Advice - step children, marital problems, trust

I’m in need of feedback and advice on how I should handle my problem. I am married and have two children. My daughter is my child that I have from a previous relationship. My son is my wife’s child from a previous relationship. We always have our son but we share my daughter, one week with me and one week with her mother. So there is a bit of interaction that occurs between my wife and my ex. My problem is that my wife is insecure about that relationship. She feels that she comes second to my ex. Everything that I do for my daughter, I do it for her and only her…it has nothing to do with my ex. But I made a mistake. About 6 months ago, I started to make more money at my job. So, knowing how my wife feels about my ex…I decided to give my ex a little more money per month for my daughter, without consulting my wife. I did this because I was afraid of hearing my wife say that she wouldn’t be ok with that. That would have broken my heart because I take that personally towards my daughter. My wife is a good mother to her son and she is a good mother to my daughter. But behind closed doors, away from the children, she is very vocal about how she feels about my ex and I endure a lot of emotional and mental suffering when my wife gets angry. I don’t think she should act like this. I wish she had more compassion in her heart. I feel torn because I want to be able to provide for my little girl and make sure she has the things she needs when she’s with her mom. But at the same time, I don’t want my wife to think that I have feelings for my ex and that I’m trying to support her directly. I’m only trying to support my little girl. My wife found out about the extra money and now I am REALLY in the dog house. She says she doesn’t trust me, she is really going over board. What do I do? Talking to her is of no use. She is very stubborn and I wish I could help her let go of the insecurity she holds within. What do i do??? :frowning:

[quote=eanpsn]I’m in need of feedback and advice on how I should handle my problem. I am married and have two children. My daughter is my child that I have from a previous relationship. My son is my wife’s child from a previous relationship. We always have our son but we share my daughter, one week with me and one week with her mother. So there is a bit of interaction that occurs between my wife and my ex. My problem is that my wife is insecure about that relationship. She feels that she comes second to my ex. Everything that I do for my daughter, I do it for her and only her…it has nothing to do with my ex. But I made a mistake. About 6 months ago, I started to make more money at my job. So, knowing how my wife feels about my ex…I decided to give my ex a little more money per month for my daughter, without consulting my wife. I did this because I was afraid of hearing my wife say that she wouldn’t be ok with that. That would have broken my heart because I take that personally towards my daughter. My wife is a good mother to her son and she is a good mother to my daughter. But behind closed doors, away from the children, she is very vocal about how she feels about my ex and I endure a lot of emotional and mental suffering when my wife gets angry. I don’t think she should act like this. I wish she had more compassion in her heart. I feel torn because I want to be able to provide for my little girl and make sure she has the things she needs when she’s with her mom. But at the same time, I don’t want my wife to think that I have feelings for my ex and that I’m trying to support her directly. I’m only trying to support my little girl. My wife found out about the extra money and now I am REALLY in the dog house. She says she doesn’t trust me, she is really going over board. What do I do? Talking to her is of no use. She is very stubborn and I wish I could help her let go of the insecurity she holds within. What do i do??? :frowning:
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Maybe you could find stories of mothers of children whose fathers don’t pay child support, and how the lives of those children are negatively impacted by the lack of support.

Be sensitive to your wife’s insecurity, maybe she worries she will lose you. But be firm in explaining that your child needs your financial support, and that it is your duty to provide it. Explain to your wife that it would be immoral for you to financially neglect your child.

What alternative do you have? Giving the money directly to your daughter? That is not a responsible course of action.

Sorry, but I wouldn’t trust you either. I hate that, “I didn’t tell you because I knew you would be mad” excuse. It’s a cop out. If you felt that you should be giving more money for your daughter, you should’ve talked to your wife about it… not taken the easy way out. If she was already insecure, what you’ve done made it worse.

OK, having said that, I think it is wonderful the way you want to support your daughter. I’m thinking that since your wife’s beef is with your ex… rather than giving her the $ to spend on your daughter, could you spend it on her when she comes to stay with you? Take her shopping… get her a new outfit… or maybe she’d like to take dance lessons or something…so offer to pay for them? Your wife wouldn’t complain about that would she?

