Younger wife + older husband with kids = trouble

Dear readers,
Happy 2019. A continuing theme here is the dilemma that occurs when your partner has been married before and already has children. In many cases, they don’t want to have any more. That was my story. So where does that leave you? In response to a comment on my October post on the subject, “Younger Wives, Older Husbands, No Babies,” I received this comment from NH. I want to share it with you and get your reactions.
MDOE37 said: Song and verse….second marriage for both, he was 6 years older with custody of a 13 year old son. Decided a couple years into the marriage that he was done. Raise mine, none for you.

NH responded:

Interesting. I’m in a similar position. Second marriage for both. He is 50, I’m 43. He has three kids from a previous marriage (12, 17, 20), I’m childless NOT by choice. First husband didn’t want them. Made damn sure I would never get pregnant. It was awful. Fast forward 15 years and now I’m remarried. He’s a wonderful man. Initially, he did not want kids and told me so while dating. At that time, I was still brainwashed into thinking I would be a terrible mom anyway (and I was 38), so I didn’t think twice when he asked me to marry him.

Turns out I’m a great momma, even better than Bio Mom (say the 12- and 17-year-olds, plus Dad). The 20-year-old hates me, because Mom has made up all kinds of lies to cover her mistakes. Bio Mom cheated on Dad, many times. Dad had enough and filed for divorce. She didn’t want the kids to find out so brainwashed them into crazy stories, INCLUDING telling them I caused their divorce even though I wasn’t in their life until years later. She was so convincing it took the youngest until this year to realize the timelines didn’t add up. Not joking. Two weeks ago, she told us that of all her friends with divorced parents, she has the most awesome stepmom and a dad that is still around and loves them. She said her mom is the problem. She sees, and doesn’t like what she sees. Eldest still believes the mom, and is pretty mean to the younger two if they don’t fall in line with her lies.

Anyway, my desire to have children kicked into overdrive once I realized I didn’t suck and got closer with the children. DH conceded. We went to a lecture for older adults about fertility. Spoke for 15 minutes with a doctor who told us IVF was the only way. Possibly donor eggs/sperm. That scared the husband, and now he doesn’t want kids anymore. He’s worried about my health, as I’m older, and worried he’ll have a nervous breakdown dealing with his ex, current kids and a new baby. Especially a baby that isn’t his and can’t guarantee if they’ll be healthy because the genetics are not ours. At one point, he told me he loved me so much that he thought we should get divorced so that I could go have a baby on my own, or with a younger man. I lost it.

THAT, on top of the grief and insane depression I’ve had over not being a mother, just crushed me. I went from being really sad, to really sad and angry. I know a lot of it is tied to my first husband and the mind games he used to pull on this subject. I’ve been in therapy and started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. I was a healthy, thriving, happy single person until coming into this life. I fell in love with someone who does love me, and wants to take care of me for the long haul . . . but he comes with all this baggage (much of which I’m not sharing here). A lot of this came out after we got married, and if I say anything to anyone their first comment is “you should have known.” Ummm, I’m not able to predict the future so how would I have known?

I’ve never married a guy with kids before. Waited a year into our relationship before meeting the kids because I wanted to be sure it was for real. They were very pleasant, until we got engaged. Once the ex found out we were serious, she got to work trying to wreck our relationship, and ruin me. At that time, we had moved in together, were building a house and planning to get married. OMG! Never had to deal with a high conflict ex, never moved somewhere because someone else made the decision and we just had to follow. Lots of “nevers,” and it’s been really hard. He promised me it would get better, and we have made progress, but I think all the bad stuff, and the hormones, and the depression/anxiety have just broken me. I’ve lost myself, feel completely mental, and am so far away from friends and family. I’m alone. There is no one to give me a hug if I’m sad (my husband travels a lot). Now, I feel like I’m giving up my chance to have children.

These kids will never have a mother/child relationship with me. They are grateful I’ve taught them so many things their mother hasn’t (well the younger two), but they’ll always be terrified to show their appreciation because of how Mom will behave if she finds out. Eldest is a tattletale, Mom’s spy. She should be in college, elsewhere, but dropped out. Things were getting so much better, and now are reverting because she moved back home. I’m the evil step-mom again because eldest says so, so my depression is getting worse. My anger is getting worse. I feel like I don’t have any control over my own life. I can’t even control my professional life, because we live in the sticks (not by choice . . . because Mom ran off her with the kids and he followed), so there are no jobs in my field. Thankfully, I was able to obtain a work-from-home position, but it’s entry level and I’m an executive. I have always made things work, my entire life. Adjusted to whatever situation I was in to make it work. This is the first time I feel like I’m constantly fighting to make it work, and it’s not.

