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  1. #41
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    Aug. 17, 2012
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    Personally, I would not have dated him in the first place as I am not interested in having children - not my own and certainly not someone else's.

    As to what YOU should do? You have to commit 100% in or out. Sure they may move out at 18, but maybe not. Maybe they turn around and want to move back with their mother at 16. Maybe they live with you until they're 30. You can't make a decision on that. Either you want to be with your fiancée and help parent his kids or you don't.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  2. #42
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    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Think it depends on how consistent a household you can create with the fiance', weighed with how much you want to be married to him.

    The kids may be terrors until they're out of the house, and then calling back still. But when gone, you'll have much more hubby, and less children. And if you've been consistent, and parent in tandem, they'll probably turn out well, and be grateful for your holding your ground when they were young.

    One warning - make sure the dramas aren't responded to, or addressed with more drama. I thought ex-DH a nice guy, and just temporarily hampered by a few physical and personal issues. Later learned they were his life pattern.

    Right now the kids needing him is a very legitimate problem. But if more and more issues creep in (they don't like me at work, my back hurts even though I don't exercise so I have to have surgery, other drivers are always cutting me off, my stocks dropped), no matter how nice he is to you right now, problems will always be at the root of your life together. Hopefully he is a guy with a good head on his shoulders. No one here is to blame, and all the counseling suggestions are spot on.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #43
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Really_Altered View Post
    But can I learn how and become ready? Can I become a full-fledged parent to these two and help them become good people? Do I really want to, when it comes down to it? I’m thinking maybe some counseling just for myself is in order to get these questions answered.

    In practice, I think you will become some kind of parent to these boys. But a few things might help:

    1. Know that the primary responsibility for parenting them (from your perspective) is your SO's.

    1.5 Same for dealing with his Ex, their Bio-Mom. What she does right, wrong or ugly isn't your business.

    1.75. You never get to bad-mouth Bio-Mom to the kids. Either should he. It's bad for all parties when this happens.

    2. Your marriage is the responsibility of you and SO. So in cases where issues with the kids or bio-mom come up, you ask SO for what you need, he deals with all those other people.

    4. If/when you have to do any parenting of SO's kids, you and SO need to agree on the "techniques" you'll use first. If you guys are on the same page, SO needs to back you up. That's the right thing to do for his wife. Ironically, it's the right thing to do for the kids, too.

    I think that if you love him, care for the boys And Also, don't feel conscripted into parenting them, but do feel supported in doing it, you'll have an easier time. Don't worry about not wanting to be a fabulous parent to them all the time (no one can pull this off) and vent as you need to, but not to the wrong people.

    In terms of "should you still marry him, kids along for the ride?" I think I'd want to know how hard *he* was going to work to both raise his boys and support your marriage. He's the kingpin in all this. If he wants to feel overwhelmed and not change, then everyone else in the family web with him at the center will continue to do their own thing and it won't work.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    4 members found this post helpful.

  4. #44
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    Dec. 29, 1999
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    Harrisburg, PA USA
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    The babysitting thing is astounding. You're going to have them from after school until midnight 5 days a week? Honey, that IS parenting. YOU'RE raising those kids. And you're not even married to the guy.


    21 members found this post helpful.

  5. #45
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    Nov. 6, 2012
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    I'm having some difficulty understanding the position that the OP should get counseling when her s/o clearly doesn't see any point in it. These are HIS children and HIS responsibility. HE is the one that needs to come up with a plan, with his ex, on the best way to raise these two. They're the ones that should be attending counseling, with the kids.

    Personally, I would move out. If he's head over heels in love with the op, he'll find a way to make it work. But, as I already said, it's HIS responsibility.

    Just my 2 cents


    10 members found this post helpful.

  6. #46
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    Sep. 13, 2002
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    1st thing is 1st.

    move out.

    Let him figure out his work with a live in family and need for child care. Let him learn how to be a single parent.
    IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO BE A SINGLE PARENT!
    Continue dating. Don't get married.
    His kids need to come first. It's sad but true.

    And then, over time, see if you can mesh your lives together with your fiance and his children.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


    16 members found this post helpful.

