Dilemma: my children don't get on with my second husband

Katharine Whitehorn / 08 March 2016

A reader is feeling pulled in two directions by her children from her previous marriage and her new husband.



Dilemma: my sons don't get on with my second husband

I have been married to my second husband for 17 years. My two sons from my previous marriage struggle to get along with him; my youngest has four children who are the light of my life. 

I like to help with the grandchildren whenever I can. I am now working part time and I think I ought to be able to collect the two eldest grandchildren from school and drop them back home for my daughter-in- law.

However, my husband thinks my daughter-in-law takes advantage of me, and during the bad weather he would not hear of me walking to their house (it takes 15-20 minutes) – I usually go each Tuesday. 

When I asked if we could have them over for a meal the reaction I got was – 'ask them any time you want and I will go out.'

I know I should avoid anxiety as I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis two years ago but I feel I am pulled in two directions.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

You’re not going to like me saying this, but I think your husband has a point. 

It would not be extraordinary if he rather thought he ought to be the light of your life, and maybe he hoped that when you weren’t working so hard, you’d have more time for him, not just the children. 

Of course you could go ahead, have the family over and see him walk off in a huff; but it really wouldn’t be worth it from your point of view.

Maybe this is yet one more case when honey does catch more flies than vinegar; I think you have to work quite hard to make your disgruntled old man feel doted upon. 

Try to stick to a routine that you vary only in an emergency – and remember that once the children are teenagers it may be you who thinks wistfully of how nice it would be if you were wanted and valued more.

Read our guide to when your children won't accept your new partner.

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