Wife keeps bringing up divorce, on and off
I usually don't post to this kind of site, but I fear that any advice I get from my friends is inevitably biased, and could use some outside perspective on my situation.
I have been with my wife for about ten years now. She has a son from a previous relationship, and I have been with her since he was a one-year old (the biological father has had an inconsistent presence, and has lived far away for most of the child's life now). I love her son as my own, and have been playing a father figure role for most of his life. Originally, my wife and I intended for us to have our own biological child at some point in the future.
However, the past 2-3 years, her son has had some serious behavioral issues, constantly getting sent to the office at school, for frequent outbursts, oftentimes violent. Because of this, my wife has become less and less enthusiastic about the idea of having another child, even if many years into the future. As difficult as things have been, it has not affected my desire to have my own biological child. My wife knows this is something I still want, and is constantly going back and forth on whether or not she wants to have more kids. One week, she'll bring up having another kid in a few years, and then the next week she will burst out in tears, saying she doesn't want one at all, and that I should divorce her if I want one.
Every single time this happens, I reassure her that I have always viewed her son as my own, and always want to keep them as my family, even if it means never having my own biological child (I am NEVER demanding about having another child, in general). Despite reassuring her of this again and again, she always says that she couldn't live with being the reason why I never have my own child, and suggests getting a divorce. We have this conversation about once a month, and are never able to reach any sort of conclusion or agreement. A few weeks will go by with no mention of the conversation (and everything seems fine and healthy), and then she'll bring it up again, unexpectedly, every time in tears.
The idea of losing my family completely destroys me (and I say "losing", because I have not adopted her son, due to the biological father still being in the picture -- even if inconsistently and minimally-- so I would likely never see him again if we divorced), but the fact that we have this conversation on a monthly basis is not healthy, and I feel completely stuck as to how to solve the situation, or what to do at all.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks for listening.
From what you have told us about the challenges with this boy, now is not the time to bring up having another child!
So get that off your plate, right now, man!!
You and your wife need a sit-down about how to parent this child so that his behavior does not wreck your marriage. Are you in family counseling?
Can you see that this woman is at a loss and is willing to "set you free" due to you pressuring her about having another child? Is that what you REALLY want?
SusieDQQ - Thank you for the response. I hear you, and absolutely see where you are coming from. I don't mean the following to be defensive or argumentative, but rather to clarify a few key things that I don't think I made clear in my first post:
I never initiate conversation about having another child. This is not something I am ever actively bringing up to my wife. This is something we used to talk about 3+ years ago, before the issues with her son came up. Ever since the issues with him first came up, I 100% realize that now is not a good time to add another child to the family, and that is not something I want right now at all. When I said I still want my own biological child, I did not mean I want one now, or any time remotely soon; I meant that I would still consider having one far off into the future, if, and ONLY if the circumstances were right for it.
I also realize that with age, his behavioral issues may not improve, or potentially could worsen, and if they do, then a good window of time to have a child will not open up at all, and I acknowledge that and accept that that may be a realistic outcome. I just want what's best for the family members who currently exist, above all else, and if he needs our undivided attention for the rest of his childhood, I'll gladly provide that.
I tell her these things ^^ whenever she brings it up, and am as reassuring as I can be that her and her son come first to me, and I want to do whatever is right for them. My issue is not that I want her to decide she wants another kid; my issue is that she continues to bring this issue up (and oftentimes mentions the possibility of divorce when she does), and does not seem to hear my reassurances, which I consistently give every time she brings it up.
I feel for you both.
You are doing the right thing by supporting your wife and her child at the moment whilst things are difficult for him. Her child does come first because he may feel pushed out if another baby was to come along. It sounds like you know this and I don't need to tell you that!
It's only human to wonder if whether one day you'll have a baby of your own, and its normal to talk about it, and to decide yes you'd both like one, never say never, or, no, def not, there are other things you'd rather focus on!
What ever the decion, whenever, you and your wife decide, you yourself, sound like you'll be ok, but for her maybe not.
I'm sensing guilt on your wife's part. she seem very anxious, to the point where its obvious that its constantly on her mind a lot. Possibly in a negitive way, which results her bursting into tears, thinking the worst and needing your reassuance. That's why its on and off. Anxiety comes and goes. There are days where your able to control and others when you can't and you feel awful.
You're doing your bit by recognising she needs reassuring everytime,, but unfortunately shes not listening to you or believeing you. The reason why is because she could be listening to all her self doubt believing it, and the only conclusion she can come to is a divorce.
She doesn't want you to leave her, nor does she want a divorce, she loves you but doesn't want you to miss out on being a dad because being a parent is fun, rewarding and like you're currently discovering hard work! = instant guilt. I can quite easily see how shes got herself to this place.
I have been rough exstream anxiety myself and its very dibilitating, the one thing that really helped me was cbt with a professional counsellor, because what I didnt understand that all my negitive thoughts are not real, there not going to happen or come true. In fact they were very irrational! Does this sound simular? Do you think this is what your wife is going through? Alternatitively thre are cbt books or just some general counselling will help her .
how are you presently guarding against accidental impregnation? does she bring this subject up after you have sex or at random times unrelated to sexual encounters? perhaps you can jointly or individually seek counseling on dispelling her guilt feelings related to your desire to procreate. meanwhile just keep reminding her that her son and your relationship with her is much dearer to you than your desire to procreate with her. make sure to take precautions to minimize accidentally impregnate her. i have a friend that was on birth control pills that got pregnant so don't rely only on this method as is not fool proof.
I'm sorry to hear this is happening. Having a troubled child is one of the most stressful things to have (my brother is autistic). Have you discussed with your wife about seeing if it is a medical issue. Just from what you've said he may have some behavior issues. Im not saying it could be as bad as being aggressively bi polar. Kids are very sensitive while developing, it might be something as simple as a chemical imbalance. Your wife is projecting how she feels inadequate as a parent. She's blaming herself for your sons outburst. I think the best step is to tell her that her son is just as much your son. Do something nice like make a "fancy" dinner and include your son. Tell her how much you mean to her. I think she just need reassurance. Sit down with her and see if you can get some help with your son. The best way is to ask him why he gets upset.I wish you all the luck. You seem to really love your son and wife. Tell them.