Advice Needed!

abundanceisnowJuly 24, 2011


I am wondering what some of you might think of this situation.

My DH has 2 DD. (My SD's) They live in England and we live in Florida. Their mom and my DH broke up long before I was ever on the scene and had more to do with their mom than my DH. (for the record)

Both SD's have 3 kids each, no jobs and one has a lazy loser BF without a job and the other one broke up with her loser so she is a single mom. They are both in their mid 20's.

Here's the situation that happened. Since January, my DH had called and called and finally when he got through after months of trying, the eldest SD accused him of lying about calling and said her cell phone worked perfectly fine and hung up on him. ????? Very bizarre behavior IMHO.

After calling again for several days, he got through and finally we both decided he needed to go over there for some 'real' face time. Thinking maybe if they all connected in real life, things would be easier on the phone. So we used up a ton of savings (we are self employed and work very hard) so he could fly over there, rent a car and pay for all the food for all six kids and the SD"s and the BF as none of them has a penny.

Upon his return, he called and called and called again. Got through a couple of times and then that was it. Silence again. He had not gotten to talk to either of them since June 2nd. Then today, he got a message on Facebook where the eldest one asked him to send money for a bouncy castle for her youngest daughter's bday.

When he phoned, she picked up for once. He told her how sad he was that he had been calling her repeatedly and been unable to get through. She accused him of lying again. (again, very bizarre!!!) He didn't know what to say and eventually got angry and upset and said something he regrets now ... something to the affect of how she only contacts him when she needs money (true) and wishing her lazy boyfriend would just get a job to earn the money for his daughters bouncy castle. (the lazy bf seems to spend the dole money on buying cigarettes, beer and pot.)

At which point, SD hung up on DH and now he is just feeling awful and not knowing what to do. He tried ringing her back a hundred times but of course, she will not answer.

As the wife stuck in the middle, his guilt is destroying our marriage as it turns to self hatred. He gives his daughters the power to ruin his life and I have said as much. He is always terrified of saying the wrong thing to either of them for fear they will not contact him at all. He always feels like they simply do not care if he lives or dies. And I hate to say... I think he is right. They are quite self absorbed. Even though they have no money to speak of, they seem to carry a sense of entitlement that I've never seen before.

At this point, I'm just very sad. My DH is heart broken and does not know what to do. He feels that when he doesn't talk to them, life goes better. But that seems awfully tragic and alien to our usually loving lifestyle and point of view.

Any words of comfort, advice, thoughtful suggestions are welcome. I apologize for writing such a long tirade. It seemed like a back story was necessary to fill in some aspects.

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1. Why are you the wife in the middle? Are you calling/contacting them as well? Why would it ruin your marriage that his grown adult children are not answering his calls? You could offer support, listen, tell him you love him and then suggest he visit a counselor for his guilt problem.

2. Why does he feel guilty?

3. My bio dad has not contacted me since 3/2010. He tells my siblings that he calls me and leaves me messages all the time but I never respond. It wasn't until he stopped calling my siblings and then telling them the same 'I've called you and left messages but you havent called me back' that my siblings said 'omg!' he's doing it to all of us. He is saying he calls but doesn't really call. Not sure why. Or my favorite line is 'ever heard of a phone?' he used to say this to me all the time. I started saying 'have you?' in response. I'm done with my dad at this point. Hasn't bothered to call or email or anything but wants to let everyone else know 'he has tried'. Just my story.

4. Is there may be a problem with the connection since the lines are in two different countries? Just a thought?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 11:22PM
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there is no problem with phone connection from US to UK, myfampg trust me, none ZERO, never. Maybe sometimes Christmas morning due to excessive calling and New Year Eve, that's it.

Now clearly when kids were younger relationship was not built (were kids young when dad and mom divorced? was he involved in their lives?) and now it is too late, kids don't give a damn for whatever reason and clearly parents raised them rather poorly. I could see how one kid could be messed up, bot both? Not working, have 3 kids in their 20s? Ouch

Geographical distance has nothing to do with it. Kids clearly don't care about relationship with dad (for whatever reason) and he can't force it. Like myfampg says offer your support but don't get mixed up.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:28AM
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Maybe your DH did a terrible job at being a father and neglected his daughters and now feels guilty. Maybe he did absolutely the best that he could trying to maintain a long-distance relationship. Maybe their mother is a whacked out nutcase who raised them horribly; maybe she is a saint.

It doesn't really matter anymore. What matters is that these women are both in their twenties, they are both adults, they are both mothers themselves, and they are both capable of making their own choices in life.

Most of us know people who came from truly appalling family circumstances, who may have really struggled through their childhood and teenage years, but who somehow had enough personal strength to fight through to adulthood and are happy productive people. We know adults whose parents, at least from the outside, seemed to be loving and caring and to give their kids every advantage that they could, and who may have siblings who followed in their parents footsteps but who became horribly self-centered, entitled adults.

What's done is done. If your DH is feeling guilt about choices he made in the past, whether he should feel guilty or not, he should get counseling. Maybe these women will change (I doubt it) or maybe not - but your DH can do pretty much nothing to influence them at this time. The only thing he can do is decide how much he will allow them to control or influence his and your life.

