Friday, May 27, 2011


I think we have a pretty normal marriage.  We've been together since college, married 15 years, with three wonderful active boys.  We definitely have reached that comfortable stage with each other.  We know each other better than anyone else.  We make each other laugh (something I think is really important in a marriage).  In the bedroom, things still remain fun, passionate, and satisfying for both of us.

But we also have our issues.  I don't think we communicate as well as we should.  This often leads to me feeling he's really doesn't know what's going on in our family life.  He's often overly critical and I'm too controlling.  When we're both stressed, we tend to take it out on each other.  It is often not a pretty sight.

The last 18 months has put a definite strain on our marriage.  It has gotten exponentially worse since the girls moved in.  I do acknowledge that K has stepped up.  He has taken on all of the financial mess that is the girls' assets and the crazy reporting requirements.  He drives E to school three times a week and picks M up from practice twice a week.  He usually cleans up dinner and is good about cleaning up L's toys in the family room every night.  He'll make late night runs to the store for milk, juice, lunch things, etc.  Most of these things, though, were things he already did before the girls came.  In many ways, his life really hasn't changed.  He goes to work, coaches, and often spends his evenings watching sports or on the computer managing his many fantasy sports teams.  He golfs when he wants and plays on his softball team.

I want him to be happy.  I do.  I want him to have fun and enjoy his life.  But.  My life has completely turned upside down.  I am dealing with this awful grief.  We've added two traumatized children to our family.  Our kids are struggling with this.  Instead of two busy older kids, we now have four.  I still have to work.  I do all the laundry, cooking, cleaning (plus cleaning lady every other week), homework, doctor's appointments, therapy, schedules, bedtime, pets, wake up, school lunches, and everything that's involved with running a busy family.  I am completely overwhelmed.  Add on top of this the grief, my own trauma from that night, and dealing with the emotional aspect of all of this with the 5 kids.  I have lost weight.  I don't sleep.  I haven't played soccer in months.  I don't get any other exercise.  Frankly, I'm a mess.

So seeing him continue with his fun is really annoying.  I resent it.  I can't help it.  I know things aren't always equal in a marriage, especially when it comes to the kids, but after a long day after I've finally gotten all the kids to bed, and lunches still be to be made, laundry folded and work for my job still needs to be done and he's laying on the coach watching TV, I just can't take it.  I've tried to talk to him about this, but it goes nowhere and he just ends up getting defensive and mean.  I regularly feel like he doesn't care about me.  I know he loves me, but that's not the same as everyday caring about me.

As things have gotten hard with the girls, he completely checks out.  He comes up with reasons why this is the case, whether it's work or coaching.  He doesn't want to hear about my stress or pain.  For example, the past few weeks I've also had to deal with cleaning out Jeanne and Mike's house.  We're renting it in June.  Dealing with my dad, sisters, E and M's feelings, and going through their stuff has been extremely painful.  I feel responsible for packing and saving all of the girls' things.  It is a huge job has meant a lot of work here at our house and theirs.  K hasn't even noticed.  He acts like it's not happening.  On a pretty big day, when I was raw with stress and grief, he ignored me and hid in the basement watching baseball.  It really hurts.  Any concern about my health or weight comes out as criticism not truly caring.

I often feel like he's angry at me.  When I've complained about everything, he's said to me at least twice that I "wanted this," meaning taking the girls in.  Instead of a decision we made together, because nobody else in the family would take them, it's my fault.  It was my sister that died.  These are my biological nieces.  I feel guilty like I did this to him and our family.   To make this work we need to be a team.  I feel like we're anything but that.  I feel so alone.

So this new life has put a definite strain on our relationship.  It wasn't perfect before and this has definitely not made it better.  I don't know what to do.  I don't want to worry about it because I honestly don't have the energy.  I do know that something needs to change.  The kids need to see a positive healthy marriage to feel safe.  I just don't know how to get there.


  1. I am so amazed by all that you do, and I hope it helps you to write about it here. I wish there were real, tangible things that a complete stranger (me) could do to help--but at the very least, please know that you are doing a superhuman job with an impossible situation. Be proud of yourself. Your sister would be so proud of you.

  2. Men and women deal with grief and stress differently (I know you know that, and believe me, *I* know that!), and the girls have certainly added strain to an already stressful situation. It seems as if K may be "checking out" because it's simply easier. And, it sounds as if he KNOWS he's not doing all he could because his response to you seems defensive and guilt-riddled. Would he agree to go to counseling with you? I think you need someone impartial to help mediate.

    No marriage is perfect. No marriage is ever 50/50. You even wrote that. But, some things put more strain on them than others (losing Hannah was very hard for us).

    You are a superwoman. You are holding it all together for everyone. But, you can't do it all. Hang in there.