In short, I don’t know if LOVE is enough. He is a strong, caring, kind, funny, provider. I love him dearly. He tells me they consider me family, and everyone really does care about me. I do not love dealing with the baggage and how he has chosen not to stand up for his ex’s dumb decisions. My mother-in-law told me he never would AFTER we got married, and said “good luck dealing with that evil B****” . . . and laughed. If I ever complained about not having kids or what I had to deal with, she would just say “You knew, and is nothing ever good enough for you? Can’t you just be happy with my grandkids?” What? Has a childless women EVER received that comment from their MIL before?

I wish I knew how crazy the ex was before we were married. I wish I knew my MIL wasn’t really the funny, kind person she portrayed. I wish I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to deal with it all, and how it would change me.

Now, I feel broken. My anger towards dealing with all of this pain has turned me into a very unhappy, negative person. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I don’t even know how to look at my days in a positive light. It’s just all gray and cloudy. I didn’t know trying to be a decent stepparent would mean I would get treated like crap for years. I feel lied to and taken advantage of, and now cash strapped because I’ve paid for so much in this household it’s not even funny. No, we don’t share financial accounts. We’ve dealt with too many court/money situations and I don’t want his ex knowing what I do, how much I make and how much I have saved. It’s none of her business. She’s constantly having the kids ask me how much I make. Awesome, huh?

Guess I should have done my research. Now I feel really ignorant. The honeymoon has worn off and we’ve only been together five years, married for three. I’ve heard it takes seven to work out most of the kinks. I don’t know if I can make it to seven years at this rate. But then, I’ll feel like a failure. Divorced again because I made a bad decision and didn’t know what this life would be like.

Does anyone have any advice? Is this what it is like? Does it get better? How do you stay sane when you don’t have a support network near you?

Please help.

Thank you, and terribly sorry for the long note. I happened to stumble across this and felt connected in some way, I guess.

So there it is. Heartbreaking. What advice do you have for NH? Does her story strike familiar chords with you? Please comment. 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Should she stay with her older man?

Today’s topic is young wives and older husbands. Sometimes it goes the other way around but not as often. A new commenter calling herself Anonymous wrote today about her dilemma. Her fiance is 15 years older than she is. He’s perfect in every way except that he doesn’t want to have children. She says she was okay with not having kids before, but now that she has this great man, she’s feeling the baby urge. Now she doesn’t know what to do? Is this relationship worth giving up having children in order to stay together? Sound familiar to anyone?

It’s an impossible question. Nobody has a crystal ball to predict how we will feel in 10, 20 or 30 years. Will he change his mind? Probably not. If he has gotten to 40 or older, he’s going to be pretty sure about his no-kids decision. Either he never wanted children or has already done the dad thing and doesn’t want to start over. Anonymous noted that her fiancé was worried about the financial aspects of parenthood. That makes me cringe. Yes, children are expensive little critters, but that’s not the point, is it? My dog costs me a fortune in vet bills, but I wouldn’t give her up for anything. Not that it’s the same thing.

Marrying a person substantially older includes issues you might not even think about. It’s more than not liking the same music or having different cultural references. His friends are likely to be older, too, and you may feel out of place with them, just as he will with your friends. Your husband and your parents might be closer in age than you are. That’s all just fun little quirks when you’re both relatively young, but as you age, your older partner is likely to experience health problems. He may retire and want to do retired-people things when you’re not even close to old enough. You might find people asking if you’re his daughter. He might even die, as my husband did, leaving you not only childless but alone. Do the math. When you’re 25 and he’s 40, it’s no big deal. But when you’re 55 and he’s 70, it’s different.

So we come down to the main questions: Is he worth it for however many years you have together? Should you leave him for someone who would be your baby daddy? Preferably someone your own age? What if you never find that person?

I never found anyone else I liked as much as Fred. I think I made the right decision, but it’s pretty lonely sometimes.

