When is it time to give-up on step parenting?
I have lived with my partner and his no 15 year old stepson for the last 5 years. His BM is a narcissist and an alcoholic, actively, although she no longer drinks around my SS. When I moved in, I knew the BM was a little off, but I had no idea how little my partner intervened on his son's behalf. In short, I insisted on rules, like no drinking around SS or like or not, I would do something about it for real. I also insisted on giving my SS household chores and duties; like penalites for not doing homework as well as rewards for doing well in school and around the house. It was a torturous labor, but has paid off in many ways. My SS is now doing well at home and in school and has developed far more social skills than he had when I first met him.
However, this year we moved to a new house...I had moved in with them into a place they had lived for 8 years, and slowly things have begun to change. My SS and I were pretty close for most of the last 5 years, until now. Recently, his BD has spent way more time with him than he ever has in the past and they have grown quite close. I used to pray my partner would do this with his son, and he has.
My SS is also now getting a long, more or less, with his BM, whom he talks to frequently but seldom sees. This after making clear to her that he would cut things off with her entirely if she didn't stop trying to manipulate him. I never bad mouthed her, even though I made it clear to him that I was here to support him, period, no matter what.
Interestingly, he talked to me about her confidentially before he ever talked to his dad about his feelings.
Anyway, lately my SS all but completely ignores me when his dad his home. And by ignore, I mean ignore. Its weird. I ask him if there is something he is upset with me about, the answer is always no. When dad is not home, he does not ignore me, when he is, I don't exist.
I feel hurt and fustrated beyond belief. Unfortunately, my partner,his BD, loves to avoid confrontation. He does not see anything he can do to assist and seriously, he never has when problems have come up before. I feel like I walked in 5 years ago and was immediately left with the decision to parent my SS essentially alone or walk-out. I stayed and now I wonder if it was worth it.
My partner sees what's going on, but has not talked to my SS about it. He doesn't "know how to fix it" which is pretty much what he has always done if I did ask for help like enforcing household rules we all agreed upon, etc.
Ironically, my partner has changed a lot in terms of taking on responsibility for his son himself, and our intimate relationship which has suffered, is in some ways better than it ever was.
But the roller coaster ride I am on with the SS is breaking my heart.
I don't know what happened to cause his remoteness and he will not even admit anything is wrong.
Is it time to leave and just admit I do not have the emotional stamina for this? When do you say "uncle?"
I feel like I have never had the kind of support I needed from my partner to make step parent thing work, that we never really presented a union together in our dealings with him, (BD was the good cop, I being the bad cop) and in spite of our tough beginnings, I thought my SS and I had a close relationship and now I am just clueless.
The other night, we went to dinner and BD and SS engaged in exclusive conversation with each other while me and SS' godfather sat sort of awkwardly next to them wondering what we were doing there. My partner does not see that he could be doing something through his behaviour to change, encourage this rude behaviour to stop, but instead, he indulges it.
I am beginning to think I must be a masochist or a martyr for ever signing up for this ride.
Any advice welcome.