As far as making up with your wife… take responsiblity for your actions… ask for forgiveness & take the high road next time. You sound like a nice guy who’s just trying to keep the peace. I hope it works out.

Blessings,
CM

P.S. Tell your wife over & over again that she’s the one you love… tell her all the reasons you love her. You might think she knows… but maybe she needs to hear it again.

Anything that affects the couple, especially financially, should always be discussed as a couple!!! With her feeling a bit insecure to begin with, it was a very bad idea to do this behind her back.

Another thing is that if you have her every other week it sounds like it’s 50/50 custody, then how would your daughter really “need” anything? I’m not saying that your daughter shouldn’t have more, but as I see it you can provide it when she’s with you which is every other week. If you only had her on weekends or every other weekend, etc. some kind of scenario like that where your ex had her the majority of the time, then absolutely, if you get a pay increase your daughter should have some of that and it’s your obligation that if your lifestyle goes up so should hers. Even then, discussing it with your current wife is a must.

She deserves that respect as your wife no matter how uncomfortable it may seem for you. Trying to avoid the possible argument that will ensue is not an excuse for doing things behind her back, it only makes things worse when the truth does finally come out…and the truth ALWAYS comes out, because now it’s not about the money it’s about the trust. I don’t blame her for being upset, and I don’t think she’s blowing it out of proportion. All it takes is just one lie, then it gets easier and easier to lie first the small stuff then the bigger stuff.

The reason you lied (omission is the same as lying) is to make your life easier…now you see it’s worse than if you would have been honest about what you wanted to do to begin with. My suggestion is that you let her vent and then try talking to her, if you plan on not doing this again tell her that and make sure you stick to it, violation of trust can be devastating. You’ll have to earn that lost trust, it sounds like you love your wife so figure a way to repair the damage, ask her what would make that happen.

It sounds like your wife is very insecure, and after reading your post she has good reason to be. The fact that you deliberately gave your ex more money without consulting your wife first would have me questioning your loyalties too. Your #1 priority is with your wife, not your ex. I understand that you wanted to give the money for your daughter, but that is not how your wife views it. Perhaps if you would have discussed it with her before you gave your ex the money, your wife would have felt important enough in your life that her opinion and feelings mattered enough to you that you were able to talk to her about wanting to give more money for your daughter and she probably would have surprised you by trying to find a plan that the both of you could have been happy about. She is a mother, she would have understood your concern for your daughter. It’s not the fact that you gave the money, it’s the fact that she doesn’t feel like her feelings mattered enough to you and you will do what you want regardless of her opinion.

Marriage is a partership. Parenting is a partnership. Your wife is helping you raise your daughter and just wants to feel like she has a role in some of the decision making. Make her feel wanted. Make her feel like life can’t go on without her and that she is the only one for you. I am not saying that you don’t, I really don’t know. But if you make her feel good about herself and her place in your life, there is nothing your ex could do or say that would make her question your loyalties.

I don’t know if this is a possibility, but could you talk it over with your wife, and take the extra money you were giving your ex and put it in a savings account instead…you know…for the teenage years (proms, driving, college…the really expensive things) instead of spending it on material things now? I am sure the extra money would be more useful in the future and your wife could feel like she is a part of the decision making.

I agree with Carol Marie’s P.S… You need to do that - not just tonight, not just tomorrow, but for the rest of your life. Women LOVE that!!! There is nothing better than hearing how much you are loved just because you exist. :thumbsup:

Good Luck, I am very, very stubborn too, but I am also very forgiving. So there is hope for you!!!

I completely disagree. Your wife married you knowing that you already had a daughter. If you feel the need to “explain” your support of your daughter to your wife…well, heck!
You have an obligation to your daughter that preceeded your marriage to your new wife.
I went through this with my hubby. He had (and still does have) a son with his previous wife. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could ever (nor would I ever) tell him how to take care of his child. Even when the first wife spent the $$$ on new clothes (i.e. not the child). Money’s been tight…but his child was always taken care of…even if he and I had to eat beans and rice to do it. I may not have cared for my hubby’s ex…but that has nothing to do with their child.
Responsibility to a child surpasses any responsibilty to a spouse. Why, oh why, did y’all not discuss this before? If your wife is insecure with regards to your child…then you have much bigger problems to deal with.

