Am I over reacting? My husband always pressures his stepchildren for hugs and kisses

Stacey - posted on 09/13/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I am just all over the place, in panic mode one minute freaking out, than questioning myself thinking I'm over reacting. I really need a sounding board so that I can make a good decision for my childrens physical and mental well being. I have two children, girl age 11, boy age 8. They are from my previous marriage of which I left when I was pregnant with my now 8 yr old son.



I started dating my current husband when I was pregnant and we moved in together when my son was 6mo old & daughter 3 and we married shortly after. So my husband has been a part of my sons life since he was born and a part of my daughters life since she was young.



My husband held my son a lot when my son was little, and bonded much more with him than my daughter. My son is a naturally kind hearted boy always concerned with other peoples feelings and not wanting to hurt them. My daughter is very kind hearted as well, but much more assertive to not doing something if she doesnt want to, where my son will go along with things to make others happy.



My head is spinning, my husband and I have been having marriage problems for the past couple years and I am contemplating divorce so I am all over the place. One thing that infuriates me is my husband pressuring my children for hugs and kisses. I have told my husband kisses on the cheek are not appropriate anymore and the kids should only hug him if they want to. My husband ignores me and continues to pressure them and my daughter refuses, but my son reluctantly goes along with it and my husband kisses him on the cheek, which my son has asked him not to do as well as I have and it makes me and my son uncomfortable.



I think I need to divorce my husband and provide a safe feeling home for my children and stay single until my children are adults as dysfunctional man are drawn to me like the plague and I am apparently oblivious until years of drama into the relationship. Am I over reacting to feel this way? I read some material on passive aggressive men and the description matches my husband and I am freaking out on what damage I am doing to my children with my bad choices and I don't want to make any more.



On a side note, I left my first husband as he was verbally and emotionally abusive. His time with the kids is on a when he feels like it basis (if we don't have plans) as I don't want him to have them if he is grumpy as he will take it out on them. (About 1 night a week) When he is in a positive mood his time with them is rewarding for them and they feel loved by their dad, he is the father role in their life more so than my current husband who is mostly uninvolved but has mood swings where he tries to be overly involved, followed by other mood swings where he is a royal jerk, which I am now connecting to when he is mad. Example my daughter would not hug him and I yelled at him to stop trying to make her, he did stop but but then didn't talk to her for two days after that, another example, my husband read my credit card statement and made huge check marks on it and put it on the center of the table for when I came home to see. I asked him if he was mad about my charges and he said no than proceeded to poke my son and pester my son despite my sons and my repeat requests to stop, he didnt finally stop until I yelled intimidatingly and then he gave me a look of bewildermeant as if I am the one out of line.

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Diana - posted on 09/17/2012

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As far as the good guy that other people see: Remember that no one else sees what goes on behind closed doors. There are plenty of "respectable" people like lawyers, doctors, teachers, police, and congressmen who seem to be great people to the outside world, but are verbally, physically, and mentally abusing their families at home. Take Jerry Sandusky at Penn State for instance. He helped lots of kids through coaching & founding a charity for troubled kids and then there were children that he did not help at all. On paper he seemed like a great guy. I'm sure lots of people really thought he was a caring, good human being. My point is that sometimes what someone sees on the outside is not at all what may be going on when they arrive home.



If you haven't already perhaps you could try going to therapy just for yourself. Sort everything out for you so that you can come to a decision that you can live with or to help you with the decision that you seem to be making.



Good luck!

Diana - posted on 09/17/2012

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I think that you should go with your gut instincts. They were given to you for a reason. Sometimes our subconscience picks up things that our rational mind refuses to acknowledge. If he is demanding kisses & hugs and it makes the kids uncomfortable then he punishes them for not being physically affectionate...huge red flags. Combine that with mood swings. You shouldn't have to yell at a grown man to keep his lips off your kids. Imagine how you would have felt as a child if this would have happened to you?



Going by what you are saying, I don't think that you are over-reacting at all. There is a book that my therapist recommended ot me calle "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker that talks about ways to protect your children like whom to trust, whom to distrust, what to believe, what to doubt, what to fear, and what not to fear: Safety skills for children outside the home, Warning signs of sexual abuse, How to screen baby-sitters and choose schools, and Strategies for keeping teenagers safe from violence.

http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Ke...

