HELP! Need advice regarding Adult Step Son.
Sorry in advance for the long post. I need advice regarding how to handle a situation between my wife of 6 years and her son who is now 25. She has sons 27, 25 and daughters 22 and 16. I have sons 16, 14 and daughter 13. SS25 is the only one who lives with us full time. SS25 was 19 and had graduated from high school but still living at home when his mother and I got married. When we were dating I noticed a tendency for mom to dote on him (still made his appointments, fixed his plate at dinner, would drop everything go to the grocery store when he was out of his favorite cereal, etc.) and I commented about it then but was met with bristling anger so I backed off. Once we were married, and I moved in I noticed even more pervasive "doting" and I tried to explain to her that she was holding him back in development (the boy did not have many basic life skills since mom always did them). This was our major flash point for fights during the first 9 months of marriage and the more I tried to point out her "stunting of his growth" the more it became about me attacking her son and her parental capabilities. During this time, he was taking a couple of classes of college at the local JC and working sporadically. After 9 months, he decides to move out (with only a part time, summer job for income) into a very expensive apartment with a roommate. Well, the real world bit him badly and 6 months later he wanted to move back home. Later I found out that mom had been slipping him money and gave him our gas card that he charged several hundred dollars on. Anyway, he asks to move back for 2-3 months to get back on his feet and mom says yes (does not consult me, just tells me that hes coming back). Well, that was 5 years ago now. In the meantime, he has tried to do college a couple of courses at a time and he does have a part-time job. However, we still paid for everything and he had no rent or car expense (we bought him a used car before he moved out).
Two years ago, without consulting us, he traded in his perfectly good car, bought a sports car and took out a hefty loan for it (Bio uncle co-signed thank goodness). I got very angry at this and felt taken advantage of (his mom didnÂt see it). We went to counseling and when the counselor tried to point out that she was stunting her sonÂs growth, she got mad at the counselor and we havenÂt been back. Her excuse was that the counselor didnÂt know her son and if she did, should would have been on "her side". At that point I tried to implement a contract between SS25 and us over momÂs protests so that it would spell out our (mostly mine) expectations of him and the parameters of living at home because I was upset that he bought the car rather than preparing to move out or take more classes to get though school faster. Out of this came a schedule of him taking over his insurance, cell phone and he started paying $100 rent. I could not get a "move out" date, only that mom wanted him to stay at home till he graduates. A year ago, he traded in his sports car and bought a twice as expensive sports car ($40k). I exploded over this and his mom and me had a meltdown and almost divorced. She says sheÂs perfectly fine with him doing this since he deserved it for being such a good kid (and the kidÂs not bad, just has a bad case of Peter Pan syndrome). This caused a modification of the contract to include a "full-time" student clause and an escalating rent to eventually $250 (over 12 months). The allowed an uneasy truce between his mom and me.
After this long rambling back story, hereÂs my problem: He only took 9 hours in the spring and heÂs decided to take the summer off since heÂs "burned out" with school (he has about 40 hours left for his degree). HeÂs violated the "full-time student" clause of the contract and the penalty clause is that he has to work full time and his rent goes to $400. I tried to discuss this with his mom and she essentially tore the contract up in my face and said "HeÂs my son and he can stay here for as long as he wants. This is his home, your contract be d@mned." Of course, she threatened divorce if I try to raise his rent or make him work full time. She also called me a shameful, bitter man who has it out for her son. So, interested readers (if anyoneÂs left), should I just lay down or stand my ground and probably end up divorced. Anyone else been in the situation?