idea. So to him you were saying no you are not allowed to make parenting decisions and I am not even going to bother to see your point of view, my rules are the rules.

Just guessing here but I would imagine you can tell me exactly how many times he has done that to you and I bet if you were to give a number for the times you have done it to him it would be a far lower number than he would give. What I am saying is we notice when things are done to us, we don't notice what we do to others because we weren't intending to hurt, to annoy, to cause any discomfort.

Clear as mud?

So then instead of saying I don't realize when I do it but I will try to not undermine you you say this is the process we must go through to resolve this, controlling much?

So all he was saying was if we can't come up with a new way to work through things this isn't going to work. That is not saying he is giving up so easily, he is actually saying the opposite. This is a serious issue to me but I know we can work through it if you realize I am serious about this.

What I do see serious here is he asked you to be less controlling and that makes you insecure.

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answers from Austin on

Yep, AV hit the head on the nail. This is a communication deal.

The two of you really need a boost to your communication skills.
Like a tune up.

You have been together for so long, that these things that drive you crazy, are getting old and tired. He is frustrated, because he does not have the skills to explain what he needs to you, without hurting your feelings.

And you are not understanding what he is saying he needs, without taking it personally. But you also need to explain to him, what YOU need from him, without him, just shutting down.

"Seven year itch", does not always mean looking for other people, it is like a time frame that happens when you are not willing or able to just sit back and let things pass. They start to irritate you..

So until the two of you learn some new strategies about how to communicate to your more mature selves.. This is going to be frustrating to both of you.

Marriage counseling is so worth your time and energy. It saved our marriage. We are by no means perfect. But at least we know we are willing to do what ever it takes to work together. We accept that we really do get mad at each other, but we also know we are not going to ever leave each other over it.

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answers from Washington DC on

He is undermining your authority in the breakfast example. You need to present a united front at all times when parenting. You can disagree, but only if the children aren't present.
It seems to me that he is afraid of commitment. 7 years without getting married and having 2 children is simply unconscionable.
Maybe some parenting classes or some family therapy is in order. Parenting is hard.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Everyone has deal breakers and undermining in parenting is huge. In the scenario, its almost as if you treated him like one of your children. Did it really matter in that moment or did you need to be right? Sit down and go over a morning routine that you BOTH agree on and then its just enforcing a house rule instead of making it up on the fly. If he doesn't agree with your rules, then you'll feel undermined as will he.

This type of thing can disintegrate a relationship or make one parent check out so to speak. Get on the same page. If he being sweet because he loves you or is he just trying to make the peace? This isn't going to go away unless you make a conscious effort to work TOGETHER.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I can understand your insecurity. Until you have commitment, you have little or no security. What you currently have is "when I get tired of you do us part". When you and he are ready for real commitment, you'll get married.

"Undermining" has many definitions. You may each have your own and they may not even come close to matching.

You don't say what the undermining is you are referring to is. Men and women have different ideas of what is important in a relationship, or when they are ready for the next step, marriage.

To get an idea of your BF's thought process, read the book, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". If you can get past the title, you will learn a lot. After you read the book, give it to your BF to read. He will learn a lot about you too. I liked the book so much, I gave a copy to all my married children. There is a movie called "Fireproof", its a very good movie, but in your case the movie has a companion manual called, "The Love Dare". The Love Dare will help you heal any relationship.

Good luck to you and yours.

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