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How do I save my marriage?

I met my husband 13 years ago, got married to him 8 years ago. I have no children. He has a daughter that he raised alone. She is now almost 25 and still living with us. She gave birth to a daughter almost 2 years ago and fought for custody of her sister's 2 children (with our help, to remove them from a bad environment). We have almost never fought over anything but how he enables and coddles his daughter throughout our entire marriage. I realize when she was younger he was trying to make up for the fact that her mother wasn't around, but I naively fell into the trap of thinking she would leave the nest "in a few years", then we could have more one-on-one time as we got older.
But now, I feel like even more of an outsider. I work later hours, so when I get home, they are sitting around the table having "family dinner". He,or we, are having to constantly help with the kids after work, on our days off, on our vacation, or taking the toddler to bed with us "to get her to sleep", which she takes as a so-called much needed break from her hectic life as a "single parent" as she identifies herself.
Her hectic life consists of getting up in the morning for maybe an hour to get the 5 and 9 year old out the front door to catch the school bus, smoking a couple cigarettes, checking her phone, then either going back to bed with the toddler for about 2 hours or going to a friend's house until time for other kids to get off bus. Maybe an appt once every other week.
If she stays home,she lays on couch, binge watches TV, eats, then takes another nap with toddler around 1pm.
Gets up in time to see kids come home on school bus. She hurriedly picks up a couple things, then has the 5 and 9 year old pick up everything else, even if it's toddler's or even her mess.
My husband gets home and maybe takes care of needed tasks, but is automatically depended on to help watch kids while she is on her phone, watching TV, or running somewhere "she just couldn't manage during the day with all the kids"
Then, she may help him cook the sides (mac n cheese, green beans, etc) for dinner. After all that, I am usually getting home from work, but she is exhausted from the day, and the kids go to bed, with the toddler coming to our bed for at least a couple hours to fall asleep, sometimes up to 11pm at night, whether she stays and watches TV, or goes out for a break.
We are late 40s and work our tails off, then come home to this.
The worst part is that my husband makes it all so easy for her. I know he loves the time with his granddaughter, but he makes excuses for why she can't have a job with 3 kids right now (even though she's only had about 3 jobs since she was 16, none have lasted more than 3 months, and she has not had one for over 2 years now), how she's just trying to get her life together but it's so hard with 3 kids, how there are just no jobs out there right now, etc.
He doesn't understand why I'm always stressed and unhappy,and I am made to feel bad if I even bring up the subject of what she is doing to further her situation in life as she is an adult. He complains about our intimacy, but how can that happen when grandkids are in and out of our room, toddler in our bed most nights, and even step-daughter walking into room without knocking anytime she feels like it?
Add that to the fact that I seem to have grown a bitter resentment that he appears to be the surrogate father to her children, and I'm about to lose my mind. I feel this will never end, or if and when it does, will we be able to salvage a close relationship?
She doesn't pay any bills, but because she spends $400 in foodstamps on groceries per month for household (a lot of stuff she buys is junk food), she is contributing her share.
I'm sorry for the long post and run-on sentences, but I have no one to talk to and I am questioning whether I am a bad person, which just makes me angrier.
I love those kids, and I love my husband, but this may finally end our marriage, which I don't want to happen, but we simply live like friends who copay mortgage, bills, care for each other, and every once in awhile I actually get my husband's undivided attention when I finally throw a fit. Which then makes his attention less meaningful.Then it's just rinse and repeat.
Am I expecting too much out of our marriage?
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973741 tn?1342342773
Sweetie, they ARE a family and they are your family.  A single mom does best with strong support from parents.  We have neighbors whose adult child moved in with her child after her divorce and many psychologists recommend this so that the single mom can provide what is as close to a normal functioning household as possible for the child.  This is about her kids (her bio kid and the one I guess she has now adopted).  It is the right thing for her dad to be supportive and that is not coddling in my opinion.  A family dinner is a GOOD thing.  Unfortunate that you get home late . . . hopefully you are around for dinner sometimes.  Otherwise, a shift in your hours may be appropriate as it would be if you had kids yourself who like to have family dinner.  

Your husband does not mind his daughter.  He is not complaining it and 'watching the kids" is different than playing with your grandkids.  Oh my gosh, I adore the kids I'm close to and it is not a task to enjoy their company at the end of a work day.  You are not bonded to any of these people apparently and he is.  :>)  You have to accept that.  

I do think you have a very fair point if there are no boundaries on your bedroom.  You can have a rule about that and it should be respected by your husband.  After X o'clock, no one else in your bedroom and certainly not your bed.