I have to agree with a pp, I don’t really trust the ‘I didn’t tell you because YOU…’ This is really placing the blame for your choice on someone else. It also, in a sense, denies her the right to have any feelings on the topic of which you disapprove.

If she is a good mother to your daughter/ her step-daughter, and you think your daughter needs more ‘things,’ then why don’t you and your wife go together and buy these things. Your daughter gets what she needs, your wife is included, the relationship continues to build between your wife and daughter, there’s no more connection than necessary with your ex-wife, and most importantly, no sense that you and your ex-wife know something that is being kept from your current wife. I can see how you and your ex-wife ‘having a secret’ that was kept from her (as it certainly must appear to her) would increase her feeling of insecurity.

Good luck.

Plenty of good advice here. I’m also on second-marriage, and I can relate to my wife’s initial insecurity when it came to that situation…and I also know that beneath the surface it’s still there to a slight extent (although much better). A certain amount of jealousy is NORMAL and HEALTHY. It’s a side-effect of loving someone. Don’t see it as an issue of her “not trusting you”. It means she VALUES you. You need to (a) understand your wife’s feelings, and (b) accept that they’re valid. No, I’m sure you’re not unfaithful, but her feelings of insecurity are still 100% real. She feels them! Be sure to treat her feelings AS real feelings, and don’t do the “of course she knows I love her!” thing. Tell her and show her again and again. Try to walk in her shoes, and ask yourself how YOU would feel…honestly…if the situation were reversed? If a man, whom your wife once loved and shared a bed with, was having regular and friendly contact with your wife? Regardless of how much you trust her, wouldn’t YOU have some bad feelings in your stomach? I know I would.

Now, on the topic of relating to ex’s: It’s NEVER easy. These movie stars who waffle on about “oh, yes…we’re still very good friends”…nonsense! It’s not natural for marriages to break-up, and it’s not natural for people to be “OK” about it. That’s why Christ said we shouldn’t do it. NONE of us deal with it well. Don’t try to be a pal to your ex. Keep it cordial, but business-like. And the comments about “how much more does she need?” are very true. Why do you need to do this? And how can you be sure that the money you give for the child IS getting spent on the child? And why can’t you spend it on her while she’s with you? Pay school expenses directly? Pay for the trombone lessons yourself? Buy clothes yourself?

And on the issue of not telling her? I’ve been in the position of having a scared wife sound off at me when I did nothing wrong, and yes I sympathise…but this is a golden rule that you mustn’t break no matter what! NEVER hide things from her. This is a form of infidelity.

Suggestion? Firstly, understand your wife and accept her feelings…and TELL her this. Apologise for your own failings sincerely. No more finger-pointing. Do what God wants us to do, and deal with your OWN sins…not hers. And start doing things differently. Keep a greater distance from your ex. Keep it cool, business-like, and arms-length. And spend the extra money WITH your wife while the child is there with you. And TELL your wife you’ll be doing this.

THEN…tell her about your own feelings, and tell her (without justifying yourself) why you did the wrong thing in hiding things from her. Tell her that it hurts you when you feel she doesn’t trust you. Tell her that it bothers you when you see her acting so defensively. Then tell her you will leave it up to her to sort out HER side of the deal in response to you doing the right thing from now on. Try it? And good luck and God Bless you and your family.

On reading more carefully, I see at the end of your post you say that your wife doesn’t trust you and you feel she is ‘going overboard.’ Do you mean she’s going overboard because she doesn’t trust you over this?

You lied to her. You and your ex-wife kept a secret from her for SIX MONTHS! Whether she works or is a SAHM, chances are you make the lion’s share of the money and she depends on you financially and then found out money was being secreted away. Even if this didn’t cause her to lose her home, it’s still a frightening thing to be financially dependent on someone else and find out a thing like this, and it will tear apart her trust.

With all due respect, while your intentions may have been good, you HAVE given her good reason to lose trust in you, and telling her she’s going overboard will NOT re-build that trust. Understanding how you would feel if she and her ex had been keeping secrets from you, better yet, if she’d been giving him money without telling you… and giving her reason to believe you understand and have changed… THAT will rebuild the trust.