Nobody knows what’s going to happen. You could live a long wonderful life together, doing all the things people with children don’t have the time or money to do. I know people who have done just that. Or you could spend your life resenting your partner for preventing you from having children. You might also end up alone.

All you can do is look at what you’re feeling now and decide to try it or not.

So, what do you think about all this? Do May-December partnerships work? Should Anonymous stand by her man? I look forward to reading your comments.

 

 

If you marry someone older, does that mean no kids?

A comment on a recent post–Will he change his mind? Sept. 18–made me wonder how many of us are married to people who are substantially older than we are. The woman who commented yesterday said her husband was 20 years older. He had been married twice before and had one daughter. Now, a few years into the marriage, they’re not only not having children, but they’re not having sex either. She’s thinking about leaving him in the hope she can find someone else and become a mom.

My first husband was only 3 1/2 years older, but that marriage didn’t last. Fred was 15 years older. I admit in my book that he was sometimes kind of a father figure. He had three kids from his first marriage and didn’t want any more, but he was still a fabulous husband, and I’m not sorry I married him. However, in the end, I did give up children and wound up taking care of him.

Does marrying an older man (or woman) mean you won’t have kids? Not necessarily. Two of my older male friends married substantially younger women and both couples had babies together.

It’s a risk. If you marry someone who is more than a decade older, he may not seem old now, but he will always be at a different place in his life than you are, and he will become a senior citizen, with retirement and possible health problems, long before you do. He may well not want to be still parenting in his 50s, 60s or 70s.

So what’s the answer? I think it varies with every couple. What do you think? Does hooking up with an older partner make it likely you’ll never have children?

New book Being Fruitful Without Multiplying is out now

A new book called Being Fruitful Without Multiplying has just been released in paperback and e-book formats. It’s a collaboration of several authors who write about their fulfilling lives without children. My copy is on the way. Help them out and order a copy. (While you’re at it, buy a copy of Childless by Marriage, too). I haven’t read the book yet, but I think it will help us all feel better about not having children.

 Here are a couple of other fun links to click on.
Try this new piece titled “Single and Childless: Can We Just Move On?” by “Savvy Auntie” Melanie Notkin at the Huffington Post.
The headline alone on this one cracked me up. “Never Marry an Older Man. You’ll End Up Childless, Sex-Starved and Cutting his Toenails.” I don’t want to insult my late husband, but um, yes, that might happen. 🙂 If you marry an older man, it might be fine when you’re both in the prime of life, but someday he might get old. On the other hand, there are benefits to marrying an actual grownup.
Enjoy.

Mothering my husband, continued

My last post, on taking care of my husband, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, generated some great comments. Thank you to all. I don’t walk around thinking about my childless state all the time, but I couldn’t help noticing the parallels when Fred was in the hospital, the feeding, the diapers, his inability to talk.

I thought not only about how he was like a baby, but also how caring for him was similar in some ways to taking care of Annie, my dog–and I do have a lot of practice with dogs. Annie would react in panic if anyone tried to hold her down and do anything to her body. Just try clipping her nails. She can’t speak to tell me where she hurts, and she can’t understand when I tell her everything will be all right.

Sometimes I feel alone in this journey, but I’m not really. I have been in support groups, I have been in therapy, I have great friends. I exercise, and I really try to take good care of myself. For the most part, I’m on my own now. Except during crises, I only see Fred once a week for a few hours. It’s a 150-mile round trip to his nursing home.

I made that trip last week to take him to the doctor. This was not like taking care of a child, unless that child is blind and brain-damaged. I had to do all the talking and help Fred through every moment of our visit. Just getting him to lie on the table was a huge challenge. But it was a good visit. This is a new doctor for us, and he really seemed to listen and to care.

Having a husband with Alzheimer’s (and other diseases that take people away a little at a time) is hard. But I’m glad I can take care of Fred. I have to remember everything he gave me over our years together. Everything I have and much of what I have been able to accomplish over the last 25 years I owe to him.

Marrying an older man brings an added risk that he will become ill or die long before you do. I knew that going in. It would be nice to have children to help me and to help him, but I don’t. Instead, I have good friends.

Bringing things back to childlessness, I was in an online group for a while, but most of the members seemed to be older than I am, and they spent a lot of time talking about their children and grandchildren. When they started posting tons of photos,I bailed. Whatever we do, we’re still the ones without kids.