He's surrogate dad to his grandkids. He has taken on that role.  I really do understand how hard that is because you don't agree with it and didn't sign up for that.  But it is what it is.  He's not going to kick her out and if this is too much, you have to decide if you are going to stay.  

If this were your own daughter, you would likely feel very differently.  You surface love those kids.  Otherwise, you'd rise above some of what you are feeling.  I understand it completely and can't say I'd feel differently if I were the step parent. As the bio mom to my boys, I'd move heaven and earth to help them if they found themselves to be single parents and would find it incredibly attractive of my husband to be as involved as I was in raising the grandkids who do not have a father figure.  You do not feel that way. It's your right.  But unfortunately, I fear you will lose in this case.  I'm sorry!!  hugs
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Avatar universal
If you are truly becoming unhappy then you definitely need to address this with your husband and his daughter. My advice though is to tread carefully. Maybe suggest making a calendar and make it a point to give everyone a break and to be sure you and your husband have 2-3 nights where you can be a couple and not just grandparents. I understand you’re frustrated right now but try to be as positive and excited about it as you can. If it sounds more like a plan to grow closer as a family and help each other out rather than them feeling attacked I think you’re more likely to get a positive response from both of them. Make sure to explain that you love the time with the kids and that you still want that time but that you also love your husband and want some time to be a couple as well. If she feels at all like you are upset by the kids that would be the most upsetting to her I think. I lived with my parents until 25 with 2 of my 3 kids but we had a different situation. I watched my kids 24/7 at first unless my parents asked to keep them or I had special plans. I found that my parents appreciated their time with them even more because they decided when they were up to it and they actually asked to spend time with them 3-4 evenings a week for about 30 minutes from 7-730. This was perfect for me to shower/read/relax or whatever and the kids really enjoyed this time too. Maybe some schedule like that would help. Husbands and wives need time together to stay connected romantically. If you still find it hard to be alone maybe suggest to your husband planning a date night once a week or something. Sorry it’s so long. Good luck and I hope this helped you a little.
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Avatar universal
I do feel like the father is making it too easy for the daughter.  She is obviously lazy, has no ambition and feels like her dad owes her all of this but he doesn't!  But this problem started a long time ago and getting anything to change would be very difficult.  I would put a lock on your bedroom door and tell everyone not to knock unless it is an emergency.  You have to set boundaries and the daughter needs to learn responsibility and the only place she is able to learn that now is in your home.  I raised 3 kids and only one came home after leaving and only for 8 months.  He was very responsible and respectful of us and our home because that's how he was raised.  My husband died at the age of 32 leaving me with 3 babies 5 and under.  There was no life insurance, savings, I didn't have a drivers license and nobody to depend on.  But I was hell bent on making a good life for my kids and I did, it is possible albeit not easy.  Through the years I have noticed the adult children who know they can always go home...do just that.  Instead of finding ways to help themselves they go home.  I feel you are totally in the right and the father is not doing his daughter any favors by allowing her to use you both like this.  She should have been out on her own a long time ago, when kids are raised correctly they are either in college or happy making their life on their own at this age.  My kids always knew we had an open door policy and we would help if needed but they were taught to be self sufficient and took care of themselves.  I would ask your husband to go to counseling with you to try and address all of this.  His daughter is never going to leave so long as she has a cushy life at your house.  I feel so bad for you and think you have some difficult decisions to make.  It appears everyone is happy but you and that isn't fair.  Have a heart to heart with your husband about all of this, maybe if he feels he may lose you he will take the situation more seriously.  I know his daughter is entitled to state aid, and they will also pay for day care so the mother can work and give her a place to live for very little rent.  I wish you all the best and do keep us posted.  Big hugs to you....
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973741 tn?1342342773
Some time has passed.  Wondering how things have gone the past few months.
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Avatar universal
To me it does sound like he is enabling his daughter, and not realizing that if something happened to him or you that she would be placed in a very hard spot.

On the other hand though I don't think he just started doing this. To save your marriage you need to be open with him. Don't attack his ways or how he is towards his daughter. Instead express your needs and desire and explain you want your intimacy with him back as well. Then provide a compromised solution like maybe one or two days out of the week she needs to do for the kids, so you get alone time with him. Ya go out to eat, and maybe stay the night somewhere away from home.

This also is about your relationship with her. You need to talk to her. Express you want to have some alone time with her dad and that you both need a break. If she loves her father she should understand and be willing to give ya that once a week at least.

I pray all goes well for ya keep us updated.
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