Rescuing Versus Setting Boundaries

This is still a learning experience for me to this date.  When I realize that I am trying to make life easier for someone I love at the risk of my health and happiness, it redefines the need for personal boundaries.  Enabling is all that happens when you rescue.  Everyone must learn the consequenses of their actions.

I recently married a man with an ex wife and two young kids.  They have been divorced for about six years.  The kids are great.  Suddenly once we marry, all hell breaks lose. 

His ex filed for full custody and kept him from seeing his kids until the court awarded her primary custody.  He just crawled in a hole and whined.  Apparently he had been obeying his ex's wishes in regards to his children all this time. 

I heard him complain about not seeing them, yet he didn't fight for his visitation.  I heard him complain about wanting them in public school, but he didn't do anything.  OK, now I am in his life so I can help him. 

I look up all the laws on the subjects.  I help him find a good lawyer.  I keep up with each and every date that his ex denies him visitation.  I get the kids national testing scores.  I fix up the house so the kids each have their own space.  I help him purchase items of great interest to the kids (bribes) like a dirt bike, go carts, computers, personal televisions, etc. 

Guess what... two years later... nothing has changed.  Nothing but us being out alot of money.  He just complains and fears the kids hating him if he causes their mom problems.

I cannot change any one but myself! 

tender tender
46-50, F
7 Responses Feb 29, 2008

I guess, all you can do, is to be honest and when the spouse complains, say well, i tried to help, and you did nothing. When the spouse rants about this and that concerning the kids, be honest and say, well you let it happen, and sorry, i am not interested in hearing you whine about it.. You can try to analyse his behavior, but so what. That changes nothing.My feeling is, he basically is not willing to take a stand. It is just much more comfortable for him to sit back and complain. I am amazed that he had the ability to even divorce. I suspect that the wife had a friend and divorced him. However, my bigger concern is.....that none of this was really visible when you were first dating... He presented himself so differently. Because of that, this relationship, may not work out long term. You may end up, having to move out and on your way.

What is your definition of insanity ?

Stop doing his foot work for him, it is his responsibility. Don't allow him to treat u like a personal assistant I know how that goes. I feel u are being taking advantage of...

sounds like he married you to be the parent for him.... he needs to grow up and be a man, a dad............. and be responsible

i would stop doing anyhting for his kids ... let thier parents be the parent.. you go and make a life for ur self ...

It takes a lot of learning to reach the point of changing, for sure. I'm sorry for the frustration and complications.... Enabling is a habit, one I've had for years. I think I have un-learned it, but I don't know that I have... Keep your chin up. I hope things get better.

Hi Bella,<br />
It's sad to realise that you have such a good heart and put alot of effort to help in a situation like this. <br />
<br />
Very few people have such a heart and to me, you just need to change yourself like you said and trust God for another man. I feel you have tried too much and the more you continue, you might even hurt yourself even more.<br />
<br />
I know friends can help alot in changing someone but again, most of the effort comes from ones self.<br />
<br />
Wish you a positive change,<br />

Hey - have you ever sat down and asked him what HE wants to do about it?<br />
You're right - some people want the others to do all the work. Doing it for them doesn't help anybody!