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Need advice for situation with my divorced father

My parents got divorced last year (which I am still getting over). Once my parents separated, my father moved in with his parents. I got married recently to my man of 6 years. Not only are we newlyweds, but we are young newlyweds.

My father/grandparents live 4-5 hours away from us, so my Dad likes to come into town about 1x/month to see me and my husband, along with his friends/do errands/"look for jobs" (this is the area where he lived pre-divorce). He doesn't have a job, so he can't afford to stay in a hotel. Pre-wedding, he stayed with me twice in one month (despite my hesitancy as a result of wanting to set boundaries). He told me that once we got married he would leave us alone, but I knew that he was just saying this to get his way at the time. He has friends and other family members (his own sister) to stay with, but he just doesn't want to ask them.

Here's my struggle. Every time HE decides HE wants to come in town, he starts to suggest that since he's "coming to see me", I OWE it to him to let him stay with my husband and I (we live in small 1-br with only an extra couch in the living room). He's constantly guilting me and telling me this is what family does for family. The problem is that it works, and I feel absolutely horrible. The thing is, I'm not opposed to him staying with us a night or two every so often, but as made clear so far, it's not "every so often" it's OFTEN and at his decision.

My husband and I are young, and with our work schedules we don't get a lot of time together. We want our independence from our parents, and we don't feel that we "owe" my father housing.

I don't feel it's justified for him to guilt me into letting him stay when he wants to stay. He just has certain ways of making me feel horrible, and honestly because he doesn't give me a choice, I don't ever WANT to invite him to stay with us, which is what normal people do. I feel his crossing my boundaries and using his "poor pitiful me" attitude to guilt us into it.

Re: Need advice for situation with my divorced father

  • Next time he calls and says he's visiting on X date, just say, "Oh it's too bad that won't work for us.  We have plans.  If you decide to come anyway and stay with Aunt then hopefully we can meet for dinner or something!".  Then you stick with it.
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    Spin313
  • I'd like to know how long he stays each time. That being said, I go two ways on this. First, EVERY month is a lot and you only have a 1 BR. I get it. Also, clearly, he's a manipulator. And from that perspective - i DO think you need to stand up to him and create a boundary. Heneeds to hear "no". However, I kind of get eye rolley at this whole "we're newleyweds" thing, or that you want your independance. Even at once a month, I'm not sure how being a gracious host to an out of town guest makes YOU "dependant" on him If youre busy or just don't have room, then just say "this week/end doesn't work for us". No explanations - just that youre busy. But leave out all the other stuff.
    CandaceLafleurTarponMonoxidedaisy662
  • Saying it to get his way?

    Time for you to get your way: "Sorry but we can't accommodate you. It is not possible" and if he shows up at your door, say the same thing.

    You're not a hotel or a place for him to crash until whenever. He is also rude and he's also taking advantage of you. Stand up for your rights, take back your home and tell him no.
  • sunflowerwifesunflowerwife member
    First Comment
    edited February 2014
    Unfortunately this is not how conversations go with him. About 3 months ago when he first started the "I need you to provide me housing" convo, I was VERY firm in telling him no. However, once told him no, he called me and left voicemails until I called him back. This past week he kind of snuck attacked with bringing it up (I thought we were just talking on the phone) and then told me "he has NO other option" unless I just don't want to see him for awhile. Honestly, I do want to see him, but I also don't mind waiting another month or two. In college, I didn't see him every month. Since he doesn't have my mom anymore, he is much more dependent on my sister and I for love and affection. Basically, he just doesn't take no for an answer. I have tried to set boundaries and I just can't seem to stop him from trying to push me. I am not generally a pushover and have pretty good boundaries with most things in life. But the problem is that I do feel bad for him, so I just keep getting into this mess...

    EDIT: One of the hardest parts about the situation is that if I give him a firm "this week doesn't work for us" then IF he does come and stay with a friend/family member, then he still wants to see us. So then he comes to hang out and makes comments about how stupid it is that he can't just stay with us since we're "hanging out anyway". I feel trapped. I am open for answers. I realize I am not completely right in this situation, just very confused...

