My husband has been a dangerously anxious mess since we had kids

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Dear Care and Nurture,

I always knew my mother had pretty serious anxiety, but my husband (whom I knew/been together for seven years before we had kids) never showed any signs of even mild anxiety. mild until we had twin girls three years ago. From then on, everything related to them made him nervous. Literally every decision my husband needs to make regarding the kids, even little things like changing their clothes because they’re wet, gets my input. This also means that if something doesn’t work as expected, for example, can she eat this dish in that size? As they were getting used to the food, I said yes and she choked up a bit, which I knew was okay, but freaked my husband out because it was my fault since I was the one who finally approved it. It’s tiring.

I tried talking to my husband about his anxiety and the effect it was having on us. He said all parents worry about making the right decisions for their children. I tried to explain that he doesn’t feel anxious like all parents do, he has a super excited version and life shouldn’t have to be as stressful as it is for him (and all of us). He brushed it off. I suggested we go see a therapist together and see what management techniques they could offer and maybe learn about medication, he said no. He didn’t see that there was a problem. I can’t leave.
If I did, he would definitely want (and get) 50/50 custody and would still be just as worried, but there is no one who can ease our kids’ worries.

His mother is also feeling anxious and making it worse (one of them just coughed, are their COVID, flu, and whooping cough vaccines current?! Have they been exposed to RSV? !) and I believe she would almost always be there for him to have kids and would actually make things worse if we broke up, because he would often ask her to come over now if both kids are with him without me. I talked to him about it too and I thought how she amplified his anxiety and he said I just didn’t like her and didn’t want her around (not true). really, I just want SOMEONE who isn’t anxious to also be around to try to help balance her panic. At first, I wanted things to get better with my husband, which would lead to things getting better for all of us. Now that he has been resistant to any kind of problem or solution for three years, I just want to know what I can do to get my kids and myself through this without subjecting them to a complete disaster. The future is full of worries. Help?

Don’t Want Them To Be Afraid

Dear You Don’t Want,

I’m not qualified to diagnose your husband, and I don’t really need to, because the only thing that matters is how his behavior negatively impacts your life. There’s a lot at stake here because if this continues, your husband’s problems will almost certainly be passed on to your children one way or another and you don’t want that.

I know you’ve been trying to convince your husband to get a mental health evaluation and go to therapy, but I think you should try again and this time, sit him down and ask for it outright. You could say something like, I’m at a breaking point in this marriage and I’ve taken it upon myself to schedule our joint therapy counseling. To be clear, I’m not asking you to come with me, me tell you that I need you to come with me and actively participate in this. If you decide not to, then that will give me a clear sign that you don’t take this situation or this marriage seriously, and I need to start thinking about what I have to do to take care of myself. and our children. If that doesn’t get to him then nothing will happen.

You will have to make a decision in case your husband ignores your request. Can you endure and live like this for the foreseeable future? If so, keep the status quo. If that is a deal breaker for you (and it certainly would be for me), then you need to seriously consider consulting with a family law attorney. in an effort to move on with your life without him and from your letter it sounds like you’ve been somewhat in that void. Wouldn’t it make sense to provide a level of peace and happiness for your children at least half the time by staying away from him instead of 0% of the time by staying married?

Don’t misunderstand, I have no intention of divorcing, I support you doing whatever you need to do to protect peace for yourself and your children. I hope your husband will turn around and seek the help he clearly needs once he sees how serious you are about potentially leaving him, but I want you to be ready to take action if he he didn’t do that.


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