Why does DH feel guilty about saying that they only talk to him for money and lazy BF should get a job? It's the truth, isn't it?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:59AM
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even if it is the truth he probably feels bad he said hurtful things (they were hurtful but true and he is within his rights to say them) and now they might be pissed at him.

my SO is terrified of upsetting his children up to ridiculous, they are not anything like OP's SKs and he has nothing to be guilty in regards to his parenting, but he is in so much fear to ask even basic question. For example they have boxes upon boxes shelves upon shelves of their stuff all over the house and it got to the point that it interferes with our life, SO is terrified to ask them to go through things and either pack it up with them or toss it. He constantly says he'll ask, but he never does. I have no fear of asking DD such question at all! Why?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:19AM
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Thanks for the replies. It's comforting just to hear from other people's points of view.

Yes, he does truly call them. He cannot leave messages because they cannot afford to check their voicemail and have told him that. So he calls and calls and calls. Just tried calling again right now and it just rang and rang.

The guilt. Hmm... THat is tough. Yes they were divorced when the girls were young. He did the best he could to be an influence on them but ended up living in America for business reasons. The mother gave them zero boundaries and zero rules and they were having their boyfriends over in their bedrooms by the time they were 13 years old. So yes, not a lot of brilliant parenting going on! LOL.

But I agree. There are plenty of stories where kids are raised with less then ideal circumstances and find the inner strength to make something of their lives.

The issue is truly that they are adults now and have families of their own. They play this guilt game to the enth degree. They pretty much only get on a computer and send a message to ask for money. That's it.

DH feels bad for exactly the reasons of parent_of_one. The points were true but he knows he said them in a hurtful way. And ultimately, he only wanted to say how he felt. Not be judgmental.

We have a wonderful relationship but he absolutely refuses to get any sort of counseling regarding these guilt issues. He claims it is because he is British. But I think it is also a money issue. He would rather take the money that would be spent on counseling and send it to them. My problem with that is why should we both work and they sit around and have kids they can't afford and expect us to send them money?! That's crazy.

For a while there we were sending them groceries every month.

Anyway, I am meandering from my initial question. I appreciate your responses more than I can ever express.

As for being the wife in the middle, I used to call them and reach out to them quite a lot. We had flown them over to stay with us several times. ($5000 each time) And we had flown over there to visit them and spend quality time etc etc. But for whatever reason, they feel like I keep their Dad from them. One of them said. "You get Dad all the time. We just want him for a visit all on our own without you."

So he flew over there alone this spring. At MY suggestion. I didn't know what else to do. Maybe we are both completely manipulated by their tactics but I just want everyone to get along and have some sort of relationship! Sheesh.

Well, I shall say thanks again and check back in for more replies. I appreciate all of you immensely.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 12:41PM
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If the daughters had the ability to post their father a message on his facebook then why not he do the same? Leaving messages on his facebook/their facebook,answered or not, would give him some peace of mind that he KNOWS he is trying to contact them. No more my phone didn't ring or no more missed voice mails.

He does not have to spill all his thoughts or agrue with online messages. A simple 'been trying to reach you' will do. They can either respond to him or not. Whether or not they have their own computer is a nonissue...they obviously figured out at least where and how to use one to leave their father the 'send me' message.

If they can figure out to get 'Dad, send me money' message to him they can figure out how to converse via online messages and read his messages if they so desire.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:32PM
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I think it is perfectly fine for dad to see them alone, my DD lives far away and I visit her alone, I need time alone with my DD. I also encourage my SO to visit his kids alone. Of course it does not mean we should ALWAYS visit our kids alone but if they live far away and visits are not frequent, yes SDs are completely reasonable in wanting to see dad ALONE (maybe they were not nice how they said it) and I am surprised you always felt a need to go with him. Do you have kids?

And of course it is BM's fault girls turned out the way they are, suuureee....

Many people in UK do not even own voice mail because it is expensive. Did dad suggest communicating via Skype? Free and convenient.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:57PM
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PO1 said: "I think it is perfectly fine for dad to see them alone, my DD lives far away and I visit her alone, I need time alone with my DD. I also encourage my SO to visit his kids alone. Of course it does not mean we should ALWAYS visit our kids alone but if they live far away and visits are not frequent, yes SDs are completely reasonable in wanting to see dad ALONE"

Yeah, but I have a feeling that no matter what OP does (goes with or stays home) it's never going to be right. They might say "Oh I guess SM doesn't like us because she can't even be bothered to come see us."

My SD's BM turns every single thing we do against us.

BM divorced SF, then sends texts to DH saying he "won't come see her." WTF??? He is ALWAYS trying to make plans and they both ignore him. Remember we drove to SD's city to pick her up for her brother's wedding and she didn't go? How is that being unwilling to see her? Nothing we ever do is right. DH goes to see her alone and it's "Ashley doesn't love my daughter enough to come see her?" I go with and it's "Ashley is always around."