    If we say he can stay for a night, he says, "that's not enough, I have things to do and need to be there for at least X nights. Then he proceeds to just hang out around our place giving us no space and privacy the ENTIRE time he's there, and on the day when he's supposed to go home, he lingers until late in the afternoon when he has to leave to get home.
  • Well, you need to be firm and you need to learn to not cave in, no matter what excuse or line he gives you. It's all part of being a grown up and setting boundaries with your parents - especially when they are constantly guilting you and taking advantage.

    He can give you all the excuses and hard time he wants, but you need to stick to 'no, that doesn't work for us./we are busy/out of town/etc'....do not give any further explanation because that will just leave room for him to keep arguing with you and poking holes into your explanation to get his way. And once you say no, if he still gives you a hard time, then that's when you say goodbye, I'm hanging up now.

    He calls and leaves messages repeatedly? Don't pick up and don't call back. He gets away with this because you allow him to. He knows that the more he pushes, eventually he will get his way, so stop letting him get his way.
  • I'm going to focus on a couple statements:

    he called me and left voicemails until I called him back.

    Don't call him back.  Seriously.  You KNOW how this is going to go.  IGNORE.  This is called setting a boundary.  And if he does happen to get you on the phone, AS SOON as he brings up staying with you, you say "I've already told you I can't.  If you bring it up again, then I'm hanging up".  And then DO IT.  Hang up!

     

    and then told me "he has NO other option" unless I just don't want to see him for awhile

    Easy.  You say "I understand that.".  Period.  You know you'll see him eventually.  You know you can go a few months w/o seeing him.  So - why let this get to you?  WHy feel guilty?

    So then he comes to hang out and makes comments about how stupid it is that he can't just stay with us since we're "hanging out anyway".

    So?  What does this even mean?  How does this trap you?  You say "Uh huh.  Can you pass the chips, please?". 

    Here's what you need to understand - YOU DON'T OWE HIM EXPLANATIONS!  You don't have to defend yourself.  You really don't even have to respond! 

    He's a manipulator.  And good at it.  You think you "have" to give in.  AND he knows how hard/how long to push.  He knows you'll cave if he calls X number of times, or says/threatens X, or... whatever.  He KNOWS what to do to get his way.

    Boundaries aren't about getting him to listen to you.  They are about you sticking to what YOU say.  Boundaries don't do a lick of good if YOU cave.

    R.Wilsonny
  • sunflowerwifesunflowerwife member
    First Comment
    edited February 2014
    Thank you all for the responses. I definitely agree, I need to be more clear with him. I guess I just needed confirmation from someone (other than my husband) that I was not the bad guy here. Since he's a manipulator, he makes me feel as if I'm a selfish, unloving daughter, who's not there for the poor recently divorced guy. It's just so easy for me to feel he's right.
  • Well, you kind of aren't, are you?
  • Haha, that was quite a statement. Are you saying I am wrong in a way? 
  • No, you are not selfish or unloving. It's called you're a grown up married woman that has her own life and family that she's started with her husband. It doesn't mean you don't love your parents, it means you have your own life to live without it being manipulated by them.
  • R.WilsonnyR.Wilsonny member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited February 2014
    I would suggest you check out this book....it will help give you tools in dealing with your father - it's called Toxic Parents:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0553381407?cache=1cf03f7d329c6a1447d2dd25f1d6b2a3&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70#ref=mp_s_a_1_5&qid=1391884187&sr=8-5
  • No, you are not selfish or unloving. It's called you're a grown up married woman that has her own life and family that she's started with her husband. It doesn't mean you don't love your parents, it means you have your own life to live without it being manipulated by them.


    All of this.  Saying "no" sometimes doesn't make a person selfish.  You have priorities in your life that you have to focus on, and your dad popping in all the time doesn't always let you do that.

