The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female contract worker in my 50s. My first husband is dead. My sons with him have graduated from university and live on their own now.
Last year I remarried with a man who has divorced. Although I’m happy about my life with a new partner, I’ve been annoyed that his children from his previous marriage frequently beg him for money.
He has three children, and two of them have their own families. They propose plans for dining out and traveling and the like, and take it for granted that my husband pays for them. They also sometimes ask him to pay for their purchases by showing him their receipts.
I understand why I’m so upset at my husband spending money on his children — I feel like I’m not sufficiently rewarded. I paid the deposit for the secondhand condominium we are living in now. I also pay part of our living expenses. His third child, who goes to a vocational school, lives with us. I take care of the child by preparing meals and doing other necessary things.
I think we should start preparing for our old age. I’ve already told my husband to make his children aware they should not mix up their households with ours, even though they are his children.
However, I’m still worried they will more frequently beg my husband to give them more money.
G, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. G:
I congratulate you on getting a partner you can spend the rest of your life with. In a society of longevity, more middle-aged people will remarry after their children become independent. There are some challenges these people should overcome.
First, they should willingly allow their spouses to meet their children from previous partners. It’s a basic rule for people like you. You could remarry as your children and his children both generously accepted it. But they probably have persevered with your remarriage more or less, I assume.
The most pressing issue for you is money. You may think it too formal to do this between you and your husband, but I suggest you thoroughly discuss financial matters with him and both of you pay living expenses and save money for your old age from your respective incomes, depending on their amounts. You should both leave each other to deal with your own matters, without meddling. Your husband’s generosity to his children might be intended as a reward for their approval of his remarriage with you.
Whatever the case, you remarried him after making up your mind to confront various difficulties that may pop up one after another, didn’t you? If his children pester him for money too much, I suggest you gently warn them, saying, “Your father is so kind to you, so help me care for him in his old age.”
Keiko Higuchi, critic