Dear Annie: I’ve been very happily married for several years to a man I love deeply. Suddenly, his son from a previous marriage, who lives in another state, wants Dad to move to his state to be close to him, as he and his wife are planning a family. His son and I have never been close.
My husband works for himself and has a major client — a very attractive woman, mind you, whom he talks to online several times a week — in his son’s city. After doing some “homework,” I discovered the state we would be moving to is not a community property state … which our current state is. My husband has all the money in this marriage, as I left my career behind to tend to his business, home and family, and his son gets everything that I won’t in the event of a death or divorce.
Being currently married, do I have any recourse, such as a post-marriage “prenup,” to make sure I’m OK financially if we move and my stepson and this businesswoman break us up? — Worried in Wyoming
Dear Worried: You say you are “very happily married” to a man you “love deeply.” Why would a female client or a son who wants his children to know their grandfather change that?
Based on your letter, it seems like your husband has honored the commitment he made to you on your wedding day. By assuming the worst, you may be causing yourself undue anxiety. The first thing you should do is communicate with your husband about where these fears are coming from — perhaps they are being triggered by anxiety about the move itself and the life changes that surround it.
If you are genuinely concerned about your assets in the event of a divorce, consult an attorney. I would not assume that “his son gets everything”; in fact, such an outcome is unlikely. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Oh dear. I can always spot the paranoiacs.
There used to be this whole literary trope in which the surprise ending was that the character was schizophrenic. Never once have I not figured it out by page five. It’s the most obvious ending you could throw my way. This book right here has that particular “surprise” (there’s no surprise about it) ending. I’m just leaving the link without naming the book so I won’t give spoilers. It’s YA.
I can totally relate to her thinking. It’s not just that her husband has a hot, sexy client. But she’s also being paranoid about her husband’s son. And there’s no relation between the son and the client, except that (presumably) neither of them has a close relationship with the letter writer. This isn’t romantic jealousy. It’s paranoia.
I’ve been very happily married for several years to a man I love deeply.
Thank God for that much! She ought to talk to her husband about these things. He might be familiar with her paranoia. I live with my dad, and he knows all about this sort of belief.
By assuming the worst, you may be causing yourself undue anxiety.
Ahh, it’s not anxiety, Annie Lane. It’s paranoia. But there’s some overlap. Paranoia feels like a form of anxiety. For example, if you’re worried that people are out to get you, then the paranoia presents like anxiety. It’s possible this letter writer is simply catastrophizing, but… it seems paranoid to me, her beliefs that two unrelated people are about to break up her marriage.
His son and I have never been close.
Therein lies the problem. Do you all know who I’m paranoid about? The people I’m not close with! Like my sister, for example. I mistrust her out the wazoo. Fortunately, people who I am close to (shout out!), I’m not suspicious of. It sounds the exact same with this letter writer, who’s blessedly close to her husband.
Annie Lane’s advice is good about talking to her husband, but Annie sure missed the chance to urge this woman to get evaluated for paranoia-based mental illnesses.
Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I met about two years ago. She has two younger kids, ages 3 and 6. I have older kids, 15 and 16. She’s a “helicopter parent” who wants to micromanage everything her kids do. Well, when it comes to my kids, she wants to scrutinize everything they do, too. She says she doesn’t agree with my parenting and basically calls me a crappy parent when I don’t do things her way. She also thinks that it is a requirement for my kids to speak to her, even if they are busy or having a bad day. She will text my kids and say mean things to them and even drag their mom into it.
My kids don’t do drugs. They don’t lie. They are heavily involved in sports, on the honor roll and don’t get in trouble. But my girlfriend has caused so many issues that my kids don’t even want her around. I’m also a retired Army veteran with severe PTSD, and I rage when I’m mad. She wants to argue about who ate the last rice cake or took the last drink. It’s one argument after another. What do I do? — Confused From Indiana
Dear Confused: It’s time for you to set some boundaries with your girlfriend. Micromanaging is one thing; insulting your kids via text, offending their mother and starting arguments over rice cakes are quite another.
Assuming your relationship with her progresses, you will be one big family someday — all six of you. If you can’t squash her argumentative and overbearing tendencies now — toward both you and your children — they will only get worse.
Talk to your girlfriend about what is appropriate and what isn’t. Having a mediator or a couples counselor present will prevent your confrontation from escalating to a(nother) full-blown argument.
Setting boundaries? Oh dear. You know, setting boundaries works a lot better in situations where other options are in short supply, like if you have difficult coworkers whom you can’t avoid, or if you’re trying to get along with family members whom you didn’t choose to be related to (blood family, in-laws, et al). In this instance, heck, I’d dump her.
The whole concept of boundaries here also implies that this woman simply needs to be told that some things aren’t okay. Um. She darned well knows she’s being a [bleep]. She seems to get off on it.
I’m also a retired Army veteran with severe PTSD, and I rage when I’m mad.
And here we have another reason for him to dump her! He needs a girlfriend who’s compassionate and not prone to starting arguments over rice cakes(?!?!).
That reminds me of the ridiculous screaming arguments my parents got into when I was a kid. My dad brought home lime marmalade instead of orange, and wheat sandwich buns instead of white (these were two separate occasions), and both arguments became the stuff of family legend.
“You brought home the wrong item on purpose, subconsciously, just to upset me!” my mom shrieked.
“Oh, Becky, don’t be ridiculous. I made a mistake!”
“It was no mistake. You know I hate lime marmalade!”
“I know it now!”
[Facepalm.] I think the neighbors knew it by then, too, because the arguments were really loud.
So I’ve concluded that any relationship that inspires conflict over grocery items is doomed. And I do mean doomed.
She […] basically calls me a crappy parent when I don’t do things her way.
Well, gee, that’s not nice of her. And his kids are on the honor roll and everything! I hope this man can find a nicer girlfriend posthaste!