     

    If you want to talk selfish - that's very much your DAD.  He's manipulating you so that he gets what HE wants.  He doesn't care how it affects you.  He ONLY cares how it affects him.  He doesn't respect you.

     

    The fact that you're upset by this and feel guilty - that shows you aren't selfish.  You WANT to help when you can, you just can't always do that.

  • Not selfish- but are you there for him? If so, how? And can you imagine divorcing your husband, wanting to stay a night or so here and there with your dad and him saying no, as it's going to inconvenience him?

    Is it an inconvenience? Manipulation? Too frequent? A crappy situation?

    Yes.

    But not just for you.
  • CandaceLafleur- this is my exact struggle. I want to be there for him, but it's just an overall crappy situation. I honestly have had trouble being there for him because three years ago, my mom almost left him. At that point, I chose to "be there for him" like a "good daughter". He called me every day for support and advice. I could not handle it because I could not deal with my own emotions, and I was getting in the middle. He took advantage of me then, so this time when it was for real, I vowed not to let that happen again. Here's the problem discussing it: 1) he says horrible things about my mom, 2) He acts as if he is the only one being affected by this, and that we all need to pity him, despite the fact that me and my sister are devastated and mourning ourselves, 3) He expects me to be able to "fix it" for him, or to have all the answers, when that is impossible for me to do. 

    I love my Dad and I never wanted my parents to get divorced, but things from the past (ways he treated me growing up) and the way he currently acts make me understand why their marriage wasn't working. My mom admitted her fault in the marriage to me in many ways. He REFUSES to take any responsibility. He's been in and out of work for almost 15 years. He won't even begin to move forward with his life, even though she told him about wanting a divorce over a year ago. He could be living where I live if he would get a job here, or he could have the money to stay in a hotel every now and again, but he just refuses to do what it takes to get a job. He's been sitting around at my grandparents house for 8 months now.
  • Okay- I see something you can use there- him talking badly about your mother. That's an excuse I would use shamelessly in this situation.

    Look Dad, things are still very raw and it is too painful for me to feel as though I'm being put in the middle. I love both you and mom very much and although I know it hurts and you need to vent, I can't be your sounding board on this- for either of you. It's just too painful for me. How is Grandma? Her gout acting up nicely?

    Next- go ahead and manipulate HIM. I'd not want to tell my dD he couldn't stay with me- but I'd certainly go so far as to make him want to make the choice not to stay with me himself. How can you do that?

    He stays on your couch. Good! While there you and your husband stay up late on the couch watching movies he hates or Teen Mom. Order in pizza and ask him to pay for it because you guys are newlyweds and really strapped for cash.

    Be noisy in the early morning- SMOOTHIE TIME!!! You guys suddenly have a new appreciation for the 6am smoothie and loud news routine. Sit on the couch until it is very, VERY obviously inconveniencing him as he wants to go to bed. He mentions that maybe you guys should go to bed or hang out in your room? Be oblivious- oh, we're not ready for bed yet- we rented Titanic!!! Be sure to wake him so he doesn't miss the good parts.

    He's coming over for a few nights? Fantastic! He can help you guys cat- sit your friend's ugly, mean, in continent cat! Or better- parakeets!

    You're cooking dinner- oh great, let's go shopping for groceries- we're a little right and could really use your help Dad! Then burn the crap out of it. Or undercook it. Either way- make sure it sucks just enough to not be obvious.

    Now is also the time to hang your unmentionables to air dry throughout the living room.

    While he's there go on a raw food vegan kick. Discover religion on a whole new level. Soapbox constantly about opposite political beliefs.

    There must be a reason he won't opt to stay with his sister- she probably gets in his case about his life, making it uncomfortable and this he'd rather stay on his daughter's couch than there.

    She's a clever woman.
  • Look. In the end you SHOULD be able to say no to your dad and set healthy boundaries. That is, however, sometimes much easier said than done.