Again, good luck.

You can’t fix your wife’s insecurity problem and her delusions regarding your supposed “feelings” for your ex wife. Only she can.

I suggest counseling from a Catholic family therapist and a priest.

Update on my problem and a big thank you to all:

Wow…an understatement of the decade would be that the internet is an amazing tool and I never imagined I would get so much feedback. So thank you to all who took the time to read my issue and provide their insight and wisdom.

To Carol Marie: You are so very right about saying “I didn’t tell you because I knew you would be mad” - that certainly is a cop out. I was scared to talk to my wife about giving more money because I would have been heartbroken if she wasn’t ok with it. But I will never know because I took the low road this time around.

To Lexee15: Yes, the reason I “lied” (omitted truth) was to make my life easier but also to make my wife’s life easier. Just from past experiences, I’ve come to learn that any subject that has to do with my ex, makes my wife totally uncomfortable. And after I do something like this, I totally don’t blame her.

To tcay584: I don’t think my wife has insecurity towards my daughter. But I know that anything that has to do with my ex sets her off and she shuts down.

Now for the update on my situation: Well, my wife found out about this last Friday. I was in the dog house all weekend and yesterday. And finally, today she started to be closer to her normal self, talking to me, not being mean to me, etc. Then I logged into this forum and read all of the feedback and advice. Maybe it was a premature attempt but I went to my wife and told her that I wanted to talk to her about this issue and figure out a better way to handle this. I’m very soft spoken as it is, I’m very calm and very sensitive to people’s feelings. Given that, I was EXTRA SUPER soft spoken and careful when I approached her. I asked her if she would talk it over with me and she agreed. I asked her if she would help me to figure out a way to where we could maybe work something out so that she didn’t feel like I was trying to support my ex or like I was being “nice” to my ex. She blew up. She said that she didn’t care if I gave my whole check to my ex and that I should do what I wanted. She went on to say that since I didn’t include her initially, what makes me think that she wants to be included now. Obviously this was a mistake at this point and/or time.

I feel that I need to back up and provide more insight/history: My ex is a stay at home mom. She is in and has been in a somewhat troubled relationship with a man who isn’t as responsible as he should be with his income. So my fear is that when my daughter is over at mom’s that she lives a life that is “less” than she would when she’s with dad. I know that I can’t be responsible for my ex’s choices in life. But I can’t help but feel sad when I think that my daughter “goes without” over there. Both my wife and I are very blessed in our careers. I work for a well known tech company and have been for 7 years. My wife works for a well known lending agency and she has been in that business for years as well. We are certainly not wealthy, but we are very comfortable. My income is nearly double that of my wife’s but I always insist that we are total equals and what’s mine is hers. I am far from a greedy person and would never ever want my wife to feel like she wasn’t at the top of my list. And I know that I haven’t helped by keeping this from her.

Let me provide a bit more detail on how much money we’re talking about here. My daughter is in a Catholic school, which I pay for because I wanted her to attend that school. On top of that, I provide all of the health benefits, of course. And on top of that, I was giving my ex 100 dollars per month which is a very small fraction of my income. So, 6 months ago, I increased that amount to 200. No one missed it, no one even knew. I looked up online and found this site that showed me what I should be paying and I think it was something like 700 or 800 dollars. So natually I feel guilty. Maybe all of this guilt is within me. Maybe I am the one with the problem. All I know is that I wish my ex would win the lotto so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about how I live and about how my daughter lives when she’s with us. (PS- The reason my ex and I are no longer together is NOT because I was unfaithful, it was a mutual change of heart).

Again, I want to thank everyone who replied and helped me to get a different perspective on my issue, especially those who can speak from experience. God Bless.

Forget what a “site” says. If you have the child with you 50% of the time, then you are not “required” to send anything extra. Neither does your ex need to send anything to YOU. By paying school fees and medical expenses AND sending money, you’re doing more than your share. But yes, it’s for your daughter (in your intentions), so I don’t blame you for that. You’re trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Chances are though that much of that money is going to be spent by the ex’s husband/boyfriend rather than going to the child. I’ve been though the frustrations of having to share custody of kids with an ex who didn’t do the right thing. And there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it, other than telling the kids that I wished I COULD do something. All you can do is pray about it, and give the child all the love and attention she needs while she’s with you. Maybe one day you’ll have more than 50% custody?