  7. #47
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    Apr. 16, 2013
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    Wow – thanks everyone SO much for all of your thoughts and opinions. I’m finding myself very grateful for all of it. It helps me to look at this in a much different perspective than my own, since I’m right in the middle of it all.

    I have an appointment next Wednesday with a counselor, just for myself. I think it’ll help to talk all of this through one-on-one with someone who can probably give me some tools to at least lessen my stress levels while I sort this all out.

    I also purchased Stepmonster – thank you so much, BuddyRoo, for that suggestion. It’s a shame, but I don’t think my SO would be open to counseling. He and I will have some time this evening together (boys are going to BioMom tonight) so I plan on broaching that subject then.

    I also plan to talk to him tonight about the assumptions that I’m just going to be here, and ask him if I can have some evenings away from the situation. I guess I have to sit and think today about just how much time away I really need so I can have a “real” number to give him.

    And if those things don’t go over well, or if it doesn’t work for me in practice, then I think I’m going to at least move out, if not step away from the relationship. I feel as though I’ve hit a point where I need to know I can at least find some type of happiness in this situation, or else it just isn’t going to work for me. The last year has been tough, and it only seems to be getting tougher and tougher as time goes on. I don’t think I’ve laughed in that house – really, truly, laughed or smiled or been happy – for a few months now. There is no happiness there for me anymore, so I feel I at least need to try to find it (to give it a chance), but if I cannot find it, it isn’t fair to anyone to continue on.

    I imagine the Off Topic forum will be locked before I have any real answers for you guys on what I’ve decided to do, but know that I truly appreciate each and every one of you who has replied, and it’s all helping me to get to where I need to go.

    …Oh, and PS – CVPeg, I read your post with much interest because I hadn’t even realized it before you mentioned it, but his life has, in fact, been one problem after another. I have always thought, “That poor guy! He has such terrible luck.” But really, when looking at it objectively, a lot of it was also just bad decisions. And that really does worry me, because what might the future hold?


    17 members found this post helpful.

  8. #48
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    The only way would be if you are totally in love with this man, You do it all the way, you accept him and his baggage, otherwise you are setting yourself up for disaster. IF you are young and have any questions, I would say you need to get out, Life is too short to enter into something you have any doubts about at all.
    I wish someone had made me think that way 16 years ago.
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.



  9. #49
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    Apr. 16, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sannois View Post
    The only way would be if you are totally in love with this man, You do it all the way, you accept him and his baggage, otherwise you are setting yourself up for disaster. IF you are young and have any questions, I would say you need to get out, Life is too short to enter into something you have any doubts about at all.
    I wish someone had made me think that way 16 years ago.
    Well, at 31 I'm young-ish. I do know that most people my age have already done the marriage and kids thing, which means I may have a difficult time finding someone without that going on. But I don't think I should have to "settle" nor is it fair to anyone - the kids included - for me to do so. I am a very independent person by nature, and I have no problem being on my own. I'd prefer to spend my life with someone, of course, but I won't sacrifice my own happiness just to be in a "relationship" status.

    I agree with you that I have to be 100% in it, or else I need to be out. I'm hoping I can find that answer pretty easily between counseling and getting myself out of the situation, even if just for my own activities in the evenings.

    At this point, I'm literally on the verge of walking, but I guess I feel like I owe it to myself and everyone involved to at least try to work it out. I mean, I did say, "Yes" when he proposed a while back, so I feel like I owe him that much.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  10. #50
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    Aug. 22, 2000
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    CT
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    Wait, you are going to "ask him if you can have some time away from the situation"?!?! Red Flag!!

    He agreed to be custodial parent to HIS children. But he is not there to parent. He assumes you will be. This is not what you agreed to when you said "yes". It would greatly concern me about your future together.

    Hope the counselor can help you (Another huge red flag about him not going!) Unless some MAJOR adjustments are made on his part this seems to be a bad situation for all concerned. Personally, I would agree with those who say to move out of the house. Let him get his family situation settled while you date if it works out that way.


    22 members found this post helpful.

