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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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Am I being unreasonable to expect my husband (of 2 years) to

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Am I being unreasonable to expect my husband (of 2 years) to consult with me about when and how how long my step-daughter, son-in-law and grandbaby come to stay at our house? BTW, this is not the house where my stepdaughter grew up, but a house that my husband and I purchased together. There are 2 other sets of parents in this same town, but since we married, they have always stayed with us. The last time it was for 3 weeks. My 10-year old dog is nervous around the baby and had to be cared for by another family member while they were here. (Though he has never bitten anyone, it would only take seconds for a tragedy to occur. I love my step-daughter, but I feel like the odd man out. They do not pitch in when they are here and I feel like a servant. I want to work this out, but my husband becomes intensely angry at the suggestion that I have some input on their visits. PLEASE HELP ME.
You and your husband have a house you purchased together. It's no the house your step-daughter grew up in. But she asked to stay at the house. It is both your house and you should be consulted when someone is coming to stay because you might need to get things ready. You had mentioned your dog had to be moved from the house. That is one thing you need to prepare for. It is important that you and your husband communicate about who will be staying at your house. Husband figures this is his daughter and she is always welcome to stay at the house. I understand that he doesn't want to say no to his daughter and grand baby. But it's not about that, it is discussing things together and not making decision without each other knowing. I know it is his daughter, but you should be told in advance so you can set things up for them to come stay. She has a baby the house needs to make sure it is all set, like you had mentioned the dog. I would say to your husband that I understand that you want your daughter to stay that is your daughter, but I would like to be notified in advance for when they are coming. It is him just understanding where you are coming from, there needs to be more communication when it comes to who is coming to stay at the house. He can't just assume that everything will be ok with her staying, he needs to make sure that everything is ok with you first. It is both your home, not just one.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

EXACTLY! He sped from A to Z screaming obscenities and saying I wanted him to disown his daughter. (she and I get along quite well). He is obviously not reating to what I said but maybe something from his past? It is scary

 

BTW, she lived with us the first seven months of our marriage b/c she was pregnant and her husband was in Afghanistan. We had been married 3 months when I asked him to please ask her to replace the toilet paper when she used it all ( Because he is so defensive, I did not feel comfortable asking her myself). He blew up, first that I was uncomfortable asking her without talking to him, then that I made such a big deal of it. He said "F you, I want a divorce."

 

Yesterday, I said I didn't feel like he was treating me like a partner. He said "She's been with me a lot longer than you have." I was shocked. I think he must feel guilty about something. He is obviously having trouble balancing his roles of husband and father. He will not go back to counseling b/c he felt like the counselor and I just picked on him.

 

We are educated. professional church-going people. I do not intend to be "in competition" with my step-daugher, but his statements almost sound like he thinks he must choose between us. (And it is clear that he would not choose me). Am I over-reacting?

You asked me if you are over-reacting? No, you are not. The problem is your husband feels like he needs to protect his daughter. It sounds like he thinks she should be taken care of. Is there something in his past that makes him feel like he needs to take care of her and protect her? Because he was screaming obscenities he is not reasonable when it comes to his daughter. He's yelling which he should not be yelling, he should be respectful and discuss things calmly with you. But he is yelling because he can not communicate how he feels in the right way. All he knows how to do to try to make you understand is yell. But that is not helping you understand. That must of been very difficult in the beginning of your marriage. Your step-daughter was pregnant and must of been constantly worried about her husband being in Afghanistan. That would be a very difficult situation. I'm sure your husband was very nervous and worried about the feeling of his daughter and what she was going through. I agree with you not intending to be in competition with his daughter. You are his wife who loves him and he loves you, but he will always have a different love for his daughter. You need to point out that he doesn't have to choose between you both, that just because you wanted your step-daughter to help a little bit around the house doesn't mean you should get a divorce. But lets take a look at why he lashed out in that way. You asked if his daughter could do something, you didn't want to ask him, so you discussed it with him. This was the right things to do. He yelled because he feels like his daughter should not be doing these things because she is going through a tough time. He figures she has enough to worry about with her husband and being pregnant. So he thinks that you should take care of her as well and be understanding to his daughters needs. But your step-daughter is living with you and could help you out and think of your needs. It's thoughtful and considerate to help others out, even if it is just picking up after yourself, so someone else doesn't have to do it.
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