Dear Annie: Husband prioritizes grown kids over wife

Dear Annie: My husband and I both have adult kids from our prior lives. Thank goodness my loving and independent children were raised and taught in a manner emphasizing that you honor your spouse first and everyone else is in line (depending upon the situation, of course).

Recently, his youngest daughter, who is 25, asked her dad whether her friend and fiance could have their wedding in our backyard. It’s my husband’s house, but I live there, too. In the middle of a tiff between him and me, he replied to her text without discussing it with me. So there are 65 wedding guests arriving, people we don’t know. And I am sure they’ll need to use restrooms. All my personal belongings are throughout the house, as I’ve tried to make this a beautiful and comfortable place to live. This is so hurtful and mean and inconsiderate of him. He will not say “no” to his girls, at all costs to our relationship. The girls know this and milk it every chance they get.

It’s ridiculous, and I’m fed up! I deserve a loving and caring relationship with a man who is ready for a new life chapter, cherishes his woman, as well as his children, and has the you-know-whats to stand up to his adult daughters. — Hurt, Frustrated and Appalled in Florida

Dear Hurt, Frustrated and Appalled: When you’re battling your partner’s children for his attention, there’s no winning. Even if you ostensibly succeed, your partner might always resent your having (apparently) put a wedge between him and his kids. So reframe this problem in your mind, because it’s really not about competition between you and his daughters; it’s about communication (or a lack thereof) between you and your husband. Conspicuously absent from your letter is any mention of your having told him how you feel. That’s a good place to start. Try not to enter the conversation with fingers pointed. Let him know that you appreciate his caring nature as a father but that his prioritization of his daughters can sometimes leave you feeling left out. Tell him that in the future, you’d like to be consulted about hosting major gatherings at your home — explaining that though it is his house, both of you call it home.

If the problem persists, consider marriage counseling together. A therapist could help you both to see where the other is coming from and find a healthy middle ground upon which your relationship could thrive.

Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from a reader who recommended to another reader that she donate her books to a library so they would be available for her and others to check out as needed.

I have worked as a librarian for over 20 years. The vast majority of donated books are not needed by the library and thus are put into the book sales. Yes, donating books is a much-appreciated service to your local library, as these book sales generate a great deal of money that goes toward library operations. However, we always make clear that donors should be aware that their books will probably be sold, not shelved. Libraries have limited shelf space and specific requirements for adding books to their collections.

Though it is a wonderful effort to donate books, if the woman wants to read her donated books, that may not happen. However, if she makes a list of the titles she donates, she may request them on interlibrary loan if they are not later available in her local library. — Longtime Librarian

Dear Librarian: Another day, another lesson from a reader. Thank you for sharing.

COMMENTS