  11. #51
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    Sep. 13, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Really_Altered View Post
    Well, at 31 I'm young-ish. I do know that most people my age have already done the marriage and kids thing, which means I may have a difficult time finding someone without that going on. But I don't think I should have to "settle" nor is it fair to anyone - the kids included - for me to do so. I am a very independent person by nature, and I have no problem being on my own. I'd prefer to spend my life with someone, of course, but I won't sacrifice my own happiness just to be in a "relationship" status.

    I agree with you that I have to be 100% in it, or else I need to be out. I'm hoping I can find that answer pretty easily between counseling and getting myself out of the situation, even if just for my own activities in the evenings.

    At this point, I'm literally on the verge of walking, but I guess I feel like I owe it to myself and everyone involved to at least try to work it out. I mean, I did say, "Yes" when he proposed a while back, so I feel like I owe him that much.
    Well saying Yes, means only that you said yes at the time, Truth be told,
    If you have to go to councelling to make your decision to get married.
    It sounds like you are thinking, and using your head instead of your heart.
    I think you owe him honesty, IT is far better for him and the kids that if you have these doubts that you tell him and walk now than to get married.
    And if you are an independent person, you will be fine.
    Don't let yourself get trapped a few years down the road and regret it for the rest of your life. You can love someone, but not love everything about the life you would be marrrying into. and that is never going to make you or him happy. God Bless!
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  12. #52
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    Nov. 25, 2005
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    MA
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    I'm on the fence about this. I think every situation is different with Step-parents. Some are PARENTS and some are probably dad's new wife.
    First of all, did mom and dad edit the custody arrangement? I think further adjustment may be in order, with the help of a counselor. Should the boys be together? Should they split time between parents, or stay with dad and go to mom's every weekend? I hope that the boys are already in counseling, and that a counselor can help the parents develop a situation that will work for both of them. I don't think mom should get to say, ok you're turn! Probably both boys feel like they have been rejected.
    Second, you and dad should go to counseling, but if he won't go, you at least need to decide with him what your role is as a parent. Are you a "parent" or a PARENT? And it would probably be helpful if the boys were on board with this.

    Sounds like everyone in this situation needs counseling, including mom, dad, boys and you. Some together, some apart.

    Let me ask you a question- the older boy is certainly old enough to be home alone and take care of himself, but the younger one probably not so much. If they were better behaved, would this still be an issue?



  13. #53
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    Dec. 2, 2009
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    I'm having some difficulty understanding the position that the OP should get counseling when her s/o clearly doesn't see any point in it. These are HIS children and HIS responsibility. HE is the one that needs to come up with a plan, with his ex, on the best way to raise these two. They're the ones that should be attending counseling, with the kids.
    Why do you feel that counseling for HER to figure out what SHE wants to do is a problem?

    Counseling is never punitive - it's a sounding board, a mirror held up for herself so that she can figure out whether she wants to be in or out. I think we'd all benefit from it from time to time.

    I have always thought, “That poor guy! He has such terrible luck.” But really, when looking at it objectively, a lot of it was also just bad decisions. And that really does worry me, because what might the future hold?
    Well, poor decisionmaking now doesn't necessarily equate to poor decisionmaking later. We all think we know the answers when we're young. And it's easy to say it was a poor decision when things go wrong (Monday morning quarterbacking is so *awesome*), but sometimes things just don't work out. It's generally fairly easy to see which is the result of which. If it's a case of "I didn't keep my paperwork organized and therefore at the last minute I'm freaking out about doing my taxes" - fairly easy to tell that's a poor decision. Job decisions are harder.

    I'm not going to say that he's taking advantage of you because I don't know him. But I will say that it is really really hard to be the step-parent who is there for the kids most of the time, and that should probably be a situation that gets resolved.



  14. #54
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    Mar. 30, 2004
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    King, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsM View Post
    Wait, you are going to "ask him if you can have some time away from the situation"?!?! Red Flag!!
    BingBingBing!! Absolutely, if you have to "ask" and "have a number" then these kids are dumped on you...... just like they were dumped on Bio-Mom before.

    OP it doesn't sound like your guy makes a lot of decisions or takes action; he lets the actions of others make decisions for him.