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:06PM
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I don't think the situation is about OP, it didn't come across this way. I think the issue is that adult kids are pretty obnoxious and poorly behaved (of course mom's fault) and don't want much relationship with their dad. Why, I have no clue. But I still think it is OK and fine to see one's kids alone. Doesn't really matter what kids say, they don't even talk to dad.

In your situation dad needs to get set schedule in place then mom cannot say he does not come to see her.

I know ashley it is no matter what we do...I never know how much involved I need to be. SO always wants me to go visit SDs with him, and I go with him but not every time, I believe parents need time alone with their kids, and when they are here which is a lot, he wants me to be around 24/7 but then i worry they will think I don't want them to have time alone with dad. It is a constant balance. They are coming in few days for few weeks again and I am already on egg shells, do i make some plans for myself or do i sit with them 24/7? You know, not like I could directly ask them, of course they will say oh PO1 we want you with us 24/7. LOl But we'll never know what they really think. haha

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:57PM
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Thanks again for more responses. Yes he does message them on FB. However, along with not having access to voicemail, they do not have computers or internet. So they only get on there once in a blue moon. Same thing with skype.

So when they do finally see his messages on FB, they simply accuse him of not calling and are still angry. They have said things like... "it's still the same damn number Dad. You must be lying." It's just weird. I honestly don't know why the calls don't go through. ANd yet... sometimes it works just fine! I have dialed it myself a bazillion times to make sure. And sure enough. It just rings and rings and rings. Eventually, you have to give up.

He did get thru to the other daughter today (HALLELUJAH!) and she said that she would let her older sister know that he was trying to call and call. She also said.. 'Oh she is just in a mood."

Communication is tough long distance. Especially when they do not have voicemail or the internet! Sheesh!

As for visiting alone, it's nice to hear that you agree with me. I think it was a very valuable visit. They got along fabulously when he was there in person!!!! He is a very loving caring dad and made all the meals for everyone... all six grandkids ... every day. He drove everyone everywhere they needed to go... moved house for one of them!!! He barely slept a wink when he was there out of wanting to take care of them. Of course, that can't make up for not being there enough for them in the past. He knows that and that is the source of his never ending guilt.

I do sincerely hope that the relationship will grow and that forgiveness can take place on all sides. It's the only thing that will allow everyone to move forward. Ultimately, it has a lot to do with expectations. He expects them to care about him and quite frankly, they don't at this point in their lives. Sad but true. I'm not blaming them in the least. They are coping with what life skills they have.

Sigh. Ah. It's just sad to see the hurt feelings and misunderstandings taking place before my very eyes.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:04PM
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they truly are broke! no computer? who nowadays has no computer or Internet in UK, ridiculous. maybe instead of stupid gifts like bouncy house dad could buy cheap notebook for them, and most apartments have wireless Internet included. crazy, just crazy. they need to get education and decent jobs and stop having babies. must be frustrating for you...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:18AM
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Hey parent_of_one,
Yes, it is frustrating. The choices they make are ridiculous! But there's no telling them what to do. Yes, instead of books and learning tools, their kids get toys. Not shoes. Just toys and more toys.

So yes. No internet. They had internet access for a while and ran up all the bills and now nobody will give them the service. (gee wonder why?) We have bought them countless items to 'enhance' their lives and the items get trashed. Now they have to go to their mother's house and use her computer.

As for wireless, they are in council flats and have no wireless available to them. Also, they are not tech savvy AT ALL. Which astonishes me as we are 50 and are very tech savvy and here they are at the age where they ought to be showing US how it's all done! LOL.

In any case... the worst has blown over. Of course... DH sent the money to my eldest SD. So she treated him like dirt and hung up on him and she gets rewarded. I'm just so tired of arguing though. I get to hear how I am not a parent so therefore I do not understand.

Sigh. Well, I"m off to bed. End of a long day.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:35PM
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"I get to hear how I am not a parent so therefore I do not understand." Did you ask him if perhaps the word he meant was "fool" rather than "parent"? That comment would have annoyed me greatly!

You said your DH was British - did he, by any chance, go to boarding school or all boys' school? Years ago I used to date a man who was sent to boarding school at age 8(!); his sister was significantly older, so I guess for all practical purposes he grew up with very little contact with girls, at all. He was a sweetheart and treated me very well, but if I was even remotely emotional about something he'd get very anxious and panicky, and I always wondered if a lot of that was due to not really having much experience with females for so much of his childhood.

If your DH believes it is a man's, and especially a father's, responsibility to "take care of" women in his family, but has no practical ideas on how to do that beyond the basics, maybe that is part of the issue?

I meant to say earlier and forgot - maybe cell phones are different in the UK then here (I know I can't use mine there because the providers are different or whatever), but I've not seen any, even the cheapest prepaid phones, that do not at least show missed calls, whether or not the voice mail is set up. Maybe you should suggest to hubby that a useful gift to daughters would be cell phones and a plan. I wonder what would happen if those last niggling doubts as to whether or not they are receiving his calls are removed and it's crystal clear to him that they only speak to him when they want money.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 8:31AM
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