Couple clashes over time spent with sons

Dear Abby,

My wife and I have been married five years and are raising four children. One is from my previous relationship, one is from her previous relationship and two are ours. We both have joint custody. My son goes to school near his mom. My wife’s son goes to school where we live. They are 9 and 8.

There’s a lot of tension between us because my stepson’s father isn’t the greatest parent. He never comes to school events or sporting events, so he misses half of everything. I regularly attend my son’s events, which are a couple of hours away and take time away from my stepson. I put my 9-year-old first because he’s my firstborn, and I have him less. My wife disagrees with this, and we fight about it constantly. I believe I am doing the right thing. Advice, please.

Wondering In Wisconsin

I’m sorry your wife’s son’s father hasn’t stepped up to the plate. But please do not allow your wife to interfere with your relationship with your son. You ARE doing the right thing by showing an interest in what he’s doing and supporting him emotionally.

Dear Abby,

I have been married nine years. My husband doesn’t allow me to leave the house without him. He makes sure I don’t have a car or access to the one we have. He tells me he doesn’t mean anything by it, but if I try to take a walk alone, he is right on my heels.

If I go anywhere with my sister or a friend, I must wait until he is gone. If he gets home before I do, he’s sitting on the porch waiting for me. He is not physically abusive, but I feel like a prisoner. I have told him several times how it makes me feel, but he doesn’t seem to get it. I really need some advice.

Trapped In Georgia

Your husband doesn’t get it because he doesn’t WANT to. What he is doing is NOT a demonstration of love or concern for your safety. It’s an example of his own insecurity and need to control you. This is a big red flag, and my advice is to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and discuss this with someone there because what’s happening could escalate into abuse. The toll-free phone number is: (800) 799-7233.

Dear Abby,

My husband invited his good friend (an artist) to stay with us for two nights because he is coming to our city to give a speech. He accepted.

We tried to contact him two weeks ago, one week ago, three days ago, yesterday and this morning to find out what time he’ll arrive so we can plan our schedule and prepare the food. He still hasn’t gotten back to us. I had planned to go to church and a concert afterward. My husband doesn’t want me to leave.

I am very frustrated about the man’s lack of consideration. My husband considers him a good friend, but after the way we are being treated, I’m not convinced.

Still waiting in California

I don’t blame you for being miffed. Good friends don’t treat each other so rudely. They answer their messages and show up when they’re expected. Unless the man was in the hospital, solitary confinement or dead, there’s no excuse for his poor manners. Because your husband considers him a good friend, he should have stayed home to welcome “the artist” and let you off the hook.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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