    My second marriage came with step children, thankfully grown and with kids of their own, however what I've learned is that I am still a "parent" albeit of a grown child. They still have problems that family must deal with; and one moved in with us briefly after a voluntary commitment for drug addiction.

    I didn't ask DH about counseling, I BOOKED it and told him when / where to show up. It was non-negotiable and was the only way I was able to make him discuss what "WE" were going to do as parents. Otherwise he would have continued to travel for work and dumped it all on me without ever realizing that just cuz it was ok (or not) when he was married to their mom didn't mean I was interchangeable in that role.
    more readers probably have vaginas than have crock pots…

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    11 members found this post helpful.

  15. #55
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    Nov. 23, 1999
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    The red flags are waving so hard. I would have been gone long ago. Poor kids. Poor you as well, but at least you can leave your unpaid babysitter job.
    EDDIE WOULD GO


    6 members found this post helpful.

  16. #56
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    It's interesting. When I was feeling similarly to the OP in virtually the situation, I got one of two types of responses: "Run!" and "If you love your fiance, you'll love his kids, you shouldn't be feeling like this." from people who really didn't have any experience in this type of scenario.

    On step parenting websites, I got a couple of variations. One was "You should've known what you were getting into with a man with kids. Suck it up." "Run, you're clearly not cut out for this." and "Why on earth are you even AROUND the kids, you're not even married!"

    First of all, no one, especially someone who does not have kids of her own, can truly KNOW what they're getting into because there's typically a big difference between having a friendly outting vs LIVING TOGETHER and dealing with the stuff of day to day life with kids. Until I lived with my now DH, I had no freaking idea how tough it was to get kids up and at 'em in the morning. Or how frustrating it might be to come home to the kitchen you left clean that morning but is trashed when you walk in the door after work.

    Lots of stepmoms don't really see all of that day to day stuff until after they get married. Are they supposed to "Run!" too?

    Next, there are all sorts of different step mom roles. I have friends who see their skids EOWE, maybe a few weeks in the summer. They don't have to deal with homework, EC's, laundry, chores, etc because when the kids are visiting, they're VISITING. They don't live there and there are very few expectations of them from Dad. Might be frustrating but you know it's just a few days.

    For the SMs whose skids live with them 50/50 or more, especially when it's a "surprise", it can be harder to sort out where you fit in. What role does DH want you to play? What role do the kids want you to play? BM? For many of us SMs, the role is largely dictated by what everyone else BUT us wants. That's the rub in it all. While you're trying to sort it out for yourself, there are 3 other sets of people (not including extended family, friends, society in general) trying to determine your role for you.

    For someone who is normally an independent, confident, problem solving type person, this can be really tough! You want everyone to be happy right up til the point you realize that YOU aren't. And then what? You've already kind of signed up for X, Y and Z. It can be hard to modify that because it's you against what feels like THE WORLD.

    And then when you reach out for help because you truly DO want to make it work and are convinced that if YOU could just try harder, do something different, communicate better you are told to "Run" or "Suck it up" or "None of your business what DH does with his kids, they're not yours and you shouldn't even be involved."

    Super helpful stuff, eh?

    I really feel for the OP. I pretty much wrote the post she wrote...more than once over the years.

    I'm not saying that things are perfect for me at this point, but there has been a lot of change and compromise on everyone's part and we're getting there. If you read up on the topic, it is pretty well accepted that it can take YEARS for a family to blend IF ever--especially the older the kids are when a step comes into the family. It's a lot easier for SFs than SMs it seems because they are rarely expected to step up and help parent, taxi, etc.

    But most men (and women?) still have an underlying belief (even subconsciously) in the more traditional roles of men/women in the home. That right there can be a cluster. Man loves about Woman that she is independent, doing her own thing, etc when they meet. Woman loves about man that he loves his kids and is involved. Then? Man wants woman to love his kids and be involved, woman turns herself inside out, gets resentful and the lines all have to be redrawn.

    This is not new OP. Not new at all. It's tough stuff. If anything, I'd say stick it out while you talk to a counselor but steer clear of putting too much stock in those who have zero experience in the situation. It can seem very black and white. It's not.

    Good luck.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    8 members found this post helpful.