Patricia - posted on 09/15/2012

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it is wrong if thy don't want to my advice be careful and wary i have seen on the news where men ppick women with kids because they are really pedophiles

Nichole - posted on 09/15/2012

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I agree. in fact, my toddlers and I are very affectionate towards one another. i don't know what i would do if they denied me that pleasure, but I do know their own sense of personal safety and right to say NO is more important to me. that conviction came at a high price. now i know personal, spiritual, social and physical boundaries are very important. i teach college kids they should be aware of their own boundaries before dating.

Lorena - posted on 09/15/2012

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I dont think a kiss cheek & hug between a daughter or so is inapropiate but i do believe it is very wrong when child doesnt feel comfortable like u say. He should respect that & i feel that since he knows he has done wrong by acting they way he did, it might just be a way to comforting his self. He might feel that if they hug him or kiss him they still love him regardless of what he has done to u or them but kiss & hugs should come out cause one feels like giving them & not because they're pressured or cause someone else say its inapropiate.

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Nicole Marie - posted on 10/23/2012

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I think u should divorce him - yes I agree with you - he sounds like he has issues and they will get worse - women's intuition is usually right - sometimes it takes a little while for us to get it right - but we love our kids # 1

Stacey - posted on 09/16/2012

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I think a big part of my posting here is that my inner gut is telling me to get out, but then my rational side tells me maybe I'm over reacting. There is more I'm upset about than what I've posted, the hugging thing was just what was disturbing me that night. There have been so many things that are just not ok, not quite bad enough to run out the door, but not ok. I kept thinking maybe if I to try this or try that, but I'm sick of being the one to try everything while he does nothing. I have no more in me, my sleep and diet and health are all out of whack and he doesn't give our marriage a thought until he wants something from me, than he will be nice for a couple days to attempt to get it, than if I don't appease what he wants he will go jerk on me and things get out of hand no matter how I try to deflect. (Not violent or anything, just crazy verbal and emotional attacks and drama and pressure)



My rational side sees that my family and my husbands family all seem to like him and say nice things about him so maybe I am over reacting. Although they don't know all of the stuff that goes on behind closed doors, He puts on his good husband act pretty well in front of others and often I look like the jerk who doesn't want to sit on his lap and walks away to avoid akward back massage or being touched by him in any way. .



I guess I just was looking on some feedback from those on the outside looking in and I thank you for your feedback.



My gut and rational side have come to terms with the following:



There has been a ongoing pattern of behaviors from my husband, some of which are unacceptable and need to change.



Change requires admitting where we are wrong as well as a lot of effort. Over the past 6 yrs he has not demonstrated his ability to do either. Additionally I can only change myself, I can not change him and he shows no desire to change his behaviors but manipulate circumstances and provide excuses for them.



I need to think of where I have been, where I want to be, and what is the wise thing for me to do in light of that. I've been thru the circle of his behavior cyles, I don't want to anymore, and they are a pattern I can expect it to happen again and again so the wise thing for me to do in light of that is leave.

Ruby - posted on 09/16/2012

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There's too many red flags here. It makes me feel uncomfortable. When your kids say no he needs to respect that. If you have that funny feeling in your stomach when something is wrong or your babies don't feel safe, then you need to get out before its too late.

Nichole - posted on 09/15/2012

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I don't care who's involved and under what circumstances, in IMHO, no should be kissed or hugged or made to kiss or hug another if they do not want to. period. acknowledging people politely with a hello or bye should be enough. otherwise you are violating their comfort zone and the kids may learn to accept anyone into those uncomfortable spaces.

Sally - posted on 09/14/2012

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I may be very wrong but I sense there is deeper issues going on here than you sre saying. The fact that you wouldn't allow him to see the children unsupervised, speaks volumes. If you truely are unhappy and worried about your children leave. It sounds as though you have already made your mind up. Better for you and yours to be a single parent family than live a life thats stressrd and unhappy. Good luck.

Minet - posted on 09/14/2012

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Two words: family counseling.



My husband and I are seeing a marriage counselor but I see families in there all the time. A lot of times the children are in the waiting room for part of the session and sometimes the parents are. You have been divorced once before. Your children have suffered as a result. Do you want them to go through it again?



