A grandad is worried his marriage will break down after his new wife’s widowed son moved in with his five children just six months after their wedding – forcing him to take on a parenting role again.
Admitting it’s put an immense strain on their marriage and pleading for advice on how to reconnect with his wife before it’s too late, the man wrote to the Washington Post‘s Ask Amy advice column. He even claimed his wife accuses him of being “a heartless, uncaring wretch” whenever he suggests they get counselling.
“I married a wonderful woman about two years ago. Six months later her widower son moved into our house, with his five children. The children ranged in age from a newborn baby to eight years old,” he explained. “This ‘man’ couldn’t raise one child, much less five.”
The worried grandfather said none of the kids have ever had formal education or any real medical care – after their mother died in child birth – forcing him and his wife to step up once again into the role of parents.
“I am a semiretired psychologist; I love my wife and grandchildren, and I try my best,” he insisted.
“I will do anything to save my marriage. However, whenever I try to discuss this situation with my wife, I’m cast as a heartless, uncaring wretch.”
While he said his wife is reluctant to attend therapy, the man admitted he’s worried to even bring it up with her again as it may prove a “dealbreaker”.
“Of course, we never discussed such a possibility of raising all of these children prior to our marriage,” he concluded.
In an unusually lengthy response, ‘Amy’ described it as “one of the most extreme challenges any family could face” before advising the man to “work on” using language like “wretch” and “heartless”.
“As a couple, your inability to cope with your situation will naturally move this into ‘dealbreaker’ territory. Therapy will give you both the tools to move forward as co-parents and grandparents in order to build a strong family unit. Unlike most, you are having to create this family unit instantly, and you all need help,” she added.
She advised he present it to his wife as “coaching” instead of therapy, before admitting it’s the son that is the “unstable third leg” of the family.
“The children need strong, loving and structured parenting. They must receive medical care and be enrolled in school. They may also need therapy. Your local department of social services should be able to help,” she concluded.
“If your wife wants the marriage to succeed for everyone’s mutual benefit, she should agree to receiving professional help.”