  17. #57
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    Feb. 5, 2007
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    A little off topic, but are the boys involved in any kind of extracurricular activity such as sports after school? Some kind of sporting activity that involves a lot of exercise does wonders for kids with ADHD and other issues . It teaches them teamwork and taking direction and also burns off excess energy. This way you are not being the babysitter all the time. Dad should adjust his schedule so that he can actively participate in these activities. Also remember it is not your responsibility to parent the boys. Don't get sucked into that. You are not their parent or even a wife. The boys know this and are not going to take direction from you.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #58
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    Good for you!

    I don't want kids or this much responsiblity so no, this isn't for me. I won't get dumped on because of some other people's issues. Sounds like a drama fest from many angles.

    You BF/SO isn't impressing me here which is my main problem, not just kids/ no kids/ex. Its all the issues together.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #59
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    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Buddy Roo gives excellent advice, and as someone who has been there, done that - and lived (happily- eventually!) to tell the tale, I'd urge the OP to read that post a couple of times.

    Being a stepmom is the hardest thing I have ever done, and in the early days - man, I sucked at it, and honestly HATED it. The first couple of years were a huge struggle and I *frequently* wondered if the marriage was a HUGE mistake, even though I loved my DH a LOT.

    However, now - am I *ever* glad I stuck it out! It takes time, and effort, and negotiation and did I mention effort? to make a blended family work. The SM in the equation probably has a tougher row to hoe than most of the other folks in the equation, for the reasons BR outlined. But it *absolutely* can be done, and frankly - it does get easier with time, practice, communication and oh yeah, some effort.

    For clarity, when I say effort - I do NOT mean the SM turns into the house slave, child's maid, dogsbody in the group. Nope, the SM usually has to come up with some reasonable limits about what she can do - gracefully and without resentment - and then LIVE that reality in a way that allows the Dad (and kids) to work things out. It is harder than it sounds, and it requires the SM to detach a bit from "how things work out."

    There were times in my early years as a SM that I literally had to bite my tongue til it pretty much bled to maintain that detachment. I wanted everything to be perfect - and it was far from it. However, I also wanted to have a life, and a good marriage, and that required setting some boundaries about what I was willing and able to do, and what I could NOT.

    While it was the hardest thing I've ever done, it has also been the BEST thing. My SS is a lovely young man now, and we have a very good relationship which I value more than I could express (and man, 8 or 10 years ago, I would have said the chances of me landing on the MOON were better than that happening!) A few holidays ago, he gave me a card that said he considered me a great friend and thanked me for teaching him so much about how to manage in life. It is pretty much my dearest treasure, and worth every single minute I invested in making things work.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


    3 members found this post helpful.

  20. #60
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    Mar. 16, 2000
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    from OP:
    "I also purchased Stepmonster – thank you so much, BuddyRoo, for that suggestion. It’s a shame, but I don’t think my SO would be open to counseling. He and I will have some time this evening together (boys are going to BioMom tonight) so I plan on broaching that subject then."

    If you are correct on this, he has made your decision for you. Or made it a LOT easier. They are HIS KIDS - if he is not willing to seek assistance to make the family workable, then he is telling you loud & clear that your feelings, needs, etc. are not important to him. You will be reading this before your discussion tonight (I hope) - I'd make ABSOLUTELY CLEAR to him that group counselling - you first, you & him next, kids concurrently with you & him, then the four of you - is NOT negotiable. He WILL make a commitment to it, or you're history. As of yesterday. Or this weekend. Whichever comes first. :-)

    "I also plan to talk to him tonight about the assumptions that I’m just going to be here, and ask him if I can have some evenings away from the situation. I guess I have to sit and think today about just how much time away I really need so I can have a “real” number to give him."

    You and he are both adults. You sound (here) as though you feel you have to ask his permission to go out. I understand that if his job has rotating schedules (I'm assuming this is why he's moving to evenings - NOT because he chose to make the shift change), he has to be gone in the evenings. If I'm incorrect in that assumption, once again - get the hell out of Dodge!

    You're lucky to have your eyes opened before the noose was tied. Oops - did I say that out loud? I mean before you 'tied the knot'.
    www.ayliprod.com
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    6 members found this post helpful.

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