    Try our plan B ; )
  • Out. Stupid iPhone.
  • Well, at a certain point you will have to be ok with your dad being mad / upset / disappointed with you.  It's all a part of growing up.  I know my dad didn't like it when I told him we wouldn't be there for Christmas morning and I know my MIL didn't like it when my husband told her to give us some privacy on our vacation.  But you know what ?  The world didn't end when our parents got upset with us.  They eventually got over it and dare I say, started to respect us more because now they know we won't be pushed around.  

    You too will have to come to terms with the fact that your dad is entitled to his feelings and it's ok if he is disappointed he can't spend a weekend at your home.  That still doesn't mean the burden is on you to make sure he is happy.  Just accept that he is disappointed and go about your day.  
  • Well, at a certain point you will have to be ok with your dad being mad / upset / disappointed with you.  It's all a part of growing up.  I know my dad didn't like it when I told him we wouldn't be there for Christmas morning and I know my MIL didn't like it when my husband told her to give us some privacy on our vacation.  But you know what ?  The world didn't end when our parents got upset with us.  They eventually got over it and dare I say, started to respect us more because now they know we won't be pushed around.  

    You too will have to come to terms with the fact that your dad is entitled to his feelings and it's ok if he is disappointed he can't spend a weekend at your home.  That still doesn't mean the burden is on you to make sure he is happy.  Just accept that he is disappointed and go about your day.  
    All of this- ESPECIALLY the bolded. 
  • R.WilsonnyR.Wilsonny member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited February 2014
    Seriously, I feel like it's pointless to do the option of saying 'you can stay, but you stay on the couch' then proceed to go about this whole song and dance of inconveniencing the guy....1- since OP stated that she lives in a 1 bedroom, he probably already sleeps on the couch during his visits anyway and 2- no sense beating around the bush here about the fact that he's more than worn out his welcome with the amount of visits that he manipulates for himself.

    Better off just standing up to him and saying 'no, that doesn't work for us.' No explanation needed. Let him find somewhere else to stay when he visits.
  • Haha it was a funny idea, but he's the type of person that would stay up with us if we stayed up late being annoying. He would get up early if we got up early. That would go nowhere with him. That's one of my husband and I's complaints. Since we have a 1br, when he's here, we have no living room. He expects us to hang out with him and entertain him the entire time. He will tell me prior to visiting "I have things to do" but then he'll be milling around our place 14 of the 16 waking hours. He also just eats anything we have around. He might spring for pizza one meal, but other than that he just doesn't care if it's not his food. 

    Thank you everyone for the advice. I know I need to be firm and bold to just say "no". I have just tried to do this and he pushes and pushes me until I feel absolutely rotten. And I do want to see him, but this makes me not want to anymore.
  • I was exaggerating. My point was simply that if someone is not willing to do this the conventional way there are other options that could seem less direct and harsh- yet effective.
  • There is no reason to feel rotten.  

    I too have a very domineering father, but it wasn't until my later 20's when something dawned on me.  I realized that my parents didn't raise me to be their obedient little girl forever.  They raised me to be a strong, independent woman that can make good decisions and apply those decisions to her own family.  What kind of person did your parents ( well probably your mother ) raise you to be ?  Did she raise you to be an obedient little girl forever or did she raise you to be a strong woman ?  

    Just because you don't give into every wish, whim and demand that doesn't make you  bad daughter.  What you are doing now simply isn't sustainable.  Someone ( like you or your husband ) is going to crack.  You are at the point where you have to decide between making your selfish, manipulative  moocher of a father happy and making your husband ( you know the man you made vows to) happy or even yourself happy.  This isn't working and you can't live the rest of your life like this.  So you might as well tear off the band aid and put an end to it now.  

    Your dad will do everything in the book to get you to change your mind and will throw every manipulation at you.  Stay firm in your decision and know that just because your dad says you are a bad daughter, that doesn't mean you are.  
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