As for your wife, yes maybe you hadn’t given her time to cool off. Maybe it’s also because you didn’t start off by saying “I understand what I did was completely wrong, and I’m truly sorry, and I hope you can forgive me.”? Maybe it sounded like you were saying “Can we work out so I can keep doing what I’m doing, and you develop a thicker hide”? I think you STILL think the problem is her and her “unreasonable” reaction. That’s how it looks here, and I bet that’s how it looked to her. The problem is NOT her reaction. The problem is your lack of sensitivity and particularly your 6 month deception. Your problem is that you’ve treated this as a “MY daughter” issue, and you’ve kept your wife out of it. When you marry, there’s no more “I” or “my”. It’s all “us”.

I was divorced with two sons, and I married a single mum with a daughter. We made it clear to each other at the start that there’s be no “step-children” stuff. They’d be OUR kids, with no exclusive factional groups within the family…because it doesn’t work. Your wife’s opinion matters just as much when it comes to your daughter as it matters with everything else. You need to get that clear in your mind first and foremost, because honestly I think that if you DID…you’d have no problems today.

Can I say something. I’m not married, but I’m a child of divorce. I have also had step parents, and dealt with a situation where my dad made a lot more money than my mother…

Perhaps one of the things that upsets your wife is that she does love your daughter, and she doesn’t want to deny your daughter anything. However, she could be worried about the fact that the money probably won’t be going to your daughter…

I think what I would ask is how bad is the situation? I mean is your daugher having food, clothes and shelter at her mom’s house? Is their electricity and is it a safe environment. If it is all of these things than well then that’s what’s important. Obviously if your daughter wants special lesson, clothes, etc you and your wife can provide it for her together…

I don’t think it should really matter that much if your daughter doesn’t have the latest tv channels, or the newest clothes etc… As long as its a safe environment than there is no problem. If your worried about her not having those things, then perhaps you need to think about changing your custody arrangment. Although as someone who went through custody battles, I can tell you that in and of itself can cause a lot of stress and damage…

But I think that your wife has a right to not want to see your money going to supporting your ex wife. She’s an adult who can provide for her own life and her child too. After all she wanted to divorce you as well. Right?

I think that perhaps your wife also may feel bad because she doesn’t want to deny your child anything, and hates being put in the position of having to think about the money going to the boyfriend (etc) but not wanting to deny your daughter anything too…

Ok, so I am a step-mom to 5 children. My husband has 2 from one wife and 3 from another. LONG STORY. My oldest died 4 years ago, and the next 3 oldest are off on their own now. But, I became a step-mom at 26, to a 13 year old. Was it tough? Yeah. I hadn’ t had any of my own yet. (Now I have 3). So, I think I have a bit of experience being wife # 3.

First of all, yes you were wrong in not telling your wife about the money. My husband too, is notorious for trying to “protect me” or “protect himself.” And I don’t even get jealous of the ex’s!

However, in your defense, it seems that the jealousy came before you gave her any reason to be so. Which is naturally going to create a “walk on egg shells” situation. With some people, it just doesn’t matter how much you tell them you love them, they will just never really believe it - and that makes it about them. In being that way, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, regarding the “fact” that she thinks she cannot trust you. Being able to KNOW that someone loves you is a gift of grace. It is something that we become able to see, as we allow Christ to heal us and work in our lives. Your wife knew you had a daughter, and she chose to marry you anyway. She is going to have to find a way to be at peace with how that affects her life with you.

I knew when I married my husband, that at any given moment, any on of his children could come and live with us, (which they ALL did), or that at the very least, he had an obligation to all of them, that was there long before I came on the scene. I not only knew that had to be maintained, but I also EXPECTED that to be maintained, and I could make it easier or harder for him to do so. I chose to make it easier, even when it was not easy for me. It took a great deal of sacrifice on my end. But the children had no say in anything that was happening - none of it was their fault.