The way I approached my husband is I told him that it's obvious that something was wrong and I wasn't willing to live the next 40+ years like that. I was, however willing to work hard on it if he would put the same effort in by seeing a counselor. You two could go together without the kids at first to work on your marriage and his attitude. Just don't think you're going to "fix him". Through counseling I have learned (and been open to learn) a lot about my tendencies and how my husband reacts to them. There have been times when I think to myself, "I was right" but it won't be vindication. It will be awakening and awareness and you will be given the tools to use in your everyday life.



If your children see a unity between you and your husband and they see themselves involved in fixing the family unity they may be open to the affection of your husband. If the counselor can help him see how much they don't like it, that can be good, too. The possibilities are endless.



My husband and I are far from being blissfully happy again but I can see us moving forward and anything is better than where we were.



Good luck.

Ella - posted on 09/14/2012

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The fact he ignored ur daughter for 2days over a kiss is outrageous and surely will have damaged sum self esteem!this man should no better and favouritism is unacceptable,kids aren't dumb,she will be very aware of this,it sounds as thoe you have already made ur mind up..u just needed the last push,Gud luck x

Dove - posted on 09/14/2012

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Kisses on the cheek are not automatically inappropriate because he's a boy, but the fact that he's asked your husband to stop and your husband is forcing the issue DOES make it inappropriate. Affection should never be forced.



He is definitely being emotionally manipulative at the very least and that's not a good environment for you and your children.

Firebird - posted on 09/14/2012

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He appears to be a very immature and rather petty kind of man.



"now I no longer want any affection of any kind nor anything to do with him. "

If that's the case, I think your path is clear. Good luck.

Stacey - posted on 09/14/2012

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Thank you for your feedback. I do not feel you giving your father a kiss on the cheek is inappropriate, my daughther and I kiss my father/her grandfather on the cheek. I guess with women/girls it does not seem odd to me, just with men/boys. To me kiss on the cheek after a certain age for a boy to a man feels inappropriate, probably due to my upbringing. It did not bother me when my son was little and was giving everybody hugs and kisses, but around the age of 5 he started to ask does he have to hug so and so with different relatives including my husband? I said no only if he wants to and he only wants to hug grandmas, his biological dad, and myself and a few other female relatives he is close to.



My daughter has struggled with her role with my husband from the beginning, sometimes wanting hugs, sometimes not. My husband has never attempted to kiss her on the cheek nor asked for one from her. Additionally my husband shows obvious favoritism for my son over my daughter. My main issue is that he doesn't respect our wishes when asked and I worry on the effect of his not requesting their physical wishes, even if they are not inappropriate gestures.



I know for myself my husband will not give me affection that I want/when I want, but instead affection I don't want/when I don't want in front of others and then make a joke of it. I have been very clear and direct telling him do not grab my breasts/butt in public, and do not pinch them or treat my body disrespectfully ever. He repeatedly does this anyways, laughing at my rage and attempts to block him. I have also been very clear on the affection I do want, but he rarely provided it, now I no longer want any affection of any kind nor anything to do with him.



Anyways, I really appreciate your feedback, it is helping me to at least not feel so freaked out, however I will probably still divorce him. I considered family counseling, but he wanted me to sign a post nup signing away my financial rights should we divorce if the marriage doesnt work. I feel my husband has major issues, and he knows it. I don't have time nor energy nor desire to deal with his issues or parent him. My daughter is approaching teen years, a pretty fragile time, right now she cringes when her stepfather is home and hides in her room to get away from him. This is wrong to me, I think my children would be sad a little if they never saw their step dad again, but I also think they would be relieved to have it just be me and them. I'm not saying I wont let them see him, that is just likely how it will be as I wouldn't let him have them unsupervised as he has lost my trust and I know he has a very vendictive side to him that I will not risk upon my children.

Firebird - posted on 09/13/2012

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I really fail to see why kisses on the cheek are inappropriate. I'm 27 and my parents still kiss me on the cheek. If your kids are uncomfortable, then your husband should lay off. However, from what you've said I'm wondering why it makes them uncomfortable in the first place. You seem to be projecting this idea on to your kids. He is definitely out of line for ignoring your daughter for 2 days just because she didn't want to hug him, and for pestering your son after repeated requests to stop. Maybe you can consider family counseling before you take the drastic step of divorce.

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