It's ironic that Dulce de Leche chose to post this article today. DH and I were just discussing this very thing a couple nights ago.
Like Melissa and her spouse, we - or perhaps I should say, I - have been questioning our relationship as it was, is, and will be in the future. (DH prefers the deny/ignore/pretend approach.) In conclusion, I have to admit that it wasn't what we thought it was. It isn't what it needs to be. And it won't survive without more changes than just DH staying sober.
Some of those changes can be mine. And I have hesitated a long time about bringing the subject up, because I don't think it's fair to sit there and say what I feel, which is: "You have no parenting standards, no boundaries, and therefore I am right by default and it's up to me to set the boundaries and you better toe the line if you want to stay."
I went to switch out the laundry at my mom's house next door the other night. Batman was on the TV when I left and all three of my guys were watching it. I was gone ten minutes. When I came back, Family Guy was on. A horse was licking Peter's bare ass in the bed. I. Flipped. Out.
A few months ago I collected all the South Park, Family Guy, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Always Sunny DVDs, and hid them, because DH refused to stop watching them in front of the kids. Oh, he didn't refuse verbally. Verbally, he agreed with me as always and assured me he was on board. He just didn't stop.
So his response was, "Whiz Kid got it out. I don't know where it came from." Oh, and that is relevant HOW? "As long as they were hidden, this wasn't a problem! I haven't been letting them watch it. This just happened, he found it and put it on." So you were powerless to stop this? Your 7-year-old makes the decisions now?
I decided the talk was too long overdue. So we put the kids to bed and I sat down to try to put all the pent-up anger, betrayal, and anxiety of the past few months into words other than "I hate you for being a liar and a fraud." Which is a little bit of how I feel, but not the majority of it. That's just the part that takes over when I'm feeling hurt.
After a while I managed to express that I realize we have nothing in common. And I mean nothing. No interests, no beliefs, no values, no hobbies, not even foods for crying out loud. Except one thing. Or three, I suppose. Our kids.
I have given up on changing the other things. He will never be interested in socializing or making friends with anyone I want anything to do with. He will never want to participate in the sorts of activities that I enjoy. I can't be friends with the kind of people he associates with. I am tired of wasting the very little time I have for fun on things he enjoys. Can I live with that? Yes.
Our beliefs and values, however, must find a common ground. I can sacrifice a few things, because I feel it is healthier for the kids overall to have consistent household standards than for me to stick to my guns. The trouble is, I've already made all those compromises, just unwillingly. I am not going to make any more. My kids have already become the kids I wanted to keep my kids away from. And although I no longer believe in keeping my kids away from peers unless those peers are abusive to them, I still am unwilling to compromise further.
I can live with my kids playing video games and watching Batman and listening to wordly music that is not angry or excessively loud. But they can't watch mature television shows, horror movies, or listen to violent and screaming music. System Of A Down and Black Sabbath are not appropriate for young children. Plus it's bad for their hearing. Just like lots of sweets are bad for their teeth. Both things he refuses to believe.
Dulce made the point about being a united family, not a united front. I do think it's important to be a united front when the kids inevitably try to bend the rules. And they will, because that's what kids do. But I was already thinking about how to involve the boys in establishing some household rules and agreeing on consequences if they are broken. My only fear is that DH will break those rules himself on occasion, and the boys will be in a position of either tattling on Daddy, which is not good for them, or seeing him break the rules without consequence, which undermines the value of the rules.
All I can do is try. And as always, he says he will go along with it. We shall see.