I think you BOTH need to take responsibility for how you have perpetuated this cycle of distrust. Ask her how you can pray for her regarding this matter, and tell her how she can pray for you. This is perhaps the greatest demonstration of love you can give each other. It will bring healing - I promise! ‘’

As for the ex - you have your daughter 50 percent of the time. Rather than give the money to your ex, (which in my own experience proved foolish most of the time), keep an open communication with her about what your daughter really NEEDS, not wants. Then, when you have her with you, get her the things you are able to. What you make is now none of your ex’s business. Your daughter is the only business that concerns her.

And in the future, talk to your wife about anything concerning money, because no matter what you tell yourself - WE ALWAYS FIND OUT!!! It’s a gift we women have! HA HA!

Hang in there. It sounds like you are trying to do the right thing for everyone involved, and not any man can say that.

Bekalk is correct. It’s not the material things that matter. And if they DO matter to you or your daughter, then they shouldn’t. Love and emotional security are the things that matter.

And Vaquita may or may NOT be correct in that you started by doing nothing wrong. One problem? You used to be in love with the ex. You shared a lot of intimacy with her. And all those numerous heart strings, they don’t all break at once. You could be displaying signs of lingering affections without even realising it. And your ex could also be still manipulating you in ways you don’t see. Your wife, as a third-party, could be seeing things in a more objective way than you are. ANY woman you’ve been in an intimate relationship with for a few years is going to have learned how to push your buttons. Even though she’s an ex, she still knows where the buttons are. Again, you HAVE to stop being her pal. It’s not being mean or unkind. It’s just being PROPER.

What I meant is that if your ex wife wasn’t providing your daughter with food, clothing, shelter (in a reasonable matter) than you need to think about changing the arrangement. I did not mean, if your wife isn’t providing her with the newest things, change it.

[quote=eanpsn]I’m in need of feedback and advice on how I should handle my problem. I am married and have two children. My daughter is my child that I have from a previous relationship. My son is my wife’s child from a previous relationship. We always have our son but we share my daughter, one week with me and one week with her mother. So there is a bit of interaction that occurs between my wife and my ex. My problem is that my wife is insecure about that relationship. She feels that she comes second to my ex. Everything that I do for my daughter, I do it for her and only her…it has nothing to do with my ex. But I made a mistake. About 6 months ago, I started to make more money at my job. So, knowing how my wife feels about my ex…I decided to give my ex a little more money per month for my daughter, without consulting my wife. I did this because I was afraid of hearing my wife say that she wouldn’t be ok with that. That would have broken my heart because I take that personally towards my daughter. My wife is a good mother to her son and she is a good mother to my daughter. But behind closed doors, away from the children, she is very vocal about how she feels about my ex and I endure a lot of emotional and mental suffering when my wife gets angry. I don’t think she should act like this. I wish she had more compassion in her heart. I feel torn because I want to be able to provide for my little girl and make sure she has the things she needs when she’s with her mom. But at the same time, I don’t want my wife to think that I have feelings for my ex and that I’m trying to support her directly. I’m only trying to support my little girl. My wife found out about the extra money and now I am REALLY in the dog house. She says she doesn’t trust me, she is really going over board. What do I do? Talking to her is of no use. She is very stubborn and I wish I could help her let go of the insecurity she holds within. What do i do??? :frowning:
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Oh she definatly has right to feel that she cannot trust you.
you look at that money as yours alone,instead of as yours as in the Familys.being as it is the "familys money it should have been talked about with the rest of the "family"
Its very honorable that you feel this responsibility towards your daughter,however I think from reading your post that you also need to look deep down and know exactly how you feel because I am thinking you DO still have some feelings for your ex, and that somehow you are hoping the extra gesture of extra money without her asking will somehow bring her back to you in a way.
something else that isnt mentioned but you should look back at is do you constantly bring up your ex wife in conversations? or do you compare your new wife to your ex? if you do STOP…

Best advice is tell her you were a dummy and didnt think about the cons of the situation,remind her that she also has an ex,although this is probably a lot of the problem because she I am positive isnt being treated as “fairly” by her ex as you treat yours.

GOOD LUCK

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